BioNetwork 2018

October 10 - 12, 2018

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, CA


2017 Speakers

Sia Anagnostou
Senior Director, Corporate Development
Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.

Sia Anagnostou, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI), is responsible for several core areas including alliance development and portfolio management. Anagnostou directs ITI branding initiatives and communications to raise awareness about ITI with important stakeholders in the science, government and investment communities.  In concert with research and development, she advances collaborations and licensing opportunities, manages assessments and transactions, and integrates results into ITI’s business strategy.

Mrs. Anagnostou has been a member of ITI’s staff since 2012 and previously worked with Theranostics Health, where she focused on cancer proteomic molecular diagnostics. She earned her executive M.B.A. from Duke University, her Master of Science in Molecular Biology from Georgetown University Medical School, and her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Anthony Artuso
Chief Business Officer
Synthetic Genomics

Mr. Artuso is an accomplished executive and entrepreneur with broad domestic and international experience in biotech, clean energy, finance, public policy, and sustainable development.

Before joining SGI, Anthony spent six years with Merck KGaA where he managed strategic planning and business development and also served as general manager for the company’s protein and cellular analysis business. In previous business roles, Anthony managed strategic planning, new product development, technology licensing, and acquisitions for Bristol Myers-Squibb and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Anthony has also served as a faculty member at the University of Charleston and Rutgers University.

While in academia, he became recognized internationally for his work on the chemical and genetic value of biodiversity. His academic research and consulting activities included serving as advisor to the World Bank and various U.S. government and multi-national agencies. Anthony also assisted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in designing and launching the BioTrade Initiative, an international program to promote sustainable development of biological resources. During an earlier career in the public sector, Anthony constructed a blueprint for the deregulation of US electricity generation, directed a billion dollar capital improvement program for a major US city, designed and implemented regional water pollution control programs, and served as Chief Financial Officer of a public sector utility.

Anthony holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Columbia University, a Master’s Degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell.

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.
Steven Bartz
Director, Worldwide Licensing
Merck & Co.
Steve has been with Merck & Co., Inc. for the past 10 years. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Wisconsin and continued his post-doctoral training at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Most recently Steve joined Merck's External Scientific Affairs department as a Scientific Liaison supporting the West Coast (Bay Area and Pacific Northwest) activities. In this role, he acts on behalf of Merck to identify new collaboration, licensing, product acquisition/co-development, and strategic alliance opportunities in his geographic area.
Michael Bayewitch
Senior Director, Global S&E, Biologics
Teva Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Bayewitch is a business development executive in the pharmaceutical industry with thirteen years career experience including ten years fulfilling business development roles, deal due diligence, and deal execution within startup biotech companies, venture funds, mid- and large-size pharmaceutical companies. Currently, Director of Search and Evaluation for Teva Pharmaceuticals, R&D division, with key responsibility to manage the identification, technical diligence, and support transaction processes focused on in-licensing product and platform opportunities.

Lisa Beck
Executive Director, Transactions Global Business Development
Lisa Beck is the Executive Director, Transactions of Business Development and Alliance Management at Alexion. In this capacity she is responsible for negotiations and executing transactions for Alexion’s business development deals including in-licenses, out-licenses, research collaborations, co-development and co-commercialization deals, joint ventures and other deals to support Alexion’s corporate strategic goals. Previously Lisa was at GlaxoSmithKline for over 25 years and has held positions of increasing responsibility in Clinical Development, Project Management, Worldwide Business Development Transactions and R&D Portfolio and Strategy. Lisa holds Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Vanderbilt University.
Jeff Behrens
President & CEO
Siamab Therapeutics

Jeff joined Siamab Therapeutics in May 2012. From 2009 to 2012, he served as Senior Director of Business Development & Operations for Edimer Pharmaceuticals, a Third Rock-funded orphan drug company, where he oversaw manufacturing, finance, business development, and academic research collaborations.

Prior to Edimer, Jeff worked at Alnylam as Director, Strategic Alliances and at Biogen Idec as co-founder and Head of Business Operations at the Biogen Idec Innovation Incubator. Jeff was previously the founder and CEO of The Telluride Group, a Newton, MA based managed services IT provider to the healthcare industry that was sold to mindSHIFT Technologies (funded by Fidelity) in 2003.

