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Mr. Askheim enables companies to maximize their values through deep analytics and story telling in excel. Since taking part in the exits of nutraceutical companies Ocean Nutrition Canada (2012) and Ascenta Health (2015), he has been advising several local MedTech companies from their early days all the way to commercialization. Companies such as Covina Biomedical, ABK Biomedical, Springloaded Techology and PhotoDynamic should ring a bell for participants taking part in this years BioInnovaction Challenge. The journey is long, and getting the right advice early is critical to avoid to many bumps and bruises down the road. A CFOs role spans from strategy, investor relations, fundraising, finance, valuation, option instruments, governance, Board management, incentive systems, HR, accounting, operations, product Cost and Pricing and sometimes; a shoulder for the CEO to cry or swear on.
Roar is CPA-CMA, and holds a MSc Econ from The Norwegian School of Economic, Bergen, Norway and a Bachelor in Sport Management and Physical Education from Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS)
Allison is the CEO of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS) and is the mom of 5 children ranging in age from 8 to 24. PANS represents almost 1300 pharmacists, technicians and students and over 300 pharmacies throughout Nova Scotia on all matters related to the profession and practice of pharmacy. Allison is passionate about the value that pharmacy professionals can bring to the healthcare system in Nova Scotia.
Prior to joining the Association in 2009, Allison worked as a corporate lawyer with Bell Aliant Telecommunications and as VP and General Counsel for the Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia for many years. Before moving to the in-house legal and advocacy role, Allison practiced law with the law firm of Patterson Palmer Hunt Murphy for almost 7 years where she specialized in tax and financing transactions.
Allison received her law degree from the University of Toronto and her B.A. from the University of Western Ontario.
Founder & CEO
The Different Food Co.
Dr. Darren Burke is an internationally recognized supplement product development scientist and entrepreneur. He is a former university professor, an expert in the areas of diet and exercise, a fitness enthusiast, and champion of sustainability. Dr. Burke built and successfully exited a sports nutrition brand and became well known for creating the best mixing, best tasting, and best formulated protein supplements.
Dr. Burke’s most recent venture involves creating a revolutionary alternative protein functional snack, with a huge impact on water conservation. He is the founder and CEO of The Different Food Co, a biotechnology company using mycelium fermentation to create a unique high protein, low fat functional snack for health and environmentally conscious consumers. The company is currently in stealth mode working on a modern product offering that will disrupt the current category leader and replace it with a product that has superior nutritional benefits but made with 90% less water.
CEO & Co-Founder
Adaptiiv Medical Technologies Inc.
Alex has been Adaptiiv’s CEO since January 2021, having served as CTO from 2016 to 2021. He has over 15 years of experience in technology development specializing in enterprise critical applications, infrastructure, and big data analytics.
Michael DeVenney is an entrepreneur dedicated to opening minds and creating change. Throughout his career Michael has been lucky enough to be involved in many positive projects, including the Mindset Project, the world’s largest study of entrepreneurs, mental health, and decision-making. He is also the founder of WorkInsights, a Halifax-based consulting firm focused on the intersection between entrepreneurship and wellness.
As a mental health advocate, Michael regularly speaks to diverse audiences about his personal and professional mental health journey with a focus on recovery, hope and the important of prioritizing one’s mental wellbeing in the workplace.
Bereskin & Parr LLP
Patricia Folkins is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP and Leader of the Chemical practice group. Her practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications in chemical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical matters. She also assesses new technology and conducts portfolio management.
Patricia completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University before joining a leading biopharmaceutical company where she spent several years as a research scientist and then as a technical advisor in their patent department. She also previously worked at a prominent Canadian university as a Manager of Intellectual Property.
She has co-authored several articles that have appeared in scientific journals including The Journal of Organic Chemistry, The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and Tetrahedron Letters. Patricia has also given presentations on intellectual property matters in general, and on issues specific to chemical and pharmaceutical patenting.
President & CEO
Daryl Genge is an executive leader with more than 30 years’ experience in building partnerships among academia, industry, and government. He is the President and CEO of Springboard Atlantic, an organization that represents the collective research and development capacity of 19 post-secondary institutions across the region.
Prior to his role at Springboard, he held Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister (Acting) positions with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development where he championed public-private investment strategies to drive the development and growth of innovative industries and played a leadership role in international trade and foreign direct investment attraction.
He also held a variety of senior management positions with Memorial University and with government-held corporations where and led regional and international partnerships to support the commercialization of world-class technologies.
