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The most influential women in biotech industry
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When you think about successful business and innovations in biotechnology field, first thing that comes to your mind is probably a clever man surrounded by the group of scientists. Women, especially those on the leading positions, are still minority in the biotech industry. Luckily, this trend is changing and number of intelligent and skillful women in biotech industry is increasing each year. Here’s the list of most influential women in biotech industry created by Ryan McBride and John Carroll of FierceBiotech.

Kathryn Biberstein, Alkermes


Kathryn is senior VP and chief compliance officer at Alkermes. Before joining Alkermes, she was working as a general counsel for Merck Serono in Switzerland. Kathryn is successful negotiator with long multinational experience in biotech industry. She speaks French, German and English fluently. One of the greatest achievements was doubling Alkermes business by acquiring Elan Drug Technologies for 1 billion dollars in 2011.

Abbie Celniker, Eleven Biotherapeutics

Abbie is CEO at Eleven Biotherapeutics. She holds a PhD in molecular biology. Her career started in Genentech and continued in a couple of respected pharmaceutical companies such as Wyeth, Millennium and Novartis during the next two decades. After improving Taligen Therapeutics business, she sold its key assets for 111 million dollars to Alexion Therapeutics. Besides dealing with business team and investors, Abbie is currently focused on protein engineering and immunotherapeutic development.

Kathleen Sereda Glaub, Plexxikon

Kathleen is president at Plexxikon. Prior Plexxikon, she was working at Genentech and Cell Genesys. Thanks to collaboration and partnering with various pharmaceutical companies, her group at Plexxikon managed to collect over 200 million dollars worth funding. Also, she helped conclude buyout pact with Daiichi Sankyo (for 1 billion dollars) and improved marketing and sales strategies for the newly approved melanoma drug Zelboraf.

Mary Lynne Hedley, Tesaro


Mary Lynnes is CSO and co-founder at Tesaro. After post-doctoral studies at Harvard, she started her own small pharmaceutical company, Zycos, focused on cancer and anti-viral drug development. Company was later sold to MGI Pharma where she continued working in the R&D sector. MGI was acquired by Eisai for 3,9 billion dollars in 2008. At Tesaro, Dr. Hedley is focused on cancer drug and supportive care development.

Bahija Jallal, MedImmune

Before joining MedImmune, Bahija served as VP of drug development at Chiron. Today, she is head of R&D at Medimmune, responsible for 2000 investigators working on 140 R&D programs in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Cambridge, UK.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Biocon

Kiran is founder and chief of Biocon, biggest Indian biotech company. They are focused on the insulin production and peptide drug development (anti-CD6 for psoriasis). Thanks to successful collaboration with USA pharmaceutical companies, drugs could reach market faster. Deal with Pfizer provides the company 200 million dollars for biosimilar insulin development.

Susan Molineaux, Calithera Biosciences

Susan is CEO at Calithera Biosciences. She started her career in Merck, New Jersey, followed by Rigel Pharmaceuticals, where she worked as VP of biology, focused on drug research. Soon after, she moved to Proteolix. From the drug development, she switched to biotech menagment working as CEO at Calithera. Also, she is implicated in mentoring the middle school students in the San Fransisco area in a program known as We Teach Science.

Julie Overbaugh, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Julie is a scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is graduated biochemist, focused on HIV/AIDS research. She collaborates closely with epidemiologist and scientists in Kenya (area severely hit by HIV virus). Julie runs a laboratory, where she trains and educates a lot of future scientists, beside regular research work.

Anna Protopapas, Takeda

Anna is executive VP at Takeda. She entered biotech industry with master degree in chemical engineering. Her career started in Morten Metal Technology and Proctor & Gamble, followed by Millennium pharmaceuticals. Takeda acquired Millennium for 8.9 billion dollars in 2008 (she remained at the position of the business executive after company was merged), and Nycomed for 13.7 billion dollars in 2011. Both acquisitions were successfully closed thanks to Anna's excellent negotiation skills.

Laura Shawver, Cleave Biosciences

Laura is CEO at Cleave Biosciences. She started career as a molecular biologist at Triton. Later she worked as president at Sugen. Laura was in charge for diabetes focused research at Phenomix that shut down after one of the financial partners went out. She continue further biotech career in Cleave Biosciences. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she found non-profit charity organization focused on molecular screening and new therapeutics development to help women dealing with recurrent carcinoma to find a better treatment solution.

Hopefully, list of significant and valuable women in biotech industry will continue growing.

Reference: www.fiercebiotech.com
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