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LIFESCIENCES                                                                                             2017

                               Fifteen life science visionaries translating insights into action

                              GROWING BRITISH COLUMBIA’S BIO-ECONOMY
       OFFICIAL PUBLICATION                  SPONSOR                                           PUBLISHED BY

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Driving talent development and innovation in BC

Introducing the
I2C Program
Many talented health researchers
in BC are discovering cures and
treatments that have the potential
to improve health outcomes and
enrich BC’s health research and
life sciences ecosystem.                           Targeted breast                          Better prostate                      Tools for safer
To help these researchers take                     cancer treatment                         cancer outcomes                      maternal care
their discovery and turn it into
a viable product, MSFHR has                        Dr. Torsten Nielsen and his team         A 2004 Research Unit Award           Dr. Mark Ansermino, Dr. Peter
launched the new Innovation                        developed PAM50 — a test that            helped Dr. Martin Gleave establish   von Dadelszen (2006 Scholar)
to Commercialization (I2C)                         measures key genes expressed by          PC-TRiADD, a research program        and colleagues developed the
Program. Awards from this                          breast cancer. The test identifies        focused on developing new            phone oximeter, a mobile
program will help BC researchers                   roughly one-third of early breast        services and products to improve     diagnostic tool that uses
undertake feasibility research                     cancer patients whose tumours            prostate cancer outcomes. Since      smart phone technology to
and commercialization activities.                  are of a low-risk subtype and            inception, PC-TRiADD has spun off    measure blood oxygen levels.
                                                   whose likelihood of survival             four biotechnology companies and     The technology has proven
With this program, MSFHR hopes                     without chemotherapy is greater          developed eight new intellectual     valuable in predicting the onset
to support a new generation                        than 95%. The PAM50 test, FDA-           property-protected cancer drugs.     of serious complications caused
of researchers to follow in the                    cleared and marketed around              In 2015, a potential treatment       by pre-eclampsia, a condition of
footsteps of past MSFHR award                      the world under the brand name           for advanced prostate cancer         pregnancy that is responsible for
recipients like Dr. Torsten Nielsen,               Prosigna, helps patients avoid           was licensed to pharmaceutical       76,000 maternal deaths annually
Dr. Martin Gleave and Dr. Mark                     unnecessary chemotherapy, and            company Roche, to date the           that occur primarily in low- and
Ansermino, all of whom have                        helps ensure medical resources           largest licensing agreement to       middle-income countries. The
gone on to commercialize                           are deployed more efficiently.           come out of a Canadian university.   researchers founded LionsGate
their discoveries.                                                                                                               Technologies to bring the product
                                                   Dr. Torsten Nielsen                      Dr. Martin Gleave
                                                                                                                                 to market.
                                                   2003 Scholar & 2008 Senior Scholar       2004 Research Unit Award
                                                                                                                                 Dr. Mark Ansermino, 2007 Scholar

   Since 2001, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research has empowered world-class health innovation
   with global impact, supporting nearly 1,600 individual researchers and 80 research teams. Our funding
   programs support a vibrant health research community in BC that:

      @    Develops, attracts and retains leading health researchers.
      @    Leverages funding to develop innovative ideas into new products, new treatments and new companies.
      @    Addresses our province’s health priorities.
      @    Finds solutions to our most pressing health challenges, including cancer, genomics and HIV/AIDS.

   In 2016, MSFHR launched a refreshed suite of eight targeted funding programs, including the new Innovation
   to Commercialization Program. These programs are designed to address health system priorities and to support
   a strong health and life sciences ecosystem in BC, today and in the future. For more information, connect with us. | | Twitter: @msfhr | YouTube: themsfhr | 604.730.8322
   MSFHR is dedicated to the memory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith (pictured right).

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Congratulations to the
       Annual LifeSciences
       BC Award Winners!
       Our 2017 Winners are:
          Scientific Excellence – Dr. Leonard Foster

       Celator Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Alan Winter
       In congratulating all of this year’s winners, we are most delighted and proud to have been the legal advisor
       to Celator Pharmaceuticals from BC Cancer Agency spin out through its seed and Series A rounds before
       migration to the US, and in supporting Dr. Alan Winter’s leadership in launching GenomeBC.

       Success At All Levels
       Life Sciences is a global business for our clients. Farris has been in involved in Life Sciences from the earliest
       days of the industry, guiding our clients through some of the largest and most ground-breaking financing,
       commercialization, and merger transactions in Canadian history.

       We advise significant public institutions, listed companies and private corporations, balancing a strong national
       presence with an international client base that includes the Americas, Europe and Asia.

       For further information, please contact R. Hector MacKay-Dunn, J.D., Q.C. at
       604-661-9307, or

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                                                                                                                                         OFFICIAL PUBLICATION

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                                                                                                                                         Cover: B.C. life sciences movers and
                                                                                                                                         shakers, clockwise from centre:
                                                                                                                                         Karimah Es Sabar, Quark Venture Inc.;
                                                                                                                                         Sally Greenwood, Genome BC;
                                                                                                                                         Norma Blin, Augurex Life Sciences Corp.;
              Catalina Lopez-Correa — Strengthening the ecosystem   10                                                                   Kathryn Hayashi, Advanced Applied
              Norma Biln — Collaboration is key                     13                                                                   Physics Solutions; Nancy Harrison,
                                                                                                                                         formerly of MSI Methylation Sciences
              Sandra Dunn — War on cancer                           16                                                                   Inc.; Natalie Dakers, Accel-Rx Health
              Nancy Harrison — Venturing on                         20                                                                   Sciences Accelerator; Lesley Esford,
                                                                                                                                         LifeSciences BC; Kathleen Martin Ginis,
              Terry Thomas — Switching gears                        22                       MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER                   UBC Okanagan; Anne Stevens, Aequus
                                                                                             OF SCIENCE                             6    Pharmaceuticals; Catalina Lopez-Correa,
              Elisabeth Maurer — In the blood                       24
                                                                                                                                         Genome BC
              Kathleen Martin Ginis — Research in action            28                       PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                    8
                                                                                                                                         Photo: Chung Chow
              Edie Dullaghan — On target                            30                       CORPORATE PROFILES                     47
              Kathryn Hayashi — Connecting science with society     32                       LIFE SCIENCES
                                                                                                                                         PRODUCED BY
                                                                                             COMPANIES AT A GLANCE              50
              Lynda Brown-Ganzert — Providing a platform            34
              Helen Burt — Pharmacy all the way                     36                       LIFE SCIENCES MEMBERSHIP
                                                                                             DIRECTORY                          52
              Mary Ackenhusen — Health authority                    38
                                                                                             BIGGEST LIFE SCIENCES
              Anne Stevens — All about access                       40                       COMPANIES IN B.C.                  56
              Karimah Es Sabar — Outcomes and impact                42                                                                   SPONSOR
                                                                                             2016 CLINICAL MILESTONES IN
              Natalie Dakers — Accelerating life sciences           44                       B.C.’S LIFE SCIENCES SECTOR        58
                                                                                             2016 INVESTMENTS IN B.C.’S
                                                                                             LIFE SCIENCES SECTOR               59
                                                                                             19TH ANNUAL LIFESCIENCES BC
                                                                                             2017 AWARD WINNERS                 60

