The Top 25 Biotech CEOs of 2021

The Healthcare Technology Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Biotech CEOs of 2021. The past twelve months, more than any other period in recent history, have showcased the outstanding talent, ingenuity, and determination of the world’s leading biotechnology executives and their organizations. Responding proactively to the day’s most pressing needs, these CEOs lean in, take on daunting risks head-on and boldly charge forth for the benefit of healing not only the vulnerable segments of our population but in some cases humanity at large.

In the areas of vaccine development, oncology, regenerative medicine, vascular disease, autoimmune disease, pain management, neurodegenerative disease, ophthalmology, and other areas, these CEOs have successfully advanced research and brought breakthrough drugs and treatments to market, some after long periods of challenging research and development and others in record-breaking time. Notably, many of the awardees have also successfully guided their companies through rapid organizational and financial growth.

Each of this year’s honorees has made remarkable strides for the biotechnology industry, from leading the quest to develop vaccines for the novel coronavirus to changing the way the industry develops and tests new treatments. From hundreds of nominees, these executives have stood out for their continued dedication to patient care, and for their significant contributions to the advancement of medicine. Please join us in recognizing the accomplishments of The Top 25 Biotech CEOs of 2021.


1. Stéphane Bancel
Company: Moderna Therapeutics
Title: Chief Executive Officer

Stéphane Bancel is the Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna Therapeutics. The firm focuses on drug discovery, drug development, and vaccine technologies based exclusively on messenger RNA (mRNA). The company made global headlines in November 2020 when it announced that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, had shown preliminary evidence of 94% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 disease, with only minor flu-like side effects. Subsequently, the mRNA-1273 has been granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in the U.S. and Canada, earning the biotech company a contract from the government worth $1.97 billion. Moderna now accounts for about 50% of the U.S. COVID vaccine supply.

Since 2011, Moderna has been led by CEO Bancel, a French businessman with a pharmaceutical sales and operations background. Bancel is also the company's largest shareholder and is listed as a co-inventor on more than 100 of Moderna's early patent applications. Before Moderna, Bancel served as CEO of French diagnostics company BioMérieux. Bancel holds two master's degrees in engineering, from École Centrale Paris and the University of Minnesota. In 2000, he received his Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University.


2. Allen Eaves
Company: STEMCELL Technologies
Title: Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Allen Eaves is the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of STEMCELL Technologies, a Canadian biotechnology company that develops specialty cell culture media, cell isolation systems, and accessory products for life science research. STEMCELL was launched in 1993 when Eaves needed a way to meet the increasing demands for a standardized and cost-effective way of growing blood-forming stem cells. Since then, STEMCELL has become the largest biotech company in Canada, with current global sales of $300 million.

Over the years Eaves has amassed a multitude of achievements, serving on numerous commercial and public boards to offer the expertise that comes from being at the top of his industry for several decades. In 1981 Eaves founded the Terry Fox Laboratory for Hematology/Oncology Research, and he served as the lab’s director for 25 years. Eaves was also a professor and head of clinical hematology for 18 years at the University of British Columbia, during which time he spearheaded the building of the Leukemia/BMT Program of British Columbia.

He has over 200 papers in leading peer-review scientific journals, and is a recipient of the prestigious R.M. Taylor Medal of the Canadian Cancer Society, among many more awards and honors during his long and illustrious career. Eaves completed his Bachelor of Science degree in biology and mathematics at Acadia University in 1962, and then two years later he earned his Master of Science degree in cell physiology. In 1969 Eaves received a Medical Degree at Dalhousie University before completing his PhD in medical biophysics at the University of Toronto in 1974.


3. Ugur Sahin
Company: BioNTech
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Ugur Sahin is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech, a German biotechnology company based in Mainz that develops and manufactures active immunotherapies for patient-specific approaches to the treatment of diseases. In 2020 BioNTech developed, in conjunction with Pfizer, the first mRNA vaccine for preventing COVID-19 infections. The vaccine offered a 95% efficacy and would later be used by countries around the world. In recent months, BioNTech’s value has soared past $21 billion.

