MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - March 28, 2014) - Taking into consideration the upcoming Quebec General Election, BIOQuébec, the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), the NEOMED Institute, Montréal InVivo and Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) are calling on the the main political parties to take a stand with regard to the future of the life sciences sector in Quebec.
"The pharmaceutical industry, which is still undergoing changes, has fundamentally changed its research and development process over the last decade. It outsources more research activities, capitalizes on strong partnerships and acquires research programs when they have exceeded a certain level of risk. It's important for Quebec to take this opportunity to mobilize and adapt to these changes in order to maintain its leadership in this sector" stated Max Fehlmann, President and CEO of the NEOMED Institute.
The five above-noted organizations are therefore calling on political parties to outline their intensions regarding this key sector within the Quebec economy through the following questions:
- What measures would you take in order for Quebec patients to have the best possible access to new medicines?
- What measures would you take to increase Quebec's share of biopharmaceutical research investments in Canada?
- What measures would you take to optimize basic and applied research in Quebec?
- What role do you see for the biopharmaceutical sector in the sustainability of the Quebec healthcare system?
- What value do you attribute to drug therapy and is patient choice an important principle for you?
"Under the combined effect of longer life expectancy and declining birth rates, the proportion of older people increases in the world population and even more in Quebec, which undermines the sustainability of our healthcare system and consequently the implementation of new types of treatments from the latest medical discoveries," says Martin Godbout, chairman of the Board of BioQuébec.
"In the face of new opportunities offered by recent advances in biotechnology, the question is whether governments will harness the benefits of this development and meet the demographic challenges of the coming years, while creating more jobs for young researchers in Quebec's biopharmaceutical sector."
"These issues concern Quebec researchers whether they are working in universities, hospitals or in SMEs. Quebec has demonstrated innovation in the life sciences sector and has successfully navigated through a difficult environment. We hope that the next government, of whatever political stripe, can continue to provide a promising research and business environment so that together, we can address the many complex medical challenges ahead," added Diane Gosselin, CQDM President and Chief Executive Officer.
"Life sciences and health technologies is one of the economic sectors with the largest leverage in terms of social impact and creating collective wealth. It is therefore important to maintain a predictable business environment, supportive of partnerships between key players that enables businesses, large and small, and the research community to work together in order to improve people's health. Industry alone accounts for more than 40,000 jobs, including 17,000 jobs from subsidiaries of foreign companies. This concentration promotes synergy between all stages, from basic research to innovation development and commercialization of innovative products, drawing on wealth of research expertise and a dynamic core of entrepreneurs», stated Michelle Savoie, President and CEO of Montreal InVivo.
"To consolidate our presence here and take advantage of the new business context - largely dominated by the globalization of research and scientific progress - jurisdictions that adopt innovative policies to reflect these new realities will be best positioned to attract industry investment and to make the newest and most innovative treatments possible available to their citizens", said Russell Williams, Rx&D President.
Founded in 1991, BIOQuébec is the only association bringing together Quebec biotechnology companies. Its mission is to foster the economic interest of its members and to ensure their growth. BIOQuébec's member companies and organizations work predominantly in application sectors such as human health and animal health.
CQDM is a pharma-based consortium active in pre-competitive research whose mission is to fund the development of innovative tools and technologies to accelerate drug discovery. Unique in the world, CQDM's business model is based on a collaborative approach where all stakeholders share the costs of biopharmaceutical research and benefit from its results. CQDM also provides a common meeting ground where academia, governments, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries converge to address numerous complex medical challenges.
CQDM receives financial support from Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca, Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly Canada, Novartis Pharma Canada, as well as from Quebec's Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MESRST) and under the Federal government's Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence program (BL-NCE). For more information, visit us at www.cqdm.org.
About the NEOMED Institute
The NEOMED Institute is a state-of-the art R&D facility in the Montreal Technoparc. The Institute acts as an open-access drug discovery hub, hosting commercial groups and providing a unique environment to foster innovation, collaboration and creativity. For more information, please visit: www.neomed.ca
About Montréal InVivo
Montréal InVivo is the brand name for the life sciences and health technologies (LSHT) cluster of the Metropolitan Montréal. This cluster is comprised of more than 620 organizations, including 150 research centres, 80 subsidiaries of world-class companies, and 41,000 individuals working in the sector. This cluster is a fertile breeding ground for innovation and creativity and includes four universities and ranks first in Canada in terms of the number of research centres.
Montréal InVivo is a non-profit economic development organization dedicated to the creation of wealth. By rallying the cluster's players around common objectives such as innovation, Montréal InVivo aims to ensure, through the implementation of its actions and its strategic plan, the development, sustainability and reputation of the LSHT sector of Greater Montréal. Its activities are supported by funding from MFE, the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine (Ministry of the Executive Council), CMM, DEC and private and institutional sectors.
Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.
BIOQuébec, CQDM, the NEOMED Institute, Montréal InVivo and Rx&D remind political parties of its priorities for the key life sciences sector
Sharing the goal of increasing Quebec's capacity to attract more international investment in the life sciences sector, BIOQuébec, the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), the NEOMED Institute, Montreal InVivo and Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) make the following recommendations:
- Choose life sciences as one of the strategic priorities of Quebec's economic and scientific policy.
- Establish, for the benefit of patients, a modern and efficient evaluation and listing process allowing the integration of innovations in the Quebec marketplace.
- Foster public-private partnerships in research and development and integration of innovations within the network.
- Protect the free choice of health professionals to provide drug therapies while avoiding therapeutic substitution measures and allowing patient access to tools that facilitate their access to therapies.
- Improve the exchange of information between the various stakeholders in the healthcare system.
- Develop a coherent, long-term, and collaborative approach between all stakeholders in healthcare, including life sciences partners, enabling better management of chronic diseases and optimum use of available treatments.
For about thirty years, the biopharmaceutical industry has been one of the jewels of the Quebec economy. The majority of the large global multinationals chose Quebec to establish their headquarters. Here are some facts about our presence in Quebec:
- 16,000 direct (5,321) and indirect (10,924) well-paid, high-calibre jobs;
- $445 million annually in R&D investments, 45% of those made in Canada over the past decade;
- $1.2 billion in the Quebec economy in 2010 through all of our investments, which represents $152 per capita, while in Ontario this ratio is $105.
In terms of contribution to the health of patients and the sustainability of the healthcare system, our performance is exemplary. Here are some highlights:
- Vaccines prevent children and adults from contracting diseases as dangerous as polio, tetanus, measles, meningitis, hepatitis A and B, etc.;
- Drugs to lower cholesterol levels have reduced the incidence of heart attacks from 33% to 25%;
- Mortality from certain diseases has dropped considerably:
- Down 78% for HIV (1995-2004);
- Down 88% for pulmonary diseases (1970-2004);
- Down 74% for heart diseases (1980-2004);
- The survival rate after five years for all types of cancer increased from 56% to 62% between the period 1992-1994 to 2004-2006 - in the last generation, the infant mortality rate from cancer has fallen by 50%;
- Several studies have reported the contribution of medicines to the decrease of other healthcare spending, such as surgery and hospitalization, and improving productivity through the reduction of disability and employee absenteeism.