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Rene Hunderup

Co-Founder, President and CEO

Mr. Hunderup is a seasoned businessman with 45+ years experience in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry as well as various aspects of the Equine Industry.

Mr. Hunderup has started numerous companies, which he has either sold or still retains. These companies include PDi-Pharmaceuticals and DRx Corporation providing Regulatory Affairs services, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient support and Licensing & Business Development services to the Canadian Pharmaceutical Industry. Mr. Hunderup is the Chairman & CEO of both of these companies. The success of these companies very much lies in Mr. Hunderup regulatory insights, ability to manage risk and a careful as well as logical approach to business development.

Mr. Hunderup is Founder & Chairman of the Board of the Heste Group of Companies, encompassing Norse Ridge Farms Limited and Heste Sport Inc. Since first becoming involved with the horse industry in 1978, Mr. Hunderup has developed what is today a full service racing and breeding facility serving both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse sectors, repeatedly earning the honors as Canada’s leading High Point Quarter Horse Breeder.

Mr. Hunderup has also been active in the field of equine Nutraceuticals, having been instrumental in the Research & Development of nutritional supplements. Most recently, Mr. Hunderup has co-founded eQcell inc. He is the Chairman and CEO of the company. eQcell is seeking to establish equine stem cell and stromal cell banks to the global research community and to commercial partners seeking to develop cell technology products to the equine veterinary market.

Mr. Hunderup has served his professions as an active board member on various committees. He is a founding member of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and has been an Honorary Member of their Board of Directors till his recent retirement.

He is a past President of the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. and served several terms as a Member of the Board of Directors. Actively involved in the American Quarter Horse Association for a great number of years as its Ontario Racing representative, a past member of the AQHA Racing Committee and was a member for almost a decade of the AQHA Marketing & Public Information Committee, subsequently of the International Committee and recently, a prominent member of the Equine Heath, Welfare, Integrity & Research sub-committee to the AQHA Racing Committee in Amarillo, Texas – the single largest breed association in the World.

Since 2005 through 2010 Mr. Hunderup was an elected advisor to the Executive Director for the Ontario Racing Commission, serving both on the Quarter Horse Steering Committee and the Thoroughbred/Standardbred Horse Improvement Program. He has been instrumental in the development of the $8 Million current Quarter Horse Racing & Breeding Program now benefitting the Ontario QH Racing Community. He is a past member of the Equine Guelph Advisory Council. Equine Guelph promotes equine research and extension activities in Ontario and North America.

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Dr. Thomas G. Koch, DVM, PhD

Co-Founder, Ex-officio Scientific Advisor

Dr. Koch is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, and University of Guelph, Canada. He received his Veterinary degree from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark. He completed a rotational internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College followed a residency in large animal medicine. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Guelph in the area of equine stem cells.

Dr. Koch’s current research focus is on stem cell and tissue engineering-based therapies with joint cartilage repair being the main area of investigation. Studies on equine and canine stem cells, joint cartilage and synovial joint health are pursued in parallel. Within this applied research approach basic mechanistic insights of joint homeostasis and the chondrogenic cell fate is sought including studies in the area of cell mechanobiology. Emerging research areas of interest include tendon and ligament repair and the regulatory roles of microRNA. Novel therapies applied in horses and dogs with natural spontaneous disease serve as important translational pre-clinical animal models of similar human diseases.

He currently holds two research awards; Special Recognition Research Excellence Award, University of Guelph; Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. 

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Dr. Paul Dick, DVM, MSc

Advisor, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs

Dr. Dick has over 30 years of experience in the animal health industry with responsibilities ranging from product development, regulatory affairs, business development, product commercialization and general management. Roles in this sector have involved both large and medium multi-nationals, and, small start-up companies in various capacities including COO and CEO level positions. Dr. Dick worked for Elanco Animal Health for 20 years in a variety of management roles including Manager of R & D, Manager of Regulatory Affairs, and, Manager of Quality Control and Corporate Affairs. He eventually became the Chief Operating Officer of Naturagen: a global Elanco Apollo team that was charged with the acquisition, development and commercialization of natural health products for food animals. Dr. Dick successfully led this virtual team and managed a large number of projects simultaneously.

