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.
Kaustav Chatterjee
Kaustav ChatterjeeDirector, Business Development
A seasoned corporate development professional with over 13 years of combined R&D and corporate development experience, Kaustav is Director, Business Development at Virica. Kaustav holds an M.B.A., Healthcare Consulting & Entrepreneurial Finance from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management; an M.Sc., Immunology, Molecular Biology, Hematology from the University of Toronto; and Honours B.Sc., Genetics and Biotechnology from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Naomi De Silva
Dr. Naomi De SilvaDirector of Scientific Affairs
Dr. De Silva brings 13 years of development experience for therapeutic viral medicines. She has participated in various stages of product development, spanning basic R&D to the completion of a global Phase III study of an oncolytic virus, executed in 17 countries. Dr. De Silva’s training and network spans North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In Phase I-II clinical development, she has contributed to trial design and successfully managed preclinical and translational collaborations with top-tier institutions such as UCSF and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Dr. De Silva has supported business development by developing strategy and partnerships, presenting at conferences, and evaluating in-licensing opportunities. She has supported regulatory efforts, including IND and BLA submissions.
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.

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.

BIOTECanada

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