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Ms. Karimah Es Sabar

Quark VentureOur TeamMs. Karimah Es Sabar

Ms. Karimah Es Sabar
Chief Executive Officer & General Partner

Quark Venture LP

A highly-recognized Canadian life sciences leader with broad international experience, Karimah Es Sabar has had a successful career spanning the global biopharmaceutical industry, start-ups, not-for-profit organizations and venture investment. Decades of experience nurturing and building high impact teams and organizations, she has provided leadership in international marketing, business development, strategic alliances, public private partnerships, developing and executing innovation and translation strategies, innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurship in startups, and in health technology venture capital investments. Over the course of her career, she has raised over $1.5B for various private and public global biosciences enterprises.

In 2016 Ms. Es Sabar accepted the position of CEO & Partner at Quark Venture LP to lead and build their health sciences enterprise. Through a joint venture with GF Securities the Global Health Sciences [GHS] Fund was established with operations headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and offices in Boston, Berkley, Hong Kong and Chengdu. The diversified GHS Fund invests globally in health bioscience companies with disruptive platforms and 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 & 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 several spin-out companies and a M&A with Zymeworks. She grew the organization with expanded national and international reach to include partnerships right across Canada and in 12 countries firmly establishing its reputation as one of the world’s leading pre-clinical translational research and commercialization centers. 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 & CEO, 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. Prior to this Ms. Es Sabar has held senior management positions with multinational pharmaceutical companies, most notably as Director International Division, and later Global Head Marketing and Business Development at Pasteur Merieux Connaught [Sanofi Pasteur] based in Toronto, when she championed and successfully launched two first in class and first to market vaccine and biotherapeutic products. She also served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for a Vancouver based medical device 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, knowledge and time to a number of organizations in the local, national and global life science communities as well as to public policy fora in Canada and internationally. She is deeply committed to supporting and nurturing leadership and philanthropy.


Current Board & Advisory appointments:

  • Chair, Board of Triumf Innovations Inc.
  • Chair, Health & Biosciences Economic Strategy Table, Government of Canada
  • Chair, Board of Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet)
  • Board Director, Capricor Therapeutics Inc.
  • Board Director, Canary Medical Inc.
  • Board Director, V-Wave Ltd.
  • Board Director, ARTMS Products Inc.
  • Board Director, St. Paul’s Foundation
  • Board Director, BioCanRx
  • Board Director, Vancouver Prostate Centre (a Vancouver General Hospital & University of British Columbia Centre of Excellence)


Past Board and Advisory appointments in organizations include:

  • Chair, Board of Trustees, Providence Healthcare Research Institute
  • Board Chair, MOSAIC, a Refugee and Immigrant Settlement Organization
  • Board Director, PHEMI Inc.
  • Board Director, Sitka Biopharma Inc.
  • Member, Industry Strategy Council, Government of Canada Board
  • Member, Campaign Executive Committee, New St. Paul’s Hospital
  • Member, 2017 Innovation Fund Special Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee for Canada Foundation of Innovation (CFI)
  • Board Director, Knowledge First Financial and Foundation
  • Council Member, National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
  • Board Director, The Centre for Drug Research & Development (CDRD)
  • Board Director, The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)
  • National Advisory Board Member, Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)
  • Board Director, 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.