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 00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 5   2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                           Message from the Minister of Science

                                         Many of Canada’s remarkable scientists are inspired by one truth:
                                          science has the power to change lives. And perhaps no branch of
                                          science does this more directly than the life sciences. The study of
                                          cell biology and genomics, among others, is the study of the wonder
                                          that is life. Life science is a critical research area in which Canada has
       Hon. Kirsty Duncan, PC,
       MP, Minister of Science           world-leading expertise. It is also a scientific discipline for which I
                                          have great respect and admiration.
                                          When I first arrived in Ottawa, I worked to promote life    $12 million to support the Stem Cell Network’s research,
                                          sciences. I was able to get all-party support to create a   training and outreach activities.
                                          subcommittee of health on neurological disease, disorder      As Minister of Science, I also believe it is my duty to en-
                                          and injury, and promote health research. I later worked     courage young women to choose a career in science, tech-
                                          with researchers from across the country on areas such      nology, engineering or math (STEM). Only 22 per cent of
                                          as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and dementia.   people working in STEM fields in Canada are women, and
                                            The Canadian life sciences sector is an important con-    only about one in four engineering degrees go to women.
                                          tributor to our economy, creating the innovations that        That’s why I have been taking specific steps to advance
                                          will improve health-care delivery in Canada and abroad.     equity such as introducing diversity requirements into the
                                          Our government’s investments are targeted to areas          Canada Excellence Research Chairs program, and bringing
                                          where Canada has demonstrated its strengths. We have        back the University and College Academic Staff System
                                          also made major investments in the fundamental science      survey. I also recently had the pleasure of launching a
                                          to ensure Canada’s international leadership position        women and girls in STEM campaign. This campaign aims
                                          remains strong.                                             to start the conversation on how we can encourage more
                                            Our most significant commitment to research is the        young women to choose a scientific career, and how to
                                          boost in support for discovery at Canadian post-secondary   foster a culture of curiosity in all Canadians.
                                          institutions. We have provided a $95 million top-up to        In the life sciences alone, there are major opportunities
                                          the granting councils, the highest amount of new annual     for Canada to excel in areas such as regenerative medicine,
                                          funding for this purpose in over a decade.                  oncology and neurology. The possibilities to advance
                                            We provided $237 million to support the pan-Canadian      innovations in these areas are enormous and we cannot
                                          activities of Genome Canada, and are supporting brain       be left behind. Increasing the diversity of talented people
                                          research by providing $20 million to the Brain Canada       fuelling our country’s future will enhance the richness
                                          Foundation. To further Canada’s long-standing leader-       of these discoveries and innovations to the benefit of all
                                          ship in the field of stem cell research, we also invested   Canadians. É

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00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 7   2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                             Message from the president

                                           I’m proud and humbled to have been recently chosen to lead
                                            LifeSciences BC. Throughout my career in academia, industry and
                                            government, I have been fortunate to work in an area that I love, life
                                            sciences, focused on supporting the growth of this ever-evolving
                                            and dynamic sector.
       Lesley Esford, PhD, president
                                            As an industrial technology adviser for the National           health outcome potential, we require innovation, as a
       of LifeSciences BC
                                            Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Pro-         critical next step. A rising tide lifts all boats.
                                            gram, I have had the pleasure of working with numerous           We have many strengths in B.C., including generating
                                            thought-provoking and motivated entrepreneurs who              great science. Optimizing and aligning the life sciences
                                            have successfully grown their companies from startup           sector to support translation of our world-class science
                                            to commercialization. Interestingly, Statistics Canada         into new innovations and commercial products will be
                                            reports that 1.2 million small and medium-sized enter-         key. Our challenge is to ensure that we have the resour-
                                            prises (SMEs) drive more than half of Canada’s GDP and         ces, capital and talent to achieve our goals.
                                            account for 63 per cent of private-sector employment.            The various players – academic institutions, govern-
                                            B.C. has a strong SME and startup ecosystem in the life        ment, industry associations, accelerators, incubators
                                            sciences. Now I have the opportunity to lead our associ-       and industry – need to recognize (and support) the
                                            ation in a manner that promotes the vibrancy and global        role each plays in our ecosystem in order to fortify the
                                            interest of this ever-changing and influential industry.       connections between them. Each performs an essential
                                              In this 2017 edition of LifeSciences, we feature 15 pro-     role in the efforts to facilitate lasting growth, but none
                                            files of exceptionally talented and dynamic “industry          will be as effective in isolation.
                                            influencers” in the life sciences ecosystem – and they           We have many of the ingredients for fostering innov-
                                            also happen to be women. Women in the life sciences            ation in B.C., and we are moving in the right direction.
                                            sector are often lifelong contributors to research and         We need to continue to generate great science, and
                                            innovation, but, like myself until recently, many work         the related discovery and development will continue
                                            in isolation away from the spotlight. The LifeSciences         to advance new startups. Recognizing the need to do
                                            BC board of directors and I thought it was time the many       a better job of scaling up those small companies and
                                            women who have contributed, studied, worked and dedi-          supporting their progress and growth, as a community
                                            cated their lives to the betterment of health outcomes         we should commit to:
                                            for all, had their moment in the spotlight. What is also       ■Strengthening the network and connection of key play-
                                            exciting is that there were many more women who could          ers in the ecosystem within B.C., Canada and the world.
                                            have been added to this list.                                  ■Assisting our SMEs in accessing smart capital – intro-
                                              As we move into 2017 we don’t want to leave anyone out       ducing and promoting B.C. companies to investors from
                                            of the bigger, broader picture, as it will take our collect-   around the world.
                                            ive efforts to move us forward. This year our theme of         ■Finding ways to support adoption and procurement of
                                           “Translating Insights into Action” is about strengthening       innovation at all levels of the public and private sectors.
                                            our life sciences ecosystem and ensuring that we con-            If we can do this, we will have secured our place in
                                            tinue to support the fundamentals of company creation          Canada and around the world, while being a beacon
                                            and growth. We require research to drive new knowledge,        of inclusion, resourcefulness, talent and opportunity
                                            and in order for this to realize its full economic and         for all. É

