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Women Executives: Stepping Up to the C-suite and Board (Event Schedule)

Event Date: 
Thursday, December 3, 2015 from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM (EST)
Event Location: 
Biogen, Bio-9 Building, 300 Binney Street Cambridge, MA 02142 – View Map

Register FREE for the event here

Download the Event Invitation Flyer

In biotechnology companies, only 1 in 10 board directors is a woman, and 1 in 5 executive management. Join this event as we go beyond the data and look at innovative ideas and practical approaches for transforming organisation cultures towards greater gender diversity. It also will provide aspiring professionals with insights as to how to achieve a C-suite or Board level career.
4.00-4.30pm Registration and Networking

4.30– 5.20pm – First time CEOs – Path Findings

Biotech CEOs discuss their path to the job of CEO; lessons, choices, challenges and successes. What makes a CEO in today’s bioscience market and what has the experience of being CEO been like?

Moderator: Samantha Singer, COO, Broad Institute

Panel: Vanessa King, CEO, Luc Therapeutics | Jodie Morrison, CEO, Tokai Pharmaceuticals | Paula Ragan, CEO, X4 Pharmaceuticals
5.20pm – 6.10pm – Ensuring the Next Generation of Board Directors is Fully Gender Diverse – Innovative Approaches
How can the life sciences sector make sure that women executives are reaching the Boardroom and what innovative approaches can be practiced to positively change the landscape?

Moderator: Professor Susan Adams, Professor of Management and Senior Director of the Center for Women and Business, Bentley University

Panel: Mike Bonney, ex-CEO, Cubist | Susan Alexander, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary  | Marsha Fanucci, Board Director, Alnylam, Ironwood, Momenta Pharmaceuticals | Bruce Booth, Partner, Atlas Venture

6.10pm-7.00pm – Tackling Gender Diversity as a Small Growing Company

How companies which do not have scale or resources of multinationals, can still benefit from the representation of women at the executive and board level?

Moderator: Gwen Acton, CEO, Vivo Group

Panel: Mary Thistle, CBO, Dimension Therapeutics | Rosana Kapeller, CSO, Nimbus Therapeutics | Pauline Jen Ryan, CEO, Verik Bio | Marian T. Nakada, VP Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC
7.00pm – 7.30pm Networking and Event Close 

Speaker Profiles:

Singer SmallSamantha Singer, Chief Operating Officer, Broad Institute

Samantha Singer is the chief operating officer of the Broad Institute, where she oversees the institute’s human resources, finance, facilities, and information technology teams, in addition to the Office of Strategic Alliances and Partnering.

Singer joined the Broad after building extensive experience in corporate strategy and organizational effectiveness. She most recently served as Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Chief of Staff for the Chief Executive Officer at Biogen Idec. Over her six years at the company, she led corporate strategy efforts and oversaw major operations initiatives abroad.

Before her time at Biogen Idec, Singer was a management consultant, first in the Health Care Practice Area at the Boston Consulting Group, and then in an independent consulting partnership focused on biotech companies and biomedical research centers.

Singer holds an M.S. in molecular biology from The Rockefeller University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Ragan.jpegPaula Ragan, CEO, X4 Pharmaceuticals Inc. 

Paula Ragan, PhD, is the founding CEO of X4 Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing transformative immunotherapies for refractory cancers. Prior to founding X4, Dr. Ragan served as Chief Business Officer (consultant) at Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc (LTI) where she supported the company’s business activities and fund raising. Prior to LTI, she spent over 15 years in biotech, including 6 years at Genzyme/Sanofi in various leadership roles in corporate development and operations. Dr. Ragan received her Ph.D. from MIT and completed post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School.

jodieprofileJodie Morrison, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tokai Pharmaceuticals

Jodie is a seasoned pharmaceutical industry executive with more than 17 years of operational, business and development experience in oncology, urology and orphan drug programs. Prior to being appointed president and chief executive officer of Tokai in early 2014, Jodie served as both the company’s chief operating officer and head of clinical affairs over the seven preceding years. Throughout her tenure at Tokai, Jodie has led both company’s operational management and the galeterone prostate cancer development program. Over 2014, she led Tokai’s IPO process resulting in a both upsized and top of the range public debut in September 2014. Prior to joining Tokai, Jodie was director of clinical operations and medical affairs at Dyax Corporation. During her tenure at Dyax, she built and led the clinical development teams for Kalbitor (hereditary angioedema) and DX-88 (cardiothoracic surgery), and oversaw the Kalbitor clinical trials that ultimately led to its marketing approval. Prior to joining Dyax, she held clinical management positions at both Curis, Inc. and at Diacrin, Inc.
Jodie received a B.A. in neuroscience from Mount Holyoke College, her business training through the Greater Boston Executive Program at MIT Sloan School of Management and her clinical research certification from Boston University School of Medicine.

