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DiscoveryLab Events

ACRC BannerAnnual Conference of the Alberta Clinical Research Consortium at the Holiday Inn Conference Centre from September 25-26, 2023. See Program.

Researchers & companies can pitch new technologies, with priority given to teams presenting clinical research innovations.

ACRC 2023 Annual Conference

Monday, September 25, 2023

8:00 am Registration & Welcome 

Session 1: DiscoveryLab Pitch session focussed on digital health.

Chair: Zachary Klarenbach, Student Researcher, University of Alberta

Danika_Kelly8:30 Danika Kelly, Co-Founder & CEO, My Normative Inc. (Calgary) is a female-focused health platform driving innovation through clinically validated data collection, data management, and analytical processes

Maximilian-Kerz8:45 Maximilian Kerz, Co-founder & CEO, Cherry Health (Calgary), a network founded by physicians for physicians that aims to make recruitment into clinics and hospitals as straightforward as possible

9:00 Break

Chair: Zachary Klarenbach, Student Researcher, University of Alberta

ty mckinney9:15 Ty McKinney, CSO of PeerX.AI (Calgary), Co-founder of 8 Bit Cortex and Research Director of the Branch Out Neurological Foundation

Amir Nezhad9:30 Amir Nezhad, CEO, CriticareDx (Calgary) offers capillary self-powered microfluidics and electrochemical nano-biosensors that have the power to revolutionize and disrupt lab testing

9:45 Break and Partner Networking

Session 2: DiscoveryLab Pitches focussed on pharmaceuticals, biologics, diagnostics and devices.

Chair: Rajiv Nair, Consultant Physician, NHS

Piyush Kumar10:00 Piyush Kumar,President & CEO, WWiKY BioSciences (Edmonton) is developing cancer theranostics that exploit hypoxia, which leads to metastatic progression and resistance

aneal khan10:15 Aneal Khan, CEO, Discovery DNA (Calgary) provides accredited genetic testing for medical decisions, providing tools for early detection and treatment of diseases

Rahim10:30 Mohammad Rahim, Founder and CSO, RANE Pharmaceutical Inc, a chemistry CRO in Edmonton developing scalable synthetic methods for complex medicinal chemistry targets and natural products

10:45 Break

Pitch Session Chair: Kevin McNulty, Managing Director, Synergco

Amol-Karnick11:00 Amol Karnick, President & CEO, KA Imaging Inc. (Waterloo) is developing  X-ray imaging technologies and systems for medical, veterinary, and non-destructive test industrial markets

mirna-damerg11:15 Mirna Damergi, Product Manager, Rapid Infection Diagnostics Inc. (Calgary) also Lead Speaker Coordinator, YYC Data Convention and U Calgary grad

Pitch Session Chair: Michael Overduin, Managing Director, DiscoveryLab

jessica hu11:30 Jessica Hu, CEO, Gene Biomedical, which provides molecular diagnostics, drugs detection, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, technologies

ali-pormohammad11:45 Ali Pormohammad, CEO, MHCombiotic Inc. which is combating the issue of antimicrobial resistance by pioneering groundbreaking antimicrobials (Combiotic)

A panel of judges including

  • Sunil Rajput, Director, Research, Alberta Innovates
  • Bindi Ferguson, Director, Commercialization, Alberta Innovates
  • Efrem Violato, Research Associate, NAIT-CAMS

awarded the DiscoveryLab Pitch Award, which includes $5,000 from NAIT CAMS.

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch and Partner Networking

1:00 – 2:30 pm Workshop on Cell and Gene Therapies

Opening by the National Research Council followed by a panel discussion with:

Risini-WeeratnaRisini Weeratna, Director, Disruptive Technology Solutions Cell & Gene Therapy Challenge Program and Senior Research Officer/Team Lead Cancer Immunology, National Research Council

Kevin-HayKevin Hay, Clinician Scientist at the Terry Fox Laboratory and Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC in Vancouver, focuses on chimeric antigen receptor T cells toxicities and therapies

Jailal-AblackJailal Ablack, Head of Preclinical Research, Entos Pharmaceuticals, focuses on delivery of genetic medicines, animal models of cancer, in vivo assay development and characterization of antibody therapeutics

michael chuMichael Chu, Clinician Scientist, Cross Cancer Institute and Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

2:30 - 3:00 pm Break and Networking

3:00 – 4:30 pm  Workshop on Biomanufacturing human therapies in Canada

Opening by Stacey Nunes, NRC followed by panel discussion with:

Gayle-PiatGayle Piat, Director, Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing (ACTM), University of Alberta and Member of the Board of Directors of Women in Pharma

Trina-RacineTrina Racine, Director - Vaccine Development, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) and Owner, Racine Clinical Trial Consulting

nashaNasha Nassoury, Canada Research Chair in Bioprocessing of Viral Vaccines and National Research Council of Canada Emeritus

andrew macisaacAndrew MacIsaac, CEO, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation and Life Sciences Council Member, Canadian Chamber of Commerce and LSIH Steering Committee Member, Innovate Calgary

4:30 - 7:30 pm Networking Event 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

8:00 am Registration & Welcome 

8:30 - 10:00 am Session 1Integrating research for better care

wayne-clarkKeynote by Wayne Clark, Executive Director, Indigenous Health Program at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta

Tammy-MahFraserFireside Chat chaired by Tammy Mah-Fraser, Executive Director, Health Platforms, Alberta Innovates with the following:

Blaine-PennyBlaine Penny, CEO, Lumiio, which empowers health communities at every level to improve health and quality of life.

