BioNetwork 2019

October 23 - 25, 2019

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, CA


Past Speakers (2018)

Vasiliki Anest
Senior Director, Business Development and Industry Relations
Keck School of Medicine of USC

Dr. Vasiliki Anest is Senior Director, Business Development and Industry Relations for the MESH (Medicine, Engineering, Sciences, and Humanities) Academy for the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. In this role, Anest leads a new business development function to evaluate various levels of engagement with industry, and in collaboration with prospective partners, formulate partnering strategies that enable the convergence of disciplines that can meet an unmet need and have a greater impact on human health and disease. Prior to this role, Anest led corporate collaborations at the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, bringing an extensive background in academic-industrial relations, corporate-sponsored research, and technology commercialization management. 

Anest joined USC in 2012 from Life Technologies Corporation, where she held positions as associate director of global market development, program lead of cancer and epigenetics, and associate director of global external R&D and strategic alliances, where she forged numerous strategic relationships with university, government and industry partners and led teams that span functional and divisional boundaries to identify, evaluate, and execute on alliance-based business models to drive organizational profitability. 

Anest earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California, San Diego; a PhD in genetics and molecular biology from the University of North Carolina; and was a postdoctoral fellow in epigenetics with Dr. C. David Allis at The Rockefeller University.

Michael Attar
Executive Director, Business Development

Michael joined Celgene’s Business Development team following the company’s acquisition of Abraxis BioScience in the fall of 2010.  In the 3+ years Michael has been with Celgene, he has successfully completed 8 transactions and has taken the lead from a BD perspective in putting in place the company’s biologics collaborations, including deals announced with OncoMed, Adimab, AnaptysBio, Inhibrx and Sutro Biopharma.  Michael joined Abraxis in early 2008, and among other accomplishments, helped establish the Abraxis commercial presence in China and helped lead the commercial launch of Abraxane in that market.  Prior to joining Abraxis, Michael was involved in the tech / telecom area, working for two technology companies in southern California.  Prior to these engagements, Michael was a sell-side Research Analyst at Morgan Stanley covering the wireless telecom space.  Michael received his undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  

Robert Bagdorf
Vice President of Worldwide Business Development
Pfizer Inc.
Robert Bagdorf leads Pfizer’s Search and Evaluation business development group.  This function is responsible for company outreach, asset identification, and due diligence activities across all therapeutic areas for Pfizer’s innovative pharmaceutical business units.  He has 14 years of experience in the identification and evaluation of licensing and acquisition opportunities on both a global and regional basis.  Before assuming his current role, Bob was responsible for opportunity assessment and negotiation of transactions for the Specialty Care Business Unit.
Dr. Bagdorf is a board-certified neurologist who joined Pfizer in 1998 in Neuroscience Clinical Development.  Prior to joining Pfizer, Bob had a large consultative general neurology practice and was the medical director for a community hospital neurodiagnostic center.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in behavioral biology from Johns Hopkins University, an M.D. from New York University School of Medicine, and a Healthcare MBA from George Washington University. He completed his neurology residency and electrophysiology/epilepsy fellowship at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Brinda Balakrishnan
GVP, Corporate & Business Development

Brinda Balakrishnan, M.D., Ph.D., joined BioMarin in early 2016 and currently serves as Group Vice President, Corporate and Business Development. She leads the company’s initiatives on corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and technology licensing. 

Prior to BioMarin, Dr. Balakrishnan was the Co-founder and Vice President Corporate Strategy and Product Development at Vision Medicines, Inc., a start-up focused on developing treatments for rare ophthalmic diseases. In that role, she was responsible for in-licensing assets from big pharma and academia, fund-raising, and advancing a program for the treatment of Stargardt Disease. Before founding Vision Medicines, she spent two years as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in the healthcare practice serving clients across small biotech, large pharma, and provider groups on topics related to corporate strategy, corporate and business development, and operations. Prior to McKinsey, Dr. Balakrishnan was in Business Development at Genzyme. 

Dr. Balakrishnan earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. She also earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and conducted her medical training in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a Harvard hospital.

Dr. John Baldoni
Senior Vice President

John Baldoni is Senior Vice President, In silico Drug Discovery, in GSK Pharma R&D. This department employs in silico methods to identify patient needs, explore molecular interventions to address those needs and design and conduct clinical trials to test the medical hypothesis.  Using these methodologies, the conventional empirical design make test cycle will be dramatically reduced.  The intent is to discover medicines at higher velocity and with greater precision compared to current approaches.  John is also Co-chair of ATOM, a public private partnership to advance the methodologies used to discover oncology medicines and put them in the public domain

Prior to this, John was Senior Vice President, Platform Technology and Science (PTS), in GSK. The work of PTS spans the entire drug discovery and development process, from preclinical activities leading to clinical candidate selection through commercial launch. This accountability covered the discovery and manufacture of small molecules, biopharmaceuticals, and cell and gene therapies. 

John joined GSK in 1989 and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 38 years. His experience spans new chemical entity design, development and commercialization, and biopharmaceutical development. In progressing to his current role, John has held various positions at GSK including Senior Vice President, Preclinical Development; Vice President, Product Development; Director, Product Development; and Assistant Director, Biopharmaceutical Formulation Development, among others. He has led several key cross-functional strategic initiatives, such as advanced manufacturing technologies and discovery modernization

John has a BS in biochemistry (1974), and MS and PhD degrees in chemistry (1980) from Penn State University. 

Simon Bateman
Executive Director, Business Development & Licensing, Alliance Management
Novartis Oncology
Simon is an Executive Director Global Strategic Alliance Management, Novartis Oncology. He has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience including Technical Operations, Research and Development and Business Development & Licensing. 

Simon earned his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Philosophy from the John Moores University Liverpool England. He is a member of the Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and has served as an adjunct Professor at the Universities of Rutgers and Purdue. 

Simons’ BD&L experience includes divestiture, partnering and alliance management. Simon has worked in an alliance leadership role for the past ten years on several key international collaborations spanning preclinical through research and into post-launch in arthritis, bone, cardiovascular, CNS, urology, liver, optha, oncology, cell and gene therapy.

Jim Bowen
Executive Director, Corporate Alliances, Penn Center for Innovation
University of Pennsylvania
Jim Bowen is the Executive Director of Corporate Alliance at The Penn Center for Innovation and has worked at Penn for approximately 10 years. He is responsible for the negotiation, execution, active management and oversight of large, fast-moving and mutually beneficial strategic alliance programs for Penn with both corporate and non-profit partners. Jim has helped pioneer new and innovative translational alliance program deal structures for Penn, resulting in expansive partnership programs that span from basic research funding commitments, established license and option terms, to in some cases the opportunity for Penn to conduct first-in-human trials. These alliance deals are custom tailored to leverage the unique strengths of all parties involved to rapidly translate promising benchtop finding into beneficial products. Some of the active alliances at Penn include programs with Novartis, Biogen, Janssen, Celgene, Incyte, Dimension Therapeutics, Audentes Therapeutics, REGENXBIO, Tmunity Therapeutics, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and many more under active negotiation. Jim received his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from The University Chicago and B.A. in Biology and Economics from The University of Virginia. He is also a registered U.S. patent agent. Prior to joining Penn, Jim worked for a biotechnology company in the Philadelphia area in a business development capacity. Loves in his life include running, biking, reading, outdoor adventure and enjoying quality time with his wife and three children.
Scott Carter
Of Counsel
Morrison Foerster

Scott Carter focuses his practice on the life sciences industry, representing life sciences companies and investors in complex transactions relating to the development and commercialization of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and medical device products. He has extensive experience negotiating corporate partnership, licensing, research and development, clinical trial, manufacturing, and supply agreements. Dr. Carter also advises clients on the intellectual property aspects of mergers and acquisitions.

