Symposium #3 BioPharm and BioTech Industry
|August 27, 2021
|10:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT
|Co-chairs: Colin Brenan, Ph.D. and Ali Tinazli, Ph.D.
David A Weitz, Ph.D.
Weitz received his PhD in physics from Harvard University and then joined Exxon Research and Engineering Company, where he worked for nearly 18 years. He then became a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania and moved to Harvard at the end of the last millennium as professor of physics and applied physics. He leads a group studying soft matter science with a focus on materials science, biophysics, microfluidics and flow in porous media. Several startup companies have come from his lab to commercialize research concepts.
Jadwiga Bienkowska, Ph.D.
Dr. Jadwiga Bienkowska is Sr. Director and Head of Computational Biology at Pfizer, Oncology Research and Development. ORD mission is development of breakthrough therapies for unmet needs of Cancer patients. Mission of the Computational Biology is to decode complex molecular data into data driven decisions to accelerate drug development from new targets discovery and MOA studies, translation of pre-clinical observation to patient selection and progression of new therapies through Phase I trials, and bedside to bench translation of insights from Phase III -IV trials clinical and biomarker data. Dr. Bienkowska has over 20 years of experience in Pharma and Biotech assuming roles of increasing responsibilities and leadership to leverage Data Science and unravel molecular mechanisms of disease, advance new therapies and deliver Precision Medicine to patients. Prior to joining Pfizer Dr. Bienkowska lead a computational biology research groups at BiogenIdec and EMD Serono focused on uncovering molecular drivers and new therapies for Immune and Neurological diseases and Cancer. Dr. Bienkowska holds PhD from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.
James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. is the founder, President, and CEO of Massachusetts stem cell biotechnology company Asymmetrex, LLC. Asymmetrex develops and markets technologies for advancing stem cell medicine, including the first method achieving specific and accurate certification of the dosage of therapeutic tissue stem cells, called kinetic stem cell counting. Asymmetrex’s kinetic stem cell counting platforms are also used to optimize manufacturing of therapeutic stem cells and for evaluations of drug effects on tissue stem cells. Dr. Sherley is a graduate of Harvard College, with a B.A. degree in biology, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, earning joint M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. Prior to founding Asymmetrex, he held academic research appointments at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston Biomedical Research Institute. Dr. Sherley’s professional awards include Pew Biomedical Research Scholar, Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Research, and NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.
Asli Aras, Ph.D.
Woodside Capital Partners
Asli Aras has held senior leadership roles in Strategy and Corporate Development teams of major global corporations and has 17 years of strategic planning, corporate development, mergers & acquisitions experience.
Before joining WCP, she was an Associate VP at Agilent Technologies where she was responsible for all aspects of the M&A process, including deal sourcing, performing a strategic and financial assessment, deal structuring, conducting due diligence, leading negotiations and successful completion of the deals. She has led more than 25 deals ranging in value from $10M – $1.5B. Asli has deep expertise in life sciences, diagnostics, and genomics businesses and she is passionate about helping companies to achieve their strategic goals.
Asli holds a PH.D. and MSc in finance. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics.
Tanya Kanigan, Ph.D.
Tanya Kanigan is currently the COO/CTO of Biocogniv, an early-stage AI company that detects and classifies cardiovascular disease and other health conditions from patient blood through pattern recognition.
In her previous role as COO of Genomic Expression Inc., she helped the founders build operational infrastructure and a data analysis engine for a clinical RNA sequencing of solid tumors. She has also provided consulting services to other life science companies, advising them on technical aspects of developing microfluidic bioinstrumentation, identifying market opportunities for novel technologies, and obtaining non-dilutive funding.
Tara Heitner, Ph.D.
Dr. Tara Heitner is a serial entrepreneur, scientist and is currently CEO of Cyxone, a Swedish publicly listed clinical stage biotech company focused on development of therapeutics for disorders of the immune system. Originally Canadian by birth, Tara studied Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal earning a PhD and then moved to San Francisco for a postdoctoral fellowship to study therapeutic antibody engineering at University California San Francisco. Tara worked as a scientist at both biotech startups and pharmaceutical companies in Boston and San Francisco developing antibody therapeutics and technology platforms before moving to Denmark in 2005. After earning an MBA at the Danish Technical University, she switched to the business development role in 2012 landing numerous pharmaceutical licensing deals for her employers and in 2014 launched her own consultancy business – Heitner Biopharm Consultation. Tara has since 2014 worked as an executive advisor and business developer for numerous biotech companies around the world before founding and becoming CEO of Abarceo Pharma in 2017, Sweden and ISD-Immunotech, Denmark in 2018. Today Tara lives in Copenhagen Denmark with her children and dog.
Meike Herget, Ph.D.
Avails Medical, Inc.
Meike obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany studying structural and functional aspects of complex membrane transport proteins. After an internship at Columbia University in New York City, she came to California for her postdoctoral research on synaptic transmission in the inner ear at the Stanford Medical School. Always driven to translate research into business ideas, Meike conducted entrepreneurship and innovation programs at Stanford including the Innovation Farm (iFarms) Program as well as the Stanford Ignite program at the Stanford Business School. This finally led her to cofound Avails Medical, where she is developing rapid in-vitro diagnostics for the clinical Microbiology market. Passionate about science, Meike serves on the Executive Board of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Palo Alto in support of career development and advancement for women in STEM.