Board of Directors
Life Sciences BC is governed by a Board of Directors, whose members represent leaders in British Columbia’s biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices and digital health sectors, and the greater life sciences community. Our board provides guidance, sets policy and ensures that the organization operates effectively in achieving its mandate.
Scott holds a degree in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia. Prior to starting StarFish, he worked in diverse areas such as lithium battery development and manufacturing, UV spectroscopy instrumentation and hi-fi audio speakers. Under his leadership, StarFish has grown into a diverse professional organization with clients around the world and 100% focus on medical devices. Scott is a Fellow of The Canadian Academy of Engineering, 2017 recipient of the VIATEC Technology Champion award, and volunteers with Junior Achievement, Entrepreneurs Organization, UBC and Life Sciences BC. He is an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, & 2017 Pacific Awards finalist.
Ali Ardakani is a technical and entrepreneurial corporate development & operations biotech executive, with over 20 years of experience in managing life science projects and companies. His work includes; managing R&D projects in the areas of oncology, respiratory, infectious disease, CNS therapeutics and medical devices as well as fundraising, licensing and M&A. He is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Novateur Ventures, a premier global advisory group with over 100 senior life science advisors.
Until recently he was Senior Vice President Device & Business Development for Beyond Air (NASDAQ:XAIR), where he was involved with the company from early stage until Nasdaq public offering and several rounds of financing and licensing. He is the CEO and co-founder of Optigo Biotherapeutics, an ophthalmology R&D company. He is the Vice Chair of LifeSciences BC, Entrepreneur in Residence at Innovation Boulevard and Calgary Innovation. He is an Associate at Creative Destruction Labs. He was the Co-Founder and COO of Niiki Pharma, which was acquired in 2013 by Intezyne Technologies, of which he became the Vice President.
To date, he has taken several projects from concept to FDA approval (several successful 510ks and a PMA filing) for medical devices in addition to several FDA IND approvals. He has also worked on commercialization and pharma partnerships and several global mergers and acquisitions.
Rajveer Hundal is a Partner in the Assurance practice at PwC Canada. She is the BC Region Technology Leader and a member of the BC Region Extended Leadership Team at PwC.
Rajveer works with a diverse portfolio of businesses and has over 15 years of experience providing assurance and accounting advisory services to both public and private companies in the technology, life sciences, entertainment and media, and cleantech industry. She has significant experience bringing value to early stage, high growth, and large multinational companies. Rajveer advises clients on financial, reporting and business impacts of growth and acquisitions in a practical and proactive manner, including resolving complex accounting issues and advising on internal controls and corporate governance. She is experienced in transaction work, including debt financings, initial public offerings, offering memorandums, prospectuses, and is familiar with both Canadian and U.S. regulatory requirements.
Rajveer holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and a Masters in Professional Accounting from the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a designated Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).
Nancy Harrison is a nationally-recognized life sciences builder and investor with almost 30 years of experience as sector innovator and leader. She is currently a Venture Partner with Amplitude Venture Capital, a precision medicine VC driven to bring the best Canadian healthcare innovations to market.
With both an MBA from McGill and an Engineering degree from Queens, Nancy is a recipient of the 2020 Milton Wong Leadership Award from Life Science BC, the 2020 PEAK Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Association of Women in Finance, was named CDL-West Fellow of the Year in 2019, and has previously been named to Globe & Mail’s Top 40 under 40 in Canada.
She currently serves on the boards and an advisor for a number of companies and not-for-profits including Co-Chair COVID Therapeutics Task Force, Ad Mare BioInnovations, Life Sciences BC, the BC Genome I2 venture fund, Teralys Capital, Variation AI, the Polygon Gallery, and BIOTECHCanada’s advisory board for start-up companies, and is a fellow with the Creative Destruction Lab – West.
Nancy previously spent 11 years as co-founder, chief business officer, and president with MSI Methylation Sciences, which grew from start-up to phase II clinical trials for one of its drugs, having raised over US $70MM during her tenure.