More than a CEO, Sahin is a medical doctor, professor, immunologist, and a leader in the development of novel approaches to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He has pioneered several breakthroughs enabling the development of mRNA vaccines and other types of immunotherapies. Before founding BioNTech he served as a full professor in Germany at the Johannes Gutenberg University, supervising more than 50 PhD students. Based on his contributions to scientific discovery, Sahin has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the German Sustainability Award, the Mustafa Prize, and the German Cancer Award. Sahin studied medicine at the University of Cologne from 1984 to 1992. He received his doctorate summa cum laude in 1992, completing a thesis on immunotherapy for tumor cells. From 1992 to 1994 he studied mathematics at the Fernuniversität Hagen.


4. Michael Chambers
Company: Aldevron
Title: Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

Michael Chambers is the Founding CEO and Executive Chairman of Aldevron, a leading producer of plasmid DNA for the biotechnology and life science industries. Headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, Aldevron specializes in the contract production of nucleic acids and recombinant proteins (e.g., IVT and gene editing enzymes). A growing success since its humble beginnings in 1998, the company's client base now spans the globe and includes many leading organizations from the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to the smallest virtual startups. Notably, Aldevron manufactured the vaccine currently being used in Calviri’s preventative cancer vaccine trial, VACCS.

Until 2020 Chambers served as president and CEO of Aldevron, having co-founded the company as a college student with Dr. John Ballantyne, Aldevorn’s Chief Scientific Officer. He and Ballantyne, a fellow student, started producing plasmid DNA at scale in a small lab on their college campus for use by researchers in the biotech community. Over the next 20 years, they expanded and grew the business to become one of the industry's most respected contract manufacturing organizations. In 2018, Chambers was named one of the "100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs" by Goldman Sachs and honored at its 2018 Builders and Innovators Summit. Under his vision and leadership, Aldevron acquired Genovac Antibody Technology and completed an 80,000 square-foot building, the largest plasmid DNA manufacturing facility in the world. In 2020, Chambers stepped into the Executive Chairman role, being succeeded as CEO by Kevin Ballinger. Chambers received his Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology, biotechnology, and chemistry from North Dakota State University in 1997.


5. Charles Brown
Company: LifeLabs
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Charles Brown is the President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeLabs, a Canadian-owned company that has been serving the healthcare needs of Canadians for more than 50 years. By providing laboratory diagnostic information and digital health connectivity systems, LifeLabs supports 20 million customer visits annually and conducts over 100 million laboratory tests through leading-edge technologies.

Since joining LifeLabs in 2018, Brown is credited with using his three decades of success as an innovative technology leader to reshape the company's culture and focus to improve the customer experience. Brown has worked to evolve LifeLabs into a commercially driven organization that brings customer-centred value to market by empowering healthier outcomes for Canadians. Before joining the healthcare sector, Brown served as President of The Source, Canada’s largest consumer electronics and mobile retailer and Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Bell. During his tenure at Bell, Brown led the delivery of Bell’s telecommunications at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

On top of his impressive work experience, Brown has a passion for community service. He served as the chair of Kids Help Phone, Canada's only national 24-hour bilingual anonymous counseling service for children and youth. He is also a past member and long-time supporter of the United Way of Toronto and York Region’s Campaign Cabinet. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Ivey School of Business at Western University.


6. Amit Munshi
Company: Arena Pharmaceuticals
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Amit Munshi is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arena Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company founded in 1997 and located in San Diego, California. The company’s pipeline contains drugs targeting autoimmune diseases, vascular diseases, and pain. Arena underwent a major pivot five years ago, prioritizing its pipeline and focusing on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. In addition, Arena was recognized in 2019 when the company received the Deal of the Year Award for its global licensing agreement with United Therapeutics for ralinepag, in development for pulmonary arterial hypertension, with an $800 million upfront payment.

