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Life Sciences Ontario strengthens its leadership with New Chair, Board Members

Toronto, March 23, 2017 – Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) today announced a new Chair of its Board of Directors, along with two new Board members, strengthening its capacity to foster growth and commercialization in Ontario’s life sciences sector.

Mark Smithyes will assume the role of Chair, effective immediately; he replaces outgoing Chair Paul Lucas, who is now entering retirement. Mark has served on LSO’s Board since 2011 and brings a wealth of leadership experience to the role. His successful career in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries spanning 20 years includes extensive work in business management, government relations, communications, sales, and marketing.

LSO is also pleased to announce the addition of two new Members to its Board: Susan Marlin, President of Clinical Trials Ontario, and Deborah Brown, a Management Consultant in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

“After five years as Chair of LSO, I’m pleased to be passing the torch to Mark as Chair, and welcoming Susan and Deborah as Members of the Board,” Lucas says. “I’m confident they will be key players in LSO’s success in 2017, and beyond.”

“Mark, Susan, and Deborah are all highly-regarded in the industry,” says Jason Field, President and CEO, Life Sciences Ontario. “We’re thrilled to be able to attract this caliber of expertise to our organization. Their contributions will undoubtedly strengthen our ability to deliver value for our members, and further the success of our sector.”


Mark Smithyes

Mark has a long and diverse history in Life Sciences including marketing, sales, government affairs, market access, communications and business management, as well as a recently completed Executive MBA and a wealth of leadership experience. For the last number of years, he was a key member of Alcon’s Senior Leadership Team in a number of roles. These include Head of Communications, Head of Government Affairs & Market Access and most recently, Country Head Pharmaceutical Business Unit, where he is currently guiding the transfer of the business unit to Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his time at Alcon, Mark spent 15 years at Novartis in various leadership roles in sales, marketing, and government affairs.
In addition to his work with LSO since 2011, Mark also served on the Boards of Directors of several organizations, including medical device industry association, MEDEC, and the community service agency, New Circles.
Mark holds a BA from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from the Kellogg and Schulich Schools of Business at Northwestern & York Universities.

Susan Marlin

Susan Marlin is the President and CEO of Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO), an organization established by the Province of Ontario in 2012 to make Ontario a preferred location for global clinical trials. Previously, she spent a decade working in research administration at Queen`s University, most recently as Associate Vice-Principal of Research. Before this, Susan worked with the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group, later leading the development of its Ethics and Regulatory Office.
She has served as President of the Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards, as a member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Research Integrity Committee, the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board, and the Tri-Agency Panel on the Responsible Conduct of Research. Susan also serves on several boards and committees, including the National Advisory Group for the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre, and the Management Team for the Ontario SPOR (Strategy for Patient Oriented Research) Support Unit.
Susan holds a BSc (Hons) from Dalhousie University, and an MSc in Community Health and Epidemiology from Queen’s University. She was awarded the Queen’s Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 in recognition of her work in support of military and veteran health research.

Deborah Brown 

Deborah has held executive positions as both President and Executive Vice President in Canada, the U.S., and Australia, of leading multinational pharmaceutical companies. She now serves as both a consultant to academia and the healthcare industry. Prior to this, she assumed successively more senior operational and management roles in marketing and sales, regulatory and government affairs, and research & development in the biopharma industry.
She has served on both Advisory Committees and Boards of patient associations, not-for-profit organizations and life science industry associations – BIOTECanada and Rx&D (now Innovative Medicines Canada) as a Board Member, Executive Committee member and Chair of the Board. Currently she is on the Strategic Executive Advisory Board for the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, and serving on the Board of Directors for the HBSPCA in addition to Life Sciences Ontario.


Life Sciences Ontario is a member-driven organization that represents and promotes the province’s vibrant and diverse life sciences sector. LSO collaborates with governments, academia, industry, and other life science organizations in Ontario and across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout the sector. Membership in Life Sciences Ontario includes individuals, students, emerging companies, investors, service providers, and companies with marketed products. The organization provides a wide range of networking and educational events, and operates a mentorship program that is helping to develop highly-skilled talent and build new business opportunities for the life sciences sector. LSO is an effective conduit for delivering policy options to governments, and is dedicated to promoting Ontario’s life sciences sector internationally.

Melissa Hughes
Director, Marketing & Communications
Life Sciences Ontario