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Life Science Council
The Life Science Council includes a geographically diverse, select group of entrepreneurs, business development professionals and service providers representing the biotech, medical device, health IT, diagnostics and therapeutics sectors. It supports Springboard's initiatives in the life science sector by tapping the expertise and network of its members to provide highly targeted business opportunities and connections for women-led ventures.
Life Science Council:
Senior Vice President, NYC Investment Fund
Jahan is Senior Vice President at the New York City Investment Fund and manages the Fund’s investments in the health care sector, including the BioAccelerate NYC Prize competition, and the New York Digital Health Accelerator.
Prior to joining NYCIF, Jahan ran her own technology commercialization consulting business, where she worked with entrepreneurs and not for profit research and product development partnerships. Prior to that, Jahan was the Director of Technology Transfer at the Hospital for Special Surgery, where she focused on creating partnerships and licensing in the orthopedic sector. Before that, Jahan was with Mojave Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing therapeutic vaccines, with heat shock protein delivery technology. At Mojave, she successfully identified synergistic partnership opportunities, research collaborations and competitor market research. Prior to that, Jahan was at Mount Sinai School of Medicine's Office of Industrial Liaison. Jahan has a Ph.D. from New York University School of Medicine.
Assistant Director, Duke Medicine Global and DTMI Global
Rukmini Balu is Assistant Director at Duke Medicine Global and Duke Translational Medicine Institute and is responsible for strategic planning and coordinating and monitoring the implementation of global activities across these organizations. Her responsibilities also include business development, coordination of global initiatives in healthcare consulting, clinical research implementation and the development of training programs related to clinical research and healthcare leadership.
Prior to joining Duke, Rukmini worked at GlaxoSmithKline, where she was responsible for project management, planning and implementation of postmarketing clinical research studies, communications with the FDA regarding adverse effects of drugs and supporting Global Clinical Strategy and HIV Marketing teams. Her experiences at GSK also included management of an epidemiological database comprising 9,000+ patients with HIV infection followed in real time. In this role, she was responsible for leading the analysis of clinical and laboratory data and presentation of analysis results on disease trends, adverse effects of HIV and other medications and gender differences in disease progression. While at GSK, Rukmini served on a cross-functional steering committee to determine the firm’s corporate position and strategy for pharmacogenomics. Rukmini led and implemented GSK’s first pharmacogenomic initiative with applicability across different demographic groups, the results of which led to an FDA label change.
Rukmini also has life sciences investing experience through her work at Pappas Ventures, where she worked as an Investment Executive and undertook due diligence for potential investments in neurology, pain management, wound healing and molecular diagnostics; deal structuring; and management of existing portfolio companies.
Rukmini earned a PhD in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where she serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health. She received an MBA from the Harvard Business School; while at Harvard, Rukmini was awarded the Innovation Fellowship by the Boston Consulting Group.
Managing Director of Life Sciences, Hercules Technology Growth Capital
Janice Bourque is Managing Director of Life Sciences for Hercules Technology Growth Capital. At Hercules, the premier specialty finance company with $3 billion committed to over 200 life science, technology and clean tech companies, she provides venture debt and equity ranging from $5-$40 Million to venture capital and private equity backed, and small cap public life science companies at all stages of development.
Ms. Bourque recently advised and provided strategic corporate investor fundraising for Commons Capital and Oxford Bioscience Partners, two life science venture capital firms, to create a Gates Foundation supported $100 Million Commons Capital Global Health focused on innovative healthcare investments for emerging and developing countries.
Previously, she was Senior Vice President and Group Head-Life Sciences for Comerica Bank for the four years. She lead Comerica’s strategy for the life sciences by delivering value to the industry and generating portfolio growth through relationship development and creative debt financing.
Formerly, Ms. Bourque was President/CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC) for 12 years. Under her leadership, MBC released MassBiotech 2010, providing a blueprint for Massachusetts to remain at the forefront of the biotechnology revolution. MBC was the first biotechnology association in the world and achieved national and international leadership during her tenure. The organization served as a model for future life science associations by demonstrating success via collaboration with policy makers, educators, media, scientists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and service providers.
Prior to leading the MBC, Ms Bourque held several other senior managerial positions, including CFO/controller of Cambridge Medical Technology Corporation, senior public accountant for Coopers & Lybrand Emerging and Middle Market Group, and NASA Space Science grants project manager for the first satellite payloads to be repaired by the space shuttle missions.
Ms. Bourque is currently on the boards of the Village Bank and Commodore Builders, Emeritus Director of the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, as well as advisor to TBS Technologies, a Springboard Enterprises Life Science Council member, Co- President of the Crystal Lake Conservancy, board member of the Newton Hyde CDC and is a member of the Women’s Forum. She has won numerous awards and was named one of Boston Magazine’s 100 most influential women and Newton Living Magazine’s 10 most influential women. Ms. Bourque received her MBA degree in finance and accounting and her BS degree in veterinary science from the University of New Hampshire.
Principal, ONSET Ventures
Corinne Bright joined ONSET Ventures in 2010, bringing cross-disciplinary experience in product development, manufacturing, clinical trials and regulatory affairs to the ONSET medical technology investment team. Prior to ONSET, Corinne was Vice President, Research and Development at Talima Therapeutics, a privately-held start-up company developing combination drug-device products for the local treatment of diseases. At Talima, she led the development of their product from bench through Phase II clinical trials. Corinne has also developed technologies for applications in orthopedics, ENT, neurosurgery and interventional cardiology. Prior to Talima, she was a Biodesign Innovation Fellow at Stanford University.
Corinne holds a B.S. in Engineering from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she focused on the development of novel therapies for treating spinal cord injury. She is listed as an inventor or co-inventor on six patent applications.
Global Managing Director, Pharmaceuticals and R&D, Korn/Ferry International
Cheryl is Global Sector Leader of Pharmaceuticals at Korn/Ferry International. Cheryl has been with Korn/Ferry since 1994, working initially in the Firm’s London office and European headquarters before relocating to Princeton in 1997 and becoming Managing Director of the Global Life Sciences Market. Prior to joining Korn/Ferry, Cheryl was human resources director for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals (Cilag Ltd), based in the U.K., where her focus was on organizational issues and strategic resourcing and guidance on European directives. She also provided human resources support to three smaller companies in the group for Europe. Before this, Cheryl was group personnel and training manager for the motor retail group of Inchcape Ltd., responsible for nearly 40 sites in the U.K. and 3,000 employees. Her human resources career started at Bristol Myers Ltd., where she was responsible for its consumer and pharmaceutical business. Cheryl holds a master’s degree in employment law and industrial relations from Leicester University, a diploma in personnel management and is a member of the Institute of Personnel and Development.
Partner, Exigen Capital
Partner, Thompson Hine LLP
Leader of Thompson Hine’s Life Sciences group, Faith is also a partner in the firm's Corporate Transactions & Securities and International practice groups. She focuses her practice on corporate, commercial and securities matters, including strategic transactions and corporate structuring.
For over 20 years, Faith has handled a variety of complex corporate transactions including public and private equity and debt financings, private placements, public offerings, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, and venture capital financing both domestically and internationally. She has extensive experience representing biotechnology and medical device companies in matters related to technology licensing transactions, sponsored research, follow-on offerings, PIPE financing, assisting public companies in going private, and routinely acts as general counsel for a number of clients, overseeing the legal issues that arise in the day-to-day operations.
Primary industries of her clients have included life science, biotechnology, public and private start-ups and late-stage companies, underwriters and placement agents, as well as internet and high technology companies, wholesale, retail and investment banking companies.
Martha J. Connolly, Ph.D.
Director, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS)
Dr. Connolly is the Director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS), an award winning program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program accelerates the commercialization of technology in Maryland by providing matching funds for collaborative R&D projects between companies and University System of Maryland faculty. Dr. Connolly is an adjunct faculty member in the Bioengineering graduate program at the A. James Clark School of Engineering, and teaches a course in entrepreneurship in the life sciences. For several years, she has served as an advisor to entrepreneurs in UMBC’s ACTiVATE program for women entrepreneurs. Dr. Connolly holds BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.