Dr. Dick has worked extensively with Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on numerous regulatory submissions and on departmental committees, including Health Canada’s Animal Antimicrobial Resistance Advisory Committee from 1999 to 2002. He has served a number of organizations including as Director of the Canadian Animal Health Institute, President of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, and peer reviewer of NSERC strategic grants. Paul has authored / co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, literature reviews and scientific reports for regulatory agencies, veterinary organizations, and, small and large animal health companies.

He also served on the Expert Advisory Committee for Veterinary Natural Health Products, which provided the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada with recommendations regarding policies related to the development of a suitable regulatory approach for veterinary natural health products. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Veterinary Drugs Directorate’s Low Risk Veterinary Health Products Interim Notification Program (now the Veterinary Health Products Notification Program).

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Dr. Frank Barry, PhD

Advisor, Scientific, Regulatory (Europe) and Cell Production Affairs

Dr. Barry is Professor of Cellular Therapy at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), National University of Ireland Galway.  Here he directs a large group of researchers who focus on the development of new repair strategies for musculoskeletal conditions, especially osteoarthritis.  Previously he was Director of Arthritis Research at Osiris Therapeutics in Baltimore, MD Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and a Research Fellow at Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, FL.

 He has contributed to the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine by developing innovative and successful cellular therapies for tissue repair, joint injury and arthritic disease.  In a career that has spanned both industry and academic research, he has been a driver in the development of cellular therapy as a biological repair strategy.  It is his belief that the application of new technologies in regenerative medicine, including cellular therapy, gene therapy, growth factor augmentation, implantable scaffolds and nanomaterials, will have a profound impact in medicine in years to come.   Frank Barry has been the recipient of the Marshall Urist Award for excellence in tissue regeneration research from the Orthopaedic Research Society.  


Dr. Sowmya Viswanathan, PhD

Advisor, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs

Dr. Viswanathan is an Affiliate Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute (University Health Network) and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and at the Department of Medicine (University of Toronto).  Her research interest is focused on using anti-inflammatory approaches to target osteoarthritis (OA), including using proprietarily-enhanced mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in modulating inflammatory responses and re-programming monocytes/macrophages.  Dr. Viswanathan’s lab is focused on bioprocess optimization and translation of these cell-based therapies into clinical investigations.  Dr. Viswanathan is a co-Principal Investigator of a recently approved trial using autologous MSCs to treat OA patients, a North American first.  Dr. Viswanathan is the recipient of a Young Investigator’s Operational grant from The Arthritis Society (2015).

 As a translational scientist, Dr. Viswanathan serves as a national regulatory and cell manufacturing consultant for projects across Canada.  Dr. Viswanathan chairs the Cell Therapy Stakeholder Group, a bilateral group that engages Health Canada on cell therapy related policy issues.  Dr. Viswanathan is a member of the Stem Cell Oversight Committee that advises the Governing Council of CIHR.  Dr. Viswanathan is a founding member, and team leader of the Manufacturing Committee of a network of Pan-Canadian cell manufacturing facilities called CellCAN.  Dr. Viswanathan is leading international efforts to standardize MSC nomenclature and create reference material(s) for MSC research; she sits on the Standard Council of Canada’s Mirror Committee for International Organization for Standardization (ISO TC276) on Analytical Methods and Bioprocessing, and is on the steering and working committee of an international Standards Coordinating Body (SCB), and has recently been appointed as formal liaison between ISO TC276 and the International Society of Cellular Therapy.  Dr. Viswanathan is a co-editor of a translational book on MSCs “Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: Translational Pathways towards Clinical Adoption.”

 At the Cell Therapy Program at the University Health Network, Dr.Viswanathan has overseen clinical translation of over 13 cell-based therapies ranging from immunotherapies, lysosomal storage disorders to acute kidney failure into Health Canada approved clinical investigations.  She leads a multidisciplinary team specializing in clinical-grade cell processing and manufacturing, regulatory and ethics submissions, and implementation of clinical trials.  She provided clinical translational and regulatory input to enable clinical trials for two companies, ExCellThera Inc. and Replicel LifesSciences Inc.



Advisor, Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery

Dr. Koenig is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, and University of Guelph, Canada. She is the Head of the Large Animal Clinic at the Ontario veterinary College Health Science Center.