Prior to her time at MSI, Nancy spent 14 years as a senior vice president and partner with Ventures West Management where she led the Life Sciences portfolio, growing it from zero to over 30 per cent of the Venture West’s over investments. She helped lead Venture West’s transformation from $90MM assets under management in eight historical funds to over $800MM AUM during her tenure.
Nancy is named on over 19 patents and a further number of patent applications from her work over the years.
In addition to her passion for the Life Sciences sector, Nancy is originally from Ontario and now resides in British Columbia with her husband and three sons. She spends her free time with her family enjoying skiing and hiking in the mountains and exploring B.C.’s coast.
Jennifer is the President of Excelleris Technologies Inc., a health technology company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of LifeLabs. Jennifer leads one of the most connected Health Information Exchange platforms in the country, serving over 2.5 million patients, 30,000 health care providers as well as hospitals and hospital networks.
As Senior Vice President, British Columbia, Jennifer also holds the responsibility of ensuring strong relationships with leaders in the B.C. healthcare sector, government, and business community, leveraging her many years of healthcare experience.
Before joining LifeLabs, Jennifer held the position as CFO of BC Biomedical where she led the successful sale of the organization to LifeLabs in 2013. Jennifer holds a CPA, CGA designation and has earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and finance from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Jennifer is passionate about giving back to her community. In addition to her role as a director for LifeSciences BC, she is the Chair of the board of directors for RainCity Housing and Support Society which provides programs and services to those living with mental health, addictions and other challenges and is a director for the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
DR. PIETER CULLIS
Dr. Pieter Cullis, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. Former Director, Life Sciences Centre, UBC, founding Director, Centre for Drug Research and Development Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – UBC Canadian Medical Research Council (MRC) Scholar (1978-1983) MRC Scientist (1983-1988).
Dr. Cullis was awarded the Ayerst Award by the Canadian Biochemical Society in 1986, the B.C. Science Council Gold Medal for Health Sciences in 1991, the Alec D. Bangham Award for contributions to liposome science and technology in 2000, the B.C. Biotechnology Association award for Innovation and Achievement in 2002, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004 and was awarded the Barre award for contributions to Pharmaceutical Sciences by the University of Montreal in 2005. Dr. Cullis also received the UBC Alumni Award for Research in Science and Medicine in 2005. In 2011, Dr. Cullis won the prestigious Prix Galien Canada award and the Bill and Marilyn Webber Lifetime Achievement Award.
DR. ESTER FALCONER
Ester is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at AbCellera, a Vancouver-based technology company solving the biggest problems in antibody drug discovery and therapeutics. She joined AbCellera as a Senior Scientist in 2015 and has overseen the growth of multiple teams and technologies. Currently, she heads platform development and R&D innovation, leading a team of 80+ scientists, software developers and engineers who are committed to developing technologies for rapid advancement of therapeutics from discovery to the clinic. Ester also led AbCellera’s P3 (Pandemic Prevention Platform) program funded by DARPA, a $35M project to build a platform for rapid pandemic response. This platform was deployed in AbCellera’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the fastest-ever therapeutic antibody program, and a lead candidate in multiple clinical trials.
Ester received BSc and PhD degrees from the University of British Columbia in Genetics and Cell Biology, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the BC Cancer Research Centre.
David is a software entrepreneur who co-founded Thrive Health, a software company with a mission to improve the delivery of healthcare in Canada and beyond by empowering patients to be more informed and engaged in their journeys through specialist care.
An important element of Thrive Health’s focus is measuring and enhancing the wellbeing of patients and caregivers, leading to improved levels of physical and mental health. Thrive Health is the official developer of the B.C. and Canada COVID-19 apps, which have provided over 10 million risk assessments to Canadians during the pandemic.
