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[ Building Biotech-Creating Opportunities in the BC Bioeconomy ]


Building Biotech 2018 Thursday, Sept 27, 6:00pm Coast Coal Harbour Hotel View Event Details (


[ Genome BC Poster Competition 2018 ]


Upcoming: Thursday, May 24th, 2018 UBC's Pharmaceutical Sciences-Atrium Event details here ( )...


[ Networking Night ]


Upcoming: Tuesday, July 26th, 2017 6:30-9:00 pm, Steamworks Brewpub View Event Details (


[ Annual General Meeting 2017 ]


Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 5:30-7:00 pm, at BC Cancer Research Centre, Dorothy Lam Boardroom, 1st floor View Event Details (


[ SBN Soiree 2017 ]


Wednesday June 7th, 2017 6:00pm-9:00 pm, at TELUS World of Science View Event Details (


[ Research Exchange & Poster Competition 2017 ]


Research Exchange & Poster Competition 2017 Thursday, May 25th, 2017 8:30am-4:00 pm, at UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences Building Main Foyer, 2405 Wesbrook Mall View Event D..


[ Networking Night ]


Upcoming: Thursday, April 20th, 2017 6:30PM - 9:00PM Central City Brewpub (Central City Shopping Centre, 13450 102 Ave) View Event Details (


[ Career Connect - CDRD ]


Upcoming: Tuesday, March 7 2017 1:30PM - 5:00PM; 2405 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver View Event Details (


[ Biotech Expo 2017 ]


Upcoming: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 5:30PM - 9:00PM Jack Poole Hall at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Center (6163 University Blvd) Event details here (


Speaker Biographies


Mr. Sean Alexander, Associate, Gowling Lafleur Henderson

Sean Alexander is an associate in the Vancouver office of Gowling Lafleur Henderson. Sean provides strategic, business-focused patent services to a wide variety of clients including, companies, universities, and research institutions. Sean's practice covers the biotechnology, biomedical, pharmaceutical, medical device, nanotechnology, agricultural, consumer products, and greentech sectors. In addition to being a Registered Patent Agent in Canada and the United States, Sean is also a qualified European Patent Attorney.

Prior to joining Gowlings, Sean worked for a multi-national consumer products company in the United Kingdom and Belgium, a bio-pharmaceutical company based in Vancouver, and a large chemical company based in the Netherlands. Sean has a B.Sc. from the University of Stirling, Scotland and a M.Sc. from Queen Mary College, University of London.

Mr. John Barclay, Manager, International Partnerships, Rick Hansen Institute

Mr. John Barclay is currently Manager, International Partnerships at the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI). In this role, John is responsible for managing, coordinating and supporting the international partnerships endeavours of RHI. Prior to RHI, John held positions at Genome British Columbia and CANTEST Ltd. He also recently completed the Management of Technology MBA program, with a biotechnology specialization, at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Pat Brady, VP Investments, Life Sciences

Prior to joining GrowthWorks Capital in 1998, Pat Brady worked six years at Inex Pharmaceuticals (now Tekmira Pharmaceuticals) and DynaMotive Technologies Corp. in financial and corporate development capacities.Pat currently serves as a Board director or observer for Celator Technologies, Inimex Pharmaceuticals Inc., MSI Methylation Sciences Inc., Valocor Therapeutics and Xenon Genetics. He has also served as a Board member for Neuromed Pharmaceuticals (now Zalicus Inc.), Neurostream Technologies, OncoGenex Technologies, Protiva Biotherapeutics (now Tekmira Pharmaceuticals), and Twinstrand Therapeutics.Pat holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and was a former professional athlete. He is a past director of the BC Biotech Association.


Dr. Robin Coope, Engineering Technology Development Group Leader, BC Cancer Agency Genome Centre

Dr. Robin Coope received his BASc in Engineering Physics in 1993 and a MASc in 1996 from the University of British Columbia. His studies focused on scanning tunneling microscopes with Dr. Tom Tiedje and total internal reflection-based display technologies with Dr. Lorne Whitehead. A unifying theme in these experiences was the development of instrumentation. This led to a PhD with Dr. Andre Marziali on physics related to capillary electrophoresis, completed in 2006.

Following his PhD, Dr. Coope joined Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, heading a new Engineering technology development group. The Group’s mission is to enhance the productivity of the GSC’s high throughput pipelines with new devices and processes. Dr. Coope co-directs the Genome BC Technology Development Platform with Dr. Marziali.