Dr. Carter holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. His research at Caltech centered on non-natural nucleosides, as well as the design, synthesis, and testing of DNA-binding molecules in the laboratory of Peter Dervan.

While at Caltech and law school, Dr. Carter was also the assistant director of the Office of Technology Transfer at Caltech. In this role, he managed the Institute’s life sciences patent portfolio, and negotiated and drafted license, research, and material transfer agreements, as well as advising Caltech entrepreneurs on new ventures.

Dr. Carter is admitted to practice in California and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Kaan Certel
Head of Oncology External Innovation
Hemmie Chang
Chair, Licensing & Strategic Alliances Practice Group
Foley Hoag

Hemmie Chang is Co-chair of Foley Hoag's Life Sciences Group and Chair of its Licensing & Strategic Alliances Practice. She has closed $3 billion in deals in recent years across diverse therapeutic areas. Hemmie advised Pear Therapeutics in its Novartis collaboration (March 2018) using Pear’s first ever FDA cleared software application as digital therapeutics to treat schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.  She also represented Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDQ: DRNA) in its $200+ million research collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim announced in November 2017 to discover and develop novel GalXC™ RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of chronic liver diseases, initially nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Hemmie previously advised on two of AbbVie’s four transactions publically announced in 2017: Dong-A’s $525 million Mer tyrosine kinase inhibitor deal and the Genomics Medicine Ireland collaboration for genomics research in the Irish population with WuXi NextCODE Genomics. She was also involved in Calithera’s (NASDAQ: CALA) collaboration with Incyte for CALA’s arginase inhibitor molecule in hematology and oncology and in counseling on the intellectual property aspects of Legochem’s antibody drug conjugate (ADC) research agreement with Takeda/Millennium.  Clients routinely benefit from Hemmie's strategic business perspective and legal acumen from her two-plus decades of experience within the life sciences sector.

Chris DeRespino
Executive Director, Business Development
Chris leads part of the business development transactions team at Amgen. Chris joined Amgen as part of the Onyx acquisition in October 2013 and is based in San Francisco.  Since joining Amgen, he has led a range of transactions focused mainly in oncology and inflammation, including Amgen’s immuno-oncology collaborations with CytomX and Kite Pharma.  While at Onyx, Chris served as a co-leader of the team responsible for Onyx’s business development strategy and execution and supported Onyx’s sale process.  Prior to joining Onyx, Chris was a director in Pfizer’s business development team in New York where supported deals across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas and geographies.  Earlier in his career, Chris worked as a senior consultant in CSC’s healthcare practice.
Chris earned his MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, and his BSE in Biomedical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. 

Niels Emmerich
VP, Global Head Search & Evaluation

Niels joined Abbvie in 2011 and has held several positions at AbbVie, including Global Commercial Leader for a late-stage oncology program, Director and Head of Commercial Business Development for Oncology, Senior Director and Head of Search and Evaluation, Oncology, and most recently Vice President and Global Head of Search and Evaluation. Transactions that Niels was involved in in his current and previous role include acquisitions (Pharmacyclics, Stemcentrx), R&D collaborations and license agreements (Argen-X, CytomX, Dong-A-ST, Harpoon, M2Gen, MD Anderson PureMHC, Turnstone, X-Chem,) and venture investments. 

Prior to joining AbbVie Niels was CEO of BioPheresis, co-founder and COO of immatics biotechnologies GmbH, and a strategic management consultant for McKinsey & Company. 

Niels attended University of Tuebingen in Germany and received a Master’s in Biology and a Ph.D. in Immunology.   

Don Frail
SVP, Research, External Science & Innovation

Don joined Allergan in 2014 and leads the Research, Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology, and ADME efforts for the organization and the External Science & Innovation efforts that partner with Business Development to evaluate and implement partnerships, licensing, and acquisitions across all therapeutic areas. With over twenty years of pharmaceutical and academia research and management experience Don has been involved in a variety of pre-clinical drug discovery and Ph1/Ph2 clinical research areas and environments, including the entry of more than 25 compounds into development across therapeutic areas. Previous roles included heading the Emerging Innovations Unit at AstraZeneca, the Indications Discovery Units at Pfizer, the CNS Discovery organization at Pharmacia. 

Jonathan Gertler
Managing Partner & CEO
Back Bay Life Science Advisors
JONATHAN P. GERTLER, MD, Managing Partner and CEO of Back Bay Life Science Advisors, has over 30 years of clinical, scientific, and business experience with public and private life science companies in many fields, from diagnostics and medical devices to health care IT. A former vascular surgeon and founder of several life science companies, Dr. Gertler is a frequent speaker and writer on strategic issues facing life science companies at all stages.  

Before founding Back Bay in 2010, Dr. Gertler served as Senior Partner and Managing Director of Leerink Swann Strategic Advisors and Head of BioPharma Investment Banking at Leerink Swann & Company, as well as Head of Life Science Investment Banking at Adams Harkness/Canaccord Adams.

As consultant, Dr. Gertler has advised companies on growth and liquidity strategies and has been responsible for significant aggregate consideration in M&A, private investment, and public equity for biotech, medtech, and HCIT companies 

Dr. Gertler has founded three companies: Antyllus Therapeutics, a development-stage biotechnology company focused on aortic diseases; Biofeedback Systems Design, a healthcare IT company meeting the needs of the wellness market; and Cardiovascular Technologies, which successfully exited in 2001 and is now a part of Boston Scientific. Prior to his advisory and consulting career, he was a Venture Partner at SV Life Sciences from 1997-2001.  

An academic vascular surgeon before turning from the operating room to the boardroom, Dr. Gertler was Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has published extensively in clinical vascular surgery and endothelial and smooth muscle cell biology, and has served as an ad-hoc editor for The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Vascular Surgery, The Journal of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, and others. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Boston University School of Medicine and has been a board member of several private and public companies and non-profit organizations.

Dr. Gertler earned a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, an MBA in Health Policy and Management from Boston University and a BA from Wesleyan University. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of numerous academic and clinical surgical societies. Dr. Gertler is a Series 24 Registered Securities Principal. He is married with three grown sons and is an avid folk musician, squash player and fly fisherman.

