The Healthcare Technology Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Women Leaders in Biotechnology of 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic saw an explosion in biotech funding in 2020 and 2021. And while that funding has declined somewhat this year, the added attention the industry has received means funding will likely never retreat to its previous levels. This additional funding and attention has been crucial in the development of countless revolutionary biotechnologies, but none of those technologies would be possible without superb leadership within the companies that created them. The accomplished women selected for this year's awards represent a diverse range of leadership positions, specialties, and backgrounds, from entrepreneurs building new companies, to scientists discovering innovative ways to treat deadly diseases, to executives enabling their companies to navigate an increasingly competitive industry.
Some of the elite leaders on this year’s list include Ginger Zhou, VP and GM of Genomic Services and Solutions for Azenta Life Sciences, who holds primary responsibility for leading global Genomics business growth, operations, and development of related products and solutions, and oversees more than 1,500 employees and 13 labs in five countries. Meanwhile, Lindsay Jaramillo Steckel, VP of Enterprise Program Management at Tolmar, has been integral in the rapid growth of the company and a catalyst for the extensive and diversified pipeline in multiple therapeutic areas, establishing a team of project and program managers who are responsible for Tolmar’s commercial, product development, operations, and strategic projects. And Sharon Benzeno, Chief Commercial Officer of Immune Medicine at Adaptive Biotechnologies, has led the company’s Drug Discovery group and steered its industry partnerships, including with Genentech, focusing on advancing potential life-saving T-cell based cancer therapies.
The exceptional women on this year’s list were selected based on our comprehensive analysis of hundreds of nominations, taking into consideration professional milestones achieved, demonstrated domain expertise, and longevity in the biotech field. Feedback from colleagues, industry influence, and previous honors and recognition received were also assessed, along with numerous other metrics, to arrive at our final list. Please join us in celebrating The Top 25 Women Leaders in Biotechnology of 2022.
1. Marianne De Backer
Title: Chief Business Officer and Executive Vice President
Marianne De Backer is Chief Business Officer; Executive Vice President; Head of Pharmaceuticals Strategy, Business Development & Licensing/Open Innovation; and Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer. She has been a strategist, scientist, business leader, dealmaker, and corporate investor in healthcare for more than two decades. Her network cuts across pharmaceutical, biotech, tech, academia, VC, NGO, and government partners worldwide. She has been directly accountable for more than 200 strategic alliances, some of which have led to novel medicines now available to patients. De Backer has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Bayer AG Pharmaceuticals’ division since 2019, where she has spearheaded the growth agenda resulting in 50 new alliances and over $7 billion in acquisitions, including Asklepios Biopharmaceutical, Vividion Therapeutics, and KaNDy Therapeutics. She has furthered the innovative business model known as “arm’s length,” allowing acquired companies to preserve their innovation agility. As a passionate champion for inclusion and diversity, she launched I&DXcelerate, a program to accelerate the development of diverse talent.
From 1991 through 2019, De Backer was at Johnson & Johnson, where she last held the position of Head of M&A Operations and Divestitures globally for the Pharmaceuticals Group and Head of Infectious Diseases & Vaccines Business Development. Prior to that, she led a commercial business unit in Europe launching two medicines. She started her career in drug discovery research, leading teams in both Europe and the U.S. De Backer serves as non-executive director on the Boards of Gladstone Foundation, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, and Kronos Bio. She holds a PhD in biotechnology and a master’s in engineering biochemistry from Ghent University, an MBA from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and a master’s in molecular biology from Vrije Universiteit Brussels.
2. Karen Nelson
Company: Thermo Fisher Scientific
Title: Chief Scientific Officer
Karen Nelson is Chief Scientific Officer for Thermo Fisher Scientific. A pioneer of the human microbiome field, Nelson has authored or co-authored more than 220 peer-reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology and the newly announced PNAS Nexus, an open-access journal from the National Academy of Sciences. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Nelson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, a Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies, and a Helmholtz International Fellow. She has extensive experience in microbial ecology, microbial genomics, microbial physiology, and metagenomics, and has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts as well as the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006.
Nelson joined Thermo Fisher in July 2021. Previously, she spent several years with the J. Craig Venter Institute, a leading nonprofit research institute, serving as President from 2012 to 2021. She received a PhD in animal science and microbiology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and animal science from the University of the West Indies.
3. Susan Wise
Title: Chief Privacy Officer
Susan Wise serves as the Chief Privacy Officer and Head of Privacy and Data Protection at Biogen, a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases. In her role, she leads a global team charged with ensuring employees handle data responsibly as part of their business activities. Wise joined Biogen in 2014, and in that time she has helped develop other risk management functions for the company, including vendor management and IT risk.
