BIO Ventures for Global Health
Dr. Martha Yahimbu
University of Papua New Guinea
Dr. Martha Yahimbu is a senior lecturer in pharmacy at the University of Papua New Guinea. Her research interests focus on drug discovery and development to alleviate the different neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Papua New Guinea. During her sabbatical at Johnson & Johnson and University of California, San Diego, Dr. Yahimbu will receive training and skills in drug discovery and development.
Daniel Seymour is a graduate of the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington, where he focused on International Development. As an MPA candidate, he served as a research consultant on projects spanning agriculture, financial services, women’s empowerment, and health in low- and middle-income countries for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the summer of 2017 Daniel was a fellow at the International Organization for Migration, supporting the agency’s global migrant integration portfolio. Daniel speaks French and taught English in France for eight months after his undergraduate studies.
Mr. Benjamin Bande
University of Papua New Guinea
Mr. Ben Bande is a research assistant with the Charles Campbell Toxinology Centre (CCTC), a research laboratory which is located within the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), in the pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea. CCTC is a non-profit NGO and usually does research on the venomous snakes, snakebites and epidemiology in PNG. It was established from collaboration between the University of Melbourne (UoM), UPNG, Global Snakebite Initiative (GSI) and the Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU). With collaborators and research partners in Australia, Costa Rica, Spain and United Kingdom, they were able to do extensive research into the venom proteome of the five most medically important snakes in PNG. This research is on-going and has been further strengthened by the recent WHO recognition of snakebite as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).
Mr. Bande’ WIPO Re:Search fellowship is at the AVRU in the UoM. He is working on developing an enhanced platform for the quantitative measurement of species-specific snake venom toxins in the plasma (or other biological samples obtained from) of snakebite patients. The use of this platform will enable accurate determination of the concentration of toxins in the samples both before and after administration of antivenom, and will be used as a measurement of the effectiveness of antivenom in clinical settings. Hence this platform both enables the determination of the identity of the biting species (important for accurate epidemiological surveillance, and for confirmation of suitability to receive specific antivenoms), and quantitative assessment of the neutralization of venom by antivenom. This approach has potential to reliably identify biting species, determine toxin concentrations and use the data to extrapolate accurate estimates of total injected venom mass. These data are crucial for undertaking robustly designed and effective clinical trials of snake antivenoms in countries around the world, and will strengthen current clinical research resources for snakebite envenoming.
In addition, the test will be initially used for identifying toxins from medically important species of snakes that occur in Australia and New Guinea (Acanthophis laevis, Oxyuranus scutellatus, Pseudechis papuanus, etc.). The methodology which he is using to develop the platform is novel and has not been previously used for this application.
Dr. Vitus Alberto Nyigo
National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
Dr. Vitus Alberto Nyigo is a Tanzanian and Senior Research Scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). He has training background in chemistry and biology in the basic degree while specializing in natural products and value additions in the postgraduate training. During his postgraduate studies, he acquired skills in different spectroscopic techniques including NMR spectroscopy especially during his scientific visits at CSIR, South Africa between 2014 and 2015. For the past 15 years, Dr. Nyigo has been working in the Department of Traditional Medicines Research with major roles being; ascertaining efficacies and toxicity of herbal drugs as claimed in the traditional usage. He has been involved in different research projects in the department, one being the feasibility study of local production of Dihydroartemisinin
Dr. Evelyn Koru Lavu
University of Papua New Guinea
Evelyn Lavu has vast experience in service delivery, teaching, research and leadership in various organizations in her career in Papua New Guinea (PNG). She is a Haematologist and a Public Health doctor and heads the Central Public Health Laboratory with the National Department of Health. In PNG she has led in the areas of human immunodeficiency virus, malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and vaccine preventable diseases measles, rubella etc. Her current interest in research in collaboration with Australian researchers with funding from the Australian National Medical Research Council (NHMRC) include drug resistance conferring mutations in drug resistant TB (DR-TB) in PNG and transmission pathways of TB in PNG, a public health infection of concern. Others include PI in Human Papilloma virus (HPV) in cervical cancer. Past research projects include HIV, malaria and TB. Her community service includes being the President of her local village health program where health checks and PAP smears are conducted for about 200 females and followed up and early lesions in affected women by cervical cancer referred for further treatment. Recently she started working on research in drug resistant conferring mutations and Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineages in Papua New Guinea as part of her PhD program. The WIPO Re:Search fellowship will contribute to the completion of this work.
