Natalie Dakers Receives 2019 Milton Wong Award for Leadership

Accel-Rx CEO Recognized for Contributions to Life Science Sector

April 2, 2019 VANCOUVER, BC – Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator, is pleased to announce that President and Chief Executive Officer, Natalie Dakers has been awarded the 2019 Milton Wong Award for Leadership. The award recognizes and celebrates an individual working in the life sciences or biotechnology industry in British Columbia who has made a significant contribution to the development of the sector. The award will be presented Thursday evening during the 21st Annual Life Sciences BC Award Gala at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Widely recognized as a trailblazer, Ms. Dakers has four successful start-up organizations to her credit, including Accel-Rx, the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), CVI (the venture arm of CDRD) and NeuroMed Technologies. Much of her career has been spent in pursuit of driving early innovation within the biopharmaceutical sector. The creation of CDRD, CVI and Accel-Rx demonstrates her ability to not only recognize gaps in the ecosystem but to build solutions to fill them.

“Natalie has dedicated her illustrious career to building a strong life sciences ecosystem throughout the province and country,” said Accel-Rx Board Chair and CEO of Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, David Main. “Her unique ability to build the necessary networks, partnerships and teams while raising the required funding to turn her vision into reality is unquestionably worthy of this significant recognition.”

Her advocacy and passion for the sector includes community service as Director on private company boards and for ecosystem support organizations such as BioTalent and BIOTECanada, as well as mentor to countless other organizations. An acknowledged thought leader, she has participated in strategic round tables, acted as an expert reviewer for industry policy publications and represented the sector abroad.

“I am truly honoured to receive this esteemed award,” said Ms. Dakers. “To be recognized by my peers means a great deal to me. And to receive an award named for Milton Wong, himself an innovator and leader in our community, makes it all the more special.” She added, “Canada’s future as a global force in life sciences will draw strength from the young companies and start-ups working today to turn our scientific leadership into breakthrough technologies and treatments. This award strengthens my resolve to work even harder to ensure that these early-stage entrepreneurs receive the necessary resources so we can create a pipeline of high performing companies that can compete on a global scale.”

For a full list of the 2019 Life Science BC award winners, click here.

About Natalie Dakers

Ms. Dakers began her career in Life Sciences at the University of British Columbia, managing technology transfer for the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO) where she was involved in the creation and spin-off of more than a dozen start-up high-tech and biotech companies. She then went on to co-found NeuroMed Technologies Inc., a private biotechnology company developing drugs for pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and cardiovascular disease where she raised $70M in venture funding. She subsequently became founding CEO of a national Centre of Excellence for Drug Research and Commercialization (CDRD) where she signed affiliation agreements with more than 20 major research institutions in Canada and around the world and forged important strategic relationships with both public and private sector partners. Under her leadership, $120M in funding was raised, the number of employees grew to over 100 and CVI, a commercial arm was launched and successfully created a number of companies including Kairos Therapeutics, Sitka Biopharma, Zucara Therapeutics, and Mesentech. Ms. Dakers is currently President and CEO of Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator Society, an organization that identifies and supports promising early-stage companies by providing seed stage capital and expertise.

An Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences, she is currently a board member of BIOTECanada, BioTalent, ImStar, KisoJi, STEMCELL Technologies and Chair of Augurex Inc. Ms. Dakers also serves as an Affiliate at Creative Destruction Labs and as a Committee Member for NSERC Research Partnership Advisory Committee. She has garnered numerous honours including Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur of the year award (2015), WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women (2016, 2018), Business in Vancouver’s Most Influential Women (2017) and now the Milton Wong Award for Leadership (2019).

About Accel-Rx

Accel-Rx is Canada’s health sciences accelerator supporting health innovation companies developing pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics. As seed investment specialists, Accel-Rx stewards early-stage companies selected from across the country to a level where they can successfully raise a Series A or equivalent financing. Through a unique growth platform that provides access to capital, industry connections, mentorship and customized guidance, the Accel-Rx formula is designed to stimulate Canada’s health sciences sector and ensure our innovations become competitive on a global scale. To learn more, visit us at or follow us on Twitter @Accel_Rx. 

To schedule an interview with Natalie Dakers, please contact:

Elayne Wandler

Director, Partnerships & Programs

Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator

C (604) 626.3301