At Best Startup Canada we track over 100,000 Canadian startups and over 500,000 people who hold key positions in these companies. We use this directory of startups to highlight top employees, founders and board members we think deserve more appreciation than they are currently getting.
This list showcases the top British Columbia based CEO’ operating in the Biotechnology space. If you think a CEO’ is missing from this list, feel free to contact our editor on [email protected]
The individuals on this list have been included because of exceptional performance in one of the following categories:
- Innovation – Operating as a key part in an extremely innovative business or startup.
- Growth – Operating as a key figure in the growth and upscale of a market leading business or startup.
- Management – Showing exceptional management skills.
- Societal impact – Putting their business on the map for their positive societal or environmental impact.
Our Data – We source our data from OSINT (open source intelligence) and public directories such as Crunchbase, SemRush and many more. The data from these sources should be treated with a degree of caution and verified yourself.
CEO of Variational AI
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About Variational AI: Generative AI for drug discovery
President & CEO of Zymeworks
Ali Tehrani is one of Zymeworks’ co-founders and currently serves as President and CEO of the company. He has been an integral part of many of the Company’s corporate achievements including raising seed and angel financing and overseeing the Company’s technical operations and patent filings. Dr. Tehrani has served on the MITACS Industrial Advisory Board, and BIOTECanada’s Industrial and Environmental Committee. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of LifeSciences British Columbia and the Student Biotechnology Network.
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About Zymeworks: Zymeworks is a computational biotechnology company focused on optimizing therapeutic antibodies and other protein-based therapeutics.
Patrick L McGeer
Founder,President & CEO of Aurin Biotech
Dr. Patrick McGeer is a professor emeritus in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He received his PhD in chemistry at Princeton University and his MD at UBC. In between he worked for the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware where he met his wife, Dr. Edith McGeer. Dr. McGeer is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of British Columbia. He has repeatedly served on scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and on advisory boards for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and the Canadian societies for Parkinson’s disease, ALS and multiple sclerosis. For many years, he combined his scientific career with politics, serving in the British Columbia Legislature from 1962 to 1986, and in the British Columbia Cabinet from 1975 to 1986. In Government, he worked to promote the development of high technology industry in the province, and also served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and on the Board of the British Columbia Hydro and Power authority, The British Columbia Petroleum Corporation, and the British Columbia Systems Corporation. He is the Founder of two charitable foundations, the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation, and the Canadian Dementia Action Network. Dr. McGeer is the author of more than 680 scientific papers and 8 patents. With his wife Edith and Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles, he is an author of two scientific textbooks and is the editor of 3 others. Dr. McGeer is the recipient of four honorary degrees and is recognized as one of the world’s most highly cited neuroscientists.
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About Aurin Biotech: Aurin Biotech Inc. is a private company established to advance the development of a remarkable collection of small molecules.
Founder & CEO of Aspect Biosystems
A bioengineer, inventor, and entrepreneur, Tamer currently serves as President and CEO of Aspect Biosystems. The company is tackling some of the biggest challenges in medicine by enabling the 3D printing of living human tissues. Tamer co-founded Aspect in 2013 and has played a leading role in overall corporate, business, and technology development. As a leader and visionary in the field of regenerative medicine and 3D printing, he has been invited to speak on this topic at venues ranging from TEDx to industry, scientific and executive conferences. He was awarded with BC’s Top 30 under 30 award for demonstrating excellence in business, judgement, leadership, and community contribution. Tamer serves on the Board of Directors of ACETECH, a non-profit training and mentoring organization for CEOs of technology and life sciences companies, and on the Board of Directors of The Stem Cell Network, an organization focused on building Canada’s stem cell and regenerative medicine research sector.
