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 DialloScientific 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 NewportExecutive 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 Chief Business 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.
Zoe Zhang
Zoe ZhangDirector, Business Development
Zoe brings 10 years of experience in international experience with a focus on hyper-growth biotech companies. As Senior Director at BGI, Zoe designed global business models for genomic services, established partnerships with industry and academia, and launched the first Canadian joint genomic lab with Mount Sinai Hospital. At circleDNA, she designed and conducted go-to-market strategies for consumer genetics with partners in China.
Taylor Brooks
Taylor BrooksBusiness Development Associate
Taylor brings 5 years of combined R&D and business experience in the fields of tissue culture R&D and commercial operations supporting CDMO programs from early phase to commercial manufacture. Taylor is an Associate of Business Development at Virica Biotech and holds a B.Sc. in Biology from Mount Allison University and a M.Sc. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from McMaster University.
Anni Patel
Anni PatelBusiness Development Analyst
Anni gained her Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Life Sciences from Queen’s University. She has extensive knowledge of the life sciences industry and over 4 years of experience in client-oriented roles. Anni serves as the Business Development Analyst at Virica Biotech and supports the Business Development team. 
Katie Cadorette
Katie CadoretteOperations Analyst
Katie holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and has extensive experience in facilitating multistakeholder engagement in the public and private sector. Katie brings strong organizational and project management skills to Virica Biotech to support cross functional projects.
Namrata Nair
Namrata Nair Manager - Legal
Namrata Nair is an internationally trained lawyer with over seven years of experience across different sectors like Healthcare, Merchant Banking, Energy and Mining. Her expertise includes Contract drafting & negotiation, Legal compliance & advisory, M&A,Corporate Governance and has worked with clients like Daimler AG, McKesson, and Athena. Namrata holds Masters in law (GPLLM) from University of Toronto, Bachelor of Laws & Bachelor of Commerce from University of Delhi in India, Master of Commerce in Business Policy and Corporate Governance and Company Secretary from ICSI, India. She also holds PG in International Trade Laws and certification in Intellectual Property from WIPO. Being previously called to the Bar in India, she is currently pursuing licensing with Law Society of Ontario.
Naveen Haribabu
Naveen HaribabuProject Manager
Naveen holds a M.Sc., Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Ottawa and a B.Tech. from Anna University. Prior to Virica, Naveen’s work experience is in the fields of Viral Vaccine Manufacturing and Oncolytic Viral Cancer Therapy.
Nezika Haniff-Gibson
Nezika Haniff-GibsonLaboratory Manager
Nezika has 16 years of work experience that encompass Teaching, Forensic Analysis and Laboratory Management. In addition to maintaining an effective, safe and efficiently functional laboratory, she has previously played an active role in the physical set-up, implementation and validation of methodologies and the establishment of operational procedures for a new laboratory unit. Her academic accomplishments include an M.Sc. (Distinction) in Forensic Science from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, U.K., a B.Sc. (Specialized Honors) in Biotechnology from York University, Canada and a Biotechnology Research Diploma (Honors) from Seneca College, Canada.
Andrea Vervoort
Andrea VervoortJunior Data Scientist
Andrea is a recent graduate of Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, with a specialization in Biochemical Engineering. Andrea brings her strong background in research and biochemical process engineering to Virica Biotech, stemming from both her academic involvements as well as a professional engineering internship in the Cancer Therapeutics Program of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
Tianxiao Yang
Tianxiao YangLaboratory Technologist
Tianxiao has a M.Sc. (applied) degree in Biotechnology from McGill University and a Bachelor’s degree from China Pharmaceutical University. Prior to Virica, my work experience was in different research fields, including molecular microbiology research on Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, Biobank of severe Covid-19 patients in Quebec, and lab managements and administrative work for general cancer research labs.
Olawale Daniel
Olawale Daniel Product Development Technologist
A well-informed technologist with over 7 years of experience that spans cGMP manufacturing processes and laboratory operations in the biopharmaceutical industry. Olawale holds a master’s degree in medical biotechnology from the University of Windsor and B.Sc., Biochemistry from Afe Babalola University. Joining Virica, Olawale brings with him a background that cuts across implementing research processes and manufacturing operations.
Keara Sutherland
Keara SutherlandResearch Technologist
Keara brings 5 years of research experience in the fields of molecular biology and pharmacology. She obtained her MSc in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa and BSc in Life Sciences specializing in cancer research at Queen’s University. Prior to Virica Keara was working with oncolytic viruses and infected cell vaccine cancer therapies.

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.

Have a question? Contact Virica