Luba Greenwood
Strategic Business Development & Corporate Ventures
Timothy Herpin
Chief Business Officer
Caribou Biosciences
Michelle Hoffman
Senior Vice President
Back Bay Life Science Advisors
MICHELLE HOFFMAN, PhD, Senior Vice President, joined Back Bay from Deloitte where she led the Life Sciences arm of Deloitte Research, Deloitte’s industry think tank. Michelle was responsible for ideating, researching, and writing fact based white papers on emerging life sciences industry and the health care trends and drivers. Her papers examined the impact of Accountable Care Organizations, the mobile personal health record, Medical Homes, and social networks in the life sciences and enabled her to serve as an eminent subject matter expert on client engagements and public forums. Prior to joining Deloitte Research, Michelle was a consultant in the Strategic Advisory group at Leerink Swann. She led projects on a diverse range of topics that include cell therapy opportunities, mapping the diagnostics landscape for colorectal and lung cancer, outlining oncology clinical strategies, determining acquisition opportunities in the next generation sequencing landscape, and helping a start-up platform technology company develop their corporate strategy. Her clients included start--ups, mid-cap, and top 5 biopharma companies. Michelle holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in biology from Cornell.
John Hood
Founder & CEO
Impact Biosciences, a Celgene subsidiary

John Hood was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Impact Biomedicines, a company that was acquired by Celgene in 2018 and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene. Prior to founding Impact, Dr. Hood was the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Samumed, a pharmaceutical company focused on advancing regenerative medicine and oncology therapies. Prior to that, Dr. Hood was Director of Research and Co-inventor of fedratinib at TargeGen, Inc., (subsequently acquired by Sanofi SA), where he led a team identifying small molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of eye diseases and cancer. He is an inventor on 100+ patents and author on 50+ scientific articles. Dr. Hood obtained a Ph.D. in medical physiology and B.S. in biochemistry from Texas A&M University.

Nouhad Husseini
VP, Head of Business Development
Nouhad currently leads Regeneron’s Business Development team, which is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and executing in-licensing, out-licensing, and new collaboration opportunities.  Prior to joining Regeneron in 2011, he held various positions at Genentech in Corporate Finance, M&A and most recently in Business Development where he was responsible for licensing and collaborations in ophthalmology.  Before Genentech, Nouhad spent several years working in biotechnology investment banking and equity research at Morgan Stanley and Robertson Stephens. He received an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.
Michael Johnson
VP, Business Development
Eli Lilly
Mr. Johnson joined Lilly in 2000 after positions in consulting, marketing, operations, strategy and business development. Prior to Lilly, Mr. Johnson worked in the travel, manufacturing and software consulting industries. Mr. Johnson holds a BS and JD from Indiana University, and an MBA from Butler University. In his career at Lilly, Mr. Johnson has worked in therapeutic and corporate strategic planning, and served in a corporate Six Sigma initiative as a black belt. He joined the business development component at Lilly in 2006. Mr. Johnson works in the transactions group at Lilly which is responsible for all business development activities including licensing and M&A. His primary area of focus is inbound clinical opportunities for the BioMedicines Business Unit, which includes the Neurodegeneration, Pain, and Immunology therapeutic areas. Mr. Johnson has led several successful negotiations during his career.
Elaine Jones
VP, Venture Capital
Elaine V. Jones, Ph.D. is currently a Vice President, Venture Capital, at Pfizer Venture Investments. Since joining the team in 2008, she is responsible for making and managing venture investments for Pfizer and currently oversees the PVI investments in Autifony Therapeutics Ltd., Blade Therapeutics, Mersana Therapeutics, MISSION Therapeutics, Nimbus Therapeutics LLC, Quartet Medicine, Second Genome, and Storm Therapeutics. Elaine brings 18 years of venture capital experience and a strong background in research and product assessment, built on her significant experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery and business development to the PVI team. Dr. Jones also manages Pfizer’s R&D Innovate initiative which invests in early stage biotechnology companies that are closely aligned with Pfizer’s R&D strategy. In this role, she serves on the boards of Arrakis and NextCure. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Jones was a General Partner with the venture fund, EuclidSR Partners. There, she was responsible for the fund’s investments in Acurian, Fluidigm, InnaPhase and Targacept. Dr. Jones began her private equity career in 1999 at S.R. One, GlaxoSmithKline’s venture fund, where she managed investments including Adolor, Avantium, Nucleonics, Scynexis and Vicuron. Previously, she served as Director of Scientific Licensing for SmithKline Beecham and was a research scientist in SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceutical R&D. Dr. Jones is a graduate of Juniata College and received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh.
Neena Kadaba
Director, Science
Quark Venture
Dr. Neena Kadaba is Director, Science at Quark Venture, and has established Quark’s California office. Quark Venture is a recently established $500M fund investing globally in a diversified portfolio of innovative companies addressing unmet medical needs through innovations in drug development, medical devices, health IT and emerging convergent technologies. Previously, Dr. Kadaba was the Director of Strategic Partnerships at QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, an institute at the University of California made up of UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz. Prior to QB3, Dr. Kadaba was a Kauffman Fellow while she was an Associate in Venture Investment at Itochu Technology, Inc, the California office of Itochu, the Japanese trading company. Dr. Kadaba received her PhD in Chemistry at the CalTech and her undergraduate and masters’ degrees from MIT. Dr. Kadaba serves on MIT’s Educational Council and is a member of the Board of the American Friends of the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine.
Lauren Kaskiel
Alliance Management & New Project Planning Leader
Spark Therapeutics

Lauren Kaskiel, leads Alliance Management for Spark Therapeutics, a biotech company challenging the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable-until now.   Lauren is responsible for managing alliances for in and out-licensed programs and academic collaborations and also leads new product planning assessments for Spark’s R&D programs.  

Prior to joining the Corporate Strategy and Public Affairs team at Spark in June of 2015,   Lauren was with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for 14 years, starting her career in R&D after completing her B.S. in Biotechnology from Penn State University. After completing an M.B.A. from Drexel University in 2007, Lauren supported Oncology Business Operations before becoming an Alliance Director within Worldwide Business Development, managing a portfolio of GSK’s alliances with biotech, diagnostic and venture partners.

Lauren has her Certificate of Achievement in Alliance Management (CA-AM) through the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) and is an active member of the Board for the ASAP Tri-State Chapter.  Additionally, Lauren is a guest lecturer at Penn State University’s Science 402 course and has occasionally been a speaker on scientific career-related topics at both Penn State and Drexel University.

Nina Kjellson
General Partner
Canaan Partners
Nina Kjellson joined Cannan’s healthcare team from InterWest Partners where she has been investing in healthcare start-ups since 2002. She focuses primarily on investments in biopharmaceuticals and digital health. Nina is co-founder and co-chair of, a forum to address the convergence of health care and consumer innovation and serves as a mentor to Blueprint Health, a digital health incubator and Springboard Life Sciences, an accelerator for healthcare companies driven by women entrepreneurs. Investment themes include innovative therapeutics for serious and underserved conditions, IT-enabled transformation of healthcare delivery and patient/consumer engagement.

Current investments include Cidara (CDTX), Eiger Biopharmaceuticals, Lycera, Ocera (OCRX), Paratek (PRTK), and WellTok.