Wise has deep experience in operations and technology, having worked across a number of industries, including retail and technology. Across her career, she has been a firm believer in continuous improvement, and applies technology and innovation to drive execution and business enablement, compliance, value and customer satisfaction. She holds an MBA from MIT Sloan, as well as the IAPP Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP), DRI Certified Risk Management Professional (CRMP), and ISACA Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE) certifications.
4. Denise Juliano
Company: Premier, Inc.
Title: Group Vice President, Life Sciences
Denise Juliano currently serves as Group Vice President, Life Sciences, leading Premier’s PINC AI Applied Sciences (PAS) team, which is the research and analytics division of Premier. She is responsible for developing strategic business relationships with life sciences companies and health systems and expanding the utilization of PINC AI Applied Sciences’ solutions. Under Juliano’s leadership, the PAS team was the recipient of the Biotech Week Boston Award for innovative use of technology-enabled healthcare solutions in Digital Medicine.
Prior to Premier, Juliano retired from Merck after a successful 30-year career. During her time, Juliano worked for MSD, an innovative, global healthcare leader that is committed to improving health and well-being around the world. She spent the last 5 years of her career at MSD as part of a division focused on managing all enterprise efforts with Merck's top customers, as part of an executive leadership initiative to transform the company from product and geographically focused into a leading customer centric organization. Juliano earned her master’s degree from East Stroudsburg University in exercise physiology/cardiac rehabilitation and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in health science from Seton Hall University. She also participated in the Executive Education Harvard Leadership Program at Harvard Business School and the Executive Leadership Program Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Juliano has been involved in community service for the last 20 years. She has served on the Board of SAMA for the last six years and achieved her SAMA certification in 2016. Juliano was recently appointed to join the Board of Trustees of CancerCare in April 2022.
5. Tamara Ranalli
Company: Quidel Corporation
Title: Senior Vice President, Molecular Diagnostics Business Unit
Tamara Ranalli is the Senior Vice President of the Molecular Diagnostics Business Unit for Quidel Corporation, a position she has held since September 2020. Quidel is a leading manufacturer of diagnostic solutions at the point of care, delivering a continuum of rapid testing technologies that further improve the quality of healthcare throughout the globe. An innovator for over 40 years in the medical device industry, Quidel pioneered the first FDA-cleared point-of-care test for influenza in 1999 and was the first to market a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in the U.S. Under trusted brand names Sofia®, Solana®, Lyra®, Triage®, and QuickVue®, Quidel’s comprehensive product portfolio includes tests for a wide range of infectious diseases, cardiac and autoimmune biomarkers, as well as a host of products to detect COVID-19.
Ranalli first joined Quidel in 2010 as an associate director. Prior to Quidel, she served as a scientist at BioHelix Corporation before working her way up to Manager and then Director of Business Development and Quality Systems. She earned a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
6. Lei Lu
Company: ClinChoice Inc.
Title: Vice President of Business Operations
Lei Lu is the Vice President of Business Operations for ClinChoice Inc. She provides leadership for strategies and processes and oversees activities in business operations, including contract, legal, human resources, and day-to-day administration. ClinChoice is a full-service global clinical CRO dedicated to offering high-quality, efficient, and flexible solutions to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and consumer products clients worldwide. With a 25 year history of success, ClinChoice continues to be The Standard of Excellence for biostatistics, clinical operations, data management, statistical programming, CDISC, regulatory affairs, medical affairs, and pharmacovigilance. ClinChoice has established major delivery centers across the U.S., China, Europe, Canada, India, Japan, and the Philippines and has more than 3,000 employees globally.
Lu has over 28 years of combined experience in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and CRO industries. Prior to joining ClinChoice, she worked at Merck for 20 years in diverse areas ranging from quality to RR&D to global business procurement. Her broad experience allows her to provide oversight of business operations and think strategically with her deep understanding of the technical and business aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. Lu has an MBA in finance from Temple University, a Master of Science in Organic Chemistry from Texas Woman’s University, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Sichuan University in China.
7. Ginger Zhou
Company: GENEWIZ by Azenta Life Sciences
Title: Vice President and General Manager, Genomic Services and Solutions, GENEWIZ
Dr. Ginger Zhou joined Azenta Life Sciences in November 2018 and was appointed Vice President and General Manager of the Genomic Services business in May 2019. Azenta is a leading provider of life sciences solutions worldwide, enabling impactful breakthroughs and bringing therapies to market faster. The company provides a full suite of reliable cold-chain sample management solutions and genomic services across areas such as drug development, clinical research, and advanced cell therapies for the industry's top pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, and healthcare institutions globally.
