Michael Midmer, MSc, MBA
Chief Executive Officer

Michael has over 15 years of experience in the life science industry, fund management and corporate finance. Michael was formerly the Director of the Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) at Genome Canada. The GAPP program funded partnerships between industry and academia including companies such as Xagenic, Vasomune, Assurex and Roche.

Before joining Genome Canada, Michael was a Director at Rosetta Capital, an international venture capital firm, where he managed a portfolio of over 30 companies in North America and Europe including company exits such as Enobia, Cytochroma, Ambit and Resonant. Michael was also Business Development Manager at KS Biomedix and was Investor Relations Manager at Cardiome Pharma. In addition, Michael has been a board member for several companies and was the Chair of a not-for-profit board.

Michael has an MSc in molecular biology from the University of Toronto (Canada) and an MBA from Imperial College Business School (UK). He has also completed the Canadian Securities Course.

Richard Liggins, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer

Richard is the Senior Director, Advanced Projects and Head, Analytical Chemistry at The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). With 15 years of industrial drug development experience, he has expertise in formulation optimization and scale-up. Richard has developed intellectual property in diverse technology areas including formulation composition, processing methods, and therapeutic methods, with over 70 US and international patents and patent applications filed in 12 patent families (five issued). With a background in both drug and device development, Dr. Liggins has contributed to CMC development in clinical IND & IDE filings (from pre-clinical research through to GMP manufacture of Phase III materials). He holds an adjunct professor appointment at the University of British Columbia, and previously was a scientist at Angiotech Pharmaceuticals.

Michael Riddell, PhD
Chair, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Riddell is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science and Muscle Health Research Centre at York University in Toronto. Michael is also Senior Scientist at LMC Diabetes & Endocrinology and the Director of Education for the Diabetes Dskate Hockey and Type 1 Diabetes Program. His research interests are focused on the metabolic and hormonal responses to exercise and stress in diabetes, publishing over 120 original research papers and 18 book chapters on the topic. Dr. Riddell has a PhD in Medical Sciences from McMaster University (supervisor Dr. Oded Bar-Or) and post-doctoral training in Physiology from the University of Toronto (mentor Dr. Mladen Vranic). He is the recipient of the Faculty of Health Dean’s Established Career Research Award (2012) and is considered an international expert on exercise management and hypoglycemia prevention in type 1 diabetes. He is a contributing author to the Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines and to the International Society of Pediatric Diabetes Clinical Practice Consensus Guidelines.

With funding from NIH, JDRF, NSERC and a variety of industry partners, Dr Riddell’s laboratory uses research techniques that span from cell culture to rodent and human studies to help discover how exercise, stress and diabetes influence energy metabolism.

Dominic Jaikaran, PhD, MBA
Director, Technology & Venture Development

Dominic is the Director, Technology & Venture Development at MaRS Innovation. He holds a PhD in Biological Chemistry and a BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry, both from the University of Toronto. He also holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, also located at the University of Toronto.

Dominic has a decade of varied experience in biotechnology and finance, including venture capital, impact investment, business development and research and development; he has been involved in sourcing new deals, performing due diligence for new and follow-investments and monitoring portfolio companies on the investment side and project management, research and development and business development on the company side.

Prior to MaRS Innovation, Dominic was a director at BDC Venture Capital, focusing on early-stage life science investments. He was also a staff scientist at Diversa Corporation (now Verenium Corporation), a NASDAQ-listed company in San Diego, where he focused on the discovery and evolution of enzymes for various industrial purposes.

Jonathon Jafari, MSc, MBA
Chief Business Officer

Jonathon is the Senior Director, Business Development at The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). Prior to joining CDRD, Mr. Jafari spent seven years in progressive business development and strategic marketing roles at QLT Inc. with responsibilities for all new product planning and market research activities and was most recently, responsible for Retina therapeutic area licensing activities. He was also involved in the divestiture of Aczone to Allergan as well as the purchase of Foresight Laboratories. Prior to QLT, Mr. Jafari worked for Eli Lilly in the Business Development Market Assessment group and provided market evaluations for licensing and M&A opportunities. He evaluated over 60 different projects and was the commercial lead in the licensing of a novel EG5 Kinesin Spindle inhibitor from Kyowa Hakko and the acquisition of AME which was a novel antibody development company. Jonathon also had research roles at Indiana University in molecular evolution and in tumor targeting at Genetic Therapy Inc., which was a gene therapy company that was acquired by Sandoz, now Novartis.

Jonathon received his BS Biology and MBA from Indiana University and his MS Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. He has also been an invited speaker at various market research conferences and presented “Forecasting Orphan Drugs” at the 2012 PBIRG conference and the 2011 Canadian Pharma Market Research Conference.

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Michael Riddell, Professor and Graduate Program Director, School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, York University

Dr. Mladen Vranic, O.C, O.Ont, MD, DSc, FRSC, FRCP(C), FCAHS, Professor Emeritus in Medicine, University of Toronto
Dr. David Coy, Research Professor of Medicine, Endocrinology Section, Tulane University