About Us

Board of Directors

Eldon R. Smith, OC, LLD (Hon), MD, FCAHS, FCCS, FRCPC

Chairman and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Eldon R. Smith received his medical degree cum laude from Dalhousie University. Following Internal Medicine and Cardiology training in Canada, UK, and the USA, Dr Smith joined the Faculty at Dalhousie in 1973. In 1980, he became Head of Cardiology at the University of Calgary and the Foothills Hospital in Calgary; subsequently, he became Chairman of Medicine, then Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and from 1992 to 1997, he was Dean of Medicine. From 1997 to 2010, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

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Dr. Smith has published more than 250 papers and has contributed to many organizations; he has been President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) and the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges. He has served on several public boards including the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Health Professions Advisory Board and has been a member of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health. He founded and directed the Peter Lougheed Medical Research Foundation and currently chairs the Board of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute in Calgary. In 2006, the Federal government appointed him to Chair the Steering Committee for the Canadian Heart Health Strategy. In 2010, he was appointed to the Board of Alberta Health Services and served until June 2013.

Dr. Smith has received many awards including: the Young Investigator and Achievement awards of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Keon Award from the University of Ottawa, the 125th anniversary of Canada commemorative medal, alumnus of the year at Dalhousie, the AsTECH award from the province of Alberta, Order of the University of Calgary, the Graham Medal from the Royal College, and the Medal of Service from the Canadian Medical Association.

In 2005, Dr. Smith became an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2013, the City of Calgary awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2014, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from Dalhousie University.

Over the past 20 years, Dr Smith has been a Director of more than ten public companies—mostly in the biotech sector. He has also been Chairman of two companies and Lead Director for two others. At present, he is a Director of Resverlogix Corp, and Zenith Capital Corp.

Guillermo Torre-Amione, MD, PhD

Director

Board certified in Cardiovascular Disease and Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant Cardiology, Dr. Guillermo Torre-Amione is former chief of the Heart Failure Division and former medical director of Cardiac Transplantation at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. He also is a senior member at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, full professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, New York, and, more recently, became President of TecSalud, an academic medical center and medical school of the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico.

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Dr. Torre-Amione spearheads the Gene and Judy Campbell Laboratory for Cardiac Transplant Research, where his primary areas of research include heart failure, cardiac transplant, and the role of the immune response in modulating the progression of heart failure. Dr. Torre-Amione initiated a series of clinical studies that led to an FDA-approved phase II clinical trial of neurostimulation in heart failure, a novel approach to the treatment of patients with advanced heart failure. Other significant clinical investigations include a study with cardiac transplant patients designed to impact the cardiac hypertrophy that naturally follows transplantation, a protocol for autologous stem cell transfer in patients with advanced refractory heart failure, and a novel study involving plasma exchange in advanced heart failure patients.

After receiving his medical degree from the ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico, Dr. Torre-Amione moved to Chicago, where he conducted graduate studies in immunology that led to a doctorate degree in immunology from the University of Chicago. He then moved to Houston to complete his internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, where he received his first academic appointment as a clinical instructor in 1995. Dr. Torre-Amione has published more than 170 manuscripts in peer-review journals and currently divides his time between his clinical and academic activities in Houston at The Methodist Hospital and in Monterrey, Mexico, at ITESM.

Deborah Brown, MBA

Director

Ms. Deborah Brown is Managing Partner of Accelera Canada Ltd., a specialty consultancy firm that assists emerging biopharma ventures with the development and implementation of their Canadian market strategy. She has extensive North American leadership experience, having held progressively senior roles at EMD Serono (a division of Merck KGaA, Merck Serono) from 1992 to 2014, including Executive Vice President of Neuroimmunology for the company’s U.S. operations, and President and General Manager of the company’s Canadian operations. During her 15 years at EMD Serono Canada, Ms. Brown led the organization through a period of unprecedented growth from a small $10 million affiliate to a mid-sized pharma business with a diversified portfolio generating $150 million in revenue. She led the successful and most critical product launch in Serono’s company history in the United States, resulting in a blockbuster product.

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In 2009, Ms. Brown was inducted into the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame and in 2012, she chaired the National Pharmaceutical Organization (now Innovative Medicines Canada) and served on its Board of Directors from 2007 to 2014. Currently, she sits on the Boards of Life Sciences Ontario, Oncolytics Biotech Inc., the Strategic Executive Advisory Council for Canadian Cancer Trials Group, and her local SPCA. Ms. Brown holds an MBA from University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business, a B.Sc. (Hons). from the University of Guelph and completed the Merck Executive MBA Program at the University of Hong Kong, INSEAD, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Harvard University Advanced Negotiation Skills program.

Peter Pekos , BSc, MSc

Director

Mr. Pekos is a veteran of the pharmaceutical services industry who founded Dalton Pharma Services (Dalton) in 1986, and over a period of 30 years directed its growth based on strong client relationships. In a world-class 42,000 square foot facility with more than 110 employees in the heart of one of North America’s largest biomedical clusters, Dalton provides pharma and biotech clients with an array of integrated services. This includes premium contract chemistry research, a full range of analytical support, medicinal chemistry, formulation, cGMP manufacture of solid dosage forms, and cGMP aseptic fill in vials and syringes.

