Vancouver, Canada: CDRD – The Centre for Drug Research and Development, Canada’s national life sciences venture, is pleased to announce the first cohort of the CDRD Academy’s Executive Institute.

Earlier this year, CDRD and Pfizer Canada announced the launch of the Executive Institute under the umbrella of The CDRD Academy. The Institute is a 10-month, focused executive development program open to a limited number of senior-level life sciences professionals annually. It was made possible by a $1M contribution by Pfizer Canada.

After reviewing dozens of applications from across Canada, the Adjudication Committee has selected a cohort of diverse, talented, and forward-thinking individuals that is gender balanced, and that represents a variety of personal and professional backgrounds. The CDRD Academy Executive Institute is pleased to welcome the following individuals into the inaugural 2018-2019 class:

  • Naveed Aziz, Chief Administrative and Scientific Officer, CGEN – Canada’s Genomic Enterprise, Toronto, ON
  • Deanna Dryhurst, Chief Scientific Officer, ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd., Victoria, BC
  • Alexander Graves, Chief Executive Officer, Symvivo Corporation, Vancouver, BC
  • Allison Gaw, Senior Director, Corporate Development and Intellectual Property, Sierra Oncology, Vancouver, BC
  • Nataša Jovic, Senior Director, Personal Health, Microbiome Insights, Vancouver, BC
  • Andrew Knowles, Senior Vice President, Operations, STEMCELL Technologies, Vancouver, BC
  • Frédéric Leduc, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Immune Biosolutions, Sherbrooke, QC
  • Stephanie Michaud, President and Chief Executive Officer, BioCanRx, Ottawa, ON
  • Carolyn Nalder, Director of Business Operations, Tevosol, Edmonton, AB
  • Frederic Ors, Chief Executive Officer, IMV, Quebec City, QC
  • Chris Sinclair, Vice President, Global Commercial Operations, Emergent BioSolutions, Winnipeg, MB
  • Kimberly Stephens, Chief Financial Officer, Appili Therapeutics Inc., Halifax, NS
  • Carol Stiff, Senior Director, Sales and Marketing, Santen Canada, Toronto, ON
  • Jefferson Tea, Vice President, Medical and Scientific Affairs, Takeda Canada Inc., Oakville, ON.

“The core of any business is people, and supporting and growing our pool of highly-qualified personnel is critical to drive Canada’s health sciences sector,” said Gordon C. McCauley, President and CEO of CDRD. “Through the CDRD Academy’s Post-Graduate and Undergraduate Institutes, we have seen tremendous success over the past 10 years in helping high-potential scientists be more commercially minded. But, with the addition of the Executive Institute to the CDRD Academy, we are now extending our work to also help high-potential business people lead Canada’s science-based businesses of tomorrow; and ensure Canada has the management talent it needs to lead the life sciences world.”

‘’The CDRD Executive Institute is off to a very strong start,’’ said John Helou, President, Pfizer Canada. ‘’This first cohort of life science executives exemplifies the type of leaders needed for the industry to reach its full potential. We are pleased to help meet the development needs expressed by life sciences industry stakeholders across the country, and to be able to count on the leadership of CDRD to implement concrete measures that will increase the innovative skill level of this vital industry. We are confident that the tailored training and coaching will contribute to the success of many life science organizations in Canada, which is critical for the development of new treatments for unmet medical needs’’.

“The Centre for Drug Research and Development is helping develop the highest level of executive talent to ensure that Canadian life sciences companies have the support they need to advance the sector,” said Bruce Ralston, British Columbia’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “This training program is crucial to creating a new generation of leaders that will continue to innovate and produce critically important work that helps improve people’s lives.”

The CDRD Executive Institute program is delivered in collaboration with global training leaders, the not-for-profit Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). The program that CDRD and CCL have custom-designed combines researched and proven best practices/principles with targeted industry topics to take participants on a leadership journey. Using a blend of in-depth assessments, workshops, simulations, challenging assignments and executive coaching, training is focused on current (and future) issues and company challenges, making it highly relevant to the learner’s real work – learning while applying.

The Executive Institute participants will convene in Vancouver for their first face-to-face session September 12-13, 2018, with additional workshops to be held in Montreal and Toronto throughout the Winter and Spring 2019.

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About The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD):
CDRD is Canada’s national life sciences venture, powering the country’s life sciences industry by creating and growing companies of scale – while training the scientific and business talent needed to drive them to become leading global anchors for Canada. We do this by building collaborations with the very best partners from academia, industry, patient foundations, the investment community, and other Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), and providing the specialized expertise and infrastructure to identify, validate and advance promising discoveries, and transform them into commercially viable investment opportunities for the private sector — and ultimately into new therapies for patients.

About the CDRD Academy:
The CDRD Academy was created to deliver on a critical part of the organization’s mission: To uniquely train the next generation of highly-qualified personnel to drive the development of innovation. The Academy currently encompasses three distinct streams: The Executive Institute, the Post-Graduate Institute and the Undergraduate Institute. Each provides a customized training program to the ensure that the Canadian life sciences sector has the scientific and management talent to lead the world. The Academy is firmly committed to addressing issues of gender disparity, and to supporting diversity in the Canadian life sciences sector.

About Pfizer in Canada:
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. Our diversified health care portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most prescribed medicines, vaccines and consumer health products. Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to bring therapies to patients that significantly improve patients’ lives. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is reflected in everything we do, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit or you can follow us on Twitter ( or Facebook (

For additional information, please contact:

Barry Gee
Senior Director, Communications and External Affairs
CDRD – The Centre for Drug Research and Development
Direct: 604-827-1223

Vincent Lamoureux
Director, Corporate Affairs
Pfizer Canada media line: 1-866-9Pfizer (1-866-973-4937)