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canadian entrepreneurs in life science


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  • January 15, 2021 7:31 AM | Richard Ayllon (Administrator)

    As business adapts to the new normal and virtual meetings.  Some of the classic meeting events that kick-off the Life Science Investor calendar year are being rethought. What do you think?

    Read The Article

  • December 10, 2020 1:51 PM | Richard Ayllon (Administrator)

    From Demo Day a few key take-aways from our Guest Speakers:

    Fireside Chat: Hidden Gems - Optimizing Opportunities for Life Science Companies in the US and Canada

    • Brian Courtney, CEO of Conavi Medical and Interventional Cardiologist and Clinician Scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    • Cheryl Reicin, Chair of Life Sciences Practice, Torys LLP with Brian Courtney, 

    Keynote Talk - Motivation to invest in early stage Life Science companies

    • Vik Bajaj, Managing Director, Foresite Capital
    • Anne Woods, Managing Director - Life Sciences & Healthcare SVB


    • At many provincial and federal levels they are looking to see how Canadian health care move from being less of a cost center and more of an economic zone.
    • What's very important for any region is to create an ecosystem that is resilient to the failure of multiple companies. That's the magic of clusters in Silicon Valley.
    • The goal is to have the greatest impact on a patient's life. As life science investors we strive to achieve the greatest impact possible with the greatest return.
    • Startups need people who went from small to big. People who went through the transitions, because they would have been through some of the battles that you should anticipate as an entrepreneur going forward.

    Both talks are on the CELS VR Demo Day On-Demand Replay:

    play video 

    password required: =b2gxfN3

  • December 03, 2020 8:00 AM | Richard Ayllon (Administrator)

    The pandemic is ushering in the next trillion-dollar industry.  Tech Investors and Tech giants adjusting to the realities of a regulated environment.

    Canada is well suited to thrive in this great market of opportunity. 

    Check out the story at economist.com (free article conditions or subscription required)

    Go To Article


  • December 02, 2020 3:56 PM | Richard Ayllon (Administrator)

    An invitation from BIOTECanada - for JPM 2021 week

    You're invited to Connect with Canada, a networking opportunity bringing together healthcare companies, industry leaders, investors, business development reps, and policymakers to connect prior to JP Morgan, Biotech Showcase, and other conferences normally held in San Francisco.

    While we can't host you for breakfast this time, we still want to ensure you stay connected with your industry colleagues. Join us to kick off another promising week of partnerships and growth.

    Get ready for your first online networking event of the new year! Connect with us on Wednesday, January 6 to get energized for the week ahead.

    This event will include both casual networking and welcome remarks from a handful of speakers. We will provide more detail in the coming weeks on the agenda and online platform. Register to stay in the loop.


  • November 29, 2020 12:10 PM | Richard Ayllon (Administrator)

    A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Health

    The Center for Digital Health Landscape Report is a first of its kind, comprehensive analysis of Digital Health efforts across Stanford.

    The report includes a deep dive into academic literature, detailed research trends, and unique institutional insights from a variety of stakeholders throughout the Stanford ecosystem.

    Access Report Here

  • November 29, 2020 10:34 AM | Nathan Butlin (Administrator)

    The pandemic has accelerated adoption and growth of virtual and hybrid care models, with 2020 on track to attract a record $16B, far outpacing the $12.1B+ raised in 2019.

    Find it Here

  • October 29, 2020 11:58 AM | Richard Ayllon (Administrator)

    The Angel Capital Association's (ACA) latest annual report.

    The ACA Angel Funders Report 2020 is a deep dive into investment trends reflecting a growing North American angel ecosystem, benefiting communities with innovative new companies and jobs.

    The report is based on information collected from a variety of ACA member groups, including some of the most active investing communities.

    The Angel Funders Report analyzes angel capital investments made during 2019, and features profiles, stories, and insights from leading angel investors and startup company executives.

    The report also includes initial perspectives regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the investing ecosystem.

    Access Report Here

  • February 08, 2019 10:21 AM | Po On Yeung (Administrator)

    Western Canada's largest annual innovation event, the 2019 #BCTECHSummit is taking place March 11-13 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

    Together with Trade and Invest, British Columbia, we are spreading the word for Investors and Companies interested in expanding to British Columbia to attend the Summit and the Investment Showcase.


