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We promised more fun! 

Fun Facts from 7 Years of the Competition

Since 2014, the Synapse Competition has supported  80 companies.  Through the generosity of our partners, we have awarded over $425,000 in cash and in-kind resources.



Guy Payette, president, innomar strategies

Guy Payette

President, Innomar Strategies

In 2001, Guy Payette had a vision of changing the specialty pharmaceutical marketplace and he created Innomar—Innovative Market Access. Today, Guy is the president of Innomar Strategies, HealthForward and Cameron Stewart Life Science and an expert in Canadian specialty pharmaceutical commercialization.

Guy leads the team of over 2,000 associates focused on delivering customized commercialization solutions to pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device manufacturers. Before starting Innomar, Guy spent 12 years in sales, market access, marketing, and government relations roles.

With 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Guy’s insight on emerging issues in the Canadian healthcare environment provide guidance for policy makers and other industry stakeholders.


Dr. Jennifer Hamilton, senior director, new ventures, Johnson and 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. 



A special ‘thank you’ to all those who have helped to make the Synapse Competition possible. Thank you: Adi Treasurywala, Alex Muggah, Andrea Johnson, Andrea Palmer, Andrew Yoshioka, Bernard Lim, Bill Barrable, Bruce Inwood, Carey Lee, Carmen Carrasquilla, Fred Rego, Gay Yuyitung, Glen Crossley, Guy Payette, Ing Goping, Jamie Barron, Jay Carter, Jennifer Crane, Jennifer Hamilton, John Hands, Laura Beesley, Leigh Wilson, Nancy McKenzie, Navneet Kaur, Padraic Foley, Pamela Berg, Raza Zaheer, Sue Elliott, Sunita Asrani, Tom Turchet, The Forge, The Synapse Consortium, and the entire team at Innovation Factory.

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