Who we are
About Life Sciences Nova Scotia
Life Sciences Nova Scotia is the organization to fuel your success. Whether you are looking to invest, shift your start-up to a more supportive environment, or punch above your weight as a life sciences company, you can make it count in Nova Scotia. This place is the perfect size to knock down walls and open doors. Life Sciences Nova Scotia is here to help you multiply your impact and take your ambition further.
At Life Sciences Nova Scotia (formerly BioNova), we value innovation in life sciences to advance the health and well being of people here at home and around the world. BioInnovation fuels life – transforming research, discovery and new ideas into products and solutions that can be commercialized to cure and prevent disease, provide healthier food, and develop clean energy.
Life Sciences Nova Scotia is a champion of our world-class research driven universities, an innovative health system, incubator programs, and risk capital and government infrastructure support. We help position our province to attract foreign direct investment, high global export demand for strong GDP and sector growth.
Since 1993, we have been fostering the growth and success of our members by building a community through intention. We work to provide the resources and tools our members need. We help them navigate through different stages of their development, from early start up to scaling and commercializing. We create opportunities for education, mentoring and networking, and generate connections for funding, talent recruitment and cost savings.
A thriving, resilient, connected Life Sciences ecosystem for a better tomorrow.
Generate a thriving Life Sciences community for Nova Scotia’s economic and social prosperity.
- Amplifying the voices of others
- Building a community to take us further, faster
- Being intentional about sector growth
- Demonstrating inclusivity
- Seeking global opportunities
- Celebrating collective success
Meet The Life Sciences Nova Scotia Team
Chief Executive Officer
Sean Awalt brings over 25 years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. He has a proven track record of driving strategic collaborations, growth and value. Sean has held numerous positions leading public policy, marketing, sales initiatives, and advocating for a shared understanding of the value of a healthy life sciences ecosystem. Sean served on the board of IMC – Atlantic helping to shape the provincial life sciences policy landscape.
Vice President Business Development & Strategy
For over 20 years, Doris has led commercialization, intellectual property protection and business development initiatives with a proven track record of building impactful partnerships and securing transformational funding to advance innovation mandates. Most recently Doris served as Senior Director of Innovation at Nova Scotia Health where she led the implementation of multiple high-priority, transformative and innovative initiatives to enhance healthcare and the health of Nova Scotians.
Director of Operations
Marketing & Communications Manager
Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors and special advisors are a representation of industry leaders and stakeholders within the life sciences sector.
Directors provide leadership, counsel and govern the mandate of the Association.
Kevin Sullivan is a highly accomplished Life Science executive. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours) in Microbiology & Immunology from Dalhousie University, Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology from McGill 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 previously was CEO at Appili Therapeutics Inc., and DeNovaMed Inc. Additionally, he held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Business Development at Viron Therapeutics Inc., which was funded by Amgen and Novartis Ventures. He is highly regarded for his ability to introduce innovative therapeutic approaches into clinical settings, and has a remarkable 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 novel biomaterials, protein-based therapeutics, small molecule therapies, and vaccines.
20+ years experience in the technology industry with experience leading both established and start-up companies with a global focus. Peter has cofounded three companies in the life sciences sector.
Peter is Cofounder and Executive Chairperson of Allumiqs Corp, a company whose platform solution is standardizing outsourced collaboration for biotech and biopharma through sample prep, mass spectrometry and data analytics.
Peter is also a cofounder and current executive director of IR Scientific, a biomaterials research and development company that has developed a unique biomaterial that cures tooth sensitivity and repairs enamel.
As the Cofounder and CEO of Adaptiiv Medical Technologies Inc., Peter led the company through the financing, development and regulatory clearance of the 3D Bolus solution, a turnkey, patented technology used clinically in 14 countries to date by leading centers that include Oxford University (UK), US Military Walter Reed, Kaiser Permanente, University of Chicago, and University of Indiana.
Peter is a native of Prince Edward Island. Peter, his wife Leanne and two sons, Liam, and Ryan, live in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Stephen Hartlen is the Assistant Vice-President, Industry Relations and leads the Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE), at Dalhousie University. Dalhousie’s OCIE team commercializes research at the university, engages industry and facilitates collaborations between companies and university researchers, promotes entrepreneurship, and assists in the creation of spin-off ventures.
Prior to joining Dal, he spent the previous eight years at Innovacorp, (now Invest Nova Scotia), serving as vice president of mentoring and in his final year as interim President and CEO. Earlier, Stephen spent 15 years in the private sector with experience in business development, sales, and go-to-market strategy development in both the corporate financial services and the information technology sectors.
Stephen is presently the Vice Board Chair for Springboard Atlantic and Chair of the Nominations and Governance Committee. Chair of the Board of NetZero Atlantic and Board Member of Life Sciences Nova Scotia. He is the past chair of the Advisory Committee for the Conference Board of Canada’s Council for Innovation and Commercialization.
