MaRS Founding Chair honoured for national biotech leadership

Toronto, June 11, 2008 – BIOTECanada announced today in Ottawa the 2008 winners of the prestigious Gold Leaf awards. Nominated and judged by biotech industry leaders, the awards honour companies and individuals who demonstrated leadership, innovation and financial success in 2007.

Dr. John Evans was honoured with a Gold Leaf award for his national leadership as Founding Chair of MaRS Discovery District.

“As one of the fathers of Canadian biotechnology, Dr. John Evans’ personal leadership has been seminal in inspiring those of us who work in biotechnology today,” said Peter Brenders, President and CEO of BIOTECanada. “It is a rare privilege for BIOTECanada to be able to honour his contribution with this year’s Industry Leadership Award.”

Dr. Evans received his undergraduate medical training at the University of Toronto and specialty training in internal medicine and cardiology in London, England, Boston and Toronto. Dr. Evans was founding Dean of the McMaster University, Faculty of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario, served as President of the University of Toronto, and was founding Director of the Population, Health and Nutrition Department of the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

As Chair of Allelix Inc., Canada’s first biotechnology company, Dr. Evans is associated with the birth of biotechnology in Canada. He currently serves as a director of several Canadian corporations and institutions. Dr. Evans previously served as Chairman of Torstar Corporation, Chairman of Alcan Inc. and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation.

“I’d like to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to BIOTECanada for this award – I only wish it could go to the whole team here at MaRS,” said Dr. Evans, who is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, member of the Order of Ontario, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, (London), Master of the American College of Physicians and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

“We’re very proud of the MaRS Discovery District and the impact it’s having on Canada’s position as an innovation leader,” he said. “BIOTECanada plays a important role in promoting the climate for success in research and innovation.”

Other Gold Leaf Winners
Edmonton-based BioMS Medical, manufacturer of a drug for multiple sclerosis, was named company of the year. “BioMS Medical clearly stood out to the selection committee,” said Rainer Engelhardt, BIOTECanada Chair. “With the largest Canadian deal ever with Eli Lilly this company has successfully built a Canadian trial medication into a drug ready for the global market.”

The early stage company award went to Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. for its neuropathic pain medication based on protein inhibition, and to Lignol Energy Corp. for its development of fuel-grade ethanol and biochemical from forest biomass.

For more details about the awards and winners, please visit:

About BIOTECanada
BIOTECanada is dedicated to the sustainable commercial development of biotechnology innovation in Canada. It is the national industry-funded association with over 220 members representing the broad spectrum of biotech constituents, including emerging and established companies in the health, industrial, and agricultural sectors, as well as academic and research institutions and other related organizations.

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District ( is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

For more information, contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director Communications
MaRS Discovery District