Two Outstanding Canadians Join the Board of the Rx&D Health Research Foundation (HRF)

OTTAWA, May 5 /CNW/ - Dr. Philippe Couillard, Chair of the Board of Directors of Rx&D's Health Research Foundation (HRF) is pleased to announce that two leaders of Canada's life sciences community have been elected to serve on the HRF Board. Dawn Graham, former President of Merck Canada and Dr. Clarissa Desjardins, CEO of the Center of Excellence in Personalized Medicine (CEPMED) will join the Board effective immediately.

"Since its inception, the HRF has continually adapted to developments in science and Canada's evolving health needs. These two dynamic women will help lead us into the future," said Dr. Couillard. "With their collective 50 years of leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, Dawn Graham and Clarissa Desjardins have a broad understanding of Canada's health challenges, a visionary approach to collaborative research models as well as a proven record of bringing discoveries from the lab to patients."

Dawn Graham brings 30 years of global pharmaceutical industry experience, including senior executive positions for one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. Ms Graham has served as President of both Merck Canada and Merck Europe where she was able to drive and manage change and nurture partnerships with a broad array of organizations. She has also served as the Chair of the Board of Rx&D as well as a Board Member of the Conference Board of Canada. In 2009 she was elected "One of the Most Powerful Women in Canada" by the Women's Executive Network.

"For many years, I have admired the contributions the HRF has made to support Canadian health researchers in developing collaborative research models," said Ms. Graham, "I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of the HRF in furthering scientific discovery and innovation."

Since 2009, Clarissa Desjardins has led Montreal based, CEPMED. This federal government and industry-sponsored not-for-profit organization oversees an investment of $30 million in public-private partnerships for applied research, commercialization of initiatives at the Montreal Heart Institute and other technology platforms. CEPMED also provides education and promotion of personalized medicine in Canada. A researcher and lecturer who holds numerous patents, Dr. Desjardins was educated at McGill and earned a Ph.D. in Neurology and Neurosurgery from the Montreal Neurological Institute. In 2006, the Globe and Mail named her to the Top 100 young Canadians likely to influence the future.

"The HRF has been working with private and public sectors to find new ways to treat emerging health threats ranging from childhood obesity to pandemic influenza and mental health," added Dr. Desjardins, "I am pleased to join the HRF which has provided support to more than 1400 researchers in their efforts to find new treatments that improve our quality of life."

Dr. Couillard concluded, "I am excited to work with Dawn and Clarissa and the members of the HRF board as we embark on a bold and exciting direction in support of young Canadian researchers."

About the Rx&D Health Research Foundation (HRF)

Founded in 1964 by Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), the HRF applies the highest standards of scientific excellence to address health challenges of great importance to Canadian society. The Foundation accomplishes its mission through longstanding partnerships with the academic community and government.

The HRF, which is one of the leading private health research foundations in the country, contributes significantly to the prevention and treatment of disease and to a better healthcare system.

The Foundation works in partnership with the health research community in Canada to create tomorrow's scientific leaders, through the HRF Awards Program, which has provided over $23 million in funding to more than 1,400 researchers across Canada since its inception in 1987. It addresses some of the most pressing health research needs of Canadians through its Research Grant Program, which was launched in 2006.

About Rx&D

Rx&D is an association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents 15,000 men and women who work for more than 50 member companies and invest over $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our members are committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.


For further information:

Mike Murphy, Communications
Tel.: 613-236-0455

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