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Science to Business Network (Vancouver-Victoria Chapter) Presents: Biotech Startups in BC

September 28, 2021


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Curious about entrepreneurship or biotechnology? If you’re not sure how your life sciences degree can translate into a career in medical biotechnology, come learn about three Vancouver-based biotech startups that are making big waves in the science and health fields. Further, learn how you can engage with UBC’s entrepreneurship department e@UBC to transform your own ideas into a business.

The Science to Business Network ( was founded 10 years ago to break down silos between universities, industry, government and the non-profit sector and to foster a culture of collaboration, partnership and mutual understanding. Importantly, the S2BN has been focused on building a network of innovative and creative individuals within and around STEM disciplines. Through panel discussions, workshops, mentoring programs, a podcast and other collaborative initiatives, the S2BN now has 9 chapters across Canada led by more than 70 grassroots volunteers whose activities now reach more than 2500 people a year.

Event objectives:

-Learn about two local biotechnology companies and their distinct entrepreneurial journeys

-Discover how entrepreneurship@UBC can help you prepare for a biotech startup career

-Understand what it takes to launch a successful biotech startup in BC with recent examples

Virtual online event details:

Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2021
Time: 12-1pm PST
Register Free Online at:

Companies Represented:
Entrepreneurship @UBC (e@UBC)

entrepreneurship@UBC propels UBC innovations out into the world through venture creation, providing UBC students, researchers, faculty members, alumni and staff with the resources, networks, and funding they need to succeed. As one of the world’s top 40 research universities with 80,000 students, faculty and staff and over $650M annual research funding, UBC has long been a catalyst for innovation. Part of the Innovation UBC network, entrepreneurship@UBC supports UBC ventures and entrepreneurs to generate social and economic impacts in B.C. and around the world.

GenXys, founded in 2014, provides the world’s most comprehensive precision prescribing software to solve healthcare’s most pressing challenges. They currently offer four products involving precision prescribing software and pharmacogenetic solutions to prevent adverse drug reactions, a leading cause of death in developed countries, and personalize drug selection to increase drug efficacy. Powering every prescription with GenXys software improves medication safety, increases drug efficacy and reduces healthcare costs.

With a wealth of scientific discovery, Canada is primed to be a global leader in life sciences. By building companies, ecosystems and talent, adMare is helping build a thriving industry from sea to sea. Our 25+ portfolio companies have attracted more than $1.4B of investment, have a combined value of over $3B, and employ more than 900 Canadians. The adMare Academy has trained more than 260 alumni – 95% of whom are employed in the Canadian life sciences industry.

Chinook Therapeutics
Chinook is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company discovering, developing and commercializing precision medicines for rare, severe chronic kidney diseases with well-defined clinical pathways. Our lead clinical program, atrasentan, is an endothelin receptor antagonist that was in-licensed from AbbVie in 2019. The phase 3 ALIGN trial of atrasentan is currently enrolling patients with IgA nephropathy and the phase 2 AFFINITY trial of atrasentan is currently enrolling patients with proteinuric glomerular diseases. BION-1301, an investigational anti-APRIL monoclonal antibody, is being evaluated in a phase 1b trial for IgA nephropathy. We are also advancing CHK-336 for the treatment of primary hyperoxaluria towards a planned IND submission in late 2021/early 2022. In addition, we are conducting research programs in other rare, severe chronic kidney diseases. We seek to build our pipeline by leveraging insights in single cell RNA sequencing of patient kidney samples, human-derived organoids and new translational models in order to discover and develop therapeutics with mechanisms of action targeted against key kidney disease pathways.

Speaker information:
Dr. Sean Lumb, Associate Director, Entrepreneurship UBC
Sean’s career spans 20 years of university IP commercialization and new venture creation. Sean completed his PhD in Chemistry at the University of British Columbia in 1998 and then joined UBC’s University-Industry Liaison Office, working in increasingly senior roles to evaluate and commercialize chemistry-related licensing and startup opportunities ranging from advanced materials and coatings to drug development opportunities.

Sean left the UILO in 2006 to pursue an opportunity with Melbourne Ventures in Australia. At Melbourne Ventures Sean’s role was to license technology and spin out new ventures based on University of Melbourne intellectual property. Start-up successes include: Fibrotech Therapeutics (sold to Shire in May 2014), Procypra Therapeutics, in Phase 2/3 clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases, and Clarity Pharmaceuticals, which recently listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with the largest biotech listing in the history of the ASX. During his time at Melbourne Ventures, Sean also participated on the investment committee of Uniseed, a $100 million seed fund for university start-ups.

After returning to Canada in 2012 Sean joined UBC to launch entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) in 2013. Since the launch of e@UBC, Sean has been involved in developing programming for, recruiting, and mentoring new venture teams from across the UBC research ecosystem. Sean’s current role as Associate Director, Lab2Launch Venture Building Program at e@UBC involves supporting UBC’s researchers who are building startups around their research inventions.

Dr. Amie Phinney, Senior Director of Partnerships, AdMare
As the Sr. Director for the Program Development and Partnership team at adMare BioInnovations, Amie Phinney uses her biomedical research and business administration background to create and guide scientific collaborations. Most recently, Amie was at Northwestern University in Chicago, where she established an academic-VC partnership aimed at translating academic discoveries into novel therapeutics. Prior to Northwestern University, she gained extensive experience managing academic-pharma collaborations and biotech-pharma alliances while overseeing external partnerships with Abbott and AbbVie Labs in Chicago. Amie first transitioned into the pharmaceutical industry following post-docs at the University of Toronto and Free University of Amsterdam, taking on Sr. Scientist and Project Director roles at Solvay Pharmaceuticals in the Netherlands. After five years leading pre-clinical research teams, she joined the Program Management group to specialize in managing partnered scientific teams. Amie received her BSc at University of Guelph, her PhD in Biomedical research at the University of Basel in Switzerland, and her MBA at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

Karl Pringle, Chief Executive Officer, GenXys
Karl Pringle has a real passion for innovation driving digital transformation of outdated processes. The centuries old ‘trial and error’ approach to prescribing is one of these fossilized activities. Karl has guided GenXys through a transition from a UBC spinout pharmacogenetics company to a software business specializing in automated medication decision support software to enable accuracy and personalization in medication selection. Karl has extensive experience in turning early stage, minimally viable software applications into market leaders and GenXys has become synonymous with innovation in precision prescribing with a vision of having every prescription globally, powered by its software.

Allison Gaw, Executive Director, Chinook Therapeutics
Allison Gaw is the Executive Director, Business and Corporate Development at Chinook Therapeutics, a clinical stage drug development company working on precision medicines in kidney diseases here in Vancouver, BC. Previously she held Business and Corporate Development, IP Strategy, and Financial Analysis roles at Sierra Oncology, ProNAi Therapeutics, Arbutus Biopharma and Tekmira. After her undergraduate, Allison spent 5+ years in Healthcare consulting at LEK and BCG in San Francisco before moving into in-house biopharma positions here in Vancouver to leverage all the skills and experiences gained working with a number of West Coast Biopharmaceutical and MedTech companies to evaluate market entry, growth strategy, clinical development, business development, and operational excellence opportunities. Coming from a mixed background of research and consulting, Allison enjoys working at the interface of science and business and helping others find that blended balance as well. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and an MBA in Healthcare Management from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Outside of work, Allison enjoys the active outdoor lifestyle made possible by living in such places like San Francisco and Vancouver – volleyball, snowboarding, hiking, etc.

Would you like to join our S2BN Vancouver-Victoria team?
Email us at:


September 28
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm




Science to Business Network