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Synapse Competition Showcase
March 24, 2021

Thank you for joining us at the eighth annual Synapse Life Science Competition Pitch Showcase!

The Synapse Life Science Competition is designed to help move innovative life science products and services out of the lab and into the market, by pairing up life science innovators with business and entrepreneurship students.

More than 150 attendees from the life science community helped us celebrate this year's innovators as we award more than $80,000 in cash and prizes!


Watch the top 3 finalists' pitches, learn about the innovators and find out who won their share of $80,000


Gowling WLG logo large

Gowling WLG is an international law firm located in 19 cities around the world — including Hamilton. Harnessing the broad industry expertise of its 1,400 professionals, far-reaching global platform and forward-thinking partnerships with key local stakeholders, the firm connects Hamilton’s top innovators to a world of opportunity and provides the tools they need to accelerate their success.


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Watch as the top three Synapse Competition finalists, pitch and field tough questions from the expert judges.





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Alex S. Ross, counsel, Gowling WLG


Counsel, Gowling WLG

Alex Ross is a lawyer and registered Canadian patent agent. He gained valuable experience early in his career working as an in-house intellectual property lawyer at IBM Canada. Alex delivers a full range of IP services to a wide variety of clients – from startups to multinational companies – with a focus on the Golden Horseshoe, including Hamilton and the Niagara Region, and he works with both Innovate Niagara and Hamilton's Innovation Factory. His work encompasses all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial designs.

Alex's patent practice includes patent drafting and prosecution, preparation of patent infringement and validity opinions, and advising on patent strategy, with a focus on mechanical devices (including fitness equipment) and computer and information technology. Alex is adept at helping his clients navigate the challenge of obtaining software and computer-related patent protection in a complex legal environment of constantly changing eligibility requirements.


Dr. Jennifer Hamilton, senior director, new ventures, johnson & johnson innovation canada

Dr. Jennifer Hamilton

Senior Director, New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (Canada)

Jennifer Hamilton is the cross-sector innovation lead for Johnson & Johnson in Canada.  She has additionally worked with the J&J Global Community Impact team on a new initiative to test Impact Investing in global health where she is seeking healthcare investments worldwide that have social impact and financial return enabling scaling of technology and services in ultra-low resource settings. 
Prior to working with J&J, Jennifer spent 17 years in biotech venture capital at Nomura Phase4 Ventures and Rothschild Asset Management. Jennifer has an MSc and a PhD in Experimental Pathology/Lipid Metabolism from the University of British Columbia and a BSc from the University of Guelph.


John R. Hands, director, Bay Area Health Trust

John R. Hands

Director, Bay Area Health Trust

John Hands is an executive with two decades of building businesses across multiple health care sectors, including services, OTC consumer, medical devices and pharma. John has broad experience and a record of success in publicly and privately-held SME and large multinational organizations both in North America and internationally.

John leads the business development office at Bay Area Health Trust, a Hamilton-based company that is an example of a successful partnership between public health care and the for-profit private sector. Leveraging its unique affiliation with its beneficiaries and as a founding member of the Synapse Life Science Consortium, Bay Area Health Trust operates and invests in growth oriented businesses to support health care and the life sciences.

Previously, John served as Executive Vice President at Covalon Technologies Ltd., a Canadian based medical device company engaged in the business of developing, licensing, and selling medical technologies.

John has served in senior sales and marketing roles at Johnson & Johnson including an International Development Program secondment in Shanghai, China. 


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