DR. LANA JANES
Dr. Lana Janes is a biopharmaceutical industry veteran with over 20 years of pharmaceutical development experience that spans the full life cycle of therapeutic product development. She is currently a Venture Partner at adMare BioInnovations and Interim Chief Executive Officer at Abdera Therapeutics.
Before joining adMare, Lana served as Senior Vice President, Intellectual Property and Technology Development and Chief Patent Officer at QLT Inc. where, for 12 years, she oversaw all aspects of global R&D and IP strategy for the company’s commercial, clinical and pre-clinical stage therapeutic programs. She has also served as COO of Retinagenix Therapeutics, a Seattle-based privately held ophthalmology company focused on rare diseases of the retina. Earlier in her career, Lana worked as a registered Canadian and US patent agent in the Toronto office of Ogilvy Renault LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright) and at F. Hoffman-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland, where her practice focused on the strategic IP and regulatory protection for numerous therapeutic and medical device products. Lana sits on the Boards of Directors for several entrepreneurial start-up bio-techs in Vancouver, and is an associate at Creative Destruction Labs in Vancouver, providing her with valuable experience and insight in strategically and cost-effectively advancing pre-IND stage and semi-virtual companies. Lana received her AB in Chemistry with honors from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from McGill University, where she also conducted post-doctoral work in the field of antiviral therapeutics. She also worked for several years as a synthetic organic chemist in the chemical and food industries in the US and UK.
DR. DAVID LLEWELLYN, PhD, MBA
Dr. David Llewellyn is Chief Commercial Officer at STEMCELL Technologies, Canada’s largest biotechnology company. David is a champion of STEMCELL’s mandate to advance science, which he supports at the executive level by ensuring the company is well positioned for long term growth and profitability.
David started his career at STEMCELL in 2006 as a Business Development Officer. Today he oversees the company’s Commercial Operations, Marketing Department, Pricing, Project Management Office, eCommerce Division, Services Division and several of its Product Teams.
David has a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Northern British Columbia, a PhD in Organic Chemistry from McGill University and an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of British Columbia.
MICHAEL R. MARTIN
Mr. Martin is currently Chief Operating Officer and Head of Global Business Development at Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. He was formerly CEO, director and co-founder of the privately held Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. which was acquired in 2013 by the former Isotechnika Pharma Inc. In his current role with Aurinia, Mr. Martin is responsible for managing company functions such as corporate and business development, alliance management, and the company’s intellectual property portfolio. Mr. Martin is a biotech/pharmaceutical executive with over 20 years of global industry experience and offers a solid mix of strategic planning, marketing, commercial operations, business development, licensing and people management skills.
Mr. Martin joined Aurinia from Vifor Pharma where he held the position of Director, Global Business Development & Licensing. Prior to Vifor, Mr. Martin was a key member of the business development team that saw Aspreva sold to Galenica for $915M. Upon joining Aspreva in 2004, Mr. Martin initiated the strategic launch planning process for CellCept® in “less-common” autoimmune diseases. These included such indications as Pemphigus Vulgaris, Myasthenia Gravis, and Lupus Nephritis. Prior thereto, Mr. Martin held a variety of progressively senior commercial positions at Schering-Plough. Most recently, Mr. Martin has spent time in Europe where he was responsible for the Rheumatology business unit for Remicade® in France. There, Mr. Martin had full profit and loss responsibilities and had direct responsibility for the sales team, the marketing team and the infusion access team. In addition, while at Schering-Plough, Mr. Martin was the brand manager responsible for the Canadian launch of Remicade (infliximab), which ultimately became the most successful product launch in Canadian history. Mr. Martin started his career in the industry in the sales organization of Schering-Plough where he received multiple achievement awards. Mr. Martin is also a member of the Board of Directors of Zucara Therapeutics based out of Toronto Canada.
