Board of Directors
Avtar Dhillon, MD
Dr. Dhillon is a life sciences entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience. As a founder/co-founder or lead investor in dozens of life science companies, he has raised more than $1B in public and private financings. As President and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Dr. Dhillon led a turnaround with multiple successful financings and licensing deals with Merck, Wyeth (now Pfizer) and Roche. Before joining Inovio, he was Vice President of MDS Capital Corp. (now Lumira Capital Corp.). Dr. Dhillon now serves as an active board member and chairman for multiple life science and investment companies and is Chairman of the Cannabis Canada Council. Prior to his business career, Dr. Dhillon practiced family medicine. He has a BSc (Honours) in Human Physiology and an MD from the University of British Columbia.
Chairman of the Board
Robert Rai, BSc
Mr. Rai is CEO of Vancpharm, a leader in point-of-care testing and health technology, has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmacy industry. The operator of multiple Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy locations for more than 20 years Metro Vancouver, his pharmacies were the first in Canada to launch two new government funded pilot programs: a revolutionary point of care HIV testing package utilizing the INSTI test and a partnership program with the Kidney Foundation of Canada to develop a more efficient screening method for chronic kidney disease using HealthTab technology. He has a BSc in Biochemistry and a BSc in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of British Columbia.
Punit Dhillon, BA Hons.
Mr. Dhillon is the co-founder and director of OncoSec Medical Incorporated, a leading biopharmaceutical company developing cancer immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumors. Prior to OncoSec, he served as Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, where he raised more than $160 million through multiple financings and several licensing transactions. His management experience spans corporate finance, M&A integration, in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading universities and key global opinion leaders. Mr. Dhillon also co-founded BeCancerPositive.org, an online community for cancer patients. In 2014, he was a finalist in Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” competition. Mr. Dhillon holds a BA (Honours) in political science and a minor in business administration from Simon Fraser University.
Jim Heppell, BSc, LLP
Mr. Heppell is the co-founder, President and Director of BC Advantage Funds (VCC) Ltd., a venture fund that invests in and builds technology, life science and clean technology companies. His first fund, the Advantage Life Sciences I Fund, won the Canadian Venture Capital Deal of the Year Award in 2006. Early in his career, he practiced corporate securities law with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin and later served as President and CEO of Catalyst Corporate Finance Lawyers. Mr. Heppell has also helped to build a number of life science companies, including Aspreva Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Galenica Ltd.), Immgenics (acquired by Amgen), Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and Sophiris Bio Inc. He earned a BSc in microbiology and a law degree from the University of British Columbia.