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Mr. Pekos continues to serve Dalton as President & CEO, guiding the evolution of the company to serve best the changing needs of its clients, which are in all of the major global economies and include the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. The range of services extends from discovery research up to commercial production. In addition to innovative drug molecules, the company’s expertise extends to custom peptides and conjugation of active pharmaceutical ingredients and fluorophores with polymers and antibodies.

In 1983, Mr. Pekos obtained a Chemistry/Biochemistry Double Specialist Degree with a Minor in Biology from the University of Toronto. In 1986 he completed a Masters Degree in synthetic chemistry at York University, and with his Professor Doug Butler founded Dalton with a very modest amount of capital. The company used incubator facilities at York University, and initially manufactured and sold specialty chemical compounds.

Mr. Pekos also founded Ashbury Biologicals, Inc., a phyto-pharmaceutical company, Jupiter Consumer Products, a company that targeted the development of adult-focused confections and several other technology-based companies focused on advanced materials and pharmaceutical development tools.

Mr. Pekos has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Lab Business, one of the biotechnology publications of Jesmar Communications, and on the Business Advisory Board for Critical Outcome Technologies, Inc., a publicly owned Canadian drug discovery company and is a member of the editorial board of Biotechnology Focus, a leading Bio-business magazine in Canada.

Mr. Pekos is currently on the board and was founding Chairman of ventureLAB a Regional Innovation Center located at IBM’s York Region campus. VentureLAB guides government program delivery to support the innovation ecosystem for biotechnology and related industries in southern Ontario.

Mr. Pekos is an active Angel Investor and has invested in several start-ups focused on novel cancer therapeutics, Orphan diseases, and vaccine technologies.

As a York University and University of Toronto Alumni and Donor, Mr. Pekos actively supports scholarship funds at both York University and the University of Toronto.

David Elsley, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Elsley is a business leader with a proven track record of developing, financing and managing all aspects of corporate development in biotechnology and high-growth organizations.

In 1990, Mr. Elsley founded Vasogen Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the research and commercial development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of heart failure and other inflammatory conditions. Mr. Elsley assembled a team of management, directors and scientific advisors comprising industry professionals and thought leaders from North America and Europe.

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Mr. Elsley managed and directed Vasogen’s growth from start-up to an organization employing over 250 people with operations and R&D programs in Canada, the United States and Europe. He established the research and development infrastructure, partnerships, manufacturing capability, and corporate quality systems necessary to advance two anti-inflammatory therapies from concept to completion of international multi-center pivotal phase III clinical trials involving 2,500 patients. Vasogen went public on the TSX and the Nasdaq, raising over $200 million to support corporate development and reached a market capitalization over US$ 1 billion.

Mr. Elsley holds a Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.

Colin G. Stott, BSc (Hons)

Director

Mr. Stott is a veteran of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, having almost 30 years’ experience in pre-clinical and clinical development, with specific expertise in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and 19 years’ experience in the field. Currently Chief Operating Officer of Alinova Biosciences Ltd, Mr. Stott is the former Scientific Affairs Director, International and R&D Operations Director for GW Pharmaceuticals plc (“GW Pharma”), a world leader in the development of cannabinoid therapeutics.

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As R&D Operations Director at GW Pharma for over 16 years, he was a key player in the development of their discovery and development pipeline, and was closely involved in the Marketing Authorization Application submission and approval of Sativex® and the New Drug Application submission of Epidiolex®, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an orphan drug for the treatment of rare forms of paediatric epilepsy in June 2018. More recently, as Scientific Affairs Director, International, he was part of the Medical Affairs team responsible for the preparation of the international launch of Epidiolex®.

Prior to his 19-year tenure at GW Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Stott held various roles in Clinical Research and Development across a range of therapeutic areas, including: cardiology, oncology, urology, dermatology, metabolic disorders, neurology, haematology, and organ transplantation.

Mr. Stott holds a BSc (Hons) in Medicinal & Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a Diploma in Industrial Studies from Loughborough University of Technology, U.K., as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research from the Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University, U.K. He has published over 20 research papers and is a named inventor on 17 international patent applications.

Iain Chalmers, MBA

Director

Mr. Iain Chalmers is currently a professor of Marketing and Alcohol Business Management at Centennial College in Toronto Ontario. He recently transitioned to teaching after spending nearly thirty years in the Consumer Packaged Goods business, where for the last eight years, he was the Vice President of Marketing & Innovation for Diageo Canada, the world’s largest alcohol spirits company. Prior to this, he spent eleven years at Gillette/Procter & Gamble in various senior positions, including General Sales and Marketing Director for the Gillette Grooming Division. Iain is a seasoned marketer and brand builder with experience in Canada and the U.S. He led the Business Development and Sales Planning function for Braun USA and worked in marketing and sales positions at Unilever and Wrigley Canada.

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While at Diageo, he was recognized by Marketing Magazine as one of the top four Marketers in Canada, based on the strong creative output of his team and consistent business performance for global brands, including Guinness, Smirnoff, Crown Royal, and Captain Morgan. Working in the alcohol industry has given Iain extensive experience building brands in a highly government-regulated environment. He is a past member of the Association of Canadian Advertisers, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) and was a member of the Judicial Committee for ASC. Iain holds a BA in Political Science from University of Western Ontario, a Graduate Certificate in Management from Harvard University, a Bachelor of Education and an MBA from Charles Sturt University, and is a Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner (CAAP) from the Institute of Canadian Advertising.