LifeSciences BC News 

17th Annual LifeSciences BC Award Winners, presented by FARRIS

March 3, 2015
Vancouver, B.C. - LifeSciences BC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 LifeSciences BC Awards, presented by FARRIS. These awards are presented annually to recognize individuals and companies who have made a significant contribution to research and excellence in B.C.’s life sciences industry. 

The 2015 Award Winners are:

Life Sciences Company of the Year 
STEMCELL Technologies Inc.
Medical Technology Company of the Year 
Kardium Inc.

Growth Stage Life Sciences Company of the Year 
Qu Biologics Inc.

Award for Clinical Research Excellence 
BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Genome British Columbia Award for Scientific Excellence
Dr. Mel Krajden, Medical Head, Hepatitis – BC Centre for Disease Control; Associate Medical Director – BCCDC Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory; Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia

Milton Wong Award for Leadership 
Dr. Pieter Cullis, Professor & Director, Life Sciences Institute UBC; Chair & Co-Founder, Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI)

Corporate Partner/Advisor of the Year 
Joseph Garcia, Director of Genome BC, Director Emeritus of LifeSciences BC and member of the BIOTECanada Legal Affairs Advisory Board, Partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Dr. Don Rix Award for Lifetime Achievement 
Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, Adjunct Clinical Professor, UBC, Associate Scientist, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research – Aubrey J. Tingle Prize
Dr. Adeera Levin, Head, Division of Nephrology, UBC, and Executive Director, BC Provincial Renal Agency

For more information on the 17th Annual LifeSciences BC Awards, presented by FARRIS, and to purchase tickets please visit:

To order tickets for group tables or individual tickets please go to: or call 604-669-9909 ext. 104.



About the 2015 LifeSciences BC Awards Recipients:

Life Sciences Company of the Year  – STEMCELL TECHNOLOGIES INC

Allen Eaves launched STEMCELL Technologies Inc. in 1993 as a way of providing standardized, cost effective cell culture media for growing blood-forming stem cells to the global hematology research community. In its first year, with only eight employees and one product line, the company generated $1 million in sales. This year, after 22 years of rapid and steady growth, STEMCELL is projected to see sales reach $100 million. The company currently conducts business in 80 countries and employs 650 people, 500 of whom are based in Vancouver. STEMCELL remains the largest biotech company in Canada, and continues to strive to make Vancouver a science hub by attracting world class scientists and supporting the careers of local science graduates. 

STEMCELL has expanded its catalogue to more than 2000 products, and now offers standardized media for growing embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as stem and progenitor cells from non-blood-forming tissue types, including neural, pancreatic, intestinal, lung, breast, prostate, muscle, mesenchymal and endothelial tissues. The company’s extensive array of cell separation reagents, tools and instruments allow immunology and other bio-medical researchers to rapidly and efficiently separate and enrich most types of cells. The goal is to have STEMCELL products in every lab throughout the world, helping researchers understand and cure diseases using cellular therapies such as immunotherapy, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and gene therapy.

Each of STEMCELL’s products has been expertly developed by the company’s team of R&D scientists and is produced using rigorously pre-screened materials to ensure the highest levels of quality and batch-to-batch consistency. This way, STEMCELL is able to take a substantial burden off of researchers by increasing the efficiency and reproducibility of their work. Motivated by a genuine passion for the uncompromising pursuit of scientific knowledge and excellence, STEMCELL sees itself simply as a company of Scientists Helping Scientists™.

Medical Technology Company of the Year - Kardium Inc.

Kardium is a medical device company in Vancouver, working on a revolutionary treatment for a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart disease that is a growing epidemic affecting over 40 Million people worldwide.  The major risk associated with atrial fibrillation is a 500% increased likelihood of stroke. Atrial fibrillation is primarily treated today by using a catheter with a single electrode to create lesions in the patient’s atrium. 

Kardium has assembled a world-class team of engineers, researchers and developers in Vancouver to develop the Globe® mapping and ablation system, which will be used to treat atrial fibrillation. The Globe system is a sophisticated electro-mechanical catheter, driven by advanced software, all developed and manufactured by the Kardium team in Vancouver.

The Globe catheter has 275 electrodes that are deployed in an expanding array, into the patient’s atrium.  This array of electrodes allows the physician to easily create maps of the atrial anatomy and simultaneously map the complete electrical activity of the atrium.  The physician can then use the electrodes to easily create all the necessary lesions, treating the atrial fibrillation with a single device.
The first human patients were recently treated with the Globe system in Zurich, Switzerland by Dr. Kottkamp, a world leader in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.  This successful study represented a major milestone for Kardium. Further clinical studies are scheduled to take place in Europe later this year, with more of the global leaders in treating atrial fibrillation.
Kardium expects the Globe system will have a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation in the future.

