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An aging global population and increases in chronic and communicable diseases are driving significant growth in global health care expenditures. Life sciences has become one of the world’s fastest growing industries, with global health care expenditures projected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020.

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. Calgary is home to leading researchers in these areas, putting it in a unique position to address global health issues.

Significant opportunity exists for Calgary to leverage its research assets to work with international life science companies to support the developing ecosystem in the city. The Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Cumming School of Medicine and the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Calgary are key parts of a network that will benefit even further from the construction of the Calgary Cancer Centre, a world-class healthcare facility that will meet clinical, academic and research needs.

The local success stories that network has produced already are impressive. A team from the University of Calgary, for example, showcased the kind of innovation emerging here with its development of the neuroArm, which advances image-guided neurosurgical robots.

Among other notable companies in the sector are Opryx Medical Technologies who has created a wearable sensor platform that empowers patients and medical practitioners by giving them access to data analytics, while Vivametrica is working to advance health analytics. Another local start up in the sector, Calgary Scientific, has developed a healthcare image viewer and diagnostic technologies that are used in healthcare facilities worldwide.

In all, Calgary has the critical elements – ample capital, hospitable regulations, a skilled workforce and access to markets – that are needed to grow a healthy biomedical sector.