Much of Arena's current success has to do with Munshi, who took the helm as President and CEO in 2016, bringing with him more than 25 years of global biopharmaceutical industry experience in executive management, business development, product development, and portfolio management. Previously, Munshi served in multiple leadership positions for several companies in the biopharmaceutical industry, including Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Percivia LLC, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., and Amgen Inc. In addition to his duties at Arena, Munshi currently serves on the boards of Pulmatrix, Inc., Enterprise Therapeutics Ltd, and Galecto, Inc. For his many contributions and successes, he received the 2020 Entrepreneur Of The Year Award from Ernst & Young. As an undergraduate, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of California, Riverside. Later he went on to earn his Master of Business Administration degree from the Peter Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.


7. Ryan Watts
Company: Denali Therapeutics
Title: Co-Founder, President, Director, and Chief Executive Officer

Ryan Watts is the Co-Founder, President, Director, and Chief Executive Officer of Denali Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Denali is known for developing a proprietary blood-brain barrier platform for the delivery of therapeutic proteins to the brain. Headquartered in South San Francisco, California, Denali has had a streak of successful years, pulling off one of 2017's biggest IPOs worth $250 million, as well as big pharma and discovery company tie-ups with the likes of AbCellera, Sanofi, and Biogen.

Under Watts's leadership, Denali has advanced multiple therapeutic candidates into clinical testing for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and ALS. Watts has also led efforts to raise significant capital to advance Denali’s therapeutic pipeline and has been instrumental in forging partnerships to accelerate the discovery and development of medicines for neurodegeneration. Prior to Denali, Watts served as director of the department of neuroscience at Genentech. During his tenure there, he led the company’s re-entry into neuroscience. Watts obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Utah, before earning his PhD from Stanford University’s Department of Biological Science.


8. Adam Grossman
Company: ADMA Biologics
Title: Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Adam Grossman is the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of ADMA Biologics, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to manufacturing and developing specialty plasma-derived biologics for the treatment of immunodeficient patients. Based in New Jersey, ADMA currently manufactures and markets three FDA-approved plasma-derived biologics for the treatment of immune deficiencies and the prevention of certain infectious diseases. Through a subsidiary, ADMA also operates as a source plasma collector with FDA approval. In 2020 the company received the BioNJ Innovator Award for its success in helping immune-deficient patients.

Grossman has been a director of ADMA since 2007, and has served as ADMA's CEO since October 2011 and as ADMA's President since 2007. The biotech executive has over 20 years of experience in the blood and plasma industry. Prior to founding ADMA, Grossman was the vice president of National Hospital Specialties and GenesisBPS from 1994 and 2011. Before that, he worked at MedImmune, Inc., and at the American Red Cross, where he launched new products with the Biomedical Services division. Grossman received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from American University.


9. Scott Hutton
Company: Biodesix
Title: President, Chief Executive Officer, Director

Scott Hutton is the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Biodesix (Nasdaq: BDSX), a leading diagnostic company with a focus on lung disease. Biodesix develops cutting-edge diagnostic tests by combining multi-omics through the power of artificial intelligence and has commercialized six non-invasive tests for patients with diseases of the lung. Upon joining the company in 2018, Hutton was critical in leading the company through the acquisition of the assets of Integrated Diagnostics, followed by an additional 2019 acquisition of the assets of Oncimmune USA. These were bold, strategic moves that significantly extended the Biodesix product portfolio. In 2019, Biodesix was named Company of the Year by the Colorado BioScience Association, one of the country’s most dynamic life-science organizations.

In January 2021, Hutton was named 2020 CEO of the Year USA by CEO Monthly for his determination, commitment to promoting business excellence, and innovative approaches. His leadership has helped Biodesix respond boldly to the COVID-19 pandemic and has carried the company through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in October 2020 while launching three new precision medicine products. Hutton is an accomplished and strategic transformational leader with over twenty years of experience in the medical and biotechnology industries. Before joining Biodesix, Hutton served as senior vice president and general manager of Spectranetics Vascular Intervention and spent 16 years at Medtronic, a global healthcare products company and manufacturer of medical devices and supplies. Most recently, Hutton served as vice president and general manager of Medtronic Brain Therapies – Neurosurgery. In July 2011 Hutton received the Medtronic Wallin Leadership Award. The biotech CEO holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University.


