Karimah Es Sabar

Presenter details:

Position: CEO & Partner

Company: Quark Venture Inc.



A highly-recognized Canadian life sciences leader with broad global experience, Karimah Es Sabar has had a successful career spanning multi-national pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies, start-up companies, not-for-profit organizations and venture investment firm. She has provided leadership in marketing, business development, strategic alliances, global collaborations, public private partnerships, developing and executing innovation and translation strategies in the life science sector, building innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurship in startups, and in biotech investment.

In July 2016 Ms. Es Sabar accepted the position of CEO & Partner at Quark Venture Inc., a venture investment firm focused on life sciences, to expand and lead their health sciences enterprise. In partnership with GF Securities, a leading investment bank in China, one of the largest global health sciences venture funds was established in 2016 and headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with offices in Boston, Berkley, Hong Kong and Chengdu, and she is a Director of this GHS Fund. The fund is diversified to invest globally in disruptive pre-clinical and clinical stage companies, IPOs and publicly traded companies in therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, health IT, health AI and novel emerging convergent technologies.

In 2009 Ms. Es Sabar joined The Centre for Drug Research and Development, Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre, as Senior Vice-President, Business and Strategic Affairs, leading its business functions, and successfully building an array of national and international alliances and strategic industry partnerships. In 2012, she took on the role of President and CEO responsible for developing and executing on the overall strategic direction of the organization. Since Ms. Es Sabar joined CDRD, she enabled new public and private sector funding in excess of $180M, multiple commercial transactions including 6 spin out companies and a M&A, and grew the organization with expanded national and international reach to include partnerships right across Canada, and in 12 countries on five continents – firmly establishing its reputation as one of the world’s leading pre-clinical translational research and commercialization centres. Ms. Es Sabar was also appointed Founding Chair of the Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres in 2013, an association of international peer organizations dedicated to translating health research into new medicines, the formation of which she spearheaded.

Ms. Es Sabar took on the role of leading BC Biotech in 2005, re-engineering and rebranding the organization to LifeSciences BC. As President, she led the organization to its greatest levels of success as a strong business development organization for the life science industry and the scientific research community. Ms. Es Sabar has also held senior management positions with multinational pharmaceutical companies, most notably as Director International Division, and later Head Marketing and Business Development at Pasteur Merieux Connaught [Sanofi Pasteur] based in Toronto, when she championed and successfully launched two major first in class and first to market vaccine and biotherapeutic products. Ms. Es Sabar also served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for a Vancouver medical devices company, Medsurge Medical Inc., and was the founder of two start-up companies in Kenya, both became leading organizations setting new standards in the marketing and distribution of biopharmaceutical products in the region.


Talk Synopsis:

My talk will focus on my career journey of science, the business of science and the innovation ecosystem, and lessons learnt. This is the century of Science and Technology; whatever field you want to pursue, you are facing exponential technological growth. Do you have the fundamental skills sets everyone is going to need for the jobs of the future?


More Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karimahessabar/ 


Current Board & Advisory Roles:

  • Chair, Triumf Innovations Inc.
  • Chair, Health & Biosciences Economic Strategy Table, Government of Canada
  • Board Member, Sitka Biopharma Inc.
  • Member, 2017 Innovation Fund Special Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee for Canada Foundation of Innovation (CFI)
  • Council Member, National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
  • Board Member, Knowledge First Financial and Foundation
  • Board Member, Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet), a national Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE)
  • Board Member, Vancouver Prostate Centre (a Vancouver General Hospital & University of British Columbia Centre of Excellence); and the Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development (PC-TRIADD)