R&D spending from life sciences companies in Calgary is expected to grow by 49% in health and biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in 2018.


Growth in capital raised by Alberta life sciences companies since 2008.


Alberta is home to more than 200 life sciences companies.

It is predicted that the majority of the global population will be impacted by health issues related to chronic disease and brain and mental health in the future. Calgary is home to leading researchers and more than 60 companies in these areas, putting it in a unique position to address these global health issues.

Leading-edge life sciences research & clinical trials

The University of Calgary provides companies with a unique opportunity to access leading-edge life sciences research.

Brain and Mental Health
An initiative at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary uses the clot-busting drug tPA to reduce stroke treatment time from 70 minutes to 36 minutes. This time is among the fastest in the world for stroke treatment centres.

Chronic Disease
The International Microbiome Centre at the University of Calgary, designed to drive discoveries in microbiome research, is the largest facility of its kind in the world. It is housed alongside other researchers at the Cumming School of Medicine’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases who are collaborating on a breakthrough treatment for severe scleroderma.

Cardiovascular Sciences
The Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary supports and coordinates all cardiovascular science research, education and patient care for a population of 2 million people in southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and eastern British Columbia.

More than 180 clinical trials are completed per year in Alberta. Of these clinical trials, over 70% of studies are drug-related. In addition, biological and medical device clinical trials are showing growth in Calgary.

Digital health

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is Canada’s first and largest province-wide, fully-integrated health system, responsible for delivering health services to over four million people.

AHS is leading the way when it comes to digital health. Alberta became the first province to institute a province-wide electronic health record system. In 2017, AHS signed a deal for a new eHealth System. The Clinical Information System (CIS) will offer healthcare providers one central access point to patient information, common clinical standards and best healthcare practices. Patients will also be able to access their personal health plan and test results online, book appointments electronically and interact directly with their healthcare team through secure messaging.   

Funding & financing sources

Alberta Innovates – invests millions of dollars a year in health research and innovation spanning activity from the lab to the bedside to the community.  

Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) – encourages its members to obtain external grant funding and offers various complementary funding opportunities.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – supports university students in their advanced studies, promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in post secondary research projects.

NRC IRAP Concierge Service – provides a single access point where SME’s can find advice to help them innovate and accelerate their growth

Scientific Research & Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED) – provides tax incentives for applied research and experimental development for the purpose of achieving technological advancement.

Need more information?
Emily Kneteman

Emily Kneteman

Business Development Manager, Emerging Tech & Life Sciences

Office Phone: 403 221 3557


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