10. John Houston
Company: Arvinas
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

John Houston is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvinas, a biopharmaceuticals company focused on oncology treatment. Arvinas uses its proprietary PROTAC® Discovery Engine platform to engineer proteolysis targeting chimeras that are designed to harness the body's own natural protein disposal system to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease-causing proteins. This novel approach at targeting "undruggable" elements of the proteome greatly expands the ability to create chemical solutions for many new, previously unapproachable targets. As the company moves closer to bringing more drugs to market, Arvinas’ stock has more than doubled since March 2020.

Houston's success at Arvinas is not surprising considering his nearly 30 years of experience in the ranks of two major biopharma R&D organizations. Houston worked for a decade at GSK and 18 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he built a resume around constructing their drug discovery technology base while being credited with a key role in developing a range of major franchise drugs like Opdivo and Yervoy. In addition to his many roles at Arvinas, Houston also currently serves on the boards of directors of Oerth Bio, Cybrexa Therapeutics, and BioCT. Houston obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in medical microbiology from Glasgow University, then obtained his PhD in microbial biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He also completed his post-doctoral studies at Glasgow University.


11. Jeffrey Bailey
Company: BioDelivery Sciences International
Title: Chief Executive Officer

Jeffrey Bailey is the Chief Executive Officer of BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI), a rapidly growing specialty pharmaceutical company working to deliver innovative therapies for individuals living with serious and debilitating chronic conditions. BDSI has continued to deliver substantial quarter-over-quarter growth, despite the pandemic over the last year.

Bailey has an accomplished record in leading both public and private healthcare companies. He has leveraged his diverse leadership experience to drive value and growth for organizations. As a testament to his expertise in the pharmaceutical industry, in addition to his CEO responsibilities, he currently sits on two different company boards including serving as Chairman of Aileron Therapeutics. With a successful career that spans nearly four decades in the industry, Bailey has held executive positions at multiple companies, including president and CEO of Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., taking the company public in 2015. He also has extensive business development and transactional expertise that includes officer roles during King Pharmaceuticals’ acquisition by Pfizer and Fougera Pharmaceuticals' acquisition by Novartis and was chairman and CEO during Neurovance’s acquisition by Otsuka. Additionally, Bailey spent over twenty years at Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Pharmaceuticals. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University.


12. Mike Raab
Company: Ardelyx
Title: President and CEO

Mike Raab has served as Ardelyx’s President and Chief Executive Officer since March 2009. The company’s lead candidate, tenapanor, a wholly owned, first-in-class treatment accepted by the FDA in 2020 and currently under review, has placed Ardelyx on the cusp of another transformational year. Before Ardelyx, Raab was a partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the world’s largest and most successful venture capital firms, where he specialized in healthcare investments focusing on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Raab has a passion for the renal and dialysis community and has acted as a champion for chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients, seeing the inequities of government and private equity funding to support solutions for patients suffering from these life-threatening conditions.

Prior to joining NEA in 2002, he was a senior vice president in therapeutics and general manager of the renal division at Genzyme Corporation. In this position, Raab launched and oversaw the sales growth of sevelamer, the leading phosphate binder for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia, with over $1.0 billion in worldwide sales in 2013. Raab was also instrumental in the worldwide launch of Genzyme’s therapies for Gaucher disease, Ceredase and Cerezyme. He also spent two years with Genzyme’s diagnostic products and services division. Previous to Genzyme, Raab held business development and sales and marketing positions at Repligen and Bristol-Myers. Raab serves on the nominating committee on the emerging board for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), is lead independent director for Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD), a global biotechnology company, and holds a chair position at Tempest Therapeutics, a privately held oncology company. Raab received his Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University.


13. Alec Ford
Company: Karius
Title: CEO

Alec Ford is the CEO of Karius, a world leader in liquid biopsy for infectious diseases. Ford joined Karius as its CEO in 2020 to lead the company into its next growth phase and he brings his significant experience helping emerging biotech companies achieve scale to Karius. In his role at Karius, Alec is committed to expanding the vision and applications of Karius’ breakthrough technology to help more patients suffering from infectious diseases.

