Promising results to date from the Fonds d’accélération des collaborations en santé (FACS) launched by the Government of Quebec in 2017


FACS – Objectives

The Fonds d’accélération des collaborations en santé (FACS) and its 75 million $ funding envelope were created as part of the 2017-2027 Quebec Life Sciences Strategy. The fund is designed to support ambitious and structuring initiatives that rely on public-private partnerships where various stakeholders in the ecosystem join forces by leveraging their respective strengths. The impacts for the province of Quebec include:

  • Extending the reach of public research, health care and education infrastructures.
  • Increasing the efficiency of the health and social services system.
  • Developing new concepts, products, tools, processes, practices, services or collaborative models benefiting the life sciences ecosystem, the health and social services system and the Quebec economy.
  • Increasing private investments in Quebec.
  • Creating value and prosperity for Quebec.

As part of a 1st call for proposals launched in 2017, the Quebec Government invited industry players to submit ambitious projects that promote public-private partnerships and reinforce multi-institutional collaboration. Ultimately, 40 million $ were awarded to achieve 6 large-scale initiatives which were launched in 2018 and will end in 2022. A second call for proposals with a 35 million $ FACS funding envelope was launched in 2020 and the selected initiatives will be announced shortly.


FACS – The power of collaborative research

Initiatives funded under the FACS program stand out by the scope of the resulting collaborative network. They build on the leading-edge expertise of more than 500 public and private stakeholders in the life sciences sector. The initiatives funded as part of the first FACS call for proposals have fostered the creation or strengthening of over 230 collaborations between academia and innovative companies.  Such collaborations create valuable synergies that draw on the expertise of industries and fields, which is key to developing an effective innovation ecosystem. These partnerships empower companies to innovate by sharing the knowledge, costs, risks and rewards of R&D.  As a result, FACS projects increase the competitiveness of Quebec’s life sciences sector, particularly in certain niches of excellence in Quebec such as artificial intelligence, oncology, cardiology, infectious diseases and neurosciences.


FACS – Short and long-term economic benefits

Initially, the 6 FACS initiatives launched in 2018 benefited from private matching funding from corporate partners. They have since produced successful outcomes that have attracted substantial additional investments. As a result, project participants have successfully raised $44 million in new private and public investments to date.

For the Government of Quebec who chose to back these large-scale initiatives, this represents an investment that has already generated a financial leverage of 3.6x. Since the projects are still underway, the magnitude of their economic impact for the province and the project partners is expected to grow considerably.

In the current context, the resulting financial leverage drives economic recovery by attracting private capital to support the development of marketable innovations. In addition, the funds support the discovery and development of new technologies that will maintain Quebec’s edge in life sciences, create and maintain highly specialized jobs and improve patient care and health.



FACS – 6 major initiatives

As part of the first FACS call for proposals, the Government of Quebec awarded 40 million $ in funding to 6 large-scale initiatives involving several public and private stakeholders in the life sciences ecosystem.

  1. Morag Park (McGill University) – Quebec Cancer Consortium for Novel Therapeutics and Biomarkers
  2. Guy Rouleau (McGill University / The Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) – Integrating patient data to develop precision medicine therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
  3. Michel Bergeron (CHU de Québec-Université Laval) – Molecular mini-panels for the rapid detection of highly transmissible pathogens
  4. Jean-Claude Tardif (Montreal Heart Institute) – International leadership in precision medicine clinical studies
  5. Jean-Claude Tardif (Montreal Heart Institute) – Curbing Atherosclerosis Through Precision Medicine
  6. Michel Bouvier (University of Montreal / IRIC) – IRIC, universities and industry collaboration: accelerated discovery of novel therapies with a long-term impact

This public funding has attracted 61 million $ in private matching contributions, which underscores the attractiveness of the initiatives for companies in Quebec and abroad. The projects were initiated in 2018 and will all be completed in 2022.


FACS – Promising results to date

In the life sciences sector, innovations undergo a lengthy discovery and development process where outcomes often take years to emerge. Although the 6 FACS initiatives launched in 2018 are still in progress, they have already delivered a number of promising breakthroughs. For example, to date, they have led to the development of approximately 250 products and tools benefiting public and private sector research, some of which have already been adopted by stakeholders. These products and tools, combined with others that are still under development, will provide the researchers with invaluable assets to accelerate scientific discoveries in Quebec. These achievements offer a glimpse of the wealth of scientific and economic benefits to come.