Senior Director of Innovation
Nova Scotia Health
Doris Grant is the Senior Director of Innovation at Nova Scotia Health, where she leads the team focusing on transforming healthcare and the health of Nova Scotians through innovation-driven solutions at the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub (Hub). Leading both business development and commercialization activities the Hub is the front door for innovative opportunities and partners that want to work with Nova Scotia Health.
With over 20 years of business development experience, Doris’s career has focused on delivering impactful research and commercial partnerships with industry, entrepreneurs, government, researchers, and clinicians. Before joining Nova Scotia Health, Doris led both the commercialization and industry engagement activities for the life and health sciences sectors at Dalhousie University’s Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement. Prior to Dalhousie, Doris spent several years in the business development and the intellectual property departments at Biogen in Boston MA. Doris has a BSc (Agr.) and MSc (Agr.) from Dalhousie University.
Vice President of Program Development
Pamela Gray has played an integral role to BioTalent Canada’s strong performance and success since joining the organization in 2015. As Vice-President of Project Development, Pamela leads the team responsible for developing new partnerships and revenue streams, earning a high “win” ratio with public sector initiatives as well as BioTalent Canada’s proven delivery on major projects that include labour market intelligence releases, national occupational standards and labour demand and supply requirements.
A member of the senior leadership team, Pamela has been fundamental to advancing BioTalent Canada’s growth and impact – its team has increased to five times its earlier capacity. The organization achieved its transformation to its current stature as convener of the largest national bioeconomy network in Canada by engaging industry, governments, associations, post-secondary institutions, immigrant serving agencies and service providers; developing insights-gathering and trends analysis expertise; and launching the programs, services and solutions valued by industry, governments and partners. Its proud record of achievement, evidenced by its national metrics for recruitment, wage subsidy investments, skills development, job-ready talent and industry HR best practices has earned BioTalent Canada its reputation as a respected and recognized catalyst for our nation’s health and Canada’s economy. As a result of this strong performance record, BioTalent Canada’s mandate has been expanded to provide wage subsidies to Canada’s healthcare sector.
Pamela began her biotech and health career in the cosmetic/nutraceutical industry, honing her skills in this sector for close to a decade. Prior to her tenure at BioTalent Canada, Pamela was Director of Career Services, Everest College Canada, directing a team that achieved the highest placement rate in Canada six years running. This combined experience in biotech, health, education and human resources forged the ideal backdrop to joining BioTalent Canada’s executive team.
National Medical Advisor, Oncology
Novartis Pharma Canada Inc.
Stephanie Guillemette is the National Medical Advisor in Oncology at Novartis Pharma Canada Inc. and an employee of pharmaceutical industry for 15 years working in different disease area including Cardiology, Rheumatology, Transplant, Hematology, CAR-T Cell therapy and Solid tumor. Medical lead collaborating with Global Development, Medical Affairs team and Clinical Research team to maximize Canadian participation in trials, provide medical and scientific support and identify opportunities for joint value creation including Research collaboration.
Justin is a medtech executive with 15 years of experience commercializing leading-edge healthcare innovations in North America and across Europe. As CEO and co-founder at Virtual Hallway he’s driving change in the way physicians collaborate on patient care. Justin holds an MBA from the University of Oxford.
Global Affairs Canada – Atlantic Region
Alexandre Lanteigne is a Trade Commissioner with the Atlantic Region office of Global Affairs Canada (GAC). In this role, he helps companies in the Life Sciences and ICT sectors navigate and access international business, investment, and research opportunities. Alex is also the regional lead for Global Affairs’ Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA), a series of business development programs that help fast-track successful entry into key tech markets all over the world.
Prior to joining Global Affairs, Alex held a corporate role with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Alex is a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) and is a graduate of Dalhousie University. He lives in Bedford, N.S. with his wife Shelby and their doodle Honey.
Senior Director – Clinical Research
Lisa has over 10 years of experience in Clinical Research, including trial management and regulatory submissions. As Senior Director of Clinical Research at IMV Inc, she is responsible for the planning, management, and execution of Phase 1 and Phase 2 oncology studies with clinical sites across Canada and in the USA. She coordinates clinical investigators, research organizations, and industry partners to evaluate IMV’s novel therapies for the treatment of solid tumours. Lisa received her Master of Science from Dalhousie University while conducting her research with the National Research Council.
