The Gold Leaf Awards and BIONATION 2022
September 30, 2022

Canadian-biotech entrepreneurs: this is our time!

1. I was in Ottawa last week for the Gold Leaf Awards and BIONATION 2022, both hosted by BIOTECanada. As a young entrepreneur building a company in Canada’s booming biotech sector, I felt inspired and energized by what I heard. For me, there were three important takeaways:Aim higher. This was a constant refrain at both events, especially from those who have done it, including Oliver Technow of BioVectra and Ali Tehrani of Amplitude Ventures (formerly Zymeworks). As Canadians, we tend to be more reserved, more risk-averse, and sometimes too humble. But we’ll only begin to really achieve new heights if we can define our aim-higher ambition and accept what it means to go after it. Let’s think big, put our foot on the gas, and as Ali said, play to win instead of playing not to lose!

2. Work together and lift each other up as often as we can. While it can feel scary as a young entrepreneur to push boundaries, I think this second takeaway should offer some comfort: there’s enough potential for success to go around! A prime example is the partnership agreement signed by Rob Annan and Gordon McCauley of Genome Canada and adMare BioInnovations, respectively: two organizations joining forces to translate genomics research into real-world applications and companies. We have the talent, investment capital, support organizations, and collaboration opportunities here in Canada; now we need leaders, new and seasoned, to dream big and put it all together.

3. Keep pushing forward with optimism. Members of our community who have seen the ebbs and flows of the past are very bullish on Canadian biotech right now. Minister Duclos and Dr. Wickenheiser both emphasized the need for consistency and resiliency as we push forward. These two qualities distinguish the most successful in any line of work, whether it be athletics or scientific research.

To my Canadian biotech colleagues, collaborators, and yes, competitors… this is our time! I’m proud to be part of the team pursuing Molecular Forecaster’s mission with passion and drive. I think a good North Star for all of us young Canadian entrepreneurs is an aspiration that brought Dr. Wickenheiser to medicine: Don’t just be the best *in* the world, but also be the best *for* the world. Let’s go for it, together!

Josh Pottel