She was a research faculty member at Johns Hopkins, and later an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is the author of 36 publications in cardiovascular systems physiology. She is the former Senior Biotechnology Specialist for the State of Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development. She also was a founder of an entrepreneurial technology development company, and directed business development at a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. She is experienced in early stage technology commercialization, business development and economic strategies. In 2007, the Daily Record named Dr. Connolly one of Maryland’s 50 Most Influential People. In 2010, she received the President’s Award from the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Bioscience Alliance. In 2013, she was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Dr. Pamela Reilly Contag
CEO, Cygnet Biofuels
Pamela R. Contag, Ph.D., is currently the CEO of Cygnet Biofuels. Pam founded four venture-backed start-up companies; Xenogen Corporation was listed as one of the “Top 25 Young Businesses” by Fortune Small Business and in both 2001 and 2003 received the R&D 100 award for achievements in Physics. Xenogen Corp. completed a public offering in 2004 and was subsequently acquired by Caliper Life Sciences; Cobalt Technologies, was named multiple times as a Top 20 Company in Cleantech, as is now in product demonstration; Cygnet Biofuels, is a company that consults and develops platforms in biomass and biofuels; and ConcentRx, is a novel therapeutic for oncology indications. Pam was named one of the “Top 25 Women in Small Business” by Fortune magazine. In 2011, Pam joined the Founding Board of the Startup America Partnership an organization envisioned by the Case and Kauffman Foundation and The White House to identify, encourage and celebrate all entrepreneurs.
Pam has held various consulting and board positions, public, private and not-for-profit. Those positions include a consulting Professorship at Stanford School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics (1999-present), the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (1999-2005). Pam was a Director of Xenogen Corporation (Nasdaq) (1995-2005) and was CEO and Chairman of Cobalt Technologies (2005-2008) and a Delcath (Nasdaq) Board Member (2008 -2011). She also joined in 2009 the DOE Biomass technology Advisory Committee and two nonprofit boards, Springboard Enterprises, an accelerator of women entrepreneurs and the VTT-MSI Center for Bioengineering. In 2010 Pam joined the Merrick Engineering Consultancy specializing in the energy field.
With more than 25 years of microbiology research experience, Pam is widely published in the field of Microbiology and Optical imaging and has over 36 patents and patent applications. Dr. Contag received her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1989 and completed her Postdoctoral Training at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1993 specializing in “Host/Pathogen Interactions”.
Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
Ellen Corenswet is a Co-Chair of Covington's Corporate Group and operates out of the New York office. She specializes in representing venture capital firms and emerging growth companies in securities matters, venture financings, IPOs, follow on offerings and PIPES, mergers & acquisitions, equity plans and executive compensation, and general corporate governance and advice. Her practice focuses on a number of industries, including life sciences, software, Internet services, financial services, clean technology, and telecommunications. Ellen has over 30 years' experience in venture capital transactions at all stages, for both companies and investors. She has helped numerous companies to prepare for an IPO and to successfully navigate the IPO processes. Ellen takes a hand on, business-focused approach to working with companies and investors.
Prior to joining Covington, Ellen was a partner of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP, a preeminent law firm in the venture capital and emerging company arena, until its closure in early 2003. She was one of two founding partners of the New York office of Brobeck and the Chair of its New York corporate practice for a number of years.
Chief Innovation Officer, UCLA Health
Dr. Molly Joel Coye is the Chief Innovation Officer of the UCLA Health System at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the Institute for Innovation in Health at UCLA. The Institute for Innovation in Health leads the health system in identifying new strategies, technologies, products and services that will support large-scale transformation of healthcare delivery and population health management. The UCLA Health System is a national leader in research and healthcare delivery for both highly specialized tertiary and quaternary clinical care and managed care services for large populations.
Dr. Coye was the founder and CEO of the Health Technology Center (HealthTech), a non-profit education and research organization established in 2000 that became the premier forecasting organization for emerging technologies in health care. Dr. Coye has also served as Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey, Director of the California Department of Health Services, and Head of the Division of Public Health Practice at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Dr. Coye is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, and Chair of the Board of Directors of PATH, a large nonprofit organization in international health. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Aetna, Inc., Prosetta, Inc., and the American Telemedicine Association, and a past member of the boards of the American Hospital Association, the American Public Health Association, The California Endowment and the China Medical Board, as well as the advisory boards of healthcare information technology and services investment firms. Dr. Coye holds M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Johns Hopkins University and an MA in Chinese History from Stanford University and is the author of two books on China.
Worldwide VP Business Development – Consumer, Johnson & Johnson
With a belief that innovation can level any obstacle and over 20 years of healthcare experience at J&J, Suzanne blends science and business in a career focused on launching new businesses and driving value creation. Her roles spanned all three sectors and Corporate across J&J plus 5 companies external to J&J and include the diverse functions of R&D, Tech Support, Quality, Commercial Development, Tactical and Strategic Marketing, Strategic Planning and Business Development. As a champion of disruptive innovation and using tools from her Business Development experience, over her career, she has created strategy and launched a Joint Venture, a new Subsidiary, a new Company, new Lines of Business and dozens of new Products. As a leader, she uses an inspirational framework with deep organizational change management experience from leading post merger integrations, joint venture management and launching new business units and subsidiaries. As President of the Point of Care industry Consortium, comprised of over 30 competitors, she created a company, secured funding and led the effort to create a universal software interface that unshackled the fledgling Point of Care Diagnostics industry. In her most recent roles, as Vice President Business Development for Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Development, she focused on business acceleration and incubation for new J&J growth platforms by supporting equity investments and internal ventures in adjacent and “white spaces” for J&J and led the Transparency and Coordination work-stream to transform the vision of J&J Innovation into the reality of four geographical centers in Cambridge, San Francisco, London and China. This cross-sector initiative’s purpose is to accelerate our ability to access early stage innovations through creative partnerships and collaborations. In her current role, as Worldwide Vice President Business Development for Consumer she leads the business development team for the Skincare and Baby franchises. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with an undergraduate Biology from Wheaton College where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and holds an MBA degree with honors from the Krannert School of Business, Purdue University.
Senior Director of Corporate Development, Permeon Biologics
Ann DeWitt has extensive experience in the healthcare market. Before joining Permeon, Ann was a Senior Associate at Flagship Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm investing in healthcare companies. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School (2009). While at Harvard, she was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Highland Capital incubating a biotechnology start-up. She was also the Lead Organizer for the Biotech Track of the 2008 MIT $100K Business Plan Competition and a member of a semi-finalist team, Novophage Therapeutics, in the 2009 MIT $100K Business Plan Competition and in the Harvard Business School Competition.
Ann has a BS from the University of Illinois, Urbana and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT (2001). Her research focused on quantitatively understanding autocrine versus paracrine signaling and its impact on cell behavior from both mathematical and experimental perspectives. Post-doctorate, she worked at 3M Company (St. Paul, MN) for five years in the Pharmaceutical Division and in the Optical Systems Division. Ann is a member of the Springboard All Things Life Science 2010 Investment Committee.
Ashley Dombkowski, PhD
Chief Business Officer, 23andMe
Ashley Dombkowski joined 23andMe in July 2011 as Chief Business Officer with global responsibility for the company's translational collaboration initiatives. Prior to joining 23andMe, Ashley was managing director at MPM Capital, a healthcare-dedicated venture capital firm where she spent eleven years advancing the work of innovative, entrepreneurial healthcare companies. Previously she was a healthcare equity analyst for Tiger Management and Dresdner RCM Global Investors. Dr. Dombkowski holds a PhD in Mathematics from Rice University and received a BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College.
Karen Drexler has spent the last 20 years co-founding and building medical device companies, mainly in the diagnostics space. Karen was President and CEO of Amira Medical, a glucose monitoring company that was sold to Roche in 2001. She is currently active with CellScape Corporation, Newark, CA (Executive Chairperson, co-founder – prenatal diagnostics), Hygieia, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI (Chairperson of the Board - diabetes management), diaDexus, South San Francisco, CA (Board member, chair of the Compensation Committee - cardiovascular risk markers) and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, Princeton University. Karen also acts as a senior strategic advisor for several other early stage companies. The holder of 11 issued and 2 pending patents, Karen received her MBA from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University and her BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University.
Managing Partner, Triathlon Medical Ventures
Suzette Dutch, Managing Partner of Triathlon Medical Ventures, has 20 years venture investing and 10 years operating experience in pharmaceuticals, surgical devices and diagnostics. At Senmed she served on the investment committee from its creation in 1987 and led the strategic planning, clinical/regulatory, market and business development due diligence efforts for start-ups through later stage investments. Previously she was responsible for strategic marketing for Sentron’s surgical stapling business until its sale to Ethicon. Prior to that she held various positions in clinical studies design, market research, and corporate planning at SmithKline integrating the acquisitions of Allergan, Beckman, and Clinical Laboratories. She has an MBA from Wharton in Finance and Decision Science, and a BA in economics from Case Western Reserve University. Suzette serves on the Board of Tolera Therapuetics, as chair and as a Board observer for Akebia and Aerpio and was on the Board of Directors of Renal Solutions prior to its acquisition by Fresenius and of BioVex prior to its sale to Amgen.