Breast Cancer Trial
Session:Patient Impact Story
Peter Moreira has spent more than 40 years in journalism in Asia, Europe and North America. His postings include London Bureau Chief for The Deal, European banking correspondent for Bloomberg, banking reporter for the South China Morning Post, and a stint at the Canadian Press’s parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. His writing has appeared in USA Today, the Columbia Journalism Review (online), the Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, National Post, and the Independent on Sunday (London). He is the author of Hemingway on the China Front (Potomac, 2006) Backwater: Nova Scotia’s Economic Decline (Nimbus 2009), and The Jew Who Defeated Hitler (Prometheus, 2014). His crime fiction series, set in San Francisco in the 1960s, includes The Haight and A Hitman on Haight Street. Peter is a graduate of the Canadian Securities Course.
Senior Manager, Assurance
Ryan is an experienced auditor/accountant/advisor for privately held businesses, not-for profit/charities and public sector organizations. With expertise in financial statement presentation, design/implementation of internal controls, and tax return preparation.
Ryan can assist you in the following areas of business:
• Prioritize and optimize day-to-day accounting tasks
• Incorporate best practices into your routine
• Optimize financial processes for reporting to your investors—and make your business more appealing to potential investors
• Understand what financial statements mean for your business, and how to communicate them effectively
• Properly record and track new funding
Canadian Mental Health Association – Nova Scotia Division
Karn Nichols joined the Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia Division (CMHA NS) as Executive Director in July of 2021. Along with a deep compassion for those facing mental health and addiction issues, she brings with her over 25 years of leadership experience in both the for profit and social impact sectors. She believes the future of work is one that puts humanity at the core of all we do.
Prior to joining CMHA NS, Karn served as VP People Development and Branch Operations for Maritime Travel, Principal of Karn Nichols People Solutions and Board Chair for the MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning.
Director of Client Services
Canadian Alliance for Skills & Training (CASTL)
Sidney Reid has been working in the not-for-profit sector for more than 13 years in project and program management, relationship management, and evaluation.
As a naturally inquisitive person with strong communication skills, Sidney has led teams on a diverse range of projects and activities that include the development of online learning resources and Learning Management customizations, management of external consultants and advisory committees, managing client relationships, and developing and delivering reports to analyse the effectiveness of projects and programs.
Having worked in both economic development and with an organization that develops and delivers technology enhanced learning, Sidney has knowledge and experience in fostering growth in the economy and understands the power of education and training to drive success within a sector. At CASTL, Sidney is pleased to work closely with the technical training team and CASTL’s clients to deliver training packages and programs that exceed expectations.
Executive Producer – CTV Morning Live
Manager of Community Relations – CTV Atlantic
Liz Rigney is best known for her time on CTV. She co-hosted Breakfast Television before moving to the newsroom to report and host the nighty entertainment section on CTV News at 5. She is now the Executive Producer of CTV Morning Live and Manager of Community Relations at CTV Atlantic.
Liz is also the vocalist for the G Street Band – the house jazz band at The Pacifico in Halifax. She has performed at a variety of events including the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and is honoured to appear regularly with The Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy. She has released two CD’s – Red Petticoat and Chameleon.
Liz sits on the Board of the Atlantic Film Festival and is the executive producer of the annual IWK Telethon for Children. She has twice cycled 100 km in support of cancer research and spent several years as a volunteer at Hospice Halifax. Liz shows up regularly at her local CrossFit gym and has just signed up for her 10th marathon.
Role:Host - BioPort
Dr. Annette Rushton
Health & Life Sciences Manager
Office of Commercialization & Industry Management (OCIE) at Dalhousie University
Dr. Annette Rushton is the Health & Life Sciences Manager in the Office of Commercialization & Industry Engagement (OCIE) at Dalhousie University. Her role at OCIE is to engage industry and commercialize intellectual property developed by faculty, students and staff within the life and health science faculties at Dalhousie. Annette is a research scientist with industrial, academic and governmental experience in life and health sciences. Prior to joining OCIE in 2018, Annette led the biology program at DeNovaMed Inc., a local antibacterial start-up company, where she was involved in drug discovery, business development and translational research. Annette received both her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology from Dalhousie University, and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in yeast genetics at Columbia University.
Director of Strategy
Patricia Ryan is a Director of Strategy at Breathe BioMedical (BBM). Patricia has added valuable knowledge to BBM since joining in 2019, including her expertise in business development, health care systems, public policy and intergovernmental structures.
Before joining the team at BBM, Patricia was the CEO and Founder of Health QR Inc., a service that connects healthcare consumers to their pharmacy information.
Patricia has extensive experience in the healthcare field. In addition to her time founding a health technology company, she has worked at the community health level, in government and for health focused non-profit organizations such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Her roles at these organizations have included Public Relations, Project Management, Policy Analysis and much more.
