Mr. David Schellenberg
Mr. David Schellenberg is a seasoned business leader with a strong track record of creating sustainable and profitable business growth. Trained as a Chartered Accountant, he completed his MBA at the University of Western Ontario before embarking on a career that saw him gain significant operating and financial leadership experience covering a wide variety of businesses and industries. He is known for developing and managing top talent, creating significant business development wins, completing acquisitions and working through the challenges of multiple start-ups. Currently serving as a Managing Director of Highland West Capital, David and his partners offer a broad array of capital alternatives (including traditional debt and equity structures) as well as strategic, operational and financial support to its management partners.
Prior to Highland West, he was CEO of Conair Group Inc. & Cascade Aerospace Inc., specialty aviation and aerospace businesses that he and his management team grew into world leaders within their respective industries. In 2012, he was honored with a CEO of the Year award by Business in Vancouver. Before his success in the aviation and aerospace industries, David worked as a Managing Director within the Jim Pattison Group corporate office, gaining valuable experience in a wide range of business functions and was heavily involved in the support and oversight of the 50+ Jim Pattison Group member companies. He is also affiliated and involved in various foundations and organizations in the community, while retaining a long-term membership in the Young Presidents’ / World President's Organization.
Dr. Christopher Bissonnette
Founding Partner, CDL-West
Managing Partner, Pallasite Ventures
Dr. Christopher Bissonnette has been a neuroscientist, a day trader, and a cofounder of an adtech startup in Chicago that raised significant venture funding. He is currently the managing partner of Pallasite Ventures, a Vancouver-based early-stage venture fund with a growing portfolio of over 70 companies across Canada and the United States.
Following 10 years as a research scientist focusing on stem cell treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, successfully launching a startup company, and then spending several years in corporate finance, Chris founded Pallasite Ventures as a vehicle to enable the positive impact of science at a scale beyond what is possible in a research lab.
Pallasite is currently investing predominantly in later seed-stage medtech companies, with portfolio companies tackling some of the most challenging current health issues today, from Parkinson’s disease to genetic engineering, tissue regeneration, and prenatal health, while also working on software to empower patents and drive access to medical services. Pallasite is also actively investing in fintech and business optimization SaaS companies. Chris devotes a significant amount of time to mentoring founders – both those in his portfolio and others he hasn’t funded yet – to deliver additional value and help support and build the startup tech ecosystem.
Chris is currently on the boards of Aspect Biosystems (Vancouver, stem cell technology), Ionomr (Vancouver, fuel cell/battery technology), RealtyButler (Vancouver, SaaS optimization tools), and ViralGains (Boston, algorithmic brand engagement). Outside of investing, Chris is also on the board of two foundations that support neuroscience research and medical infrastructure development in British Columbia and has been a speaker at various conferences. Chris holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University in cellular neuroscience and a PhD from Northwestern University in stem cell biology and has a US patent for his previous scientific research work.
Dr. Sandra Dunn
Dr. Sandra Dunn founded Phoenix Molecular Designs in 2012, following the identification of a novel approach to treating TNBC, the deadliest form of breast cancer. The discovery of RSK as a prime target for TNBC came from functional genomic screens in her laboratory. Dr. Dunn has spent more than 27 years as a breast cancer researcher and as such has served on multiple oversight committees, including: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (USA) and the Susan Komen Foundation. She was the youngest member of the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program in the early 1990s and was recognized for her commitment to the field during her early days as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health.
She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer and is firmly dedicated to breast cancer. This was inspired by personal experiences with the disease in her family, as it impacted several generations of women. Her broad range of experience in private industry, government and academia has prepared her to lead PhoenixMD, where they are working to change the outcomes for women with breast cancer by developing a selective new drug to uniquely attack the cancer cells in a way that has not been done before.
She has led multinational oncology research projects to advance the development of novel cancer therapeutics and has built amazing teams to achieve these goals. Over the past three decades, she has raised millions of dollars to fund cancer research and has built one of the few female-led biotechnology companies specifically aimed at eradicating breast cancer.
Dr. Dunn is technology leader in oncology drug development and biotechnology businesses.
Dr. Nicholas Sharp
Dr. Nicholas Sharp is an entrepreneur, scientist and clinician, and currently a veterinary neurologist and owner of Canada West Veterinary Specialists. His company is a pioneering veterinary hospital that specializes in the provision of multi-disciplinary veterinary specialist and critical care. Since joining Canada West Veterinary Specialists in 2001, he has helped to build the organization into a nationally recognized, multi-million dollar company. Canada West is a privately-held business and the only one of its kind in Western Canada. It offers state-of-the art patient care and employs more than 100 specialists, technicians and staff.