Stephen was the productivity lead at the 4Front Atlantic Conference series. Has presented at the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Conference. He currently sits on several Dalhousie steering committees overseeing the University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship strategy.
Stephen is a graduate of Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Saint Mary’s University with a Master of Business Administration in Finance.
Lidija Marusic, MD, PhD, MBA
Dr. Lidija Marusic is vice president of business investment and managing director of the Nova Scotia First Fund. 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.
Previously, Lidija was an investment director at Innovacorp, where her focus was on pre-seed and seed investment opportunities in the life sciences (i.e., human health) sectors.
Joining Innovacorp 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.
Prior to 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.
Keith MacIntyre, FCPA, FCA
Keith MacIntyre has significant expertise helping clients in real estate construction and technology deal with intricate matters of tax, with an emphasis on incentives for fundraising. As a partner of Grant Thornton LLP in Nova Scotia, Keith works to advance the interest of the investment community and support economic growth. He was one of the lead authors on a report, “Modernizing the Equity Tax Credit,” along with Scott Moffitt of BioNova, James Curry of ACOA and Sean Sears of Ogden Pond Capital. The paper was co-presented by Grant Thornton, Cox & Palmer and BioNova to the Province of Nova Scotia providing recommendations to evolve the equity tax credit to attract investment for Nova Scotia businesses.
In addition to his advocacy efforts, Keith’s experience encompasses complex tax analysis, business structuring, strategic planning, transactions and support for government incentives and grant programs. He assists clients thru the various stages of their business from start-up to growth to M&A, ensuring they reach their financial objectives. Keith is the former National leader of tax services for Grant Thornton in Canada.
Michelle is a highly accomplished launch leader with 19 years of experience in commercial roles, specializing in marketing and commercial launch strategy. She has a proven record of growing markets through comprehensive direct-to-consumer (DTC) initiatives, implementing innovative brand strategies to maximize revenue, and leading high-performing teams. As employee number two of Moderna Commercial, Michelle is helping to build the organizational foundation including commercial strategy, operational innovation, and digital customer centered design. As part of commercial launch leadership, she drove key programs for the scale up from pre-market launch to ~$5B in the first year of the COVID pandemic. In addition, she served as the Global Commercial Lead for market development efforts related to mRNA-1647, CMV vaccine candidate.
Today, Michelle holds the position of Global Head of Consumer for COVID Vaccines at Moderna. In this role, she is shaping Moderna’s consumer dialogue on the future of preventive health.
Mahmoud Mirmehrabi, PhD, PEng
Dr. Mirmehrabi has a PhD in Chemical Engineering with research focus on pharmaceutical development. He has more than 20 years of experience in biotech and pharma industry in companies such as Wyeth/Pfizer, Johnson Matthey pharma and Solid State Pharma. Mahmoud is the author of more than sixty patents and patent applications and many peer reviewed journal articles. In 2014, Mahmoud moved from Boston to Halifax and founded Solid State Pharma (SSPI), which is a research partner to hundreds of global pharma companies developing new generations of medicines. SSPI has a team of thirty-five talented individuals, of which seventeen of them hold PhDs.
Dr. George B. Kenney, ScD
A serial entrepreneur and technologist, Dr. Kenney is currently a Founding Principal of Great Dome Associates. He brings to the medical device and life science ecosystem decades of advanced materials, high tech and engineering experience at MIT and industry in developing innovative technologies and platforms. He has led the development of many domestic and international partnerships, collaborations and strategies for financing R&D and its translation to commercial applications and products. His attention is currently directed to the innovative development and application of technology to address unmet medical needs, especially in underserved areas of healthcare with oversized potential for positive health benefits and economic impact. Dr. Kenney has been involved in numerous startups as a co-founder, officer, advisor, mentor, and director.
Educated at MIT, he earned a BS, MS, and ScD in materials science and engineering while minoring in both economics and law. Upon graduation, he remained at MIT as the co-founder of the interdisciplinary Materials Processing Center (MPC), NASA’s first sponsored Center of Excellence, where he served as Associate Director as well as the Director of both the MPC’s international Industry Collegium and Summer Internship Program. He is also a co-founder MIT’s Micro photonics Center and served as its Associate Director.
Peter is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Engineering. He went on to serve in the US Army as a Captain in the Artillery serving in Germany, Oklahoma, and Hawaii. He moved to the public sector and started a 30+ year career of progressive responsibility in regulated industry. He has led organizations in Large Molecule Manufacturing; API Manufacturing; Drug Product; Cosmetics; Nutraceuticals; Diagnostic Lab Operations; Medical Device Manufacturing; and Nuclear Power Piping Fabrication. Peter has served as an Executive in Manufacturing Operations, Quality Operations, Supply Chain and Strategy. He has also served for 15 years as Vice President / General Manager across 4 companies and six sites operating in Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United States.