Profile of Quebec’s Biomanufacturing Sector
When biopharmaceuticals are mentioned, biotechs and pharmaceutical companies are the first to come to mind. However, the manufacturing of drugs and related products is quite prevalent in Quebec. Several prominent biomanufacturers are well established in the province and bring a great deal of added value to the life sciences industry.
Considerable economic impact
The manufacturing of pharmaceutical products and drugs in Quebec represents:
- 113 companies, which is a third of the biopharmaceutical industry. They include companies whose main operation is the manufacturing of drugs and related products designed for human or animal use;
- 10,245 jobs, which is 57% of jobs in the industry, mainly because of the number of large companies (In French only);
- Close to $560 million in wages and salaries (in 2016);
- More than $1.5 billion generated from the international exportation of pharmaceutical products;
- A GDP of $1.6 billion and sales of $2.8 billion in 2016 – both increasing, with an average annual variation of 12% and 17% respectively between 2010 and 2016;
- Almost a third of all chemical product manufacturing in Quebec.
A sector that creates stable jobs
Plants that produce pharmaceutical products must be approved by regulatory agencies. This certification is complex to obtain and is only valid for one particular site. This specification makes companies reluctant to relocate their operations and provides a high level of stability for employees.
Prosperous Quebec companies
Several companies that are very active in the production of pharmaceutical products are located in Quebec. Many of them are known around the world (GSK, Medicago, Merck, and Pfizer) but other, lesser-known companies are also noteworthy:
- Sandoz Canada, a division of Novartis, is a global leader in generic and biosimilar drugs. Its head office, located on Montreal’s South Shore, employs more than 200 workers and includes an ultra-modern production centre inaugurated in 2009. In 2015, Sandoz ranked 3rd among Canadian generic companies;
- Pharmascience is a major Quebec manufacturer of generic drugs that employs 1,200 people in the province. It produces six of the ten most prescribed generics in the country and prepares 50 million prescriptions per year in Canada, 20 million of which are prepared in Quebec. Nearly 80% of its revenues are generated in Canada, and its products are distributed in 60 countries;
- JAMP Pharma relocated from British Columbia to Quebec in 2006, when it opened its head office in Boucherville. The company is one of Quebec’s two primary producers of generic drugs and has more than 260 molecules in its portfolio. JAMP Pharma will soon commercialize five biosimilar drugs for Canadian patients;
- Bausch Health has its international headquarters in Laval, where its 375 employees are involved in the research and production of drugs for eye health as well as gastrointestinal and dermatological diseases;
- Duchesnay, located in Blainville in the Lower Laurentians, has become the first pharmaceutical company dedicated to protecting the health of pregnant women and their children. The company, which has its own manufacturing plant onsite, is involved with several charitable groups and organizations;
- GC Biotherapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company that is part of the GC Pharma family. In 2017, it opened the first Canadian intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and albumin manufacturing plant in the Ville Saint-Laurent Technoparc, where it employs 200 workers.
For the complete list of Quebec’s biopharmaceutical companies, refer to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation’s directory (In French only).