Rockefeller Foundation Fellow,
Former Director, Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact at USAID
Wendy Taylor has worked for the last 20 years catalyzing innovations to tackle some of the world’s toughest global health challenges and utilizing market-based solutions to scale for impact. In 2017, she was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to explore how to advance opportunities in artificial intelligence, digital health and data technologies to transform global health, including applying advanced outbreak analytics to pandemic threats enabling effective outbreak prediction, earlier detection and precision response.
Joining the Obama Administration in 2010 as a presidential appointee, Wendy founded and built the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to apply innovative, business-minded approaches to accelerate the development, introduction and scale-up of priority global health innovations. As Director of the Center, she spearheaded multiple Grand Challenges to globally crowdsource groundbreaking solutions to tough health problems – from maternal and newborn health to Ebola to Zika and Future Threats – investing $140 million in new innovations. She also created the agency’s first advance purchase commitments to stimulate investments in vaccines and diagnostics; and created multiple public private partnerships with corporations from GSK and McCann Health to Coca-Cola to expand and strengthen health markets.
In 2004, she founded BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), a non-profit working to engage the biopharmaceutical industry in developing medicines for diseases of the developing world. At BVGH, Wendy accelerated global health research and development by building partnerships, identifying market opportunities for industry engagement and advancing the development or implementation of new market incentives including the first Advance Market Commitment and FDA’s Priority Review Voucher program. She also held senior positions with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) – where she negotiated the third reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) on behalf of the biotech industry and developed the organization’s first global health program – and Malaria No More, and she worked in both the executive and legislative branches of the US government, including the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means.
Wendy currently serves on the boards of Last Mile Health, D-Rev and BIO Ventures for Global Health and on several advisory boards, including UNICEF’s Products and Markets Advisory Board and the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science and Policy Group.
She received a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University and a B.A. from Duke University.
Junior Program Associate
Noah Hunthausen graduated summa cum laude from Washington State University with his bachelor’s degree in zoology. His two years of undergraduate research focused on glucose regulation in the brain, specifically the role of hindbrain catecholamine neurons under glucoprivic conditions. Noah has shown sustained interest in global health. He traveled to Guatemala for a medical mission trip during his junior year of college and also spent the summer of 2016 working alongside doctors in a pediatric hospital in La Plata, Argentina.
Deputy General Counsel & Director, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Ruth Atherton is an experienced pharmaceutical, biotechnology and global health professional with expertise in risk management, global product development, complex transactions and intellectual property. A strategic advisor, recognized for technical acumen, innovation, and culture development, Ruth is a data driven, impact-focused problem solver. Her role at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation includes advising the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, developing pharma and biotech investments, enabling global R&D and commercialization, protecting reputation and streamlining business processes. Ruth has extensive international experience and unique insights on corporate social responsibility. She is a member of the Global Health Executive team and the executive sponsor of the foundation’s Global Access Team which leads intellectual property strategy and creates affordable access to the products and developments to benefit the world’s populations who are most in need.
Prior to joining the foundation, Ruth was Sr. Corporate Counsel at Sanofi supporting global Industrial Affairs and Sr. Counsel at Genzyme Corporation responsible for Global Manufacturing and Operations. Ruth was litigation attorney at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto in NYC, where she supported biotech and pharmaceutical litigation. Ruth served as a founding Advisory Board member of the UMass Venture Development Center, an award-winning incubator for emerging hi-tech and life science companies. She is the Executive Director and board member of Raising The Blues, Ltd., a nonprofit bringing interactive musical opportunities and instruments to children with unique life challenges
Ruth holds a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Cornell University and a J.D. from Fordham School of Law.