Adams headshotDr. Susan M. Adams is Professor of Management at Bentley University.

Her research published regularly in practitioner and academic outlets and her consulting efforts focus on changes needed for business success with rewarding careers for its employees. Her current studies concentrate on eliminating career barriers that women face and the careers, lives and leadership styles of accomplished women and CEOs. Since 2003, Susan has also co-authored The Boston Club’s annual Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers. At Bentley, she teaches leadership, organization theory and management consulting courses to undergraduate, MBA, PhD and executive classes. She has served on and chaired boards of non-profit organizations and companies. Adams is a former Chair of the Management Consulting and Careers Divisions of the Academy of Management and a member of the American Psychological Association. Her PhD in management is from Georgia Institute of Technology where she was the first woman to receive a doctorate in her field.

Bonney smallMichael Bonney, Former CEO Cubist and Board Director, Celgene and Alnylam 

Mike Bonney has extensive operational, commercial, and senior management experience in the biopharmaceutical industry as well as, experience serving on the Board of Directors of successful companies, trade organizations and academia. Mr. Bonney was elected to the Celgene Corporation Board of Directors on April 14, 2015. He served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Cubist) (a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. as of January 2015) from June 2003 until his retirement on December 31, 2014.

From January 2002 to June 2003, Mr. Bonney served as Cubist’s President and Chief Operating Officer, and from 1995 to 2001, he held various positions of increasing responsibility at Biogen, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, including Vice President, Sales and Marketing from 1999 to 2001. Prior to joining Biogen, Mr. Bonney held various positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing and strategic planning at Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, ending his eleven-year career there serving as National Business Director.

Since 2014, Mr. Bonney has been a director of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, where he serves on the audit committee. He is also a trustee of the Tekla complex of life sciences and healthcare dedicated funds, where he serves on the valuation committee and chairs the governance committee and the nominating committee; and chairs the board of trustees of Bates College. Mr. Bonney was a Director of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company from 2005 until its sale to Shire plc in February 2015, where he was a member of the audit and compensation committees and chaired the governance committee. He was a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) from 2009 – 2014 and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a non-profit biotechnology trade organization, from 2004 – 2009. Mr. Bonney received a B.A. in Economics from Bates College.

Alexander smallSusan Alexander, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Biogen 

Susan H. Alexander is the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Biogen. She has been with the company since January 2006. Prior to that, from 2003 to January 2006, Ms. Alexander served as the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of PAREXEL International Corporation, a biopharmaceutical services company. From 2001 to 2003, Ms. Alexander served as General Counsel of IONA Technologies, a software company. From 1995 to 2001, Ms. Alexander served as Counsel at Cabot Corporation, a specialty chemicals and performance materials company. Prior to that, Ms. Alexander was a partner at the law firms of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder and Fine & Ambrogne. Ms. Alexander received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

©2013 Jon Chomitz Photography 3 Prescott street, Somerville, MA 02143 617.625.6789Bruce Booth, Partner, Atlas Venture 

Bruce Booth is a partner in the life sciences group and focuses on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics.

Since joining Atlas in 2005, Bruce has been involved in the founding and funding a number of innovative companies with a particular focus on capital efficient models for drug R&D.  He currently serves on the board of miRagen Therapeutics (co-founder), Zafgen, Bicycle Therapeutics, Nimbus Discovery (co-founder), Rodin Therapeutics (co-founder), and several other seed-stage biotech companies.  Previously, Bruce served on the boards of past Atlas companies Avila Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene), Stromedix (acquired by Biogen), Prestwick (acquired by Biovail), and Proprius (acquired by Cypress Biosciences), among others.

