Life Sciences


Expertise in health and life sciences is a core component of the region’s thriving economy. The high concentration of top-notch facilities, research and development (R&D) institutions, government-backed initiatives and strong AI capabilities are attracting some of the world’s leading researchers.

The region is home to 60% of Alberta’s life science companies. This includes Gilead Sciences who employs over 400 staff for development and manufacturing of investigational drugs, pharmaceuticals and clinical research programs.

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Leading Investment Opportunities

Life sciences are a major contributor to the economy in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region generating 7.5% of the total GDP. The region is home to more than a dozen pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing firms and institutions. Life sciences companies in Alberta generated more than $1 billion in revenue in 2015 — nearly two-thirds of those companies are located in the Edmonton region. 

Through extensive research, benchmarking and data analysis the following opportunities have been identified as prime candidates for international investment. To learn more about the opportunities in  the Health AI segment, go HERE

Investment Opportunity — Health AI

Artificial intelligence in healthcare, also known as Health AI, is an overarching term used to describe the use of machine-learning algorithms and software, or artificial intelligence (AI), to mimic human cognition in the analysis, presentation, and comprehension of complex medical and health care data.

The Edmonton metro region is at the intersection of world-leading research in AI and biotechnology. With the combination of 3rd globally ranked university in AI research, health datasets from 4.5 million people, world-class medical infrastructure, and a thriving research and development (R&D) ecosystem, there is no better place in Canada to explore the investment opportunities in the health AI sector

Alberta Health Services

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the headquarters of Alberta Health Services (AHS), making it a strategic location for health-related companies looking to locate to Alberta. AHS is Canada’s first and largest province-wide, fully-integrated health system, responsible for delivering health services to more than 4 million Albertans. Its annual operating budget exceeds $14 billion.

Data Assets

Data will be a key driver for the new health economy and the Edmonton region is a national leader in open data. Edmonton’s open data portal makes a wide variety of datasets accessible to the public and we’ve won numerous open data awards. In 2020 Edmonton received platinum certification for the Data for Canadian Cities Project.

Life Sciences Fact Sheet


The talent in the Edmonton region is skilled and ready. With 7 post-secondary institutions in the region, businesses have unprecedented access to skilled talent. There are 100,000 enrolled students, the region is teeming with young talent with the know-how to get the job done. Research agrees: 89% of employers in Alberta are highly satisfied with the skills and work quality of post-secondary graduates. Alberta’s primary and secondary (kindergarten to grade 12) schools are also regarded as the best in the world.

World-leading Research

The Edmonton region is recognized nationally and globally for expertise in neurology, diabetes and islet transplantation research, cancer research and treatment, bone and joint research and and vaccines for infection diseases and cariology.  

The region is home to world-renowned researcher, Michael Houghton who was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


Diabetes at the turning point – Research, industry & opportunity

Learn about the various streams of research that are taking place at the Alberta Diabetes Institute. The diabetes research ecosystem in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is globally unique in that it spans the spectrum from discoveries at the molecular level all the way up to clinical and population-based research. The webinar included presentations from Health City about their synthetic data project as well as an industry perspective from Novo Nordisk.

Pharmaceutical Innovation & Production

Interested in learning more about the unique opportunities that exist for scalable pharmaceutical innovation and production in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region? Hear from a range of panelists who shared their perspectives on the advantages that exist for international pharmaceutical companies looking to invest in North America or use Canada as a launching point for accessing Asia and Europe. 

Edmonton Health City

In April 2016, the City of Edmonton announced an initiative to prioritize health innovation and build Edmonton as “Canada’s Health City.” The strategy aims to create an ecosystem that attracts and retains health-related talent, increases access to capital for health-related projects, and accelerates commercialization of local health technology and research.

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) is a not-for-profit institution with an expert interdisciplinary team that works with a network of collaborating organizations. As a whole, they provide the expertise, services, and infrastructure of a pharmaceutical company. They help innovators launch their ideas into the real world, connect industry to the services they need for commercial success, and accelerate all aspects of the drug development process.

World-renowned health facilities

Edmonton is home to several hospitals and leading health research institutes — the majority of which are connected with the University of Alberta — specializing in diabetes, virology and cardiology. Some of these institutes include:

Innovation Ecosystem

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is the perfect incubator for innovation in the health and life sciences sector. An unrivaled network of research facilities and funding opportunities paired with leading minds allows for exciting breakthroughs. These advancements are complemented by regional strengths in artificial intelligence, high-tech, and advanced manufacturing, where collaborative efforts lead to profound discoveries in the medical field. 

Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions

Alberta Innovates is a publicly-funded corporation with a mandate to support and accelerate research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Alberta. Through their health division, they deliver funding and support to transform the health and wellbeing of Albertans through research and innovation.


A member-driven association that represents and promotes the province’s vibrant and diverse life sciences industry. BioAlberta is dedicated to Alberta’s life science sectors locally, nationally and internationally.

Genome Alberta

Genome Alberta is a publicly-funded not-for-profit corporation that initiates, funds, and manages genomics research and partnerships. They strive to be the leading source of information and administration related to genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and bioethics research in Alberta.

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta has one of the largest pharmacy and pharmaceutical science facilities in Canada. UAlberta has many established corporate partnerships with research facilities in the region contributing talent, funding, and equipment.

The Institute of Health Economics (IHE)

IHE is an independent, not-for-profit organization with key competencies in health economics and decision analytic modelling, health technology assessment, and knowledge transfer and exchange. The institute plays a vital role in linking researchers with health data across academic, private, and public sectors.

Business Spotlight


Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control (BLINC) Lab brings together researchers and clinicians to advance prosthetic care through robotics and machine learning. Major projects include building custom prosthetic prototypes, improving myoelectric prostheses that mimic human motion, developing assessment tools for industry, and using machine learning to help restore human abilities lost due to amputation.


Transforming ultrasound for the 21st century

Medo.AI is an artificial intelligence technology startup headquartered in Edmonton and Singapore. The technology pairs artificial intelligence with ultrasound devices to facilitate novice users’ ability to detect common and critical conditions, even in remote and rural areas.

Read More

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AI innovation will make thyroid ultrasounds faster and easier

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Merck Canada to invest in Alberta synthetic data project

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New partnership will explore the ability to use synthetic data to unlock health data utilization. Today Health City and the Institute of Health Ec…

Roche Canada Launches National Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence

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Roche partners with AI leaders Amii, Mila and the Vector Institute to drive digital transformation in health Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Cana…

Edmonton company blazes new trail in drug discovery

May 7, 2021
A University of Alberta spinoff company, 48Hour Discovery is using their technology to both de-risk and accelerate the drug discovery process.  Th…

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