Executive Director, Strategic Alliances
Innovative Medicines Canada
Hugh joined Innovative Medicines Canada in 2008 in a government-relations capacity and now leads the association’s outreach with key stakeholders and partners in the life sciences and health sectors. In 2016, Hugh also assumed the role of Executive Director of the Health Research Foundation of Innovative Medicines Canada.
Hugh has more than 25 years of experience working in advocacy, government, stakeholder, and media relations for national trade associations, including Credit Union Central of Canada and the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Hugh began his career on Parliament Hill as Legislative Assistant to The Honourable Albina Guarnieri, P.C., M.P. He is a Past President of the Government Relations Institute of Canada, and the Hill Times has named him among Canada’s Top 100 Lobbyists.
A graduate of Ashbury College in Ottawa, Hugh earned a Bachelor of Arts (Major History) from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec. He volunteers extensively on boards of directors and in community affairs in his hometown of Georgeville, Quebec in the Eastern Townships.
Lara Skwarek is Innovacorp’s investment associate focused on life sciences start-ups. She identifies prospective investment opportunities and conducts all aspects of the investment review, approval and closing cycle, including screening opportunities, analysis, due diligence, and making recommendations to the investment team.
Lara has worked in two biotechnology start-ups, with roles in research and development, technology development, grant writing, product development, and commercialization. More recently, she was a scientific consultant with Eva Garland Consulting (EGC) in Raleigh, North Carolina, a company focused on helping entrepreneurs advance innovative technologies through non-dilutive funding. Her clients at EGC included CEOs, chief science and technology officers, professors, clinicians, and graduate students working to translate their breakthrough discoveries into commercial products to solve a wide range of unmet needs.
Lara is trained in genetics, neuroscience, and cell and developmental biology. After completing an undergraduate degree in arts and science from McMaster University in Ontario, she obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto’s department of molecular genetics. In 2009, Lara earned a prestigious Cancer Research Fellowship award as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
Senior Vice-President of Performance, University Mission and Strategies
Vitalité Health Network
Originally from Neguac, Brigitte Sonier-Ferguson earned a bachelor’s and a master’s in biochemistry from the Université de Moncton in 2001 and 2005, respectively. She also undertook doctoral studies in biochemistry/immunology at the University of Ottawa from 2005 to 2010.
Ms. Sonier-Ferguson joined Vitalité Health Network in 2010, more specifically, the Training and Research Sector, of which she has been the director since 2015. During this period, she was responsible for the development and review of the strategic plan for the Network’s university mission, which is one of the cornerstones of the Network’s new 2020–2023 Strategic Plan.
In addition to her duties within New Brunswick’s Francophone health authority, Ms. Sonier-Ferguson also sits on several boards of directors and national committees related to health research and various university partners.
She has received a number of awards in the course of her career, including “Le Prisme” as graduate of the year of the Faculty of Science of the Université de Moncton in 2018 and the Excellence in Management and Leadership Award of Vitalité Health Network in 2018.
Ms. Sonier-Ferguson is currently a doctoral candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of New Brunswick.
Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy
Vice President – Research Innovation and Discovery
Chief Nurse Executive – Nova Scotia Health
As the Vice President, Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nurse Executive at Nova Scotia Health, Gail leads a team of dedicated people committed to developing a world-class learning health system in our province. Gail is a champion of innovation in healthcare, leading teams and partners to seek creative solutions and agile processes to address challenges in the province’s health system to deliver the best care for improved health, system and provider outcomes. She also has spearheaded the organization’s COVID-19 virtual care strategy and is responsible for the implementation of the provincial Nursing Strategy, providing leadership on strategies to revitalize recruitment and retention efforts.
Gail’s research involves leading/co-leading multi-disciplinary teams and working with national and international partners. Her work has been widely funded and published; garnering extensive interest from governments and other stakeholders because of its significant impact on health policy and practice worldwide.
Gail is a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Canadian Academy of Nursing, and American Academy of Nursing. She has completed her BN and MN degrees from Dalhousie University and her PhD in nursing from the University of Toronto.
Vice President, People & Corporate Culture
Lester Wood was appointed to the position of Vice President, People & Corporate Culture at BIOVECTRA in 2020. Prior to that he was BIOVECTRA’s Executive Director, Human Resources. Lester has 20 years of Human Resource experience in Professional Service, Health Care, and Oil & Gas. He is a Certified Human Resources Specialist (CHRP) and has a BBA from UNB Fredericton
G Street Band
Don’t miss the BioPort opening reception on Wednesday, November 2 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. The reception will feature the G Street Band.
Enjoy live Jazz with some of Halifax’s finest musicians, playing everything from Sinatra to Gaga, while you renew acquaintances and make new contacts.
For a sample of what to expect click here