This literature review on the life sciences sector was produced by the Institut de la statistique du Québec as part of a project that brought together key Québec partners engaged in seeking out foreign investment and promoting Québec abroad. These partners are the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation, Investissement Québec, Montréal International, Québec International, the Ministère des Relations internationales, the Société générale de financement du Québec and Hydro-Québec.
This review provides various definitions of the life sciences sector used by different countries and by international, national and local organizations. It describes the two main approaches used to define a sector, i.e. one based on industry classification and the other on business directories. Certain empirical studies on this sector as well as the main indicators used to measure its performance are then presented. Finally, this review lists the various options available to produce comparable statistical data in order to compare Québec’s performance with that of its main direct competitors when trying to attract foreign investment in the life sciences sector.