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       LifeSciences British Columbia relies greatly on the support of our sponsors – without which
       we would not be able to undertake many of our important industry-building initiatives. We
       are proud to list the companies below as organizational sponsors.





                     AON Canada                     Fasken Martineau             Medtronic

                     AstraZeneca Canada             LifeLabs                     Novateur Ventures Inc.

                     Centre for Drug Research and   Genome British Columbia      Sanofi Canada
                     Development (CDRD)                                          UBC Sauder School of Business
                                                    Janssen Pharmaceuticals/
                      Discovery Parks               LifeScan Canada Ltd.         Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc.

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 9                                                                              2017-03-16 10:05 AM

       ECOSYSTEM                          Genome BC chief scientific officer champions genomics research

                                          PETER MITHAM

                                                   enetics research has come a long way since Czech monk
                                                   Gregor Mendel’s studies of pea plants. Yet those humble
       CHIEF SCIENTIFIC                            beginnings laid the foundation for the more than 120 pro-
       PRESIDENT, SECTOR                  jects and $800 million in investment Genome BC oversees. Allowing
       GENOME BC
                                          scientists to understand the hereditary characteristics that enhance
       Where there is a
       living organism,
                                          life and contribute to disease, and how diseases respond to various
       the genome and                     therapies, the research is revolutionizing how we tackle problems
       genomics have a
       role to play                       in areas from medicine to the environment.
                                         “Where there is a living organism, the genome and             aquaculture sectors are close behind.
                                          genom ics have a role to play,” says Dr. Catalina             “The most recent areas that we’re covering are all the
                                          Lopez-Correa, chief scientific officer and vice-president,   areas that are related to mining and the environment,”
                                          sector development, with Genome BC. “My responsibil-         Lopez-Correa adds, explaining how bacteria can re-
                                          ity is to be leading all the scientific strategy at Genome   mediate soil and purify waste water.
                                          BC, and I work on what we call sector development –            The application of genomics research is key for
                                          meaning ensuring the use and adoption of genomics in         Lopez-Correa, who trained as a medical doctor before
                                          different sectors.”                                          specializing in genomics. Raising awareness of how
                                            While health care is the single biggest sector applying    genomics research can create a new way of doing things
                                          genomics research at present, the forestry, agri-food and    is key for her.

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 10                                                                                                                 2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 11

        “We see Genome BC [as] much more than a funding              like, ‘Oh my God, this is what I would like to do.’ It was    Catalina Lopez-Correa, chief
       agency. It’s not about giving money to projects,” she         really clear for me,” she says.                               scientific officer and vice-
       says. “It’s about creating environments and ecosystems          She practised for two years in Colombia and then            president, sector development,
       here in the province, where genomics is really helping        moved to France, part of a desire to spread her wings         Genome BC, says “it’s about
       economic development. … It’s about working together           and see the world. It ultimately led to a master’s degree     creating environments and
       with industry, with the province, with the federal en-        in human genetics at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. A        ecosystems here in the
       tities to build those ecosystems.”                            doctoral program in Belgium followed, balanced by             province, where genomics
         Born in Colombia in 1967, Lopez-Correa was strongly         medical practice on Saturdays.                                is really helping economic
       influenced by her father, an engineer who was pas-             “It was a good transition for a medical doctor, not just     development” | CHUNG CHOW
       sionate about computers and new technology. This              jumping into the [lab] bench but always having patients
       was immensely stimulating for her, as was the small           in mind, and the application of the science,” she says.
       farm he maintained where he took an active interest in          Work at a bioinformatics company in London opened
       improving the quality of his livestock – her first intro-     doors in Reykjavik as head of cytogenomics with deCode
       duction to genetics.                                          Genetics Inc., which established the world’s first biobank
        “Genetics, always either with my dad in the farm or at       with DNA samples from the Icelandic population.
       medical school or in my PhD, genomics or genetics has          “For me, it was really like the mecca – the place to be in
       always been not an end but a means to improve a process,      terms of genomics and genetics,” she says.
       improve economic development.”                                  An appointment as principal research scientist with
         She initially studied to be a physician at Universidad      Eli Lilly and Co. followed in 2005. She moved to In-
       Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia, graduating      dianapolis with her partner, María Adelaida Escobar,
       in 1991, but the science, rather than the clinical practice   but when Escobar’s student visa expired in 2008, hard
       of medicine, attracted her.                                   decisions followed.
        “When I had my genetic classes in medical school, I was       “We couldn’t stay in Indianapolis,” Lopez-Correa

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 11                                                                                                                       2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                           Strengthening the ecosystem

