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Calgary Economic Development’s Life Sciences Value Proposition and Competitiveness Study explores the city’s position as a leader in global health solutions with key strengths and differentiators for investment attraction and growth.  

Calgary’s life sciences industry is well positioned for growth with innovations driven by the city’s bright minds, competitive business environment and internationally recognized research and development (R&D) from top tier institutions. 

A study completed for Calgary Economic Development by KPMG assesses Calgary’s competitiveness as a centre for investment for life sciences against eight jurisdictions in North America. It rated Calgary third among the peer group. 

The study identified four key subsectors as opportunities for growth in the cityDiagnostics, Digital Health, Oncology and Microbiome Solutions. These subsectors show robust market activity (locally and internationally) with investment from industry, research organizations and government.   

Diagnostics: Demand for diagnostic services continues to grow as our population ages with increases in conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Calgary’s strong R&D assets, like the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, along with emerging diagnostic companies, primes this subsector for further growth. For more information on local players in diagnostics, several innovators are highlighted on the Live Tech, Love Life pageincluding Circle Cardiovascular Imaging and Syantra. 

Digital Health: Calgary is seeing an emergence of start-ups focused on providing digital health products and services. Coupled with industry supports within the ecosystem through local accelerators and incubators, this sub-sector is well positioned for future growth. Additionally, medical device providers make up a significant portion of companies in this sector. Local companies in this space include Orpyx Medical Technologies and Neuraura. 

Oncology: Oncology is one of the world’s fastest growing therapeutic areas and is expected to represent 26 per cent of pharmaceutical sales by 2022.Significant assets are in place in the city, which build a strong foundation, including the Calgary Cancer Centre – the largest cancer treatment and research facility in Canada and the second largest in North America upon completion in 2023.  ​   

Microbiome: The North America microbiome market was expected to increase nearly four times its size in 2017 by 2025. Through the support of the University of Calgary’s International Microbiome Centre – home to the world’s largest germ-free facility – growth in this sector presents an opportunity for the city to develop early-stage companies that increase the quality of health data and insights. 

The life sciences industry is recognized as an emerging cluster in the economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economywith a competitive ecosystem that supports start-ups and global scale ups, and an award-winning quality of life that attracts top talent. 

The digital transformation spend in Alberta’s life sciences and health sector is projected to be $1.3 billion by 2024, with $438 million directly in Calgary and will grow at a compound annual rate of over 12 per cent. 

For more information on Calgary’s life sciences industry, check out our video Calgary. Bright minds and bright companies in Life Sciences live here, or visit the sector webpage. To learn more about opportunities in Calgary’s tech and innovation ecosystem, visit Live Tech, Love Life. 

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