Build your Biotech Startup

Market Discovery Program

As a researcher in emerging technologies, one of the biggest challenges in building a company is identifying the market viability of your research. District 3’s market discovery program provides you with the necessary tools and frameworks for finding research-market fit.  

Where research meets market demand

A 4-week cohort-based program that helps researchers explore their research-market-fit. They will identify their “super powers” and discover the broader application potential of their innovation for various customer segments; they will also explore the challenges around engineering their innovation into a “product” for impact beyond the lab. At the end of this program, researchers will have a list of priority customer segments to validate as potential business.

Weekly workshops & networking events with peers
8 hour per week time commitment

When starting a company, there are a lot of unknowns and I had to learn things I didn’t know as a scientist. The training provided me with the skills and knowledge to fill in the gaps I was missing to build a successful business."

Margaret Magdesian, Ph.D., Co-founder of Ananda Devices

What You Gain

Identify your potential customers and markets

Discover the application potential of your research-driven innovation for different customer segments

Interview your potential customers effectively

Complete your first customer interviews

Build Your Solution Roadmap

Create your product roadmap

Access to Biohub Lab

Dedicated to District 3 founders, the BioHub provides state-of-the-art dry and wet laboratories and co-working space to help you develop successful products based on scientific discoveries and ideas.

Lab Benches and Technical Equipment including:
Cell Culture & Molecular Biology
General Instruments & Cold Storage

Our Coaches & Mentors

Edna Chosack
Senior Coach, Healthcare Stream Lead
Edna Chosack
Senior Coach, Healthcare Stream Lead

Senior Coach, Healthcare Stream Lead

With a wealth of international experience in taking ideas to marketalways at the dynamic intersection of where entrepreneurship and experiential learning meetEdna Chosack, M.Sc., MBA, is the Healthcare Stream lead and Senior Coach at District 3. 

As the co-founder and VP, Strategic Marketing at Simbionix Inc., Edna co-built the company into an international surgical-simulation leader, becoming internationally recognized as one of a few experts who leverage medical-simulation experiential learning into business success stories. 3D Systems acquired the company for $120M USD.

In Montreal, she established and served as Director of CAE’s surgical-simulation business line. She was a member of the advisory committee at McGill University’s Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning. She held her consultancy services for private internationals in the US, Europe & China, as well as for Canadian customers such as the Canadian National Research Council.

Ana Fernandez, Ph.D
Life Sciences Coordinator
Ana Fernandez, Ph.D
Life Sciences Coordinator

Venture Associate, Bio, District 3 

Ana’s multi-facetted role touches all aspects of District 3’s ever evolving Life Sciences stream and BioHub where she helps foster the powerful intersection between scientific research and entrepreneurship. By ideating and supporting the implementation of different initiatives and programs, her work paves the lab-to-market path to create high-impact Life Sciences and biotech companies. Ana animates a dynamic ecosystem involving researchers, entrepreneurs, public agencies, investors, and top industry mentors to proactively create opportunities based on the unique needs scientific entrepreneurs. 

Prior to District 3, Ana completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at McGill University and an MSc in Behavioural Sciences at the Max Planck Research School in Tübingen, Germany.  Her work on decision making, impairments in brain function and cognitive rehabilitation has secured her over $100k in awards. Ana is passionate about innovation and bridging the gap between science and business.


Vincent Martin, Ph.D
Chief Scientific Officer
Vincent Martin, Ph.D
Chief Scientific Officer

Chief Scientific Officer 

Vincent Martin is an Associate Professor in Microbiology in the Department of Biology at Concordia University and holds the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering. He obtained a B.Sc. in Microbiology from McGill University (1989), an M.Sc. in Environmental Biology from the University of Guelph (1993) and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of British Columbia (1999) under the supervision of Dr. Bill Mohn, where he elucidated the metabolic pathway for plant diterpene biodegradation in Pseudomonas. His post-doctoral studies were performed with Dr. Jay Keasling at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he engineered E. coli for over-production of isoprenoids. In 2003, he joined the Physical Biosciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The same year, with help from a $43 million grant from the Gates Foundation, he co-founded Amyris Biotechnologies where he currently serves as a scientific advisor. 

In 2004, he joined Concordia University as an Assistant Professor, Vincent Martin’s interests are focused on the metabolic engineering of microbes for the degradation of plant biomass and the production of commodity and high value chemicals. He is the project co-leader for a recently funded $13.6 million Genome Canada grant aimed at the commercial production of high-value plant metabolites in microbial fermentation systems. Vincent Martin is also the fermentation theme leader for the AAFC Cellulosic Biofuels and the NSERC Bioconversion Networks. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Microbiology, Bioengineered Bugs and the Water, Air and Soil Pollution journal.

Mahzad Sharifahmadian, Ph.D
Life Science Manager
Mahzad Sharifahmadian, Ph.D
Life Science Manager

Life Sciences Fellow & Biohub Manager, District 3

Mahzad Sharifahmadian is the Life Sciences Fellow and Biohub Manager at District 3. She empowers life sciences researchers to bring their research to market, and has built a network of research experts for collaboration and co-creation to solve societal and industry challenges. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine from Université de Montréal, with expertise and publications on the design and development of novel drugs for antibiotic-resistant infections. While finishing her Ph.D., she co-founded Rubisco, a biotech company offering point-of-care diagnosis of pathogens (dissolved in 2018).

Jane Somerville
Program Director, District 3
Jane Somerville
Program Director, District 3

Co-director of District 3

Jane Somerville, MBA is the Director of Programs at Concordia University’s District 3. In this role, she is responsible for leading and developing the program offering targeted to entrepreneurs building startups. Jane is a passionate business professional with more than 25 years of experience working with Canadian entrepreneurs. Prior to joining D3, Jane worked at BDC where she helped small, medium and large companies across Canada, across all industry sectors, building and delivering innovative advisory services in strategic management, digital marketing and sales management. As an entrepreneur herself, Jane founded an online directory of furniture and furniture stores in major Canadian cities.

Our Partners

Génome Québec


What equipment do you have in the Biohub and where is it located?

The Biohub includes the following equipment and instrumentation, and it is available to use to District 3 startups who meet requirements:

  • Cell Culture & Molecular Biology: Microbiology and CO2 Incubators, Biological Safety Cabinet, Thermal Cycler, refrigerated, non-refrigerated and high-speed centrifuges, refrigerated and incubated shakers.
  • Analytics: Imaging System, quantitative PCR, spectrometer, and nanodrop/microvolume spectrometer
  • Chemistry: HPLC, analytical and top-loading balances
  • Cold Storage: -30 and -80 freezers, and refrigerators
  • Subsidized access to Concordia’s Genome Foundry 

The Biohub is located on the first floor of the Applied Sciences Hub, a building that is in the process of receiving a LEED Gold certification. This means that all users will soon be proud to work on a sustainable and green-certified building! .

I’m a researcher not part of Concordia University, can I still use the wetlab?

The Biolab is reserved for researchers who are completing District 3’s programs.

Not ready to apply for the Market Discovery Program? Need to further validate your idea?