Ms. Lina Duong-Aihara, Portfolio Manager – Fund Administration, BCRCF; Portfolio Manager, Investment Capital Branch, Ministry of Finance

For the past few years, Lina Duong-Aihara (phonetic “YEUNG – I-HAR-RA”) has split her time between the B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund (BCRCF) and the B.C. Ministry of Finance.

The BCRCF is a Crown corporation created to pursue investments in 4 key technology sectors: digital media, ICT, life sciences, and cleantech. As Portfolio Manager, Lina is responsible for managing the fund administration. To date, the BCRCF has committed capital to 7 venture capital fund managers based in the U.S. and Canada that have over $2 billion in capital under management for investment.

As the Ministry, Lina serves as Portfolio Manager, Investment Capital Branch, where she is responsible for the development of fiscal incentives that encourage the growth of venture capital and international finance in the province.

Lina began her career handling the delivery and management of the Venture Capital Programs, helping entrepreneurs to access risk capital. She is a Certified Management Accountant and graduated from Simon Fraser University (BBA).

Ms. Pamela Fayerman, Medical/Health Issues Reporter, Vancouver Sun

Pamela Fayerman has been the Vancouver Suns Health Issues Reporter for nearly 16 years. She has been a newspaper reporter for over 25 years and has worked at six dailies across Canada. Pamela is a graduate of Ryerson (journalism) and her professional development has included fellowship training sponsored by the New York Times Foundation, National Institutes of Health (U.S.) and the Canadian Bar Association. She has completed courses at Columbia University (neuroscience advances); M.I.T. (medical evidence and digital science journalism); Mount Sinai Medical Centre (aging issues); Dartmouth College (Medicine in the Media); and Queens University Law School. Fayerman was a finalist in 2010 and in 2008 for Jack Webster Foundation awards for feature series reporting on brain stem strokes and on breast cancer. She was also a finalist in 2007 for the Hollobon Award. In 2010 Pamela was awarded a research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She is a member of the U.S.-based Association of Health Care Journalists.


Ms. Colleen Fitzgerald, Clinical Research Manager, Division of Hematology/Oncology/BMT, Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC

Having graduated from nursing, Ms. Fitzgerald started her career in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. With seven years experience in positions ranging from bedside nurse, transport team member and nursing management, she left HSC for the west coast of Canada.

In the opening year of the BC Children's Hospital (now the Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC), Ms Fitzgerald continued her neonatal nursing in the Special Care Nursery with secondments to the Justice Institute and Information Systems. In her first research position, she was hired by the Division of Neonatology to the role of Research Co-ordinator in its very first industry sponsored research study examining neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and the administration of artificial surfactant.

Following numerous grant sponsored research projects, she then moved to the position of Research Manager for a number of investigators in the then newly created Child and Family Research Centre, continuing her work in multiple areas investigating neonatal pain and antenatal exposure to maternal antidepressants and HIV medications. Currently Ms. Fitzgerald is the Clinical Research Manager for the Division of Hematology/Oncology/BMT at the Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC.


Dr. Peter Hnik, Chief Medical Officer, iCo Therapeutics Inc.

Dr. Peter Hnik is a trained ophthalmologist with 30 years of experience combined in clinical ophthalmology and biotech industry. He received medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine, Charles University of Prague, in 1981 and practiced ophthalmology at the Eye Clinic of Charles University Hospital performing surgery and consultation in retina, glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology. In 1991, Peter joined the glaucoma research group of the Eye Clinic of The University of British Columbia (UBC) and in 1999, received the Master of Health Sciences degree in Epidemiology from the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC. He then joined QLT Inc., one of the leaders in novel therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As one of the clinical directors, Peter played an important role in designing and directing Visudyne clinical trials in AMD and diabetic retinopathy (DR). He has also been involved in the pharmacovigilance group providing medical assessments of drug-related adverse events and in the in-licensing team searching for new business opportunities. In 2006, he joined iCo Therapeutics Inc. and as a Chief Medical Officer has been involved in development of novel drug therapies for diabetic macular edema (DME), severe ocular allergies and systemic fungal infections. Dr. Hnik has published numerous scientific papers and presented results at international meetings. He is a member of various medical associations, including New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Drug Information Association (DIA) and EURETINA.

