5 Questions With 2020

5 Questions With… 2020 Recap

In 2020 we introduced a new series titled “5 Questions With…” in an effort to spotlight individuals from across the BioHealth Capital Region and beyond. Providing this platform has allowed us to help share the stories of industry peers and show that there isn’t a single “right” way to becoming an industry success.

As the year wraps up and we look forward to 2021, we are also looking back to the 30 guests we’ve featured in this series. From CFOs to Scientists, Veterans to Venture Capitalists, Company Founders to Leadership who recently joined their current companies, and everyone inbetween.

If you think you’d be a good guest for our “5 Questions With…” series, or want to suggest somebody – please let us know!

Email Andy Eckert to get the process started: andy(at)biobuzz.io

John Trainer, CFO, NexImmune, Inc.

John has over 20 years of experience in various financial, transactional, strategic, and commercial roles in the biopharma industry. His most recent roles before joining NexImmune were Vice President and Head of Partnering & Strategy for MedImmune, and Vice President, Corporate Development for AstraZeneca. Mr. Trainer received his MBA from Harvard Business School, his AB from Harvard College, and lives with his family (and dog) in McLean.

Byung Ha Lee, Director, R&D at NeoImmuneTech, Inc.

5 Questions with Byung Ha Lee

Byung Ha Lee is the Director, R&D at NeoImmuneTech, Inc. With degrees from Korea University, and his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences-immunology and microbiology from the University of Florida College of Medicine. He has extensive industry experience over 15 years in translational research, business development, field KOL interaction, leading strategic and research planning of drug development. Byung Ha finished his postdoctoral training at the NIAID at NIH.

Jennifer Butler, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Innate Pharma U.S.

Jennifer Butler was appointed Executive Vice President and General Manager of Innate Pharma US Inc. in March 2019. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Butler served as Chief Business Officer, Chief Commercial Officer, and Head of US operations, responsible for global business development and commercial strategy at Tessa Therapeutics, a clinical-stage oncology company. She previously served for more than 10 years in various commercial and strategy roles with increasing responsibility at AstraZeneca/MedImmune across several therapeutic areas. Ms. Butler also previously worked in strategic healthcare consulting and as an analyst in Equity Capital Markets at Merrill Lynch. Ms. Butler has more than 20 years of strategic marketing and commercial leadership expertise along with general management experience.

Stephanie Duatschek, Biopharma Executive Management Consultant

Stephanie has over 20 years of experience in various strategic and operational roles spanning clinical development, portfolio management, and commercial operations in the biopharma industry.  She has spent the last 6 years as a consultant partnering with C-suite executives primarily in the commercial space. Prior to launching her consulting business, Stephanie was Vice President of Commercial Operations for MedImmune.  She is Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University where she lectures on Commercialization Strategy.  Stephanie received her MBA from The Fuqua School of Business and lives with her family in Arlington.

Dan Gincel, Ph.D., Executive Director, MD Stem Cell Research Fund at TEDCO

In his dual roles as Vice President for University Partnerships at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and Executive Director of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF), Dr. Gincel oversees programs on university research, tech transfer, commercialization, and innovation that contribute to Maryland’s economic growth. His experience in and outside of the laboratory has made him a proven leader and champion for university research and development. He is dedicated to increasing research capacity for Maryland scientists, supporting cutting-edge technology development, and ultimately, developing cures for debilitating diseases. Dan received his BS and Ph.D. in biochemistry and neuroscience from the Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and his postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

Nikki Hastings, Executive Director, CvilleBioHub

Nikki Hastings is the executive director of CvilleBioHub in Charlottesville, Virginia working to strengthen and grow the regional biotechnology industry ecosystem. Over the past decade, she has contributed to the growth of early-stage companies including HemoShear Therapeutics and Contraline by leading operational and growth needs and supporting the translation of research concepts into commercial viability. Nikki holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and a B.S. from North Carolina State University in the same field.

Aaron Vernon, VP of Engineering & Supply Chain, Autolus

Aaron is a passionate builder with over 20 years of experience in supply chain management, manufacturing, business process development, organizational transformation, and facility design/construction at Johnson & Johnson, MedImmune, AstraZeneca, Sucampo, and Autolus. He is currently Vice President of Engineering & Supply Chain at Autolus, Inc, where he and his team are responsible for building and orchestrating Autolus’ global supply network.

