Quebec’s commitment to developing its bioscience industry was clearly on display at the Southern U.S. International Bio Alliances first conference held in Atlanta April 10-12.

“Quebec continues to offer a low cost environment for the biotechnology industry, even with the double digit rise in the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar during the past year,” Liliane Laverdière, Quebec’s business development manager for the Americas, told GlobalAtlanta during an interview at the Georgia World Congress Center.

She also said that the Montreal metro area ranks eighth in North America for the number of jobs in the biopharmaceutical sector and that recurring operation costs are more than 16 percent lower than the U.S. average.

Titled BioFusion 2005, the conference drew more than 300 delegates, who participated in the events aimed at initiating partnerships among pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies and other bioscience organizations. The conference was held in partnership with the Second Annual CDC Technology Symposium hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ms. Laverdière said that Quebec had encouraged government agencies, Canadian scientists and businesspeople to attend in an effort to underscore the province’s commitment to developing its bioscience sector.

Among the speakers from the province were Dr. Thomas G. Hudson, director of McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Center; Dr. Vipin K. Garg, president and CEO, Tranzyme Pharma Inc.; Paul L’Archeveque, president and CEO, Genome Quebec and Dr. Steven Klein, director of business development, Canadian Network for Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.

“Montreal prides itself on being the only place in Canada and one of the few places in the world where a company can carry out all drug creation operations locally from basic research to manufacturing and marketing,” she said.

She also said that three major universities with a commitment to the sector are located in the metro Montreal area and graduate some 5,500 students annually in biopharmaceutical programs such as biochemistry, biomedical engineering and pharmacy.

In addition, universities in Quebec City and Sherbrooke, both also in the province of Quebec, have strong bioscience-related programs, she added.

Ms. Laverdiere may be reached by calling Investissement Quebec at (800) 461-2433 or by sending an e-mail to