Analise LeJeune-Stodieck graduated with a degree in Public Health and a minor in Latin American History from the University of Washington. During her time at UW, she volunteered with King County Public Health’s Vulnerable Populations Strategic Initiative, working alongside EMS providers to complete reports on vulnerable populations’ accessibility to emergency systems. Analise also spent a summer working at a traveling clinic in Costa Rica, shadowing local doctors, conducting epidemiological surveys, and attending classes on tropical diseases prevalent in the population. Most recently Analise worked as the Director of Client Services at an intellectual property law firm, gaining experience in customer service and intellectual property sharing.
Dr. Rintis Noviyanti
Senior Researcher Fellow, Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology
Rintis Noviyanti, BSc (Hons.), PhD is a Principal Investigator, Senior Research Fellow, and Unit Head at Malaria Pathogenesis Unit, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology (EIMB) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dr Noviyanti’s research interests include understanding the host-parasite interaction, studying the genetic aspects of malaria parasites, and relating genomic information of the parasites with the host response.
The goal of Dr. Noviyant’s FIT2 collaboration with WEHI’s Dr. Hansen, Dr. Tham, and Professor Cowman was to identify the immune effector mechanisms and antigenic targets of naturally-acquired immunity to malaria, with the aim to apply these findings to the design of novel anti-malarial vaccine combinations.
MSD Fellowship for Global Health
MSD is an innovative, global healthcare leader that is committed to improving health and well-being around the world. The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is a three-month, field-based corporate pro bono program designed to leverage the skills and talents of MSD employees to advance the company’s mission by supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For more information about MSD’s commitment to corporate responsibility, go to www.msdresponsibility.com
Dr. Evelyn Lavu…
Dr. Hamisi Masanja Malebo
Principal Research Scientist I, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
Dr. Malebo received a Master’s in Natural Products Chemistry, and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Phytochemistry. Dr. Malebo’s current research is focused on developing chemotherapeutic agents for parasitic diseases including malaria, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and soil-transmitted helminthiases. Dr. Malebo will be completing a FIT2 sabbatical at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) focused on high throughput compound screening and advanced techniques for extraction and identification of active ingredients from Tanzanian medicinal plants.
Dr. Deus S. Ishengoma
Principal Research Scientist and Head, Laboratory Sciences Department, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
Dr. Ishengoma joined NIMR in 2003 and established a molecular biology laboratory at Tanga Centre in 2006, and field sites for clinical trials of different interventions. His team has implemented over eight antimalarials trials in the past six years, and conducted field and laboratory studies of malaria and other infectious pathogens in Tanzania. His research focuses on surveillance of parasite populations, antimalarial drug resistance and efficacy of antimalarials. He also works on strengthening of laboratory capacity for malaria research and diagnosis of common infectious pathogens in Tanzania. Deus is a member of different networks such as the Genomic Epidemiology of Malaria Network (MalariaGEN) and the US President’s Malaria Initiative-Supported Antimalarial Resistance Monitoring in Africa Network (PARMA). He is a member of Tanzanian National Biotechnology Committee, a co-founder of the Plasmodium Diversity Network Africa (PDNA), Tanzania Genome Network (TGN) and the African Society of Antimicrobial Resistance. His group is currently using genomic tools to support the National Malaria Control Programme in Tanzania in the surveillance of malaria transmission dynamics and molecular markers of drug resistance. Meanwhile, Deus is a FIT2 – WIPO Re:Search fellow at Monash University in Australia, working on metabolites/proteins signatures of drug resistant malaria parasites.
Dr. Tedjo Sasmono
Senior Research Fellow, Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Indonesia
Dr. Sasmono currently leads the Dengue Research Unit at the Eijkman Institute. He does research in dengue and other arboviruses and is on the National Ethics Commission for Health Research and Development, Indonesia and Research Ethics Committee of the National Institute for Health Research and Development (NIHRD), Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia.