                                          explains. “We consciously chose Canada, not just              out to key potential partners,” she says. “There is more
                                          because of the professional opportunities for us, but         freedom to be creative.”
                                          because … we wanted a culture and a country that                Her current priorities include securing the funding
                                          respected the environment, respected human rights,            that supports that freedom, as well as maintaining
                                          where diversity was valued.”                                  and enhancing the local and international reputation
       CATALINA                             Lopez-Correa became scientific director at Genome           of Genome BC. She also works to make industry aware
       LOPEZ-CORREA                       Quebec, the province’s counterpart to Genome BC, and          of genomics’ potential, as well as to make researchers
                                          was soon vice-president and chief scientific officer.         aware of the opportunities.
                                          While there, she saw what Genome BC was doing well,             She’s particularly keen to encourage women to enter
                                          and sought to enhance what Genome Quebec was doing.           the field. While gender equity is not a significant issue
                                           “I asked Genome BC if they could host me for one week        at Genome BC, she believes more can be done in the life
                                          to learn what they did and how they did it,” she says,        sciences sector as a whole. “Almost 80 per cent of the
       GENOME BC
                                          establishing connections that laid the foundation for         team of PhDs and scientists that we have here are women,
       We have the                        her arrival in B.C. in 2016.                                  because this is an environment where they can have
                                           “Genome BC was my example to follow, so what [better]        some flexibility to take care of the families and their kids.
       possibility to                     than to go work for your example?”                            It’s intellectually stimulating, and they can grow,” she
       interact with all                    Even more exciting for Lopez-Correa is B.C.’s strategic     says. “[But women] are not represented in our funding;
                                          location on the Pacific Rim.                                  they’re not represented on our expert panels.”
       these companies
                                           “It’s a very powerful position we have; we are the door        With the growth of the sector in a part of the country
       in Singapore,                      to Asia, we have the possibility to interact with all these   with a high quality of life, Lopez-Correa would like to
       in Australia, in                   companies in Singapore, in Australia, in China, that are      see a more diverse genomics community.
                                          starting to also lead the way,” she says.                      “We love hiking, we love camping, we love skiing,” she
       China, that are                      An entrepreneurial spirit and cluster of skilled scien-     says of her own recreational pursuits. “So what can be
       starting to also                   tists anchored by a single research university strength-      [better] in Canada than moving to B.C., and Vancouver,
       lead the way                       ens B.C.’s position.                                          having all the outdoors that we love and having a way
                                           “We have the expertise, we have the ecosystem or             to grow and – for me – having much possibility to grow
                                          environment, and also we have the possibility to reach        internationally?” É

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00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 12                                                                                                                        2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 13

                                       IS KEY
                 Augurex CEO: ‘Surround yourself with good people’


                  orma Biln learned to collaborate at an early age. She was
                  just a baby when her family emigrated from Syria and the
                  seven of them – four children, two parents and one grand-
       parent – spent six years in a one-bedroom apartment in Montreal.
       Curtains divided the living space; everyone waited their turn for the
       bathroom. Young Norma, the youngest of the clan, slept in a crib for
       the first six years of her life.                                                                                           NORMA BILN
                                                                                                                                  CO-FOUNDER AND
      “They did remove the bars of the crib,” she says now           the extracellular protein; a positive test indicates the
                                                                                                                                  CEO, AUGUREX LIFE
       with a laugh.                                                 person has a five to 50 times greater chance of developing
                                                                                                                                  SCIENCES CORP.
         Learning to share and collaborate served her well.          RA than someone without it. Early RA diagnosis and
       Today, Biln is co-founder and CEO of Augurex Life Sci-        treatment improve clinical outcomes.                         People kept
       ences Corp., a Vancouver biotechnology company that             JOINTstat has been adopted by clinical labs throughout
       develops biomarker blood tests, making major inroads          the world: LifeLabs in Canada; Quest Diagnostics, Lab-       talking about
       in the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and            oratory Corp. of America and RDL Reference Laboratory        [work-life]
       other autoimmune diseases affecting joints.                   in the U.S.; and Medical & Biological Laboratories in
                                                                                                                                  balance, and I
         Augurex comprises just seven people, including              Japan. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has
       co-founders Biln and Dr. Anthony Marotta. It is import-       approved it for use in Australia, and it is CE-marked        thought that
       ant that the company collaborates with government and         for Europe.                                                  balance was for
       private funding bodies to further its work. It collaborates     Genome BC is one of the organizations investing in
       with researchers and other health professionals, paying       Augurex.
       contractors and sharing data with them.                        “Augurex is helping to speed up diagnosis for patients,
         That is what Augurex did in its work developing a           which is enabling better health outcomes,” says Dr.
       14-3-3 eta blood test, called JOINTstat. The 14-3-3 eta       Tony Brooks, chief financial officer and vice-president
       protein usually exists within a body’s cells; if it moves     of research programs at Genome BC. “Augurex is well
       to outside cells, it can cause inflammation and joint         positioned to make JOINTstat, and other tests in their
       damage. The blood test developed by Augurex looks for         therapeutic pipeline, accessible across global markets.

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 13                                                                                                           2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                             Collaboration is key

       Norma Biln is co-founder and          “The success of Augurex speaks to Norma’s leadership       psychology from McGill University and then a master of
       CEO of Vancouver-based               as well as the strength of the life sciences community      business administration from the University of Phoenix,
       biotechnology company                in British Columbia.”                                       with a career goal of “being a COO of a pharmaceutical
       Augurex, which develops                So how did Biln get on this track? With an X-ray tech-    company.”
       biomarker blood tests that aid       nician father and a mother who worked as a nurse, health      While working for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, she
       in early diagnosis of rheumatoid     care was always in her family. As a student, she loved      took what was supposed to be a nine-month sales
       arthritis | CHUNG CHOW               biology, but it was really volunteering as a candystriper   job in Vancouver. Here, she met her husband and fell
                                            in her teens that made the biggest impression.              for the West Coast lifestyle, though that took some
                                             “My role was to keep seniors company on the chronic        acclimatizing.
                                            wards and to assist nurses and ward aides with work          “The culture here was laid back and more relaxed than
                                            overflow,” Biln says. “My exposure to aging, humanity,      it is in other cities,” she recalls. “I was young and ambi-
                                            health crises and death, along with the many stories        tious, and knew I could only go so far here in a pharma-
                                            shared by patients, made me realize how important           ceutical company. People kept talking about [work-life]
                                            every one of our stories is.”                               balance, and I thought that balance was for seniors.”
                                              She earned a bachelor of science in physiology and          Biln moved around to different companies (including