Peter Simpson has extensive experience over a 34-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, including the past 23 years as Senior Manager of Government Affairs with GlaxoSmithKline based in British Columbia. Peter’s expertise is based on professional experiences in Sales, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Government Relations, Health Policy Development, Benefit Plan Design and Patient Access. He has previously served on Life Science BC’s Industry Policy Committee and has been the Vice-Chair of the Innovative Medicines Canada’s BC Committee for the past 4 years.
Peter has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Chemistry with a Minor in Business from the University of Guelph.
Peter consistently demonstrates a passion for advancing the life science ecosystem in British Columbia to ensure patients have access to life saving and life sustaining treatments.
Ms. Stevens is currently Head of Business Partnering at AbCellera. Ms. Stevens is also the Co-Founder and Senior Partner of Northview Lifesciences, an entity which invests in and provides strategic advisory services to a number of life sciences companies. Ms. Stevens currently serves on the Board of Directors of LifeSciences BC and Aequus Pharmaceuticals. Previously, Ms. Stevens served as the Chief Operating Officer for Aequus Pharmaceuticals and as Corporate and External Affairs Analyst for Cardiome Pharma Corp., where she was responsible for strategic planning and value analysis of internal R&D. Ms. Stevens’ earlier experience includes five years with Bayer HealthCare, where she was responsible for the commercial success and business development of a portfolio of products within several key therapeutic areas.
Ms. Stevens holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Health Administration degree from University of British Columbia and is a past winner of Business in Vancouver’s “Top 40 Under 40 Award”.
DR. PASCAL SPOTHELFER
Pascal Spothelfer is a seasoned leader known for bringing forward innovation and commercialization at the intersection of industry and academia. He has held several senior roles, in both Europe and Canada, across industry sectors ranging from technology, not for profit organizations and academia. His experience spans general and change management to broad based stakeholder relations.
Prior to joining Genome BC, Pascal held the position of Vice President Communications and Community Partnerships at the University of British Columbia after having served as President and CEO in the private technology sector for the preceding 20 years.
Pascal has also served on a number of private and not for profit boards and currently is a member of the Board of Governors of the BC Business Council.
Pascal holds a law degree and a PhD in law from the University of Basel, Switzerland and a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD in France.
DR. GAVIN STUART
Dr. Gavin Stuart has been Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia since September 2003. Upon his renewal in September 2009, he also was appointed as UBC’s Vice Provost Health, which involves representing the University in health-related interactions with other universities and health authorities. A native of Manitoba, Gavin attended the University of Western Ontario for his undergraduate medical and postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology. He pursued a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he stayed on as a faculty member. Gavin then moved to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, where he was the first Director of Gynecology. After a short period as Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, he was appointed as Professor and Head, Department of Oncology and Director of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. In 1999, he was appointed as Vice-President of the Alberta Cancer Board. As Dean since 2003, Gavin has worked with a large team, government and a large number of partners to enhance health research in British Columbia and oversee the implementation of a provincially-based Faculty of Medicine across four campuses. He is past Chair of the Board of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, and was made an Honorary Alumnus of UBC Faculty of Medicine in 2009. In addition to carrying out his duties as Vice Provost and Dean, Gavin continues to be an active teacher, clinician and researcher. His clinical research and publications have been in the area of gynecologic cancer, including population-based screening programs and the conduct of clinical trials as therapeutic interventions in gynecologic cancer. Gavin’s clinical activity is as a member of the outstanding gynecologic oncology team based at Vancouver General Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency. He is the principal investigator of an international Phase III trial of the human papillomavirus vaccine. Gavin has held multiple leadership positions in the field: past Chair of the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup, leading international trials with several national cooperative groups; Co-Chair of the Gynecology Site Committee of the NCI Canada; and past President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology/La Societe de Gyneco-Oncologie du Canada (GOC). In 2009, he received the Presidential Medal Award from the GOC. Gavin has been active in leadership roles in many national and U.S. committees on medical education, health human resource planning and evidence-based guideline development. In 2010, he was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
DR. JAMES TAYLOR
Dr. James Taylor is the CEO and Co-Founder of Precision NanoSystems Inc., a commercial stage biotechnology company at the convergence of nanotechnology, genomics and personalized medicine. He holds a B.A.Sc. in engineering physics from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in genetics from the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington. James worked at the Seattle-based venture capital firm, Accelerator Corporation, concurrent with his Ph.D. and has extensive experience in the science and commercialization of microfluidics, nanotechnology and systems biology. He has been the leader of Precision NanoSystem’s technology and commercialization since invention.
