The LifeSci Advisory Board on Gender Diversity is focused on helping life science companies recognize the value of gender diversity at senior executive and board levels, and on increasing the visibility of talented, skilled and qualified women and business leaders. The LifeSci Advisory Board on Gender Diversity will work toward measurable results, including increasing the number of women on corporate boards and in executive positions in public and private life sciences companies, providing more networking and mentoring opportunities for mid- and senior level female professionals in the life sciences industry, and encouraging young women’s involvement in STEM fields. We believe that by generating awareness and visibility around data showing higher success rates for companies who have talented women in leadership positions, we can create a more successful life science industry as a whole.
Managing Principal, Knightsbridge
Barbara joined Knightsbridge in August 2006. As an investor for over 20 years and a former partner in two leading venture capital firms, she continues to build Knightsbridge’s portfolio of investments in the best early stage venture partnerships. Her association with Knightsbridge dates back to 1988, when as General Partner of Charles River Ventures from 1986 to 1992, Knightsbridge became an LP. At Charles River, she was responsible for a successful portfolio of health care, technology and consumer companies and served on the board of seven companies including Community Health Systems, Abacus Direct and FAO Schwarz. From 1992 to 1999, she invested with a life sciences focus as a Partner of Schroder Ventures, co-founding the SV Life Sciences funds and serving on the boards of eight companies including GelTex Pharmaceuticals, Ameripath and Allos Therapeutics. Since 2000, she was President of Blackwood Capital, investing in and advising private and public company management teams. Barbara’s career began as a clinical nurse manager, followed by IT consultant and account management positions with MCI Communications, where she was part of the original team creating the first email system to be offered commercially, and the Yankee Group, where she specialized in email and packet switched networks and was often quoted in industry press. Barbara currently advises several early stage companies. She is a member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum, served on the board of the Koch Center for Cancer Research at MIT, and is involved with several not-for-profit entities. She received an M.B.A. with honors from Harvard Business School and holds a B.S. summa cum laude from Boston College, graduating first in her class. Barbara’s passions include spending time with her two children, education and entrepreneurship. She also enjoys being an active contributor to the venture industry and her community through the HBS Association of Boston, the HBS Rock Center, her local parish and her children’s school.
Chairman of the Board and President, The Stem for Life Foundation
Dr. Robin L. Smith is a global thought leader in the regenerative medicine industry, one of the fastest growing segments of modern-day medicine. She received her M.D. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business. During her tenure as CEO of the NeoStem family of companies which she led from 2006 to 2015, she pioneered the company’s innovative business model, combining proprietary cell therapy development with a successful contract development and manufacturing organization.. Dr. Smith raised over $200 million, completing six acquisitions and one divestiture while the company won an array of industry awards and business recognition including a #1 ranking in the Tri-State region (for two years in a row), and #11 nationally, on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, and Frost & Sullivan’s North American Cell Therapeutics Technology Innovation Leadership Award.
In 2008, Dr. Smith founded The Stem for Life Foundation (SFLF), a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 educational organization devoted to fostering global awareness of the potential for regenerative medicine to treat and cure a range of deadly diseases and debilitating medical conditions, as opposed to merely treating their symptoms. In 2010, in order to bring the charity’s mission to a global audience, Dr. Smith forged a historic, first-of-its-kind partnership with The Vatican. As part of this relationship, The Vatican and SFLF collaborate to create high-profile initiatives that help catalyze interest and development of cellular therapies that could ultimately reduce human suffering on a global scale. In 2016 Pope Francis awarded Dr Smith Dame Commander with Star Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great April 2016. Dr Smith has served as Chairman of the Board and President of the Stem for life Foundation since its inception and is expanding its mission further under the Cura brand to bring resources to fund cell therapy clinical trials and assist in accelerating enrollment and completion.
Dr. Smith maintains a regular column on these topics for The Huffington Post. In June 2016, she was awarded the Women of Power and Influence Award from the National Organization of Women (NOW) and is the 2014 winner of the Brava Award, which recognizes top women business leaders in the Greater New York area. She was also a finalist for the 2014 EY Entrepreneur of The Year award for the New York area, recognizing entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and success in the areas of innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
In addition, Dr. Smith has extensive experience serving in executive and board level capacities for various medical enterprises and healthcare-based entities. She currently is Chairman of the Board of Directors of MYnd Analytics (MYAN.OB (formerly CNS Response), serves on the Board of Directors of Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ: RMTI), Prolung DX and Bioxcel Corporation, the advisory board of Hooper Holmes (NYSE:HH) and is co-chairman of the Life Sci advisory board on gender diversity. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the STOQ Foundation in Rome, Director of the Sanford International Board and the Board of Overseers at the NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC. She previously served on the Board of Trustees of the NYU Langone Medical Center and is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases. Signal Genetics (NASDAQ: SGNL).