wayne-clarkWayne Clark, University of Alberta Executive Director, Indigenous Health Program at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta

jeffreyJeffrey Narayan, Quality Management in Clinical Research, University of Alberta, Representative for BeTheCure which aims to educate Albertans about how they can be a part of health research

Virtual Pitches by zoom for this parallel session:

9:00 am Introductions

Chair: Rakesh Bhat, Research Associate, University of Alberta

shaneel-pathak9:10 am Shaneel Pathak, CEO, Zamplo (Calgary) on a platform that allows anyone to record and share their treatment regiment with their healthcare practitioner, while allowing data analytics and collation

Chris-Bladen9:20 am Chris Bladen, CEO, Zymedyne Therapeutics Inc. (Calgary) is developing safer, more effective treatments for chronic, neuropathic pain by targeting calcium channels

9:30 am Break

Chair: Arun Nair, Consultant, MSN

Lulu Mashonganyika 9:30 am Lulu Mashonganyika, Founder, Liit Care (Airdrie), offering a safe and convenient platform to bridge the gap between parents and vetted caregivers.

10:00 - 10:30 am Break and Partner Networking

10:30 am - 12:00 pm Session 2:  Data and digital health enabling future care

Ewan-AffleckKeynote by Ewan Affleck, Chair of the Alberta Virtual Care Coordinating Body and Expert Advisor for the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

tim murphyPanel chaired by Tim Murphy, Vice-President, Health, Alberta Innovates with the following:

Elena-LopatinaElena Lopatina,

Ewan-AffleckEwan Affleck, College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, Chair of the Alberta Virtual Care Coordinating Body and Expert Advisor for the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy

Ross-MitchellRoss Mitchell, AHS Chair in AI in Health, Professor in the Department of Medicine and Fellow with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch and Partner Networking

1:00 – 2:00 pm Session 3:  National alignment in clinical research and the Pan-Canadian strategy

Rachel_SymeRachel Syme, N2 Board Vice-Chair, Program Director; Research Program Director, Research Cystic Fibrosis Canada; Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

kathyKathy Soltys, MD, Director, Office of Clinical Trials, Pharmaceutical Drugs Directorate, Health Canada on the latest developments in the Health Canada Office of Clinical Trials

stacey nunesStacey Nunes, Business Development Officer, National Research Council with a focus on the Human Health Therapeutics portfolio

2:00-2:30 pm Session 4The Alberta advantage in clinical research

BECKY WONGBecky Wong, Director, Health System Access, Health Evidence and Innovation, AHS, helping innovators navigate the largest healthcare organization in Canada.

mari boesenMari Boesen, Provincial Project Manager, Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS), with a focus on improving the efficiency and accessibility of health research

Scott Klarenbach, Director, Real World Evidence (RWE) Consortium, Kidney Health Research Chair and Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta.

maryann-clarkesMary-Ann Clarkes, Manager - Covenant Health Research Centre (CHRC) at Covenant Health Canada and Member - Research Ethics Board Oversight Committee, University of Alberta

kim kordovKim Kordov, Associate Director, Research Ethics Office, University of Alberta, previously worked in Clinical Research and Research Administration within Alberta Health Services

jenna-dobryJenna Dobry, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance Specialist, Calgary Centre for Clinical Research, University of Calgary, previously Clinical Research Associate, Alberta Health Services

2:30 - 3:00 pm Break and Partner Networking

3:00 - 4:00 pm Session 5Resources and support for pathways to implementation

Antonio-BruniChaired by Antonio Bruni, Director - Health System Transformation, Alberta Innovates, previously with Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation and and Health City

Crespo'o NdiabamohCrespo’o Ndiabamoh, Associate Director, IMPACT, Innovate Calgary and Senior Medical Consultant, Michael and Mauritia Patcha Foundation

christy-holtbyChristy Holtby, Vice President - Philanthropy, Alberta Cancer Foundation, previously Managing Director, Investment & Partnerships, Amii) and VP, Strategic Partnerships, UHF

brookeBrooke Rose, Director of Development, College of Health Sciences & Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

4:00 pm Close of Conference

See the world differently. Tell your story.

DiscoveryLab offers events where teams pitch plans to a panel of investors and advisors, and keynote talks are offered on a theme. Scalable innovations in any sector, location or stage of development are presented as are transformative technologies for diagnostics, medical devices, therapeutics, biotech, agtech, AI, cleantech, edtech, fintech, food/drinks, materials, energy, environment and resources.

We welcome new members including investors, industry experts and business advisors to join in to advise the diversity of teams presenting.

Presenters receive constructive feedback on the business plan summary and slidedeck they submit beforehand, a video recording of their pitch, an evaluation and scores, new connections and leads for funding.

Note: Teams that are pitching are invited to submit their business plan summary at least two weeks before the event to qualify for a slot and gain feedback to strengthen their pitch.

Presenters can also check out our Presenter Guide.

Our aims are to play a positive role by:

1. building trust and mutual understanding to ensure sustainable and rewarding multi-party relationships,

2. identifying major challenges that require innovative thinking,

3. mapping out precompetitive spaces for open-source collaboration,

4. developing fair and reasonable intellectual property strategies for progression and scalable funding,

5. structuring and optimizing core activities and facilities for supporting innovation, and 

6. increasing data quality, reproducibility and decisiveness while eliminating unnecessary duplication and costs.

We welcome collaborators and partners who are interested in working together to support the innovation ecosystem.

For clarity, DiscoveryLab does not recommend advisors or investors, make investments or provide funding, but can make introductions. Each person and company has the responsibility of obtaining legal advice and performing due diligence before signing contracts or taking investments.