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Ms. Karimah Es Sabar

Quark VentureOur TeamMs. Karimah Es Sabar

Ms. Karimah Es Sabar
Chief Executive Officer & Partner
Quark Venture LP
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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/medtech investment.

In July 2016 Ms. Es Sabar accepted the position of CEO & Partner at Quark Venture LP, a venture investment firm focused on life sciences, to lead and build 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 platforms, clinical stage companies, IPOs and publicly traded companies in therapeutics, vaccines, 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.

Ms. Es Sabar continues to lend her leadership and expertise to a number of organizations in local, national and global communities, including:

Current Board & Advisory appointments:

  • Board Chair, Triumf Innovations Inc.
  • Chair, Health & Biosciences Economic Strategy Table, Government of Canada
  • Board Member, Canary Medical Inc.
  • Board Member, V-Wave Ltd.
  • Board Member, ARTMS Products Inc.
  • Board Member, PHEMI Inc.
  • Board Member, Sitka Biopharma Inc.
  • Member, 2017 Innovation Fund Special Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee for Canada Foundation of Innovation (CFI)
  • Board Member, Knowledge First Financial and Foundation
  • 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)

Past appointments include Board and Advisory roles with such organizations as:

  • Chair, Board of Trustees, Providence Healthcare Research Institute
  • Board Chair, MOSAIC, a Refugee and Immigrant Settlement Organization
  • Member, 2017 Innovation Fund Special Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee for Canada Foundation of Innovation (CFI)
  • Board Member, Knowledge First Financial and Foundation
  • Council Member, National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
  • Board Member, The Centre for Drug Research & Development (CDRD)
  • Board Member, The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)
  • National Advisory Board Member, Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
  • Board Member, Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet), a national Network of Centres of Excellence
  • Board Member, LifeSciences British Columbia
  • Advisory Board Member, The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Advisory Board Member, BC Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health
  • Industrial Advisory Board Member, MITACS
  • Member, The British Columbia Institute of Technology / University of British Columbia Biotechnology Degree Program
  • Member, India Market Advisory Committee of the British Columbia Asia-Pacific Trade Council
  • Board Member, The Aga Khan National Economic Planning Board of Canada, The Aga Khan Education Board of Kenya, and The Aga Khan National Health Boards in Canada and Kenya

Awards and Recognition:

  • Influential Women in Business Award by Business in Vancouver (2016)
  • The 50 Most Influential Women in BC Award by BC Business Magazine (2015)
  • Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Salford (2014)
  • Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award by The Women’s Executive Network’s (WXN) (2013)
  • YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Industry, Science and Technology (2010)
  • “The Vancouver Power 50” listing of the most influential people in BC by Vancouver Magazine
  • Noted amongst “BC’s Top 100 Women of Influence” by the Vancouver Sun.
  • Canada’s Gold Award for Business Excellence (CABE) (while at Sanofi Pasteur)

Ms. Es Sabar holds an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a MSc degree in Neurochemistry from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, England, and a BSc Joint Honours degree in Biochemistry/Chemistry from the University of Salford, Manchester, England.