Ford has over 30 years of experience in the genomics, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries, and has a proven track record driving commercial growth and performance for businesses in highly competitive and regulated biomedical markets

Prior to joining Karius as its CEO, Ford held various leadership positions during his 10 years at Myriad Genetics, a molecular diagnostic company, including President of Myriad Genetics Laboratories and President of Myriad Women’s Health. Most recently, Ford served as the Chief Operating Officer for Myriad Genetics where he led the design and execution of key business operations. During his time at Myriad, he launched new products and scaled new business units in Women's Health, Oncology, Urology, and Prenatal screening. Previously, Ford has held leadership positions at Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, Nektar Therapeutics, and Pfizer.


14. Brian McKelligon (tie)
Company: Akoya Biosciences
Title: Chief Executive Officer

Brian McKelligon is the Chief Executive Officer of Akoya Biosciences, a Menlo Park, California-based company that develops innovative technologies for life science researchers to enable spatially-resolved, quantitative tissue phenotyping at the cellular and subcellular level. Founded in 2015, the company is transforming how immunotherapies are developed with their two industry-leading platforms that empower researchers to gain a deeper understanding of complex health issues such as cancer. Their CODEX® system is the only benchtop platform that can efficiently quantify more than 40 biomarkers and is ideally suited for biomarker discovery. Additionally, their Phenoptics™ platform is the only end-to-end multiplexed immunofluorescence solution with the robustness and high throughput necessary for translational research and clinical trials.

When McKelligon joined Akoya in 2017, he brought over twenty-five years of experience working in the life sciences market, with a proven track record of building and commercializing products and services for both the research and clinical markets. Most recently he drove corporate and business development at Cellular Dynamics International (acquired by FUJIFilm) with a focus on the development and partnering of their four cell therapy programs. Prior to that, McKelligon built and ran commercial organizations at 10X Genomics, Thermo Fisher Scientific / Life Technologies, Affymetrix (IPO, acquired by Thermo Fisher), and Ingenuity Systems (acquired by Qiagen). He came to Thermo Fisher and Life Technologies through their acquisition of Ion Torrent in 2010, where he was an early employee and built the global commercial organization.


14. Joseph Payne (tie)
Company: Arcturus Therapeutics
Title: Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Joseph Payne is the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Arcturus Therapeutics, a leading clinical-stage messenger RNA medicines company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics for rare diseases and vaccines. Arcturus has proprietary technologies, validating partnerships, and an experienced team with deep expertise in delivery and RNA-based therapeutics. In addition, the company's diverse pipeline of RNA therapeutics includes programs pursuing rare diseases, Hepatitis B, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, cystic fibrosis, and vaccines. This includes a vaccine candidate for COVID-19, which is currently being co-developed with Singaporean scientists at Duke–NUS Medical School. Arcturus’ technologies are covered by its extensive patent portfolio (209 patents and patent applications) issued in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, and other countries.

Much of Arcturus' successes can be ascribed to Payne’s work as CEO, contributing an exceptional track record of ushering novel therapeutics to the clinic. Payne's extensive background includes over 20 years of successful drug discovery experience at companies such as Merck Research Labs, DuPont Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kalypsys, and Nitto Denko. To date, he's been attached to over 40 publications and patents and seven FDA-approved IND clinical candidates. Payne received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Brigham Young University, followed by a Master of Science in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Calgary. Payne also obtained an Executive Training Certification from the MIT Sloan School of Management.


15. Michael Cammarata
Company: Neptune Wellness Solutions
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Michael Cammarata is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Neptune Wellness Solutions, a plant-based wellness company specializing in products derived from cannabis. Founded in 1998, the publicly traded Canadian/American company is based in Quebec, Canada, with U.S. headquarters scheduled to open later this year in Jupiter, Florida. Underpinned by a disruptive spirit, Neptune Wellness has increased its position in the budding cannabis industry through research, development, and the commercialization of cannabinoids in household products. With an ongoing collaboration agreement with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. and the recent purchase of a controlling interest in Sprout Foods, Neptune is a promising newcomer to the industry.