Zhou holds primary responsibility for leading global genomics business growth, operations, and development of related products and solutions. She oversees more than 1,500 employees and 13 labs in five countries (U.S., Germany, U.K., China, and Japan). Zhou joined Azenta as part of the acquisition of GENEWIZ. In her 7 years with GENEWIZ, she held various leadership positions including VP of Global Next Generation Sequencing. She received her PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from The State University of New York through a joint research program with Yale University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemical engineering from Tianjin University, China.
8. Lindsay Jaramillo Steckel
Company: Tolmar, Inc.
Title: Vice President, Enterprise Program Management
Lindsay Jaramillo Steckel is the Vice President of Enterprise Program Management at Tolmar, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company that develops and delivers innovative therapies and cutting-edge solutions to advance patient care. She is a results and relationship-oriented leader focused on diversity, innovation, and agility. Steckel has over 20 years of in-depth knowledge of product development from concept through commercial launch incorporating marketing, clinical, regulatory, and technical experience. Steckel joined Tolmar in 2019, ahead of the commercial launch of Fensolvi, the first and only 6-month, subcutaneous injection of leuprolide acetate for Central Precocious Puberty (CPP), designed to keep childhood simple for kids.
Steckel has been integral in the rapid growth of the company and has been a catalyst for the extensive and diversified pipeline in multiple therapeutic areas. She established a team of project and program managers who are responsible for Tolmar’s commercial, product development, operations, and strategic projects. As a certified Change Practitioner, Steckel leads a cross-functional Enterprise Risk Resilience team developing integrated approaches and processes to withstand, adapt, and recover from risk (internal and external) and seize opportunities to achieve business objectives. Steckel has a proven track record of managing multiple portfolios of programs and delivery of company strategies. She excels at streamlining portfolios into a cohesive view across the business, identifying new programs to charter, and collaborating to achieve Tolmar’s success.
Prior to Tolmar, she was the Director of Innovation & Technology Program Management at West Pharmaceuticals, supporting all aspects of global product development, responsible for the global I&T Project Management resources and performance excellence in Arizona, Germany, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Singapore, and Israel. Steckel holds her Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Arizona State University.
9. Sharon Benzeno
Company: Adaptive Biotechnologies
Title: Chief Commercial Officer of Immune Medicine
Sharon Benzeno is the Chief Commercial Officer of Immune Medicine and leads the Drug Discovery group at Adaptive, a commercial-stage biotechnology company that translates the genetics of the adaptive immune system into clinical products to diagnose and treat disease. Over the last 15 years, she has driven innovation in the pharma/biotech industry, positioned at the intersection between business and science. She is currently leading a cross-functional team working to explore the company’s immune medicine platform across broad clinical applications in oncology, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. As the lead of Adaptive’s Drug Discovery group, she steers their industry partnerships, including a prominent partnership with Genentech, focusing on advancing potential life-saving T-cell based cancer therapies. She also leads the company’s research on novel antibody discovery and next-generation T-cell based vaccines. As a woman in a male dominated field, she recognizes the value of mentorship in driving healthcare innovation and is responsible for Adaptive’s internal career development and mentorship programs.
Benzeno’s experiences prior to Adaptive contributed to a global worldview informed by various cultures, perspectives, and experiences. Born in Israel, raised in Luxembourg, and educated in the United States, Benzeno’s holistic understanding of the healthcare landscape is based on first-hand experience. Prior to joining Adaptive, she co-led the oncology business unit at Capgemini SE, where she established market programs to improve R&D outcomes for customers. She also held various management roles as AstraZeneca plc. Benzeno holds a PhD in biomedical sciences from New York University School of Medicine, an MBA in finance and leadership from New York University Stern School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from New York University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer biology at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center.
10. Susan Kim (tie)
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Susan Kim is the Chief Financial Officer for PacBio, a premier life science technology company that is designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced sequencing solutions. She brings twenty years of senior-level finance and operations experience to PacBio, after previously serving as Chief Financial Officer for App Annie and Katerra, both leading venture-backed technology companies. In these roles, she was instrumental in driving revenue growth, scaling finance and operations, and realizing synergies through strategic acquisitions. Kim also serves as a Board Member of Pivot Bio, a leading nitrogen innovator delivering sustainable, self-fertilizing grain crops.
Early in Kim’s career, she worked as a technology investment banker and a semiconductor manufacturing engineer. She earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Stanford University and an MBA and Master of Engineering Management from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In 2019, Kim was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times.
10. Miruna Sasu (tie)
Company: COTA, Inc.