Prior to joining Atlas in 2005, Bruce was an investor with Caxton Health Holdings and before that, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a global strategic management consulting firm.  While at McKinsey, he worked extensively with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms to address R&D productivity issues, as well as portfolio management, new product commercialization, and business development.

Bruce currently serves on UCB Pharma’s Scientific Advisory Board, as well as Pfizer’s Healthcare “R&D 2020″ Innovation Think Tank, and participates on several other advisory boards for pharmaceutical companies and academic medical centers.  Bruce is also a trustee of the New York Academy of Medicine.  He recently joined the Science Exchange’s Reproducibility Initiative Advisory Board, focused on improving the reliability of translational research.

Bruce writes about life science venture capital topics at his blog, which is also syndicated with Forbes.  He has published numerous scientific papers and has authored various biotech venture capital review articles, including several in Nature Biotechnology.  In 2010, Bruce was named to Boston Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list.

As a British Marshall Scholar, Bruce received a D.Phil. (PhD) in molecular immunology from Oxford University.  His work focused on the study of HIV and tumor immune responses.  He received a BS in biochemistry, summa cum laude, from The Pennsylvania State University.

Marsha FanucciMarsha H. Fanucci, Board Director, Alnylam, Forma Therapeutics, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Syros. 

Marsha H. Fanucci formerly served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, where she was responsible for corporate strategy, finance, and operations. While at Millennium, she also served as Vice President, Finance and Corporate Strategy and Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy. Prior to her tenure at Millennium, she was Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy at Genzyme and Vice President and Director of Arthur D. Little, Inc. Ms. Fanucci is a member of the board of directors of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., FORMA Therapeutics, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and. She also serves on the board of the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care. She received her B.S. in Pharmacy from West Virginia University and her M.B.A. from Northeastern University.




Gwen_ActonGwen Action, PHD, Chief Executive Officer, Vivo Group 

Gwen Acton, PhD, is an expert on strategic leadership at the intersection of science and business. She is CEO of Vivo Group, a firm that improves the business skills of scientists and engineers so that they can be more productive and innovative in the life science and technology industries. Prior to this, she served as Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where she ran the operations of the Functional Genomics Program, a $40 million, 50- person academic-industry collaborative research program. Dr. Acton has a doctorate in biology from M.I.T., and served as a faculty member at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is the author of the book “The Bluffer’s Guide to Genetics,” a humorous guide to DNA published by Oval Books, the former president of Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (WEST), and the current Board Chair of The Bioscience Network, a non-profit that promotes life science professional networking. Dr. Acton is a popular speaker, workshop presenter, and facilitator.




Thistle smallMary Thistle, Chief Business Officer, Dimension Therapeutics 

Mary Thistle is a biopharmaceutical C-Suite leader with board-ready financial acumen, and a 15+ year track record building shareholder value of companies at every stage of their evolution – from start-up, VC funding and IPO, through rapid growth and public market leadership.  She brings significant expertise as an engineer of industry-altering M&A, licensing, strategic direction setting and public and private financing.  Her enter­prise-level strategic perspec­tive also includes P&L operations leadership.

Ms. Thistle is currently the CBO for Dimension Therapeutics, a leading gene therapy company developing novel, liver-directed treatments for devastating, rare genetic disorders using an AAV platform.   Since she arrived in February 2015, Ms. Thistle has partnered with Annalisa Jenkins, the CEO, closing an oversubscribed $65m series B mezzanine round from top tier investors and prepared the company for an IPO.  During this time she also led the Company’s first long range planning process which included defining the Company’s manufacturing strategic plan.   Ms. Thistle is responsible for portfolio strategy, program & alliance management & business development.  Bayer is a key corporate partner.

Prior to Dimension, as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Integration Management for Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST), she partnered with the CEO and executive team to manage the Merck acquisition of Cubist in 2015.   Over the course of her tenure at Cubist, (2009 – 2015) she led four major M&A transactions substantially contributing to the global company’s market capitalization growth from $14 to $70 per share and its commercial portfolio from one to four major products.   She achieved an industry first by engineering the same-day acquisition and subsequent integration of two public companies totaling $1.3 billion (Trius Therapeutics and Optimer Pharmaceuticals) to cement Cubist’s leadership in the anti-infective market.