    The Investment Showcase will be presented in three streams:

    • Cleantech
    • Life Sciences
    • Information Communication Technologies.

    Check out the pitching companies listed here. These companies were chosen by our Selection Committee, an independent review panel, made up of local and international investors, representing some of British Columbia’s most promising startups and come from a variety of different sectors.

    Stay tuned for the program agenda over the next couple of weeks.

    Investor applications are still open, apply now.

    Investor Application (deadline: February 15, 2019)

    Accredited investors will receive a discount code via email to purchase a discounted ticket at $699

    View the full details of all the companies registered so far, here:

  • January 21, 2019 9:00 AM | Po On Yeung (Administrator)

    Every January, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference descends upon San Francisco and is famous for a few major things:

    • Thousands of investors, pharmaceutical firms, healthcare service providers gathering together to connect in person, learn about the latest trends and make deals!
    • Hundreds of side-events all week beyond the conference (some people come for specifically those opportunities)!
    • Rain. Be prepared!

    At the Pan-Canadian Panel that CELS (Canadian Entrepreneurs in Life Sciences) organized in the Fall on “Making Connections in the Silicon Valley, experts across the Country emphasized the value in attending this conference, interacting with at the side-events and arranging your meetings ahead of time. To facilitate these meetings, CELS was delighted to promote the dedicated free Canadian meeting space sponsored by the Consulate of Canada San Francisco.

    Here are a few first-hand accounts and observations from the week from conference participants:

    1. BIOTECanada Breakfast with Canadian Consul General Rana Sarkar

    This year Canada saw a deep presence of leading and up and coming companies participate at JP Morgan - 17 Canadian companies presented at the Biotech Showcase and there was increasing interest from early stage companies at RESI. JP Morgan saw Canada start the year off strong and we're looking forward to 2019!”

    Iraina Miles, Trade Commissioner for Life Sciences at the Consulate General of Canada

    It was my first time attending the JP Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco. The Biotech Canada breakfast was a great kick-off event. There is certainly a buzz about the event around the city. I enjoyed the event immensely as it was a great opportunity to network and learn more about the Canadian biotech industry. The Consul General, Rana Sakar, made a presentation to promote the Consular services offered to Canadian companies. I also greatly appreciated that he raised awareness about Canada’s Global Skills Strategy – a Canadian immigration policy that was announced by the Trudeau government to specifically attract highly skilled talent to Canada and fuel innovation and economic growth. This program is definitely a competitive advantage for Canada’s Biotech and Healthcare industry. I look forward to attending next year! “

    Pavan Dhillon, Canadian Immigration Attorney
    Dhillon Immigration Website

    2) Market Pulse on Healthcare in 2019 at the Nasdaq Center

    I personally attended this free event to hear firsthand from healthcare industry experts on what was "hot in healthcare and what was getting funded", in order to build my own knowledge base as an Innovation Professional and to gain insights on sector trends.

    I was impressed by the panel of speakers and I wasn’t the only one keen to arrive for a 7:30 am start, as the room was packed and many people had to stand! I appreciated that the Silicon Valley Bank report was sent out to all the attendees afterwards, which you can view here:

    After the event, contact details from the speakers were also shared to carry the conversation further:

    • Dan Angius, Managing Director, Nasdaq - Daniel.Angius@nasdaq.com
    • Jon Norris, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank - JNorris@svb.com

    • James Huie, Partner, WSGR - jhuie@wsgr.com

    • Scott Burger, Managing Director, KPMG - scottburger@kpmg.com

    • Una Ryan, Managing Director, Golden Seeds (filling in for Sharon Vosmek who couldn’t make it) - uryan1@gmail.com

    • Sharon Vosmek, CEO, Astia - sharon@astia.org

    • Ursheet Parikh, Partner, Mayfield Fund - uparikh@mayfield.com

    • Scott Barclay - scott@dcvc.com

    • Max Eisenberg, General Counsel, Polaris Partners - max@polarispartners.com

    • Keith Newman, VP Partnerships, Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center - keith.newman@thecenter.nasdaq.org

    The most valuable reason to attend this conference in the opportunity got in-person meetings and connecting with contacts old and new. I was delighted to catch up with a few Canadians!