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
Miruna Sasu, President and Chief Executive Officer at COTA, Inc., is known for developing real-world data and technology companies with a deep focus on understanding customer value drivers, to advance life science company solutions with a goal of driving real outcomes for patients. She is a trailblazer in the invention and application of innovative next-generation solutions to solve use cases across a variety of healthcare industry sectors.
In past roles, Sasu has led organizations at Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb, where she revolutionized company-wide digital innovation and advanced analytics across enterprise drug portfolios from drug discovery all the way to value access and post-marketing.
11. Anna Lucsok (tie)
Company: Zynex Medical
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Anna Lucsok is the Chief Operating Officer of Zynex Medical, a Top 100 Healthcare Technology Company of 2022. Zynex Medical is focused on providing alternative pain management devices to patients across the nation. These pain management devices are electrotherapy, bracing, hot/cold therapy, and cervical traction. These devices are primarily used in rehabilitation or orthopedic settings, helping patients recover from chronic or acute pain. Lucsok is responsible for leading the organization’s key functions including sales, sales operations, marketing, reimbursement, information technology, production, compliance, and quality.
Prior to her current role, Lucsok previously served as Vice President of Reimbursement and Sales Operations with Zynex Medical. In this position she was responsible for leading and expanding Zynex’s reimbursement, patient experience, and inside sales support operations. Lucsok has been involved in various operations positions as well as management positions with Zynex since her start in 2018, including serving as Billing Manager. Since taking over as COO in early 2021, Zynex Medical has grown more than 100% in yearly revenue while also doubling sales orders and company employment. She’s previously held key positions with companies such as CU Medicine, the U.S. Air Force, and Schryver Medical. Lucsok received her undergraduate degree in healthcare administration and management from Colorado State University.
11. Elizabeth Kwo (tie)
Company: Everly Health
Title: Chief Medical Officer
Elizabeth Kwo is Chief Medical Officer for Everly Health, which was formed in 2021 from the acquisition of PWNHealth and Home Access Health Corp. by Everlywell. Everly Health is improving the lives of millions with a fully integrated digital care platform for consumers and businesses. The company continues to innovate in the space by delivering more care to more people on a seamless diagnostics-driven platform.
Kwo joined Everly Health in March 2022, and her current role is to create personalized and quality diagnostic driven care (test to treat) at home. Prior to Everly, Kwo served as Anthem’s Deputy Chief Clinical Officer. Before that, she co-founded and was CEO of InfiniteMD, which was acquired by Consumer Medical. Earlier in her career, she co-founded and served as President of New Pathway Education & Technology Group and was the Advanced Continuing Education Association’s Chief Medical Officer. Kwo is a part-time Faculty Lecturer and Physician in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She serves on the boards of directors for Asensus Surgical and BlueWind Medical and is Chairman of the Board of ChroniSense Medical. Kwo earned her MD from Harvard Medical School, her MBA from Harvard Business School, her MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Stanford University.
12. Cindy Dunkle
Company: Denali Therapeutics
Title: Chief People Officer
Cindy Dunkle serves as Chief People Officer at Denali Therapeutics. In this position, she oversees all aspects of human resources, facilities, and environmental health and safety.
Dunkle has been instrumental in the successful growth of the company, positioning science and leadership as a focus in attracting top talent. She drives HR strategy and value creation and fosters a culture of learning and innovation to enable each individual to achieve their unique potential. Dunkle has more than 28 years experience with an emphasis in compensation, organizational development, governance, and talent acquisition.
Prior to Denali, Dunkle held leadership roles across human resources and development functions at Avalanche Biotechnologies and Genentech. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Metropolitan State University and currently sits on the Board of Directors of Life Science Cares Bay Area, in support of and addressing issues of sustainability, education, and poverty.
13. Ada Wong
Company: InterVenn Biosciences
Title: Vice President of Intellectual Property
Ada Wong is the Vice President of Intellectual Property at InterVenn Biosciences, a global clinical technology company leveraging AI-powered glycoproteomics to transform the future of healthcare. In her time at InterVenn, Wong has built an IP team which supports the company’s rapid growth and evolving business needs, led initiatives fostering innovation, and worked cross-functionally to create a culture of IP awareness that permeates the organization. The company is developing a robust pipeline of proprietary tests and diagnostic applications that apply novel glycoproteomics insights to clinical decision-making and enable earlier disease detection that will help save more lives.