Ms. Brenda Irwin, Director, Venture Capital for the Business Development Bank of Canada’s Venture Capital Group

Brenda Irwin is a Director of Venture Capital for the Business Development Bank of Canada’s Venture Capital Group. The BDC is a national, evergreen venture capital fund and has been involved in venture capital since 1975. To date, it has invested in more than 400 companies with investments totaling over $1.2 billion in the life sciences, telecommunications, information and advanced technology sectors. At the BDC, Ms. Irwin is responsible for life science investments made in the province of British Columbia.
Ms. Irwin’s experience in venture capital financing extends from investments in private seed stage to publicly listed companies; additionally she has significant experience in facilitating M&A transactions and strategic financing. Ms. Irwin presently serves on the Board of Directors for three private life science companies. Having served on thirteen life sciences Boards in total, Ms. Irwin has developed specific expertise in both executive compensation and corporate governance matters.

Ms. Irwin is Vice President for “Take A Hike”, a not for profit foundation governing an alternative high school education program for youth at risk. She is an active mentor in the local business community. Additional non-profit volunteer, advisory and committee commitments have included mentoring for Vancouver Board of Trade’s “Leaders of Tomorrow”, participation in the “Forum for Women Entrepreneurs” Mentoring and E-Series programs, advisory cabinet for the University of Guelph’s new science complex, and committee membership for the ‘BodyWorks’ permanent human biology exhibit at Science World.

Prior to joining BDC’s Venture Capital Group, Ms. Irwin was the Marketing Manager for a national computer distributor. She was also a science educator for the North York Board of Education spending the majority of her years teaching science to grades 7 and 8 students.

Ms. Irwin received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Biology and Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English. Additionally, she earned a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and an MBA from the University of British Columbia. In 2004 Ms. Irwin was awarded Business in Vancouver’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ for business achievement in British Columbia. In 2010 she was honoured by the ‘Forum

Dr. Steven Jones, Associate Director and Head, Bioinformatics, BC Cancer Agency Genome Centre.

Steven Jones is Associate Director and Head of Bioinformatics at Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, Vancouver, BC. He is a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and is Director of the Genome BC Bioinformatics Platform. Under the supervision of Dr Richard Durbin, Dr Jones gained a PhD at the Sanger Institute where he was involved in the C. elegans genome project. Dr Jones has played a role in numerous other genome projects—including that of human, Drosophila melanogaster, mouse, rat, bovine and the SARS coronavirus.

Dr Jones has participated in the Mammalian Gene Collection consortium—funded by the National Cancer Institute, USA—developing underlying bioinformatic approaches for the generation of full-length gene sequences. A particular aspect of his research focuses on the identification of gene regulatory elements in mammalian genomes and cancers. He has also developed informatic approaches for the analysis and investigation of gene expression data using Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) and has carried out investigations in human tumours as wells as C. elegans, D. melanogaster, and the fungal pathogen C. neoformans.

More recently, Dr Jones has contributed to genomics through his work on next-generation sequence analysis, including applications of this technology to both DNA-protein interactions and epigenomics. He has applied this technology for the detection of somatic mutations arising in both patient derived samples and in cancer cell lines.

Further significant contributions have been in the field of helping to establish bioinformatics training within Canada as Founding Director of the CIHR/MSFHR Bioinformatics Training Program for Health Research and, until 2006, as a core Faculty member of the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshop Series. Dr. Jones has established himself as one of Canada’s brightest young scientists, being honored in 2006 with The Top 40 Under 40 Award by both Caldwell Partners International, a Canada wide award, and Business in Vancouver. He also received in 2006 The Senior Early Career Scholar Award by Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, The Spencer Award for IT Innovation from the University of British Columbia as well as The President’s 40th Anniversary Award from Simon Fraser University. In March of 2010 he was awarded The Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence by LifeSciences British Columbia.

Along with his numerous invited presentations to lecture at national and international conferences and universities Dr. Jones has been an author on over 180 peer reviewed publications. Dr. Jones has been Principal Investigator and co-applicant on numerous awarded grants totaling over $20 million.

Ms. Theresa Kennedy, President, TEK Inc.

