Accel-RX Management Team

Natalie Dakers, Founding President and Chief Executive Officer

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Natalie Dakers is a leading figure in the Canadian biopharmaceutical industry and is one of BC’s most influential women. With four start-up companies to her credit, she’s known for getting things done.

Natalie is currently President and CEO of Accel-Rx, Canada’s national health sciences accelerator. Prior to Accel-Rx, she was founding President and CEO of CDRD Ventures Inc., the commercial arm of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) that supported company creation. Natalie was also the founding CEO of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a national Centre for Excellence for Commercialization and Research. She also co-founded Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy and cardiovascular diseases and raised $70 million in three rounds of venture financing.

Natalie is currently a board member of BIOTECanada and Augurex Inc. and an Adjunct Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She’s served on many local, national and private company boards and advisory panels and has garnered numerous honours most recently the 2015 Startup Canada’s Entrepreneur of the year award. Click here for more bio details.


Michael Lincoln, Chief Financial and Business Officer

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Michael has served as our Chief Financial and Business Officer since June 2014. He has over twenty-five years of senior management experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry from start-ups to multi-national pharmaceutical companies. Michael has extensive experience in finance and business development and has a track record of supporting the growth of small and medium size businesses through all stages of development. Previous experience includes public and private equity financing, IPO, investor relations, licensing of technology, M&A activity, joint ventures, and the licensing of numerous branded products. Prior to joining Accel-Rx, Michael was the Chief Financial and Business Officer at CDRD Ventures Inc., Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President at MedGenesis Therapeutix Inc., Vice-President of Business Development at Transition Therapeutics Inc. and has held various management positions at Altimed Pharmaceuticals and Merck Frosst Canada.

Mr. Lincoln earned his Master of Business Administration degree, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Concordia University, Montreal, QC, and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CMA).


Frederic Lemaitre Auger, Senior Director, Investments

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Frédéric brings extensive health sciences venture capital expertise to Accel-Rx through his prior involvement with Desjardins Venture Capital and CDP Capital – Technology Venture (Sofinov) where he was involved in both biopharmaceutical and medical device deals. At Sofinov, he was involved in investments such as NuVasive, Inhibitex, IntraLuminal Therapeutics, Acurian and TransMedics. While at Desjardins, he showed significant leadership in the creation and management of a profitable early-stage health sciences investment portfolio that included, amongst others, BioAxone Therapeutics, Enobia Pharma and Tranzyme. In recent years, Frédéric was involved in project-based investments, as well as developing licensing and spin-off opportunities at MSBi Valorisation (now Aligo Innovation). He has served on the board of directors of many health sciences company and has been involved on organizing committees of conferences such as MedTech North and Advamed.

Frédéric holds an MBA in Finance and International Management from HEC Montréal, a M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Polymer Physical Chemistry, both from Université de Montréal.


Elayne Wandler B.Sc, MBA
Director, Partnerships & Program

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Elayne brings over 20 years of executive and entrepreneurial experience to the role of Director, Programs and Partnerships. She has held a number of senior positions in the life sciences sector including market research, product management and sales with Abbott Laboratories, a multi-national pharmaceutical company and then in corporate communications, investor relations, and business development for QLT Inc., where as Vice President, she was part of the core strategic leadership team that launched the company’s blockbuster product, Visudyne, for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration in over 75 countries.

In addition to her corporate experience, Elayne also brings a strong entrepreneurial track record and business consulting expertise to the role.

A keen advocate of giving back, Elayne has been a member of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, where she continues to be actively involved in the organization’s mentor program. She also volunteers her time as a photographer for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.
Elayne received her bachelor’s degree in Sciences with a specialization in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the University of British Columbia.


Zach Robinson B.Sc. MM
Business Analyst

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A recent graduate from the Master of Management program at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, Zach brings a passion for innovation in Health Sciences to Accel-Rx.  While studying, he worked as a project manager for PALS Autism Society, helping to design a social enterprise system for the organization.  Prior to his Masters degree, he earned a Bachelor of Medical Science from Western University and worked as a research assistant for Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine, where his various projects included meniscal transplant therapies and testing quadricep tendon capabilities. A strong advocate of community involvement,  Zach was a Big Brother for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Game On Program.


Vedrana Covic BA, MA
Manager, Operations

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Vedrana Covic joined Accel-Rx in January 2015 and has quickly become an indispensable part of the team overseeing and managing office operations and managing interactions with Accel-Rx’s portfolio companies, Investment Committee and Board of Directors as well as with external consultants. She is also involved in communications and marketing activities to help build awareness and reach stakeholders.

Prior to joining Accel-Rx, Vedrana held analyst and research positions at BC Housing in Vancouver and Think Tank Populari in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also worked with BC-based Metasoft Systems Inc. as a fundraising support specialist.

Vedrana earned her Masters of Arts in International Development and Political Economy from the University of Manchester in England and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the University of British Columbia. Vedrana is fluent in English, German and Serbo-Croatian and has had extensive international experience.


“From my experiences as both an investor & entrepreneur, I can see that Canada has long been in need of an Accelerator for life sciences companies similar to those that exist for other sectors…I believe we are well-positioned & poised for an organization like Accel-Rx.”

Malcolm Kendall – President & Chief Executive Officer Indel Therapeutics Inc.

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