Prior to joining InterVenn, Wong was a Senior IP Counsel at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where she devised and implemented global IP strategy for marketed drugs and clinical-phase products in the oncology and neuroscience space and spearheaded IP diligence for complex transactions. Before Jazz, Wong was a Senior Patent Counsel at Johnson & Johnson, where she supported the Infectious Disease therapeutic area and Computational Science and Emerging Science groups. Wong received her JD from Santa Clara University, an MS in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Arts in molecular cell biology from UC Berkeley.
14. Shan Riku
Company: BillionToOne, Inc.
Title: Senior Vice President of Product
Shan Riku is the Senior Vice President of Product at BillionToOne. Riku is responsible for overseeing product development, where she is passionate about launching life-changing products and delivering seamless end-to-end user experiences. Under her purview, BillionToOne launched UNITY Screen, the only commercially available NIPT that can assess fetal risk for recessive conditions and aneuploidies from one maternal blood draw. Most recently, as part of UNITY Screen, Shan and her team launched a novel fetal antigen NIPT for alloimmunized patients at risk for Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN). BillionToOne has also entered the liquid biopsy space with their Northstar Select and Northstar Response products currently available for research use. Riku and her team are preparing for a 2023 commercial launch of the Northstar product line. Her tireless dedication to solving critical healthcare challenges that truly help patients makes her extremely worthy of this recognition.
Riku has over 15 years of experience in launching a wide range of products and brands, from online marketplace to cord blood banking. She started her career at McKinsey & Company, where she helped launch two pharmaceutical drugs and a new brand line of high-end audio products for multinational corporations. She holds an MBA from Stanford University, an MPA/ID from Harvard University, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
15. Julie Deane
Company: KCAS Bioanalytical & Biomarker
Title: Chief People Officer
Julie Deane is an accomplished leader in human resources and talent management, with a particular focus on partnering with executive teams in growing companies, to transform HR organizations into high performing teams that drive business results through engaging employee experiences. Deane is currently the Chief People Officer with KCAS, a leading contract research organization. There, she leads the company’s strategic focus on delivering results through high value people-oriented experiences, including oversight for talent brand and attraction, talent acquisition, organizational learning and development, employee engagement, and total rewards. Under her leadership, the People organization at KCAS has introduced an entire end to end learning ecosystem, increased benefit offerings without increasing employee premiums, launched an employee appreciation units program, and has enabled a substantial increase in internal career mobility. She has also led the integration of acquired company workforces into the culture and people systems at KCAS, including on a global scale.
During her tenure at KCAS, her efforts have succeeded in reducing turnover by half and increasing the employee satisfaction score by 10%, all while simultaneously doubling the size of the employee base. Her over 20-year corporate career includes HR and talent leadership roles across a wide breadth of industries with companies ranging from start-up to multi-billion dollar corporations. Deane’s vision is to empower people to drive workplace excellence and high performance, discovering their full career potential while exceeding the organization's objectives. This laser focus has earned her industry accolades and a reputation as a progressive and results-oriented influencer and thought leader.
16. Melanie Cerullo (tie)
Company: Arranta Bio
Title: Senior Vice President, Quality & Regulatory
Melanie Cerullo is the Chief Quality and Regulatory Officer for Arranta Bio, a visionary contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) that partners with companies seeking to develop and manufacture complex biological drugs and innovative therapies. Cerullo has more than 24 years of experience in QA and QC in GMP manufacturing operations. She was formerly the Vice President of CMC and Quality at Wave Life Sciences, where she built the Quality organization to support early phase internal manufacture and quality oversight of CDMOs for multiple early and late phase clinical programs.
Prior to joining Wave, Cerullo held various roles of increasing responsibility in both QA and QC for CDMO and commercial manufacturing operations. Cerullo holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Rhode Island College and a Master of Science in quality assurance and regulatory affairs.
16. Hannah Yuan (tie)
Company: Mission Bio
Title: Vice President of Operations
Hannah Yuan is the Vice President of Operations for Mission Bio, a company of passionate people dedicated to solving complex biological problems with precision engineering, innovative biochemistry, and supported bioinformatics. In 2014, Mission Bio was spun out of Adam Abate’s lab for high-throughput biology at the University of California, San Francisco. The company’s precision genomics platform is based on the pioneering droplet microfluidics work of Abate and his team. Its mission is to help researchers and clinicians unlock single-cell biology to enable the discovery, development, and delivery of precision medicine.
Yuan joined Mission Bio in June 2021. She currently leads the operations team and has over 25 years of experience across life sciences and diagnostics companies in supply chain management and consumable manufacturing. Prior to her role at Mission Bio, Yuan built and scaled the global supply chain and manufacturing teams at both 10x Genomics and Bio-Rad Laboratory. Before that, she was Senior Manager of Reagent Manufacturing at Affymetrix and a senior scientist at Celera Diagnostics. Yuan completed her Bachelor of Arts in molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley.
