Life Sciences

With more than 300 companies, British Columbia, Canada has a vibrant life sciences sector offering investment opportunities in a diverse range of products and services.

British Columbia's growing life sciences industry is at the forefront of developments in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and medical technology. B.C. is producing world-leading products and services in the areas of HIV-AIDS, oncology and genomics.
British Columbia is home to one of the most vibrant life sciences industries in the world, contributing an estimated $805 million in revenues. 

Quick Facts

  • British Columbia is home to more than 300 biopharmaceutical and medical device companies
  • British Columbia’s diverse life sciences sector employs approximately 17,300 talented and specialized individuals
  • Internationally-recognized research hospitals and universities, over 50 public and private research centres and several centres of excellence create a dynamic, collaborative network for researchers

Key Advantages

British Columbia’s prime location, outstanding talent and strong business climate create an attractive environment for life sciences companies.
A collaborative research hub.  Internationally-recognized research hospitals and universities partner with over 50 public and private research centres including several centres of excellence, creating a dynamic, collaborative network for researchers. British Columbia has world-class scientists supported by one of the best health care systems in the world, and international investors such as Glaxo Smith-Kline and Pfizer.

Quality of life.  Cultural and recreational opportunities contribute to a high quality of life outside the lab. British Columbia also has a significantly lower cost of living than other key markets including San Diego, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Exceptional talent.  British Columbia’s large, flexible and educated workforce of more than 123,000 across the broader tech ecosystem is well represented by young, diverse and energetic talent. And the province has a growing number of life sciences-related graduates.
Prime location.  Research teams benefit from being in the same time zone as the scientific community in Washington State and California. They can also communicate with colleagues in both Asia and Europe during the same business day.
Competitive taxes. British Columbia’s general corporate income tax rate is 12%. When combined with the federal rate, businesses pay an overall rate of just 27%. In addition, British Columbia has the lowest provincial personal income taxes in Canada for single individuals earning up to $140,000. 


Life Sciences Sector Support

British Columbia’s life sciences sector offers opportunities for strong public-private partnerships, facilitated by the close links between academia, industry and government.

Companies looking to find their next strategic partner in British Columbia find support from Life Sciences British Columbia which facilitates linkages between global industry and local organizations, facilitates investment and global partnership opportunities and promotes British Columbia’s world-class science and industry. The life sciences sector also benefits from access to British Columbia’s world-class, innovative research centres and funding agencies.

  • AdMare  Provides expertise and infrastructure to identify and de-risk promising discoveries generated by health-related research and transform them into commercially viable investment opportunities, leading to therapies for patients.
  • BC Cancer Agency  Conducts epidemiological and clinical research on cancer prevention, early diagnosis, molecular characteristics of the cancer process and new treatments using drugs and radiotherapy.
  • British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS  Leads research to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS receive a continually evolving standard of evidence-based care, distributes antiretroviral therapy to the province and monitors HIV-related outcomes.
  • B.C. Knowledge Development Fund  Funds research infrastructure and equipment, including equipment for drug discovery, genomics and medical imaging.
  • Genome British Columbia  Funds research for genomics innovation on Canada’s west coast and facilitates the integration of genomics into society.
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research  Helps develop, retain and recruit the people whose research improves the health of British Columbians, addresses health system priorities, creates jobs and adds to the knowledge economy.
  • Michael Smith Laboratories  Leads biotechnology research with applications to health, agriculture and forestry, in collaboration with industry.
  • TRIUMF  Carries out research and commercialization to advance science and technology in nuclear medicine and isotopes. The largest producer of rare medical isotopes in Canada.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute  The Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute comprises more than 1,500 personnel engaged in several research programs and in nine research centres: The Vancouver Prostate Centre, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use; Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation; Centre for Heart and Lung Health, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, Immunity and Infection Research Centre, International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Ovarian Cancer Research (OVCARE).


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