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 14                                                                                                                      2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 15

       Amgen and Abbott Laboratories) before landing at             possibilities; preclinical animal studies demonstrate
       Stressgen Bioreagents, where she met her future busi-        that anti-14-3-3 eta monoclonal antibodies delay
       ness partner, Marotta. They talked about ideas they          the onset of and mitigate the severity of arthritis
       shared, and in 2006 they created Augurex.                    development.
         Augurex’s blood test and its adoption internationally        Asked what advice the Augurex CEO has for any person
       is a major coup for the company. Biln says her biggest       wanting to lead a company in the biotechnology field,
       challenge does not come from competition with other          Biln has two important points.
       companies in the medical field, but from getting phys-        “You must realize that it is not about you; it is about
       icians to make the switch.                                   your team,” she says. “It is important to surround
        “They’ll say, ‘I’ve never used this in the past,’ so the    yourself with good people.
       challenge is to convince them that this will make life        “And if you’re a founder, you must have an unrelenting
       better for their patients,” Biln says.                      ‘we will make this a success come hell or high water’ atti-
         Aug u rex is cu rrently exa m i n i ng treatment           tude. Because there are so many opportunities to fail.” É

                                                                                                             by Lark Group

                                       Bringing together the brightest minds, academics, entrepreneurs, startups and
                                  multinational companies to transform the way high quality health care is delivered

                 BC’s most rapidly growing and dynamic new                        Developed by Canadian-based Lark Group, the DISTRICT
                 health tech sector hubs, the HealthTech Innovation               is developing over 1 million square feet bringing over
                 HUB within the Health & Technology DISTRICT                      15,000 jobs, and will contribute over $1.1 Billion annually
                 on Innovation Boulevard, includes a series of eight              into BC’s economy when complete. In BC’s tech
                 high-tech buildings underway immediately adjacent                sector, the Health & Tech DISTRICT is recognized
                 to Surrey Memorial Hospital. It has created a highly             for its international partnerships, leading to a series of
                 successful and unique ecosystem for clinicians and               investments by local startups as well as global leading
                 health care providers to work alongside innovators,              organizations, and is seen as an unparalleled landscape for
                 entrepreneurs and tech companies.                                research, development and innovation.


00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 15                                                                                                            2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                         ON CANCER
                                          For Phoenix Molecular Designs founder
                                          Sandra Dunn, the mission is personal


              or the past quarter century, Dr. Sandra Dunn, founder and
              CEO of Phoenix Molecular Designs, has devoted her time
             to researching cancer and trying to put the deadly disease
       on the run. That mission is very personal for Dunn. Her paternal
       grandparents, with whom she was very close, both died from cancer.
      “They were like parents to me,” recalls Dunn, her voice           by Carl Barrett.                                               Sandra Dunn, founder and
       choked with emotion, at the Phoenix office in Richmond.            Many students take a gap year. Dunn took five years          CEO of Phoenix Molecular
      “Cancer touching my family like that made me realize              between undergraduate and graduate school, working             Designs | CHUNG CHOW
       there is so much more that needs to be done.”                    as an analytical chemist. Students in the sciences face
         Born in Berea, Ohio (population: 19,093), Dunn and her         two career paths: they can go into academia, teaching
       four siblings grew up in a working-class family at a large       what they know, or they can work in industry. There was
       farmhouse in Brunswick, Ohio. Her dad worked at the              no question what Dunn wanted.
       steel mill, her mother toiled as a nurse, and Dunn had            “I loved [working in labs] and told people, ‘I want to work
       regular summer jobs throughout her teens. She loved              in industry and develop drugs for patients with cancer.’”
       school, particularly science, and decided in high school           However, those industry plans took a 15-year detour
       she wanted a career in research.                                 into academia, all because a supervisor asked her to
         Dunn studied biology at Hiram College, choosing                write a grant application to start a lab in a university
       that school because it had research opportunities and            environment. She wrote the proposal, got the grant and
       research jobs for undergraduate students. From there             spent the next decade and a half teaching, though she
       she moved south to North Carolina State University               was still able to carry on with cancer research, first at
       to get a master’s and PhD in toxicology, specializing            North Carolina State University and then – moving to
       in cancer research. Her post-doc fellowship was at the           Vancouver in 2001 – at the University of British Colum-
       National Institutes of Health, where she was mentored            bia’s (UBC) faculty of medicine.

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 16                                                                                                                        2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 17

         In January 2012, she founded Phoenix Molecular De-                              The Phoenix team aims not only to combat cancer the
       signs, bringing UBC post-doctoral student Aarthi Jayan-                         first time it hits, but also to stop it from hitting again.
       than on board to get things going. She was able to open a                        “We’re going after what causes cancer to recur,” she
       lab and focus full time on the company three years later.                       says. “We’re developing durable therapies for patients,
         British Columbia, she says, has unlimited opportun-                           completely different from what’s out there. It’s not only
       ities for health-care companies.
                                                                   SANDRA DUNN         effective against the cancer, it’s safer. No nausea, no hair
        “There’s this wonderful culture here of people who         FOUNDER AND CEO,    loss, and it reduces the cancer.”
       want to work together,” she says. “You could say Can-       PHOENIX MOLECULAR     Phoenix has targeted triple-negative breast cancer, a
       ada’s West Coast is the Wild West, but people aren’t        DESIGNS             particularly lethal cancer that affects 15 to 20 per cent of
       afraid of that. They embrace the opportunity to think                           women, most of them young women. For triple-negative
       outside the box.                                            You could say       breast cancer, Phoenix has developed the compounds,
        “Now is a better time than ever to start a company         Canada’s West       patented them and tested them on mice, and will go into
       in British Columbia. There are incredible tax incen-                            clinical trials next year.
       tives. There’s a wealthy investor community here. And,      Coast is the Wild     Through collaborations with other researchers in Japan,
       moreover, there’s an opportunity to set ourselves apart     West, but people    Italy and the United States, the company also keeps data
       from others.                                                aren’t afraid of    on prostate, melanoma, ovarian and blood cancers.
        “I found I kind of fell out of the nest and learned to                          “Sandi has always been high-energy and highly driven,”
       fly here.”                                                  that                says Emma Guns, associate professor in UBC’s faculty of