Dr. Koenig’s main area of research is in tissue regeneration and healing, with emphasis on wound and tendon healing in horses. Investigation of different modalities for tissue regeneration and wound healing, such as allogeneic cord blood stem cells, low level light lasers and shock wave treatment. These modalities accelerate the healing process through interacting with different cellular pathways. Research has been done to investigate the effect of low level light lasers and shock waves on wound healing in horses. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of allogeneic cord blood stem cells on induced synovitis in horses have been demonstrated. The effect of repeated administration of stem cells in the treatment of superficial digital flexor tendinitis is currently evaluated. Another current area of research is the effect of shockwave application on stem cells.

Dr. Koenig is a very active research team member as a clinician and surgeon. As clinician she usually design and participate in the in vivo trials, either using animal models or clinical cases.


Dr. Alan Manning, MSc, DVM

Advisor, Equine Sports Medicine

A native of Prince Edward Island, Dr. Manning grew up immersed in the horse environment, competing on the “A” jumper circuit and involved in the standardbred industry. Prior to becoming a Veterinarian he pursued a Masters in equine reproduction at the Western College of Vet Medicine, Saskatoon. Following graduation from OVC in 1990 he was in private practice for 8 years after which he left to set up his own clinic in the Erin area on a 100 acre farm, where today he also breeds & develops young warmbloods. Alan continues to be active in the reproduction aspect of veterinary medicine, in particular, frozen semen work at the clinic.

The emphasis of his time is spent on equine sports medicine, particularly lameness and performance horse issues and is always keen to incorporate new technologies & treatments into the practice such as biological therapies for joint and tendon/ligament injuries, stem cell implantation, ultrasound guided injections, shock wave and laser therapies.

A passion for equine lameness has led Alan to become one of only ten equine veterinarians in Canada belonging to ISELP (International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology) dedicated specifically to advanced education in the field of equine lameness, including the latest developments in diagnostic imaging of bones, joints, tendons and muscles, as well as treatments,

To complement the practice Alan has become one of the few veterinarians in Canada with FEI designation status, most recently attending the Pan Am Games in October 2011 as the team veterinarian for the Canadian Dressage Team.


Dr. Thomas (Tom) Gibson, BSc, BEd, DVM, DACVS

Advisor, Small Animal Sports Medicine and Surgery

Dr. Gibson is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, and University of Guelph, Canada.

Tom Gibson graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph in 1986 with a BSc in Agriculture. He then graduated from the University of Windsor's teachers college and pursued a career in teaching for three years. He then returned to Guelph and graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1995. After 6 years in small animal general practice, Tom returned to OVC to complete a small animal rotating internship and surgical residency completing a DVSc and becoming board certified with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2006. After almost two years in private referral practice, Tom returned to OVC in 2007 and is now an Associate Professor in Small Animal Surgery in orthopaedics.

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Dr. Sarah Lepage, MSc., PhD

Scientific advisor and Production Associate

Dr. Lepage is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Ontario Veterinary College. A native of Windsor, Ontario, she first came to Guelph to pursue a Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology and Genetics, then moved across the country to Vancouver to complete a Master’s degree in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. An avid equestrian, Dr. Lepage helped manage a large boarding facility during her time in Vancouver, and following her MSc., worked for one year at Greenhawk Equestrian Sport in Mississauga, Ontario as an Allocation Analyst. She completed her PhD in Dr. Koch’s lab in 2016, where the focus of her research was utilizing equine stem cells for cartilage tissue engineering. Following her PhD, Dr. Lepage continued to work with Dr. Koch academically until she completed her postdoctoral research in 2018.


Hamed Alizadeh, BSc., MSc

Lab Manager and Production Associate

Hamed’s professional interests focus on cellular and molecular biology of stem cells as well as their therapeutic applications in orthopaedic injuries. He is a senior PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada. He received his master’s in Biotechnology from the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya. His interest in stem cell biotechnology lead him to work as a Research Associate with a group of clinicians, biomedical engineers and stem cell research scientists at the Tissue Engineering Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia, before he started his PhD studies at UofG. His current PhD research investigates the role of micro-RNAs in chondrogenic differentiation potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC) derived from equine cord blood. In addition, Hamed has expertise in isolation and expansion of MSCs derived from different sources including bone marrow, cord blood and adipose tissue.