Growth Stage Life Sciences Company of the Year - Qu Biologics Inc.

Qu Biologics is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the way we treat cancer and other immune-related disease. Rather than blocking or stimulating a single specific receptor or pathway, the company’s Site Specific Immunomodulators (SSIs) aim to restore the body’s normal immune response.

Qu Biologics has discovered how our body’s immune response to acute infection helps our body clear cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases. SSIs, which are derived from components of inactivated common bacteria, are designed to activate the body’s innate immune response and restore normal immune function in the targeted organ or tissue to reverse the chronic inflammation underlying many chronic diseases including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and other immune-related conditions. By restoring and empowering your own immune system, SSIs are designed to treat disease differently.

Qu Biologics is currently conducting a placebo-controlled clinical trial for Crohn’s disease with primary endpoint results anticipated in Q3 2015. A Phase 2a clinical trial in recurrent lung cancer is also currently underway to study immunological endpoints associated with SSI treatment. We are also planning to begin an ulcerative colitis clinical trial in Q2 2015. 

Backed by a prestigious group of scientific advisors and board members, Qu Biologics is led by a management team that includes co-founder and CEO Dr. Hal Gunn, a physician and expert on the body's immune response to chronic disease, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, former CEO of the BC Cancer Agency and a distinguished clinician, scientist and leader in cancer control internationally, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. David Mullins, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and recognized expert in immune cell trafficking to tumours.  For more information, visit

Genome British Columbia Award for Scientific Excellence - Dr. Mel Krajden

Dr. Krajden’s work on viral diseases such as HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza -- and especially hepatitis -- is known nationally and internationally. He has received over $15 million in peer reviewed and contract funding, with much of his research focused on translating scientific discoveries into tests that improve diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. 

He has served on numerous organizations and is the author of 227 peer-reviewed publications.

Over the past 25 years he has witnessed how the power of genomics led to the identification of hepatitis C that infects about 1% of Canadians. Modern drug design has now enabled the development of new, well-tolerated, short course treatments that can cure greater than 95% of hepatitis C infections. 

As these drugs become available in the coming year, Dr. Krajden and his team are applying state of the art genomic tools to distinguish new from old infections and determine how hepatitis C is spread within transmission networks. He also spearheads a linked laboratory and administrative database initiative focused on the assessment of population level outcomes. This database initiative, involving the Health Authorities and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS will enable British Columbia to design and evaluate hepatitis C prevention, care and treatment interventions. This lays the foundation for eliminating hepatitis C in BC over the next 10 to 15 years. 

“It has been a long haul, and there is much more to be done – but I am grateful to be surrounded by so many dedicated people who really care about translating science into better health outcomes.”

Award for Clinical Research Excellence - BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

By 1990 it was globally recognized HIV represented a pandemic of catastrophic proportions and exceptional interventions would be needed to stem the growth of new HIV infections and AIDS deaths. As a result, in 1992 the BC Ministry of Health established the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) to lead the fight against HIV and AIDS in the province.

Soon thereafter, in 1996 the BC-CfE lead by Dr. Julio Montaner, discovered triple drug combination treatment known as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).  HAART was a game changer, it virtually stopped progression of HIV infection to AIDS and AIDS related premature death.

In 2006, under the leadership of Dr. Montaner, the BC-CfE introduced to the world, Treatment as Prevention (TasP). This was based on the recognition that HAART not only prevented AIDS and premature death, it also fully prevented HIV transmission, and represented a life saving and cost saving strategy. It was a defining moment for the control of HIV & AIDS, in BC and Canada, and worldwide. In September 2014, the UN Secretary General formally embraced the made-in-BC strategy as the cornerstone of the global fight against HIV & AIDS. 

Based on the lessons learnt in the implementation of TasP for HIV & AIDS in BC, the BC-CfE is currently exploring the potential impact of expanding TasP to other high burden diseases. Indeed, we now view TasP as a strategy adaptable to achieving Targeted Disease Elimination, particularly to other communicable infectious (i.e.: Hepatitis, TB, STIs) and non-infectious (i.e.: addictions, obesity or smoking related diseases) conditions. Expanded use of TasP as a means to achieve Targeted Disease Elimination provides a unique opportunity to promote Heath Care sustainability. 

Milton Wong Award for Leadership - Dr. Pieter Cullis

Dr. Pieter Cullis (Professor & Director, Life Sciences Institute UBC; Chair & Co-Founder, Personalized Medicine Initiative (PMI) is a highly regarded scientist, visionary, and serial entrepreneur.  He has been active in the development of several successful biotechnology and personalized medicine companies (9 total) and is recognized as a remarkable researchers (300 scientific articles) and innovator (47 patents).  