17. Marije Turk
Company: Batavia Biosciences
Title: Head of Production
Marije Turk is Head of Production at Batavia Biosciences, a contract development and manufacturing organization with expertise in viral vaccines, virotherapy, proteins, and antibodies. Batavia Biosciences has a remarkable track record for R&D and clinical manufacturing and will now extend its portfolio to include commercial manufacturing.
Turk has a background in microbiology and joined Batavia Biosciences over 12 years ago. She started in the analytical department, where she was involved in establishing the company’s polio facility. Subsequently, as a Marie Curie Ambassador stationed in Budapest, Hungary, Turk contributed to the exploration of adenoviruses and their potential as vectors in areas of unmet clinical needs. After returning to Leiden, she gained substantial experience in upstream processing working with bioreactors. As a scientist, Turk then became responsible for the productions performed in Batavia’s clinical manufacturing facility. In 2021, she presented to the Biologics Contract Manufacturing Europe congress about how Batavia can support its customers in optimizing the roadmap to the clinic for viral vectors and vaccines. In the beginning of 2022, she obtained her master’s in the Executive Programme in Management Studies at the Amsterdam Business School and was named the Valedictorian of the Strategy track. In her newest role as Head of Production, Turk proudly leads the GMP department, whose members have accomplished a high number of successful and qualitative clinical productions.
18. Amara Siva
Company: Epic Sciences
Title: Vice President, Laboratory Operations
Amara Siva is the Vice President of Laboratory Operations at Epic Sciences, a healthcare company whose mission is to extend patient lives by unlocking the power of comprehensive cancer profiling. Dr. Siva joined Epic Sciences in 2021 to lead all laboratory operations, including CAP/CLIA and translational research laboratories. She was instrumental in the commercial launch of DefineMBCTM, a clinical comprehensive liquid biopsy test that integrates key biomarkers from a multi-omic approach to help establish care plans for patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Dr. Siva has more than 20 years of diagnostics experience from R&D to clinical validation to launch, and has held executive or senior management positions at Pathnostics, Millennium Health, and Genoptix (Novartis). She has deep experience in multiple methods, such as flow cytometry, immunoassays, rare-cell detection, and molecular technologies including NGS. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Alimentiv, Inc., a global contract research organization specializing in chronic inflammatory disease, and has served on the governing and editorial boards for the Malki Museum, California’s first museum founded by Native Americans. Dr. Siva received her PhD in biological chemistry from UCLA and is certified as a High-complexity Clinical Laboratory Director by the American Board of Bioanalysis.
19. Diana Rios Ourthiague
Title: Chief Customer Officer
Diana Rios Ourthiague is Chief Customer Officer (CCO) in charge of a global team that manages operations and customer service across the Scientist.com marketplace, a digital platform that connects buyers and sellers of custom research services and products in the life sciences. Rios Ourthiague has played a pivotal role in building Scientist.com into one of the country’s fastest-growing companies; clients include most of the world's top pharma companies, more than 100 biotechs, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under her leadership, Scientist.com’s customer sales have skyrocketed from $7 million in 2015 to over $400 million in 2022. During that timespan, the company has been recognized five years in a row by Inc. magazine as one of the United States’ fastest-growing private companies, peaking at #9 in 2018.
On a daily basis, Rios Ourthiague’s outstanding work directly enables the many thousands of scientists who use Scientist.com to connect with global experts and carry out groundbreaking medical research experiments. By pioneering a dramatically more efficient approach to research, she is helping to develop cures for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and thousands of other common and rare diseases. Rios Ourthiague received a PhD and Master of Science in biochemistry from the Signaling Systems Lab at UCSD (now at UCLA).
20. Einav Kraft (tie)
Title: Vice President of Quality
Vice President of Quality for Cellares Einav Kraft has over 16 years of leadership experience in quality and compliance in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical devices industries, which includes establishing, implementing, and ramping phase-appropriate quality systems from the ground up in pre-clinical, clinical, and GMP commercial environments. She also has a proven track record of developing and implementing a quality vision and culture across multiple organizations. Additionally, she has successfully hosted multiple health authority inspections and pre-approval inspections with the FDA and EMA, among others.
Most recently, Kraft served as Site Head of Quality for the CDMO, Miltenyi Biotec Inc., in San Jose, California. Previously, she was the Head of Quality Assurance at Taro Pharmaceuticals in Israel and led Compliance for Novartis’ San Carlos, California site. Kraft earned a master’s in quality engineering and a Bachelor of Science in biotechnology, both from Technion, The Israel Institute of Technology.
