The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) announced today that Chief Executive Officer, Natalie Dakers, has won the BIOTECanada Industry Leadership Gold Leaf award.

“Natalie Dakers has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout her 20-year career in the biotech industry,” said Peter Brenders, President and CEO, BIOTECanada. “We are recognizing her for her vision, her leadership and her commitment to promoting and supporting the growth of the biotech industry in Canada.”

Dakers is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at the CDRD, an organization that guides and supports early-stage drug development from BC’s top academic and health research institutions, working to increase the successful commercialization of new therapeutics.  

“Natalie has long been a leader in life sciences in BC,” said Karimah Es Sabar, president of provincial industry association LifeSciences British Columbia. “In her current role with CDRD, she has once again demonstrated her extraordinary vision, creativity and commitment to the development of the life sciences sector in BC and Canada.”

Before CDRD, Dakers was the President & CEO of Neuromed Pharmaceuticals. She built the company from inception, raising financing totaling approximately $70M. Neuromed’s drug development platform led to one of the largest licensing deals in Canadian biotech history – $475 million with Merck & Co.

She is Past Chair of LifeSciences British Columbia (then BC Biotech), a board member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome BC, Genome Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She is also an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Business Innovation.