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About Aspect Biosystems: Biotech company combining the power of microfluidics & 3D bioprinting to fuel medical research and development of bioprinted therapeutics
CEO and Founder of Phoenix Molecular Designs
Dr. Sandra Dunn founded Phoenix Molecular Designs in 2012, following the identification of a novel approach to treating TNBC, the deadliest form of breast cancer. The discovery of RSK as a prime target for TNBC came from functional genomic screens in her laboratory. Dr. Dunn has spent more than 27 years as a breast cancer researcher and as such has served on multiple oversight committees, including: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (USA) and the Susan Komen Foundation. She was the youngest member of the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program in the early 1990s and was recognized for her commitment to the field during her early days as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Sandra Dunn is passionate about making a difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer and is firmly dedicated to breast cancer. This was inspired by personal experiences with the disease in her family, as it impacted several generations of women. Her broad range of experience in private industry, government and academia has prepared her to lead PhoenixMD, where they are working to change the outcomes for women with breast cancer by developing a selective new drug to uniquely attack the cancer cells in a way that has not been done before. She has led multinational oncology research projects to advance the development of novel cancer therapeutics and has built amazing teams to achieve these goals. Over the past three decades, she has raised millions of dollars to fund cancer research and has built one of the few female-led biotechnology companies specifically aimed at eradicating breast cancer. Dr. Sandra Dunn is technology leader in oncology drug development and biotechnology businesses
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About Phoenix Molecular Designs: Phoenix Molecular Designs is a biopharmaceutical company designing precise cancer therapeutics by targeting kinases.
President & CEO/cofounder of Kintara Therapeutics
Jeffrey Bacha, BSc, MBA co-founded DelMar Pharmaceuticals in 2010 and has served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Company’s board of directors since inception. Mr. Bacha is a seasoned executive leader with nearly twenty years of life sciences experience in the areas of operations, strategy and finance. His background includes successful public and private company building from both a start-up and turn around perspective; establishing and leading thriving management and technical teams; and raising capital in both the public and private markets. From July 2006 to August 2009, Mr. Bacha was Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs and Chief Operating Officer at Clera, Inc. From March 2005 to July 2006 Mr. Bacha was Consultant and held various positions at Clera Inc., Urigen Holdings Inc. and XBiotech, Inc. From 1999 through 2004, Mr. Bacha served as President & CEO of Inimex Pharmaceuticals, a venture-capital funded drug discovery and development company and is a former Senior Manager and Director of KPMG Health Ventures. Mr. Bacha holds an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a degree in BioPhysics from the University of California, San Diego.
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About Kintara Therapeutics: Kintara Therapeutics is engaged in developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of cancer patients.
Allen C Eaves
President and CEO of STEMCELL Technologies
Dr. Allen C. Eaves, M.D, Ph.D. serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of STEMCELL Technologies Canada Inc. Dr. Eaves serves as the Head of Hematology of Vancouver General Hospital. He serves as a Director of Terry Fox Laboratory of British Columbia Cancer Agency. He served as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Sophiris Bio Inc. (formerly known as Protox Therapeutics Inc.). Dr. Eaves has published over 100 articles in numerous peer-reviewed journals on the treatment of cancer.
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About STEMCELL Technologies: Tools to Isolate, Culture and Assay Cells
President and CEO of Medicenna Therapeutics
Fahar Merchant is a 25-year biotech veteran, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Medicenna. Previously he was President and CEO of Protox Therapeutics (TSX.V and TSX; now Sophiris Bio, Nasdaq) where he established a late clinical stage urology company. At Protox he raised more than $70M through multiple PIPEs, including a $35M investment by Warburg Pincus. In 1992 he co-founded IntelliGene Expressions, Inc., a biologics CDMO, and built it to one of the fastest growing companies in Canada. In 2000, by strategic in-licensing, he co-founded Avicenna Medica, Inc., a clinical stage oncology company that was sold a year later to KS Biomedix (LSE) for $90M. Fahar was CTO and Director of KS Biomedix until its acquisition by Xenova (Nasdaq and LSE; now Celtic Pharma). Fahar has closed several transactions valued at more than $300M. He has a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Western University.