From 1997 to 2007, Ms. Thistle served as the go-to leader for ViaCell, Inc.’s CEO, driving strategic decision-making in critical executive roles that took ViaCell from start-up through VC financing, IPO, and organizational expansion – to build shareholder value and position the company for its sale to PerkinElmer.  She managed all transaction activities in the $300 million sale of ViaCell realizing a 52% pre­mium over its closing share price.

Ms. Thistle began her career as a CPA, providing management, tax and accounting services to public and private companies across diverse industries.  In addition, she served in various financial positions for Nashua Corporation, a New Hampshire-based Fortune 100 manufacturing company. She earned her BS, summa cum laude, in Business and Accounting at University of Massachusetts and she passed all four parts of the CPA exam in her first attempt.

Dr. Rosana Kapeller, Chief Scientific Officer, Nimbus Therapeutics

Dr. Rosana Kapeller is Chief Scientific Officer of Nimbus Therapeutics and holds responsibility for advancing the company’s programs from discovery to early human proof-of-concept. In addition to spearheading Nimbus’ scientific vision, Dr. Kapeller co-led the Series A funding for the company in 2011 and has worked closely with other members of the management team to create multiple strategic business opportunities for the company, including partnerships and collaborations with Schrodinger, Monsanto, Shire and Genentech. Before joining Nimbus, Dr. Kapeller was Vice President of Research and a Co-Founder of Aileron Therapeutics, where she led the development of that company’s “Stapled Peptide” technology. Under her leadership, Aileron secured $60 million in venture financing over its first four years. Prior to co-founding Aileron, Dr. Kapeller held positions of increasing responsibility at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, most recently serving as Director, Molecular and Cellular Biology. Dr. Kapeller earned her M.D. from Rio de Janeiro State University in Brazil, and her Ph.D. from Tufts University Medical School. She conducted her post-doctoral research work at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where she was named a David Abraham Fellow in Pediatric Oncology. In 2012, Dr. Kapeller was named one of the Top 20 Women to Watch by Mass High Tech. She currently serves as a scientific advisor to Atlas Venture.

Jen Ryan_close_headshotPauline Jen Ryan, CEO, Verik Bio.

Pauline Jen Ryan is a senior business executive with over 25 years of strategic and operational experience in both public and private biotechnology companies. Currently, she is Chief Executive Officer of Verik Bio, a biotech company pioneering T cell-based cancer immunotherapy for solid cancers. She is also a Partner with Red Sky Partners, an advisory firm providing strategic counsel and interim management services to life sciences company management and Boards.

From 2008-2011, , she was Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Corporate Secretary & Treasurer at Proteostasis Therapeutics, a venture-backed company pioneering the development of new therapeutics based on protein folding, trafficking and clearance mechanisms. She worked closely with lead investor HealthCare Ventures to support raising a $45M Series A round. She was responsible for establishing and growing all business operations functions at the company from launch to 50 employees, as well as for setting intellectual property and business development strategy.

From 1999-2007, Ms. Ryan held positions of increasing responsibility at ImmunoGen, Inc. (NASD: IMGN), a cancer therapy company. She secured the corporate partnership with Genentech that created the breakthrough antibody-drug conjugate, Kadcyla®. As Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Operations, she oversaw strategic planning, business development, alliance management, human resources and project management as well as manufacturing, supply chain management, and manufacturing collaborations. Ms. Ryan was responsible for raising over $150M in corporate partnerships and was also instrumental in completing a $125M secondary offering.

Earlier in her career, she was a management consultant at ZS Associates and The Alexander Group, providing strategic marketing and sales consulting services to global pharmaceutical companies. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with concentrations in health care management, marketing, finance and managerial economics.

She is a member of the Board of Directors for Lumio, a startup incubating at the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT, and was previously a Board member at Solmap Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Forma Therapeutics). She is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School.

Nakada headshotMarian Nakada – VP Venture Investments – Johnson & Johnson Innovation JJDC.

Marian is a VP Venture Investments at Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and is based in Boston. She focuses on pharmaceutical investments in East Coast companies that will create options in areas of strategic interest to Johnson & Johnson. Marian previously held roles in Centocor, Janssen R&D and Janssen Business Development. She has a BA in Biology from Harvard College and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania and sits on the Board of Navitor Pharmaceuticals and Padlock Therapeutics.

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