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Life Sciences Ontario Welcomes Darren Anderson, Naheed Kurji, Parimal Nathwani, Robyn Saccon, and Salim Teja as New Board Members

TORONTO, ON – March 21st, 2024 — Today, Life Sciences Ontario hosted our Annual General Meeting and we are delighted to welcome the following highly accomplished professionals to the board of directors:

  • Darren Anderson, Co-Founder and CEO, Vive Crop Protection
  • Naheed Kurji, President, Recursion Canada
  • Parimal Nathwani, President and CEO, Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP)
  • Robyn Saccon, Vice President, Public Affairs, BD Canada; and 
  • Salim Teja, Partner, Radical Ventures

“We are proud to welcome our new board members whose achievements and expertise promise to help strategically grow and advance Ontario’s life sciences sector,” says Dr. Jason Field, President and CEO of Life Sciences Ontario. “Together, we are poised to address some of the most pressing challenges in the life sciences sector and thus improve our competitiveness in Canada and beyond. I look forward to the unique perspectives and insights they will bring to our organization.”

Highlights from 2023 were also presented at the AGM. To view the 2023 Annual Report, please click here.

Meet the New Board Members

Darren Anderson, Co-Founder and CEO, Vive Crop Protection
Dr. Darren Anderson is a co-founder and CEO of Vive Crop Protection (previous LSO company of the year) and serves on its Board of Directors. Darren is passionate about using technology to improve the sustainability of agriculture while creating real results for growers. Darren is on the Board of CropLife America, the trade association for the pesticide industry in the USA; a member of the Advisory Committee for CHLOE, an organization committed to increasing STEM learning through agriculture and natural resources; and a founding member of ElectSTEM, a non-profit encouraging people with STEM backgrounds to run for political office.

Under Darren’s leadership, Vive has raised over $75M CAD ($60M USD) of equity and debt, launched the first nanotechnology-enabled pesticide products that are approved by the EPA, and built a business with products used on over 2.5M acres in 2022. Dr. Anderson is the inventor on 13 issued patents and 44 pending applications. Dr. Anderson earned his PhD from University of Toronto as an NSERC doctoral fellow.

Naheed Kurji, President, Recursion Canada
Naheed is the President of Recursion Canada, the Canadian wholly-owned subsidiary of Recursion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RXRX). Prior to joining Recursion, Naheed was the Co-founder, President and CEO of Cyclica, a Toronto-based biotech company (acquired by Recursion in May 2023). At Cyclica, Naheed had the distinct privilege of working with an incredibly talented and dedicated team that was considered one of the pioneers of what is now the increasingly hot space of AI for Drug Discovery and Development. Naheed is also a co-founder and Board Member of EntheogeniX Biosciences, a psychedelic-inspired biotech company for mental health, co-founder of the Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (AAIH) for which he served as Chair until May 2023, Board Member of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), and Member of the Life Sciences Advisory Group for Global Affairs Canada. Naheed is passionate about how people interact with technology to inform effective decision making, while dedicated to advancing the responsible application of AI to healthcare and the impact on patients. Naheed holds an MBA from Rotman School of Business and an undergraduate degree from the University of Ottawa.

Parimal Nathwani, President and CEO, Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP)
A highly regarded life sciences industry leader and advocate with strong relationships across the academic and health research community, global industry, and investors, Parimal Nathwani has been with Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP) since its inception in 2008, first serving as Vice President and subsequently taking on the role of President and CEO in 2020.

Parimal brings to TIAP more than 25 years of experience advancing health innovation including forming and scaling innovative new life sciences companies. His expertise includes technology transfer, intellectual property management, technology development, corporate finance, business development, alliance management and operations. Parimal has been actively involved in launching and managing more than a dozen start-up companies with activities such as raising early-stage capital, establishing strategic partnerships, recruiting management and advisors, and driving in- and out-licensing activities. Under Parimal’s leadership, TIAP has launched impactful programs such as LAB150, a collaboration with global companies Evotec SE and Amgen that has brought considerable new financial and mentorship resources to Ontario’s life sciences ecosystem to accelerate early-stage drug development.

 Before joining TIAP, Parimal was a healthcare analyst with a boutique investment bank where he conducted equity research on publicly traded biotechnology companies in Canada and the U.S. He also led commercialization activities at BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital as part of his role at the University of British Columbia’s Industry Liaison Office. Parimal started his career as a research scientist at a start-up biotechnology company involved in drug discovery targeting ABC Transporters.

Parimal is currently Chair of Vasomune Therapeutics, a Director of Fibrocor Therapeutics, TRIUMF Innovations, and the Nanomedicine Innovation Network, and an Observer on the Boards of Zucara Therapeutics and Radiant Biotherapeutics. He received his MBA from Simon Fraser University and his M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia.

Robyn Saccon, Vice President, Public Affairs, BD Canada
Robyn Saccon is the Public Affairs Vice President of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) Canada. 

As a member of the country leadership team, Robyn leads the development and execution of strategic communications and marketing, policy and government relations initiatives contributing to the company’s purpose of Advancing the world of health™.  

Robyn amasses over 17 years of experience in hospital and health care industries with experience in the private and public sector as well as not for profit. She has a track record of building and maintaining strong relationships, influencing policy decisions, and managing complex projects with a passion for improving access, quality and innovation in health care. 

Robyn holds a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management from Schulich School of Business, a Diploma in Ethics from Western University and a Canadian Health Executive(CHE) designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders. 

Robyn is also an active board member of the Mississauga Board of Trade, Co-Chair of the Ontario Medtech Canada Committee , Co- Chair of LabCanDX and Chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Health Policy Council. 

Salim Teja, Partner, Radical Ventures
Salim Teja is a Partner with Radical Ventures where he leads the firm’s Velocity Team.  Radical Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs applying deep technology to transform massive industries. With a primary focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, Radical Ventures partners with exceptional entrepreneurs to build enduring global companies. Salim brings over 20 years of experience in the technology sector as an entrepreneur, venture investor, corporate innovator, and innovation ecosystem builder. Prior to Radical Ventures, Salim served as President, Venture Services for MaRS Discovery District. Salim led the strategic direction of MaRS’ Venture Services Program across four sectors including Energy & Environment (Cleantech), Finance &Commerce (Fintech), Health and Enterprise. Salim has also held roles as Chief Operating Officer of b5media and Partner with early-stage VC firm Brightspark Ventures, where he was the driving force behind investments, including Radian6 (acquired by Salesforce.com). He was also Co-founder and Vice President of Sales and Business Development for San Francisco-based MobShop Inc, a pioneering e-commerce venture funded by GE Capital, Visa International, Mayfield Fund and Marc Andreessen.