Jeff has an MBA from MIT Sloan and a MS from the joint Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Younes Bekkali
Director, Business Development & Licensing - Strategic Transactions
Boehringer Ingelheim
Younes Bekkali (Director, BD&L, Strategic Transactions, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) After he graduated from University of Waterloo (Canada) in 1998 with a M.Sc. in Chemistry Younes joined Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) in Ridgefield, CT as a Medicinal Chemist where he contributed to several successful projects and was named co-inventor in several patents and publications. While working in BI’s labs Younes went to Pace University (Lubin School of Business, NY) to pursue his business studies and received his double major MBA in Marketing Management and International Business. After several years in R&D, Younes joined Strategic Sourcing team at BI where he achieved exceptional cost savings and he established innovative strategies and robust business practices to secure stable and risk-free supply chain network across the globe by building successful partnerships. In 2011 Younes joined the Strategic Transactions and Alliance Management team where he currently leads cross function teams to execute diverse in-/out-licensing partnership arrangements. Younes led negotiations of global projects, diligently evaluated and assessed technical, business and strategic values of potential transactions for various therapeutic areas and provided alliance management leadership and representation in active collaborations. Younes is a member of LES (Licensing Executives Society) and ASAP (Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals).
James Bowen
Executive Director, Corporate Alliances
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.
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 $4 billion in deals in recent years across diverse therapeutic areas. Hemmie advised on two of AbbVie’s four publicly announced 2016 transactions: Dong-A’s $525 million Mer tyrosine kinase inhibitor deal, and the Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) collaboration for genomics research in the Irish population with WuXi NextCODE Genomics. GMI was co-founded by deCODE/Amgen, ARCH, Google Ventures and Polaris. She was also involved last year in counseling on the intellectual property aspects of Legochem’s antibody drug conjugate (ADC) research agreement with Takeda/Millennium and Calithera’s (NASDAQ: CALA) collaboration with Incyte for CALA’s arginase inhibitor molecule in hematology and oncology. In the prior year, Hemmie advised long-time clients Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: AGTC) in its $1+ billion collaboration with Biogen (the largest publicly announced gene therapy deal) and Chromocell Corporation in a $500+ million neuropathic pain (Nav. 1.7) deal opposite Astellas Pharma. She also advised Polaris-backed Microchips Biotech on a drug delivery deal opposite Teva Pharma, and negotiated a major collaboration for Korean biopharmaceutical company OliPass with innovative PNA oligomer and tissue technology opposite Bristol-Myers Squib. Clients routinely benefit from Hemmie's strategic business perspective and legal acumen from her two-plus decades of experience within the life sciences sector.
Grace Colon
InCarda Therapeutics
Grace Colón brings over 25 years experience in biopharma, genomics, healthcare and industrial biotechnology. Currently she is CEO and President of InCarda Therapeutics. She is also a senior advisor at New Science Ventures (where she was a Partner from 2014-2016) and serves on the board of directors of ProterixBio (Executive Chairman; formerly CEO), Paradigm Diagnostics, PerceptiMed and Cocoon Biotech. Since 2014 she has served on the Advisory Board of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. Dr. Colón received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was an NSF Fellow. She also holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar.
Rajeev Dadoo
SR One
Marianne De Backer
Vice President, Venture Investments
Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Marianne De Backer has been a strategic advisor, scientist, business unit director, deal maker and corporate investor at the world’s largest healthcare company (Johnson & Johnson (J&J); >70 Bn USD revenue) for more than two decades. Her deep subject matter expertise and experience forging partnerships with leading researchers and executives have led to (launched) breakthroughs in medicine and the development of new models for conducting business. She works across an extensive external network of pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, venture, NGO and government partners in United States, Europe, and beyond, bringing this diversity in perspective as she fosters alliances to improve the health of patients worldwide. In her current role in JJDC, the venture arm of J&J, she is responsible for initiating and managing equity investments to drive business innovation and deliver new and sustainable business to J&J. At J&J, Dr. De Backer has had an impressive career path, transitioning from the lab bench to supporting innovative technology licensing to leading a 50 FTE commercial business unit to serving on the frontlines of late-stage pharmaceutical deal-making. As a scientist and R&D group leader, she was named as inventor on five patent applications. Under her direct leadership through licensing and business development roles across multiple therapeutic areas and regions, J&J has formed over 200 external alliances. As Business Unit Director (CNS, Immunology, Internal Medicine) she was responsible for a strategic turnaround, led operational sales and marketing, managed a P&L, and very successfully launched several products. Prior to joining JJDC, Dr. De Backer most recently was heading global business development (Licensing, M&A, Alliance Management) for Infectious Diseases & Vaccines. Dr. De Backer has been recognized for her high business integrity, for her ability to drive and deliver results in a complex and challenging environment while meeting external and internal milestones, and for building consensus across people and organizations. She was named to the 2016 PharmaVoice 100 and Women In Bio’s “Boardroom Ready” inaugural Class; has served as a panelist and moderator at key industry conferences and global events; and actively mentors a diverse talent pool, especially advocating for female talent. She is a member of the Board of Directors of EcoHealth Alliance, a global environmental health non-profit dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease. Dr. De Backer holds an MBA from Erasmus University Rotterdam, a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Ghent, a MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Brussels, and an engineering degree in Biochemistry from the IH Ghent. She is fluent in English and Dutch, and proficient in German.
James Egan
President & CEO
Brett Fleshman
Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development
Veloxis Pharmaceuticals