Previous investments include Labrys Biologics (acquired by Teva), Alt12 (acquired by Honest Company), Trius Therapeutics (TSRX; acquired by Cubist), CNS Therapeutics (acquired by Covidien), NovaCardia (acquired by Merck), and Aspreva (ASPV; acquired by Galenica)

Prior to InterWest, Nina was an investment manager at Bay City Capital, a life sciences merchant bank, and a research associate at Oracle Partners, a health care-focused hedge fund. Nina began her career conducting health policy and survey research with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Nina received a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University (1997).

She serves on the California Leadership Council for the Nature Conservancy and has been nominated to join the board of the California Family Health Council.
Lawrence Klein
Head of Business Development & Strategy
CRISPR Therapeutics

Chris Leo
SVP, Strategy Consulting
Back Bay Life Science Advisors
CHRISTOPHER LEO, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, joined Back Bay at its inception in 2010.  Chris’s focus areas include business unit/product/market strategies and diligence support across large pharma, biotech and specialty pharma clients.  In addition, he has significant expertise at the interface of the industry and academic community around strategies for advancing innovative technology.   Chris joined Back Bay from Genzyme, where he led strategic & competitive planning projects for the company’s $2 billion Rare Genetic Disease and $500 million Biosurgery business units. Chris supported both the brand teams on commercial issues related to strategic marketing and competitive positioning, as well as the R&D organization on the assessment of new market opportunities.  Prior to Genzyme, Chris was a Director with Leerink Swann’s Strategic Advisory group, a Principal in Wood Mackenzie’s life science consulting practice, and the Director of the Belfer Cancer Genomics Center at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Dr. Leo completed his doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and earned his undergraduate degree at the College of the Holy Cross.
Kevin Lynch
Chief Business Officer
Recursion Pharma
Hongbo Lu
Lilly Asia Ventures

Dr. Hongbo Lu is a partner at Lilly Asia Ventures, a healthcare-focused global investment firm with over USD$1.2 billion estimated AUM. Previously, Dr. Lu was with OrbiMed Advisors, serving as its Managing Director in Asia. She has over 15 years of investment and operational experience in the healthcare industry, including her tenures at OrbiMed, Piper Jaffray & Co. and life science start-up Zyomyx. Dr. Lu received a Ph.D. in BioEngineering from the University of Washington, an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with honors from Tsinghua University in China. 

Angele Maki
Executive Director, Business Development

Angèle Maki is a business development executive with fourteen years of deal-making experience spanning small biotech and big pharma. She is currently an Executive Director of Business Development & Licensing at Merck’s West Coast Innovation Hub where she leads Search & Evaluation in oncology, immunology, and virology. Prior to Merck, Angèle was an Associate Director in Genentech’s Partnering group where she was responsible for developing and executing technology licensing strategies for human genetics, antibody engineering, small molecule drug discovery, biomarkers/diagnostics, and other research technologies across therapeutic areas. While she was at Genentech, Angèle led the deals with 23andMe, OMT, and Human Longevity among others. Prior to Genentech, Angèle was a Director in BMS’ Strategic Transactions Group where she was responsible for in-licensing and out-licensing of technologies related to discovery and development of biologics. Prior to BMS, Angèle was in Business Development at Medarex, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of fully-human antibody therapeutics, primarily in the nascent field of cancer immunology, which was acquired by BMS in 2009. During her business development and licensing tenure, she has successfully negotiated numerous in- and out-licensing transactions, from early-stage research technologies to clinical-stage assets. Angèle received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Stanford University and completed postdoctoral work in molecular biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She completed her B.Sc. in chemistry at the University of Winnipeg, in Canada.

Michael Martin
Head of Takeda Ventures
Chieko Mori
VP, Corporate Development

Chieko Mori is vice president, corporate development, at Astellas. In this role, Mori is responsible for overseeing a team focused on corporate strategy and planning, commercial strategy, initiative management and delivery (IMD), regional alliance management and licensing. She is a member of the Astellas Management Committee.

Mori joined Yamanouchi – merged with Fujisawa in 2005 to create Astellas – in 2002 as a researcher, and has since held roles of increasing responsibility in product and portfolio strategy, as well as in Astellas' Pharmaceutical Research & Technology Labs. In 2015, Mori was named associate director of product portfolio and strategy, new product business strategy, where she led the successful strategic analysis and valuation of Astellas’ acquisition of Ocata Therapeutics. Most recently, Mori served as senior strategy and policy staff to global President and CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka.

Mori is a licensed pharmacist and holds a master's in clinical pharmacy from the Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.

Ari Nowacek
ARCH Ventures

Ari Nowacek, M.D, Ph.D. is a Principal with ARCH Venture Partners, joining the company as an Analyst in March 2015. Dr. Nowacek focuses on identifying and evaluating new life sciences technologies and also provides operating assistance to early-stage portfolio companies. Dr. Nowacek is a physician-scientist by training with over 20 peer-reviewed publications and greater than 400 citations in the areas of neuroscience, virology, and antiretroviral therapeutic development. His research has led to 3 issued and 2 pending patents for therapeutic and R&D applications.

He holds a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Indiana-Bloomington where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and an M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He subsequently completed a medical residency in pathology and post-doctoral research at The University of Chicago and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Christoph Pittius
SVP, Research Business Development
City of Hope
Christoph Pittius is SVP, Research Business Development at City of Hope and is based in Mölndal, Sweden. Prior to joining City of Hope, he was the Head of Transactions, AstraZeneca Business Development, where he and his team focused on negotiating global strategic in- and out-licensing deals of clinical-stage and on-the-market product opportunities as well as M&A in AstraZeneca’s core indications of interest. Christoph was also in Senior Business Development roles at Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim and Hoechst (now Sanofi) in the US and Germany, and also worked at a New York City based Investment Bank. Christoph’s original training was as a biochemist and molecular biologist, obtained at the Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.
Michal Preminger
Head of Boston Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Michal Preminger is Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation Boston.  In this role, she leads the Boston innovation center team to build, advance, and manage the External R&D portfolio of co-investments spanning across pharmaceutical, consumer health and medical devices.

Until recently, Michal served as the Executive Director of Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) Harvard Medical School site, where she was responsible for development and commercialization of technologies emerging from research at HMS laboratories and for the strategy and execution of all industry collaborations. She negotiated agreements with major biopharma, life sciences, food and cosmetics companies to advance the translation of discoveries into products and create a revenue-generating product pipeline, and worked with scientific founders and investors to create new startup companies.  

Prior to joining Harvard University’s OTD in 2005, Michal held a number of business development and technology development positions at Compugen, most recently as VP of Protein Therapeutics, responsible for the business management of the company’s emerging drug discovery pipeline. Previously, she worked in the technology industry in marketing and business development roles, and co-founded a biotechnology startup. 