The primary objective of Dr. Sasmono’s FIT2 research collaboration with WEHI’s Dr. Hansen and Professor Cowman was to identify the inflammatory pathways, effector cell populations, and molecular mechanisms associated with the development of severe dengue. Using state-of-the-art technology, including mass cytometry (CyTOF) and next-generation sequencing (NGS), Dr. Sasmono compared the immunological pathways involved during disease progression in mild versus severe dengue.
Ms. Tahmina Ahmed
Researcher, International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)
Ms. Ahmed received both a Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s degree from the University of Dhaka. During her sabbatical at the University of Melbourne, she investigated the antimalarial activity of two novel antimalarial inhibitors.
Dr. Paulo Ranaivomanana
Researcher, Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (IPM)
Dr. Ranaivomanana’s research focuses on tuberculosis, immunology, and life sciences. His thesis project was about study of host immune responses-associated to Mycobacterium tuberculosis dissemination and diversity of tuberculosis clinical forms. At the Mycobacteria unit of the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, he is involved in clinical TB research for evaluating and designing new promising diagnostic and prophylaxis tools for latent and TB disease, and improving TB treatment strategies in the country. His group is currently using genomic and immunological tools to support the National TB Control Programme in Madagascar for public health and research purpose by the TB diagnosis, the surveillance of TB transmission dynamics, and molecular markers of drug resistance. Meanwhile, he is a WIPO Re:Search fellow at WEHI institute in Australia, working on genetic and immunological signatures related to the extra-pulmonary dissemination of the TB bacteria by combining molecular genomic, transcriptomic, immunological and bioinformatic techniques.
Dr. Mohammad Shafiul Alam (Shafiul)
Associate Scientist, International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b)
Dr. Alam received his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Parasitology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His research interests include malaria drug resistance, point of care diagnostics for infectious diseases, host-parasite interaction, and vector control. He has received several fellowships (including a FIT fellowship) in the field of infectious disease diagnosis from the University of Tokyo, Fondaton Merieux, the University of Washington, and the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery.
Dr. Indra Wibowo
Assistant Professor at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Indonesia
During his sabbatical at WEHI, Dr. Wibowo examined the immune response of a cohort of Indonesian individuals and determined if the antibodies present had the ability to block parasite proteins from binding to their target cells. He received his Ph.D. from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and his Master’s degree from Wageningen University.
Ms. Dulcie Lautu
Researcher, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR)
During her sabbatical at WEHI, Ms. Lautu used novel genomic approaches to investigate drug resistant genes in parasites that were collected from Papua New Guinea. Her research interests include molecular surveillance and the development of genomic tools for malaria. She plans to build on this research and will start her Ph.D. later this year.
Dr. Abdirahman Abdi
Research Scientist at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, Kenya
Dr. Abdi is a molecular biologist with a special interest in Malaria. He earned his Ph.D. in the AntiMal International Ph.D. Programme, where he joined Professor Christian Doerig’s laboratory at the Unversity of Glasgow. In addition to a FIT fellowship, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship to study the secretome of the malaria parasite.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 25 million people suffer from onchocerciasis globally. Available diagnostics are unable to detect impalpable adult worms that reside deep beneath the skin, resulting in the standardization of long-term, preventative drug treatments that can endure for over 20 years corresponding to the worm lifespan. Dr. Stephen Ghogomu at the University of Buea has identified two secretary proteins as potential biomarkers for adult-stage onchocerciasis. He has shared the amplified PCR products with Dr. Horacio Bach at the University of British Columbia, who will express and share the recombinant antigens with Dr. Ghogomu to test the antibody response via ELISA with the goal of developing an on-site antibody-based device to detect adult stage O. volvulus.
