Life Sciences

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

British Columbia's vibrant and growing industry is at the forefront of developments in drug development and clinical research, medical devices and diagnostics, simulation technologies and regenerative medicine.
British Columbia is home to one of the most vibrant life sciences industries in the world, contributing an estimated $805 million in revenues. 

Key Facts

Number of Establishments >300
Total Estimated Employment 8,500
Average Annual Wage $65,376


Key Advantages

Our prime location, outstanding talent, and generous incentives and tax credits for research and development create an attractive environment for life sciences companies.
  • World-class research hospitals and universities partner with research centres, creating a dynamic, collaborative network for researchers.
  • Cultural and recreational opportunities contribute to a high quality of life outside the lab – and a significantly lower cost of living than in key markets including San Diego, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • British Columbia’s diverse talent pool includes more than 8,500 employees working in the life sciences industry. Post-secondary institutions are training young people for future success in the sector.
  • A steady stream of innovation flows into British Columbia’s industries, thanks to our excellent educational institutions. The University of British Columbia alone has commercialized over 80 life sciences technologies through partnerships and licensing with corporate partners, and fostered 94 spinoff companies, including QLT.
  • Research teams benefit from being in the same time zone as the scientific community in Washington State and California. Our prime location means they can also connect with both Asia and Europe in the same business day.
  • B.C.’s large, flexible and educated workforce of 106,000+ across the broader tech ecosystem is well represented by young, diverse and energetic talent.
  • B.C.’s general corporate income tax rate is only 12%. When combined with the federal rate, businesses pay a combined rate of 27%.
  • B.C. has the lowest provincial personal income taxes in Canada for individuals earning up to $125,000.


Learn about British Columbia’s range of attractive business incentives.

Other Incentives
Incentive Qualifying Entities Incentive Details
Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit Investors of venture capital funds  30% tax credit
Canadian Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR & ED) tax credit Canadian-controlled private corporations

Other corporations 
Tax credit of up to 35% of qualified expenses for work carried out in Canada
Tax credit of up to 15% of qualified expenses for work carried out in Canada 
British Columbia Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR & ED) tax credit Corporations conducting SR and ED in B.C.  British Columbia provides qualifying corporations that carry on scientific research and experimental development in BC a refundable tax credit up to $300,000 and a non-refundable tax credit up to 10% of qualified British Columbia SR&ED expenses.
National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) Small- and medium-size companies focused on the development and commercialization of innovative, technology-driven products, services, or processes in Canada Financial assistance provided on a case by case basis



Life Sciences Sector Support

British Columbia’s life sciences sector offers opportunities for strong public-private partnerships facilitated by the close links that have been established between academia, industry and the government. Companies looking to find their next strategic partner in British Columbia find support from LifeSciences British Columbia, which represents the life sciences community and provides links between government, academia and industry.

The life sciences sector in British Columbia also benefits from access to our world-class centres of excellence.

  • TRIUMF Innovations: Organization focusing on the business of science; link cutting-edge science and technology to tangible business opportunities.
  • Biomedical Research Centre: An interdisciplinary research centrefocused on BRC research, technology development, and translation and commercialization.
  • Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health: A partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia brings together experts in the fields of neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, and rehabilitation in a hub for training, research, and clinical care to understand how a healthy brain works in order to prevent and treat brain diseases.
  • Canadian HIV Trials Network: A partnership of clinical investigators, physicians, nurses, people living with HIV/AIDS, pharmaceutical manufacturers and others that facilitate HIV clinical trials of the highest scientific and ethical standards.
  • Centre for Drug Research and Development: A global bridge that translates discoveries into innovative therapeutic products and improved health outcomes. In collaboration with partners, CDRC identifies and advances promising discoveries and transforms them into validated investments.
  • Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics: A world leader in genetic medicine at UBC that brings together a multidisciplinary community of researchers and clinicians is dedicated to understanding how changes in genes cause disease and to using this knowledge to develop novel treatments, innovative approaches to prevention, and effective strategies to maintain health.
  • PROOF Center (Prevention of Organ Failure): A not-for-profit organization that develops biomarker tests to better predict, diagnose, manage and treat a range of diseases.
  • BC Children's Hospital Research Institute: An institute that conducts discovery, translational and clinical research to benefit the health of children and their families.
  • Discovery Parks: An organization that uses its assets to create capital through investment in early stage technology companies, with a focus on health technology.
  • Genome British Columbia: A non-profit research organization, leads genomics innovation on Canada’s West Coast and facilitates the integration of genomics into society.
  • International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD): A world leading health research centre focused on spinal cord injury that conducts research and training towards the development and translation of more effective strategies to promote prevention, functional recovery, and improved quality of life after spinal cord injury.
  • The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research: Since 2001, MSFHR has funded more than 1,700 researchers across BC who are developing new cures and treatments, responding to emerging health issues, and improving the delivery of health care.
  • Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development: A translational research program agenda that seeks to discover reasons for cancer progression and treatment resistance at the molecular level and uses that information to develop new services and products to improve cancer outcomes.
  • BC Knowledge Development Fund: Funds research infrastructure and equipment, including for life science. This includes equipment for drug discovery, genomics, and medical imaging.


Success Stories

View all Success Stories
BC Biotech Company Combating Diseases with Nanotechnology
A B.C.-based life sciencescompany that has created a platform to develop nanotechnology... continue