Dr. Cullis and his lab pioneered the field of liposomal nanoparticulate (LNP) drug delivery systems, which led to three approved drugs in Canada, the US, and Europe for treatment of cancer and its complications, with another five drugs in various phases of clinical development.  He was the Founding Scientific Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD; 2004-2010), a Centre for Excellence for Commercialization and Research – demonstrating his considerable ability in starting and leading a successful CECR.  

Dr. Cullis has received many prestigious awards including the B.C. Science Council Gold Medal for Health Sciences (1991), the Alec D. Bangham Award for contributions to liposome science and technology (2000), the B.C. Biotechnology Association Award for Innovation and Achievement (2002), the Leadership Award of the Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Scientists (2010), and the Prix Galien Canada’s premier price for achievements in pharmaceutical R&D (2011).  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.

Corporate Partner/Advisor of the Year - Joseph Garcia

Joseph Garcia is a partner who practises in the areas of corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Joseph advises high growth public and private companies, underwriters, pension funds, private equity groups, and venture capital investors on complex domestic and cross-border private and public securities offerings, mergers & acquisitions, and international commercial transactions. He advises clients in a variety of industries, including life sciences, technology, retail, mining and clean technology. 

Prior to his career in law, Joseph worked in corporate finance with a national underwriter and in clinical research with a large pharmaceutical company.

Joseph is a Director of Genome BC, Director Emeritus of LifeSciences BC and member of the BIOTECanada Legal Affairs Advisory Board. Joseph is featured as a leading lawyer in numerous publications including The 2014 Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada, The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory 2015, The Best Lawyers in Canada 2015, The 2011 Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, Lexpert’s Special Edition on Energy, November 2014, and LMG Life Sciences: The Definitive Guide to the Leading Life Sciences Firms and Attorneys in North America 2014. 

Joseph has a BSc (Honours) in pharmacology and human biology from the University of Toronto, a BA in economics (health care) from McMaster University and a LLB from the University of British Columbia. He was admitted to the British Columbia Bar in 1997.

Dr. Don Rix Award for Lifetime Achievement - Dr. Simon Sutcliffe

A graduate of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, England in 1970, Dr. Sutcliffe's training encompassed internal medicine, scientific research, medical and radiation oncology in the UK, South Africa, US and Canada. Staff appointments have been held at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute and the BC Cancer Agency.

He has been President and CEO of the Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute (1994-1996) and  the BC Cancer Agency (2000- 2009). He chairs the Board of the Institute for Health Systems Transformation and Sustainability; is President of the International Cancer Control Congress Association, the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research–Canada Branch (Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration); is a Senior Advisor to the Terry Fox Research Institute and is Chief Medical Officer for QuBiologics Inc. and Omnitura Inc. He is a past Chair of the Board of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC, 2009-2012), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR, 2000-7) and has served on the Boards of CPAC,. MSFHR, and Genome BC. He is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of British Columbia and an Associate Scientist with the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency.

Dr. Sutcliffe was awarded the Queen Elizabeth 50th Jubilee Gold Medal in 2003, and the Terry Fox Award of the BC Medical Association in 2009 for his lifetime services to cancer control.

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research - Aubrey J. Tingle Prize - Dr. Adeera Levin

Dr. Adeera Levin is a Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia, and Consultant nephrologist at Providence Health Care/St. Paul’s Hospital, in Vancouver.

Also within her mandate is her role as the Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency which oversees the care, planning and budgets for kidney services in the province of British Columbia. In this capacity, she has leveraged her epidemiological training, clinical knowledge and health outcomes research to develop an evidence-based transparent system which enhances the care of patients across the continuum of care (from identification of Chronic Kidney Disease through to dialysis, transplant and death).

Active in international activities across the spectrum of kidney activities, Dr. Levin has served as Secretary General of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), and is now President Elect of ISN.

Her major research areas of interest include non-traditional risk factors for CVD in CKD patients (with particular focus on anemia, phosphate and vitamin D, and progression of CKD variability) as well as models of care. She has 268 peer reviewed publications, numerous book chapters, and is co-editor of a textbook “Chronic Kidney Disease: a practical guide to understanding and management.”

She has received numerous teaching and research awards from local and national groups. In 2013, she was awarded the Canadian Society of Nephrology Outstanding Contributions to Canadian Nephrology and in 2014, the Kidney Foundation of Canada Research medal of Excellence. She was also awarded a fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She has recently been honored with the National Kidney Foundation’s International Distinguished Medal for 2015 which recognizes the achievement of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of kidney disease.

She serves on numerous editorial boards and reviews for major kidney and medicine journals. She is the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the new Canadian Journal of Kidney Health & Disease. She is the Principal Investigator on a large cohort study CAN-PREDDICT, and holds numerous peer reviewed grants. She collaborates with investigators across Canada and internationally.


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