Natalie Dakers is a leading figure in the Canadian biotechnology industry and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), an innovative organization in British Columbia with a mandate to address the commercialization gap between early-stage technologies arising out of university-based research and investment opportunities. Under Ms. Dakers’ leadership, CDRD has signed affiliation agreements with major research institutions in Canada and forged important strategic relationships with Pfizer Canada and Genome British Columbia. With its over 20,000 square feet in specialized lab space and more than $12 million invested in state-of-the-art equipment, CDRD has attracted over 70 employees and 260 investigators. To date, CDRD has raised and secured approximately $74 million in funding and was named a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR).
Ms. Dakers brings to CDRD many valuable years of experience in the commercialization of technology, licensing, and intellectual property protection. Previously, Ms. Dakers was President and CEO of Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy and cardiovascular diseases. As co-founder and CEO, Ms. Dakers built the company from inception and raised three rounds of venture financing totaling approximately $70M. Prior to this, Ms. Dakers managed technology transfer for the Life Sciences sector at the University Industry Liaison Office (UILO) at the University of British Columbia, where she was involved in the creation and spin-off of more than a dozen start-up high-tech and biotech companies.
Ms. Dakers is active in a number of business and scientific organizations, including Past Chair of BC Biotech (now LifeSciences British Columbia), the association supporting and representing the province’s biotech, medical device and life sciences community. Currently, Ms. Dakers is a board member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), BIOTECanada and the International Science and Technology Partnership Canada (ISTP Canada). Previously, Ms. Dakers also served on the Boards of Genome Canada, Genome BC, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Ms. Dakers is an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a member of the Council of Canadian Academies’ Expert Panel on Business Innovation. Ms. Dakers received a Peak Award for Performance and Excellence in 2004. In 2009, Ms. Dakers was the recipient of BIOTECanada’s Gold Leaf Award for Industry Leadership.