Karim Lalji, MS
Chairman & CEO
Mr. Lalji began his career with Merck & Company. While at Merck, he led the infectious disease new product portfolio from the commercial perspective, with responsibility for products such as INVANZ, CANCIDAS and CRIXIVAN. Mr. Lalji was a key member of the team that ultimately led to the discovery of the triple cocktail for treating HIV infections.
Mr. Lalji subsequently undertook responsibility for driving the global franchise strategies for Merck’s two leading areas: cholesterol reducers and hypertension/heart failure treatments. His final role during his ten-year tenure at Merck was as an executive leading the worldwide osteoporosis franchise and its main product, FOSAMAX.
Subsequent to Merck, Mr. Lalji worked at Sepracor, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was Vice President of Business Strategy and New Product Commercialization. Mr. Lalji was the primary architect of LUNESTA for the treatment of insomnia at Sepracor.
In 2006, Mr. Lalji joined Cardiome Pharma Corp. in Vancouver, British Columbia as Senior Vice President of Commercial Affairs and an officer of the company. He played a pivotal role in driving Cardiome’s $1 billion worldwide licensing agreement with Merck & Company for vernakalant oral and IV for the management of atrial fibrillation.
Mr. Lalji serves on the Board of Overseers of Harvard University’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, a leading academic teaching hospital. Mr. Lalji holds a Science Masters Degree in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. He also holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.
Jason J. Harmon ND, FABNO
Dr. Jason J. Harmon is Lead Director of Microbion Corporation where he has been a board member since 2008 and served as the past president of Microbion’s industrial area. At Microbion, he has worked as a key strategist and business advisor for the company during this critical period of growth. Dr. Harmon contributes a wealth of clinical knowledge, a diverse international network and he is responsible for the successful fundraising of equity capital for Microbion. As a fourth generation Alaskan, Dr. Harmon is highly aware of the significant opportunities for Microbion’s technology to serve the unmet, health-related needs of rural populations, as well as key industrial needs, such as assistance in the development of oil and gas production and water and waste treatment industries.
Dr. Harmon has more than 20 years of experience in supporting companies across all phases of development, from start-up to long-term sustainability and sale. He has directly owned and managed multiple companies in the medical and industrial spaces. As the co-founder and owner of Avante Medical Center, Dr. Harmon created a highly successful integrative and progressive medical practice business based in Anchorage, Alaska. Under his leadership, Avante has experienced significant revenue growth over the last 12 years, maintaining an unprecedented level of profitability in a rapidly changing business environment.
Brett Baker MSc, DC
Founder, President & CSO
Dr. Brett Baker is the founder of Microbion as well as the original formulator of the company’s mission, scientific projects, and business strategies. He identified the bismuth-thiol platform technology as a highly valuable tool in the fight against infectious disease, and successfully negotiated Microbion’s exclusive, international license in this regard.
Dr. Baker is a primary physician with advanced training in cancer research. His graduate research led to the identification of the first animal homolog of the human ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1) molecule. ICAM-1 is a vital protein on the surface of T-cells that allows these active immune system cells to reversibly adhere to many other cell types, facilitating rapid intercellular communication in the immune system.
Dr. Baker has served as the author and Principal Investigator for over $6.7 million in grants awarded to Microbion from the US Department of Defense (DOD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies, including a $2.5 million grant recently recommended for funding by the DOD to support Phase II human clinical studies. He led our Phase I human clinical study project, and he has received advanced training in microbial biofilm research from the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University. Dr. Baker has contributed to Microbion’s growing suite of intellectual property. He leads Microbion’s establishment of effective relationships with commercialization partners.
Roger A.C. Kuypers
Roger Kuypers is a partner in the Technology and Intellectual Property Practice Group. He works primarily with businesses and institutions focused on the development, acquisition and commercialization of intellectual property, including life sciences technologies, information technologies (IT) and trade-marks.
Roger is the regional Chair of the firm’s Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice Group. His clients include biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical companies and health authorities. In 2006, Roger acted in the largest license and collaboration between a Japanese pharmaceutical company and a biotechnology company. Roger also developed the clinical trial agreement negotiation process and guidelines for one of Western Canada’s largest clinical trials centres. He assists clients negotiate license and research agreements with Universities in Canada and abroad. Additionally, he assists with the negotiation of manufacture and supply agreements for pharmaceuticals and functional foods.
Roger leads the Trade-marks Prosecution Group in the Vancouver office. He assists clients with copyright and patent assignments and licensing, and works with a network of foreign intellectual property professionals to create and maintain international trade-mark and patent portfolios. He conducts intellectual property audits and provides strategic advice for the development, protection and commercialization of intellectual property assets.
Roger’s IT practice assists clients in the field of systems acquisitions, software development and outsourcing.
Zafrira Avnur, Ph.D.
In October 2016 Ms. Avnur Joined Quark Venture Inc. as Chief Scientific officer at Quark Venture Inc., a venture investment fund focused on life sciences investments. Quark Venture Inc is one of the largest global health sciences venture funds headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with offices in Boston, Hong Kong and Chengdu. The fund is diversified to invest in disruptive pre-clinical and clinical stage companies, IPOs and publicly traded companies in the areas of drug development, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, health IT and novel emerging convergent technologies.
Ms. Avnur was the Global Head of Academic Innovation, Roche Partnering from 2009 until October 2016. In this role she was responsible for creating relationships with the world’s leading academic institutions and world class innovators, gaining Roche early access to innovation. Ms. Avnur has established 20 agreements with over 50 universities, started more than 100 academic programs in 16 locations. Ms. Avnur created the ROADS (Roche Alliance with Distinguished Scientists) program, a model for collaboration between Industry and Academic institutions.
During the past 5 years, Ms. Avnur was named Global Head of Neglected Diseases Roche Partnering, establishing six collaborations and connections with non-profit organizations.
Ms. Avnur found and performed scientific evaluation of opportunities and in-licensing leads mainly in early stage throughout the world. From these she has created nine startup companies. Several of these innovations were recognized as Game Changing Innovation at Roche.
Preceding her current academic innovation leadership role, Ms. Avnur moved to Roche Partnering group (Basel, Switzerland, 2006) and assumed responsibility for scientific evaluations of partnering opportunities and started the “Finder” group for Biomarkers for all therapeutic areas. She acted as Liaison between Pharma and Diagnostic Divisions’ Biomarkers activities, and contributed to the PHC (Personalized Health Care) initiative.
Prior to her partnering roles, Ms. Avnur worked in diagnostics and pharmaceuticals research and development for nearly 20 years. She held a number of positions progressing from scientist and manager to global responsibilities. Her focus areas included diagnostics, the finding of biomarkers in various therapy areas (including Asthma and COPD, transplant genitourinary, CNS, arthritis, transplant and hepatitis C.), preclinical pharmacology (osteoporosis), overseeing the advancement of compounds from the bench into the clinic, and the design and execution of early clinical studies that characterize the pharmacodynamics and clinical effects of a number of compounds.
As a researcher, Ms. Avnur has participated in global committees at Roche that managed the research drug discovery portfolios for both Inflammatory and Viral Diseases. In her management roles, Ms. Avnur ran groups of up to 44 scientists.
Ms. Avnur was named Distinguished Scientist, the highest scientific appointment at Roche.
Major scientific achievements include advancing three compounds (a PTHrP analog and two vitamin D analogs, for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis) from early exploratory discovery research to the clinic.
Ms. Avnur will leverage the assets gained in her rich career to make an impact, by engaging in the innovation community to translate science into products.