Lumira Ventures Appoints Special Advisors and Venture Partner

November 18, 2020 / Lumira News

Veteran Pharmaceutical Industry Executives Will Advise Portfolio Companies and Investment Team

TORONTO, November 18, 2020 – Lumira Ventures, a leading North American healthcare venture capital firm, today announced the appointment of Theodore Witek, Jr., DrPH, MBA and Daniel Billen, PhD to the role of Special Advisor, and Sena Biswas, PhD, MBA as Venture Partner. 

“We are excited to welcome Ted, Daniel and Sena to the Lumira Ventures team,” commented Peter van der Velden, Managing General Partner of Lumira Ventures.  “With over 100 years of combined experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, they will bring invaluable strategic and operational input to our portfolio companies and assist our investment team in the identification, evaluation and building of new companies developing transformative biomedical innovations.”

Dr. Witek has over three decades of clinical development and executive leadership experience. After joining Boehringer Ingelheim in 1992, as leader of the Respiratory and Immunology clinical research groups he led the global clinical development and launch of several respiratory products, most notably Spiriva®, and eventually served as President and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Canadian and Portuguese operations. He served on the Board of Directors of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) and was the Chair of the Health Technology Assessment Committee. He also served over ten years on the Drug/Device Discovery and Development Committee of the American Thoracic Society, serving as Chairman from 2010 to 2012. Dr. Witek was appointed to the Ontario Health Innovation Council and is currently Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Health Policy Management & Evaluation at University of Toronto. He holds a Doctor of Public Health degree from Columbia University, a Master of Public Health from Yale University, and a Master of Business Administration from Henley Management College.

Dr. Billen brings over 40 years of experience in the commercialization of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products in North America and Europe.  He started with Janssen in their Belgian headquarters in cardiovascular global marketing, later becoming head of marketing and sales for Janssen’s newly formed affiliate in Canada where he launched multiple products into the Canadian market. Dr. Billen joined Amgen in 1991 to lead its Canadian operations as the company’s first General Manager. He later moved to Amgen’s headquarters in California where he led the U.S. commercial operations business unit and later the combined nephrology and inflammation business unit as Vice President and General Manager. He later served as Amgen’s Vice President of Global Commercial Initiatives with a focus on the evolving U.S. payer landscape. Since April 2019, Dr. Billen has been a director of Lumira portfolio company Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AUPH).  Dr. Billen received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Louvain in Belgium.

Dr. Biswas has over three decades of experience as a biotechnology CEO, researcher, business development executive and venture capital investor.  He has recently served as interim CEO at Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals and at Lumira portfolio companies KalGene Pharmaceuticals and OsteoQC. For over thirteen years he was a Managing Director at VIMAC Ventures, an early-stage life sciences venture capital firm in Boston.  He was the first employee and President of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals which subsequently grew to a peak market capitalization of over $1.5 billion and successfully launched a cancer drug. Earlier in his career, Dr. Biswas was Director of Business Development at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer executing over 100 licensing and M&A transactions; Principal at TL Ventures, a $1.4 billion venture capital firm where he invested in the Series A rounds of Esperion, Adolor, ViroPharma, all of which became NASDAQ listed companies; and member of the Healthcare Investment Banking team at Bear, Stearns & Co. He holds a BA in Biology from Brandeis University, a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the Wharton School, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular immunology at Harvard Medical School.

About Lumira Ventures

Since our founding in 2007 Lumira Ventures has a built a track record as a leading North American healthcare venture capital firm, investing in innovative companies in the biotechnology, medical device, digital health and consumer health sectors.  Our goal is to partner with entrepreneurs in Canada and the U.S. to build companies from the seed through growth stages whose products deliver transformative improvements in the lives of patients worldwide.  Our companies have brought dozens of biomedical innovations to the market impacting the lives of over 1 billion patients and generating over $70 billion of cumulative revenue.   Lumira Ventures has offices in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Boston.  For more information, please visit

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