Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Summaries of CEA meetings will be published on a quarterly basis
The Council of Expert Advisors (CEA) is the Government of Canada's foremost advisory body on matters related to enhancing Canada's biomanufacturing, biopharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors. Its primary role is to provide expert guidance on the implementation of Canada's Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, ensuring that the government's decisions and investments achieve maximum impact in the rebuilding of a strong and resilient Canadian biomanufacturing and life sciences sector. The Government of Canada has already invested over $1.8 billion to rebuild Canada's vaccine, therapeutics and biomanufacturing capacity right here at home. This will not only increase our resiliency but also drive economic growth and create good, high-skilled jobs.
The CEA is supported in its work by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Health Canada, and its mandate is to:
- inform the implementation of Canada's Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy by providing expert advice to help revitalize the Canadian life sciences sector and improve Canada's preparedness and response to future pandemics
- provide strategic advice to help adapt the strategy to emerging technologies and changing conditions in the life sciences ecosystem
- address biomanufacturing and life sciences issues and close gaps to help grow a high-performing sector that is both strong domestically and competitive globally
- advise on the Government of Canada's overall investment framework and portfolio to build industrial capabilities in support of the strategy
- monitor progress on the strategy and make recommendations for adjustments or new areas of focus, as needed
- provide scientific advice and guidance on vaccines and other medical countermeasures as part of Canada's pandemic preparedness
The Government of Canada has a robust process to manage potential conflicts of interest in line with similar advisory councils around the world. All CEA members are committed to ensuring the integrity of the process and will be recused from providing advice on projects where there is a conflict. The Declaration of Interests Protocol they are submitted to is in line with international best practices. In addition, a registry conflicts of interests is available and will be updated following all recommendations made by the CEA to ensure transparency.
The CEA will be in place for an initial period of two years (until 2025), with the possibility of the term being extended at the discretion of the Government of Canada.
Members of the Council of Expert Advisors
The CEA has 14 members, including 2 co-chairs. Members will serve for a term of two years.
Dr. Joanne M. Langley,
Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine; Division Head, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, IWK Health Care Centre (Co-chair)
Dr. Langley is a pediatric infectious disease physician and vaccine researcher at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (CCfV) at Dalhousie University. She is an active investigator in the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) and is the co-lead of its Clinical Trials Network (CTN) and holds the CIHR-GSK Chair in Pediatric Vaccinology. As the Associate Director for Vaccine Evaluation Group at CCfV, she works with collaborators in academia, public health, industry, and non-governmental organizations to study the prevention of infectious diseases using vaccines from Phase 1 (first in humans) through to Phase 4 (post-market studies of how well vaccines work when they are used in immunization programs).
Dr. Marco Marra,
Professor, University of British Columbia (Co-chair)
Dr. Marra has been instrumental in bringing genome science to Canada, leading numerous large-scale genomics projects to identify genetic changes that drive cancer. His research has uncovered new cancer mutations, candidate biomarkers and therapeutic targets, and has demonstrated the functional interplay between the cancer genome and epigenome.
President and Biosafety Consultant, Universal Biosafety
Ms. Abbott-Permell is a Certified Biosafety Professional (CBSP) with ABSA international and a Specialist Microbiologist-Biological Safety with the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists. She has over 25 years of experience in the development, implementation, and monitoring of bio risk management systems in support of facility licensing and compliance with regulatory requirements for Containment Level 2 and 3 laboratories and large scale manufacturing facilities. In addition, she has extensive knowledge of biosafety-related laws and standards, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act (HPTA) and the Canadian Biosafety Standards, and has over twenty years' experience in the transportation of dangerous goods and the development and delivery of training courses in this field.
Dr. Penny Ballem,
Clinical Professor, Faculty of Medicine (University of British Columbia)
Senior Fellow, Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation (University of Toronto)
Dr. Ballem is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation of the University of Toronto. As a valued health leader and academic clinician for over 35 years, Dr. Ballem has advised governments across Canada on health policy, health systems and health human resources. She has received significant public recognition for her work in medicine and public service, including the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for Public Service.
Dr. Alan Bernstein,
President Emeritus, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
Dr. Bernstein has served as the President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), an organization that brings together researchers from around the world to address important issues in science. He was responsible for developing and leading the institute's overall strategic direction, including the launching of the pan-Canadian AI Strategy. Previously, Dr. Bernstein was the founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada's federal agency for the support of health research. He subsequently became the Executive Director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York, an international alliance of researchers and funders charged with accelerating the search for an HIV vaccine.