Stacy Amity Feld
Partner, Physic Ventures
Stacy Feld is a partner at Physic Ventures, where she leads the firm's investment activities in personalized health. Her interests include science-based innovations that transform wellbeing and care for the health consumer and bring more precision to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic diseases. Additionally, Stacy has been actively involved in the design and execution of science- enabled innovation strategies, business incubation and spin-off opportunities. Stacy is on the board of T2 Biosystems and an observer on the board of Own Products. Prior to joining Physic, Stacy held business development positions at Genentech and Third Wave Technologies. Stacy currently serves as an advisor on the Springboard Enterprises Life Sciences Council and to the UCSF Clinical and Translational Research Institute T1 Catalyst Program.
Lisa Beth Ferstenberg, MD
Dr. Ferstenberg is a clinical research methodologist with over 28 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry where her area of focus has been demonstration of safety and efficacy of drugs to treat cancer, autoimmunity and other immunologic conditions. During her early tenure at Lederle Laboratories, she oversaw adverse event reporting for vaccines, anti-cancer drugs, and the antibiotic piperacillin. At Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, she was similarly responsible for overseeing adverse event reporting for polyclonal immunoglobulin and cyclosporine before undertaking the clinical development of cyclosporine for autoimmune diseases in phases I-III. Dr. Ferstenberg was one of Sandoz’s representatives on an ICH sub-committee where she assisted in clarifying terminology later incorporated into ICH standard operating procedures for reporting adverse events internationally.
As a Medical Monitor for multiple studies of new drugs, stem cells, vaccines and immunotherapies, Dr. Ferstenberg has held primary responsibility for pharmacovigilance and vaccinovigilance for a number of biotech start-up companies utilizing new chemical entities, hematologic stem cells, recombinant protein vaccines, dendritic cell therapies and novel vaccine constructs. She is the author of the chapter on Vaccinovigilance for the Manual of Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance, Second Edition, Edited by Barton Cobert, M.D., FACP, FACG, FFPM, Jones and Bartlett Learning, in press (4/1/2011 release).
Dr. Ferstenberg is a serial entrepreneur, an instructor at the Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University and at the Founders Institute, serves as Chief Medical Officer for a few small biotech start-up companies, and a consultant for early stage life science ventures.
Megan N. Gates
Member, Mintz Levin
Megan N. Gates is a member in Mintz Levin's Corporate practice and Co-Chair of the firm's Securities Practice Group. She concentrates her practice on providing counsel to biotechnology, medical device and life science companies in public and private equity financings, in merger and acquisition transactions, and with respect to compliance obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Megan frequently advises clients with respect to corporate governance matters, including compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. She also has extensive experience with tender offers, exchange offers, and going- private transactions, including preparation of offering documents and related materials.
Megan frequently speaks at conferences on securities offerings, corporate governance, and compliance matters, including at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) panels and industry meetings, and serves as a member of the MCLE Curriculum Committee. Megan is also the Co-Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Securities Law Subcommittee.
In 2010, Megan was recognized by Women’s Business Boston as one of the “Top 10 Corporate Lawyers” in the region. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of hopeFound, Inc., a non-profit organization located in Boston that is dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness. Megan also serves on the Board of Directors for Casa Myrna Vazquez, one of Boston’s leading non-profits working to end domestic violence in the lives of women and children.
Before joining the firm, Megan served as Associate General Counsel for Thermo Electron Corporation, where she was responsible for securities offerings and compliance for the corporation and its 23 publicly traded subsidiaries.
Megan is admitted to practice in Massachusetts. She received her B.A. in Japanese Studies, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College (1990), where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. from Boston College Law School (1994).
Julie Goonewardene is a globally recognized executive in company start-ups, technology commercialization, public/private partnerships and strategic planning. She is a leader who brings together groups across the spectrum to develop new solutions to medical, technology and business challenges. Based on success in these areas, Ms. Goonewardene was elected to the Board of Trustees for the American Medical Association (AMA), the Board of Directors of the Personalized Medicine Coalition and Matrix-Bio.
Ms. Goonewardene is an experienced entrepreneur, having co-founded and served as president and CEO of Cantilever Technologies, a venture-backed software company that was successfully acquired. Cantilever’s customers were Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Cantilever, she was president of the Strategic Systems Group (SSG), a boutique information technology consulting firm, and co-founder of Technology Solutions (TSC), a professional IT services firm which went public three years after its inception.
Ms. Goonewardene is an author, frequent speaker and consultant on entrepreneurship and innovation. She has also been appointed to leadership roles on several not-for-profit boards. As a first generation American born to Sri Lankan and Australian parents, she brings a unique global perspective to her endeavors.
Jennifer Friel Goldstein
Managing Director, SVB’s Life Sciences practice
Jennifer Friel Goldstein is a Managing Director for SVB’s Life Sciences practice. She is responsible for the Biotechnology and Diagnostics portfolio in the Bay Area. Jennifer joined SVB from Pfizer, where she served on Pfizer's Venture Investments team as well as worked within the Portfolio and Decision Analysis group. Previously, while a consultant at Bain & Company in London, Jennifer focused on the private equity space. She has also had diverse internship experience at companies such as Chiron, Genelabs, and Genencor.
Jennifer brings over ten years of business development, portfolio management, and consulting experience as well as a biotechnology background to the SVB team. She graduated magna cum laude with a BSE in Bioengineering and a Master's of Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania. Jennifer was also named a Joseph Wharton Fellow while completing her MBA at the Wharton school.
In her free time Jennifer enjoys remaining involved with SpringBoard Enterprises and the Make-a-Wish foundation as well as raising her twin toddlers.
Vice President of Communications, Aetna, Inc.
Jill Griffiths is vice president of Communications for Aetna, Inc., based in Hartford, Connecticut. She is responsible for Aetna’s global business and corporate communications activity, working closely with Aetna’s Chairman and CEO and the executive leadership team. Ms. Griffiths directs all internal communications, public relations, social media engagement, corporate financial communications and public affairs activities as well as executive speaking engagements. She also directs the production of marquis reports and publications for Aetna including the Annual Report and the widely recognized African-American History Calendar. Ms. Griffiths co-leads Aetna’s health literacy initiatives with the company’s chief medical officer, is co-chair of the health literacy task force for America’s Health Insurance Plans, and participates on the oral health literacy advisory group for the American Dental Association. She also is an executive sponsor of Aetna’s comprehensive Employee Telework Community Network.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Griffiths headed Aetna’s Clinical, Thought Leadership and Provider Relations activity developing thought leadership campaigns to highlight Aetna’s clinical leadership, provider relations programs and activities, and direct-to-consumer programs.
Previously, she was vice president of Business Communications, where she was responsible for public relations and employee communication for Aetna’s businesses. She has been assistant vice president and director of Health Public Relations for Aetna, where she handled media relations for the health business of Aetna, and directed the regional public relations managers.
Ms. Griffiths holds a B.A. in English Literature with a minor concentration in Business Administration from Ursinus College and has completed continuing education courses in advertising and public relations at Villanova University.
Regional President, Latin America, Pfizer
Adele Gulfo is Regional President of Latin America in Pfizer’s Emerging Markets Business Unit In this capacity, she leads a team of over 4,000 colleagues operating across more than 23 countries. In 2012, Pfizer Latin America achieved more than US $3 billion in revenue and has become the largest revenue generator within the Emerging Markets Business Unit. Previously, Adele served as President and General Manager of Pfizer’s U.S. Primary Care Business Unit, which included the managed markets (corporate and government customer) organization for all of Pfizer’s Biopharmaceutical Business Units. In 2011, Pfizer’s U.S. Primary Care business generated more than US $10 billion in revenue.
Prior to joining Pfizer, Ms. Gulfo was Vice President of Business Development, Innovation and Design for Launch at Astra-Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. In her nine years with the company, she led the multi-billion dollar cardiovascular business, including marketed and emerging products. Among her top achievements, she grew Toprol-XL sales from $200 million to $2 billion and the launched cholesterol-lowering medicine Crestor with a significantly differentiated life-cycle development program, which enabled dramatic growth to over $2 billion in 2009 in a highly competitive market.
Before joining AstraZeneca, Ms. Gulfo held positions of increasing responsibility at Warner-Lambert, including senior director of cardiovascular marketing. It was in this role that she launched Lipitor with a scientific-based marketing approach that rapidly propelled the drug to the world’s most successful medicine with over $10B in peak year global sales. Prior to launch, Ms. Gulfo developed the market with award-winning medical and public education that helped to establish the significance of lowering cholesterol in preventing and managing heart disease.
Ms. Gulfo has been awarded five U.S. Patents for innovative packaging designed to help patients adhere to their medicines. She frequently speaks at leading industry and business conferences including The Wall Street Journal’s Women in the Economy: An Executive Task Force conference, and has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and the Wall Street Journal.