Brett Fleshman is Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development for Veloxis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is responsible for corporate development and strategy, business development including in-licensing and out-licensing, and alliance management. Brett has held senior marketing and business development roles at Chiesi USA, Cornerstone Therapeutics, and Genzyme Biosurgery and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Washington University’s Olin School of Business. Brett enjoys just about everything, especially sailing, running and performing music whenever possible.

Greg Fond
Director, External Innovation
Greg is a member of the Strategy & Business Development organization of Sanofi. He and his team inform the R&D strategy and oversee the search & evaluation activities of Sanofi Genzyme Rare Diseases. His team’s work culminates with the launch of R&D collaborations and partnerships with academic research institutions, incubators and startups as well as biotech and pharma companies. Greg is based in California where Sanofi Genzyme Rare Diseases has established and brought to fruition numerous partnerships over the years. Prior to this role, Greg was the alliance manager of Sanofi’s strategic research alliances with Caltech, Scripps Genomic Medicine and Salk. Greg is trained as a chemist and chemical engineer focused on applied research across chemical, material and biological sciences. He has hands-on experience in sales, marketing and business development with start-ups and global corporations. His prior entrepreneurial ventures involved bioinformatics, medical devices and therapeutics in dermatology, endocrinology, pulmonology and rheumatology.
Adi Frish
SVP Business Development & Licensing
RedHill Biopharma

Adi Frish brings extensive business development and transactional experience to RedHill. Prior to joining RedHill, he served as VP Business Development at Medigus (TASE: MDGS). Mr. Frish was previously a partner at Y. Ben-Dror & Co. He is a graduated of Bar Ilan University (LL.M.) and Essex University (LL.B. with Honors).

Bard Geesaman
Managing Director
MPM Capital

Bard Geesaman, M.D., Ph.D., has been affiliated with MPM and associated portfolio companies since 2002. With broad experience investing, operating and facilitating business development globally, including in Japan, China and Israel, Bard is a Managing Director of MPM’s Oncology Impact Fund (OIF) and serves as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO). Prior to MPM, Bard founded Catalyst Medical Solutions, a medical documentation and billing eHealth company in Boston where he served as the Chief Technology Officer through the company’s acquisition. After Catalyst, Bard joined Centagenetix, an MPM-founded company exploring the genetics of successful aging. In 2006, Bard joined MPM as a Venture Partner with a major focus on founding Solasia Pharmaceuticals, based in Tokyo, Japan. Bard is also the co-founder and a board member of MPM healthcare IT startup TriNetX (big data analytics for clinical trials). Bard is passionate about innovation in health care, and in 2008 took a two year sabbatical from MPM to do non-profit work in Los Angeles at the X-Prize Foundation, where he worked on alternative models for motivating life sciences innovation. He received a BS in neuroscience from UC Berkeley followed by concurrent degrees from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with his PhD work focused on systems and computational neurobiology. Bard finished his medical training by completing a three-year medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Steven Gelone
Chief Scientific Officer & Head, Business Development
Nabriva Therapeutics

Steven Gelone joined Nabriva Therapeutics in December 2014. He has a bachelor of sciences and doctorate in pharmacy degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. Over the past 20 years Steve has been involved in all stages of drug development and commercialization. He has served as Head of Clinical Research and Development at Spark Therapeutics, as well as Vice President of Development at ViroPharma Incorporated (now Shire). Previous roles include a leadership positions with GSK, Vicuron Pharmaceuticals and Temple University Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.

Andrew Collard
Engagement Manager
Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Mr. Andrew Collard has a Bachelors of Science in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale University, where he also captained the Heavyweight Crew team. At Back Bay, Andrew has worked on a broad range of assignments, including academic-industry collaboration, orphan drug development and franchise expansion strategy.

Prior to joining Back Bay, Andrew worked as an Assistant Scientist at Myriant Technologies, where he earned a patent for mutations beneficial to bio-based chemical production.

