BioNova, the umbrella organization for health and life sciences innovation in Nova Scotia, has selected long-time biopharma executive Sean Awalt as its new Chief Executive Officer.

The organization announced the appointment on Thursday, adding that Awalt will join the BioNova board and assume the CEO role on Monday.

BioNova had been looking for a new boss since it announced in July that Executive Director Scott Moffitt had left the organization. Director of Operations Kerri Manette had stepped in as interim director through the summer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sean to BioNova as we enter an exciting new phase that’s inclusive, collaborative, and globally focused,” said BioNova Board Chair Jon Geske in a statement. “His industry-specific expertise in marketing and advocacy will be invaluable as we look to realize the potential for growth and investment in Nova Scotia’s thriving health and life sciences cluster.”

Awalt has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for more than 25 years. His previous jobs include Vice-President of Partnership Strategy at St. John’s-based Sequence Bio, and a Principal at Vandium Consulting of Dartmouth. In these positions,, he helped small and medium biopharma enterprises establish global collaborations and scale their businesses, said BioNova in a statement.  He has also worked for Merck Canada and Hoffmann-La Roche and served on the board of Innovative Medicines Canada – Atlantic.

In a statement, Awalt said he views BioNova as a hub for cross-disciplinary collaboration so that innovators focused on improving health and developing sustainable solutions can thrive and change the world.

He said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to grow BioNova’s ecosystem, where together we will enable life-changing innovations to reach markets faster for stronger economic growth and social impact.”

Founded in 1993, BioNova works with a community of more than 150 life sciences companies to improve the ecosystem for the sector. It will hold its annual BioPort Atlantic conference in Halifax on Nov. 2 and 3.