Alison Demarest, Principal, Meridian BioGroup

Alison Demarest has more than 30 years of experience in biotechnology and FDA-regulated industries under GMP and GLP in both consulting and operating companies, including contract manufacturing and contract testing. She is the co-founder of Meridian BioGroup, a compliance, regulatory and validation service-provider to the Maryland biopharm community in its 14th year.

Shruti Abbato, EVP, Business Development, CARMA Cellular Therapies at MaxCyte, Inc.

Shruti has 20 years of business development experience in the biotechnology industry. She is currently responsible for building and growing MaxCyte’s CARMA Cell Therapies business. Before MaxCyte, she worked with Celdara Medical, Millendo, Medigene, Deciphera, and Human Genome Sciences. Shruti holds an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Maryland.

Sara Nayeem, M.D., a Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

Sara Nayeem, M.D. is a Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a large diversified venture capital firm. Sara joined NEA’s healthcare team in 2009 and focuses on investments in biopharmaceutical companies. She serves on the boards of Centrexion, Complexa, Cydan, Imara (IMRA), Tiburio, and a stealth targeted oncology company.

Cara Felish, VP, Commercial Operations, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals

Cara has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry spanning across payer, biotechnology, clinical diagnostics, and pharmaceutical organizations. She is currently responsible for building Commercial Operations for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Aurinia, she worked for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals as Vice President, Commercial Excellence & Chief of Staff. Additionally, she worked for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Clinical Diagnostics Division, MedImmune (a specialty care division of AstraZeneca), and UnitedHealthgroup.

Jamie Lacey-Moreira, Principal and Founder, PressComm PR, LLC

Jamie Lacey-Moreira has 25 years of experience providing dedicated communications service to trade associations and life science companies from start-up through commercialization. She established PressComm PR, LLC in 2009 and also serves as part of the Sam Brown Inc. strategic communications team. Before starting PressComm, she spent nearly seven years building the public relations department at MedImmune (now the biologics division of AstraZeneca). Previously, she managed communications functions at Celera Genomics and Novartis Corporation as well as the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Jeff Galvin, CEO, and Founder of American Gene Technologies™

Jeff Galvin is the CEO and Founder of American Gene Technologies™ (AGT). He earned his BA degree in Economics from Harvard in 1981 and has more than 30 years of business and entrepreneurial experience including founder or executive positions at a variety of Silicon Valley startups. Several of his companies were taken public and/or sold to public companies, including one in the medical-technology arena that was sold to Varian, the leading maker of linear accelerators used in cancer therapy. Following his startup experience, he retired to become an Angel Investor in real estate and high tech. He came out of retirement to found and fund AGT after meeting Roscoe Brady at NIH.

Katy Strei EVP, Human Resources/Global Communications & Public Affairs and Chief Human Resources Officer, Emergent BioSolutions

Ms. Strei joined Emergent BioSolutions in 2016 and has served as executive vice president, human resources and chief human resources officer since April 2017. She previously served as senior vice president and chief human resources officer from January 2016 to March 2017. Prior to joining Emergent, Ms. Strei was an independent consultant, specializing in leadership and organization development from February 2014 to January 2016.

Judy Costello, Managing Director of Economic Development for BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI)

Judy Costello is Managing Director of Economic Development for BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI). Prior to joining BHI, she served as Director of the Maryland Department of Commerce’s Office of BioHealth and Life Sciences and as Deputy Director of the department’s BioMaryland Center. In these positions, she has worked to grow the region’s biohealth cluster by supporting industry recruitment and retention, commercialization, workforce, non-dilutive and dilutive fundraising, international soft landing, partnership, and promotion activities. She previously served as Executive Director of the Business Alliance for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Jacob Greenwood, Director of Business Development in CRB’s Maryland Office

Jacob Greenwood is the Director of Business Development in CRB’s Maryland office. Born and raised in Northeast Baltimore City, he is a life-long Marylander devoted to seeing his state prosper. He earned a BA in Biology in 2008 from Goucher College and has spent the last 12 years working in the Life Sciences industry. During that time, he has transitioned from the benchtop to the sales office. He is passionate about networking and is doing his part to improve the BioHealth Capital Region’s ecosystem.