20. Connie Bormans (tie)
Company: Gene by Gene
Title: Chief Laboratory Officer
Connie Bormans is the Chief Laboratory Officer at Gene by Gene, a privately owned laboratory located in Houston, Texas. Gene by Gene was a pioneer in using DNA testing for ancestry and genetic genealogy before expanding into the field of clinical genetics and relationship testing. Bormans joined Gene by Gene in 2006 as a laboratory manager and was a key architect in building the lab from the ground up as well as creating the policies and procedures required for AABB, NYSDOH, CAP, and CLIA accreditations.
Bormans has spent her entire career in molecular genetics, and her expertise involves assay design; regulatory requirements; high throughput DNA analysis including STR, SNPs, and DNA sequencing; relationship testing; clinical diagnostic testing; and, most recently, investigative genetic genealogy use in law enforcement cold cases. She currently serves as an advisor for the MD Anderson Molecular Genetic Technology Program in the Texas Medical Center. Bormans earned her PhD in genetics from Texas A&M University and her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Lafayette College. She was a Research Fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston before joining Gene by Gene.
21. Cynthia Voong
Company: Kinnate Biopharma Inc.
Title: Executive Director of Clinical Operations
Cynthia Voong is the Executive Director of Clinical Operations at Kinnate Biopharma Inc., a clinical-stage precision oncology company focused on expanding on the promise of targeted therapies for those battling cancer, where she has been responsible for the global resourcing and oversight of clinical trials in support of the company’s development programs since 2020. With over 20 years of experience in clinical operations across early and late-stage oncology programs, Voong has successfully built operational organizations and frameworks enabling effective implementation of clinical trials, particularly in the biotech industry.
Prior to Kinnate, Voong held roles of increasing responsibility in clinical operations at Gritstone bio, Clovis Oncology, Nektar Therapeutics, Cell Genesys, and Medimmune Vaccines (AstraZeneca). She received her Bachelor of Arts in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
22. Amber Kerby (tie)
Company: Pain Specialists of America
Title: Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Amber Kerby is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Pain Specialists of America, which is the leading interventional pain management practice in the state of Texas, with more than 30 providers in more than 17 offices and facilities along the I-35 corridor from Dallas–Fort Worth to San Antonio. Pain Specialists of America develops personalized treatment plans from a host of multidisciplinary approaches, tailoring pain management strategies to each of its unique and valued patients. Its specialists create individualized programs designed to improve patients’ quality of life and return patients to daily function. Their mission is to provide unprecedented access to today’s most effective pain management solutions.
Kerby joined Pain Specialists of America in October 2018. Previously, she served as SVP of Sales & Marketing at Comprehensive Pain Specialists, and before that as Marketing Manager for Busy Bee Printing. Kerby earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in business, management, marketing, and related support services from Union University.
22. Lynette Herscha (tie)
Company: Immunitas Therapeutics
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Lynette Herscha is Chief Operating Officer at Immunitas Therapeutics. A seasoned biopharma executive with more than 25 years of experience in leadership roles across the life sciences and technology spheres, Herscha brings her expertise for developing and implementing operational and legal strategies to enable company growth and success.
Prior to joining Immunitas, Herscha served as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary for Senda Biosciences, where she managed the company’s legal team and provided strategic advice to the executive leadership team. She has held additional leadership roles at multiple biopharma companies, including Solid Biosciences, Concert Pharmaceuticals, and Momenta Pharmaceuticals. She earned a JD from Boston University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston University.
23. Leanne Taylor
Company: Medicure Inc.
Title: Compliance Officer
Leanne Taylor is a Compliance Officer at Medicure, where her primary goals are to ensure that Medicure operates with the highest standard of professional conduct. Taylor supports Medicure’s operations in the complex legal landscape of the pharmaceutical industry. Some of her more impressive accomplishments include securing and maintaining licensure for the Medicure-owned pharmacy Marley Drug in all 50 states – a claim very few online pharmacies in the U.S. can make.
