EFFERVESCENCE Pan-Canadian Start-up Pitch Competition 

The EFFERVESCENCE Pan-Canadian Start-Up Pitch Competition is designed to propel the rise of Canadian startups whose innovations are aimed at transforming the life sciences and health technologies (LSHT) community. The 10 startups selected as finalists for the 2022 edition were given the opportunity to present their pitch to EFFERVESCENCE participants during a virtual session open to the public.

We would like to thank the sponsors of the cash prizes, which include Pfizer, adMare BioInnovations, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, National Bank, Centech, Desjardins and MEDTEQ+, as well as the sponsors of the in-kind prizes, such as District 3, Investissement Québec, CQIB, CQDM, Medtech Canada, BioQuébec and Fasken!

Discover the finalists of the 2022 edition!

Axolotl Biosciences

Presented by Dr. Stephanie Willerth – CEO & Co-founder

Dr. Stephanie Willerth is the C.E.O. and co-founder of Axolotl Biosciences – an award-winning start-up that was spun out of her internationally recognized research group at the University of Victoria. She is a Full Professor and Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Victoria and she was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars.

HDAX Therapeutics

Presented by Dr. Nabanita Nawar – CEO & Co-founder

Dr. Nabanita Nawar is the CEO and co-founder of HDAX Therapeutics. Nabanita is a highly skilled medicinal chemist with proficiency in drug discovery, project design, and strategic thinking. Nabanita’s diverse skillset of 8+ years in drug discovery, leadership, governance, and scientific policy drives the growth of HDAX through her visionary outlook. With 8 high-impact publications, 2 patents, and more than 20 awards, she is a UofT Top Scholar for being the Top 60 most outstanding students of UofT (tri-campus) (2 years in a row) and achieved The Society of Chemical Industry Merit Award, and Canadian Silver Medal from the Chemical Institute of Canada.

Targa Biomedical

Presented by Dr. Shant Der Sarkissian – CEO & Co-founder

Dr. Der Sarkissian is a scientific and business co-founder of Targa Biomedical, a biotechnology company focused on developing treatments to increase the therapeutic impact of regenerative medicine and opportunities for organ transplantation. As President and CEO, he is responsible for the business and strategic implementations of Targa Biomedical.


Presented by Étienne Laurent – VP Product & Co-founder

Étienne is a biomedical engineer and did his master’s degree in Technology & Innovation Management. During his studies and within the lab of his now partner Pr. Thomas Gervais, he was initiated to the fabrication of microfluidic devices and organ-on-chips technology for cancer research applications. Since then, Etienne has been on a mission to reunite the best team of scientists, engineers, and business partners to commercialize the MISO Chip tumor explant platform and its applications in drug development and cancer diagnostics. Etienne has now more than 4 years of experience in business development and strategy in the field of cancer drug development and the Medtech industry.

Xpan Inc.

Presented by Amanda Manget – R&D Engineering & Business Development Lead

Amanda is a medical device engineer & inventor with Medtech innovation training from Sunnybrook Hospital’s Medventions program. She has been with Xpan since the early stages of product development and is now towards FDA clearance.


Presented by Jérôme Arnaud-Kubota – COO & Co-Founder

Prior to co-founding NeuroServo, Jérôme served as General Manager for a 120+ employees Post/VFX studio (Montréal/Hollywood) where he operated a major M&A and VP Operations for OVH in charge of setting up a 150+ employees North American presence. Jerome has co-founded Bleu Blanc Tech, the Montréal’s frenchtech and is the author of the book “Gérer son temps, réseauter, convaincre”. With Nicolas Tremblay and Dr. François Marquis, Jérôme is a proud member of the core team of NeuroServo, a startup disrupting ElectoEncephaloGraphy in Intensive Care Units, Emergency Rooms, and the Operating Room.

Paperplane Therapeutics

Presented by Jean-Simon Fortin – CEO & Co-Founder

A graduate of the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the University of Montreal in 2013, Dr. Jean-Simon Fortin has been practicing in the emergency department of the Granby Hospital since 2014. He also practiced for 3 years in the emergency department of CHU Sainte-Justine. Passionate about technology and innovation, he has worked as a consultant for medical technology companies. In 2019, he co-founded Paperplane Therapeutics, a therapeutic virtual reality company, where he now serves as CEO and Medical Director.


Presented by Inara Lalani – COO & Co-Founder

Inara Lalani received a BCom. at McGill University in 2020 with a Major in Information Systems and a Concentration in Entrepreneurship and Surgical Innovation. At 19, she co-founded FemTherapeutics with a mission to personalize precision medicine for women and is a certified Board Governance leader. She has worked in technology consulting, including Ernst & Young and Bell Canada, where she delivered large-scale technology transformation projects in the financial services, telecommunications, and consumer product goods sectors.

Ditch Labs

Presented by Laurent Laferriere – CEO & Co-founder

A serial entrepreneur, Laurent began his entrepreneurial career in 2014 by founding Oatbox, an e-commerce food company that aims to help Canadian families eat a healthier breakfast, every morning. In 2020, he made the leap to the medical technology side of things by founding Ditch Labs. Ditch Labs is developing the first technological solution to help smokers quit that combines pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. The company wants to help one billion smokers worldwide get rid of their nicotine addiction and thus prevent the first cause of avoidable death, tobacco use. Laurent is also actively involved in the business community, notably as a member of the board of directors of Anges Québec.

Saguaro Technologies

Presented by Félix Lavoie-Pérusse – CCO & Co-founder

Félix Lavoie-Pérusse is co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Saguaro Technologies. He previously held strategic planning and business development positions in two high-tech startups where he helped generate 6-fold growth. His role involved connecting with users to inform product strategy and develop customer and partner relationships. Felix is trained in biochemistry and completed his MBA in 2017. With Saguaro, he hopes to help our next generations to live longer and healthier.