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 17                                                                                                      2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                          War on cancer

                                                                                                  From left, Sandra Dunn and
                                                                                                  Phoenix Molecular Designs
                                                                                                  team members Mymy Huynh,
                                                                                                  Aarthi Jayanthan and Chris
                                                                                                  Williamson | CHUNG CHOW

                                                                                                  medicine and senior research scientist at the Vancouver
                                                                                                  Prostate Centre. “Whenever I might feel like throwing in
                                                                                                  the towel, I call Sandi and she turns me around.”
                                                                                                    Phoenix has five full-time employees and 30 contracted
                                                                                                  employees both in B.C. and in San Diego, Montreal and
                                                                                                  Boston. Dunn’s fundraising experience back in her univer-
                                                                                                  sity days has served her well: last year, she was able to raise
                                                                                                  $1 million for Phoenix; this year her target is $10 million.
                                                                                                    En route to becoming a CEO, she learned from her
                                                                                                  grandmother that she must lead by example. Even more
                                                                                                  important, she says, she must work with others as a team.
                                                                                                   “None of this success we’ve had at Phoenix is about
                                                                                                  me; it’s about us and the countless hours and dedication
                                                                                                  that went into the research to get us to where we are
                                                                                                  today,” she says.
                                                                                                    There’s no question where Dunn wants to go in the
                                                                                                  coming years.
                                                                                                   “If I have another 15 years of my career, I really want to
                                                                                                  make a difference in the cancer area,” she says. “I want
                                                                                                  to focus on fixing the problem.” É

                                                                                         What gets you up
                                                                                         in the morning?
                                                                                         For us, it’s cutting edge science and technology,
                                                                                         the endless possibilities this union holds and the
                                                                                         sheer opportunity to be part of something big.
                                                                                         And winning the battle against cancer.

                                                                                         If this speaks to you, consider a career with us.


00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 18                                                                                                                   2017-03-16 10:05 AM
AD299-LifeSciencesBC.indd 1             2/15/2017 2:11:41 PM

 00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 19    2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                                          Nancy Harrison nurtures a lifelong love for life sciences

                                          BRIGITTE PETERSEN

                                                  fter spending more than two decades help-
                                                  ing shape the B.C. life sciences industry,
       VICE-CHAIR,                                Nancy Harrison stepped down from her

       It is unbelievable
                                          position as president and chief business officer of
       the lengths that                   MSI Methylation Sciences Inc. in March, but she
       people go to
       to build these                     has no plans to leave the sector.
                                          Harrison, who co-founded MSI in 2008, says she will            earning a bachelor of applied science in engineering
                                          continue to aid the Burnaby-based clinical-stage phar-         from Queen’s University.
                                          maceutical company, but is going to take time off to             The 52-year-old North Vancouver resident is proud
                                          consider her next move.                                        of her work as a partner and senior vice-president of
                                           “The company is in that stage where it makes sense for        Ventures West. During her time there, the life sciences
                                          me to transition out. It’s just time to evolve and do the      portfolio grew from zero to about 30 per cent of the
                                          next step,” says Harrison, vice-chair of LifeSciences          overall investment portfolio. Her strategic investments
                                          BC. “I owe life sciences my career and I love it. I couldn’t   while with Ventures West included Angiotech Pharma-
                                          imagine doing something that is more intellectually            ceuticals Inc., AnorMed Inc., Caprion Pharmaceuticals
                                          stimulating or more meaningful.”                               Inc., Celator Technologies Inc., Alder BioPharmaceut-
                                            After graduating with her MBA from McGill Univer-            icals Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., Salmedix Inc.,
                                          sity, Ottawa-born Harrison moved to Vancouver at the           SemBioSys Genetics Inc. and many other firms.
                                          age of 29. Shortly afterward, she joined venture capital        “The transition [into life sciences] was really a fascin-
                                          firm Ventures West Management Inc., where she spent            ation with biology,” Harrison says. “With building the
                                          about 14 years building and managing life sciences             companies, I find that all the issues of strategy, science
                                          investment funds.                                              and the regulatory environment make a very complex
                                           “I was lucky enough to meet the people at Ventures West       web. I was just really interested in looking for medicines
                                          when it was a relatively small venture capital company         that worked better, and working with companies and
                                          in 1993, and they were interested in life sciences,” says      entrepreneurs who did that.”
                                          the geophysical engineer who worked for Shell after              P rev iously na med a w i n ner i n the Business in

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 20                                                                                                                      2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 21