David Morris
Venture Partner
Novartis Venture Fund
Scott Goedeke
As President of Viscadia, Scott Goedeke helps clients strategically plan, analyze and grow their businesses. Scott has more than 24 years of experience with both large and specialty pharmaceutical companies — including senior commercial leadership positions and responsibilities for: strategic planning and business analysis; marketing and brand management/P&L; sales force planning, deployment and management; managed markets access, trade, retail distribution; creation and implementation of HUB customer care model and associated specialty pharmacy and specialty distributor contracted partnerships.
Murali Gopalakrishnan
Senior Director & Head Search & Evaluation Neuroscience
Murali Gopalakrishnan is currently Senior Director and Head, Search & Evaluation Neuroscience, at AbbVie, North Chicago, Illinois, USA. Murali joined Abbott/AbbVie in 1993 and subsequently held various positions of increasing responsibility leading research programs and research teams in neuroscience, pain, renal and urology - advancing multiple clinical candidates across these therapeutic areas. He has extensively published in scientific journals and was inducted to the Volwiler Research Society in 2002. From 2009-2013, Murali took on the role as Head of the then newly formed Global External Research group, leading a team focused on developing external innovation strategies with various therapeutic areas, and enabling the identification, diligence and establishment of external collaborations around emerging science, targets, technologies and preclinical assets. He was also responsible for the leadership of AbbVie China R&D Center in Shanghai, since its inception in 2009 and subsequently led the Renal Discovery Therapeutic Area, advancing research programs in Chicago & Shanghai, and via a network of external academic partnerships. Since 2015, he has taken on a leadership position within AbbVie’s Search & Evaluation team, with responsibilities for accessing and advancing opportunities in in the Neuroscience Therapeutic area. Murali obtained his undergraduate training in pharmacy from Banaras Hindu University, India and a PhD in pharmacology from the School of Pharmacy, SUNY at Buffalo, New York. He completed his post-doctoral training in molecular biology at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and has an MBA degree from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, Illinois.
Dave Greenwald
Director of Business Development
Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures
David Greenwald, Ph.D., currently serves as Director of Corporate Relations for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV). Dr. Greenwald is a founder of Relay Technology Management, Inc. and co-inventor of the Relay Innovation Engine software. Dr. Greenwald was previously Chief Executive Officer of Relay Technology Management and Director of Client Solutions for Decision Resources Group (DRG) after its acquisition of Relay. Dr. Greenwald was an Associate Investigator at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, MD, where he worked with the Food and Drug Administration on 510(k) applications for diagnostic devices for dengue fever. Dr. Greenwald was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) research fellow while earning a B.S. in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Maryland, College Park and was awarded an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) towards his Ph.D. research dissertation on gene therapy for Retinitis Pigmentosa, which he completed at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Greenwald lectures on Entrepreneurial Finance and Corporate Finance at The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, where he is an adjunct faculty.
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. 

Michelle Hoffmann
Senior Vice President
Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Dr. Michelle Hoffmann joined Back Bay from Deloitte, where she led the Life Sciences arm of Deloitte Research, Deloitte’s industry think tank. Michelle was responsible for concept generation, researching and writing white papers on emerging life sciences industry topics such as the impact of Accountable Care Organizations, the mobile personal health record, medical homes and social networks.  She became a sought-after subject matter expert for Deloitte clients and public forums.

Prior to joining Deloitte Research, Michelle was a consultant in the Strategic Advisory group at Leerink Swann, a boutique health care investment bank, where she used her science and technology background to help clients understand how to value and leverage new therapies and technologies. She led projects on a diverse range of topics, including 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 its corporate strategy. Her clients included start-ups, mid-cap and top five biopharma companies.

Michelle holds a PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a BS in biology from Cornell. Michelle enjoys novels and spending time with her family.

Alan Jakimo
The Cancer Trust
Alan L. Jakimo is a Director of The Cancer Trust, a not-for-profit organization engaged in facilitating the formation of collaborations between multi-institution consortia and pharmaceutical companies focused on discovering and developing novel medicines, diagnostics, and related products for providing care to cancer patients. Mr. Jakimo's legal practice, including 37 years at Brown Wood LLP and then Sidley Austin LLP, encompasses a broad range of technology development, licensing, financing, and M&A transactions in the life science and information technology industries. Mr. Jakimo has authored numerous articles on life science and the law, including several in the field of regenerative medicine, and he has created and teaches two courses at Hofstra University's Deane School of Law on how law influences the pathways that novel regulated medical products must travel from their discovery to their commercialization.
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.
Jon Kaiser
President & CEO
K-PAX Pharmaceuticals
Jon D. Kaiser, M.D. started K-PAX Pharmaceuticals after 20 years of experience treating individuals with HIV infection, cancer and other fatigue-causing illnesses. K-PAX Pharmaceuticals is now developing treatments that utilize a proprietary mitochondrial modulator intervention to treat fatigue in patients with neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Kaiser is also an instructor at the University of California San Francisco Medical School and a founding member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM).
Chris Leo
Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Christopher Leo, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, has over 10 years of experience in providing strategic advisory support to life sciences clients.  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, where he led assignments comprising commercial, R&D, and growth strategies for both big pharma/med-tech and emerging growth clients. Chris was also a Principal in Wood Mackenzie’s life science consulting practice, and prior to that, was 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, a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from the College of the Holy Cross.

