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Life Sciences Ontario Announces Recipients of 2024 LSO Awards

TORONTO, ON – January 15th, 2024 — Today, Life Sciences Ontario is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2024 LSO Awards, recognizing outstanding individuals and companies contributing to the success of Ontario’s life sciences sector. The awards will be presented during LSO’s Celebration of Success Awards Presentation on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024 at the Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place, Toronto.

The 2024 awardees are as follows:

  • Lifetime Achievement AwardWilliam (Bill) Mantel, Retired Assistant Deputy Minister, Research, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship; Director of Strategic Projects, Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)

  • Volunteer AwardDr. Benjamin Rovinski, Managing Director, Lumira Ventures

  • Community Service AwardDr. Christine Allen, Professor at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Cross-Appointment in Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto

  • Leadership AwardDr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD)

  • Company of the Year AwardSatellos Bioscience

The LSO Awards are an important part of the organization’s goal to advocate for Ontario’s life sciences sector, by celebrating the individuals and companies behind its success.

“Recognizing the incredible achievements of these recipients highlights the diverse talents and contributions within our dynamic life sciences community,” says Dr. Jason Field, President & CEO of Life Sciences Ontario. “Their dedication and innovation continue to elevate Ontario as a hub for excellence in the sector. We congratulate each awardee and eagerly anticipate celebrating their accomplishments at the 2024 LSO Awards Presentation ceremony.”

Registration for the event is now open; you can purchase tickets here. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact us at


William (Bill) Mantel, Retired Assistant Deputy Minister, Research, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship; Director of Strategic Projects, Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)
Lifetime Achievement Award

As a former Director and Assistant Deputy Minister with the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Bill led the design and execution of Ontario’s innovation strategy and IP Policy for almost 2 decades. This included leadership for overarching strategy and building & partnering with dozens of purpose-built organizations. This includes the creation of Ontario’s network of 18 regional innovation centers, Ontario’s partnership and development role in the MaRS Discovery District, Communitech, the Ottawa Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, McMaster Innovation Park, Sarnia Research Park, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Clinical Trials Ontario, Compute Ontario, Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Vector Institute, the Ontario Brain Institute, the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, Green Centre Canada, and numerous research parks and accelerators that make up Ontario’s globally recognized innovation system. Bill joined the Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM.CA) in 2020, as the Director of Strategic Projects. 

His other current role is to provide strategy leadership to the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, the national body charged with building Canada’s research compute infrastructure and data strategy serving all of Canada’s universities and research hospitals.  Bill is a director on the Yves Landry Foundation Board of Directors ( and Chairs the Board of Innovate Niagara. (, dedicated to accelerating the growth of start-up tech companies in the Niagara region. 

Dr. Benjamin Rovinski, Managing Director, Lumira Ventures
Volunteer Award

With over 30 years of investment, operational, managerial and research experience in the healthcare industry, Beni has helped build life sciences companies at all stages of development.  Beni 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.

Beni is fluent in English, French and Spanish. He has published several scientific articles and reviews and is the recipient of over 30 issued patents. He received a PhD in biochemistry from McGill University in Montréal and did post-doctoral studies in molecular oncology and retrovirology at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. 

Beni joined Lumira Ventures in 2001 and his current and past board roles include Antios Therapeutics; Antiva Biosciences; Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AUPH);  Bright Angel Therapeutics; G1 Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GTHX); Health Hero Network (acquired by Bosch); Iterion Therapeutics; KAI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen); Morphotek (acquired by Eisai); Notch Therapeutics; and SGX Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SGXP; acquired by Eli Lilly).  Beni also serves on the Board of Directors of Life Sciences Ontario, Ontario Genomics, and he volunteers for various personal career mentoring programs targeting young adult entrepreneurs.  Beni is a member of the Council of Expert Advisors of the Government of Canada and a former member of the Government of Canada COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

Dr. Christine Allen, Professor at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy Cross-Appointment in Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto
Community Service Award

Dr. Christine Allen is a full professor at the University of Toronto and an internationally recognized leader with more than 160 publications in drug formulation and development. She is a member of the Scientific Leadership Team of the Acceleration Consortium, a strategic initiative at the University of Toronto awarded $200M in funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. She has received numerous awards, and is a distinguished fellow of prestigious societies including the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Christine is committed to the translation and commercialization of her research. She is a co-founder and CEO of a VC-backed, JLABS resident, stealth company that is accelerating pharmaceutical drug development through integration of AI, automation and advanced computing. She is also a co-founder and board member at Nanovista Inc.