President, Cerulean BioVentures
Dr. Hawkins' 30-year career encompasses pioneering efforts in biotechnology drug development and executive roles in corporate development, strategy, fund raising, and general management. Her therapeutic expertise is in oncology, infectious diseases and wound healing. Currently, as President of Cerulean BioVentures, she provides counsel to biotechnology companies, hedge funds, and private equity firms. She is also President and CEO of Viridian Pharmaceuticals. Prior to her current positions, Dr. Hawkins was Vice Chairman of Antigenics and later President and CEO of Advanced Viral Research. At Genzyme Corporation, she was Director of Corporate Development. Dr. Hawkins' career followed multiple academic degrees: BSc in Mathematics and Chemistry, BSc (Hons) in Chemistry, MSc in Organic Chemistry, a PhD in Organic Chemistry and an MBA with specialization in entrepreneurship.
Terry Chase Hazell
Advisory Committee Chair and Presiding Officer, Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF)
A nationally recognized biotechnology and academic leader, Terry Chase Hazell has more than 20 years of experience leading university programs, launching companies, managing and advising funding agencies and serving as a senior adviser to academic and business leaders.
Currently, Hazell is appointed by the Governor as Advisory Committee Chair and presiding officer of the $400 million Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF). She led the investment review and recommendation of over $50 million. She has led multiple reforms that have shortened the review process, streamlined compliance, and dramatically improved transparency. Recently, at the request of the TETF trustees, she led the State of Texas’ due diligence and investment in Texas A&M University System’s pandemic influenza manufacturing program.
Hazell launched or grew several University programs, including the University of Maryland’s Biotechnology Program, professor venture fair, entrepreneur office hours and Texas State University’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Program. Though these programs she has launched or helped founders launch over 40 start-up companies—many of them led by women. She serves on the national advisory committee for the leading women’s accelerator, Springboard Enterprises.
Prior to her university career, Hazell was an entrepreneur spinning out university technologies into successful companies. She founded the award-winning startup Chesapeake PERL, which was named one of Fortune Magazine’s Coolest Companies and recognized not only as the best Maryland Incubator company but also as the best technology transfer company by the Federal laboratories. Hazell began her career in contract biologics manufacturing, where she managed large teams, process development, technology transfer and CGMP manufacturing through Phase III clinical trials.
Hazell speaks and writes for nationally-recognized conferences and periodicals. She led the entrepreneurship education tracks at the Massachusetts, Texas and Pennsylvania Governors’ women’s conferences and was a commencement speaker at her alma mater, the University of Maryland. The Austin American Statesman named her one of Austin’s most social citizens in the 500 Out and About, and the Austin Business Journal named her one of the top 20 politically-minded Austinites to know.
Vice President, Head of Licensing and M&A, Onyx Pharmaceuticals
Rekha Hemrajani has had an eighteen year career focused on the health care and biotech industries both on the financial/deal-making side as well as the operational side of companies.
She is currently Vice President, Head of Licensing and M&A at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Previously, she was Vice President of Business Development at Exelixis and has been involved in raising over $800 million in capital through business development and other non-dilutive transactions. Prior to Exelixis, she spent several years in investment banking (at Credit Suisse First Boston and at Lehman Brothers) helping large, small and mid-sized companies in the biopharmaceutical and healthcare industries raise capital in the public and private markets, as well as with mergers and acquisitions. During her almost six year tenure in investment banking, she was involved in raising over $8 billion in debt and equity capital as well as over $2 billion in M&A transactions.
In addition, Rekha has also worked in emerging markets, and has maintained a strong tie to the medical industry in India. Rekha is a member of the Board of Directors of Hemmo Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. (manufacturer of synthetic peptides) in Mumbai, India.
Rekha has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Executive in Residence, Care Capital, LLC
Linda is currently an Executive in Residence for Care Capital, LLC as well as President and Founder of LLH Associates, LLC, providing business development and strategic transaction support to clients. Previously she was Vice President, US Group Head, Global Business Development for Aventis where she also served in various roles during her career with Aventis and its predecessor companies (Marion Laboratories, Marion Merrell Dow, Hoechst Marion Roussel) in Medical Affairs, Strategic Planning and Finance, New Business Market Intelligence, and Licensing and Business Development. Linda was also Vice President of Business Development at Clearview Projects, a business development and strategic advisory firm.
Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Linda was Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Director of Drug Information Services for the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy and Kansas University Medical Center. Linda continued as Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and served on the KU School of Pharmacy Advisory Council. She received the TWIN Award in 1999.
Linda has a BS in Pharmacy and an MS in Hospital Pharmacy, both from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy as well as an Accredited Residency in Hospital Pharmacy from the University of Kansas College of Health Sciences and Hospital. In addition, she holds an MBA from Rockhurst College and a CLP from the Licensing Executive Society.
Molecular Diagnostics Expert
Mary E. Holland is a molecular diagnostics product management expert in the development and marketing of core product lines for clinical reference laboratories (CLIA) and diagnostic product manufacturers. She has served in multiple leadership roles and played a key role in solidifying brand and product awareness and driving profits for multiple companies which went public and to a merger/ acquisition by Fortune 500 companies. Her areas of expertise include; building and managing successful sales teams in the clinical diagnostics reference laboratory market, gaining support from luminaries in the scientific and clinical community to build brand awareness and product validation, developing business strategy for core product lines, and designing comprehensive market plans to launch new products.
In Ms. Holland’s recent role, as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing with EraGen Biosciences she also created high value opportunities for the company by Securing clinical trials with Merck for Asthma and development/marketing of multiple assays for the Luminex platform.
She played an integral role in launching ThirdWave Technologies DNA and RNA analysis technologies within the genetic reference laboratory testing market as their National Sales Management and Director of Business Development.
As an Entrepreneur, Ms. Holland co-founded Oncogenetics Inc., a comprehensive cancer diagnostic reference laboratory. Mary secured the initial financing and managed all sales for the laboratory, establishing Oncogentics corporate national presence in cancer and genetic diagnostics reference laboratories.
Her other successes include Genetrix, a prenatal genetic and cancer diagnostic reference laboratory. Mary was also the Vice President of Sales for Vivigen, the first company to develop the commercial market for prenatal genetic testing. Vivigen, gained market recognition for "Seven Day TAT" for amniocentesis versus the pervious standard of six weeks.
Mary will now offer her exceptional leadership in business development, marketing and sales as a Board Member of Springboard’s Life Science Council.
Claire Houston has more than 20 years in the medical device industry with experience in marketing, clinical marketing, clinical affairs and professional education. With 13 years in the start-up environment, working for companies at the forefront of innovation, some of which include Kyphon acquired by Medtronic, Micrus acquired by Johnson and Johnson, Selva Medical acquired by W.L. Gore, and DFine to name a few, she is now using her expertise as VP of Clinical Development for Pulsar Vascular, a clinical stage medical device company. Claire has an undergraduate degree from the University San Francisco and graduate degree from the University of California San Francisco.
Executive Director, Pfizer Venture Investments
Elaine V. Jones, Ph.D. joined Pfizer Venture Investments as Executive Director, Venture Capital in 2008. She is responsible for making and managing venture investments for Pfizer and currently manages the PVI investments in Aquinox Pharmaceuticals (Vancouver, British Columbia), Flexion Therapeutics (Boston, MA), Mersana Therapeutics (Cambridge, MA), Merus B.V. (Utrecht, The Netherlands), Neuronetics Inc. (Malvern, PA), NeuroTherapeutics Pharma (Chicago, IL), and TetraLogic Pharma (Malvern, PA). Elaine brings 12 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.
Most recently, Elaine 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.
Prior to joining ESR, 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.
Veronica has broad experience in the life science and healthcare sectors. She has built early-stage companies and managed larger international organizations, with functional responsibilities including general management, sales & marketing, business development and technical operations. Currently Veronica provides business strategy and operations expertise to product and service-based organizations developing new healthcare products. She serves on the board of directors of AMRI (Albany Molecular Research Inc.), a NASDAQ traded company providing drug discovery services and contract manufacturing and is a member of Golden Seeds, a national angel investor group dedicated to investing in early stage companies founded and/or led by women. Veronica’s previous experience includes President and CEO of a venture capital-backed medical device company and various executive positions at PAREXEL International, a leading contract pharmaceutical outsourcing organization providing worldwide clinical research services. Earlier, she held positions of increasing business leadership at Biogen and managed a R&D department for Baxter International. Veronica has a BA/MA in biochemistry from Cambridge University, UK and a Ph.D. in biochemistry/cell biology from Oxford University, UK. She conducted post-doctoral research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School.”
General Partner, Interwest Partners
Nina Kjellson has been part of InterWest's life sciences team since 2002, focusing on investments in health care.
She is a board member of Alvine Pharmaceuticals, Cebix, Eiger Biopharmaceuticals, Labrys, Lycera, Ocera, PrimeraDx, Trius Therapeutics (TSRX) , Welltok, and Xenon. Nina co-sponsored InterWest's investments in TESARO and Sera Prognostics. She leads InterWest's initiative in health care IT and is a director of the Consumer Medicine Summit, a forum to address the convergence of health care and consumer innovation. She serves as a mentor to the Nike+ Accelerator and to Blueprint Health.
