BioNova’s mandate is to:
LEAD the development of Health and Life Science in Nova Scotia
ACCELERATE companies and the business ecosystem
ADVOCATE for the sector and growth of Nova Scotia’s BioEconomy
Our Sector Strengths in Nova Scotia
BioNova’s Health and Life Science community is comprised of companies in our five core areas and their affiliated stakeholders.
Please visit our Sector Strengths page to learn more.
Pharmaceuticals & Vaccines
Natural Health Products
Meet The BioNova Team
Doris GrantVP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Kerri MannetteDIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Ciara McGlincheyADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR
Sean Awalt brings over 25 years of leadership experience working in the biopharmaceutical industry. He has a proven track record of driving strategic collaborations to create meaningful growth and value. In his previous positions as Vice President Partnership Strategy at Sequence Bio and as a Principle at Vandium Consulting, he helped small and medium biopharma enterprises establish global collaborations and scale their businesses. Awalt has held numerous leadership positions at Merck Canada and Hoffmann-La Roche where he led several public policy, marketing, and sales initiatives, in addition to advocating for a shared understanding of the value of a healthy life sciences ecosystem. Awalt has also served on the board of Innovative Medicines Canada – Atlantic helping to shape the provincial life sciences policy landscape.
For over 20 years, Doris has led commercialization, intellectual property protection and industry business development initiatives. She brings a proven track record of attracting and building impactful partnerships and securing transformational funding to advance diverse innovation mandates along with extensive business experience in global markets. Most recently Doris served as Senior Director of Innovation at Nova Scotia Health where she, as part of the Health Innovation Hub and the Research, Innovation & Discovery portfolio, led and co-led working with key partners the implementation of multiple high-priority, transformative and innovative initiatives to enhance healthcare and health of Nova Scotians.
Board of Directors
BioNova’s Board of Directors is elected from among its membership. Directors provide leadership, counsel and govern the operations of the Association.
Dr. F. Jon GeskeCHAIRPERSON
Brian LowePAST CHAIRPERSON
Kevin SullivanPAST CHAIRPERSON
Principal – MNP’s Assurance and Business Advisory
Monita recently became a partner with MNP. Currently, Monita is a Principal with MNP’s Assurance
and Business Advisory practice. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a
Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2002.
With over 15 years in public practice, Monita has gained a wide variety of experience in the performance of assurance engagements. Monita’s clients range in size from some of the firm’s largest clients to some of the firm’s smallest clients and span the service line from start–up companies in research and development, technology-based start-ups, not-for-profits, charities and companies in the real-estate, construction, retail, insurance and manufacturing industries. Monita has a broad base of business advisory experience and taxation knowledge gained from working with a wide variety of clients in various industries. As a trusted advisor she helps her clients develop timely, responsive solutions to help them achieve their goals. Monita is also involved in MNP’s quality control initiatives and has been an active member of the profession by acting as a practice inspector for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia for the past 9 years. Monita joined the board of the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia as Treasurer in 2017.
Assistant Vice President (Industry Relations) & Executive Director, Dalhousie University Industry Liaison & Innovation
Mp>Before joining the Industry Liaison and Innovation (ILI) office in 2011, Stephen Hartlen spent eight years at Innovacorp, where he served as vice president of mentoring and, for the final year, as interim president and CEO. Prior to Innovacorp, Mr. Hartlen worked in the private sector for 14 years, where he was involved in a range of activities including sales, business development and the development of “go-to-market” strategies for various products and services.
Since taking the ILI position, Mr. Hartlen’s focus has been on ways to link Dalhousie researchers to industry, with the goal of seeing more of Dal’s research efforts reaching the market and thus boosting the university’s reputation while having a positive impact on the local economy.
Dr. F. Jon Geske
Dr. F. Jon Geske
Chief Scientific Officer, Precision BioLogic
Jon Geske, Ph.D., is a seasoned scientist and business professional with over 30 years in the health and life sciences.
In his role as Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Geske is a member of the executive team and provides strategic and technical direction at the highest level of the company. He has experience including leading life science efforts at a major university, where he helped manage and facilitate collaborations between companies and university researchers, helped to commercialize research, and assisted in the creation of spin-off ventures. Previously in multiple diagnostic companies in Canada and the US, he has led R&D efforts and technical partnerships with international corporations, guided growth and strategy, and directed business development efforts. He has led the development and FDA clearance of medical diagnostic kits and was also author and principal investigator of a small business grant to develop immunoassays for the rapid detection of Ebola virus.