    3) Observations from Dr. Samuel White, previously with The Centre for Drug Research and Development based in Vancouver, Canada. Now with MorphoSys in Europe.

    “Great to return to JPM, this time as a member of MorphoSys’s BD & Portfolio Management team. Having previously spent almost six years in Canada working at CDRD I built up a large network of Canadian friends and colleagues . Still I was surprised that every time I hit the street to walk to another meeting or attended an evening reception, I bumped into another Canadian! Fantastic to see such a strong Canadian presence and this hopefully signals that the Canadian Life Science economy is going from strength to strength!”

    Dr. Samuel White, Associate Director, BD & Portfolio Management

    Sam also had a funny encounter, when he ran into this sign during the conference!

    4) FemTech Collective Mixer

    Another event I registered for was the Mixer organized by the FemTech Collective.

    FemTech Collective is the premiere network connecting innovators in the female focused health technology space through unique and impactful events, media, and an online platform. They are a growing collective of over 200 FemTech startups, established companies, investors, and industry professionals coming together to catalyze innovative female focused health technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and globally.

    “I was advised that I needed to do something alongside J.P. Morgan. In my opinion, this is a very exclusive event as it is invite-only, but there are great opportunities to connect at periphery events, especially with investors if you’re a start up! Our FemTech Mixer 
    benefitted from J.P. Morgan as there were a lot of people in town already. We capitalized on hosting the event at 4:00 pm as people were wrapping up their days, and before they needed to attend evening events. We were pleased to partner with Jessie Health and within 4 days had over 120 RSVPS! We were happy at the huge interest and opportunity to build community at a larger scale and raise awareness for FemTech and the FemTech Collective”

    Nicole Dahlstrom, Founder
    FemTech Collective

    5) Spontaneous Meetings, including mine with Accel-Rx Executive Team

    I got to meet with many of the people I’ve quoted above, and I wondered to myself, would I run into anyone serendipitously at J.P. Morgan?

    Well sure enough, if you walk around the City Centre during this conference, it is guaranteed you will bump into folks from J.P. Morgan, and very likely, people you want to meet! In my case, I ran into two members of the Accel-Rx Leadership Team from Vancouver, Natalie Dakers and Michael Lincoln.

    Accel-Rx was created to bridge that gap and is the only organization with a national perspective addressing these specific growth challenges.

    From their website: We're here to ensure the health sciences ecosystem in Canada thrives today and flourishes into the future. As Canada’s health innovation accelerator, we give health science start-ups the support they need to transcend innovations into commercialization. This means we enable companies to grow, mature and become investor-ready.

    Wonderful to connect with these two!

    (L to R: Natalie Dakers - Founding President and Chief Executive Officer, Po On Yeung - CELS Director of Marketing, Michael Lincoln - Chief Financial and Business Officer)

    There were many other events that took place and several companies create and curate their own list.

    For example: Novateur JP Morgan Networking Event Guide

    Bookmark this page as you plan for a presence at the next years J.P. Morgan!

    In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and events!

    Our next CELS event will coincide with Dose of the Valley

    CELS Feb. Meet Up
    A special edition hosting Dose of the Valley participants. An opportunity to meet local CELS members
    Feb 12th @ WSGR.
    Tuesday, February 12 at 5:00 PM

    WSGR, One Market Plaza, 1 Market St #3300, San Francisco

    CELS will sponsor the event and invite CELS members to meet DoV participants.

    Were you at J.P. Morgan and have a story to share? Or are you planning to be in the Bay Area and want more details on getting involved?

    Email one of us to be part of the conversation!

  • December 14, 2018 9:36 AM | Po On Yeung (Administrator)

    New Canadian in the City

    I moved from my hometown of Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco this Summer with an open mind and eagerness to immerse myself in the Bay Area and learn as much as I could about the vibrant technology and innovation ecosystem. Thanks to one friendly connection after the other (such as introductions from members of Canada’s Digital Technologies Supercluster team and friends at the Canadian Consulate), I was introduced to Joanne Fedeyko, CELS (Canadian Entrepreneurs in Life Sciences) Director and CEO of Connection Silicon Valley, who invited me to a Summer Reception hosted by Springboard Enterprises - A community of influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women.

