Our monthly roundup of ‘people on the move’ in Canada’s life science and biotech sectors.
Coupled with the launch of its newest $400 million fund, Versant Ventures has made several appointments to its investment team. Among them, during 2017 Clare Ozawa will transition from her current role as chief operating officer of Inception Sciences to Versant managing director, and will lead investments in San Diego and the Bay Area. Currently, she is responsible for strategic business development, operations and finance for the Inception research sites in San Diego, Vancouver and Montreal. During her tenure at Inception, she assumed leadership roles in the creation and management of six new companies launched in partnership with academic researchers and major biopharmaceutical companies including Roche, Celgene, Bayer and Shire. Ozawa was also Inception’s founding chief business officer in 2011 ,following her role as an investment professional at Versant. She joined Versant from Novartis Pharma and previously she was at McKinsey & Company. Second, Alex Mayweg has been appointed venture partner in Basel. As part of his role, he will oversee operations of Baseline Therapeutics, a new Versant discovery engine to be launched in Basel. Mayweg joined Versant in 2016 from F. Hoffmann La Roche where he served as global head of chemistry. Next, Mary Haak-Frendscho has been appointed to Venture Partner based in Toronto. She joined Versant in 2016 as CEO of the Blueline Bioscience discovery engine based at the MaRs center in Toronto’s Discovery District and currently serves on the board of directors of Versant-backed Northern Biologics based in Toronto. Prior to that, she served as CEO at Igenica, chairman of Compugen, president and CSO of Takeda SF USA, and held R&D leadership roles at Genentech, Abgenix and XOMA. Also, Lloyd M. Segal has been appointed as Entrepreneur in Residence based in Montreal. Segal joined Versant in 2016 to bolster company creation activities and the firm’s presence in Quebec, and the broader Northeast. He brings both operating and investment experience to the Versant team, having served as founder and CEO of several biotechnology start-ups including Advanced Bioconcept and Caprion Pharmaceuticals, and as a managing partner with private equity investor Persistence Capital Partners. During 2017, he will assume leadership of a new Canada-based series A oncology start-up backed by Versant. Finally, Rahul Ballal, has been appointed as Entrepreneur in Residence based in Boston. Rahul joined Versant in 2016 to strengthen the firm’s access to the major academic centers in the Boston area. Currently, he serves as chief business officer at Versant-backed Northern Biologics. Prior to Versant and Northern, he was VP of business development at Flexion and at the Broad Institute. Ballal started his career in Silicon Valley as founder and CEO of Redmind, a venture-backed data analytics startup that was acquired in 2002.
Appili Therapeutics Inc. has appointed Stephen Nicolle to its board of directors. Mr. Nicolle has 20 years of experience leading companies and growing shareholder value. He is currently president of Cape Bear Advisors where he consults and holds numerous board positions, including vice chair of the start-up accelerator Propel ICT. He is the former CEO of STI Technologies, a healthcare technology company. Prior to that he spent 10 years leading venture-backed technology companies, including: CEO of Tatara Systems, CEO of Sigma Systems, COO at March Networks, and president of Nortel’s Service Provider eBusiness Solutions Group.
OBIO has hired Sean Peel to step into the newly created role of OBIO Health to Business Bridge Program™ H2BB™, Business development manager. He will be one half of a dynamic team which includes Eric Dolinar, program manager, that will be dedicated to working with OBIO Members to improve access to talented and motivated interns. As a scientist, co-founder and CSO of Induce Biologics, Sean brings a wealth of the ‘on the ground’ industry experience to the OBIO H2BB™ program.
B.F. Francis Ouellette has joined Génome Québec as vice president of scientific affairs beginning on February 27, 2017. He previously worked for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) in Toronto for 10 years, as associate director of the Informatics and Biocomputing platform and lead investigator. Before his arrival in Toronto in 2007, he had served as associate professor in the department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and director of the UBC Bioinformatics Centre (UBiC) at the Michael Smith Laboratories. He was trained at McGill University, the University of Calgary and Simon Fraser University. He was also employed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he coordinated GenBank, the world’s largest open DNA sequence database. He also sits on various advisory boards and editorial boards, including as education editor for PLOS Computational Biology and associate editor for DATABASE journal (an Oxford University Press open access publication). He currently works as associate professor, adjunct in the department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto.
Mark T. Crane is stepping in as vice president of business development for ITR Laboratories Canada Inc.
Crane joins ITR in Montreal from SNBL USA where he served as vice president of business development and marketing. He has held similar positions at Ricerca Biosciences, Bridge Pharmaceuticals (formerly Gene Logic), Quest Pharmaceutical Services and MDS Pharma Services.
XiteBio announces the addition of Don Sanders and Julia Cann as the newest members to its Innovation, Research & Development (IRD) team. Sanders joins the team as a research associate with Cann joining as a lab technician at XiteBio’s IRD Centre in Winnipeg, MB. Sanders recently completed his M.Sc. from the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba and has previously been employed by the University of Manitoba, Cargill Canada & Kackenhoff Nurseries. Cann has a Bachelors degree from the University of Winnipeg and has previously been employed by Haplotech Inc. and the University of Winnipeg.
3D Signatures Inc. (3DS) has named Joost van der Mark its new chief business officer (CBO). Mr. van der Mark brings more than two decades of executive experience to 3DS, having worked with several major international healthcare companies as well as earlier stage biotechnology and healthcare firms. He joins 3DS from BioSyent Inc., where he served as vice president of corporate development. Prior to joining BioSyent, he co-founded Orphan Canada, which subsequently sold its assets to Knight Therapeutics in 2014. In a career spanning more than two decades, he has also held progressive positions at Bayer, Sanofi and Nycomed.
Oncolytics Biotech® Inc. appoints Dr. Matt Coffey to the role of president and CEO. Dr. Coffey had been serving as the company’s interim president and CEO since early November 2016. A co-founder of the company, Dr. Coffey completed his doctorate degree in oncology at the University of Calgary with a focus on the oncolytic capabilities of the reovirus. The results of his research have been published in various respected scientific journals, including Science, Human Gene Therapy, and The EMBO Journal. Dr. Coffey has held progressively senior roles with Oncolytics including: chief operating officer since December 2008, chief scientific officer, vice-president of Product Development and chief financial officer.
Canadian health sciences accelerator Accel-Rx has elected David J. Main as its new board chairman. Currently Main is chairman, president and CEO of Aquinox, and recently, he completed a three-year term as chairman of BIOTECanada. As a co-founder of Aquinox, he has overseen the advancement of the company’s lead product, AQX-1125, from a target validation program to a Phase 3 clinical trial candidate. During this time, he has also been responsible for the transition of Aquinox from a private to a NASDAQ-listed public company having raised over US$300 million in equity. Other past roles include INEX Pharmaceuticals Corp. president and CEO, and QLT Inc. vice president.