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About Medicenna Therapeutics: Medicenna is a clinical stage, privately held, immuno-oncology company.
CEO of AbCellera Biologics
Carl Hansen is the CEO at AbCellera.
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About AbCellera Biologics: AbCellera Biologics is a biotechnology company that develops antibody therapeutics to improve patient outcomes.
Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ondine Biomedical
Ms. Cross was one of the initial founders and financial supporters of Ondine Biomedical Inc. in 1999 and currently serves as the Chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer the Company. Ms. Cross has over 18 years direct experience working with early stage companies and has 25 years experience with public market securities. Previously, Ms. Cross was responsible for managing pension, pooled, mutual and private client funds as a Vice President with Royal Bank Investment Management Inc., the fund management arm of the Royal Bank of Canada. She currently sits on the boards of a number of companies including Periowave Dental Technologies, Inc., OrGenX Biopharma Corp., and Sinuwave Technologies Corp, and sits on the Advisory Board of the McGill University Dental School. Ms Cross is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization, the International Women’s Forum, the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts, the Courthill and Cherie Blair Foundations, and the Association for Professionals In Infection Control and Epidemiology. Ms Cross is the Founder of OrGenX Biopharma Corporation, a WEConnect certified company.
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About Ondine Biomedical: Ondine Biomedical develops non-antibiotic, anti-infective therapies for a broad spectrum of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Co-Founder, President & CEO of viDA Therapeutics
Alistair Duncan, B.Sc., C.A. Co-founder of the Company in 2008 Alistair Duncan serves as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company. From 2009 to present, Alistair Duncan was co-founder, Director, and has served as interim Chief Financial Officer for Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., a company building a high performance crop seeds business for the development of new genetically modified crops for renewable fuels. From 1998 to 2008, Alistair Duncanwas President and CEO of Chromos Molecular Systems Inc., where he was also a co-founder and Director. Prior to that, he was a Principal with the Ernst & Young Corporate Finance and International Life Sciences Group where he provided high technology and life sciences companies with corporate advisory services in strategic planning, valuations, financing, divestitures, and mergers and acquisitions. Currently, Alistair Duncan also serves as a director on the board of Metro Vancouver Properties Corp. Alistair Duncan is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia and holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia.
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About viDA Therapeutics: viDA Therapeutics is a Canada-based biotech company that develops treatments for chronic inflammatory and age-related diseases.
CEO&Founder of MedGenesis Therapeutix
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About MedGenesis Therapeutix: MedGenesis Therapeutix is a biopharmaceutical company developing life-enhancing therapeutics for patients with serious neurologic diseases.
Howard J Verrico
CEO, Chairman & Founder of Sirona Biochem
Dr. Verrico obtained his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1985 and has been a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia since July 1986. Dr Verrico is currently a practicing emergency room physician. In addition, Dr. Verrico has extensive experience as a venture capitalist in the junior capital markets.
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About Sirona Biochem: Sirona Biochem is a biotechnology company developing diabetes therapeutics, as well as skin depigmenting and anti-aging agents.