Professor, University of Alberta
Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science, and public health policy has allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic, science communication, and writing awards, and is a member of the Order Canada and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Dr. Elizabeth Douville,
PhD, ICD.D, President and Chief Executive Officer at IRICoR
Dr. Douville is the President and CEO of IRICoR, a pan-Canadian leader in the de-risking of early-stage academic assets in the field of drug discovery. IRICoR's mandate is to accelerate the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative therapies in cancer and rare diseases. She was the Founder and Managing Partner of AmorChem, a leading early-stage venture capital fund focusing on academic innovation and translating it into early-stage biotech companies. As a venture capitalist with more than 25 years of life sciences' investment experience, she has raised and managed funds, and has sourced, led and overseen several investments in biotech companies, in promising university technologies, and successfully created several spin-off companies. She is an active participant in the life sciences' ecosystem and several not-for-profit organizations. She is the Chair of Genome Canada, a Member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and a member of the Policy Engagement Committee of Research Canada. She is also currently a board member of Corbin Therapeutics Inc. and SemaThera Inc.
Dr. Amine Kamen,
Professor, McGill University
Dr. Kamen is a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at McGill University and a Canada Research Chair in Bioprocessing of Viral Vaccines. He is a world expert in process development for the manufacturing of biologics, and has significantly contributed to the advancement of cell-culture engineering, process optimization, process analytical technologies and scale-up of different technology platforms to enable viral vectors and nanoparticles production for gene delivery and vaccination. Through his work, Dr. Kamen has designed advanced manufacturing processes for safe, efficacious, and cost-effective vaccines and delivery systems for live gene editing.
Principal, JML Advisory Services and former President, Sanofi Pasteur Limited
Mr. Lievonen is the Principal of JML Advisory Services and the former president of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, the Canadian vaccine division of Sanofi. He served as Chair of the Board of Directors of BIOTECanada, Rx&D (now Innovative Medicines Canada), the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation and the Centre for the Advancement of Health Innovation. He was also the Vice-Chair of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and has served as a board member of Oncolytics Biotech, Acerus Pharmaceuticals, the Public Policy Forum and York University. Currently, he is a board member of Quest PharmaTech Inc., Sona Nanotechnologies Inc., Biome Grow Inc. and the Gairdner Foundation.
Dr. Dennis Liotta,
Samuel Candler Dobbs, Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
Chair, Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE)/Emory Institute of Drug Development (EIDD) Advisory Committee
Co-Director of AHIA, Advancing Healthcare Innovations in Africa
Dr. Liotta is a professor in both the Departments of Chemistry, and Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at Emory University. In his four-decade-long career at Emory University, Dr. Dennis Liotta has improved the longevity and quality of life of millions worldwide. He has been directly involved in the discovery and development of multiple lifesaving therapeutics. As an entrepreneur and visionary, he has fostered many businesses in the biotech industry and pioneered new approaches to drug development in academia.
Dr. Joanne Liu,
Physician and Professor at McGill University
Dr. Liu is a paediatric emergency physician and professor at McGill University's School of Population & Global Health, where she focuses on pandemic and health emergencies. Prior to joining McGill, Dr. Liu began her career with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 1996 and went on to serve as the International President of MSF for over six years. In this role, she coordinated emergency medical aid and responded to humanitarian and health emergencies including outbreaks/epidemics all over the world.
Former CEO and Co-founder, Vanrx Pharmasystems (now Cytiva)
Christopher Procyshyn is an internationally recognized expert in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, with numerous patents in the areas of drug development, process sciences and robotics. Formerly founder, board member and CEO of Vanrx Pharmasystems Inc, a BC-based global leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing automation, he led the company to become the fastest-growing company in Canada in 2018 (Deloitte Fast 50). Following, he managed the company's acquisition by Danaher Corporation and its expansion in the Vancouver area. Prior to Vanrx, Chris led manufacturing, process science, and engineering functions at QLT Inc, a pioneer in Canadian biotechnology.
Dr. Benjamin Rovinski, PhD,
Managing Director, Lumira Ventures
With over 30 years of investment, operational, managerial and research experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. Rovinski has helped build life sciences companies at all stages of development. He is known both as a senior scientist and an achievement-oriented executive, with demonstrated success in strategic planning, drug development, and operational management of global multifunctional teams. Dr. Rovinski held several senior management positions in the biotechnology sector, including 13 years at Sanofi Pasteur (formerly Aventis Pasteur) where he led global research and development programs in the areas of HIV/AIDS and therapeutic cancer vaccines, bringing several of them through to clinical stage. He has published several scientific articles and reviews and is the recipient of over 30 patents. He received a PhD in biochemistry from McGill University, and did post-doctoral studies in molecular oncology and retrovirology at the Ontario Cancer Institute.
Dr. Ilse Treurnicht,
Managing Partner at TwinRiver Capital
Dr. Treurnicht is a Managing Partner at TwinRiver Capital, an impact investment firm with the dual mission of advancing positive environmental/societal impact while also generating strong financial returns. She is also a General Partner at North South Ventures, a seed-stage cross-border bio/med fund. She has broad experience in commercialization of therapeutics, medtech, as well as digital health solutions, as a business executive, investor and director. Until 2022, she served as Executive Chair of Triphase Accelerator Corporation, a company advancing promising oncology therapies. She was the CEO of MaRS Discovery District in Toronto for over 12 years, where she oversaw its development into a leading urban innovation hub.