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Home Tech 8 Canadian Entrepreneurs Revolutionizing Biotech

8 Canadian Entrepreneurs Revolutionizing Biotech

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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Entrepreneurship is perceived to be a lucrative venture for the chosen few who have these characteristics in common: an outstanding vision, innovative mind, perseverance, and risk-taking. Biotechnology companies have specialized in developing diagnostic items and drugs used in treating illnesses and other medical fatalities. 

Canada’s biotechnology industry is a high technology sector that propels outstanding innovation, a pool of highly skilled experts, and a place to gamble capital investment. 

Canada is not perceived to be a big player in the business world than its southern region counterparts. However, you will see it be home to many outstanding entrepreneurs revolutionizing and making it big in the biotech industry.  

Revolutionary Canadian Entrepreneurs in Biotech

Now let’s look at some successful entrepreneurs revolutionizing the Biotech industry, hoping that it inspires you as an upcoming young entrepreneur.  

  • Ali Tehrani

The vibrant Ali Tehran is the founder of Zymeworks Inc, a Vancouver-based company that focuses on research in the biotechnology industry. The company specializes in discovering, developing, and commercializing future multifunctional biotherapeutics, originally channelled towards cancer treatment. Zymeworks came to be known during merging with a massive Canadian biotech IPO, to be observed over a single decade.

The company’s innovative spirit has seen it earn investors and make remarkable partnerships with Daiichi Sankyo, Celgene, BeiGene, Zanidatamab, and ZW49. Its sales revenue stands at $29.54 million, attracting investors who are confident in the profits.

  • Eugene Melnyk

Eugene Melnyk is a thriving businessman who founded the largest pharmaceutical company called Biovail Corporation in 1989. He was once its CEO and former chairman before its acquisition by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. 

The company participated in revolutionizing biotech by reinventing drugs with expired patents under the company’s proprietary technologies. For example, there is the production of drugs with a controlled release feature that allows a patient to take the medication once daily instead of countable times in a day.

In 2019 Melnyk founded Neurolign Technologies Inc., a company focused on using medical devices in diagnosing and availing a treatment plan for many neurological disorders. He is the current chairman and CEO of this company.

  • William G.Rice Ph.D

William is the CEO and chairman of Aptose Biosciences, previously known as Lorus Theraupeutics Inc. It specializes in making discoveries and customizing therapies in the oncology field since it is a clinical-stage biotechnology company.

The company has its headquarters in Toronto, Canada, where there are some clinical programs. For instance, the most recognized is APTO-253, a phase 1b clinical trial used to treat blood cancers. The clinical trials mostly specialize in blood cancers such as high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia.

Aptose Biosciences Company coordinates with CrystalGenomics to research, develop, and commercialize a bioavailable non-covalent molecule called CG026806. The molecule is still in the initial phase 1a/b clinical trial, where it is used to treat several B-cell malignancies and relapsed acute myeloid leukemia. 

  • Johann Rudolf Alexander 

Novartis pharmaceuticals were founded in 1996 by Rudolf Alexander after Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz merged. It is currently a significant researched-based company specializing in the development and marketing of innovated new strains of prescription medicines within Canada.

The company had a role in figuring out a conducive treatment for covid-19, and it brought out a link between COVID 19 and chloroquine, a malaria treatment. After this development, many people across the world were motivating each other to try out the treatment.

The research on COVID 19 and the findings Norvatis came up with led to its prices rocketing, which was a great thing.

The company’s partnership with TScan with regards to solid tumours made it receive a $30 million funding. It is currently the highest-earning pharmaceutical company.

  • Michael L. Riordan

In 1987, Gilead Sciences was founded by Michael l. Riordan. Gilead Sciences is a pharmaceutical company that is focusing on the research and development of antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs have been used in treating HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, influenza, among many others. 

Gilead is famous for declaring to be working on a possible cure for COVID 19 virus. The outcome of its finding was the development of the remdesivir drug. The drug improved immensely on the health of two-thirds of the COVID 19 infected population after being administered to them. However, the drug is still in the trial stage, while rapid efforts are getting made to have a reliable cure for COVID 19.

Gilead Sciences Inc. ranks as one of the most outstanding pharmaceutical companies in Canada. Remdesivir has proven to be efficient in treating the virus’s symptoms. Gilead positions itself at a benefiting position from the sale of the drug.

  • Roger Mclntyre 

Dr. Roger Mclntyre is the CEO of Champignons Brands, whose core business in the biotechnology field is innovation. A thriving biotech company needs to be innovative, and creative ideas have to lead to creative solutions to existing problems and gaps in the market. 

Champignon’s mission is to pursue the development and commercialization of rapid onset treatments with the capability to improve health outcomes like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and substance and alcohol abuse disorders.

The majority of the biotechnology world is hugely impacted by mental illness challenges all around the world. For example, in America alone, over 40 million people suffer from anxiety-related problems, while over 15 million suffer from depressive disorders. 

Many solutions available to deal with mental illness are not effectively giving permanent resolution to these illnesses. No wonder Champignon is moving towards finding a different mental illness solution, and this move has been received with immense anticipation.

The company’s stock has risen to 300% since its IPO due to its research using compounds from hallucinogenic mushrooms to recreate particular drugs. In 2020, the company’s acquisition of a company with four patents in Psilocybin resulted in the drug coming out as efficient in treating depression and addiction. 

  • Heman Chao

Helix BioPharma Corp was founded in 1995. Its CEO is Heman Chao. The company’s primary interests are in the innovation and development of drugs used to prevent and treat cancer. Most of its products are focused on immune-oncology. Some of the development initiatives include the L-DOS47 drug candidate it involves testing for small-cell lung cancer. 

The next product, V-DOS47, is currently in the preclinical development stage and will focus on vascular epithelial growth factors.

The L-DOS47 drug candidate has already been approved by the FDA to be used in a phase 1b/2 test for metastatic pancreatic cancer in its advanced state for patients with at least two previous treatment regimens.

  • Clarissa Desjardins

In 2011, Dr. Clarissa Desjardins founded Clementia, a Biotech Company that is currently developing its lead product candidate, Palovarotene. This product is meant to be an oral therapy for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). FOP is a sporadic and disabling genetic disease that affects the connective tissues.

She has done a great job attracting investors to her side. In 2015, she led a leading $60 million mezzanine financing round, which gave investors increasing trust in her and her company. 

She has also been a founder of two other successful biotech companies, Advanced Bio concept and Caprion Pharmaceuticals (today known as Thallion). Advanced Bio concept Company was a reagent diagnostics company which she sold to NEN Life Sciences in 1998. Caprion now focuses on drug making and proteomic biomarker discovery. 

Final Words

If you are enthusiastic about the rise in Canada’s Biotech industry, you have certainly landed in the right place, and the list depicted above gives you details of key figures in the industries. Most entrepreneurs are doing a great job steering their companies towards revolutionizing the biotech industry and fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

With increased research skills, a highly skilled workforce, and a boost in investment capital, Canadian biotech companies are destined for massive breakthroughs in the upcoming years. Those are the most outstanding entrepreneurs to be on the lookout for in the future.

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