As a business leader, entrepreneur, doctor and philanthropist, Dr. Smith is uniquely positioned to lead the global healthcare industry into the cellular future, where the cells of our bodies will stand as the foundation for a wide array of cures.
Partner, Domain Associates
Nicole joined Domain in 1999 and became a partner in 2004.With extensive experience in both public and private investing, Nicole’s current board memberships include Achillion Pharmaceuticals; Celtaxsys, Inc.; Cotera, Inc.; Esperion Therapeutics; Marinus Pharmaceuticals and VentiRx Pharmaceuticals. Past board memberships include Calixa Therapeutics (sold to Cubist Pharmaceuticals); Celator Pharmaceuticals (sold to Jazz Pharmaceuticals); Cerexa (sold to Forest Laboratories); Durata Therapeutics (sold to Actavis plc); Eunoe and Onyx Pharmaceuticals.In addition to investment responsibilities, Nicole is involved with the liquidation/distribution strategies for the public companies in Domain’s venture capital portfolios. For more than a decade, Nicole was responsible for Domain Public Equity Partners L.P., a fund focused on private investments in public companies.
Previous to Domain, Nicole was senior vice president at Rothschild Asset Management, Inc. where she had responsibility for the U.S. public market investments of International Biotechnology Trust plc and Biotechnology Investments Limited.
Previous to Rothschild, Nicole served as the director of corporate communications and investor relations at Cephalon, a publicly traded biotechnology company. Prior to Cephalon, Nicole spent 12 years at Eastman Kodak, where she held a number of positions including corporate development, where she was involved in the development and management of Kodak’s venture capital activities. She received her B.A. in mathematics and her MBA in finance from University of Rochester.
President and CEO, Dimension Therapeutics
Annalisa Jenkins, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P., President and Chief Executive Officer at leading gene therapy company Dimension Therapeutics, is a biopharma thought leader with nearly 20 years of industry experience. Prior to joining Dimension in September 2014, Dr. Jenkins served as head of global research and development at Merck Serono Pharmaceuticals from 2013 to 2014, where she also served as executive vice president global development and medical from 2011 to 2013. Prior to this, Dr. Jenkins held several leadership roles at Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) from 1997 to 2011, most recently serving as senior vice president and head of global medical affairs. Earlier in her career, Dr. Jenkins was a medical officer in the British Royal Navy during the Gulf Conflict, achieving the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander. Dr. Jenkins is a member of the board of directors of Ardelyx, Inc., Biothera Pharmaceutical Inc., iOX Therapeutics Limited, MedCity, and Vium and previously served as a board member of Prosensa Holding N.V. (acquired by BioMarin Pharmaceutical) and Viventia Bio, Inc. (acquired by Eleven Bio). She also is a committee member of the Science Board to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and a member of the European Union Commission’s Scientific Panel for Health. She also serves on the boards of Women in Bio and the Center for Talent Innovation (U.K.), is an executive committee member of Springboard Enterprises, and is on the Advisory Panel of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. Dr. Jenkins graduated with a degree in medicine from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in the University of London and subsequently trained in cardiovascular medicine in the U.K. National Health Service.
CEO, BioIndustry Association (BIA)
Since his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the BioIndustry Association in 2012, Steve Bates has led major BIA campaigns for, amongst other things, improved access to finance, the refilling of the Biomedical Catalyst, anti-microbial resistance and the opportunity the sector presents to generalist long term investors. Steve champions the adaptive pathway approach to the licensing of new drugs, the need for Early Access and is particularly proud of the working relationship the BIA has established with the UK’s leading medical research charities. A founding member of United Life Sciences, a strategic partnership representing over 1000 life science and healthcare member companies across the UK and internationally, Steve attends the UK’s Ministerial Industry Strategy Group, and sits on The Royal Society’s Science, Industry & Translation Committee. Beyond the UK Steve is a member of EuropaBio’s Board and its National Association Council and is a founder member of the International Confederation of Biotech Associations. An expert and regular commentator on the sector in the media and at industry-leading conferences, Steve has worked both in biotech (as Senior Director at Genzyme UK and Ireland) and at the highest levels of UK government (as Special Advisor to John Reid, MP, during his time in Tony Blair’s government) for over 15 years.
