Martin C. Barry
Speaking on behalf of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, Vimy Liberal MP Eva Nassif announced on Aug. 10 that the Laval-based Centre québécois d’innovation en biotechnologie (CQIB) has been granted a $1,425,000 non-repayable subsidy to support the creation and start-up of innovative businesses in the life sciences sector.
Incubating science business
Known as a “life sciences incubator,” the CQIB is located in a repurposed research facility on Cartier Blvd. West in the heart of Laval’s thriving Cité de la Bio-Technologie district. It offers mentoring services not just to enterprises across Quebec, but also around the world.
An initiative of the Laval Technopole municipal agency in conjunction with the Université du Québec’s Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), the CQIB is supported financially by Quebec, Canada, the City of Laval and corporate interests.
The CQIB maintains it has helped dozens of science- and technology-based businesses get started, including Bio-K + Pharma Inc., whose corporate parent manufactures the highly-successful and increasingly visible Bio-K probiotic consumer line of health products.
Nassif proud to give support
“By supporting the CQIB, the Government of Canada is reiterating its commitment to support the creation of innovative businesses that generate value and strengthen promising sectors, including life sciences, in the greater Montreal area,” said Nassif.
“I am proud to see that this organization can continue to take root, develop and contribute to Canada’s economic well-being.” According to Nassif, the funding will allow the CQIB to cover a significant amount of its operating costs over the next three years.
“Our government is committed to building a strong economy and creating good, well-paying jobs,” she said. “The growth and development of innovative enterprises is central to a strategy and to the economic prosperity of our regions. The government of Canada is working hard to ensure that they have the tools they need to innovate and grow.”
Jewel in the Biotech crown
“For the City of Laval, the CQIB is the spearhead of the Cité de la Biotech,” said Mayor Marc Demers. “Thanks to this incubator, 54 companies have been launched, with more to come. I am proud that the City of Laval is world-renowned in the life sciences and health technology sector.”
According to the mayor, the CQIB has helped Laval region’s economy grow over the past 20 years or so “in a spectacular fashion,” he said, while noting that some 5,000 jobs in Laval are in the pharmaceutical sector at more than 100 companies.
“Several of these came into being with the help of the CQIB,” said Demers. “This very important in a community like ours. These are quality jobs in development and research which also contribute to the health and well-being of everyone. We are very, very proud of this and of the results.”
Unique service for startups
Founded in 1995 by the Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS) and the City of Laval, this incubator is located in the heart of Laval’s high-tech science park. It is the only business incubator that specializes in biotechnology in Quebec and the first life sciences incubator in Canada.
Apart from its preincubation and incubation programs, the CQIB provides consulting services in business development, financing and technical support. It also gives companies access to a large inventory of specialized equipment and leased premises. The funding was granted through CED’s Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP) and will help the CQIB cover its operating costs over a three-year period.