Karimah Es Sabar
Ms. Karimah Es Sabar has had a successful career spanning multi-national pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies, start-up companies, not-for-profit organizations and venture investment firms. She is the CEO of Quark Venture Inc., a life sciences venture investment firm (partnered with GF Securities, a leading investment bank in China). Ms. Es Sabar was previously CEO of The Centre for Drug Research and Development, Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre where she enabled new public and private sector funding in excess of $180M, multiple commercial transactions including 6 spin out companies and an M&A. She is also has held past roles as CEO of LifeSciences BC, Head of Marketing and Business Development at Pasteur Merieux Connaught [Sanofi Pasteur], VP & COO for a medical device company, Medsurge Medical Inc., and was the founder of two start-up life sciences companies in Kenya. She has held board positions including: Chair of the Board of Trustees, Providence Healthcare Research Institute; Council Member, NRC; Board Member, Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet); Board Member, Vancouver Prostate Centre (a Vancouver General Hospital & UBC Centre of Excellence) and the Prostate Centre’s CECR (PC-TRIADD); Board Member, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research; National Advisory Board Member, Industrial Research Assistance Program; Advisory Board Member, The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Dr. Michael Abrams has over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience focused on the discovery, development, and financing of new therapeutic and diagnostic imaging drugs. Has proven ability to analyze interesting scientific and technological ideas and to assess the commercial viability of those technologies. Dr. Abrams has practical experience in founding and building effective organizations, leading product and clinical development through Phase III trials and acquiring private financing for start-up ventures. Recent roles include: Executive VP and Managing Director of Arbutus Biopharma, Executive VP and Chief Discovery Officer of Tekmira Pharmaceutical Corp, Chief Innovation Officer CDRD and VP R&D of CDRD Ventures, President and CEO of Inimex Pharmaceuticals. He was also the Founding CEO for AnorMed, a Vancouver area biotech that was acquired by Genzyme for $580M in 2006 after a successful IPO and follow-on financings. He is also the co-inventor of initial patents for technetium isonitriles, the class of compounds from which Cardiolite, a major radiopharmaceutical with cumulative sales in the $ billions, was developed. Dr. Abrams has authored 62 scientific publications, is a named inventor on 26 patents, and was co-recipient of the Society of Nuclear Medicine Georg Charles de Hevesy Nuclear Pioneer award, 2009.
Dr. Jonathan Bagger is Director of TRIUMF and Professor of Physics at the University of British Columbia. Before moving to Canada, Bagger held a variety of positions at Johns Hopkins University, including Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. From 2012 to 2013, he served as the University’s Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Bagger’s board experience includes terms as a member of the BCNET Board of Directors, chair of the International Linear Collider Steering Committee, chair of the Space Telescope Institute Council, and vice chair of the U.S. DOE/NSF High Energy Physics Advisory Panel. He also served as a member of the U.S. National Research Council’s Board on Physics and Astronomy, the Board of Directors of the U.S. National Space Biomedical Research Institute, the Fermilab Board of Overseers, and the SLAC Scientific Policy Committee. Bagger is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Don Brooks is a physical biochemist and Professor in the Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Chemistry at UBC. He served as UBC’s Associate VP Research & International (AVPRI) from 2001 to 2011 and as Founding Director of the SPARC Office. He holds US patents in the areas of polymeric protein substitutes, drug delivery and quantitative point of care diagnostics and his technology has been licenced by Response Biomedical and by Sitka Biopharma, a spin-off from UBC and CDRD. He currently sits on the Boards of the Provincial Health Services Authority, the BC Emergency Health Services, TRIUMF, AAPS, and the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF) Centre. He was recently appointed Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA).
Dr. Haig Farris is one of Canada's best-known venture capitalists and experts in high-technology start-ups and turn-arounds, with a varied 30+ year history of involvement, commitment, and management. He has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is co-founder and former Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of D-Wave, and he is the President of Fractal Capital, a private venture capital company financing high technology start-ups and resource service technology companies. Previously, Dr. Farris was a co-founder and partner of the Ventures West Management group of venture capital funds (1972-1990). In 2001, he received the British Columbia Technologies Industry Association's (BCTIA) Bill Thompson Award. He was named A Pioneer of Innovation by the Vancouver Board of Trade in 2001.
Dr. Colin Jones is Professor Emeritus at SFU following a 41-year teaching/research career at SFU in the area of radiochemistry. He served at SFU as Dean of Science 1989-99, Executive Director for International Relations 1999-2002 and as Assistant VP Research responsible for CFI applications 2002-2006. He served on the Science Council of BC and as a Board member of the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre and Science World. He also served as a TRIUMF Board member 1988-99 and as Chair of the TRIUMF Board 1995-2000. In the 1980's he established a small company to produce tellurium precursors for large-array mercury cadmium telluride infra-red detectors for the defence industry and for detecting cancers.
Since 2010, Dr. Sylvain Lévesque leads strategy at Bombardier Inc. as Vice President, Corporate Strategy. In this role, he heads the strategic planning process, evaluates the value creation potential of each business in Bombardier’s portfolio, and develops the strategy for capital allocation and evolution of the portfolio. He successfully engineered strategies to accelerate growth and realize the full potential of Bombardier’s fractional jet ownership program. He designed and launched several new innovative business jet services, which contributed strongly to Flexjet’s 20% annual order growth during his tenure.
Mr. Parimal Nathwani has over 15 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, including corporate finance, business development, transactions, intellectual property management, technology development and operations. He has been actively involved in forming and managing start-ups, preparing and executing on business plans, raising early-stage capital, and in- and out-licensing activities. Before joining MaRS Innovation, Mr. Nathwani was a healthcare analyst with a boutique investment bank, where he conducted equity research on publicly-traded biotechnology companies. He has also led commercialization activities out of BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital as part of his role at the UBC’s Industry Liaison Office. Mr. Nathwani received his MBA from Simon Fraser University and his M.Sc. from UBC. He currently sits on the boards of ScarX Therapeutics (Chairman) and Zucara Therapeutics; and is an observer on the boards of Encycle Therapeutics and Vasomune Therapeutics.