Callie Weber graduated magna cum laude from Santa Clara University with her bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and a minor in chemistry. For her Engineering Senior Capstone Project, she partnered with two other women in bioengineering to design a frugal microfluidic sensor to detect E. coli concentrations in donated human breast milk to ensure safe distribution in rural breast milk banks. The team successfully developed this product from ideation to prototype and received a grant to fund travel to Mumbai, India for exploratory field testing at Sion Hospital. Additionally, she interned in the bioengineering department at Santa Clara University to continue development of an electrochemical lab-on-chip device that detects arsenic concentrations in water.
Senior Program Manager
Amy obtained her bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Public Health and International Studies, from the University of Washington. Amy later went on to complete her Master of Public Health, as well as her Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics from the University of Michigan. Her graduate studies focused on health behavior, health education, and health communications. Prior to joining the team, she was an associate at a digital health company reviewing mobile health applications and devices through behavioral science and usability lenses.
Laurie joined BVGH with 20 years of paralegal and administrative experience. She has a vast background in litigation with Seattle-area law firms and has worked in fundraising development with Providence Health System and the King County Bar Foundation. She has experience in recruiting and has owned her own business for the past 9 years. Laurie graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in English with a writing emphasis.
Cathyryne (Cathy) brings broad expertise in life sciences and grantmaking to BVGH, as well as over 15 years of experience in catalyzing and managing partnerships to promote research, advance product development, and improve health. Most recently, Cathy was a Senior Program Officer at the Life Sciences Discovery Fund, where she was responsible for grant program development, technology evaluation, award management, and communications. Previously, she was a Program Coordinator at SAIC (now Leidos), where she provided programmatic, scientific, and grant management support to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. Cathy received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences (cancer and neuroinflammation research) from the University of California (UC) San Diego, and her B.S. in Biochemistry from UC Davis.
Delaney is a graduate of the University of Washington where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science: International Security. As a fellow in the Global Leadership Fellows Program, she spent a year at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, which included researching the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster as a global health challenge and presenting solutions to a large constituent of academics, politicians, NGOs, and other organizations. Delaney has experience in digital and multimedia communications, and prior to joining BVGH, completed research projects focused on Europe and Asia that targeted global health and human rights challenges.
Joseph obtained his B.S in Microbiology, and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from UCLA. While completing his Ph.D. he was actively involved with UCLA’s Business of Science Center, where he led projects that evaluated early-stage technology commercialization. Due to his interest in healthcare, he participated in the Med Tech Innovation program at the Anderson School of Management where he worked on developing a medical device. Prior to joining BIO Ventures for Global health, he was a technology transfer fellow at the UCLA Technology Development Group where he assessed technologies for patentability and commercial value.
Katy Graef obtained her bachelor’s degree, Microbiology, honors, magna cum laude, from the University of Washington. She completed her Ph.D. in Virology at the University of Oxford, through the NIH Oxford Cambridge Scholars Program. Her graduate studies examined host-pathogen interactions of influenza viruses. Following her graduate work, she became a post-doctoral research fellow at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, where she studied tick-borne flaviviruses. Katy taught an undergraduate microbiology course and mentored numerous laboratory students during her undergraduate and graduate studies.
Craig Chesser has over 20 years of experience of finance and accounting management experience with companies in Dallas, New York City, and the Seattle area. He brings experience in a broad range of industries, including public accounting, venture capital management, health care, strategic internet technical and creative consulting, nonprofit, and specialty recruiting. Most recently, Craig was the Americas CFO for London-based FiveTen Group, a global recruiting firm with offices worldwide. He previously served as a volunteer CFO for a nonprofit organization in Seattle that provided health care services in Kenya. Craig is experienced in virtually all aspects of finance and accounting management, including financial reporting, budgeting, financial modeling and analysis, business planning, and process improvement. Craig, a Certified Public Accountant, received his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Kansas, and his MBA in Finance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Chief Medical Officer, Hospital Business Unit, Pfizer Inc.
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vandenbroucke leads Global Medical Affairs for the Hospital Business Unit, comprised of Pfizer’s Hospital, Anti-Infective and Sterile Injectables products.