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.
Vishwanath Lingappa MD, PhD
Prosetta Biosciences Inc.

Vishwanath R. Lingappa is the Founder, Chief Technology Officer, and Co-CEO of Prosetta Biosciences, Inc, in San Francisco. Since founding the company in 2003, he is responsible for bringing in over $35M through non-dilutive government contracts, while advancing several discovery programs into multi-year licensing and commercial development agreements with pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, and Takeda. Dr. Lingappa oversees all research and discovery efforts and has expanded Prosetta’s core technology beyond infectious disease, to oncology, central nervous system diseases, and all therapeutic areas investigated by the company to-date. Dr. Lingappa received a B.A. degree from Swarthmore College in 1975, a Ph.D. degree from The Rockefeller University, and an M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine before joining the faculty in the Departments of Physiology and Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1982, where he ran an NIH-funded basic research laboratory for over 20 years. It was during this time that the foundational discoveries on which Prosetta’s science is based were made. He has co-authored over 90 publications. He maintains voluntary positions as Senior Scientist at the Research Institute of California Pacific Medical Center and Emeritus Professor of Physiology at UCSF. He is recipient of a Kaiser Award for excellence in teaching (1990) and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2004).

Upendra Marathi PhD, MBA
President & CEO
7 Hills Pharma

Upendra Marathi, PhD, MBA, President & CEO, is the founder, investor, and an inventor of 7HP technology. He has led the development of three novel pain and cardiovascular drugs, including one which has recently been approved by the FDA.

He co-developed one of the first genetically modified stem cells to improve bone marrow function in chemotherapeutic patients. As a venture capitalist, he was involved in the founding and launch of several biotechnology companies. He has helped raise over $70 million in equity financing.

Upendra was a post-doctoral fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Loyola University Chicago. Upendra has an M.B.A. from Rice University and has served as a faculty member.

Michael Martin
Takeda Ventures
Damien McDevitt
VP & Head of BD for R&D Extended Therapy Areas
Dr. Damien McDevitt is Vice President and head of business development for GSK R&D Extended Therapy Areas and for Worldwide business development (WWBD) Asia. Damien is also head of the GSK R&D West Coast Satellite based in San Diego. He is a member of the GSK Business Development Executive Committee and the Southern California BIOCOM board. Damien has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility within Drug Discovery, GSK Ventures, and WWBD organizations throughout his 20 year career with GlaxoSmithKline. Most recently Damien was the Vice President of Drug Discovery Transactions where he led the team that transacts the R&D drug discovery deals. He has been at the forefront of our externalization strategy and has been involved in over 65 transactions for GSK including deals with Avalon, Genmab, Galapagos, Anacor, Regulus, Cellzome, Genelabs, Idenix, Ionis and the formation of the Altius Institute in Seattle. Damien holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Sciences and a Ph.D. in Microbiology both from Trinity College, Dublin. He is an author of 70 scientific publications and published patents.
Richard Messmann
Chief Medical Officer
Apexian Pharmaceuticals

Richard is an NCI fellowship-trained medical oncologist with extensive experience in clinical trials in oncology and radiologic imaging. He served as Deputy Associate Director of the NCI Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP) managing the division’s personnel, natural products group, biological and pharmaceutical laboratories at Ft. Detrick, MD, as well as being an attending physician for DTP Phase I clinical trials. After government service, Richard was an academic oncologist at Michigan State University, heading the breast cancer team as Principal Investigator for several National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) cooperative group trials. His pharmaceutical and biotech experience includes being a clinical research physician at Eli Lilly and Company and serving as Vice President for Medical Affairs at Endocyte, Inc. where his leadership supported a successful IPO for the company (Feb 2011) and a $1B licensing partnership with Merck (March 2012).