Joseph Garcia’s practice focuses on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. He advises public and private companies, investment dealers, venture capital and private equity funds, and acts as independent counsel to boards of directors. Joe has extensive experience advising on all types of M&A and corporate finance transactions, including public and private equity and debt financing, take-over and issuer bids, share and asset acquisitions and divestitures, and regulatory and stock exchange compliance work.
Prior to his career in law, Joe worked in corporate finance with a national investment bank and in clinical research with a multinational pharmaceutical company. Joe has lectured extensively on corporate governance and advanced securities law topics. He chaired The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia corporate governance courses in 2011 and 2013, and participated in the advanced securities law courses in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Joe has been a director and corporate secretary of LifeSciences BC for more than 12 years and is a member of its Finance Committee. He is also a director of Genome British Columbia and chair of its Audit Committee, and a member of the BIOTECanada Legal Affairs advisory board.
Roger Kuypers has over 20 years’ experience as a lawyer, director and investor in the life sciences sector. His experience includes working in the biotech, medical device, diagnostics and functional foods fields. Roger has worked with start-up companies, large pharmaceutical companies, universities, centers of excellence and health authorities. Roger provides legal services in respect of a broad scope of life sciences activities, including pre-clinical and clinical research, licensing, finance and intellectual property.
On the business side, Roger has served and continues to serve on a number of corporate boards of biotech and medical device companies. On the biotech side, he served over 10 years as a director of KMT Hepatech Inc., which provides compound and vaccine testing services using its proprietary chimeric animal model. He also served as a Chairman of a local reagent and biotech company, helping to launch its translational research facilities in India. He currently serves on the boards of two BC medical device companies.
Roger also brings a broad geographic perspective to the table, being called to the British Columbia and Alberta bars. Roger practiced with Dentons in Edmonton for five years before returning to Vancouver, during which he worked closely with the Alberta life sciences community. He established the clinical trial agreement review and negotiation system for the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre at the University of Alberta. Roger has also acted for foreign clients, including Takeda Pharmaceutical Company of Japan.
On the community side, Roger has served as a director of BC Medtech (prior to its merger with Lifesciences BC) and the BC Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (BCCRIN). He has hosted the Speaker Series of the Clinical Research Professionals of BC for the last 17 years and is a regular presenter on legal issues in clinical research.
HECTOR MACKAY-DUNN, Q.C.
Hector MacKay-Dunn has over 25 years of practice experience in a broad range of industry sectors, advising on corporate and general matters, complex domestic and cross-border public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, tender offers and international partnering and licensing transactions. He provides general and strategic advice to both senior and emerging public companies as well as early to later stage private companies, investment banks, and investors in public and private domestic and cross border equity and debt financing, mergers, tender offers, corporate reorganizations, and advises boards of directors and independent board committees on corporate governance. Hector is recognized by Lexpert, the most respected legal publication in Canada, as being among the Top 100 Canada/US Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada. He has consistently been named among The Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, and is recognized among Canada’s leading lawyers in mergers & acquisitions, technology and biotechnology. Hector has received the “AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5″ legal ability rating from Martindale-Hubbell, an authoritative and global source for identifying leading lawyers and law firms. Hector has advised clients in a variety of commercial industries, including semi-conductor, software, web-based and e-businesses, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, independent power production, medical equipment and devices, mining, manufacturing, transportation, and fitness services.