Christopher McMaster, PhD (Corporate President, Director )
Carnegie and Rockefeller Professor and Head of Pharmacology at Dalhousie University; IWK Affiliated Scientist. He possesses expertise in molecular, genetic, and biochemical characterization of proteins focusing his work on the discovery and characterization of new lipid metabolizing enzymes and their regulators with an eye toward identifying new drug targets for the treatment of infectious disease, orphan diseases, and obesity. Chris is the recipient of several invited lectureships and numerous honors including Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship and Scholarship awards, with these latter two awards ranked first in Canada.
Christopher Barden, PhD (Director )
An expert in computer-aided drug design, Chris has 15 years' experience in the field and has long been involved in the finance and management of drug discovery/development projects in several indications. He is also a registered U.S. patent agent and has handled IP matters for a number ofpharmaceutical and medical device companies. A serial entrepreneur in both IT and life sciences, Chris has helped to raise angel and venture capital for DeNovaMed Inc., Treventis Corp., and other pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
David Byers, PhD (Scientific Advisor )
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Professor, Department of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University; IWK Affiliated Scientist. An expert in bacterial lipid metabolism, his research employs biochemical, biophysical, and proteomic approaches to understand the relationships between lipid metabolism and bacterial growth and pathogenesis. David is past Director of the Atlantic Research Centre, an internationally-known research group studying the molecular and cellular biology of lipids.
Donald Weaver, MD, PhD (Clinical Advisor )
Canada Research Chair (Tier1) in Neuroscience; Professor of Medicine (Neurology), Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry at Dalhousie University; IWK Affiliated Scientist. Don is an expert in computer-aided drug design, focusing his work in the areas of neurological and infectious disease medicine.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Weir Mitchell Award for Neurological Research from the American Academy of Neurology, the 1997 Merck Frosst Therapeutics Research Award, and the Prix Galien ("the most prestigious award in the field of Canadian pharmaceutical research and innovation"). He is also a practicing clinician and a serial entrepreneur in drug development companies. Don was a founder of Neurochem and co-inventor on two of their compounds that reached Phase III clinical trials. He has also co-founded Molecular Mining Corp., NeuroProtection Inc., and Treventis Corp.
Lidija Marusic, MD, PhD, MBA (Investor Representative )
Dr. Lidija Marusic is an investment manager at Innovacorp, a venture capital fund investing in seed and early-stage technology companies. With over 14 years of experience in life science technology commercialization, Lidija manages all aspects of the investment due diligence, approval and closing cycle, and works hands-on with Innovacorp’s portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Innovacorp, Lidija worked at MDS Capital Corp. (now Lumira Capital) and its seed fund MedInnova Partners Inc., focusing on commercializing biomedical discoveries. Lidija holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Zagreb, a PhD in molecular genetics from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA/ISAS) and an MBA from McMaster University. She served on the International Peer Review Panel for the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) and on the Proof of Principle Peer Review Committee of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).
Lidija is a member of the board of directors for DeCell Technologies Inc., DGI Clinical Inc. and DeNovaMed Inc.
Marlene Haffner, MD, MPH (Regulatory Advisor )
Dr. Haffner is the CEO of Haffner Associates, LLC a firm dedicated to the strategy, development and policy of drug development with a special emphasis on rare diseases and the products that treatment them.
For 20 years, Dr. Haffner served as Director of the Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As OOPD Director she was responsible for the leadership and management of the FDA orphan products development program, the first Orphan Products program in the world. In addition to her FDA responsibilities, Dr. Haffner assisted in the development of Orphan Drug programs in the EU, Japan, Australia and beyond. She is well known as an expert in orphan drug development and is a sought after speaker and consultant in that area of regulatory science.
In addition to her consulting activities Marlene is Adjunct Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, and Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, at the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland.
A sought after speaker and consultant, Dr. Haffner has received many awards for her work in drug development including The Outstanding Contributions to Pharmaceutical Medicine Award from the American Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians, and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Outstanding Government Service from the Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of multiple articles in peer reviewed literature concerning issues of orphan product development.