Prior to joining Apexian, Richard was the Chief Medical Officer for ProNAi Therapeutics directing development of a BCL2-targeted therapeutic agent, closing on the largest single round of venture capital funding in Michigan’s history, a series D round of $59.5 million before taking the company public in July 2015, raising $158.4 million in the IPO. He has degrees in electrical and computer engineering (B.S., Oakland University), health science and clinical research (M.H.S., Duke University) and biochemistry and medicine (M.Sc. and M.D., Wayne State University). Residency training included anesthesiology and critical care (Georgetown University and University of Michigan) and Internal Medicine (Michigan State University) where he served as chief resident. Richard is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Hematology and European Society for Medical Oncology. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Sanjay Mistry
Head of External Value Creation, Janssen
Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
Sanjay rejoined Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in March 2013. He is Head of External Value Creation at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a new group that is focused on the accelerated development of select early-stage pre-clinical and clinical portfolio candidates via the attainment of external investment or via direct out-licenses to Biotech, Pharmaceutical or VC backed startups. Prior to this role he was Head of Business Operations for the Janssen Incubator and Venture Leader for an internal natural product drug discovery start-up incubator within Janssen R&D. Prior to re-joining JNJ, he was Vice President of investments at Quaker Partners, a Philadelphia based venture capital firm with $700MM under management. Here he was responsible for the assessment of therapeutic, diagnostic and tools investment opportunities at early, mid-late and commercial stages of development and held board observer responsibilities. Prior to Quaker, he was a founding member of an Internal Venture within Centocor (JNJ) where he led the preclinical retinal degeneration development team for a cell therapy program which is now in Phase IIb clinical testing for dry AMD. Prior to JNJ, Sanjay was a development scientist at Morphogen Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. He completed Post-Doctoral fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and the Scripps Research Institute and received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and MSc in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen. He trained at Nottingham Trent University in Applied Biology for his BSc. He is the holder of 15 issued patents with 20 pending applications and 20 peer-reviewed publications. Sanjay is also a graduate of Kauffman Fellows Class 14. The Kauffman Fellowship is a highly sought-after two-year program dedicated exclusively to the world of venture capital and the cultivation of new high-technology & high-impact companies.
Kia Motesharei
VP, Global Head of Business Development, Neurology & Immunology Global Busi
EMD Serono
Kia Motesharei is currently Head of Global Licensing & Business Development, Immunology at EMD Serono (Merck Serono outside the US and Canada). He is responsible for Search & Evaluation and all transactions within the Immunology Franchise at Merck KGaA. Prior to EMD Serono, Kia was Vice President of Business Development & Alliance Management at Dyax, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in rare disease. Previously, Kia managed the US operation of Genfit - a French biotech company – in Cambridge and led its global business development as the company’s Chief Business Officer. Prior to Genfit and over the past 15 years, he has worked for multiple private and public biotech companies with increasing levels of responsibility in R&D, New Technologies, Technical Marketing, Product Management, Business Development and Alliance Management. Kia has a successful track record of transactions which include strategic alliances, product and technology licensing, distribution, divestitures, and M&A agreements with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the US, Europe, Japan, China, LATAM, and Middle East. In addition, he has been involved in a number of financing activities. Kia received his B.A. in Chemistry from The Colorado College and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from University of California, Los Angles. He completed his postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute as an NIH Fellow.
Peter Nell
VP, Head Strategy & Business Development
Casebia Therapeutics
Dr. Peter Nell is Head of Strategy & Business Development at Casebia Therapeutics. Prior to joining Casebia, Peter spent 16 years at Bayer, where he began his career overseeing a medicinal chemistry lab. After positions in Operations and Business Development & Licensing, he became Director of Strategic Marketing in Hematology. In this role, Peter was instrumental for Bayer in exploring a gene-editing partnership and ultimately in launching Casebia. He received his undergraduate training from the Universities of Freiburg and Heidelberg, Germany, and Bristol, UK. He performed his graduate studies in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Marburg, Germany, followed by postdoctoral studies at Stanford University.
Michael O'Donnell
Morrison Foerster
Michael O’Donnell is a partner in the firm’s Palo Alto office, specializing in corporate and securities law. He has more than 30 years of experience providing general corporate representation to biopharmaceutical and other life sciences companies. He offers particular expertise in venture capital financings, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, technology licensing, and corporate spin-out transactions. He represents numerous public and private biopharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, and instrumentation companies.
Julie Papanek
Canaan Partners
Julie Papanek is a Partner at Canaan Partners’ where she leads investments across biopharmaceuticals, life science tools, and digital health. Canaan Partners is an early stage technology and healthcare venture capital firm with over $3.5 billion under management. Julie brings operation expertise spanning development and commercial positions at Genentech. At Canaan Partners, she led investments in Cellular Research (acquired by Becton Dickinson) and Protagonist Therapeutics (IPO in 2016). During her 3 years at Canaan Partners, Julie also co-sponsored Canaan’s investments in Chrono Therapeutics, Glooko, Unchained Labs, and Truveris. She also observed on the boards of CytomX, Aldea Pharmaceuticaals and Dermira. Julie holds an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business, an MPhil from Cambridge University in BioScience Enterprise and a B.S. from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.
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.
Lisa Placanica
Director, Business Development
Mount Sinai Innovation Partners
Dr. Placanica is Director of Business Development at Mount Sinai Innovation Partners (MSIP). She leads a team of business development professionals focused on identifying, advancing, and partnering technologies developed at the Mount Sinai Health System and is the lead negotiator for closing complex transactions. She has primary responsibility for therapeutic innovations arising from Genetics/Genomics, Diabetes/Metabolism/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology, Pathology, Pharmacology and Pulmonary fields. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Placanica was a Licensing Manager in the Office of Technology Development at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where she focused on development and commercialization of cell and gene therapy related inventions, and was a key member of the Cell Biology research group at Athersys, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Placanica received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Weill Cornell Medical College where she studied the biochemical composition of gamma secretase and its role in Alzheimer’s Disease in the laboratory of Dr. Yueming Li at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2013, Dr. Placanica became a Certified Licensing Professional. About MSIP MSIP facilitates the real-world application and commercialization of Mount Sinai discoveries and the development of research partnerships with industry. MISP is responsible for the full spectrum of commercialization activities – evaluating, patenting, marketing, and licensing new technologies, while also engaging commercial and non-profit relationships for sponsored research, material transfer, and confidentiality – required to bring the Icahn School of Medicine’s inventions to life. In 2016 alone, MSIP executed 60 license agreements and currently holds 100 active revenue generating license agreements with gross licensing proceeds of $46.1 M received in 2016; MSIP filed 210 patents in the same year, and held active equity in 8 spinouts. For more information, visit
Alex Rabiee
Director, Business Development
Sara Radcliffe
President & CEO
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.