Dr. Geske received his doctoral degree from the University of Colorado in Experimental Pathology and his bachelor’s degree in Genetics from the University of California. He has authored multiple scientific publications and abstracts. He currently serves as Chairperson on the Board of Directors at BioNova, an industry association that leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector.
Interim Vice President of Investment – Invest Nova Scotia
Dr. Lidija Marusic is interim vice president of investment and managing director of the Nova Scotia First Fund at Invest Nova Scotia (formerly Innovacorp). As part of the senior management team, she leads Invest Nova Scotia’s work to find, fund and foster innovative Nova Scotia start-ups that strive to change the world.
Prior to her current role, Lidija was an investment director at Invest Nova Scotia, where her focus was on pre-seed and seed investment opportunities in the life sciences (i.e., human health) sectors.
Joining Invest Nova Scotia in 2006, Lidija built the organization’s life sciences commercialization and venture capital practice. Today, in addition to her senior management role at the organization, Lidija manages a thriving portfolio of companies and fosters the commercialization of new medical innovations by guiding researchers and emerging start-up founders.
Before joining Invest Nova Scotia, Lidija worked at MDS Capital and its seed fund MedInnova Partners, focusing on commercializing biomedical discoveries.
Lidija holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, a PhD in molecular genetics from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy, and an MBA from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Lidija is a board member at Covina Biomedical, Audioptics Medical, Axem Neurotechnology, Emagix, CVCA (Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association) and BioNova. She is a board observer at Densitas and Spring Loaded Technology, and a member of the investment committee at MEDTEQ.
Chief Operating Officer – ABK BioMedical
Co-founder and Director, First Angel Network Association
Brian E. Lowe is co-founder and a director of the First Angel Network Association, Atlantic Canada’s largest association for private investors and is a shareholder and director of several operating companies throughout Atlantic Canada. As an accomplished entrepreneur and business leader with over 35 years experience, he has been involved in a number of start-up companies throughout his career. Mr. Lowe raised millions of dollars for these companies. He has been responsible for taking technologies to market internationally resulting in mergers and acquisitions. As a co-founder of Immunovaccine Technologies Inc., Mr. Lowe brought invaluable expertise having been responsible for the incorporation and raising the necessary start-up funding totalling $10 million. On October 5th, 2009, Immunovaccine Inc. (TSX-V: IMV) became a publicly traded company. Today Mr. Lowe is Chief Operating Officer for ABK Biomedical Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Past experience includes serving as the President/CEO/Founder of three environmental companies based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Mr. Lowe successfully negotiated the sale of these companies to Laidlaw Environmental Services Ltd. of South Carolina. He is a director and Chair of BioNova, Nova Scotia Life Sciences Association, a past director of the National Angel Capital Association and a current director of Springboard Atlantic, a network with a mandate to support the commercialization of research through universities in Atlantic Canada. Mr. Lowe is Entrepreneur in Residence at the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship under the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University.
CEO – 3D BioFibR Inc.
Kevin Sullivan is a highly accomplished executive. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology & Immunology from Dalhousie University and a Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Throughout his career, Sullivan has held several key leadership positions in various biotech companies. He is currently the CEO of 3D BioFibR Inc., and the previous CEO at Appili Therapeutics Inc., and DeNovaMed Inc. Additionally, he has held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Business Development at Viron Therapeutics Inc. He is highly regarded for his ability to introduce innovative therapeutic approaches into clinical settings and has a remarkable track record of successful fundraising, having raised over $90 million in equity, debt, and non-dilutive financing for both public and private companies.
Sullivan’s career has been focused on the commercialization of life-science technologies, with a particular emphasis on protein-based therapeutics, small molecule therapies, vaccines, and novel biomaterials.
Executive Director, IR Scientific
Peter Hickey is a demonstrated leader in the development and execution of global information strategies and the development of new commercial technology applications. He serves on the Board of Directors at BioNova, an industry association that leads, accelerates, and advocates for Nova Scotia’s growing health and life sciences sector.