CEO Michael Cammarata has a personal mission to invest in and scale companies that make sustainable innovation and modern wellness accessible to all consumers. Previously, Cammarata invested in and cofounded Schmidt's Naturals, one of the world's fastest-growing wellness brands. Cammarata led the company from start-up to acquisition in 2017 by Unilever, staying on as division CEO until 2019. Raised in New York, Cammarata gained an early reputation as an innovative entrepreneur, making his first $1 million at just 13 and having launched three profitable companies by the time he was 20.


16. Michael Bailey
Company: AVEO Oncology
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Michael Bailey is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AVEO, an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company committed to delivering medicines that provide a better life for cancer patients. AVEO's proprietary Human Response Platform provides the company unique insights into cancer biology and is being leveraged in the discovery and clinical development of its cancer therapeutics. Lately, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company has been making moves with its pipeline program, including regaining Ficlatuzumab’s worldwide rights, while preparing for the potential U.S. commercial launch of its lead candidate, Tivozanib, which has already been approved for adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand, and Iceland.

AVEO's future is in good hands with Bailey at the wheel. The CEO has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having been instrumental in the commercial planning and launch of several new medicines across multiple oncology indications. Bailey first joined AVEO as the company’s chief commercial officer in 2010 and subsequently served as its chief business officer prior to his appointment as CEO and member of their board. Previously, Bailey held a variety of leadership roles in commercial operations, including ImClone Systems (now Eli Lilly), Genentech, Synta Pharmaceuticals, and Smithkline Beecham. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from St. Lawrence University and later earned a Master of Business Administration degree in international marketing from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.


17. Adi Hoess
Company: Affimed NV
Title: Chief Executive Officer

Adi Hoess is the Chief Executive Officer of Affimed NV, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing cancer immunotherapies. Based in Germany, Affimed (formerly known as Affimed Therapeutics BV) has generated a pipeline of drug candidates based on its proprietary Redirected Optimized Cell Killing (ROCK®) platform, including its lead product candidate, AFM13, which is currently in a Phase 2 registration-directed clinical trial for CD30-positive relapsed/refractory peripheral T cell lymphoma. Affimed was founded in 2000 as a spin-off from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.

With over two decades of professional experience under his belt, Hoess joined Affimed in 2010, later taking over as CEO in 2011. Under his leadership, Affimed has been transformed and elevated from an early stage, pre-clinical engineering company of 20 employees to a late-stage clinical development pioneer of innate immune system activation for cancer treatment with more than 100 employees focused on developing therapies to help give patients their lives back. Prior to Affimed, Hoess held executive positions at organizations such as Jenowis AG, the Molecular Medicine Division at Carl-Zeiss in Jena, and MorphoSys. Hoess received his PhD in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Munich in 1991, and he also received a Doctorate of Medicine degree from the Technical University of Munich in 1997. From 1991 until 1993 Hoess worked as a postdoc at Harvard Medical School's Dana-Faber Cancer Institute.


18. Al Altomari
Company: Agile Therapeutics
Title: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agile Therapeutics, Al Altomari is passionate about pursuing the company’s mission: fulfilling the unmet health needs of today’s women. Altomari has led Agile through the development, strategy, and execution leading to the approval and launch of the company’s initial product, Twirla. Under Altomari's leadership, Agile continues to implement its commercialization plan for Twirla with the goal of becoming a contraceptive market leader and broadening its portfolio to better fulfill its mission.

Altomari has served as Agile’s Chairman of the Board and CEO since October 2016 and has been a member of the board of directors since February 2004. With over 39 years of diverse pharmaceutical experience, Altomari has held numerous executive roles in general management, commercial operations, business development, product launch preparation, and finance. Altomari has also served in various executive roles for leading healthcare companies including Barrier Therapeutics and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals Women’s Health Care Franchise. In 2012, Altomari was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award. In 2020, Altomari was given a PharmaVOICE Red Jacket Award for his work as a leader in the industry and community. Altomari received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting & finance from Drexel University in 1982, before earning his Master of Business Administration degree from Rider University in 1986. In addition to his work with Agile, he is currently a member of the boards of directors for TASK (Trenton Area Soup Kitchen), Insmed, Inc., and Baudax Bio, Inc.