In 2018, Taylor’s life was turned upside down after a cycling accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. Determined not to allow this setback to keep her down, she fought hard to return to work. In her spare time, she discovered paratriathlon, becoming the first Canadian female wheelchair user to compete internationally. She completed her first triathlon 8 months after she was injured and is now ranked 6th in the world, with her sights set on winning a medal at the Paris 2024 Paralympics. Taylor is a trailblazer in Disability Rights. She is on the board of directors for a local charity helping promote accessible sports in Manitoba and has given several talks with professional organizations on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
24. Gilly Regev
Company: SaNOtize Research and Development Corporation
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Gilly Regev, PhD, is one of Canada’s foremost female scientific entrepreneurs and innovators and leads one of Canada’s most successful R&D companies, SaNOtize Research and Development Corporation. Under Dr. Regev’s direction, SaNOtize has made significant progress in bringing its novel therapeutic platform to people globally, by harnessing the well-studied antimicrobial properties of a tiny molecule that naturally occurs in the body: nitric oxide (NO). Dr. Regev co-founded SaNOtize in 2017, and since its inception has accomplished what would take well-established therapeutics companies decades to achieve: moving the company from bench to approved product and revenue generation in just a few short years. Under her leadership, SaNOtize closed an oversubscribed Series B funding round of $24 million from global investors and has overseen a steady flow of clinical studies on the company’s lead product, Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS™), for the treatment of COVID-19. One such study, conducted in partnership with one of India’s largest pharmaceutical companies, led to the landmark approval of NONS in India, marking the first ever NO approval as an antimicrobial. This breakthrough has paved the way for NONS to begin to fundamentally change the way COVID-19 is managed globally. Overall, SaNOtize has secured regulatory approval or registration in more than 10 countries and is in discussions with regulatory authorities in both Canada and the United States.
Dr. Regev earned her PhD in biochemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, while working her way through school as a sommelier at a prominent Tel Aviv restaurant. Prior to founding SaNOtize, she held roles as Director of R&D at Nitric Solutions and as Chief Scientific Officer at Bovicor. Her work with SaNOtize has been featured by Fierce Biotech and Fierce Pharma, Forbes, Fortune, Globe and Mail, and the South China Morning Post, among others. In 2021, Dr. Regev was honored by the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards as the Entrepreneur and Innovator of the Year. She is also part of the Vancouver Chapter of the Weizmann Institute, promoting its important research, and a member of the Canadian Antimicrobial Innovation Coalition Steering Committee.
25. Kara Cannon (tie)
Company: Enzo Biochem, Inc.
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Kara Cannon is Chief Operating Officer of Enzo Biochem, Inc. Cannon has been working with this leading biosciences and diagnostics company for over 12 years. At Enzo, she is responsible for leading global commercial operations, including the management of sales, marketing, production, and operations. Cannon previously held executive positions at Pall Corporation and Dynal Biotech, where she focused on commercial operations within the areas of diagnostics, biotechnology, and biosciences. She has had extensive experience in the marketing and selling of innovative platforms for the diagnostics markets, as well as the development and execution of strategic plans for growth and sustainability.
When not working, Cannon has participated in various local mentor programs and volunteering efforts. She has had the honor of participating as a founding member of a local bio-mentor initiative program designed to assist local entrepreneurs in partnership with the Center for Biotechnology. All along the way, she has invested in the development of other women around her. Cannon is an active participant in the Enzo internship program. She is also a 2019, 2021, and 2022 winner of the Long Island Business News Top 50 Women in Business award, and the winner of the 2021 Women in Supply Chain Award. She is on the board of directors for the New York Clinical Lab Association as well as the Farmingdale State College Foundation. Cannon received her Bachelor of Arts in biology from Franklin & Marshall College.
25. Sonja Krösser (tie)
Company: Novaliq GmbH
Title: Vice President and Head of Preclinical and Clinical Development
Dr. Krösser is the Vice President and Head of Preclinical and Clinical Development at Novaliq GmbH, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of first-in-class and best-in-class ocular therapeutics based on EyeSol®, the worldwide first and only water-free technology. In 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted two New Drug Applications (NDA) submitted within three months for two first-of-its-kind dry eye disease therapies based on EyeSol®. Both NDAs are based on comprehensive clinical programs that have been designed, planned, and interpreted under Dr. Krösser’s supervision. The two distinct modalities of action of the EyeSol®-based dry eye therapies open new clinical prospects on how to treat this serious disease in the future. If approved by the FDA, important unmet medical needs for approximately 18 million Americans diagnosed with dry eye disease will be addressed.
As a registered pharmacist, Dr. Krösser has dedicated her career to clinical pharmacology and clinical development, starting her career at Merck, a global pharmaceutical company. She received her degree in microbiology at the University of Heidelberg. With profound ophthalmic, clinical, and regulatory experience, Dr. Krösser has demonstrated outstanding achievements in cross-functional leadership and management of global teams with partners around the globe. She is the author of multiple peer-reviewed scientific publications, papers, and posters. With over 20 years of industry experience, Dr. Krösser has changed the paradigm of topical therapies based on water-free eye drops to better treat patients and their vision.