Nicholas received his Ph.D. from Duke University in Molecular and Cellular Biology and is double boarded in surgery and neurology. After obtaining his Ph.D., he became a tenured professor at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Ms. Janet Grove
Ms. Janet Grove is a partner and corporate lawyer at Bull Housser & Tupper LLP in their Corporate Commercial, Technology and Health Care Groups. She has earned recognition by Best Lawyers in Canada as a leading lawyer in the areas of Biotechnology Law and Corporate Law and is currently on the board of Zucara Therapeutics Inc., an emerging life sciences company. In 2000, Janet joined the legal team at QLT Inc., an internationally recognized and commercially successful Vancouver company listed on the TSX and NASDAQ, where she was a member of the company’s executive management team and held a number of roles including the position of Vice-President and Corporate Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Business Ethics Officer. She returned to private practice in 2008 where she has continued to help clients with her wide ranging experience in the biotechnology and technology sectors.
During her years at QLT, Janet was also Senior Director of Corporate Development and involved in sourcing and negotiating acquisition and licensing transactions. She has also previously served for a number of years on the board and as Chairperson of the Vancouver Branch of St. John Ambulance. Janet obtained a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Victoria, prior to receiving her credentials in law in 1993.
Dr. Lana Janes
Dr. Lana Janes is a results-driven industry executive in the biopharmaceutical field with an entrepreneurial mindset, strong scientific background, and demonstrated success in leading teams in the complex and high-paced healthcare industry. She brings over 20 years of pharmaceutical development experience that spans the full life cycle of therapeutic product development from discovery through to commercialization, including in the orphan drug space.
In 2018, Lana was appointed as Entrepreneur-In-Residence at The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre, where she works with CDRD leadership to identify compelling areas of strategic commercial opportunity in the therapeutic space and drives the creation and acceleration of new companies to develop those opportunities into innovative therapies. Since 2017, she has also served as Chief Operating Officer for the virtual Seattle-based biotech company, Retinagenix LLC, a privately held, clinical stage company committed to the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for treatment of inherited retinal diseases.
Previously, Lana worked at QLT Inc. from 2005-2017 (now Novelion Therapeutics Inc.), where she held positions of increasing responsibility, and was a member of the executive management team for over 10 years. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President, Intellectual Property and Technology Development and Chief Patent Officer at QLT, with leadership and oversight responsibilities for all R&D aspects of Novelion’s late stage ophthalmology orphan assets. As Chief Patent Officer from 2007-2017, she oversaw all aspects of intellectual property for the company and its various global subsidiaries, including strategic management of the patent portfolios for the FDA-approved products Visudyne®, Aczone® and Eligard®, as well as numerous preclinical and clinical stage pharmaceutical products and medical devices. Prior to joining QLT, Dr. Janes worked for several years as an associate and patent agent in the Toronto offices of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, and Ogilvy Renault LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright), and as an in-house patent agent at F. Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland, where her practices focused on the strategic development and protection of IP portfolios in the fields of pharmaceutical and biological products. Dr. Janes also sits on the board of Microdermics, a Vancouver based medical device company.
Lana received her AB in Chemistry with honours from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry with honours from McGill University, where she also conducted post-Doctoral work in the field of biological organic chemistry. Lana has been qualified to practice as a registered patent agent before the Canadian Patent Office since 2002 and before the US Patent and Trademark Office since 2004. She is an author of numerous scientific publications in the field of organic and medical chemistry and worked for several years as a synthetic organic chemist in the chemical and food industries in the US and UK.
Lana is passionate about building and inspiring high-performing collaborations and teams to creatively advance innovative therapies and technologies while enhancing stakeholder value.
Dr. Julia Levy
Founder and Director Emerita, QLT Inc.
Dr. Julia Levy is the founder and director emerita of QLT Inc.. Under her leadership, QLT recorded the strongest period of growth in company history and earned a reputation for achieving milestones, including FDA approval for Visudyne® therapy to treat age-related blindness in April 2000. She served in several key senior posts at QLT including Director since 1983, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President as well as President and CEO from 1995 to February 2002. In December 2006, Dr. Levy retired from the Board of Directors and became a Director Emerita. She was actively involved in QLT's Scientific Advisory Board until January 2008 when she retired from QLT entirely.
Following her doctorate degree in immunology from the University of London, Dr. Levy was awarded an Industrial Professorship in the Department of Microbiology from the University of British Columbia and is the recipient of several honorary degrees. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and former President of the Canadian Federation of Biological Sciences, Dr. Levy has earned numerous awards and honors including an appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2001, the Female Entrepreneur of the Year for International Business in 1998, Pacific Canada Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 and the Future of Vision Award from the Foundation Fighting Blindness in 2001. In 2002 she received, along with Dr. David Dolphin, the Friesen-Rygiel prize for medical research and the Prix Galien Canada research award. Along with Dr. Gustav Huber of Novartis, she was presented with the 2003 Helen Keller Prize for Innovation in Eye Care. In her honor, the Julia G. Levy Professorship in Ophthalmology Chair was created at Johns Hopkins Hospital Wilmer Eye Institute in 2004, the same year she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Columbia Biotechnology Association.
The author of many published scientific articles and a sought-after speaker, Dr. Levy currently serves as a director on a number of early-stage biotechnology company boards and on the board of the Working Opportunity Fund, a British Columbia, Canada-based venture capital firm.