    (Springboard Summer Event in a Biotech district in San Francisco) 

    This particular event was organized to celebrate their 2018 Life Science alumnae and the launch of their Digital Health program alongside advisors, Council members, and other alumnae. It was an energizing evening with talks from Portfolia (an entrepreneurial investing platform designed for women) and Female Sexual Health Thought Leader, Rachel Braun Scherl.

    Something I experienced right away was the willingness for people to help one another. As soon as I said I was new to town, one of the Council Members gave me her card and said to message her any time. I met founders, investors and employees of innovative companies and made several new connections that evening (whom I followed up with for subsequent coffee meetings!).

    Finding ways to get involved through partnerships and volunteer

    The most notable connection of the evening was Joanne introducing me to Richard Ayllon, Managing Director of CELS. The three of us immediately connected some dots: I was new and looking for opportunities to get involved with San Francisco companies, and they were running a volunteer-based organization. We shared the mutual passion and interest of supporting Canadian Entrepreneurs and strengthening connections between Canadians and those in the SF Bay Area.

    Through Joanne and other Canadian-related connections, I was meeting  a ton of people who lived in the Bay Area and wanted to help build bridges.

    (Connections Silicon Valley Event hosted at The Vault co-working space, L-R: Po On Yeung - CELS Director and UBC Innovation, Rahim Fazal - CEO SVAcademy, Joanne Fedeyko - CELS Director and CEO Connection Silicon Valley

    Given my previous Marketing and Partnerships experience at LifeSciences BC, a not-for-profit industry association in British Columbia, and most recently, in Research and Innovation at the University of British Columbia, there was a natural fit to roll up my sleeves to support and build upon CELS initiatives!

    The all-volunteer Leadership team and Advisory Board includes experienced Life Science professionals and entrepreneurs from across Canada and the Bay Area devoting their time to areas such as: Programming, Mentorship, Sponsorship and more. You can read about the entire team here. Other partners have been invaluable in helping to commit time and resources for raising awareness and building community.

    My Role with CELS, and the exciting initiatives taking place

    As part of my role as Director, Marketing I compiled key highlights and notes from our Pan-Canadian Virtual Panel: https://cels-sfo.com/CELS-Blog/6901936

    I summarize Key take-aways from the panel members that included:

    • Terry Cowl, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada, (San Francisco)
    • Elton Satusky, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (San Francisco)
    • Cedric Bisson, Partner, Teralys Capital (Montreal)
    • Fouzia Laghrissi, AstraZeneca (Switzerland)
    • James Taylor, Co-Founder, CEO, Precision Nanosystems (Vancouver)

    (L-R: Iraina Miles -  CELS Director and Canadian Trade Commissioner, Grace Wei - COO EnCellin, Terry Cowl - Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner, Richard Ayllon - CELS Managing Director, Elton Satusky - Partner WSGR, Po On Yeung - CELS Director and UBC Innovation, Steve Karp - Executive Director Innovation Services, CLSI ) 

    “Get down to the Silicon Valley and start making connections!”

    “You need to manage the relationship with internal champions, and also spend time influencing people externally. Find key opinion leaders and speak to them as part of your Public Relations efforts”.

    “To make connections, you need to make time over there. Being down in San Francisco is very easy and accessible - it’s like taking the bus!”

    Get Involved!

    There are exciting plans coming down the pipeline, including a presence during the 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference Event in January. 

    The Canada Meeting Center will be open during JPM Conference week, offering free causal meeting space for Canadian Life Science professionals. 
    Location: Axxiom Hotel 2 blocks away from the main conference site.

    Sponsored by the Canadian Consulate - San Francisco

    Be Sure to Sign up for regular updates and connect with us to get involved!

    As the title of this article implies, getting involved with the local community and building relationships is crucial to building your business, and at CELS, we want to help leverage our networks to strengthen Canadian ties with the Silicon Valley!

    Register for membership, our newsletter and future events: [https://cels-sfo.com/join-us]

    Have an idea for a future event?

    Email one of us to be part of the conversation!

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