       Vancouver Forty under 40 and Caldwell Partners Can-           including the late Ronald Cape, who co-founded one          Nancy Harrison, co-founder
       ada’s Top 40 Under 40 awards, Harrison cites the major        of the first biotechnology companies, Cetus Corp., in       and former president and
       highlight of her career as being able to help pharma-         Berkeley, California, in 1971.                              chief business officer of
       ceutical companies navigate the challenging, heavily           “Other mentors I’ve had include each of my partners at     MSI Methylation Sciences,
       regulated industry waters where companies often invest        Ventures West. Each one of them taught me a ton about       has thrived for more than
       hundreds of millions of dollars to get a drug through         different things, even when I didn’t want to learn,” she    two decades within a
       clinical trials before they are able to earn a penny.         recalls. “At MSI, I learned a ton from co-founder Barry     challenging life sciences
        “I’ve just been really fortunate to be able to inter-        Guld about being entrepreneurial and thinking things        ecosystem | CHUNG CHOW
       act with entrepreneurs and the companies to see the           through.”
       breadth of ideas, strategies and drugs that people can          Harrison, a mother, believes the life sciences industry
       dream up and scientifically discover,” says the avid          holds as many promising opportunities for women as
       skier.                                                        it does for men.
         As one of the most experienced biotech financial             “I don’t have a sense of gender inequality in life sci-
       people in the Canadian life sciences industry, Harrison       ences. I think life sciences is a good place for women to
       has earned a reputation for her passionate drive as a bio-    be. I think you have to do it in the way that you would
       technology venture capitalist, company co-founder and         do it as an individual, not in a male way or in a female
       active board member. Watching the B.C. biotechnology          way, but how you would do it with all the components
       industry transform since 1993 and supporting and              of your own personality,” advises Harrison. “Try to
       witnessing the successes of companies in this province        stay true to your path, your values, and do what you
       have been some of the highlights of her career, she says.     think is the right thing, and ask for help.”
        “It is unbelievable the lengths that people go to to build     Harrison has served on numerous boards over the
       these companies. The passion they show, the fortitude,        years and is currently on the National Research Council
       the spirit of hope, and they all do it to develop better      of Canada’s industrial research assistance program
       medicines, devices, diagnostics and better outcomes           advisory board and on entrepreneurship@UBC’s board.
       for people.”                                                  And is also an adviser for Genome BC’s I2 Fund and the
         Harrison had a number of mentors along the way,             BC Tech Association’s HyperGrowth:Life program. É

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 21                                                                                                                    2017-03-16 10:05 AM

       Terry Thomas, chief scientific
       officer of Stemcell Technologies:
      “making a positive impact
       on cancer, immunology and
       stem cell research” has made
       for a rewarding career in life
       sciences | CHUNG CHOW

                                                Terry Thomas started out as a marine biologist and
                                                is now Stemcell Technologies’ chief scientific officer

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 22                                                                     2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 23


                r. Terry Thomas is chief scientific officer of Stemcell Tech-
                nologies Inc., located up the hill from False Creek and just a                                                    THOMAS
                few blocks from Vancouver General Hospital. “I lead research                                                      CHIEF SCIENTIFIC
                                                                                                                                  OFFICER, STEMCELL
       and development, product development, strategic marketing and                                                              TECHNOLOGIES

       licensing,” Thomas says. “I also play a key role in corporate strategy.”
                                                                                                                                  scientific fields
       Starting when she was young, Thomas has followed her           Vancouver General Hospital, for giving me the oppor-        was not easy.
       dreams. But she also hasn’t been afraid to strike off on a     tunity to make such a bold switch.”
                                                                                                                                  Essentially, I did
       different path when her dreams changed.                          Thomas says a highlight of her career took place while
         As a young schoolgirl in Montreal and Toronto, Thomas        she was working with Lansdorp at TFL, when she in-          a second PhD,
       excelled in biochemistry and biology.                          vented tools and reagents to improve the purification       learning on the
        “My focus on creativity and innovation I attribute to         of cells from blood and bone marrow.
       my father, Bill Thomas, who was an automotive engineer          “In 1994, when this technology was licensed to Stem-
                                                                                                                                  job and in my
       and a boat builder,” she says. “As a child, novel ideas and    cell, I joined the 12-person company as head of R&D to      spare time
       inventions were part of our daily routine.”                    commercialize these cell separation reagents,” she says.
         On her mother’s side of the family, education was an        “The resulting products are now responsible for over one-
       important value.                                               third of the company’s sales of $150 million per year.”
        “My mother, Mary Morrison, studied and became a                 Thomas says Eaves, who is founder and CEO of Stem-
       nurse,” Thomas says. “And my grandfather, George               cell, has been her mentor for more than 20 years.
       Morrison, was a research chemist at Shawinigan Chem-            “Allen’s clear vision of what was important – advance-
       icals in Shawinigan, Quebec. I knew I wanted to do             ment of science and being truthful and ethical in all
       research, too.”                                                our dealings – has never wavered. He coached me in
         Thomas earned a PhD in marine biology from the               decision-making, managing people, strategic thinking
       University of British Columbia in 1983. She was awarded        and leadership.”
       a two-year Natural Sciences and Engineering Research             Thomas says she has also had the opportunity to
       Council of Canada post-doctoral fellowship to study the        mentor many gifted young scientists.
       chemical and physiological effects of heavy metals on           “I have guided over 25 PhD graduates to become senior
       marine organisms.                                              managers in technology development. Most recently,
         But then her research interests changed.                     four of that number – two men and two women – are
        “I had dreamed of becoming a marine biologist ever            now vice-presidents and senior directors at Stemcell.”
       since I was 10 years old,” Thomas says. “I held on to            In addition, many members of her team have come to
       that dream much longer than most people, thoroughly            her looking for not only career advice but also insight
       enjoying my career as a marine biologist.”                     on creating work-life balance.
         She came to the realization, however, that what she            Thomas says women thrive in the life sciences.
       really wanted to do was to make a contribution to hu-           “My goal has been to create a work environment that
       man health.                                                    promotes not only innovation, but also trust, respect and
        “I declined job offers for post-doctoral positions in         teamwork,” she says. “Women tend to thrive in such an
       marine biology and applied instead for life sciences           environment, as is shown by the high proportion – 70
       positions, relying heavily on my laboratory experience         per cent – of women in R&D at Stemcell. Working in
       and my knowledge of biochemistry and general cell              groups gives women the confidence to say what they
       biology,” Thomas says.                                         really think.”
         In 1986, she changed her field of scientific research          Looking back, is there anything Thomas would have
       to hematopoietic stem cell research and landed a job           done differently?
       at the Terry Fox Laboratory (TFL) at the BC Cancer              “Well, I ended up switching my field of research three
       Research Centre.                                               years after my PhD,” she says. “Did I make the wrong
        “Switching scientific fields was not easy,” Thomas says.      choice to start? Yes, probably, but for me, it was an
      “Essentially, I did a second PhD, learning on the job and       enriching and empowering phase of my life.”
       in my spare time.”                                               Thomas says she started off pursuing the romantic idea
         Thomas says she was very fortunate to get a job at TFL.      of youth, to be a marine biologist like Jacques Cousteau.
        “To this day, I am grateful to Dr. Peter Lansdorp, who is      “But later I also got the opportunity to pursue a most
       principal investigator at the lab, and to Dr. Allen Eaves,     rewarding career in life sciences, making a positive im-
       who is director of the lab and head of hematology at           pact on cancer, immunology and stem cell research.” É

