Dr. Albert D. Friesen, a Winnipeg bio-entrepreneur who has arguably done more to create a life-sciences industry in Manitoba than any other individual, will receive a prestigious national award tomorrow at the BIO International Convention in Chicago.
The Industry Leadership Gold Leaf Award is given annually to honour individuals demonstrating exemplary vision and leadership in Canadian biotechnology by BIOTECanada, Canada’s national biotechnology industry association.
Dr. Friesen serves as president of Genesys Venture Inc. and CEO of Medicure Inc. He is responsible for raising over $140 million to develop a drug treatment for acute ischemia and ischemic-reperfusion injury. His leadership in the biotech industry has been instrumental in finding and developing several Canadian health industry companies, including ABI Biotechnology, Novopharm Biotech Inc., Genesys Pharma Inc. and KAM Scientific Inc. and was also the driving force behind several others including Miraculins and Kane Biotech.
"The life science industry now accounts for seven per cent of the Manitoba’s GDP," said Dave Chomiak, Manitoba’s Minister of Innovation, Energy and Mines. "It’s filled with exceptional individuals and companies, with Dr. Friesen serving as a prime example of the outstanding leadership and talent Manitobans are showcasing on a worldwide platform."
Friesen oversaw the development of Canada’s first biotech product, WinRho, and is a founder of BIOTECanada. He also found several production facilities for human pharmaceuticals and helped establish CentreStone Venture Partners, a $22-million life-science fund based in Winnipeg. He has also managed and initiated the research and clinical development of numerous pharmaceutical candidates, including more than 15 investigational new drugs and two successful new drug applications.
He is the recipient of a number of awards, including Distinguished Alumni of the University of Manitoba and the Order of Manitoba.