Michal serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards FutuRx Accelerator, and was, until recently, a member of the SAB of Prize4Life and a Member of the Board of Directors of a number of companies, including Compugen, BioArray Genetics, and Alma Lasers. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Weizmann Institute of Science, an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, and a BA in Medicine from Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 

Sara Radcliffe
California Life Sciences Association
Sara Radcliffe was appointed the president and chief executive officer of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) in December 2014. She formerly served as the Executive Vice President for Health at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). Previously, Sara served as Senior Director, Biologics & Biotechnology at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). She also served in the Alliance and Technology Group at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals as a Research and Development Policy Analyst, working on evaluation and communication of the promise, ethics, and impact of rapidly-developing technologies in DNA Research. In addition she worked for the Core Services Committee of the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Sara holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College.
Kent Rogers
SVP, Industry Relations

Kent currently serves as the Senior Vice President, Industry Relations for OptumRx with responsibility for formulary and procurement contracting for all books of business on behalf of internal and external clients of United Health Group. OptumRx is the pharmacy benefit management division of Optum servicing over 66 million members and processing over 1 billion pharmacy claims which represent over $80 billion in drug spend. He has more than 25 years of experience with the pharmaceutical industry, focusing primarily on payer, channel and patient services strategies. Prior to OptumRx, Kent was a Principal Consultant with Blue Fin Group, served as the Vice President of Managed Markets at Acorda Therapeutics, and held various positions of increasing responsibility within Sales and Managed Markets at Schering Plough and Merck. His career experience includes business development, health economics/outcomes research, building and leading market access teams, developing and implementing payer access and channel strategies, and launching patient services programs. Kent has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Indiana University, and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business.

Ioannis Sapountzis
US Head, Business Development & Licensing and Specialty Pharma
Boehringer Ingelheim
Dr. Ioannis Sapountzis has over 15 year experience in the pharmaceutical industry with specific expertise in drug discovery and business development in Oncology.  Ioannis is currently serving as the Global Head of Business Development & Licensing for the USA & Specialty Care at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Previously, he was Boehringer’s Global Head of Oncology Business Development & Licensing.  Ioannis joined Boehringer Ingelheim in 2005 as a medicinal chemist and project leader in the Oncology therapeutic area, and later transitioned to strategic roles in the Corporate Department of Research Networking. 
Ioannis holds a PhD in organic chemistry from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, and did his postdoctoral fellowship with David Evans at Harvard University working on total synthesis of antibiotics.

Scott Shaunessy
Scott has over 20 years of experience as an executive in both Business-to-Business and Consumer-facing businesses and is an expert in best practices for Business Development and Licensing, Venture Investing, Acquisition and R&D Collaboration processes in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Biotech, Nutrition, Healthcare and Consumer Products industries. Before his management career, Scott spent eight years as a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League and American Hockey League.
Kristen Slaoui
VP, Head of Business Development, North America

Kristen B. Slaoui, PhD is Vice President and Head of Business Development for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) North America.  She has spent nearly eighteen years with GSK, first in the research labs, where her work in pulmonary disease resulted in the discovery of the long acting muscarinic receptor antagonist in the approved medicines Anoro™ Ellipta™, Incruse™ Ellipta™, and Trelegy™ Ellipta™.   She holds multiple patents, has authored more than 40 original peer-reviewed publications, and she has had ongoing roles as a peer reviewer for a dozen established medical journals.  Since joining GSK’s Business Development teams in 2006, she has held various roles of increasing seniority and has executed more than $20 billion worth of deals and acquisitions, including the $3.6 billion acquisition of Stiefel Laboratories in 2009 and participating in the $20+ billion three-part transaction with Novartis in 2015, with transactions covering the pharma R&D, commercial, emerging markets, specialty pharma and consumer spaces. Dr. Slaoui earned Bachelor’s degrees in both Biology and Classical Studies from Gettysburg College.  She earned her Ph.D. in Physiology from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.  After her term in Seattle, she accepted a position in Respiratory Drug Discovery at GSK, but continued her commitment to academic research by spending over a decade as an adjunct assistant professor at her alma mater, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD. 

Lesley Stolz
Head, JLABS Bay Area
Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Lesley is the Head of JLABS California including JLABS @ SSF, JLABS @ QB3 and our flagship JLABS San Diego. In this role, Lesley is responsible for external engagement, innovation sourcing, company onboarding, portfolio management, operational excellence, educational programming and P&L. In this role, she catalyzes and support the translation of science and technology into valuable solutions for patients and consumers across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer healthcare sectors.

Prior to JLABS, Lesley was Head of Transactions at Johnson & Johnson Innovation in Menlo Park. She has been working in corporate and business development roles for the last 17 years for companies that are both technology platform and therapeutics focused. Her most recent executive positions have been with BioTime, a publicly traded stem cell technology and therapeutic company, and Sutro Biopharma, a platform technology company working in cell-free protein synthesis. Prior to Sutro, Lesley served in BD positions for a number of biotech companies in the U.S. and Europe.

Lesley received her Ph.D. in chemistry, and conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

Alex Szidon
Head, West Coast Innovation Hub & AVP, BD&L
Alex Szidon currently leads Merck’s West Coast Innovation Hub for Business Development & Licensing (Merck is known as MSD outside of US and Canada).  Prior to joining Merck in 2015, Alex worked at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, MA and Emeryville, CA; initially supporting asset and technology platform transactions within Strategic Alliances and then eventually leading the Operational Alliances group globally.  Alex came to Pharma with experience in biotech and enterprise creation via the founding of Zafgen (NSDQ:ZFGN) and as an early employee in DARA Biosciences (NSDQ:DARA).  Alex developed expertise in technology transfer as a Director of Business Development in the Office of Technology Development at the Harvard Medical School.  Alex obtained his PhD in biochemistry and cell biology from UCSF and early business training as an associate consultant within L.E.K.’s Life Sciences practice in Boston.
Michael Weingarten
Director, SBIR Development Center
National Cancer Institute

Michael Weingarten is the Director for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. In this role, Mr. Weingarten leads a team of nine Program Directors who manage all aspects of the NCI SBIR & STTR Programs including a portfolio of $135M in grants and contracts annually. The SBIR & STTR programs are NCI's engine of innovation for developing and commercializing novel technologies and products to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. Mr. Weingarten has implemented a set of key initiatives for optimizing the performance of the NCI SBIR Program at the NIH. These include the establishment of a new model at the NCI for managing the program - the SBIR Development Center. Under Mr. Weingarten's leadership, the NCI SBIR Development Center has launched a range of new initiatives to facilitate the success of small businesses developing cancer-related technologies. Recent initiatives include the launch of the NIH I-Corps™ pilot program in which teams of budding entrepreneurs engage in a hypothesis-driven approach to validate their proposed business models by conducting over 100 interviews with potential customers. Companies adjust their strategies based on direct customer feedback and analyze the information they collect to determine if there is a product/market fit. Other NCI SBIR initiatives introduced under Mr. Weingarten's leadership include the NCI SBIR Investor Forums, the NCI SBIR Phase II Bridge Award, and the workshop titled Federal Resources to Accelerate Commercialization (FRAC). Thus far, NCI SBIR has held three investor forums that in total have facilitated the closing of investment deals with NCI-funded SBIR companies valued at over $300M. The NCI SBIR Phase II Bridge Award, which was launched in 2009, incentivizes partnerships between NIH's SBIR Phase II awardees and third-party investors and/or strategic partners to help small businesses bridge the funding gap between the end of their SBIR Phase II awards and the next round of financing needed to advance a promising cancer therapy or imaging technology.