Prior to joining 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.
Summer Knight, MD, MBA
Founder, DSK Companies
Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Springboard Enterprises
Dr. Summer Knight is an innovation catalyst expert successfully founding, rapidly scaling, and profitably selling companies in several industries including health, IT, education, and real estate. Dr. Knight leads Firecracker Innovation, a DSK company focused on catalyzing innovation in companies and the people who are part of them. She is also an innovation-focused national medical executive at a Fortune 200 Health and Wellness integration company on a customer-centric mission and was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Springboard Enterprises, a non-profit organization representing women who have led successful high-growth businesses and who have collectively raised $5 billion in equity financing, and originator of their CXXO.co project, an expert panel of CEO’s and powerful entrepreneurs who facilitate the rapid growth of scalable businesses. Summer loves to have fun, inspire people to succeed, and facilitate transformation in individuals and organizations.
Knight has significant expertise in the clinical, governmental, and private sector health care arenas. As the former Chief Medical Officer of the State of Florida, Dr. Knight influenced Medicaid policy, health care facility regulations and stakeholder interactions. From this experience, Dr. Knight founded IntegriCor, LLC, changing the Medicaid marketplace by rewarding providers for improving health care quality and increasing stakeholder communication while eliminating fraud creating an unbelievable 30:1 ROI.This marketplace shift became the leading platform for long-term care integrity in several states and managed care markets.
Dr. Knight has participated in creating scalable businesses and supported high-growth organizations by joining as CEO, Chief Medical Officer, or Executive Advisor. She has extensive experience and has contributed value to companies in Strategic Planning and Transformation, Innovation Leadership, Problem Solving, CEO and leadership coaching, Capital Acquisition, Business Development, Sales and Marketing, and mentoring and consulting CEO’s and decision-making executives to focus on rapid growth of scalable businesses. Knight is passionate about innovators as well as helping people to find their “inner entrepreneur”, hence she founded DSK Companies to support ventures relating to innovations in health, wellness, and sustainability with a focus on helping to develop success through networking, tools, and skill sets to accelerate the organization’s rate of success.
In addition to her corporate experience, Dr. Knight founded the State Government Physician Leadership Council and was appointed by the Governor to the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Committee. She served on the boards of the Florida Dialogue on Cancer Access Committee, the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee at Capital Health Plan, and both the Quality Practice Management Committee and the Governmental Affairs Committee with the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. An author and frequent public speaker, Dr. Knight has been an invited presenter at Medicaid Management Information System and Home and Community Based Services national meetings, the Council of State Government for Disease Management in Washington, DC, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, and the Florida Medical Directors Association.
Dr. Knight is also very active in philanthropic and community affairs serving as a college Trustee, a member of a community Leadership organization, founding member of the Oasis Center for Women and Girls, board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Advisory Committee of Tallahassee Community College’s Fostering Achievement Fellowship Program. She has served as Secretary and Sub-Committee Chair for the Gilchrist Elementary School Advisory Committee and received the Outstanding School Volunteer Award from the school’s PTA during the 2008 school year. She has also volunteered with organizations such as Cornerstone Learning Center, Refuge House and the Governor’s Mentoring Initiative.
Dr. Knight received her M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her MBA from Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida. She has gained valuable medical experience as a family physician, urgent care and Emergency Room physician, and as a firefighter/paramedic.
Principal, Physic Ventures
Christina LaMontagne is a Principal at Physic Ventures. She invests in early-stage consumer technology businesses, with a particular focus on new commerce, mobile, and big data technologies that help consumers lead better lives. She has long been focused on emerging companies promoting consumer health and wellness and is particularly interested in entrepreneurial ideas capable of crossing international borders. She observes the boards of Gazelle, GoodGuide and WaterSmart and works closely with GreenGoose and Revolution Foods.
Christina’s professional experience spans marketing, strategy, operations and public policy. At Pfizer, Christina co-developed direct-to-consumer marketing strategies and a digital health coach strategy for a $700M brand. At Oliver Wyman, Christina was a management consultant to multi-national healthcare, consumer, and IT corporations both in the US and in China.
Christina began her career in Beijing, and has worked in China for much of the last decade. In 2011, she returned to China to design an investment strategy for the Chinese market. As a Fulbright Scholar early in her career, she helped secure financing for the Chinese government’s initial $67M HIV/AIDS treatment program for southwest China.
A resident of San Francisco, Christina is a Co-Chair of NextGen Partners, a 500-member Venture Capital professional organization, and a Council Member of the Asian Art Museum. She is also a Mentor to several start-up business incubators including BluePrint Health, Springboard Enterprises, Astia, and Start-up Chile.
Christina holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA with high honors from Dartmouth College, where she achieved fluency in Mandarin Chinese.
Maggie provides fund-raising and operational leadership to private biotech companies. She was a Managing Director at MedImmune Ventures from 2007 to 2011, then a Venture Partner from 2011 to 2012. Also within the AstraZeneca Group she served as Head of R&D Ventures 2005 to 2007, where she was on assignment to Advent International working with the Healthcare and Life Sciences venture capital investment team, and the Global Alliance Director for Global Sciences and Information from 2001 to 2005, where she led an international group responsible for evaluation, negotiation and management of global technology platform collaborations. Prior to 2001, Maggie held business development and scientific management positions at Hybridon, Inc. (1997-2000); Oncogene Science Inc. (1994-1996); and Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1985-1994). Originally trained as a biophysical chemist, with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Indiana University, she trained in molecular and cellular biology as a post- doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Maggie is currently a director of AesRx, LLC.
SVP of Corporate Development, Kadmon Pharmaceuticals
Ellen Lubman is currently a Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at NY-based Kadmon Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Kadmon, Ellen was a Group Director in the Strategic Transactions Group and Global Mergers & Acquisitions Lead at Bristol- Myers Squibb where she focused on Mergers and Acquisitions, identification of new transaction opportunities, and initiation of “String of Pearls” transactions, as well as spearheading novel business initiatives and venture capital outreach.
Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ellen worked with Celtic Pharma, L.P., a private equity fund that acquires direct ownership or controlling stakes in commercially attractive pharmaceutical products in the late stages of clinical and regulatory development, and VIA Pharmaceuticals, a start-up cardiovascular disease biotechnology company incubated at Bay City Capital in San Francisco. During business school, she spend her summer internship with the Amgen Licensing team and helped the Eastern Europe team at Roche create a plan to advance their subsidiaries into independent operating entities.
During the heyday of the Human Genome Project, Ellen was a Biotechnology Equity Research Analyst at Robertson Stephens where she covered over 20 companies with a focus on Genomics, Proteomics, Drug Discovery and Technology Platform companies, and developed research pieces on Genetic Intellectual Property, Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and other discovery technologies.
Ellen holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Rutgers College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, including a Certificate in Global Management. She is a member of Springboard Enterprises and New York Academy of Sciences, and is actively involved in Gilda’s Club of New York, a cancer charity. Ellen was born in Kiev, Ukraine and is a native Russian speaker.
Partner, 5th Dimension Strategies
Ms. MacKinnon holds an Executive MBA from University of Missouri and a B.S. in Agriculture from Kansas State University. She was the Founder/CEO of a high-growth, venture-backed healthcare technology business. Over a period of 10 years, Ms. MacKinnon led BeyondNow Technologies through multiple financings, new product releases and aggressive expansions in market share. BeyondNow Technologies, Inc. was acquired in 2003 by a large public company serving the broader healthcare information technology market. Ms. MacKinnon won numerous awards and was recognized for her
business achievements as a Smithsonian Laureate, Deloitte Touche Fast 50, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, and Healthcare’s Best in KLAS. Ms. MacKinnon has since become a co-Founder in Sophia, LLC, 5th Dimension
Strategies, LLC and 1884 Land & Cattle Company. She brings innovative ideas, assessment of markets, and development of financial strategies to her own businesses as well as those she works with in consulting. Ms. MacKinnon recently co-authored a book highlighting the challenges of healthcare and aging economics on the American family.
Managing Director, Syngenta Venture Capital
Carol Marino is currently Managing Director, Syngenta Ventures, responsible for investing in and managing a portfolio of innovative agriculture science companies in the U.S. Her investment focus is equity investments in privately held companies which can provide both strategic value as well as financial returns to Syngenta. Carol serves as director on the Boards for several of her portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Syngenta Ventures, Ms. Marino was Vice President Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, where her venture focus was on equity investments in pharmaceutical and biotech companies at all stages of development.