Ulyana Desiderio, Director of BioHealth and Life Sciences in the Maryland Department of Commerce

Ulyana Desiderio joined the Maryland Department of Commerce in April 2020 as Director of BioHealth and Life Sciences. She leads efforts that support the growth of Maryland’s life sciences community, including job creation, capital investment, and new business formation. Prior to joining Commerce, Ulyana served as Chief Scientific Officer for the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the largest international medical association dedicated to blood diseases. In her role, she developed and implemented strategies that advanced organizational scientific priorities as well as federal policies that affect fundamental research and the practice of medicine. Prior to joining ASH, Ulyana completed the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Population, where she was involved in a project on collecting, storing, and protecting biological samples and data. Ulyana holds B.S. degrees in Biological Sciences and Chemistry from Drexel University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Andrew Davis, Vice President at Scheer Partners

Andrew Davis is Vice President at Scheer Partners and helps run the scientific real estate practice. Andrew lives in Maryland but assists scientific companies to identify, negotiate, and build space in the BioHealth Capital Region, Philadelphia, Greater Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Tammi Thomas, Vice President, Marketing & Communications at TEDCO

Tammi Thomas leads the development of TEDCO’s marketing and communications strategy while contributing to the strategic operations and vision of the organization. Her results-oriented approach, proven-track record of building lasting relationships, and driving core business objectives through targeted marketing strategies are instrumental as she stewards the organization through exciting growth to expand support for technology-based businesses that thrive in Maryland and beyond.

Nick Droste, Emergent BioSolutions Postfill Manufacturing Supervisor

Nick Droste is part of the postfill manufacturing team at the Emergent BioSolutions Baltimore Camden site, where he leads visual inspection operations for Emergent’s growing Contract Development Manufacturing and Organization (CDMO) efforts and in support of their new partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) COVID-19 vaccine development operations. At the Camden site, he has spearheaded training initiatives and continuous improvement innovations to help establish Camden as a visual inspection and packaging center of excellence.

Mike O’Mara, VP of Industrial Business Services, Miltenyi Biotec

Mike O’Mara has more than 27 years of experience in biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing encompassing microbial, mammalian, and cell/Gene therapy manufacturing processes ranging from Preclinical/Phase I through Commercial. Prior to Miltenyi Biotec, Mike worked at Cytovance Biologics as Sr VP of Manufacturing Operations, DynPort Vaccine Corporation as Senior Director of Manufacturing, and was TissueGene’s Vice President of Manufacturing. Mike worked for Lonza Biologics for 18 years in several operations and manufacturing positions.

Amy Adams, Executive Director of the Institute for Biohealth Innovation at George Mason University

As Executive Director of the Institute for Biohealth Innovation at George Mason University, Amy Adams is responsible for nurturing and advancing biohealth research and innovation interests of more than 250 faculty and thousands of students who represent a broad range of academic disciplines. Her role includes fostering partnerships with industry, healthcare, government, and academic partners.

Brian Hahn, Senior Vice President & CFO, GlycoMimetics

Mr. Hahn has more than 15 years of senior financial and operations experience in emerging organizations. He joined GlycoMimetics in 2010. Previously, Mr. Hahn served as executive director of finance at Middlebrook Pharmaceuticals (formerly Advancis Pharmaceutical), a publicly-traded specialty pharmaceutical company. Currently, Mr. Hahn serves as co-chairman of the BIO Finance and Tax Committee, as a co-chairman of the Steering Committee of the Washington, DC chapter of the Association for Bio Financial Officers (ABFO), and also serves on the Securities and Exchange Commissions’ Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies. He received a B.B.A. in Accounting from Shenandoah University and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.

Martha Schoonmaker, Executive Director, Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology at Montgomery College (PIC MC)

Martha Schoonmaker is the first Executive Director for the PIC MC Foundation, the entity that develops, manages, and markets the Germantown campus on behalf of Montgomery College for company locations. PIC MC is an integrated academic, business, and research campus and is the only community college with a hospital, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, located as the anchor resident partner. Ms. Schoonmaker manages contracts, leases, and partnerships with existing resident partners, including Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, and is responsible for the development of corporate and trade association partnerships that expand internship, learning, and career opportunities for students within PIC MC.