Gerry McCluskey
Vice President of Business Development and Alliance Management
Horizon Pharma
Gerry McCluskey is VP, Business Development and Alliance Management at Horizon Pharma.  In this role, he is responsible for managing relationships with selected partners and performing diligence and analysis surrounding transactions.  Gerry has over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in the areas of commercial analysis, finance, marketing, alliance management and business development.

Prior to joining Horizon in 2010, Gerry was senior director, Commercial Analysis for Lundbeck.  Lundbeck is a biopharmaceutical company focused primarily on the development of products for diseases of the central nervous system.   During his tenure with Lundbeck, Gerry was involved with various aspects of commercial analysis surrounding a portfolio of products that included retail, specialty and hospital distribution.  

Prior to Lundbeck, Gerry spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry in various financial, commercial analysis and marketing roles.  At Abbott, Gerry served in roles of forecasting and product management for the Diabetes and Metabolics Franchise.  As CFO/Controller at Sirius Laboratories, Gerry managed all financial issues related to this privately held biopharmaceutical startup focused on Dermatology.  During his tenure with Searle, Gerry advanced through various roles in the finance organization.  At Searle he was the lead commercial analysis representative for Daypro, Arthrotec and Celebrex including participation in the joint commercialization of Celebrex with Pfizer.

Gerry holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from DePaul University and an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago.

Jonathan York
VP, Global Business Development
Daiichi Sankyo

Dr. York is Vice President, Global Business Development, Daiichi Sankyo Group and leads the Oncology Transactions team responsible for identification, evaluation and negotiation of all Oncology BD and Licensing opportunities. Dr. York received his B.A. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, his M.D. from Boston University and his MBA from the Stern School of New York University. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He began his healthcare career in Emergency Medicine as a Director of Emergency Services for several hospitals in the N.Y Metro area. Previously he was a Managing Director at Foundation Ventures, a boutique Life Sciences investment and merchant banking firm focused on the venture capital market. Over the past decade at Daiichi Sankyo his responsibilities have included New Product Planning and US Business Development where he and his team supported the Company’s Oncology, Pain and Immunology portfolios.  In his current role he is a member of the Senior Licensing Committee and works directly with Daiichi Sankyo’s Cancer Enterprise and global senior management on acquisition, licensing, and research and development collaboration projects. Daiichi Sankyo research and development is primarily focused on bringing forth novel therapies in oncology, including immuno-oncology, with additional focus on new horizon areas, such as pain management, neurodegenerative diseases, heart and kidney diseases and other rare diseases.

Alice Zhang
CEO & Co-Founder
Verge Genomics

Alice Zhang is CEO of Verge Genomics, a next-generation therapeutics company using machine learning and human genomics to accelerate drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. She co-founded the company in 2015 with the vision that convergent advances in computation and neurobiology have created an unprecedented opportunity to rapidly unlock multiple breakthrough therapies at scale across human disease. The Verge team is 14 people uniquely combining top talent in computation and drug development, including 12 PhDs in machine learning, applied math, and neuroscience, two former professors, and two pharma veterans responsible for commercial successes such as Abilify.  

Zhang has received numerous awards for her work as a scientist and entrepreneur, including the Featured Honoree in Forbes' 30 under 30 2017 and the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. Prior to starting Verge, Zhang has been at the forefront of systems biology research for over a decade at the National Institutes of Health, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, and UCLA. She graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude with high honors in Molecular Biology and subsequently trained for five years in the UCLA-Caltech MD/Ph.D. program investigating gene networks involved in neuro-regeneration. 

Dana M. Gordon Ph.D.
Partner, Registered Patent Attorney
Foley Hoag

Counseling on business management of intellectual property assets, Dr. Dana Gordon advises leading universities, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device companies on strategic aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret protection. Dana’s practice emphasizes patent portfolio strategic planning, and preparation and prosecution of U.S., international and foreign patent applications in the life sciences, including applications focused on small molecules, pharmaceuticals, synthetic methods, molecular diversity, drug discovery, polymers, materials science, and medical devices. He frequently provides clients with due diligence assessments of U.S., international, and foreign patent portfolios in connection with technology transactions and acquisitions. Dana also regularly prepares non-infringement, invalidity and clearance patent opinions in these and other areas.

Reflecting his doctorate in organic chemistry, and his postgraduate chemistry fellowship at Harvard University, Dana has a substantial record of technical accomplishments in the life sciences. He directed an independent research program at Brandeis University focused on the synthesis of small molecule antagonists of retroviruses, multiple drug resistance in cancer and bacteria, and hypertension. His postdoctoral research focused on molecular recognition and self-assembly in solution, and the development and application of synthetic methods using organoindium reagents. Dana’s doctoral research at Yale University focused on synthetic methods and the synthesis of biologically-relevant small molecule and carbohydrate natural products.

Dana was previously Deputy Chair of Foley Hoag’s Intellectual Property Group.

Jacquelyn Nicholson
VP, Life Sciences

Jacquelyn Nicholson is a Vice President of Life Sciences at AlphaSense. She has over 25 years experience working in and serving the life sciences industry globally in the US, Europe, and Japan. Jacquelyn has expertise in bringing cutting edge technology to the industry, both in category and market creation from scratch. She has decades of experience in leadership including advising and serving biopharmaceutical executives, launching new businesses and new markets, heading up global teams, practice area leadership, mentoring, and coaching others. Jacquelyn's professional experience spans such companies as Johnson & Johnson, Gerson Lehrman Group, and Percolate, and she is also a trained sommelier, half marathoner, wife, and mother of two.

Dave Morris MD
Venture Partner
Novartis Venture Fund

Biotech Spotlight Presenters

Ed Zhang
VP, Corporate Development
Boston Pharmaceuticals

Ed Zhang is a Vice President of Corporate Development at Boston Pharmaceuticals, where he is leading business and strategic development efforts including sourcing, evaluating and executing partnering transactions.  Boston Pharma represents a new pharmaceutical company model, providing a bridge to value realization for early-stage development programs. With $600M committed capital and veteran drug development team, it offers strategic partnership options to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Its goal is to enable innovative, under-resourced therapeutics to be developed and unlock the value of life-improving medicines. 

Ed brings broad experience in Business Development, Commercial and R&D with over 15 years in external innovation-focused roles in the biotech and pharma companies.  Prior to Boston Pharma, Ed served as a senior director of Business Development at ImmunoGen and Genzyme/Sanofi including global strategic & business development and commercial operations.  Ed started his professional career as a medicinal chemist with Pharmacia and Abbott Labs.   

Ed received a BS degree in Chemistry from Nanjing University, and a MS degree from Binghamton University as well as an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.       

Roland Buelow

Dr. Buelow is founder and CEO of Teneobio. He has worked in biotechnology for thirty years and is a serial entrepreneur. In 2007 Dr. Buelow founded OMT, which was acquired by Ligand in 2015. He is also a founder of THP, Inc. (2003), which was acquired by Roche in March 2007. Between 1993 and 2003, Dr. Buelow was senior vice president of Research and Development at SangStat Medical Corporation. Dr. Buelow has published more than 100 manuscripts and is an inventor on more than 25 patents.