Prior to joining J&J, Carol was the Vice President of Business Development for Clinical Development Capital LLC, a company which provides strategic investment capital to pharmaceutical companies for clinical development. Prior to joining Clinical Development Capital, Carol was a Vice President at Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporation. Throughout her tenure at BMS she held executive positions in Corporate Strategic Planning, Business Development, e-Business Alliances, and Cardiovascular Marketing. As Vice President of the Sanofi Pharma Alliance, Carol managed all aspects of the BMS/Sanofi Joint Venture Alliance. Prior to joining BMS, she held various positions at Merck & Co., Inc., including Strategic Planning, Business Intelligence, Business Analysis and Global Marketing, where she was responsible for bridging the worldwide market needs with R&D programs and priorities. Carol also held sales and marketing positions at Squibb Corporation and Sterling Drug.
Carol holds a Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.S. in Chemistry from Merrimack College.
Sharon Mates, Ph.D.
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Intra-Cellular Therapies
Dr. Mates has over twenty-two years of experience in the biotechnology industry ranging from founding several start-up ventures to leading a publicly traded company. From 1989-1998 Dr. Mates was the President of North American Vaccine and its predecessor companies. From 1998-2002 Dr. Mates was involved in advising and founding several biotech companies and in June of 2002, along with Dr. Paul Greengard, Nobel Laureate 2000, Moshe Alafi and Dr. Allen Fienberg, Dr. Mates founded Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc., a company focusing on CNS disorders.
Dr. Mates recently completed a two-year chairmanship of the Board of the New York Biotechnology Association and serves on several Advisory Boards.
Dr. Mates received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and was a fellow and post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and at Harvard Medical School.
Managing Director, Burrill & Company
Irena Melnikova, PhD, is a Managing Director in the Venture Capital group of Burrill & Company, a global financial services firm serving the life sciences industry. Prior to joining Burrill & Company, she served as Director of Strategy and External Innovation at Sanofi.
Previously, Irena was a Principal in the Life Science team of TVM Capital, a global venture capital firm. At TVM, she was involved in deal origination and new investment opportunity evaluation and actively participated in the management of TVM Capital investments in the United States. Prior to TVM Capital, she was a member of the biopharma investment banking team at Leerink Swann. She also produced and launched a new series of syndicated reports for the firm. Entitled Future in Focus, these reports provided clients with insight and analysis of business and technology issues shaping corporate and R&D strategies, pipelines and alliances.
Prior to Leerink Swann, Irena was a Research Manager at Life Science Insights, a subsidiary of IDC, the leading technology market research company. As a project leader at TransForm Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Johnson & Johnson), she was responsible for running several programs, including Engineered Tissue Constructs, funded by DARPA, and Amyloidoses.
Irena has published over 20 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and is a regular contributor to the “Analyst Couch” section of Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery magazine. She holds an M.S. in chemical engineering from the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia and a Ph.D. in molecular medicine/molecular biology from the University of Texas.
Corporate Relations Manager, Johns Hopkins University
Helen Montag is Senior Director for Corporate Relations at Johns Hopkins University. She manages corporate relations for Johns Hopkins University with a focus on the School of Medicine. She oversees programming designed to train faculty in entrepreneurship. Programs under her leadership include the Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology Development, annual disease specific investor conferences, an annual speed dating or biomatch event, and a regular afternoon speaker series called Vine and Venture.
Helen’s office represents the university as a "front door" to industry, working to develop and grow relationships with companies, foundations, and other parties who want to collaborate with faculty and staff at Hopkins in a wide array of projects. She assists faculty in their efforts to partner with industry via requests for funding, start‑ups, and other novel collaborative efforts.
Helen also has responsibilities with the life science park being built adjacent to the Hopkins medical campus. She represents Hopkins in efforts to market the park and attract tenants, and works closely with the developer, leasing agents, and colleagues at the university, governmental agencies, and foundations, and at other parks throughout the region.
Helen received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1983, attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine, received a Master of Public Health degree at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed doctoral work there as well.
Executive Director HEP Network, Health Evolution Partners
Julie Murchinson is the Executive Director of the Health Evolution Partners Network which anchors an extensive network of CEOs and commercial leaders from around the globe and across the health care industry. The Network provides industry expertise, connections and a strategic resource to a growing network of HEP investors and advisors, commercial leaders, growth companies and industry thought leaders.
With 20 years in healthcare, including health information technology policy and strategy consulting, executive roles within commercial companies and not-for-profits, her unique approach addresses cross-industry interests to make personalized health a reality. Her work has pioneered industry-leading health IT methodologies, special-interest collaborations and perspectives on privacy, security, and consumer rights with sectors that include health care delivery, health information technology, community-based health, consumerism and philanthropy. She publishes and speaks regularly across the country and has participated in numerous federal, state and industry initiatives as a content expert.
Prior to HEP, Ms. Murchinson was Managing Director at Manatt Health Solutions, a policy and strategy advisory division of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, where she advised clients on health information strategies. Ms. Murchinson previously he co-founded and led Object Health, a boutique management consulting group acquired by Manatt Health Solutions. Concurrently and in pursuit of innovation, Ms. Murchinson co-founded the Health 2.0 Accelerator, a not-for-profit association to advance consumer-centric health care by driving integration of technology and the consumer experience across a network of new and established technology companies and health care organizations.
Previously, Ms. Murchinson was Vice President of Services at CareScience, a leading provider of care management technology and services to hospitals and provider communities. Ms. Murchinson was also Senior Consultant with Deloitte Consulting and launched her career with Ernst & Young.
Ms. Murchinson graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a BA in Business Management/Accounting and received her MBA in Healthcare and Operations Management from the Wharton School.
Ms. Murchinson is an advisor to the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Catalyst Program for the Development of Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Devices, and Digital Health at UCSF. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Pacific Data Medical Systems and the Innovation Exchange Summit Advisory Board of BluePrint Healthcare IT.
Founder and CEO, Healthbox
Nashif is Founder and CEO of Healthbox, a business platform created to stimulate global innovation and entrepreneurship in the healthcare industry. Healthbox is one of the first business accelerator programs to focus exclusively on the healthcare industry.
Nina is best known for her expertise in creating entrepreneurial ventures and leading high performing teams to achieve results. Her background includes more than ten years of global business experience within very different organizational settings.
Senior Director, Emerging Technologies in the Corporate Office of Science and Technology, Johnson & Johnson
Cat Oyler is Sr. Director, Emerging Technologies in the Corporate Office of Science and Technology at Johnson & Johnson. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Cat is responsible for identifying and nurturing emerging health care related technologies in the New England area, assessing technical and business risk of the new technologies, and facilitating integration of these technologies into the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and their product lines. In this role, Cat works with local area faculty, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors to identify innovative product/business opportunities that will fill strategic gaps in Johnson & Johnson's current portfolio and will expand Johnson & Johnson's horizons into new "white space" therapeutic areas and businesses that are strategically aligned with the future health care environment.
Cat joins Johnson & Johnson from AstraZeneca where she was responsible for evaluating and in-licensing clinical and marketed oncology products. Additionally, Cat led the business development effort for out-licensing of AstraZeneca's oncology assets and assisted with strategic planning for oncology business development. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Cat served in a progression of business development roles at Myriad Genetics, culminating in leading all diagnostic licensing for the Myriad Genetic Laboratories division of the company. In previous roles at Myriad, Cat worked on in- and out-licensing efforts for the pharmaceutical division, establishment of research collaborations and strategic assessment and divestment of a non-core business unit. With over ten years of BD experience and more than 15 years of biotech experience, Cat has also previously held marketing and research scientist roles at Amgen, Alza and Alkermes. Cat received a bachelor's degree in Biology from Williams College and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Heather Preston, MD
Managing Director, TPG Biotech
Heather Preston, MD is Managing Director of TPG Biotech. Prior to joining TPG Biotech in May 2005, Dr. Preston spent two years at JP Morgan Partners where she focused on medical device and biotechnology venture capital investing. Prior to JP Morgan Partners, Dr. Preston was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with New Enterprise Associates. Dr. Preston has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of London and a medical degree from the University of Oxford. After leaving Oxford, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular biology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University. She completed her training in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and then she sub-specialized in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at U.C.S.F. During her academic career, she was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Fulbright Cancer Research Scholarship, a Harlech Scholarship and a Science and Engineering Research Council Post- doctoral Fellowship Award. After leaving academic medicine, she spent five years at McKinsey & Co. in New York, where she was a leader of their pharmaceutical and medical products consulting practice. She advised large pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies on critical strategic issues such as R&D portfolio prioritization, M&A opportunities, new technology acquisitions, new product launches and product growth strategies.
Dr. Preston co-founded Virobay Inc., a biotechnology company which is seeking to develop new therapies for the treatment of pain and auto-immune diseases. Dr. Preston serves on the boards of Albireo, Alder Biotherapeutics, Aptalis Pharma (formerly Axcan Pharma), Conventus (as an observer), Otonomy Inc. and Virobay Inc.