Christine’s leadership has been pivotal in several scientific societies, notably as President of the Controlled Release Society and the Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences. In academia, her roles have included the inaugural Associate Vice-President and Vice Provost Strategic Initiatives at U of T, and the Interim Dean at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

Christine’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) goes beyond words. She actions EDI in her research and community engagement. In 2019, she founded the Women in STEAM: Leading and Reading book club to create a community that supports women as they advance in their education and careers.

Dr. Durhane Wong-Rieger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD)
Leadership Award

Durhane Wong-Rieger, Ph.D. is President & CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, Chair of the Consumer Advocare Network, President & CEO of the Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes and Chair of Canadian Heart Patient Alliance.

Internationally, she is Chair of Rare Disease International, President of Asia Pacific Rare Disease International, Treasurer of United Nations Nongovernmental Organization for Rare Diseases. Chair of Patient Advocates Constituency Committee of the International Rare Disease Research Consortium, Patient Advisor to the APEC Rare Disease Network, member of the Editorial Board of The Patient- Patient Centred Outcomes Research, and member of Health Technology Assessment International Patient /Citizen Involvement Interest Group.  

Dr. Wong-Rieger has served on numerous health policy advisory committees and panels and is a member of Genome Canada Steering Committee for the Rare Disease Precision Health Initiative. She is a certified Health Coach.

Durhane has a PhD in psychology from McGill University and was a professor at the University of Windsor, Canada.  She is a trainer and frequent lecturer and author of three books and many articles.

Satellos Bioscience
Company of the Year Award

Satellos Bioscience Inc. (TSXV: MSCL) is a Toronto-based, publicly traded, biotechnology company dedicated to developing life-improving medicines to treat degenerative muscle diseases. Satellos was established in 2018 by serial Canadian biotech entrepreneurs, Mr. Frank Gleeson and Dr. Michael Rudnicki, to translate the ground-breaking discoveries of Dr. Rudnicki, a thought leader who discovered and has shown how muscle stem cells regulate muscle repair and growth throughout life. Dr. Rudnicki’s lab has also demonstrated that the body’s muscle stem cells don’t produce enough muscle progenitor cells to keep up with the continuous damage caused by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which Satellos believes is a previously unknown causal factor in the debilitating and progressively worsening muscle degeneration which typically leads to death in the third decade of life. Based on this research, Satellos is advancing its lead program, SAT-3247, an oral small molecule drug (i.e., a pill) designed to address this regeneration deficit and which is currently in preclinical development to treat DMD. The Company’s drug development work offers hope for people living with Duchenne that a drug may have the potential to reset the body’s innate ability to repair and grow muscle. 

Satellos has also created a proprietary discovery platform, MyoReGenXTM to identify other muscle disorders where deficits in muscle stem cell regeneration can be addressed with drug treatment, offering the opportunity to expand the Company’s pipeline. In May 2023, Satellos raised CA$55 million from world-class healthcare institutional investors to advance SAT-3247 into clinical trials in mid-2024.

About Life Sciences Ontario (LSO)
Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) is a member-funded, not-for-profit organization with a legacy of more than 30 years advancing the success of Ontario’s life sciences sector. LSO collaborates with government, academia, industry, and other life sciences organizations in Ontario and across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout the sector. The organization provides a wide range of networking and educational events and operates a mentorship program that helps to develop highly skilled talent and build new business opportunities for the life sciences sector. In addition, LSO launched the Life Sciences Ontario Scholarship Program, the program awards students financial benefits and an opportunity to connect with a professional from the life sciences sector. LSO is an effective conduit for delivering policy options to governments, and it is dedicated to promoting Ontario’s life sciences sector internationally. For more information, please visit our website.

Media Contact
Lotanna Ifeobu
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Life Sciences Ontario 

162 Cumberland Street, Suite 310, Toronto, ON M5R 1A8