About Us

 

Steve Poirier, Ph.D., co-founder, board member and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Dr. Steve Poirier is a passionate entrepreneur and widely recognized scientist with over 15 years research experience in the field of PCSK9, lipid metabolism, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and drug discovery.  In 2003, Steve joined the team of Dr. Nabil Seidah at the Clinical Research Institute the same year the laboratory published the identification of PCSK9 and its link to familial hypercholesterolemia in collaboration with the team of Dr Catherine Boileau at Inserm. One year later, he met his great scientific partner Dr. Mayer (co-founder and CSO of Monogenic Pharma) and director of the molecular cell biology laboratory at the Montreal Heart Institute. Dr. Poirier has a solid scientific and technical background that provided him with the capacity to conduct and to accomplish important studies in the highly competitive field of PCSK9 and LDLR biology in cardiovascular diseases. By actively designing and performing key experiments as well as collaborating with international researchers he published cutting-edge discoveries in high impact scientific journals, which were cited in more than 890 publications, and he was honoured to received numerous recognition awards from his peers.  He questioned and revisited published papers that supported the fact that PCSK9 had only one target and that it was acting mainly via an extracellular route. He was the first to show that PCSK9 has other important targets and that the intracellular pathway plays a crucial role in the degradation of the LDLR by PCSK9. In addition, together with Dr. Mayer at the Montreal Heart Institute and Dr. Stranix, he was also part of many significant contributions in the field of PCSK9 such as the identification of natural inhibitors of PCSK9 and small molecule inhibitors as highly potent and orally available LDLR enhancers that have high therapeutic potentials as lipid-lowering agents for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.

Gaétan Mayer, Ph.D., co-founder, board member and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)
Principal investigator, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology of Lipoproteins, Montreal Heart Institute
​Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, Université de Montréal

Dr. Gaétan Mayer obtained his Ph.D. at the Université de Montréal where he focused on the study of the proprotein convertases and their roles in diseases such as cancer and diabetes. He subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Nabil Seidah where PCSK9 was cloned and characterized for the first time. There he specialized in the study of protein-protein interactions regulating the expression and function of PCSK9 and LDLR. Since 2010 he is professor at the Université de Montréal and director of the cellular and molecular biology of lipoproteins laboratory at the Montreal Heart Institute. His work focuses on the study of mechanisms controlling blood cholesterol level, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. In particular, his lab works on the characterization of the mechanism of action of PCSK9 and LDLR in order to develop novel orally available small molecule inhibitors of PCSK9 and LDLR enhancers. Among the discoveries published by his laboratory are the roles of the extrahepatic inhibitor of PCSK9, annexin A2, and that of the intracellular inhibitor GRP94 found in the liver. Small peptides and molecules derived from these targets proved to be powerful PCSK9 inhibitors. Dr. Mayer has published more than 130 articles and abstracts in high impact journals such as Cell Reports, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB), Journal of Cell Science and Molecular Biology of the Cell. His work is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC), the Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ), the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (FCI) and the Foundation of the Montreal Heart Institute.

Jean-Claude Tardif, MD, FRCPC, FACC, FCAHS, co-founder
Scientific Director, Montreal Heart Institute Coordinating Center (MHICC)
Full Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal
Canada Research Chair in Translational and Personalized Medicine
Pfizer Chair in Atherosclerosis, Université de Montréal
Chair, Steering Committee, Canadian Atherosclerosis Imaging Network (CAIN)
President, Medical Imaging Trial Network of Canada (MITNEC)

Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif is the Director of the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre and a full professor of medicine at Université de Montréal. He received his degree in medicine from Université de Montréal in 1987, completed his residency in cardiology in 1992, and did a research fellowship at the New England Medical Center at Tufts University in 1994.  He has published over 700 articles and research abstracts in major scientific journals, such as: The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Circulation, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Nature Genetics, the British Journal of Pharmacology, and Cardiovascular Research. He has written over 30 book chapters (including a chapter in Braunwald's Heart Disease). To date, he has given over 400 lectures around the world. His research activities cover the molecular, genomic and clinical aspects of atherosclerosis and related diseases and have involved key contributions to preclinical studies and major international randomized clinical trials. He created the Montreal Heart Institute Coordinating Center (MHICC), which has an international reputation. Dr. Tardif and his team also created the Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre and the Centre of Excellence in Personalized Medicine (Cepmed), which receives ongoing support from multiple pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He is also one of the three founders of an international partnership on biomarkers called Critical Markers of Disease (CMOD, www.cmod.org), an organization that focuses on the development and enhanced use of biomarkers while facilitating international networking in this important field. Dr. Tardif's scientific contributions earned him the title of Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences along with the Prix du Québec, the province's highest scientific honour.


Andreas Orfanos, M.B.B.Ch, FFPM MBA, board member
CEO Innovacor at Montreal Heart Institute (MHI)
Director Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Center (MHICC)

​Dr. Andreas Orfanos has over 25 years of international experience in strategic, executive management and operational roles in major healthcare sectors with a particular focus on global pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. He has been instrumental in several landmark studies in renal disease, transplantation and oncology and has led many technologies and product candidates from research and development to commercialization. Dr. Orfanos was Vice President Clinical R&D at Thrasos Therapeutics Inc., Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Scientific Affairs at Neurochem Inc. He has also served at Picchio Pharma Inc., Novartis Canada Pharmaceuticals Inc., Sandoz Canada Inc., Sandoz Products Ltd. and Lifecare Ltd., holding various lead roles in strategy, business development, specialty business units, drug development and clinical management.
Dr. Orfanos received his FFPM from the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom and his MBBCh and MBA from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Specialties: Dr. Orfanos brings extensive experience in strategy and advancing Specialty Products & Technologies as well as “Orphan Drugs” in a variety of therapeutic areas; including Renal Disease, Cardiovascular, Neuroscience, Oncology, Transplantation, Immunology, Endocrinology & Diabetes.

 

​Gilles Lefebvre, M.Sc., business development advisor
Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Operations of Montreal Heart Institute Research Center

 

​Brent Richard Stranix, Ph.D., medicinal chemist and scientific advisor

Brent is highly productive in generating drug candidates and repositioning old ones. Proven track record with scientific innovations and operations start ups and small pharmas, Dr. Brent Richard Stranix is a key co-inventor together with Drs. Poirier and Mayer of MONOGENIC intellectual property portfolio and strategic planing. Over the years, he developed, through evidence-based decisions, drug discovery projects from conception up to and including completed Phase 1 clinical trials and out-licensing to big pharma. Appreciated by his peers for his integrity, insightful strategic recommendations, and ability to critically evaluate, reposition and re-direct projects to successful outcomes. Good knowledge of intellectual property.
Dr. Brent Richard Stranix has authored or co-authored 25 scientific publications, and is a co-inventor on 22 patents in the field of drug discovery.