John Newby, CEO, Virginia Bio

John Newby is the CEO at Virginia Bio, the statewide non-profit trade association for the life science industry. Approximately 300 companies spanning biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, med tech, diagnostics, digital health, bioinformatics, agriculture, and industrial bio and related fields are based in Virginia, mainly clustered around research universities and medical institutions. Virginia Bio is the sole state affiliate and works closely with key national industry organizations BIO, AdvaMed, MDMA, PhRMA and We Work for Health.

Ken Malone, Co-Founder, and Principal, Early Charm Ventures, LLC.

Ken Malone is a co-founder of Early Charm Ventures, a venture studio founded in 2012 in Baltimore (Charm City) that converts science to business. Early Charm specializes in taking brilliant scientific discoveries made at universities and turning them into companies focused on growth. They don’t chase quick exits. They build companies that create sustainable value.

Chad Schneider, PE, MSE, President & Founder of Root3 Labs

Mr. Schneider is a mechanical design engineer with over 20 years of engineering experience in the design of complex electromechanical prototypes and products. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering with Honors from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MSE in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on haptics and medical robotics. In 2012, he founded Root3 Labs to focus on practical R&D for the medical device and defense industries. He is experienced working with startups, manufacturers, and State and Federal Government clients, named on 9 patents, a licensed sUAV Commercial Pilot, and a duly licensed professional engineer by the State of Maryland.

Kurt Elam, Senior Director, Sales & Marketing for LabOwl

Kurt Elam joined ACC/Lab Owl in 2017 with 20+ years of specialty biopharmaceutical experience, focused primarily on oncology, infectious disease, and critical care/ICU medicine. He has overseen and managed the successful launch of over 16 new FDA approved products/compounds or new indications, and worked to gain formulary approval in managed care organizations, thereby improving access for patients. Prior to joining Lab Owl, Kurt worked with a number of biopharma companies, including Schering‐Plough, Astra‐Zeneca, EMD Serono, Amylin, and Actelion. He has a BA degree from the University of Virginia.

Neil Sheppard, Immunologist, University of Pennsylvania

Neil Sheppard is an Immunologist educated in the UK at the Universities of Bristol and Oxford. He has over 18 years’ experience in the fields of vaccines and immunotherapies, including over a dozen years leading drug discovery and development programs in Big Pharma and Biotech. Neil’s expertise draws on time in the UK, Australia, and both the East & West Coasts of the USA. Since 2015, Neil has focused exclusively on CAR and TCR therapy for cancer, during which time he has led multidisciplinary teams and taken assets into the clinic at GSK and Tmunity. In 2019 Neil returned to academia to take up a role at the UPenn Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.

Stephen M. Jackson, Staff Scientist – Immunology, ABL, Inc.

“Born and raised in gang-infested South Central Los Angeles, I was surrounded by compassionate and risk-taking individuals who recognized and fertilized my love, talent, and academic prowess. Collectively my tribe, for it takes one to raise one, helped provide me with unimaginable opportunities to excel and continue the fight for an abundant life through health, social awareness, and artistic expression. I, a Man who is also Bold and Black, am a product of their courage, compassion, endurance, vision, and love – Stephen M. Jackson, PhD”

Brian Darmody, CEO, Association of University Research Parks

Brian Darmody is CEO of AURP, a global nonprofit representing research parks and innovation districts sponsored by universities, federal labs, communities, hospitals, and other institutions in the US and 12 other countries. Previously Darmody served in a variety of roles at the University of Maryland College Park, including in the President’s Office of Legal Affairs, Office of Government Relations, Office of Research and Development, Office of University Relations, and Center for Applied Policy Studies. Before his work at UMD, Darmody worked at the US Health Care Financing Commission, the US House of Representatives, and the Maryland House of Delegates.

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Andy Eckert

Andy has worked with BioBuzz for the last decade to help spread the word of the BioHealth Capital Region even before it was branded with that name. His background includes years at MedImmune supporting the Commercial Operations Organization before becoming a BioHealth Nomad working with various clients in Operations, Communications and Strategic Services.

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