11/23/2012 05:39 EST | Updated 01/23/2013 05:12 EST

Province teams up with big pharma to create jobs

The provincial government is hoping to kickstart Montreal's ailing pharmaceutical research sector.

Quebec has teamed up with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a new research lab called NÉOMED.

A total of $100 million will be invested to establish and support the research centre over five years.

The facility has 15 employees so far. When the centre reaches full capacity, it could have close to 100 workers.

Hundreds of Quebec pharamaceutical research jobs have been cut over the past few years. More than 100 AstraZeneca employees were laid off when the company closed its Montreal labs earlier this year.

The investment in NÉOMED will eventually pay off, according to the president and CEO, Max Fehlmann.

"We will not cover the 132 jobs lost, but we will attract … other companies … that will hire the jobs that were lost by AstraZeneca," he said.

The Québec government is contributing $28 million toward the institute. AstraZeneca Canada is donating $35, along with Pfizer Canada, which is giving close to $3.5 million.