Brian Fenton
Chief Business Officer
Translate Bio

Brian Fenton has served as Chief Business Officer at Translate Bio since 2015. With more than 25 years of experience in the biotechnology industry and broad transaction experience in business development and alliance management, Brian joined Translate Bio from Shire Pharmaceuticals, where he most recently served as head of business development, neuroscience, supporting the Commercial Business Unit. In this role, he was also responsible for managing Shire’s portfolio investments through its former Strategic Investments Group. Brian also spent several years in Shire’s Rare Diseases Business Development group, where he successfully led and executed a number of strategic transactions for the company. Prior to Shire, Brian spent over 11 years in various roles in business development and alliance management at Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Codexis and Abbott Laboratories. He has been a co-chair for over 20 years with MassBio, serving on several committees, and most recently served on the organization’s Forum Advisory Board. Brian has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, an MS in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Volker Schellenberger
President & CEO
Dr. Volker Schellenberger is the President and CEO of Amunix Operating Inc., which he co-founded with Willem “Pim” Stemmer in 2006. He initially served as Amunix’ Chief Scientific Officer and is the lead inventor of the company’s XTENTM half-life extension and drug payload delivery technology. XTEN enables the engineering of biotherapeutics with long in-vivo half-life and low safety risk due to their biodegradable nature. XTENylated pharmaceuticals can be efficiently produced by recombinant expression as well as by bioconjugation. The favorable properties of XTEN have been confirmed in multiple clinical trials.
Dr. Schellenberger has over 20 years of industry experience in protein engineering and drug discovery. Prior to co-founding Amunix he served as head of Genencor’s protein engineering department.

Dr. Schellenberger received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University, where he studied protease catalyzed peptide synthesis. After postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Protein Research in Pushchino (Russia), he moved to the University of Göttingen where he developed a novel method for the production of peptides from recombinant peptide-multimers. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Bill Rutter at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Schellenberger joined Genencor in 1994. Dr. Schellenberger is the author of over 40 scientific papers and an inventor on more than 70 issued and pending patent applications. He is also the recipient of the Karl Lohman award of the German Society of Biochemists.

Anil Gulati MD, PhD, FCP
Chairman, Board of Directors
Pharmazz, Inc.

Anil Gulati, MD, PhD is Professor and Associate Dean at the Midwestern University, Illinois. He is a consultant to Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital and is Adjunct Professor of Bio-engineering and Biopharmaceutical Sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Gulati is the Scientific Reviewer, United States Defense Medical Research and Development Program, Combat Casualty Care Research Program 2016 and 2017. He is recipient of Outstanding Faculty Award 2017, Paul R Dawson Biotechnology Award 2014 and Littlejohn Award 2014. Dr. Gulati is a United States Fulbright Scholar 2008-2009 and winner of International Ranbaxy Research Award 2007. He has ~300 peer reviewed publications and guided researches of more than 100 graduate students, medical residents and research fellows. He has 5,006 citations, h-index of 39, i10-index of 137, research gate score of 46.34. He has 42 issued patents of which 20 has been issued by the US patent office, and rest by patent offices in Europe, India, China, Japan, Australia and Canada. Some of the discoveries related to endothelin made by him are undergoing clinical phase II trials in the United States and clinical phase III trials in India. Dr. Gulati is founder and chairman of Pharmazz, Inc. and Pharmazz India Private Limited which is engaged in developing his inventions for critical care medicine, resuscitation of shock, stroke and complication of diabetes. He is an elected Fellow of American College of Clinical Pharmacology and was Co-Chair of the ET-14: World Endothelin Conference 2015, Savannah, Georgia.

David Passmore
Head of Commercial Operations
RubrYc Therapeutics

Mr. Passmore has over 20 years of technical and operations experience in discovery-stage organizations developing first-in-class biotherapeutics.  Mr. Passmore initiated his scientific career in the mid-1990’s with Anergen, a biotechnology company that pioneered immuno-therapies against autoreactive T-Cells.  Mr. Passmore later joined Dynavax Technologies to work on the early development of CpG immuno-stimulants as vaccine adjuvants.  In 2001, Mr. Passmore signed on with immuno-oncology leader Medarex where he established, and built over time, a state-of-the-art analytical lab for characterization of therapeutic antibodies to support discovery operations.  During his tenure at Medarex, Mr. Passmore was an integral part of the team that discovered ipilimumab (Yervoy®) and nivolumab (Opdivo®).  It was at this time that Mr. Passmore obtained his MBA through an Executive program at Pepperdine University.  Mr. Passmore went to Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009 as part of the BMS acquisition of Medarex.  At BMS, Mr. Passmore led a team of scientists that identified clinical candidates for multiple programs in immuno-oncology and targeted cancer therapies.  Drawing on his industry experience and business training, Mr. Passmore founded a consulting practice in 2017 to provide technical and commercial services to biotechnology companies; including at immunomics leader HealthTell, where he was instrumental in the formation of RubrYc Therapeutics in March 2018.  Mr. Passmore currently heads up the commercial team at RubrYc and is responsible for the company’s business development, commercial strategy, and marketing communications.  

Torsten Mummenbrauer
Senior Vice President Business Development & Licensing
Hookipa Pharma Inc.

Dr. Torsten Mummenbrauer is Senior VP Business Development & Licensing at Hookipa. With almost 20 years of business development experience in the life science industry and 10 years in vaccines, Torsten is able to astutely lead the business development team. Before joining Hookipa, Torsten was Senior Director Business Development at MorphoSys AG, Munich, Germany. Previously, Torsten worked for more than 10 years at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines where he was the Global Head of the Vaccines Transactions Team with responsibility for all vaccine business development activities ranging from collaborations, option and licensing contracts to mergers & acquisitions. During the 2009 influenza pandemic he led all of GSK’s BD related influenza pandemic preparedness activities. Prior to GSK, he was Patent & Licensing Manager at the Technology Transfer office of the Max-Planck-Society, Munich, Germany. Torsten holds a PhD in tumor virology from the Heinrich-Pette Institute, Leibniz-Institute for Experimental Virology in Hamburg, Germany.

Alexis Peyroles
OSE Immunotherapeutics

Alexis Peyroles has more than 20 years of management and financial control experience, having served in related positions, internationally. He joined Sanofi-Aventis in 1996 as Financial Controller in Japan before becoming Head of Financial Control for the Baltic States. He was subsequently named Head of activities for Business Development in Eastern Europe. In 2005, Alexis joined the Guerbet group (a leader in the field of contrast products, especially in medical imaging) as Financial Control Manager and in 2009, became Chief Executive Officer for Latin America, based in Brazil. As soon as 2013, Alexis Peyroles has been involved in OSE Pharma as Chief Financial Officer and in charge of Business Development. From May 2016 (date of the merger of OSE Pharma with Effimune) to April 2018, he served as Chief Operating Officer of OSE Immunotherapeutics, in charge of Finance, Business Development and Operations. Alexis Peyroles is graduated from EDHEC Business School and holds an Executive MBA from Imperial College in London.