Member of the Board of the American Federation for Aging Research; Member of the Advisory Board of the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and of the Keck Graduate Institute, Claremont, CA; Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Medicine of the United Kingdom and member of its Fellowship and Awards Committee; Module Coordinator Medical Affairs in Medicines Development, IFAPP Academy and King’s College London.
Dr. Vandenbroucke’ s career has been dedicated to Clinical Development, Medical Affairs and Marketing and has included stints in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Before his current position, he was responsible for Medical Strategy at Pfizer’s Global Patient Affairs, the Centers of Excellence for Pediatrics, Diversity in Clinical Trials and Health Aging, and the External Bioethics Advisory Panel. Prior responsibilities also include Medical Affairs of Pfizer’s Essential Health portfolio in North America and he previously also led Clinical Development of all Pfizer compounds in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa-Middle East and of Pfizer’s Established Products globally. He was also responsible for developing compounds specifically for diseases of the developing world, such as malaria and river blindness.
Prior appointments include Vice President, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, Canada/Latin America/Africa-Middle East, Senior Vice President, Medical Division Pfizer Japan, based in Tokyo, Director of Medical Operations, Asia and Australia/NZ for Pfizer, based in Hong Kong, and Medical Director, Lipitor based in New York, responsible for the international clinical development program of Lipitor.
Before joining Pfizer, Dr. Vandenbroucke was Medical Director, Sterling-Winthrop International; Cardiovascular and CNS Disease Brand Manager at Novartis Mexico, and Brand Assistant at Procter & Gamble Mexico.
He holds a Medical Degree from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), an MBA degree from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), and an MSc (First Honors) from Hibernia College (Ireland). He is a member of the Pfizer Latino PCC Leadership Team. He is fluent in Dutch, Spanish, English, French, German and basic Japanese.
Venture Partner, Palo Alto
Leighton is an American serial entrepreneur and venture investor with a long track record of building companies that have commercialised important medicines and life-science technologies. From 2000 – 2008 he was a managing director of Alloy Ventures, an early-stage firm investing in life science and technology companies. As a Venture Partner today, Leighton continues to manage his portfolio of companies at Alloy. Leighton joined Brandon Capital, a Venture firm in Australia, as a Venture Partner in 2014 where he manages a growing portfolio of companies and advises the firm on investments.
Previously, he founded Affymax NV (with Alejandro Zaffaroni) where he served as Managing Director and President of the Pharma Division, sold to Glaxo SmithKline and spun out Affymetrix and Maxygen. He was the founding investor, Chairman and CEO of Aviron which developed FluMist™, the intranasal influenza vaccine acquired by MedImmune. Leighton has been a director of companies ranging from biotechnology, medical devices, materials science, energy and software. His current portfolio companies are Alexza, AnaptysBio, Cambrios, Genomatica, Siluria and Synergy Eyes.
Leighton received a B.S. from Rice University in Houston in Psychology and Biology, an MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and completed internal medicine training at Duke and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, where he held appointments at the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health. His research dealt with applications of decision theory in medicine and policy regarding medical innovation. He produced a successful interactive game in 1984 to promote healthy lifestyles and carried this interest as Co-founder of Seriosity and co-authored (with Byron Reeves) Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete.
Leighton serves as a director or advisor for a number of private companies and non-profits, including The BeneTech Initiative, BIO Ventures for Global Health and The UC Berkeley School of Public Health Council. His awards include several as co-inventor of technology underlying the Affymetrix GeneChip™ and Ernst & Young’s Northern California Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year.
Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics, Dean of Global Health, and Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health, University of Chicago
Olufunmilayo I. Olopade is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics, Dean for Global Health, and Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at the University of Chicago. Professor Olopade develops innovative strategies for comprehensive cancer risk assessment and prevention based on evolving understanding of genetic and non- genetic factors in individual patients, with a focus on women of African ancestry across the Diaspora. She has received numerous honors and awards, including honorary degrees from North Central, Dominican, Bowdoin, and Princeton Universities; MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist and Exceptional Mentor Award; American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship; Officer of the Order of the Niger Award; and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Want Award. She is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and currently serves on the board of directors for Susan G. Komen, Cancer IQ, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and MacArthur Foundation.
Co-Founder and CEO, ABD Group
John Nevergole is co-founder and CEO of the ABD Group. John has lead investments and projects in countries in every region of Africa and has been involved in over $2 billion USDs of investment across the continent. Outside of Africa John has advised on transactions in Colombia, Brazil and the United Sates. In these various capacities he has partnered with and advised leaders of Fortune 500 firms, government leaders, and investors in sectors including aviation, agriculture, energy/infrastructure, healthcare, mining, and telecommunications. John is a Senior Advisor to Rosemont Seneca Advisors.
Previously John was the founder of Team One Parking, a parking company with activities in Philadelphia and was the accountant for the Southeastern United States in ARAMARK’s Healthcare Division. John has a BS from the University of Maryland and a MBA from Babson College. Additionally, John is a founding board member of SOS du Coeur.
Chief Legal Officer, Acer Therapeutics
Don is an advisor and consultant to the biopharmaceutical industry, with substantial experience in global health. He is currently the chief legal officer at Acer Therapeutics and former lead independent director for Achieve Life Sciences (Nasdaq: ACHV), a publicly held biotechnology company. Achieve is developing a product to address nicotine addiction and smoking cessation, one of the world’s largest health issues. Most recently he was Chief Legal Officer at KaloBios Pharmaceuticals from 2013-2015. Prior to KaloBios, Don was BVGH’s Chairman from 2012-2015, CEO for 2012, and COO from 2010-2011. Before joining BVGH, Don served in senior executive positions in both legal and business roles at private and publicly held biopharmaceutical companies, including Amarin, Renovis and Abgenix. He has consulted for a number of biopharmaceutical companies and previously served as COO of the Institute for OneWorld Health, a non-profit pharmaceutical company devoted to developing new and affordable medicines for neglected diseases. Don is also a strategic advisor for the SPARK program at the Stanford University School of Medicine. SPARK is a unique partnership between university and industry whose purpose is to provide the education and mentorship necessary to advance research discoveries from the bench to the bedside. Don has previously been a member of the strategic advisory board for the Center for World Health and Medicine, a non-profit developer of treatments for rare and neglected diseases.
Don has extensive business and legal experience, with more than 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry. His industry projects have included a wide array of commercial, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, collaboration, and financing transactions, while providing business guidance for R&D, product launches, and sales and marketing. His therapeutic areas of experience include neurology, oncology, and antibody technology, as well as malaria and infectious diseases.
Prior to entering the biopharmaceutical industry, Don was an international partner in the San Francisco/Palo Alto office of Baker & McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms. He received his law degree from the University of Texas Law School, and a BA from the University of Oklahoma.
Chairman of the Boards of Idera Pharmaceuticals, Pieris Pharmaceuticals, and Orchard Therapeutics
Jim Geraghty is an industry leader with over 30 years of strategic experience, including more than 25 years as a senior executive at biotechnology companies developing and commercializing innovative therapies. Mr. Geraghty is chairman of the boards of Idera and Pieris Pharmaceuticals and of Orchard Therapeutics, and a member of the board of Voyager and Fulcrum Therapeutics. He was from 2013-16 an entrepreneur in residence at Third Rock Ventures, and before that served as senior vice president, North America strategy and business development at Sanofi. He spent over 20 years at Genzyme, one of the world’s leading biotech companies, as senior vice president of international development, president of Genzyme Europe, and founding president and CEO of Genzyme Transgenics. He started his career in healthcare strategy consulting at Bain. A graduate of the Yale Law School, Mr. Geraghty also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown.
President Emeritus, Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Carl is the former president of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in Washington, D.C. He came to Washington D.C. in 1973 as an assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate special prosecution force to work with Archibald Cox to investigate and prosecute the Watergate scandal. Prior to his appointment as president of BIO, Carl was chief of staff to Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) of Pennsylvania. He was also president and founder of the Palomar Corporation, a national security “think tank” in Washington, D.C. Before founding the Palomar Corporation, Carl was assistant to the Secretary of Energy and served as the Inspector General for defense intelligence in the U.S. Department of Defense.
In 1979, Carl was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from Defense Secretary Harold Brown. He received the Christopher Medal for his book Looking the Tiger in the Eye: Confronting the Nuclear Threat, which was also designated by the New York Times as a notable book of the year for 1988. Additional awards include “Best of Biotech 1995,” Special Recognition for an Individual awarded by 140 biotechnology CEOs “for leadership of the Biotechnology Industry Organization which has emerged as a truly effective platform for the industry” and Member “Biotechnology Hall of Fame,” 2001 Election by biotech CEOs.
Carl received his BS in Biology from Princeton University and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
President, BIO Ventures for Global Health
Jennifer has 20+ years of broad-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience, including negotiation and structuring of deals, and management of global discovery and commercial alliances. Jennifer began her career as a sales representative in Canada working in a variety of positions for Parke Davis/Pfizer and Genentech. Following the acquisition of Genentech Canada by Roche, Jennifer held a number of senior management positions in marketing, life cycle management, global product strategy, business development, and alliance management at Roche and Genentech in Canada, Switzerland, New Jersey, and South San Francisco. Jennifer co-founded Sound Biotechnology, and prior to that, served as Vice President, Business Development, Marketing, and Sales at CombiMatrix Corporation in Washington.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BSc, and she received her executive MBA at Western’s Richard Ivey School of Business.
Chairman, Nektar Therapeutics
Rob Chess is a serial entrepreneur in the life sciences field and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He currently is Chairman of Nektar Therapeutics, (NASDAQ:NKTR), a health care biotechnology company, and Biota Technologies, a start-up he co-founded which is developing industrial applications of the analysis of microbial communities. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Pelvalon, a medical device company, and Twist Biosciences, which is pioneering a new high throughput system for producing synthetic genes. Rob joined Nektar as its first non-founder employee in 1991 and led the company as CEO through 1999 and as Chairman since then. Rob co-founded and was President of Penederm, a dermatology company that went public and was acquired by Mylan Laboratories, and was the start-up CEO and later Chairman of OPX Biotechnologies, a renewable chemicals company, which was sold to Cargill. He started his career in the technology field and held management positions at Intel and Metaphor Computer Systems (later acquired by IBM). Rob served on the White House Staff in the first Bush Administration as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of the White House Office of Economic and Domestic Policy.
In additional to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Rob is on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches courses in the MBA program on new venture formation and on the health care industry. He is a trustee of Caltech, Chairman of the Trustee Technology Transfer Committee, and was visiting professor at Caltech teaching entrepreneurship. Rob was a long-time Board member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization where he was chairman of the Emerging Companies Section and co-chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee. He is the former Chairman and current Board member of Bio Ventures for Global Health, and was a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development where he was co-chairman of their Health Care task force. Rob received a BS in engineering with honors from Caltech and an MBA from Harvard.
Chairman, BVGH Board of Directors; President & CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Jim is President & CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in Washington, D.C. BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology products.
Jim represented Pennsylvania’s Eighth District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 through 2004. As a leader on healthcare issues, he authored numerous bills signed into law, including legislation to promote pediatric labeling for pharmaceuticals, reform medical device review and approval, and expand research and establish innovative programs to address traumatic brain injury. His legislation to reform medical liability insurance passed the House several times but stalled in the Senate.
From 2001 to 2004, Jim served as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation with oversight authority over all issues in the full Committee’s vast jurisdiction. He held hearings on topics ranging from bioterrorism to corporate governance to the safety of nuclear power plants.
Prior to his election to Congress, Jim served six years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly (1980-86) and six years in the Pennsylvania Senate (1986-1993). He specialized in health, environment, and children’s issues.
Jim graduated from Dickinson College in 1973 with a BA in Social Work. From 1977 until 1980, he worked as a social worker with abused and neglected children at the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Service Agency.