Serial Entrepreneur & Super Connector
Judy Robinett is an internationally- recognized thought leader, funding expert, and advisor on developing strategic networks that accelerate businesses growth and enhance profitability. With more than 30 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur and corporate leader, Judy is actively involved in venture capital and private equity focused onsmall business. Known as the nation’s “Super Connector,” she has served as CEO of public and private companies and in management roles at Fortune 500 companies, and is currently a partner at Crowdfund Capital Advisors, an advisory board member of Illuminate VC and Pereg Ventures, and mentor at Pipeline Foundation, where she counsels high net-worth women on angel investing. A highly sought-after international speaker and advisor to hundreds of startups and entrepreneurial ventures, Judy is the author of the upcoming book, Strategic Relationship Mastery: How to Build High-Value Connections for Business Success.
Executive Director, Merck & Co., Inc.
Susan Rohrer has over 23 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has served in a variety of roles during her tenure at Merck & Co. Prior to joining Merck's Licensing organization in 2004, she was a Senior Director of Biology & Drug Discovery within the Merck Research Labs, where she worked on the development of selective estrogen receptor modulators for hormone replacement therapy, the mechanism of action of ivermectin and the role of somatostatin receptors in diabetes and diabetic complications.
Within the Licensing and External Research department, Susan is currently assigned as the Licensing Scout for the Midwest US and Mid-Atlantic US covering all therapeutic areas of interest to Merck. In her previous role as Chairperson of the Neuroscience Review and Licensing Committee, she identified external licensing opportunities aligned with Merck's priorities in Neuroscience; she coordinated due diligence team audits and reports for senior Merck management and provided scientific input to Merck’s Corporate Licensing commercial team charged with executing licensing agreements. She made significant contributions to the identification and execution of the following Major License Agreements:
- Neuromed NMED-160 patent license and research collaboration
- Harvard University visual cycle inhibitor patent license
- Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease patent license and research collaboration covering ApoE mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases
- Addex mGluR5 patent license covering mGluR5 PAMs for schizophrenia
- Addex mGluR4 patent license and research collaboration covering mGluR4 PAMs for Parkinson's disease
- Lycera patent license and research collaboration covering RORgt inhibitors to treat autoimmune diseases
Susan was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and obtained her degrees from the University of Michigan (BS) and the University of Notre Dame (PhD).
Executive Vice President, CCO, Kadmon
Ms. Sax has been an advocate and practitioner of innovative thinking and strategic growth for the pharmaceutical industry over her 25+ year career leading Strategy, Business Development and Commercial Initiatives globally in pharmaceuticals, biotech and devices. She is Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer of Kadmon. Prior to Kadmon, Ms. Sax was Chief Business Officer of Symphogen A/S, focusing on corporate development, marketing and communications and establishing that company’s presence in North America. Prior to Symphogen, Ms. Sax held the role of Executive Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Planning at King Pharmaceuticals. She has also held leadership roles at Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche Laboratories and Sterling Drug, making important contributions in the areas of oncology, transplantation and diagnostic imaging. Ms. Sax serves as a Director on the National Advisory Board of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and Foundation Associate of the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Healthcare Foundation. In 2008, Adriann was named as one of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Leaders in the Life Sciences Industry by PharmaVoice Magazine. Ms. Sax holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Keller Graduate School of Management and a BS in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Delaware.
Principal, Thomas, McNerney & Partners
Anya joined Thomas, McNerney & Partners in 2008 from Medtronic, Inc. where she held several sales and marketing leadership roles in the United States and Europe. Her EMEA roles included managing the market development efforts for the Neurological businesses, establishing the obesity management business in Europe, and leading the coronary stent marketing group, which launched two drug-eluting stents and one bare-metal stent achieving over $200 million in annual sales. In the U.S., Anya held a sales management position in the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business. Prior to Medtronic, Anya was a member of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation HIV/AIDS initiative and was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. Anya began her healthcare-focused career at IZEX Technologies, a medical device start-up company. She is currently a board member of Locus Development, Inc. Anya received her M.B.A. with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received her A.B. cum laude from Princeton University.
Former President and CEO of Central Life Sciences
Kay has more than 30 years of experience in the profitable commercialization and development of life sciences products for the public health, animal pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods markets.
With proven managerial and strategic agility in global technology sourcing, particularly in Japan and Europe, Kay has successfully led organizations in entrepreneurial, start-up enterprises and in large, public corporate environments with Sandoz Corporation (now Novartis), Brunswick corporation and Central Garden and Pet (NASDAQ:CENT).
Kay is accomplished leader of organizations in regulated industries and is facile in driving new product portfolio development, manufacturing start -up and facilitating new product introductions through the U.S. FDA and EPA processes. She has negotiated asset divestitures with the Federal Trade Commission and has driven strategy for major business issues with the national media that threatened to jeopardize product integrity. She has successfully driven cultural change resulting from managing multiple mergers and acquisitions.
Kay was an Ambassadorial Rotary Fellow at the University of Brussels, completed in the Advanced Business Programme at the London School of Business and has an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA from St. Norbert College. She serves on several boards, including the University of Illinois Foundation and the American Pet Products Association where she is the former chairman. She is a sought after speaker on the topic: Incubate! How Leadership Drives Technology to Market.
Associate, Aisling Capital
Ms. Seltzer serves as an Associate of Aisling Capital. Previously, Ms. Seltzer was an Associate Director at Schering- Plough, where she held roles in global licensing, sales, and as the US SP brand lead for Zetia. While in business development, Ms. Seltzer was involved in the creation, structuring and negotiation of several deals with an aggregate value in the billions, ranging from licensing deals to broad development and commercialization alliances. Prior to Schering- Plough, Ms. Seltzer was the Director of Business Development for Akceli, a biotechnology company developing cell-based microarrays. Ms. Seltzer began her career as a Business Analyst for McKinsey & Company.
Ms. Seltzer received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Palmer Scholar. She received her M.S. and B.S. from Yale University, awarded cum laude in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.
Founder & CEO, Vitamita
Amita Shukla is an innovator and entrepreneur focused on discovering, developing and scaling simple yet powerful ideas for wellness. Most recently, she was a Principal at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the world’s largest venture capital firm with $13 billion in committed capital. During nine years as a member of NEA’s healthcare investing team, Amita evaluated thousands of biomedical innovations for new drugs, diagnostics and medical technologies. She invested in cutting edge companies, and worked closely with scientists, doctors and entrepreneurs to successfully take their ideas from the petri dish to the patient.
Previously, she was the Vice President of AmiKa Corp., a biotechnology company where she helped develop and commercialize novel biomedical research tools — for which she holds 10 issued patents — until its acquisition by Harvard Bioscience (Nasdaq: HBIO). Earlier, Amita founded two startups and was an analyst at Merrill Lynch, where she focused on healthcare companies. Amita actively mentors young startups, frequently judges business plan competitions, and often speaks to audiences of not just entrepreneurs and innovators but also leaders in academia, policy and the military.
In 2010, Amita was the youngest appointee by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to the Board of the state’s Technology Development Corporation, which has been ranked #1 nationally by Entrepreneur Magazine for seed investing in startups. In 2007, she was among the youngest members invited to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Alliance, where she works with leaders in academia and industry to evaluate innovations from the university’s world-class research labs. She has also written about scientific innovations for publications such as the MIT Technology Review.
She holds a BA in Biochemistry from Harvard, where she was a Senior Editor at the Harvard Crimson, and an MBA from Stanford, where she led a team that won the university-wide Stanford business plan competition for a novel cardiovascular device.
Catherine Angell Sohn
Founder and President, Sohn Health Strategies
Dr.Catherine Angell Sohn is a healthcare executive with a strong technical background, business development, strategic marketing, and a new product launch expertise gained over 25 years in global and U.S. leadership roles in the Pharmaceutical, Vaccine and Consumer healthcare divisions at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the top 5 global pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Sohn currently serves as an independent member of the Board of Directors of Jazz Pharmacueticals plc, a specialty pharmaceutical company (NASDAQ: JAZZ), Landec Corp, a material science company (NASDAQ: LNDC), Dohmen, a privately held, life sciences company, Ariel Pharmacuetical, a privately held, development-stage, specialty pharmaceutical company and is Dean's Professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
In 2010, Dr. Sohn retired from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) after holding a series of management positions, most recently, serving as senior vice president of worldwide business development and a member of the global executive committee of GSK's $8 billion consumer healthcare division.