19. Eliot Forster
Company: F-star Therapeutics
Title: Chief Executive Officer

Eliot Forster is the Chief Executive Officer of F-star Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing next-generation immunotherapies to transform the lives of patients with cancer. With F-star's antibody engineering platform, the company has an exciting pipeline that ranges from early immuno-therapy clinical assets to internal drug development. To date, the company has built a comprehensive IP estate, with over 200 issued patents and more than 60 pending applications, many of which have blockbuster potential. F-star is headquartered in Cambridge, UK.

Forster has nearly 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Before coming to F-star in 2018, he served as chief executive officer of Immunocore from 2015. Prior to that, he held executive positions at companies such as Creabilis Therapeutics, Solace Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Pfizer. Among his many other leadership positions, Forster is an honorary visiting professor at the University of Liverpool, as well as a board member of OSCHR (Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research) and the National Genomics Board. He holds a PhD from the University of Liverpool and a Master of Business Administration degree from Henley Management College.


20. James Dentzer
Company: Curis Inc.
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

James Dentzer is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Curis Inc., a biotechnology company headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts. The company develops therapeutics for the regeneration and restoration of human tissues and organs, specifically focusing on the development of innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Currently, Curis participates in a long-term collaboration with Aurigene and Genentech in the area of immuno-oncology. In December of 2020, shares of Curis skyrocketed by an extraordinary 420% in just two days, after the drug maker reported encouraging data from its early-stage trial in patients with cancer.

Since joining Curis in 2016, Dentzer has had a vital impact on the company's upward trajectory. While serving as chief operating officer for the company, Dentzer has leveraged his more than 25 years of experience to manage all functions outside of research and development, including business development, manufacturing, quality, human resources, finance, legal, IT, and investor and public relations. Prior to joining Curis, Dentzer was chief financial officer of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, where he led the IPO and successful follow-on financings. Earlier in his career, he held several leadership positions with Valeritas, Amicus Therapeutics, and Biogen. The CEO received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Boston College and a Master of Business Administration degree from the prestigious University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


21. Vipin K. Garg
Company: Altimmune
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Vipin Garg has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for Altimmune since November 2018. He has more than three decades of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries with a successful track record of building and leading private and publicly traded companies. Prior to joining Altimmune, he served as president and CEO of Neos Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NEOS), where he built a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company and launched several branded therapeutic products.

Before Neos he served as president and CEO of Tranzyme Pharma, where he progressed the company from a discovery-stage, emerging biotech to a NASDAQ-listed clinical-stage drug development company. Before that Dr. Garg served as CEO of Apex Bioscience, Inc. (acquired by Curacyte AGof, Munich, Germany). He has held senior management positions at DNX Bio-Therapeutics, Inc., until its acquisition by Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (formerly known as Sepracor Inc., now a subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma), and Bio-Response Inc. (acquired by Baxter Healthcare Corporation). Dr. Garg received his PhD in Biochemistry in 1982 from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and his Master of Science degree from IARI Nuclear Research.


22. Joseph Hagan
Company: Regulus Therapeutics Inc.
Title: President, Director, and Chief Executive Officer

Joseph Hagan is the President, Director, and Chief Executive Officer of Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on leading the advancement of microRNA therapeutics to treat a wide range of diseases. Pushing innovation, Regulus continues to build its intellectual property estate by developing products aimed at treating and preventing hepatitis C infections, cardiovascular, fibrosis, oncology, immuno-inflammatory, and metabolic diseases. Such achievement has resulted in multiple peer-reviewed publications in notable scientific journals, along with the formation of strategic alliances with two companies: AstraZeneca and Sanofi. Regulus is located in San Diego, California, and its scientific advisory board consists of some of the foremost authorities in the field of microRNA research.