Prakash Raman
VP, Global Head of Oncology Business Development & Licensing
Novartis Oncology

Prakash Raman is Vice President and Global Head of Business Development and Licensing (BD&L) for Oncology at Novartis. Prakash has had a very diverse and successful career in R&D at several different companies including Novartis, AstraZeneca and Millennium. In his current role, Prakash leads BD&L activities for Novartis Oncology focusing on late stage clinical and marketed assets. Most recently, Prakash was in the BD&L team at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) BD team where he led numerous deals focused on building the Novartis Immuno-Oncology portfolio. Prior to his time in the NIBR BD team, Prakash was Head of Project Management for the Infectious Disease iMED unit at AstraZeneca where he managed a portfolio of early to clinical stage programs. Prior to his role at AstraZeneca, Prakash was a Project Leader and Project Manager in the Infectious Disease therapeutic area at Novartis and as a research scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Prakash has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison followed by a post-doctoral position at The Scripps Research Institute.

Kate Rittenhouse-Olson
Founder, President and CSO
For-Robin, Inc

Kate Rittenhouse-Olson is founder, President and CSO of the biotechnology company For-Robin, Inc.  Her team is focused on ways to move hJAA-F11, a highly specific humanized antibody to TF-Ag, to the clinic for the cancer patient. In vivo data shows specificity and efficacy in human breast and lung cancer xenograft models.

Kate trained as a post-doctoral fellow at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), wherein she gained clinical tumor immunology experience with T. Ming Chu, (the discoverer of Prostate Specific Antigen for diagnosis) and then carbohydrate experience with Khushi Matta. She taught clinical immunology for 24 years and has a Specialist in Immunology Certification from the ASCP.

She is a Professor emeritus and the founding Director of the Biotechnology undergraduate program at the University of Buffalo, recently stepping away from this position to focus on the clinical potential of hJAA-F11. She has also been editor of Immunological Investigations for the past 15 years and is co-author of the textbook “Contemporary Clinical Immunology and Serology”.

Kent Rogers
SVP, Industry Relations
OptumRx, UnitedHealth Group

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.

Volker Schellenberger
President & CEO

Volker Schellenberger is 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 XTEN technology. Volker 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. Volker received his Ph.D. from Leipzig University (Germany) in 1986. After postdoctoral work at the Institute for Protein Research in Pushchino (Russia), the University of Göttingen. and with Bill Rutter at the University of California, San Francisco he joined Genencor in 1994. Volker is author of over 40 scientific papers and inventor of more than 70 issued or pending patent applications. He is a recipient of the Karl Lohmann prize of the German Society of Biochemists.

Marc Schwabish
US Head, Pharma Business Development & Licensing

Marc Schwabish, Ph.D., currently heads US Pharma Business Development & Licensing at Bayer. Prior to Bayer, he had both Business Development and Alliance Management responsibilities at Eisai. His deal experience covers a range of therapeutic areas and stages of assets – from early research technologies to compounds in development to commercialized therapeutics. Dr. Schwabish previously worked in Investment Banking, Strategy Consulting, and at other Pharma/Biotech Companies. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard and a B.S. in Biology from Cornell.