R. Lee Buckler
President & CEO, Director of RepliCel Life Sciences
Lee is Managing Director of and a consultant the Cell Therapy Group.Lee is the founder and managing director of Cell Therapy Group – a leading, boutique consultancy focused on the cell therapy and regenerative medicine industry.Through CTG Lee works with companies of all sizes to help position them in the cell therapy regenerative medicine space by focusing on business development including strategy development, competitive intelligence, market research and analysis, deal-making, marketing and communications, profile-building, sale-lead generation, etc. The core value Lee brings to CTG and its clients is a rare breadth of understanding of the entire spectrum of the cell therapy and regenmed industries primarily around who is doing what with whom. This knowledge of the industry players, what they have, and with whom they are working is both driven by and drives his proprietary industry database. Additionally, Lee leverages for his clients the relationships he has with executives in many of those companies. Since early 2000, Lee has been an executive in the cell therapy regenerative medicine industry. He has significant experience in both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations including Progenitor Cell Therapy, Malachite Management, Stem Cell Technologies, and the International Society for Cellular Therapy. Before transitioning to biotech, Lee earned a law degree (cum laude) and was a practicing commercial attorney for several years.Lee founded Cell Therapy News, created Cell Therapy Blog where he continues to blog, and serves on the Editorial Board of the journals BioProcess International and Regenerative Medicine. Lee founded and served as Chair of ISCT’s Cell Therapy Commercialization Committee (2006-9), founded and administers the LinkedIn Cell Therapy Industry Group, and has served as an advisor to dozens of groups and projects in the regenerative medicine space. He is a frequently invited speaker and moderator at conferences in the industry. Recent publications include a book chapter entitled, “State of the Regenerative Medicine Industry” in The Delivery of Regenerative Medicines and Their Impact on Healthcare (CRC Press) and “Opportunities in Regenerative Medicine: The Global Industry and Market Trends” in BioProcess International, March 2011 Supplement.
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About RepliCel Life Sciences, Restructur Advisors: RepliCel Life Sciences is a regenerative medicine company using cell therapy products for healing tendinosis, aging, and pattern baldness.
CEO and Co-founder of Microbiome Insights Inc.
Malcolm Kendall has over 28 years of operational management, entrepreneurial, venture capital investment and leadership experience, the majority of which has been focused on company creation and building value in technology and biotechnology companies. Before founding Microbiome Insights, he was the co-founder and CEO of Indel Therapeutics Inc., a Vancouver-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing new drugs to address the global health crisis caused by antibiotic resistance. Prior to this, Malcolm was an investment professional with life science focused venture capital firms MDS Capital (now Lumira Capital), BioVista Capital (now Hatteras Venture Partners) and Intersouth Partners. Before entering business, he served in the U.S. Army where he honed his leadership skills as an Infantry and Special Forces officer. Malcolm has been an advisor and board member to numerous companies and organizations and is currently a member of the board of directors of Semios BIO Technologies, a mentor for the [email protected] program and an adjunct professor at the MBA MOT program at Simon Fraser University. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and an M.B.A. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.
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About Microbiome Insights Inc.: Microbiome Insights is a global leader providing end-to-end services for microbiome DNA sequencing and state-of-the-art bioinformatics.
President & CEO of Welichem Biotech
Dr. Liren Tang has been the President and CEO of the Company since November 2009. From 2007-2009, as the Director of Clinical Development at the Company, Liren led a clinical research team to the successful completion of multiple clinical trials. With the compelling clinical data, the Company reached a successful partnering agreement for it’s lead immunology drug program (WBI-1001) with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for a total price of up to $230 million dollars in the year 2012. Prior to joining Welichem, Liren was a principal or co-principal investigator at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute for diverse scientific and clinical research projects addressing various aspects of inflammatory diseases and cancers. He is an author of over 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Liren received his PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of British Columbia.
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About Welichem Biotech: Welichem Biotech is a development stage biotechnology company, engages in the discovery and development of therapeutic drugs.
Chairman & CEO of Agro Epigenetics Corp
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About Agro Epigenetics Corp: Agro Epigenetics Corp is a canadian biotechnology company.
CEO & President of AlgaeCan Biotech
Former Exec Director of pharmaceutical and medical device co. > $1 billion in sales. Developed $100 million nutraceutical co. and completed several IPO’s in international markets.
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About AlgaeCan Biotech, Lignol: AlgaeCan Biotech Ltd., located in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada is one of the first companies.
Chairman, President and CEO of Sancilio and Company
Frederick D. Sancilio is the Principle and Co-Founder of Sancilio and Company.
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About Sancilio and Company: Sancilio and Company develops biopharmaceutical supplements and products.
CEO of Immunitor
Aldar Bourinbaiar is the CEO at Immunitor.
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About Immunitor: Immunitor develops orally-delivered immunotherapies for a number of serious diseases affecting the world.