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Canada and the Midwest in Life Sciences, 75 Years in the Making

The Consulate General of Canada in Chicago is currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of its diplomatic presence in the Midwest.

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This is an occasion to reflect on the past, to celebrate the present and to look forward to the bright future of the Canada-U.S. relationship in the region. Nowhere is that bright, bilateral future more evident than in the life sciences and health industries sector.

Madeleine Féquière, Consul General of Canada in Chicago, at the HIMSS Global Health Conference last month, highlighted Canadian and U.S. innovators breaking boundaries in the life sciences sector, as they strive to introduce solutions to change healthcare delivery for the better and improve patient outcomes going forward. “Post-pandemic, the challenges facing the healthcare system are still immense and I salute the dedication and hard work of frontline healthcare workers across the U.S. and Canada,” she said.

An innovative environment for R&D and investment

Canadian innovators have a proud history of trailblazing patient care, including the discovery of insulin in 1921 and the invention of the pacemaker in 1952. Today, Canada consistently ranks in the top 20 healthiest nations on earth. Its digital health sector is on the rise, especially as health care systems increase adoption rates. The combined market capitalization of the Canadian digital and virtual care industry is estimated to be approximately $15 billion to $20 billion. Further, Canada’s pharmaceutical sector is one of the country’s most innovative industries. Canada’s medical device market is the eighth-largest in the world. Canada is the lowest-cost G7 country for companies who specialize in biotechnology, product testing and clinical trials.

According to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA), the Canadian life sciences sector saw $1 billion invested across 112 deals in 2022. Investment activity in the sector was largely driven by medical devices and equipment, with 33 deals worth $301 million closed last year. While life sciences investment lagged compared to 2021’s outlier year, the sector investments remain steady in line with the previous two years. “If you asked me to sum up 2022, I would say: It was a surprising finish! In 2022, the Canadian venture capital market saw the second-highest record in both deal count and deal value, despite market uncertainties,” said Kim Furlong, CEO of CVCA.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada remains committed to the bolstering of its life sciences ecosystem, including small and medium enterprises which may be seeking to raise venture capital funding. Another of Canada’s policies is to emphasize progressive and inclusive trade. In this vein, supporting companies owned by women and visible minorities has emerged as a key priority to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Cross-border collaboration is the key to success

As we mark our 75th year, the Consulate General invites you to join us as we work to expand and strengthen Canada’s relations in the U.S. Midwest, starting here in Chicago at MedCity’s INVEST 2023 Conference. On May 23rd, five innovative Canadian companies – Able Innovations, Careteam Technologies, Hyivy Health, OPTT Health, and True Angle Medical – will pitch to a live audience of U.S. investors during the Canadian Healthcare Startup Showcase followed by a networking reception.

Those companies are also alumni of the Canada-Chicago Mentoring Program (C2MP) which has been running for nearly a decade in partnership with MATTER, the leading healthcare innovation hub in the Midwest. “Each year, we have been honored to work with the Consulate to support promising Canadian entrepreneurs building next generation technologies. We help them with their U.S. entry and growth strategy to accelerate in the market,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER.

The Government of Canada is committed to pursuing such opportunities to support Canadian firms in the development and commercialization of their technologies in the U.S., and U.S. firms in their investment projects in Canada. Together we strive to foster health cooperation and create an innovative, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous way forward for all our people.

Learn more about business opportunities in the Canadian life sciences sector.

Julien Rosan, Trade Commissioner, specializes in the Life Sciences sector for the Chicago/Midwest market and can provide advice on business development in the region. Services from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service are offered free of charge to Canadian companies and organizations.