Gary Olson
President & CEO
Provid Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Dr. Olson is co-founder, President & CEO of Provid Pharmaceuticals Inc.  He is a drug discovery entrepreneur with a prominent track record in medicinal chemistry, peptide mimetics technology and rational drug design.  He received an AB from Columbia and PhD from Stanford in chemistry.  Prior to founding Provid, he held R&D and leadership positions at Hoffmann-La Roche and Praecis Pharmaceuticals.  He leads Provid’s efforts in novel therapeutics for autoimmune diseases.  
Ray Takigiku
President & CEO
Bexion Pharmaceuticals

Co-founder of Propel Labs, PharmaLegacy and Bexion Pharmaceuticals.  Previously, Ray was at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, and was also interim co-Director of the Genome Research Institute (now the Reading Campus) of the College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati. His early research interests were in the origin, evolution and sustainability of life.  Ray has over 30 years of experience in the discovery, development, and market support of pharmaceuticals, and was on the leadership team behind the blockbuster osteoporosis drug Actonel. Bexion now has a novel compound in clinical development for solid tumors, including glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly form of brain cancer; and potential for other rare tumors.  Ray is currently a board member of several corporate and non-profit organizations, including HealthSource of Ohio.  Ray received his undergraduate degrees from University of Colorado in Chemistry and Molecular Biology, his PhD in Chemistry from Indiana University, and business training from the Kellogg School of Management.  

Bill Simpson
Chief Executive Officer
Bill Simpson is Chief Executive Officer of CerRx, Inc., an oncology drug development start-up currently with five compounds.  Two compounds are in phase II trials, one of which is in its pivotal trial for first registration under an orphan designation in the US, EU and Asia. 
Bill has a career filled with leading US and Global Oncology drug development and commercial teams that launched three market leading oncology brands in the US.  Bill has held senior management and executive roles with leading oncology companies including AstraZeneca, Adria Laboratories (now Pfizer), and Ascalon International.

Rodney Young
Chief Financial Officer
Cellerant Therapeutics
Martin Devenport

Martin has a background in molecular biology and approximately 10 years of corporate experience in the biotech industry. Prior to joining OncoImmune, he was Vice President of Business Strategy at Amplimmune, Inc. where his responsibilities included overseeing all project management and operation activities. Consequently he is experienced with all aspects of the drug development process, including research, development, GMP manufacturing, regulatory and clinical trials. Martin has a proven track record developing pre-clinical assets through IND submission and into early clinical stage development. In addition, Martin has helped secure millions of dollars in government grants and formed licensing partnerships with industry partners for each stage assets. Martin was an integral member of the business development team that lead to its successful sale to MedImmune for up to $500 million in 2013.  

Lee Schalop M.D.
Chief Business Officer
Oncoceutics, Inc.
Lee Schalop is a co-founder of Oncoceutics. He held the position of Chief Business Officer since soon after graduating with a doctor of medicine degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2008 and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2016. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Schalop spent more than 19 years in the financial industry at a number of major Wall Street firms, including Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse and Banc of America Securities. From 1985 to 1993, he was an investment banker and his fund raising activities included more than 10 initial public offerings, the largest of which raised over $700 million. From 1993 to 2004, he served as a research analyst and authored more than 1,000 reports covering more than 50 different publicly traded companies, earning a reputation for groundbreaking research. Lee sits on the advisory boards of the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management at the University of Pennsylvania, and the New York Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes and its complications. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he earned dual degrees from the University’s Wharton School and College of Arts and Sciences.
Iman Daryaei
Research Scientist
Nuvox Pharma

Dr. Iman Daryaei, PhD, is a Research & Development scientist at NuvOx Pharma where he applies his knowledge and skills to develop new targeted ultrasound contrast agents for early detection of cancer. Dr. Daryaei graduated from the University of Arizona with his doctorate in Biological Chemistry and a minor in Entrepreneurship. His graduate research focused on molecular imaging for early detection of cancer. Prior to his doctorate, Dr. Daryaei also obtained two MSc degrees in Medicinal Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. 

Sunil Gangadharan PhD
Strategic Partnerships
imec, Belgium

Sunil Gangadharan, PhD joined imec in early 2017 and is responsible for cultivating strategic alliances as well as developing co-operative R &D programs with Industrial Partners for them to access and leverage imec’s unique capabilities and solutions in advanced “More-than-Moore” semiconductor technology. 

Prior to imec, he managed industry-academic collaborations and out-licensing of technologies at Partners Healthcare Innovation, Boston. 

Sunil earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science and held post-doctoral fellowships in Genetics and Genomics at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA.

Gail K. Naughton Ph.D
CSO, CBDO & Founder

Gail K. Naughton, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years extensively researching the tissue engineering process, holds over 105 U.S. and foreign patents, and has founded two regenerative medicine companies. Her current venture, Histogen, is focused on the development of novel solutions based on the products of cells grown under simulated embryonic conditions. She currently serves as the Company’s CSO and CBDO, and is the inventor of its core technology. In addition, Dr. Naughton served as the Dean of the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University from August 2002 to June 2011. Prior to that, she spent more than 15 years at Advanced Tissue Sciences, where she was the company’s co-founder and co-inventor of its core technology. During her tenure there, Dr. Naughton held a variety of key management positions, including president, chief operating officer, chief scientific officer and principal scientist. While serving as an officer and director of the Company, Dr. Naughton oversaw the design and development of the world’s first up-scaled manufacturing facility for tissue engineered products, established corporate development and marketing partnerships with companies including Smith & Nephew, Ltd., Medtronic and Inamed Corporation, was pivotal in raising over $350M from the public market and corporate partnerships, and brought four products from concept through FDA approval and market launch. These products include a skin replacement for severe burns (TransCyte),a living dermal replacement for diabetic ulcers (Dermagraft), an aesthetic dermal filler (Cosmederm) and SkinMedica’s TNS product for skin care. At Histogen Dr. Naughton developed a new skin care product which also contains human growth factors, ReGenica, which was recently acquired by Allergan.

Dr. Naughton has been extensively published and a frequent speaker in the field of tissue engineering. In 2000, Dr. Naughton received the 27th Annual National Inventor of the Year award by the Intellectual Property Owners Association in honor of her pioneering work in the field of tissue engineering. Dr. Naughton sits on several Boards including the CCRM, the Ackerman foundation, and Cytori Therapeutics. 

Kevin Heyries
Business Development and Strategy Lead

Kevin Heyries holds a PhD in biochemistry (Uni. of Lyon, France) where his doctoral work focused on the development of miniaturized technology using microfluidics for antibody analysis. During his postdoctoral work (Uni. of British Columbia), he developed high throughput microfluidics systems for digital PCR and single-cell genomics. Dr. Heyries was instrumental in the development of AbCellera’s technology, where he also led several antibody discovery programs and is now leading business development and strategy.

Your Program Director

Zainab Hayat
Program Director
BioNetwork 2018, a WBR event