A health company in the Saint-Laurent Technoparc is preparing for expansion thanks to $3 million in investments from two levels of government.

NEOMED is a non-profit organization that specializes in life sciences and health technology.

It offers research-and-development facilities to all kinds of independent businesses that need labs and offices to develop their products, from medical technology to new drugs and vaccines.

NEOMED will now receive $1.5 million from the City of Montreal and $1.5 million from the Canadian government to build an innovation and commercialization complex.

“We will lose opportunities if we don't do that. We have almost weekly visits from companies because Montreal is back to being the place to be in many areas including life science,” said Pierre-Yves Desbiens, NEOMED Institute chief of operations.

NEOMED opened after British drugmaker AstraZeneca closed almost seven years ago and laid off about 130 people.

“We recycled those beautiful buildings, those beautiful labs,” he said. “They had this chemistry capacity in this building, and we attract companies that were kind of stuck in their growth because they have a lack of labs in the Montreal region.”

The organization signed up small and medium-sized biotech companies, along with bigger pharmaceutical companies that were contracting out their research work.

“Montreal has this heritage of pharma people who were laid off in the past and who are pharma trained, so instead of these people leaving the province, they create their own company,” said Desbiens.

The new complex, slated to open in 2020, will eventually offer commercialization coaching to help researcher-entrepreneurs get their scientific products to market.

The expansion will lead to an estimated 200 new jobs.