As CEO, Hagan's scientific background coupled with his vast business experience makes him an ideal leader of the growing biopharmaceutical company. Hagan’s career includes several executive roles at Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc., which he joined after leaving Amgen Ventures. At Amgen, he served as managing director and led the acquisitions of Immunex and Tularik and the spinout of Novantrone and Relyspa, as well as many other business development efforts, totaling over $15 billion in value. Before joining Amgen, Hagan spent five years in the bioengineering labs at Genzyme and Advanced Tissue Sciences. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology and neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, before earning his Master of Business Administration degree from Northeastern University.


23. Bruce Steel
Company: Equillium
Title: Co-Founder, President, and CEO

Bruce Steel is Co-Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Equillium, where he has played an integral role in the company’s rapid growth and strategic vision. Since the company’s inception in 2017, Steel has fostered a company culture that focuses on the patient and patient outcomes. Steel has fostered an ethos at Equillium to advance the company’s unique first-in-class immune-modifying monoclonal antibody, focusing on how they will ultimately affect patient lives. Making a conscious decision to have the patient be a driving motivator for Equillium, and in an effort to help employees more deeply connect to the patient need, Steel established an annual team in-service day, where clinicians and patients are brought in to speak to employees about their experiences. His team has also hired former patients as advisors, to bring a heightened understanding of the patient experience and to have Equillium actively involved in patient advocacy.

Prior to Equillium Steel was the founder of BioMed Ventures, where he directed investments in over 30 biotechnology companies. Steel was also co-founder and CEO of Rincon Pharmaceuticals, CBO at Anaphore, and head of corporate development at Ambit Biosciences. He serves on the board of directors of Breathe Technologies and Aegea Medical and is a board observer for a number of private companies. Steel received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and Master of Business Administration degree from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He also holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst.


24. Frederic Guerard
Company: Graybug Vision
Title: Chief Executive Officer

Frederic Guerard is the Chief Executive Officer of Graybug Vision, a company that develops transformative medicines for ocular diseases of the retina and optic nerve. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Graybug's proprietary ocular delivery technologies are designed to maintain effective drug levels in ocular tissue for six months and potentially longer, improving disease management, reducing healthcare burdens, and ultimately delivering better clinical outcomes for patients with vision-threatening diseases, such as wet age-related macular degeneration.

Guerard has served as CEO of Graybug since 2019 and led the planning and successful execution of the company's IPO in September 2020. With over two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Guerard helped Graybug raise over $150 million between Series C funding and its IPO. Prior to Graybug, Guerard spent twenty years of his career at Novartis, where he most recently held the position of Worldwide Business Franchise Head Ophthalmology, among numerous leadership roles in the company. He also served on the Board of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and on the Board of Medicines Australia. Guerard holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy and a Master of Biological and Medical Sciences degree from the University of Rouen, France, as well as a Master of Marketing degree from the international business school HEC, Paris.


25. Tillman Gerngross
Company: Adagio Therapeutics
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Tillman Gerngross is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Adagio Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing best-in-class antibodies to broadly neutralize coronaviruses. Since being launched in 2020, the Boston-area company has been gathering steam among investors, having raised $130 million in two financing rounds. Adagio is among several biopharma companies taking the antibody route against existing and pre-emergent coronaviruses. And with a growing portfolio that includes multiple, non-competing antibodies with distinct binding targets, there is a reason financial institutions are backing the promising startup.

Leading the charge is Adagio's CEO, a scientist and inventor whose work has resulted in the founding of five companies and over a dozen U.S. and international patents. When he's not in the office, Gerngross is also a professor of bioengineering at Dartmouth College. Over the years, Gerngross has received multiple awards from the industry, including the Scientific American Top 50 Award for the most innovative manufacturing technology for his company Glycofi, which he co-founded in 2000 and served as an executive of until its acquisition by Merck & Co. in 2006. Later that year he joined SV Life Sciences as a venture partner, where his science-based advice has driven investment funds upwards to $1.6 billion. Gerngross received his Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in chemical engineering, followed by his PhD in molecular biology, from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria.