The Healthcare Technology Report is pleased to announce the Top 25 Women Leaders in Biotechnology of 2020. The biotechnology industry works tirelessly to develop innovative products to improve health outcomes, and the companies represented on this list exemplify just that. As the broader healthcare industry continues to transform, particularly with the pressures of the global COVID-19 pandemic, these companies and their women leaders have expertly incorporated cutting-edge research and technology to develop crucial drugs, vaccines, and treatments. The exceptional women selected for this year’s award have been instrumental in navigating the unique challenges faced by the biotech industry, across roles in research and development, regulatory affairs, marketing, executive leadership, and other critical areas.
In evaluating the awardees’ impressive professional backgrounds, reputation among colleagues, and expertise in their fields, it is clear that they have distinguished themselves as leaders within both their companies and the broader biotechnology industry. Their years of dedication to improving the lives of others will continue to have a substantial impact on the development of treatments and technologies that will tackle healthcare’s greatest challenges. Please join us in recognizing the accomplishments of this year’s Top 25 Women Leaders in Biotechnology of 2020.
1. Angela Hwang, Pfizer
Title: Group President, Biopharmaceuticals Group
Angela Hwang is the Group President of the Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, which comprises 80% of Pfizer’s revenues, and is a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team. In this role, she leads seven commercial business units, reaching patients in more than 125 countries with a portfolio of more than 600 products and medicines. Her leadership spans oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare disease, vaccines, primary care, and more. Each of these areas supports a robust innovative pipeline, and partners with Pfizer’s research and clinical development teams to bring breakthrough medicines to market.
Hwang has been with Pfizer for an impressive 23 years in a variety of roles spanning strategy, product development, marketing, sales, and general management. Previously, Hwang was the group president of Pfizer Essential Health, a leader in non-viral anti-infectives, biosimilars, off-patent sterile injectables, and emerging markets. Its Global Brands portfolio included many of Pfizer’s most iconic brands, including Lipitor, Viagra, and Norvasc. Hwang’s experience covers a wide array of therapeutic areas and medicines in all stages of their life cycles and across geographies. Just this year she made Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women of 2020” list. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and biochemistry from the University of Cape Town and a Master of Business Administration degree from Cornell University.
2. Andrea Wainer, Abbott Laboratories
Title: Executive Vice President, Rapid and Molecular Diagnostics
Andrea Wainer is the Executive Vice President of Rapid and Molecular Diagnostics at medical device company, Abbott Laboratories. Having originally joined the company in 1997, she's played a major role across the board within their pharmaceuticals business, including a role as divisional vice president and general manager for renal care. In her current role, Wainer manages two businesses for the company. As a leader in molecular diagnostics, she directs the analysis of DNA and RNA at the molecular level, while also spearheading the world’s leading provider of rapid point-of-care diagnostics. Despite her dual role, she has one goal; to provide clinicians with the tools for better outcomes. Her expertise and leadership have been critical in this area during the global pandemic, as Abbott has been active in developing rapid COVID-19 antigen tests.
Wainer has a long history of leadership at other big-name biotech companies such as Pfizer and Astellas. In her current 11-year tenure with Abbott, she has taken on multiple VP-level roles within the company, guiding each division she’s led to continued success. Wainer has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University, St. Louis, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
3. Ginger Gregory, Biogen
Title: Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Ginger Gregory is the Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Biogen, a pioneer and leader in biotechnology. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Biogen specializes in the discovery, development, and delivery of therapies for the treatment of neurological diseases to patients worldwide. Having served on the Executive Committee at Biogen since 2017, Gregory currently leads the company’s global HR function and organizational strategy. Bringing more than 20 years of experience to the company, Gregory’s knowledge of organizational optimization, as well as the inner workings of the industry, has been a significant asset to the company, contributing to its success as a leader in biotech advancements.
Gregory has held executive-level positions for several multinational companies across a variety of industries. This includes positions as the chief human resources officer at Dunkin' Brands, global head of human resources at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, and chief human resources officer at Shire Pharmaceuticals. Through these roles, she developed her marked expertise in strategic HR leadership, executive compensation, M&A, organizational culture change, c-suite leadership development, strategic staffing, senior-level team building, and organizational development. Gregory earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from The George Washington University.
4. Dr. Kimberly Smith, ViiV Healthcare
Title: Head of Research and Development
Dr. Kimberly Smith, MD, MPH, is the Head of Research and Development for ViiV Healthcare and has been fighting for causes since her teen years as a self-described “troublemaker” demonstrating for civil rights. That passion propelled her through medical school and a career in infectious diseases. She started treating AIDS patients in Chicago early in the epidemic and has made eradicating HIV her life’s work. As a clinician at Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Smith broke new ground researching gender and racial disparities in the HIV community. A pioneering woman of color, Dr. Smith is one of the first to lead research and development for a multi-national pharmaceutical company.
As head of R&D for ViiV Healthcare, the only company 100% dedicated to HIV medicines, she is working to revolutionize the management of HIV through regimens that decrease the lifetime exposure to medicines, and long-acting options that significantly decrease dosing days. During her tenure at ViiV, she has launched more than 25 late-stage clinical trials for seven new medicines and leads by living the company mission “to leave no person living with HIV behind.” Dr. Smith received her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Michigan.
5. Joan Sheehan, STEMCELL Technologies
Title: Executive Vice President, Global Sales
Joan Sheehan is Executive Vice President, Global Sales at STEMCELL Technologies, Canada’s largest Biotechnology Company. Rooted in scientific expertise and rigor, STEMCELL provides high-quality cell culture media, cell separation technologies, instruments, accessory products, and educational resources to scientists around the world working in stem cell, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, and cellular therapy research. Sheehan joined STEMCELL in its infancy. Over the next decade, rooted by CEO Allen Eaves’ unrelenting pursuit of scientific knowledge and dedication to quality, STEMCELL saw annual growth of 15-30%. Sheehan is seen as very much part of this success story; she played key roles in driving this growth through various roles in sales, technical support, education, marketing, customer service, and distribution & logistics. She took on overall responsibility for sales in 2004.
Under her direction STEMCELL’s growth continues at an average rate of 20% per annum. She has focused on establishing international offices and now has a team of highly trained, scientifically qualified sales managers and representatives in 15 different countries. She is driven by the pursuit of excellence in everything that STEMCELL does and in creating opportunities for her team and the scientists that they serve. Prior to STEMCELL, Sheehan trained as a medical technologist specializing in hematology and blood transfusion serology. She held positions at the New England Deaconess Hospital, the American Red Cross, and the Markham Stouffville Hospital, before moving to Vancouver in 1993. Now with her current position at STEMCELL, Sheehan aims for continued global expansion into biotechnology markets across Asia and Europe and ultimately strives to serve the scientific community.
6. Helen Sheridan, STEMCELL Technologies
Title: Senior Vice President, Human Resources
An experienced Human Resources executive specializing in high growth, culture-centered organizations, Helen Sheridan is the Senior Vice President, Human Resources at STEMCELL Technologies. STEMCELL is the largest global biotechnology company in Canada known for developing products and services that support academic and industrial scientists. She has been with the company for five years, bringing with her an immense portfolio of business experience spanning over 25 years. From a very young age, she traveled the world and as a result brings with her a strong respect for the diversity of human experience represented in organizations. Her personal purpose is to help build organizations in which people can grow and thrive and to deliver business results they can be proud of for their entire careers. She is known for her expertise in growth strategy and for aligning teams to achieve strong results in purpose driven cultures. She has a track record of success in achieving organizational effectiveness and alignment, and in executive coaching and leadership development.
Prior to STEMCELL Technologies, Sheridan was most recently the Global Head of Talent Management and Organizational Development for Finning International. Her three years at Finning came after her tenure as vice president of people, culture, and collaboration for Radiant Communications. She has held executive-level positions within the realm of HR for further companies including 1-800-GOT-JUNK, the Provincial Health Services Authority, Apparent Networks, and Crystal Decisions. She is a current board member of Ocean Wise and the British Columbia Technology Association and a prior board member for Atira Women’s Resource Society. Sheridan acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Victoria, before studying human resources at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in organizational systems, leadership & organizational development from Saybrook University.
7. Lee Ann Kimak, Bavarian Nordic
Title: U.S. Commercial Lead
Lee Ann Kimak is an award-winning Healthcare Marketing Executive and transformational leader with a proven ability to inspire highly productive global teams, create a customer-centric culture, and capitalize on market opportunities to drive strong contributions to revenue, profit, and market share. Currently, she is the U.S. Commercial Lead for Bavarian Nordic, where she successfully transitioned RabAvert®, a rabies vaccine, from GSK to BN. She built a high performing commercial organization, infrastructure, and roadmap, including defining expansion goals, annual revenue goals, and customer success measures. Kimak leads a team of highly talented marketing and sales members distributed across the U.S. and inspires them to perform at their best while fostering a culture of individual drive paired with team collaboration.
In Kimak’s prior role as global vice president, vaccines at Pfizer, she was a two-time recipient of Pfizer’s “Great Manager Award” and a two-time Vaccination Award winner. Prior to vaccines, Kimak was executive director for Premarin Family Marketing where she managed P&L for the greater than $1 billion Wyeth U.S. women’s healthcare franchise. Kimak was named Wyeth’s HBA Rising Star in 2007 and received the President’s Achievement Award. In addition, Kimak served on the Board of Trustees for the American Nurses Foundation, is a Founder of UNITY consortium, was accepted into the Forum of Executive Women of Philadelphia, is the founder and past president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA), and served on the Board of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania Women's Initiative: Girls Today, Leaders Tomorrow. Kimak received a Master of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Juris Doctor in health law from Purdue University Global. She also has a certificate in digital marketing from the Yale School of Management.
8. Dr. Sheila Gujrathi, Gossamer Bio
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Sheila Gujrathi, MD is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gossamer Bio, the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, acquiring, developing, and commercializing therapeutics in the disease areas of immunology, inflammation, and oncology. Dr. Gujrathi is the former chief medical officer of Receptos, and after it was acquired by Celgene, she and a few of her colleagues started Gossamer Bio in 2017. Dr. Gujrathi has been critical to Gossamer Bio’s success, leading the company through multiple successful funding rounds totalling $480 million.
She is no stranger to leadership. With roles as the vice president of the Global Clinical Research Group in Immunology at Bristol-Myers Squibb between 2008 and 2011, as well as a stint at Genentech from 2002 to 2008 where she held roles across the Immunology, Tissue Growth, and Repair Clinical Development Group and served as the Avastin Franchise team leader, it’s clear that this former physician has a burning desire to further develop the biotech arena. Dr. Gujrathi received her Bachelor of Science degree with highest distinction in biomedical engineering and Doctor of Medicine degree from Northwestern University in their accelerated Honors Program in medical education. She completed her Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
9. Dr. Angela Huskey, Millennium Health
Title: Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer
Dr. Angela Huskey is the Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer for Millennium Health. Dr. Huskey currently leads teams of clinical, regulatory, quality, and translational genetics professionals uniquely dedicated to the development of better approaches to patient care through clinical excellence, research, and education. In collaboration with her team and recognized clinical experts, Dr. Huskey formalized a data-driven approach to monitor the shifting landscape of drug use trends called the Emerging Threat Intelligence (ETI) ProgramTM. Dr. Huskey’s goal for this program is to provide meaningful, real-time insights into evolving trends in drug use nationwide and encourage rapid health responses.
Since the creation of the ETI Program, Millennium Health has entered into collaborations with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Ohio Department of Public Safety to provide real-time data on an ongoing basis. Huskey also recently co-authored a study with HHS that was published in JAMA. She is a frequent expert spokesperson for the company and her work has been featured in US News & World Report, The Washington Times, and USA Today. Dr. Huskey is a Certified Pain Educator (CPE) and was recognized as a ‘Pain Educator of the Year’.
10. Alice Chen, GRAIL, Inc.
Title: Vice President of Product and Head of Program Management Organization
Alice Chen is the Vice President of Product and Head of Program Management Organization at GRAIL, the healthcare company whose goal is to detect cancer early when treatment is more likely to be successful. Chen is a proven product management, strategy, and R&D leader who has successfully taken companies and their products from early research through commercialization stages. Since joining GRAIL in 2018, Chen has focused on leading cross-functional teams to achieve product development milestones from concept to launch for its flagship multi-cancer early detection test, Galleri™.
Before GRAIL, Chen held a number of leadership roles in healthcare. Chen was previously the director of product management at Natera, director of biomedical research at Progyny, and co-founder and chief scientific officer at Sienna Biopharmaceuticals. She also held research roles at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Chen is an inventor on nine issued patents or patent applications and co-author of 22 peer-reviewed publications in a variety of medical disciplines. Chen has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including awards from the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, National Science Foundation, Research & Development Magazine, the MIT-Lemelson Foundation, and Wall Street Journal where in 2011 she was named one of “Tech’s Top Women Under 30”. Chen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Science degree in engineering sciences from Harvard University, and a PhD in medical engineering and medical physics from MIT and Harvard.
11. Marissa Lee Song, GRAIL, Inc.
Title: General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Marissa Lee Song is the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at GRAIL, the healthcare company devoted to early detection of cancer to enable early treatment. Focused on alleviating the global burden of cancer, GRAIL has developed pioneering technology to achieve its mission. Song brings to GRAIL a wealth of industry experience across corporate governance, SEC compliance, and product development, and has proven to be a valuable asset in the advancement of Galleri™, GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection test, toward commercialization.
Song joined GRAIL after a 14-year tenure at Gilead Sciences, the research-based biopharmaceutical company, where she was most recently their vice president of corporate legal. While at Gilead, Song spearheaded the corporate governance and SEC reporting group as well as teams across finance, human resources, privacy, information governance, product development, and global facilities. Prior to Gilead, Song was a corporate associate at Fenwick and West, as well as a corporate associate at Latham & Watkins. Song currently serves on the Board of the Disability Rights Legal Center and was previously the Secretary and Member of the Board of Directors for The Parents Club of Palo Alto & Menlo Park. She acquired her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Law School.
12. Cynthia Pointer, ArcherDX, Inc.
Title: Senior Vice President, Global Payer Strategy and Relations
Cynthia Pointer is the Senior Vice President of Global Payer Strategy and Relations for ArcherDX, Inc. In this role, she is responsible for the strategy development, launch, and execution of global reimbursement and payer access in support of ArcherDX molecular pathology products and services. As of October 2, 2020, ArcherDX was acquired by Invitae. The acquisition created a global leader in comprehensive cancer genetics and precision oncology. Pointer has spent over 25 years in senior positions in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space. She brings immense experience and demonstrated success within the biotech industry, specifically the start-up sector. The specialties she brings to the company include vast knowledge in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid policy, commercial payers, infused products, oncology, hematology, genetics, medical devices, and rare diseases.
Prior to joining ArcherDX, Pointer served in major roles as the vice president of market access at Recro Pharma, vice president of market access and reimbursement at Osiris Therapeutics, and various leadership positions at Advanced BioHealing, Genzyme, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Pointer is uniquely qualified to achieve ArcherDX’s goal to transform care for cancer patients and expand access to best-in-class and personalized oncology across the globe. Pointer holds a Master of Arts degree specializing in clinical psychology from Marymount University.
13. Dr. Heather Steinman, The Wistar Institute
Title: Vice President for Business Development & Executive Director of Technology Transfer
Dr. Heather Steinman is the Vice President for Business Development and Executive Director of Technology Transfer at The Wistar Institute. Founded in 1892, Wistar is the first independent non-profit biomedical research institution in the U.S. and specializes in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, and vaccine research. Having joined Wistar in 2014, Dr. Steinman’s influence has been pronounced. She is credited for actively reducing barriers between biomedical research and its intended commercial applications. She has streamlined this process in order to enhance the Institute’s reputation for breakthrough science and technology innovation.
Dr. Steinman joined Wistar following an almost seven-year stint at the University of Pennsylvania where she held various roles in director-level positions. She was director of the Penn Center for Innovation, Perelman School of Medicine Office. Prior to this, Dr. Steinman devoted more than a decade to roles of increasing responsibility as a technology licensing professional for the University of Massachusetts Medical School focusing on biomedical sciences licensing and business development. Dr. Steinman received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and psychology from Baldwin Wallace University, a doctorate in biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Isenberg School of Management.
14. Pia Olson, Ora
Title: Chief Human Resources Officer
Pia Olson is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Ora, Inc., the world’s leading full-service ophthalmic research organization. With over 40 years of global experience in the field, Ora offers pre-clinical and clinical ophthalmic drug and device development and provides insight into clinical strategies and regulatory requirements. As Ora’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Olson oversees talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, performance management, employee relations, learning and development, organizational design, and the facilities function for the company. She brings with her over 16 years of extensive experience in all human resources functions and thrives in continuous improvement environments where significant investments of time and resources are focused on the company’s most important asset – its people. Her focus is to ensure a culture of inclusion, where employees feel heard, valued, and connected to the patient, and where they understand their important role in the overall mission of Ora.
Before Ora, Olson was the director of human resources for Lantheus Medical Imaging where she coached the leadership team on people strategy to meet business objectives. There she oversaw talent acquisition, employee relations, performance management, and learning and development, supporting over 500 employees across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada. She also worked at Pfizer to provide HR business partner support to 650 employees across the enterprise, spanning many divisions. At Pfizer, Olson also served as the Pfizer consultant with the Massachusetts Biotech Council and was the program director of the Wyeth Andover/Lawrence School Program for six years. Olson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
15. Anne Jones, Genuity Science
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Anne Jones is the Chief Operating Officer at Genuity Science, the contract genomics and data-sourcing, analytics, and insights organization headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Genuity is known for partnering with global biopharma companies to offer deep end-to-end discovery services aimed at catalyzing precision health to improve life quality for patients around the world. Genuity Science benefits from Jones’ 20 plus years working for world-class organizations in the life sciences industry, the expertise from which she funnels into her daily responsibilities driving Genuity’s mission.
Prior to Genuity Science, Jones was the CEO of Genomics Medicine Ireland, a role she held for two years. She was also formerly the vice president and general manager for the Pall Corporations Lab, Food & Beverage business, as well as the vice president and general manager of life sciences for Danaher Corporation over a four-year period. Before this, she helmed senior leadership positions at Agilent Technologies across eight years, including various VP roles in business development and chemistries. She is known for her exceptional business acumen and passion, which combined with her marketing knowledge, has made her instrumental in company growth across her career. She studied at the National University of Ireland and earned her PhD at Cancer Research U.K.
16. Christiane Buisson, Cerba Research
Title: Head of In-Vitro Diagnostics
Christiane Buisson is the CEO of Cerba Xpert, the world’s first in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) contract research organization. Cerba Xpert offers IVD manufacturers access to extensive services for their research, clinical activities, and marketing, with over 400 laboratories and a range of over 2,000 biological parameters available to clients. When CerbaXpert was merged with Cerba HealthCare, Buisson remained the Head of IVD for Cerba Research. Buisson first joined the Cerba Company working as the business and development director at Cerba Specimen Services almost five years ago. She was concurrently serving as deputy CEO within the year. She then moved over to CerbaXpert as deputy CEO in July 2018, before ascending to CEO less than a year later.
With over 30 years in the field in a multitude of senior roles, Buisson offers unparalleled expertise in her position. Among her many career milestones, Buisson impressively spent almost 15 years at PerkinElmer Human Health where she was the sales director for genetic screening (France and Spain), sales territory manager for genetic screening (France), and senior account manager for Diagnostics (France). She studied at the Emlyon Business School and received her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Bordeaux.
17. Natalie Bartlett, ZAGENO
Title: Chief of Staff
Natalie Bartlett is the Chief of Staff at ZAGENO, the leading enterprise marketplace solution connecting eCommerce to life science. ZAGENO streamlines the purchasing of lab supplies through its award-winning digital commerce platform. As such, it enables reliable purchasing of more than 20 million product SKUs from approximately 5,000 unique brands, saving time and costs for research scientists at small biotechs and global pharma organizations alike. Bartlett first engaged with ZAGENO as an investor before joining the company as its Chief of Staff in January 2020. She has since focused on recruiting top talent, employing and enforcing rigorous goal setting, overseeing investor communications, and identifying strategies for effectiveness and efficiencies across the entire organization.
Prior to ZAGENO, Bartlett spent many years in the investor community beginning as a platform manager at Redpoint Ventures before becoming the co-director at Rough Draft Ventures and most recently as an investor at General Catalyst. Beyond work she has pursued philanthropic pursuits as co-chair of fundraising for Women in Wireless, a global networking organization dedicated to connecting, inspiring, and empowering women in digital. Bartlett holds a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in communication, behavior, and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science degree in technology and innovation from Harvard University.
18. Dalia Argaman, EarlySense Inc.
Title: Vice President of Clinical, Regulatory Affairs and QA
A veteran in biotech with over 30 years in the field, Dalia Argaman is currently the Vice President of Clinical, Regulatory Affairs and QA at EarlySense, the medical device company working to improve patient safety with contact-free, continuous patient monitoring. Since its founding in 2004, the company’s continuous monitoring devices across the care spectrum have been proven to reduce rehospitalizations by 19%, the number of patient falls by 47%, and the number of code blues by 86%. Argaman has worked at EarlySense for almost 14 years and leads all regulatory, clinical research, and QA activities, managing teams across multiple divisions, and setting regulatory strategies for company products. She has also written and successfully submitted more than ten FDA 510K applications and is credited for establishing the company’s quality system to comply with FDA quality system regulations (QSR) and overseeing the products and regulations across many countries including the EU (CE, ISO 13485), China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore.
Prior to EarlySense, Argaman served in a diverse range of senior management positions within the medical device field. In her most recent position prior to EarlySense, she was the director of clinical and regulatory affairs for Glucon Medical. She also served for five years as the director of clinical and regulatory affairs for Combact Diagnostic Systems and was the clinical and regulatory affairs officer at Direx for seven years. Argaman acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Master of Science degree in chemical physics from Tel Aviv University.
19. Jennifer Burdman, PolarityTE
Title: Chief Intellectual Property Officer and Deputy General Counsel
Jennifer Burdman is the Chief Intellectual Property Officer and Deputy General Counsel of PolarityTE, the commercial-stage biotechnology and regenerative biomaterials company. At PolarityTE, she develops and implements the company’s IP strategy and counsels the executive management and board of directors on a large range of matters. Burdman joined PolarityTE from international law firm King & Spalding LLP where she was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office. It was during her time there that she first worked with PolarityTE as a client of hers before mutual interest was established in her spearheading the biotech firm’s legal matters.
She is an experienced trial lawyer with many successes under her belt, representing clients in trial and appellate levels in complex, high-stakes litigations. Her legal career saw her work as a counsel at Crowell & Moring LLP for nine years, as an attorney at Greenberg Traurig LLP for two years, and as a patent agent at Cooper & Dunham LLP. In 2016, Burdman was named to Law 360’s Intellectual Property Board after being profiled as a “Law360 Rising Star.” She has also been named in Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, The National Law Journal also honored her as a “Rising Star” in Washington, D.C. Burdman acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Dartmouth College and received her Juris Doctor from the Fordham University School of Law.
20. Irina Sher, Bioforum
Title: Vice President of Data Management
Irina Sher is the Vice President of Data Management at Bioforum, Ltd., the clinical research organization (CRO) providing unique and high-quality solutions for efficient collection, standardization, and reporting of clinical data. Since its founding in 1998, Bioforum has covered a lot of ground as a data-focused contract research organization with offices now open in Australia, South Africa, and the U.S., and relationships with many other countries globally. In her role as VP of Data Management, Sher develops and implements strategies and policies for data management that maximize results toward company goals. She personally leads and oversees all data management personnel, as well as directing and guiding the data management activities for the company. She expertly provides strategic leadership and data expertise to the development teams, ensuring high-quality data to support the execution of clinical programs and protocols.
Sher joined Bioforum ten years ago. Beginning as a clinical data manager within the data masters team, Sher quickly ascended to project manager, EDC team leader, and head of data management within five years before being appointed to her current position. Prior to Bioforum, Sher served as the epidemiology officer for the Israel Defense Forces for five years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Tel Aviv University and a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
21. Priya Mande, PsiOxus Therapeutics
Title: Chief Operating Officer and Board Director
A dynamic life sciences executive, Priya Mande is the Chief Operating Officer and Board Director at PsiOxus Therapeutics, a previous Fierce Biotech 15 winner. Today, PsiOxus is known for discovering and developing innovative gene therapy medicines of value for patients with cancer. Mande brings with her demonstrable success in creating significant value to big pharma and biotech environments. Over ten years, she has successfully overseen the growth of the company globally, holding responsibility for corporate development, project management, clinical, finance, legal, and operations.
Mande has nearly 30 years of experience, 12 of which she spent at GlaxoSmithKline, latterly supporting the R&D Executive. She has helmed roles across research, development, finance, and business strategy. This includes responsibility for the vaccine immunotherapeutic portfolio at PowerMed and was the vaccine research project leader for Influenza at Pfizer. She joined PsiOxus in 2010. She was awarded Chartered Director status in 2020 by the UK Institute of Directors. Mande is currently seconded to the prestigious UK Government Vaccine Taskforce in the quest to fast-track a vaccine against Covid-19, working across the National Health Service, academia, Her Majesty’s agencies, and private sector companies. With her inspirational leadership, creative problem solving, and passionate tenacity, she is a strong advocate for women and diversity within science. Mande studied applied biochemistry at Brunel University London and acquired a Master of Business Administration degree with distinction from the London Business School.
22. Dr. Li Xu, Transcenta Holding Limited
Title: Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Li Xu is the Acting Chief Medical Officer for Transcenta Holding Limited, the global biotherapeutics company with fully-integrated capabilities in the discovery, development, and manufacturing of antibody-based therapeutics. With its latest financing, the company has raised over $230 million from globally prominent investors to support the development of the company’s rich pipeline. Dr. Xu joined Transcenta in 2019. Bringing over 20 years of experience in clinical development, Dr. Xu has provided strategic leadership in advancing the development of the company pipeline and has been instrumental to Transcenta’s global development expansion.
Dr. Xu has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for more than 20 years in clinical development roles at multiple global pharmaceutical companies, namely Merck, Pfizer, and Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co. with a focus on oncology drug development. She led and participated in multiple pivotal trials of cancer drugs, which led to global approvals. With her extensive knowledge of the full cycle of drug development and understanding of unmet medical needs in cancer patients, she has focused on delivering corporate goals with high quality and speed at each of the positions she has held. Dr. Xu is also a venture partner at Lilly Asia Ventures where she provides medical and scientific advice to its portfolio. Dr. Xu is a strong supporter of young professionals in drug development and is the founder of Dr. Zhen-Quan Xu’s Young Oncologist Training Fund, in memory of her late father, to provide young oncologists with training in clinical drug development. She has also been a strong supporter of several professional organizations such as IASLC, CAHON in clinical research for young oncologists.
23. Laura Ayala, Karius
Title: Head of Marketing
Laura Ayala is the Head of Marketing at Karius, the biotech company that provides genomic insights for infectious diseases, enabling clinicians to make critical treatment decisions. Ayala is a marketing leader with unique expertise in bringing novel transformative healthcare products to highly regulated sectors. Ayala's key strengths include her ability to develop high-impact marketing strategies, product management, strategic communications, and regulatory compliance. For over 15 years, Ayala has led the marketing strategy and branding for varied products that revolutionize medicine, innovating at the intersection between accountable marketing and diagnostic stewardship. As the Head of Marketing at Karius, a start-up that is now the world leader in liquid biopsy for infectious diseases, Ayala is playing a critical role in defining marketing stewardship for a novel blood test in clinical use and is responsible for Karius’ brand with key stakeholders.
Before Karius, Ayala’s most recent position was as the senior product manager at Veridia Diagnostics, a role she held for four years. Prior to that Ayala worked across various marketing positions in the health space including as a marketing manager for CareDX, Inc., and as a management consultant for The Alexander Group. Inc. Prior to her commercial experience, Ayala worked in neuromuscular research at Massachusetts General Hospital. In her community, Ayala served as President of the Board for Upward Scholars, a non-profit organization that empowers low-income adults to pursue higher levels of education. Ayala obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in neuroscience and behavior with honors from Wesleyan University, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
24. Terry Crandall, Ironshore Pharmaceuticals
Title: Senior Vice President of Legal and Compliance
Terry Crandall is Senior Vice President of Legal and Compliance at Ironshore Pharmaceuticals Inc. Crandall joined Ironshore in November 2018 as Ironshore was preparing for the summer 2019 launch of its first ADHD medicine which utilizes a novel technology to enable evening dosing of a stimulant. Within Ironshore, Crandall is able to do what she loves best: roll up her sleeves and partner with her business colleagues to build a company from the ground up, to succeed commercially, but more importantly, to succeed in bringing medicines to patients to improve their lives.
Prior to joining Ironshore, Crandall worked in the legal department of GlaxoSmithKline from 1993 through 2009, supporting the commercial business in numerous therapeutic areas including dermatology, HIV, and respiratory. In 2009, Crandall moved into ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture formed between GSK and Pfizer focusing on the development and commercialization of HIV medicines globally. From 2009 to 2017, Crandall served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for ViiV Healthcare, where she oversaw legal and compliance for the company worldwide. In 2017, Crandall formed her own consulting agency where she had the good fortune to begin work with Ironshore, and she left her consulting business to move in-house to Ironshore in 2018. Crandall acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Bucknell University and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
25. Veronica Hughes, US HealthVest
Title: Chief Nursing Officer
Veronica Hughes is the Chief Nursing Officer of US HealthVest, the innovative behavioral healthcare company that has redefined the psychiatric hospital space. With each hospital structured to offer a range of service lines, no matter their population group, US HealthVest caters to all patients – regardless of their ability to pay. Hughes brings ample experience to her role at US HealthVest. Prior to US HealthVest, she was the Chief Nursing Officer at UHS in New Mexico for nearly 11 years. With extensive industry knowledge and experience in healthcare management, behavioral health, patient safety, case management, nursing education, and acute care, Hughes is well-equipped to lead the nursing teams at US HealthVest to show an unparalleled commitment to their work and community.
Hughes’ career started at Parkview Medical Center where she spent six years as a registered nurse gaining her skill in patient care and developing an interest in mental health. Hughes acquired her Bachelor of Science degree in registered nursing from the Colorado State University-Pueblo, and further gained a Master of Nursing degree in medical informatics from the University of Phoenix.