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 23                                                                                                           2017-03-16 10:05 AM

               THE BLOOD                                ThromboLUX inventor encourages young
                                                        women to pursue the field of science

                                          IAN JACQUES

                                                 aking risks can be hard, even scary at times,
                                                 but for Dr. Elisabeth Maurer, building a
       PRESIDENT AND                             company from the ground up would never
       TECHNOLOGY                         have been achieved without taking a few risks.
       One of my early
                                          The founder of LightIntegra Technology and principal        “I think I have always been interested in learning and
       advisers said to                   inventor of ThromboLUX has more than 20 years of re-       observing things, and that’s why I went into science,”
       me, ‘Remember,                     search experience, devoting her career to understanding    she says. “I was really lucky having good teachers in
                                          blood platelet function and the application of dynamic     high school who fostered that interest in looking deeper
       you can’t do it
                                          light scattering.                                          into why things work a certain way and not another.”
       alone,’ and that is                  LightIntegra was incorporated in November 2008 to          Early in her career Maurer was a scientist with Can-
       so, so true                        commercialize ThromboLUX, a non-invasive, easy-to-         adian Blood Services (CBS), and she has held the position
                                          use optical test to determine the size and distribution    of adjunct scientist with CBS since 2010.
                                          of all particles in a platelet sample and evaluate their     LightIntegra Technology got its start in the CBS re-
                                          response to temperature stress. ThromboLUX is ideal for    search and development labs through Maurer’s efforts.
                                          determining microparticle content in samples derived       Her years of research on platelet function led to a break-
                                          from patient or donor blood and platelet concentrates.     through discovery about the temperature response of
                                            Originally from Austria, Maurer received her PhD in      platelets. She recognized the opportunity to use this
                                          physical chemistry from the Karl-Franzens University       discovery – coupled with advances in laser and optics
                                          of Graz, Austria. She came to Vancouver in 1994.           technology – to address a market need to provide a safe,

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 24                                                                                                                  2017-03-16 10:05 AM
| 25

       quick and simple diagnostic test for microparticles,          she also admits she could never have achieved anything         Elisabeth Maurer,
       platelet quality and function. Knowing the microparticle      without a lot of support along the way.                        founder, president and
       content of platelet transfusions is particularly important     “I think one really, really important thing was to bring      CTO of LightIntegra
       for optimal patient care, she explains.                       Paul Geyer into the company as CEO, because as a sci-          Technology | CHUNG CHOW
        “It was around 2004 that I started to think about using      entist, one is just not prepared to run a company – at
       this technology,” she says. “CBS and the University of        least, I felt like that. In my view they are very different
       British Columbia [UBC] gave me a lot of support along         job descriptions,” she says. “I started it off, but it was a
       the way, and we did a successful pilot study at Vancouver     real milestone in 2009 when Paul came on as CEO and
       General Hospital.”                                            started to build a team.
         Maurer, who is LightIntegra’s president and chief tech-      “One of my early advisers said to me, ‘Remember, you
       nology officer, also holds a position as clinical associate   can’t do it alone,’ and that is so, so true. I’m very for-
       professor at UBC and is an active member of a number          tunate to have a wonderful team who shares my passion
       of organizations with a focus on blood transfusions.          and strives to do good work for people.”
         She says starting the company was a huge risk, but she        Over the years, Maurer has had many influencers who
       was confident in the products and the technology. But         have helped her, but she credits her father for really

00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 25                                                                                                                      2017-03-16 10:05 AM

                             In the blood

       Elisabeth Maurer                                                                                medical, scientific and research affairs at Canadian
       with her invention,                                                                             Blood Services, who was Maurer’s longtime supervisor,
       ThromboLUX | CHUNG CHOW                                                                         for significantly shaping her career.
                                                                                                          Being a woman and a leader in her field comes with
                                                                                                       many challenges, but Maurer would like to encourage
                                                                                                       more young women to pursue the field of science, despite
                                                                                                       those challenges.
                                                                                                        “I would encourage any woman who has an idea or
                                                                                                       a willingness to try to get into this industry. I work a
                                                                                                       lot with men and it is always a really good experience,”
                                                                                                       she says.
                                                                                                        “I would encourage women to take chances. Sometimes
                                                                                                       I think that being a woman in this industry would be a
                                                                                                       disadvantage, but when I took the steps necessary, re-
                                                                                                       ality proved to be OK. You can do anything you set your
                                                                                                       mind to. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man.”
                                                                                                        “When I look back at my life, the challenge is really
                                                                                                       balancing your career and a family life,” she adds. “I am
                                                                                                       very grateful having had a family. While I was doing it
                                                                                                       I often felt stretched thin and not being able to give 100
                                                                                                       per cent to my family and 100 per cent to my work, so I
                                                                                                       think it is a very fine balance to make it work.
                                                                                                        “It can be done, though, and that is the message young
                                            starting her on the right path.                            women probably need to hear. You are not a bad mother
                                             “While [I was] growing up, my dad, being an engineer      if you try to pursue a career, because you will actually
                                            himself and always trying to improve the product that      generate interesting things for your children. If you have
                                            he was working on, was for sure an influence,” she says.   some fulfilment in your job, it will actually be good for
                                              She also credits Dana Devine, vice-president of          your family.” É

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00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 26                                                                                                                    2017-03-16 10:05 AM
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00_Life Sciences 2017_01_64p.indd 27                                                                           2017-03-16 10:05 AM
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