Early in her tenure with GSK, Dr. Sohn established the U.S. Vaccine Business Unit, as a member of the global vaccine steering committee, shaped the vaccine pipeline, led the launch of the company's first vaccine in the U.S. which grew to over $100 million, and subsequently led the U.S. launch of the company's CNS product which grew to over $1 billion. Dr. Sohn joined Smith Kline & French (now GSK) in anti-infective medical affairs and later acted as vice president for worldwide strategic product developement for the cardiovascular, pulmonary and metabolic therapeutic areas and was a member of the global executive team for strategic product development. In the Consumer Division, Dr. Sohn drove growth over 12 years leading a series of US, Europe, Japan and global acquisitions, integrations, and licensing deals.
Dr. Sohn has received numerous awards and honors, including the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000; the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) Woman of the Year Award in 2003; the Licensing Executive Society's Frank Barnes Mentor Award in 2009; and the EuroExcellence Award from the HBA in 2012.
A California Native, she received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the UCSF School of Pharmacy, a Certificate of Professional Development from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Certified Licensing Professional (C.L.P.)
Vice President, RiverVest Venture Partners
Karen Spilizewski joined RiverVest Venture Partners in 2008 and is a Vice President focused on sourcing and conducting due diligence on healthcare opportunities. Ms. Spilizewski is also Vice President of Business Development with BioEnterprise in Cleveland, focusing on coaching and accelerating early stage medical device companies in Ohio. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in new product development and business development in medical and non-medical technologies.
Prior to joining BioEnterprise, Ms. Spilizewski gained significant medical device industry experience at Avery Dennison Corporation, where she spent 19 years in research and business development. She was responsible for conducting marketing, financial, technical, and competitive analyses of new opportunities for microelectronic, biomedical, optical display, and MEMs applications. In product development roles, she has developed and commercialized products for various medical devices, including wound care, diagnostics, surgical, and electromedical applications.
Ms. Spilizewski received her MBA, M.S. in Macromolecular Science and a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve.
Principal, Stern Investor Relations
Lilian Stern has been a senior investor relations counselor in the biotechnology industry for over 15 years, representing more than 200 companies ranging from start-ups to large-cap public companies, in a broad range of development stages and therapeutic areas. As Principal of Stern IR, she works closely with client teams, providing skilled and knowledgeable IR counsel. Prior to founding Stern IR, Lilian established and ran the investor relations group at Burns McClellan for six years and worked as a biotechnology sell-side analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette/Credit Suisse First Boston. She holds an A.B. with distinction from Cornell University and a J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School.
Director & Trustee, Healthcare, Life Sciences, and Financial Services
Alison Taunton-Rigby, Ph.D., O.B.E., has been President and Chief Executive Officer, of several public and private companies in the life science and healthcare industries. She currently serves as a Director on a number of public, private, non-profit, ESOP and mutual fund boards.
Dr. Taunton-Rigby was Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of RiboNovix, Inc., a biotechnology company. Prior to this she was President and Chief Executive Officer of Aquila Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a public life sciences company that was merged in late 2000 with Antigenics Inc. She was also President and Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Biotech Corporation, where she led the turn-around, re-structuring and emergence from bankruptcy. In addition, she has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mitotix Inc., now merged with GPC Biotech. Previous to this position, she was Senior Vice President, Biotherapeutics, at Genzyme Corporation, where she had overall responsibility for Genzyme's biotherapeutics division. Dr. Taunton-Rigby has also served in senior management positions at ADL Inc., Vivotech Inc., Biogen, Inc. and Collaborative Research, Inc.
Dr. Taunton-Rigby received her doctorate from the University of Bristol in England, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of the Harvard Business School. She is a Director of Columbia Funds, Healthways, Inc., Abt Associates, Inc., ICI Mutual Insurance Company, and the Children's Hospital Boston. In addition she is a director of the Massachusetts Women's Forum, and the Biomedical Science Careers Program. Dr. Taunton-Rigby is a member of the Business Advisory Council, Simmons College, School of Management, and of the Health Policy & Management Advisory Board, Boston University School of Public Health, an Advisor to Civic Capital LLC, and a former Director and Chair of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC), and of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), where she chaired the Emerging Companies Section. In 2005 she was appointed by the Governor to the Massachusetts Biomedical Research Advisory Committee (stem cell research) and in 2008 to the Scientific Advisory Board, Massachusetts Life Science Center. In 2002 Dr. Taunton-Rigby was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her work as a leader in the research, development and promotion of biotechnology. In 2009 she was awarded an honorary D.Sc. by the University of Bristol, UK.
Dr. Taunton-Rigby has served as a Director on seven public companies, and numerous private and non-profit organizations. She is or has been a member of Compensation, Audit, Nominating and Governance, and Strategic Planning committees. At The Children’s Hospital Boston, she chairs the Patient Care Assessment Committee.
Yael Weiss, MD, PhD
Head, Merck Research Laboratories Regional Deals, World Wide Licensing
Yael Weiss received her MD degree from Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, and her PhD in molecular genetics from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. After working at Sheba Medical Center for several years Yael joined Columbine Ventures and then joined Genzyme Israel as director of Medical Affairs and Business Development.
In 2004, Yael joined Merck Sharp & Dohme Israel as Medical Director, a role in which she oversaw Merck's clinical trials and supported the sales and marketing organizations. In 2007 Yael relocated to the SF Bay Bay Area to take the position of Director, External Scientific Affairs and World Wide Licensing, West Coast. Her responsibilities focused on the identification and evaluation of novel licensing and scientific collaboration opportunities emanating from West Coast-based academic laboratories, biotechs and venture capital firms. Yael currently heads a group that evaluates the clinical, regulatory and safety aspects of Merck's regional deals globally (including markets).
Phyllis E. Whiteley, Ph.D.
Phyllis Whiteley is a Venture Partner with Mohr Davidow Ventures and the CEO and co-founder of Didimi, Inc. Dr. Whiteley has a passion for personalized medicine and transformative life science innovations. She has more than 25 years of experience across academics, biotech, and pharma in R&D, business, and portfolio management and has significant international experience, having established affiliates in Japan and Europe. Her work in Pharmacology, Immunology, and Inflammation has resulted in multiple new chemical entities and publications.
While an Executive-in-Residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures, Dr. Whiteley provided hands-on leadership in building and creating multiple companies in diagnostics and personalized medicine including Verinata Health. Dr. Whiteley previously co-founded RuiYi (previously named Anaphore) with 5AM Ventures. Prior to her work in venture capital, Dr. Whiteley was an Officer and Senior Vice President, Business Development, Licensing, and Alliance Management at Perlegen Sciences, Inc. Before joining Perlegen, she served as Vice President, Strategic Portfolio Management for F. Hoffman La Roche. During her ten years with Roche she held various positions in Business Development based in Basel, Switzerland and R&D leadership positions in the US. Prior to her Roche tenure, Dr. Whiteley held a Senior Research Immunology role with Merck.
Dr. Whiteley is a Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) mentor at Santa Clara University and serves on multiple boards and advisory roles including Didimi, Balance Therapeutics, VitaPath Genetics, The Personalized Medicine Coalition (emeritus), Coulter Foundation Business Advisor, and Springboard Enterprises. She received her BA in Chemistry and PhD in Pharmacology from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Managing Director, Ceres Venture Fund
Donna C. E. Williamson has over twenty-five years of strategy, operating, and board experience in the healthcare industry with particular expertise in strategy and business development in emerging, high growth markets. She most recently served as managing director in ABN Amro’s Private Equity Group where she was responsible for leading equity investments in healthcare growth companies.
Prior to ABN Amro, Ms. Williamson served as a founding officer and senior vice president for Caremark International, Inc., a multi-billion dollar healthcare services business. At Caremark, in addition to managing its $600 million Health Cost Management businesses, Ms. Williamson led numerous strategic and new business development initiatives.
A sixteen-year veteran of Baxter International, she was Chairman, CEO and President of its surgical products subsidiary, OmniSurgical, Inc. As corporate vice president responsible for strategy and development, she managed a billion dollar divestiture and established the first five-year plan for the company. From 1987 to 1993, Ms. Williamson was responsible for the strategy and P&L of the Health Cost Management group of six divisions including the emerging businesses of mail-order drugs, physical therapy clinics, physician office management software, health care data and analysis, and managed care businesses. Revenues grew from $20 million to $600 million during this period.
Ms. Williamson’s service on public and private corporate boards has included Haemonetics, Inc (HAE), A.G. Edwards, Inc (AGE), Gulf South Medical, Inc (GSMS), PSSWorld Medical Inc (PSSI), and WellMed, Inc.
Ms. Williamson’s not-for-profit board experience has included the iBIO (the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization), the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, Board of Trustees Brown University as well as its School of Medicine, the National Fund for Medical Education, the Planning Forum, and the MIT Sloan School Regional Governors. She was named by i-Street Magazine as one of Chicago’s top 25 women in technology in 2002.
Ms. Williamson has an Sc.B. degree in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and a graduate degree from MIT Sloan School of Business. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and The Chicago Network.