Former President and CMO of Furiex Pharmaceuticals
Independent Board Director and Biopharma Consultant
Dr. June Almenoff is an accomplished executive with close to 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, who brings extensive knowledge of clinical development, translational medicine and business development. Dr. Almenoff recently served as President, Principal Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Furiex Pharmaceuticals. During her 4 year tenure, the company’s valuation increased ~10-fold, culminating in its acquisition by Forest Labs/Actavis plc for ~$1.2B in 2014. Furiex’s lead product, eluxadoline (Viberzi TM), a novel gastrointestinal drug, received FDA approval in 2015. Prior to joining Furiex, Dr. Almenoff was at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), where she held positions of increasing responsibility. During her 12 years at GSK, she was a Vice President in the Clinical Safety organization, chaired a PhRMA-FDA working group and worked in the area of scientific licensing. Dr. Almenoff led the development of pioneering systems for minimizing risk in drug development; these have been widely implemented by pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies.
Dr. Almenoff is currently an independent biopharma consultant and Board Director: She is the Executive Chair of RDD Pharma and a member of the Boards of Ohr Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: OHRP), Tigenix NV (Euronext: TIG) and Valanbio. She also serves on the investment advisory board of the Harrington Discovery Institute (University Hospitals, Cleveland) and the advisory boards of Redhill Biopharma (Nasdaq: RDHL) and numerous private companies.
Dr. Almenoff received her B.A. cum laude from Smith College and graduated with AOA honors from the M.D.-Ph.D. program at the Icahn (Mt. Sinai) School of Medicine. She completed post-graduate medical training at Stanford University Medical Center (Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases) and served on the faculty of Duke University School of Medicine. She is an adjunct Professor at Duke and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
SVP and CFO, Theravance Biopharma
Renee Gala is the SVP and Chief Financial Officer of Theravance Biopharma (NASDAQ: TBPH), a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on anti-infectives and diseases of the lung and GI tract. As CFO, she oversees the finance, accounting and tax functions, investor relations, IT, facilities, and corporate/business development. In addition, Renee is the co-founder and executive sponsor of a leadership development program for female leaders at the company, designed to drive business success and build leadership bench strength from within. Renee joined Theravance, Inc. in 2006 and held various roles in the finance organization before leading the company’s separation of the biopharmaceutical business from the royalty company in 2014. From 2001 to 2006, Renee worked at Eli Lilly and Company, where she held positions of increasing responsibility in global treasury, pharmaceutical sales, and corporate strategy/business development. Prior to joining Eli Lilly, she spent seven years in the energy industry in the U.S. and internationally in positions focused on corporate finance, project finance, and mergers and acquisitions. Renee currently serves on the Board of Directors of Corcept Therapeutics. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. She resides in Burlingame, California with her husband and their four children.
Non-Executive Director, Discuva
Dr. Ursula M. Ney has more than thirty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, with twenty years in leadership roles in the Biotech sector. She was Director of Development and on the Board of Celltech plc, and later COO and Executive director of another UK public company Antisoma plc. More recently she was CEO of the private company Genkyotex SA and is currently a Non-Executive Director on the board of Discuva, a Cambridge, UK based start up. In her roles at Celltech and Antisoma she had responsibilities for operations in the USA and Europe and has broad experience of drug development across a range of therapeutic areas and products in both territories including in partnership with a number of major US based pharma companies. Her responsibilities have also included licensing and M&A and she has considerable experience of corporate and commercial strategies in the biotech sector. Her early career was spent at Sandoz (Switzerland) then Roche (UK) after obtaining a PhD in pharmacology from the Royal Free Hospital Medical School, London and later a MBA.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Palmieri was appointed President and CEO in January 2015. She joined Vermillion as Chief Operating Officer in October 2014. Ms. Palmieri brings to Vermillion more than 30 years of experience in the diagnostic laboratory industry, serving in numerous sales, operations, and executive leadership positions for both laboratory service and consulting organizations.Prior to Vermillion, Valerie was CEO/President of MOMENTUM Consulting. Prior to MOMENTUM, Ms. Palmieri served as CEO/President of two healthcare start-ups that resulted in a successful exit for one and won her recognition as one of the “Top 10 Entrepreneurs of Springboard Enterprises” for the other. She also spent six years as National Vice President of Anatomic Pathology Operations with LabCorp, the successor company to DIANON Systems where she served as Senior Vice President of Operations. She was a key leader in the sale of DIANON to LabCorp in 2003.
Ms. Palmieri holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from Western Connecticut State University.
Partner, Thompson Hine LLP
Faith Charles, JD, a corporate and securities specialist and law firm partner, has a 25+ year track record of results for public and private companies. Her specialties include corporate counseling and strategic advice in the biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics and health care information space including: U.S. and global business transactions and technology transfers; Angel and venture capital financings; Private placements; Public offerings (equity and debt); Mergers and acquisitions; Spin-offs, joint ventures, licensing and other strategic collaborations; Alternative financings; Corporate governance; and Compliance with SEC, Amex, Nasdaq and securities regulatory issues. Faith has authored articles and presents on topics including Alternative Financing Strategies, Strategic Collaborations and Biotech Entrepreneurs. She has been featured in Crain’s New York and profiled in The New York Times. She has earned recognition as a BTI Client Service All-Stars for service excellence, and from LMG Life Sciences for transactional and Life Sciences expertise. Faith is on the board of several early stage companies. She has spoken for and served as a panelist and moderator for such organizations as Advamed, Springboard, and North Carolina Biotechnology Center. She has authored articles on topics including Alternative Financing Strategies, Strategic Collaborations and Biotech Entrepreneurs. Faith is the Founder and Chair of the New York Metro chapter of Women in Bio (WIB). She is also an Advisor to Springboard Enterprises and a member of their Life Sciences Council.
CEO, Demy-Colton Life Science Advisors
Sara Demy established Demy-Colton Life Science Advisors in 2008 to develop high-value added business development and investor conferences for the life sciences industry. Since that time, she founded Biotech Showcase, launched the Biotech CEO Summits, established Partnering for Cures, acquired the Trans-Pacific Health Sciences Dialogue and partnered on an early stage meeting, Life Sciences Summit. Prior to launching Demy-Colton Life Science Advisors, Sara was Vice President, Business Development & Investor Relations and head of the New York Office for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). In that capacity, she was responsible for building a portfolio of dynamic and cutting-edge programs designed to help biotech companies raise capital and form strategic partnerships. Programs and events launched and developed during Sara’s tenure with BIO included the BIO CEO & Investor Conference, BIO Investor Forum, BIO’s regional venture conferences, CEO boot-camps, the Business Forum at BIO’s Annual Meeting, BioEurope, BioEurope Spring, BIO Asia and the business development training programs. Sara is also responsible for developing and advancing “partnering” as an important business development tool that is now widely used in the life sciences industry to further their business objectives.
Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences
Kate Bingham is a Managing Partner at SV Life Sciences. She joined SVLS in 1991. Kate currently serves or has served on the boards of companies in the UK, US, Ireland, Sweden and Germany. She has been responsible for past investments in Affinium, Alantos, Auxilium, Convergence, ESBATech, EUSA, Hexagen, Kinetix, KuDOS, Leukosite, MedNova, Micromet, Oncoethix, PowderMed, RespiVert and Vantia and current investments including Atopix, Autifony, Bicycle, Calchan, Kalvista, Karus, Kesios, Pulmocide, TopiVert and VHSquared. Kate has played an active role in setting up the new Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) and serves on the DDF Investment Committee as well as the Investment Committees for all SV’s funds. Prior to joining SVLS, Kate worked in business development for Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company in Cambridge, MA and at Monitor Company, a strategy consulting firm. Kate has a first class degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University and graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA (Baker Scholar).
President, Springboard Enterprises
Amy Millman is a passionate advocate for women entrepreneurs building Big Businesses Starting Small. In 2000, she co-founded Springboard Enterprises, a non-profit venture catalyst which sources, coaches, showcases and supports women-led companies seeking equity capital for product development and expansion. Springboard has assisted hundreds of women entrepreneurs in raising billions in investments and connecting with thousands of expert resources. The successes of Springboard entrepreneurs include 10 IPOs, legions of high value M&As and a community of accomplished serial entrepreneurs. During her career in Washington, DC, she served as a representative for several industry groups and was appointed as Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council during the Clinton Administration. She served on the boards of many organizations including her current service with JumpStart Inc. and Enterprising Women Magazine. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and holds a Masters degree from The George Washington University.
Independent Strategy Consultant
Nazira Amra is a physician and experienced pharmaceutical commercial leader who has spent the last 18 years working at the intersection of both strategy and operations in both big and small pharma, delivering results in product launch as well as later stages of the product life cycle across developed and emerging markets. Nazira most recently served as Vice President of Global Commercial Strategy at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat chronic liver disease, and she has held numerous senior leadership positions spanning over 14 years at Sanofi. As Head of Operations, Central and West Africa, she led Sanofi’s business efforts in over 20 sub-saharan African countries with oversight of over 300 employees and 100M€ in turnover. Additionally, she served as Sanofi’s Vice President Global Launch Preparation Unit where she was responsible for providing a full range of global commercial support in order to successfully launch new biologics (Otamixaban, sarilumab, and anti-IL4) from Phase IIb onwards. As VP of Global Strategy, Cardio Thrombosis, she led a cross- functional unit (medical, market access, communications, market research and marketing) responsible for the global strategic direction of Multaq, a product she launched globally, Lovenox, as well as pipeline assets Otamixaban and Semuloparin. Nazira started her career at Sanofi in global product management for Plavix, which became one of the most successful blockbusters in the industry. She received her MD from McGill University in Canada and her MBA from INSEAD.