Our Team

Guy Sauvageau

Guy Sauvageau, CEO, Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Guy Sauvageau is the CEO, Scientific Co-Founder and the Chief Scientific Officer at ExCellThera. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Molecular Genetics of Stem Cells research unit at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of University of Montreal, where he was Scientific Director from 2003 to 2013 and CEO from 2007 to 2014. He also holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics of Stem Cells and he is a Professor of the Faculty of Medicine at University of Montreal. His seminal contributions to the field of hematopoietic stem cell biology have been published in several high impact scientific journals and acknowledged by numerous awards. He currently leads a team of 30 researchers.

Dr. Sauvageau’s research program aims at understanding the basic mechanisms that regulate the activity of both normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and leukemia stem cells (LSCs), with the ultimate goal of applying this knowledge to control their survival, proliferation and differentiation in clinically-relevant situations. With his research team, he has characterized the function of several developmental genes in HSC and LSC self-renewal. He later developed genome-wide screening strategies that identified many novel regulators of HSC and LSC activity. More recently, his team and collaborators (Marinier, IRIC; Zandstra, Toronto; Humphries and Eaves, Vancouver; Kiem and Delaney, Seattle) identified a novel molecule that stimulates the expansion of human cord blood HSCs. Guy Sauvageau is also a clinician scientist at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (HMR), specialized in bone marrow transplantation, the Scientific Advisor of the Québec Leukemia Cell Bank, as well as a co-founder of the Center of Excellence for Cell Therapy at HMR.

Dr. Sauvageau graduated in Medicine with specialties in Internal Medicine and Hematology, and he holds a Master’s degree in Immunology and Virology from the Faculty of Medicine of University of Montreal, as well as a Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine at the Terry Fox Laboratory of the BC Cancer Research Centre.


Peter Zandstra

Peter Zandstra, Scientific Founder and Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Zandstra is Scientific Co-Founder and the Chief Technology Officer of ExCellThera. In addition, he is the Chief Scientific Officer for the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), and he holds an academic appointment as a Professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Zandstra’s research focuses on understanding how complex communication networks between stem cells and their progeny influence self-renewal and differentiation, and how this information can be applied to the design of novel culture technologies capable of controlling cell fate.

Dr. Zandstra is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering and a recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, including the Premiers Research Excellence Award (2002), the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2006), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2007), and the University of Toronto’s McLean Award (2009). Dr. Zandstra is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Zandstra was named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2008) and is a recipient of the Till and McCulloch Award (2013).

Peter Zandstra graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University in the Department of Chemical Engineering, obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of British Columbia in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and continued his research training as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the field of Bioengineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Michael Israels

Michael Israels, Chief Financial Officer

Michael Israels is the Chief Financial Officer of ExCellThera and the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). As CFO of ExCellThera, Mr. Israels is responsible for overseeing its finances, including budgeting, accounting, reporting, taxes, insurance, licensing arrangements, and risk processes. Prior to joining CCRM, Mr. Israels was a management consultant at Ernst & Young LLP (in Canada, U.K. and the Caribbean), President of BEST Funds, a venture capital company, and CEO of Convexus Managed Services Inc., a start-up fund administration company. Mr. Israels was educated at the Ivey Business School — Western University, where he received a degree in Honors Business. He is a CPA, CA, and a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Mr. Israels also holds the designation of Chartered Business Valuator and is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators. michael.israels@excellthera.ca

Anne Marinier

Anne Marinier, Chief Chemist

Anne Marinier is the Chief Chemist at ExCellThera. She is also Principal Investigator and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), and Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Université de Montréal.

She has close to 25 years of experience in medicinal chemistry and a strong industrial expertise in all aspects of drug discovery. Before joining IRIC, Dr. Marinier was Group Leader of the Drug Discovery Research group at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

She currently heads IRIC’s medicinal chemistry platform, which comprises 39 chemists and biologists. This infrastucture, of which she spearheaded the creation and implementation in 2007 with federal and provincial funding of more than $9M, supports drug discovery research programs from IRIC scientists and collaborators/pharmaceutical company partners. The group is highly proficient in SAR (structure-activity relationships) development, hit and lead optimization and has already progressed two molecules in Phase I clinical studies in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb. In addition, a third compound named UM171 and used as a cord blood stem cell expansion factor has been discovered in collaboration with Dr Guy Sauvageau and his laboratory members. This international discovery is the scientific basis of ExCellThera.

Medicinal chemists in her group have also developed an extensive expertise in chemical probes design and synthesis for identification of novel biological targets, as these play a key role in building innovative therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer.

Anne Marinier obtained her Ph.D. in organic synthesis at the Université de Sherbrooke and pursued post-doctoral studies at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.


Michael May

Michael May, Board Chairman

Dr. Michael May is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). Prior to CCRM, he was Co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of Rimon Therapeutics Ltd., a Toronto-based regenerative medicine company developing novel medical polymers that possess drug-like activity. He sits on a number of Boards and advisory committees, including: MaRS Innovation, Rimon Therapeutics Ltd., 20/20 Vision, the Advanced Regenerative Tissue Engineering Centre, the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto, and the McMaster Mohawk Biotechnology Program. Dr. May completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Toronto as a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Scholar and was awarded the Martin Walmsley Fellowship for Technological Entrepreneurship. michael.may@excellthera.ca


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