BioNetwork 2018

October 10 - 12, 2018

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, CA



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.

Jacqueline Benson
VP, Scientific Innovation, Immunology
Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Jackie is responsible for creating and implementing an external innovation plan focused on developing an industry-leading portfolio of Immunology Therapeutic Area investment opportunities on the West Coast.  This work will help solidify Janssen as the partner of choice in a highly competitive landscape, and identify and deliver the best opportunities for value-generating collaborations supporting our Immunology scientific strategy.  

In her previous role, Jackie launched and led the Estrela Venture within the Janssen Incubator, advancing innovative treatments for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  Jackie led the Estrela Venture to a number of key milestones, including the declaration of two new molecular entities, one of which recently achieved first patient dosed in SLE patients. 

Jackie joined the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson as a Senior Research Scientist in 2001, playing an instrumental role in the research and discovery of several flagship programs, including STELARA® (ustekinumab), for which she earned a Johnson Medal, and TREMFYA® (guselkumab).  She received her B.S. in Biology from The Ohio State University, followed by her Ph.D. in Immunology from the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University, and was awarded a National Multiple Sclerosis Society postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine.

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.
Kaan Certel
Head of Oncology External Innovation
Leon Chen
Venture Partner
Leon Chen, Ph.D., is a Venture Partner with OrbiMed. Prior to joining OrbiMed, Dr. Chen was the co-founder of KAI Pharmaceuticals where he built the company as the first employee. He held responsibilities research, intellectual property and business development before Amgen acquired KAI in 2012. He was previously an Entrepreneur in Residence at Venrock and most recently was a Partner at Skyline Ventures where he served on the board of a number of biotech and diagnostic companies.  Dr. Chen has a B.A in Biochemistry from U.C. Berkeley, a Ph.D in Molecular Pharmacology from Stanford and an M.B.A from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Bob Chib
Head, Corporate Strategy & Innovation, Licensing & Alliances
Chris DeRespino
Executive Director, Business Development

Chris is part of the transactions team at Amgen and focusses on oncology with accountability for immuno-oncology deals.  Chris joined Amgen as part of the Onyx acquisition in October 2013 and is based in San Francisco.  Since joining the team, 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. 

Markus Goebel
Managing Director
Novartis Venture Fund
Luba Greenwood
Strategic Business Development & Corporate Ventures
Todd Haim
Program Director, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Dr. Todd Haim is a Program Director at the National Cancer Institute’s SBIR Development Center. Dr. Haim manages SBIR & STTR grants and contracts focused on the development of novel cancer therapeutics, preventative agents, and drug discovery technologies that incorporate the tumor microenvironment. Additionally, Todd plays a key role in the planning, design, and leadership of several center initiatives, including serving as coordinator of the NCI Investor Forum, helping to implement relevant workshops, draft targeted solicitations, and facilitate external partnerships. Prior to starting in the SBIR Development Center, he was a Research Associate and Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Haim staffed the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPUP) and his efforts centered on follow-up activities to the 2005 “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report related to various innovation initiatives and evaluation programs. Previously, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Pfizer in which he actively led Pfizer’s research efforts in a collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that illustrated a mechanism for altered cardiac contractility due to excess fatty acids. Dr. Haim graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in January 2007 with a PhD in biomedical research and obtained a certificate in technology commercialization from John Hopkins’ Carey Business School in 2011. He has received several prestigious awards and honors including the 2014 NCI Leadership Development Award, a 2014 NIH Director’s Award and the NJ Governor’s Award for Volunteerism in the Field of Health. 

Timothy Herpin
Chief Business Officer
Caribou Biosciences
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.
Debbie Liebert
Managing Director
Domain Associates
Debra joined Domain in 2007 to create new portfolio companies and evaluate the technical and business merits of investment opportunities. Improving healthcare through the development of drugs has been a focus of her 30+ year career, which included operating roles in several Domain-funded companies. She became a principal at Domain in 2009 and Managing Director in 2014. Debra is currently a Director at Milestone Pharmaceuticals and a Board Observer at Tragara Pharmaceuticals, and previously served as an observer on the boards of Atara Biotherapeutics, Sonexa Therapeutics and Tobira Therapeutics. She contributed to the creation of Calixa Therapeutics, Sonexa Therapeutics and multiple seed companies.
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.

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
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
Executive Director, Harvard University Office of Technology Development
Harvard Medical School
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.

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.

Jeffrey Warmke
SVP, External Scientific Affairs & Alliance Management
Daiichi Sankyo

Dr. Warmke is currently Senior Vice President, Daiichi Sankyo Group and leads the External Scientific Affairs group responsible for identification and evaluation of Product Licensing and Research and Development collaboration opportunities, and he also heads the co-development partner Alliance Management function. Dr. Warmke received his B.A. in Biology from Wabash College and his PhD. in Molecular Genetics from The Ohio State University. He did post-doctoral research in Neurogenetics in the Department of Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Warmke began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Merck Research Laboratories where he held positions of increasing responsibility in Discovery Research and Project Planning and Management. Dr. Warmke joined the Project Management group at Sankyo Pharma Development in 2002, and with the formation of Daiichi Sankyo Pharma Development in 2006, he was appointed co-leader of the Global Project Management function and served as a member of the Global R&D Management Committee. In his current position he is a member of the Senior Licensing Committee and works directly with global senior management on licensing and research & development collaboration projects. In addition to its strong portfolio of medicines for hypertension, dyslipidemia, bacterial infections, and thrombotic disorders, 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.

Joe Whalen
SVP, Business Development & Alliance Management
Horizon Pharma

Mr. Whalen has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry leading and supporting transactions involving acquisitions, co-promotions, out licenses and strategic alliances. Mr. Whalen joined Horizon Pharma in April of 2010 and has led or supported Horizon’s acquisitions since that time helping to grow Horizon from a pre-commercial company with no sales to over $750 million in net sales in 2015. Recent transactions include Horizon’s acquisitions of Crealta Holdings LLC for $510 million and PENNSAID® 2% for $45 million. He also led the out licensing of LODOTRA® and DUEXIS® ex-U.S. and has supported Horizon’s IPO and other fund raising activities. Prior to Horizon, he was at Baxter Healthcare where he led and supported a number of transactions as part of Baxter’s Medication Delivery business. Mr. Whalen worked at Searle prior to Baxter where his experience included various finance roles supporting business development, European operations, U.S. marketing, and R&D. He earned a MBA from the University of Illinois and bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.

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. 

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.

Chris Leo
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.
Michelle Hoffmann
Senior Vice President
Back Bay Life Science Advisors
MICHELLE HOFFMANN, 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.
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.
Lawrence Klein
Head of Business Development & Strategy
CRISPR Therapeutics

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. 

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.

Biotech Spotlight Leaders

Ed Zhang
VP, Corporate Development
Boston Pharmaceuticals
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
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