Theresa has spent 19 years in the biotechnology industry in a variety of leadership positions. Her two decades of communications experience has been focused on corporate positioning, brand development, executive profiling, media strategy, stakeholder outreach and project management. Currently she is President of TEK Inc. Previously she was the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Resverlogix Corp where she was responsible for both internal and external communications. Previous to that position she spent 6 years with Hill & Knowlton as Vice President, North American Biotechnology Practice. While at H&K she enjoyed working with a range of clients including large and small U.S. and Canadian biotechnology companies. In addition, she did work for a variety of international federal governments. In 2006 Theresa was appointed by the Federal Government of Canada to the Board of Directors of the Assisted Human Reproduction Canada Agency. She has been a guest lecturer for Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, which included lecturing on the topic of strategic communications in biotechnology at Oxford University. In recognition of her work in the biotechnology sector, Theresa won an award for Advancing the Benefits of Biotech for Canadians, was a finalist for the 2005 Silver Sabre Award for biotech and a finalist for 2004 Influential Women in Business awards. In 1998 she was awarded the BIV Top 40 Under 40 Award. Theresa received her B.Sc. and communications minor from the University of Calgary.

Dr. Ezra Kwok, PhD, PEng, MD, CCFP, CCAMA

Dr. Ezra Kwok holds a BSc degree with Distinction in Chemical Engineering, PhD degree in Control Engineering, and MD degree. He worked as an Advanced Control Engineer for 3 years before becoming a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UBC in 1995. He also completed his residency program in Family Medicine and has a license to practice medicine in the Province of British Columbia. Dr. Kwok established the graduate-level Biomedical Engineering Program at UBC in 2006 and served as the inaugural Program Director until 2010. He is a Professional Engineer, Board Examiner for APEGBC, member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and College of the Medical Acupuncture of Canada.

Other than being a professor in engineering at UBC, he also works part-time as a family doctor in Richmond, a clinical preceptor at the UBC Family Practice Clinic, and is a Staff Physician for Providence Health Care at Mount St. Joseph Hospital. His current research interests include diabetic modeling and control, advanced process control, and osteoarthritic synovial fluid properties. He has published over 50 refereed conference and journal papers.

Carol Nelson, Associate Manager, Business Development at Cardiome Pharma Corp.

Carol Nelson is Associate Manager, Business Development - New Products at Cardiome Pharma Corp. In this role, she helps Cardiome manage its pipeline of R&D projects, including both internally and externally sourced innovation. She also supports the business development and commercial functions in a variety of activities. Prior to this, Carol held positions in Quality Assurance at Cardiome, where she was responsible for document management and various QA systems.

Carol recently completed an MBA at the Sauder School of Business at UBC with specializations in Finance and Strategic Management. Carol was Class President and was awarded the MBA Graduation Prize for top graduating student in the Part-time MBA class. She also holds a B.Sc. from UBC and a Business Administration Diploma from BCIT.

Scott Phillips, President, StarFish Medical

Scott is the founder and president of StarFish Medical, the largest medical device development services company in Canada with 50 staff. The company focuses on developing devices with technology innovation and human-centric design aspects for entrepreneurial companies around North America. In 2010 the company won international recognition in Germany and the US for its designs. Also as the CEO of the StarFish group of companies he oversees ViVitro Labs, a leading prosthetic heart valve testing equipment and services company with customers around the world.

Scott graduated in engineering physics from UBC in 1989. Prior to starting StarFish he spent 10 years in BC and Alberta working at Moli Energy, Alberta Research Council and independently on a variety of technology-focused projects such as lithium batteries, spectroscopy instrumentation and planar magnetic audio speakers.

He is currently Vice-chair of the Viatec board and was a former long time board member of the BC Medical Technology Industry Association.

Dr. Simon Pimstone, MD, PhD, FRCPC



Dr. Pimstone is a founder, Director, and President and Chief Executive Officer at Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., one of Canada’s leading privately owned biotechnology companies. Xenon is engaged in discovering and developing novel pharmaceuticals targeting genes and proteins that underlie human diseases.

He received his MD from the University of Cape Town. He is an internal medicine specialist (FRCPC) with an interest in cardiovascular disease. Prior to his specialization, he trained as a clinical research fellow with the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and obtained his PhD through the University of Amsterdam in cardiovascular genetics.

Dr. Pimstone has served as a consultant physician at the St. Paul’s Hospital Lipid Clinic in Vancouver. He is currently the Chairman of the Providence Healthcare Research Institute, and is a director and the past Chair of the Board of Life Sciences British Columbia. He was previously the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of BIOTECanada. Dr. Pimstone also serves as Director of the biotechnology companies Enject Inc. in California and Indel Therapeutics Inc. in Vancouver.

