Our Purpose

Our purpose is to realize the promise of viral medicines, thereby extending the horizons of human healthcare.

We pioneered a new product category of Viral Sensitizers (VSE™) that removes the barriers to manufacturing effective viral medicines at scale. Customized VSE formulations optimize research processes and enhance production. VSEs help bring your treatments to patients on an accelerated timeline.

Our Story

Virica was founded in 2018 based on a decade of research in the laboratory of Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Dr. Diallo was investigating novel oncolytic viral therapies (OVTs) and recognized the need for VSEs to enhance the effectiveness of OVTs. After researching and developing VSEs in the OVT space, Dr. Diallo recognized how broadly applicable their attributes would be in other areas like gene therapy and vaccine production. Recent influenza outbreaks and the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for scalability in the production of vaccines. Virica has the products and experience to combat these challenges.

Our Innovators

Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo
Dr. Jean-Simon DialloCo-Founder & Scientific Founder/CEO
Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo, Ph.D., is a Scientist with broad expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology, cancer therapeutics, and viral immunology. Dr. Diallo is an internationally recognized expert in oncolytic virotherapy and was seminal in the discovery of Viral Sensitizers and its development for virus manufacturing and cancer therapy applications in combination with oncolytic viruses.
Ken Newport
Ken NewportCo-Founder & Executive Chairman
Ken has over 30 years of scientific and business experience. Ken is a retired life sciences entrepreneur and executive who serves on several corporate and non-profit Board of Directors. In Ken’s role as Executive Chairman of Virica, Ken provides strategic oversight to the entire Virica team.
Ella Korets-Smith
Ella Korets-Smith Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer
Ella is an entrepreneur and business development executive for over 15 years. She has a strong track record of deals, working with companies such as IMV Inc., Nordion Inc, and Antibe Therapeutics Inc, driving fundraising and liquidity events. In roles of increasing responsibility, she has lead successful marketing and business development programs resulting in annual sales of over $50M. Ms. Korets-Smith has an M.Sc. in Medical Genetics from the University of Toronto and an M.B.A. from Dalhousie University.
Beth Thompson-Webb
Beth Thompson-WebbChief Commercial Officer
Beth Thompson-Webb is an accomplished biotechnology executive with over 30 years of senior leadership experience in sales and marketing. Most recently, she served as CCO of Aldevron Inc., a biomanufacturer plasmid DNA, mRNA, and proteins, where she led their global sales and marketing team. Prior to that, Ms. Thompson-Webb was General Manager, Global Commercial for Cell and Gene Therapy at Cytiva, part of global giant, Danaher Corporation. Ms. Thompson-Webb holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and an Associate Degree in Business from Indiana University Bloomington.
Azra Benson
Azra BensonHead of Global Sales
Azra Benson is a published bench scientist of over 12 years turned biotech executive with commercial experience spanning the market leaders: Thermo Fisher Scientific, GE Healthcare, Danaher, Catalent. As Global Head of Sales with Virica Biotech, Azra drives growth by shaping sales strategy, while also leading the Business Development team.
JonDavid De Jong
JonDavid De JongVice President, Scientific Operations
JonDavid has over 20 years bench experience in virology, molecular biology, oncology and nanoparticle research. As Vice President of Scientific Operations at Virica Biotech, he works with our team of scientists and business development professionals dedicated to helping biotech and CDMO organizations make viral medicines a reality.
Patrick Miron
Patrick MironVice President of Operations
Patrick Miron is an Operations specialist with over 20 years of senior management experience in the fields of manufacturing, community housing, and medical and life sciences facilities. In his role as Director of Operations of Virica Biotech, he oversees facilities management, talent recruitment and retention, and equipment procurement.

Biotechnology Industry Alliances

Virica supports the biotechnology industry. Here is a snapshot of organizations with whom we share knowledge by attending meetings or giving presentations.


Virica is a member of BIOTECanada, an association building a climate for biotechnology firms to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive economy.  Visit the website.

Alliance of Regenerative Medicine

Virica is a member of Alliance of Regenerative Medicine. This association supports the development of safe and effective regenerative medicines and advanced therapies worldwide.  Visit the website.

Breakthrough technology is both intimidating and exhilarating

To achieve the promise of viral medicine, though, the innovation of many is needed. We’re here to guide the way. Let our scientific experience and expertise support you, your science and your business. Let’s talk.