Transforming Discovery into Opportunity

CDRD Announces Appointments to its Board of Directors

June 28, 2016 – Vancouver, BC: The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Don Avison as Chair of its Board of Directors, and Dr. Helen Burt as a new Director of the organization. Mr. Avison succeeds Ms. Dawn Svoronos who has retired from the Board. Dr. Burt replaces Dr. John Hepburn as the representative of the University of British Columbia (UBC), one of CDRD’s founding partners.

Mr. Avison is a long-standing and highly-respected advocate for the life sciences and advanced education communities in British Columbia, and has served on CDRD’s Board since 2012. One of CDRD’s original founders and scientific collaborators, Dr. Burt is a Professor of Drug Delivery in the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and was recently appointed UBC’s Vice President Research & International pro tem following the departure of Dr. Hepburn.

“I am honoured to have been elected Chair of CDRD – one of Canada’s pre-eminent innovation organizations” Avison commented. “As a Director for the past several years, I have seen first-hand the impact that CDRD can make, and the incredibly talented team behind that work. I look forward to helping CDRD continue to realize its mission. It is also important to recognize the contributions of Dawn Svoronos. CDRD is today as strong as it has ever been due in great part to her tremendous efforts.”

Gordon C. McCauley, Interim President and CEO of CDRD remarked, “CDRD management is very much looking forward to working more closely with both Don and Helen. Both represent extremely thoughtful and wise voices that will prove invaluable for CDRD to deliver on our mandate and serve our stakeholders and partners across academia, industry, government and foundations. I also want to express my appreciation for the commitment and wise counsel Dawn Svoronos brought to our Board table – experience that has been invaluable particularly during a time of transition and evolution for the organization.”

A Victoria-based lawyer, Avison was President of the University Presidents’ Council of BC (now the Research Universities Council) for 10 years, and has also served as Deputy Minister with the Government of British Columbia in the Ministries of Education, Skills and Training, Crown Corporations and Health. A leader of British Columbia’s life sciences sector, Mr. Avison has also been a member of numerous boards of governors including the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Providence Health Care and LifeSciences BC.

Dr. Burt’s major research efforts involve the development of polymer-based drug delivery systems for controlled and localized drug delivery. She has published more than 140 peer-reviewed papers and holds eight patents. She has been the recipient of several teaching prizes and research awards, including the UBC Killam Teaching Prize and Killam Faculty Research Prize, NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, CSPS Award of Leadership in Canadian Pharmaceutical Sciences and YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Science, Research and Technology.  She is a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has served on the Board of Directors of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

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About The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
CDRD is Canada’s national drug development and commercialization centre working in partnership with academia, industry, government and foundations. CDRD provides the specialized expertise and infrastructure to identify, validate and advance promising discoveries, and transform them into commercially viable investment opportunities for the private sector — and ultimately into new therapies for patients. Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR).

Julia White
Manager, Communications or 604-827-1226

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