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Synapse Competition Showcase
March 20, 2024

Thank you for joining us at the 11th annual Synapse Life Science Competition Pitch Showcase!

The Innovation Factory’s Synapse Competition is Ontario’s premier life science pitch competition. Designed to help move innovative life science products and services out of the lab and into the market, the competition pairs innovators with business and entrepreneurship students, and provides the training, mentorship, and resources to be successful.


Every year, over 150 attendees from the  Hamilton's life science community help us celebrate the innovators as we award OVER $100,000 in cash and prizes!


Gowling WLG Logo

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.




Amr Abdelgawad, COO & Co-Founder of Fluid AI


It Truly Takes A Village

The Showcase featured a Keynote Presentation from Amr, as he took us through a journey of co-founding, scaling, and building a medtech startup from ideation to commercialization. 

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Don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the largest growing sectors in Hamilton!

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Derek Sheppard

Gowling WLG

Derek Sheppard is an associate in Gowling WLG's Hamilton office, practising in the Intellectual Property Group. Derek's practice focuses on drafting and prosecution of applications for patents before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. He advises on patentability, patent validity, freedom-to-operate, and patent infringement issues. Derek also drafts and reviews IP related aspects of agreements (e.g., non-disclosure, employment, consulting, joint venture, purchase, license, and assignment), and performs due diligence on IP assets in support of transactions. Derek completed his JD at Western University, with a concentration in intellectual property, information, and technology. During law school, Derek was an active member of the Western Intellectual Property Association and served as vice-president, finance, during his second year.

Prior to law school, Derek completed a MSc at the University of Ottawa, where his research focused on joint cell regeneration. During his undergraduate studies, Derek was a research assistant at the Ottawa General Hospital, where his work concentrated on retinal regeneration in both in vivo and in vitro models. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals. In his spare time, Derek enjoys hockey, golf, and reading.


Suman Rao

Lumira Ventures

Suman Rao is the Senior Associate at Lumira Ventures, a life-sciences focused venture capital firm headquartered in Toronto, ON. Suman joined the firm in 2021 and focuses on conducting scientific, corporate and financial diligence of investment opportunities primarily in the oncology, neuroscience and rare disease space. She remains extremely passionate about understanding drivers of complex diseases and through her work at Lumira Ventures, hopes to bring novel therapies to patients by supporting cutting-edge technologies and medicines.

Prior to joining Lumira Ventures, Suman worked in healthcare consulting at L.E.K. Consulting in Boston as a Senior Life Sciences Specialist. During her time at L.E.K., she provided strategic advice on growth opportunities, pipeline expansion, potential M&A partnerships and financial modeling. Her clients included start-ups, biotech and pharma companies developing cell & gene therapies, protein degraders, small molecules and RNA-based therapies within oncology, neurology, rare diseases and ophthalmology.

Before joining L.E.K., Suman spent 4 years doing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. During this time, she worked with a multidisciplinary team to develop therapies to treat advanced cancers. She used small molecule inhibitors as chemical probes to interrogate signaling pathways and identified key targets to inhibit to achieve anti-tumor effects. Suman has a PhD from the Division of Experimental Medicine and a BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University.

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Lindsay Williams

Stryker Canada 

Lindsay Williams has over 25 years’ experience, spanning the public, private and philanthropic sectors in Canada and in Europe. She works to make a difference – making communities and workplaces a better place to live, work
and raise a family.

Since 2006 Lindsay has been working in the healthcare sector developing global and national strategies for products and portfolios. She has been actively advocating
for timely access to products for patients and fostering innovative solutions for the sector.

After a global position in Copenhagen, Denmark she joined Stryker Canada in 2019 to drive positive engagement with governments and to highlight the important contributions of the medtech sector in the Canadian economy. In 2021 she was appointed as Vice President and Managing Director of Stryker Canada. Lindsay currently sits on the board of Directors for Medtech Canada and the Life Sciences Council for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 



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