Scott Shanuessy

Scott is Founder and CEO of ideaPoint, the leading strategic growth and innovation management software company. ideaPoint helps organizations scout for, evaluate and manage partnering and collaborations with other companies and institutions at any stage of development to accelerate new product development and drive growth. With over 20 years and hundreds of engagements with industry leading life science companies, Scott has advised over 50 global organizations on how to build best partnering practices for Business Development and Licensing, Mergers and Acquisitions and R&D Collaboration processes in the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Biotech, Nutrition, Healthcare and Consumer Products industries. Prior to his management career in various Business-to-Business and Consumer-facing companies, Scott spent eight years as a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League and American Hockey League.

Lesley Stolz
Head of JLABS California
Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS

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
AVP, Business Development & Licensing

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.

Samy Tadros
Senior Director, Business Development and Global Alliances

Samy Tadros joined Celgene in 2009, working in the Summit NJ Headquarters overseeing contracting for Translational Development and Clinical Pharmacology. In 2014 Samy joined the Business Development and Global Alliance department, where he has overseen and managed multiple alliances, academic collaborations, and equity investments on behalf of Celgene. Prior to joining Celgene, Samy held management positions as Head of Laboratory Sciences for Charles River Laboratories in Shrewsbury MA, and Associate Director of Laboratory Sciences for Charles River Laboratories in Worcester MA. Prior to working for Charles River, Samy worked as a Scientist for Schering-Plough in Kenilworth NJ. Samy obtained his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University, his MS from Temple University School of Pharmacy, and his BS in Biochemistry from Concordia University in Montreal Canada. In 2015 Samy obtained his CA-AM Alliance Management certification.

Monica Viziano
Senior Director, Alliance Management

Monica is a Senior Director in Alliance Management, part of Corporate Development. As Alliance Manager, Monica has successfully developed and maintained important Gilead alliances: filgotinib (Galapagos) Atripla (BMS), Tamiflu (Roche), Vitekta and Stribild (JT) and, Viread for China and Japan (GSK). Additionally, Monica has supported business development in numerous in-licensing efforts and has played a key role in negotiations for significant contract amendments. Monica joined Gilead in 2002. Initially she managed a variety of projects in the antiviral portfolio, both in R&D and in life cycle management (including Truvada and Atripla). Later she became the Therapeutic Area PPM lead for HIV antivirals. She also took on a key role in the development and execution of Gilead’s Portfolio Review. Prior to Gilead, Monica was with GSK for 6 years, initially as a Medicinal Chemist and later in the Project Management group. Prior to that, she was a Medicinal Chemist at the Schering Plough Research Institute. Monica has industry experience in multiple therapeutic areas, including Oncology, Inflammation, HIV, Hepatitis, CNS and CV. Monica received her PhD in Chemistry and Industrial Technologies at the University of Milan.

Jeffrey Warmke
SVP, External Scientific Affairs
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.

Ofra Weinberger
Director of Licensing
Columbia Technology Ventures

Ofra Weinberger, PhD, is the Director of Licensing at Columbia Technology Ventures (CTV), and Associate Vice President for Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at Columbia University. Ofra has extensive experience commercializing discoveries from university labs; negotiating licenses and research collaboration agreements with industry, developing strategic alliances, and spinning out companies to commercialize university technologies, and oversees the commercialization of technologies in a varied portfolio comprising both life sciences and physical sciences opportunities. CTV, the technology transfer office of Columbia University, has been operational since 1982 and has returned over $2B in revenue to Columbia, making it one of the most successful university tech transfer programs in the world. Ofra received her PHD in immunology from Harvard where she was a graduate student in the laboratory of the Nobel laureate, Baruj Benacerraf, and came to Columbia University as a faculty member, before joining the technology transfer office.

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.

Joe Whalen
SVP, Business Development & Alliance Management

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.

Scott Winram
VP, Program & Alliance Management
Chuck Vacin
Director, Business Development

Chuck has spent over 19 years in the biotech industry, starting out a bench scientist at companies such as Protein Design Labs, Signature Biosciences and Cytokinetics working on drug development projects ranging from oncology to diabetes. Upon completion of his MBA, Chuck joined the Business Development team at AvidBiotics and was responsible for many aspects of the company business including out-licensing business development, project and alliance management and corporate finance and strategy. Chuck joined Xyphos as Director of Business Development upon its recent split from from AvidBiotics. Chuck holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science in Cellular Molecular Biology from California State University, Humboldt.

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