In 2005 he received the Business in Vancouver Top 40 under 40 Award and in 2004 the Globe & Mail’s Canadian Top 40 Under 40 Award. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Dr. Pimstone is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and is also a regular guest speaker at international scientific meetings and healthcare conferences.

Ms. Della Smith, Principal, Q Workshops Inc.

Della’s business history includes her start as Director of Communications for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, moving into running the public relations divisions of Simons Advertising and Palmer Jarvis Advertising (now DDB Canada) until 1995 when she set up Quay Strategies Inc. with business partner Patsy Worrall. Her volunteer work and personal interests reflect those passions. On the ethics front that has included a number of years on the Board of the Better Business Bureau of Lower Mainland BC ultimately leading to her role as President; past committee member of the Genome BC Ethics Committee and her current Board roles on Consumer Protection BC and Chair of the Advisory Committee at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility. To complement her communications skills she has participated as a member of VTV’s (now CTV) Community Council, NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Association) Board member and has served on the Jury panel of the Webster Awards since 2007 (Western Canada’s journalism awards). Her social causes have been many, including the Dr. Peter Foundation (an aids support group) and the Potluck Café (an organization dedicated to helping people learn skills and feed those less fortunate) and the Burnaby Hospital Foundation. Her current social commitment is to Streetohome, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Vancouver.

Dr. Don Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, PlantForm Corporation

Dr. Don Stewart, an entrepreneur and scientist, is a founder of PlantForm Corporation and assumes the roles of President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Stewart brings 25 years management experience in the biotechnology industry to this role. Dr. Stewart is also the founder and President of Alba Biologics Group, a consulting company, providing expertise on drug candidate evaluation, development and manufacturing strategies. <.p>

Previously as the Director Research and Development for Cangene Corporation, Dr. Stewart was responsible for the company’s Mississauga based research and development group. Cangene is one of Canada’s leading biopharmaceutical companies and in his role Dr. Stewart led programs on the development of monoclonal antibodies and recombinant protein drugs. Dr. Stewart gained experience in other aspects of therapeutic drug development while responsible for cGMP manufacturing for clinical trials, animal efficacy and toxicology studies and a clinical trial.
Dr. Stewart graduated with a Ph.D from the University of London, UK and gained academic experience at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Ms. Cindy Trytten, Chief Administrative Officer, Can-Med Clinical Research

The former Vice President of one of Western Canada’s leading Clinical Research Organizations, Cindy Trytten brings 22 years of experience in clinical research to her current role as Chief Administrative Officer at Victoria-based Can-Med Clinical Research Inc. After obtaining her MSc in molecular endocrinology, Cindy transitioned out of basic research and pursued career in clinical research starting in 1988 as a Clinical Research Associate within the biotechnology industry. Following a move to Vancouver, she joined a provincial health delivery agency, where she played in instrumental role in building a provincial clinical research capacity in solid organ transplantation. In 1995, Cindy became a founding member of a Vancouver-based Clinical Research Organization (Syreon Corporation) with global operations and advanced electronic data capture capability, progressing to the role of Vice President in 1998. Cindy’s current position in Can-Med focuses on directing the day-to-day operation of numerous complex phase II to IV clinical trials, ensuring compliance to Good Clinical Practice and applicable regulations as well as managing the financial and legal aspects of each study. Cindy has worked closely with and has an in-depth understanding of the diverse professional positions and roles involved in clinical research. She is also active in developing continuing education opportunities in clinical research for the local regional research community and is a member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and the Society for Clinical Research Associates.

Dr. Rhonda Wideman, Senior Biomarker Development Fellow, Proof Centre of Excellence

Dr. Rhonda Wideman holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, where her research focus was on developing novel approaches for the treatment of diabetes using cellular and gene therapy. Dr. Wideman completed a MBA in Management of Biotechnology at Simon Fraser University's Segal Graduate School of Business in 2010. She is a recipient of NSERC's Canada Graduate Scholarship, CIHR's Science to Business Scholarship, and BC Innovation Council's Ripples of Hope Award in Biotechnology and Entrepreneurship, and was an invited participant at Novartis' International Biotechnology Leadership Camp in 2009. In her role with the PROOF Centre, Dr. Wideman manages biomarker discovery and development activities, including project management, technical assessment and due diligence, intellectual property management, and technology development and commercialization functions.


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