Industry Advisory Board

Anderson Gaylene

Gaylene Anderson, M.B.A., US Director of Contracts & Alliance Management, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals

Gaylene is the US Director of Contracts and Alliance Management for Boehringer Ingelheim - managing research contracts and licensing opportunities for BI with US partners. As Director of the Notre Dame/Cleveland Clinic Innovations Alliance Program and Senior Innovations Officer for the Cleveland Clinic, Gaylene was the on-site liaison between ND and CC. She accelerated select technologies through the commercialization process, created new ventures, and identified complementary research opportunities between ND scientists and CC clinicians. She has a strong focus on BD, licensing, IP management, contract negotiations, alliance management, and entrepreneurship activities. She has created over a dozen start-up companies, developed relationships with investor groups around the U.S., raised private equity for startups, and is an expert in negotiating license and sponsored research deals.

In her work with CC and university systems, Gaylene has won leadership awards for her work with faculty and students in business plan competitions – including “Mentor of the Year” for ND in 2015. Under Gaylene’s leadership, faculty and student teams have won or placed as finalists in the World’s Best Technology Showcase, the Licensing Executive Society Invention Competition, the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition, the Asia Venture Challenge, and university business plan competitions all over the US. Previously, Gaylene was a Senior Licensing Associate for the University of Idaho, managing all life science IP for the University system, and served as the liaison for the state commodity commissions. Earlier in her career, Gaylene managed IP and economic development activities for the School of Medicine and Cancer Research Center at the University of Hawaii.

As an entrepreneur herself, Gaylene created the highly successful Waterproof Kids® learn-to- swim DVD series, which has won numerous parent and media awards, and is sold all around the world.

Connell Rick

Richard “Rick” Connell, Ph.D., Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Wuxi AppTech USA

Rick received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame in 1989, doing research under the direction of Professor Paul Helquist.  He spent six months doing research at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH) aka the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, Sweden as part of a joint collaboration between the Helquist and Akermark labs.  After graduation, he worked as a National Institutes of Health Post-Doctoral Investigator at Harvard University under the direction of Professor E. J. Corey: the 1990 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.

He began his professional career at Bayer in West Haven Connecticut, rising to the position of Director of Medicinal Chemistry following a two-year assignment to Wuppertal Germany.  Rick started at Pfizer in Groton, CT, as Director of Cancer Medicinal Chemistry in 1999 where he was instrumental in the nomination of several cancer compounds into clinical development.  He chaired the early clinical management team for CP-724,714: an erbB2-selective kinase inhibitor being explored in breast cancer patients who failed to respond to Herceptin.  He is an inventor on one of the two key patents for Tarceva® (aka CP-358,774), an erbB1 kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of lung cancer that achieved peek annual sales of over one billion dollars.

Following a 1-year secondment to the UK to head Sex Health Medicinal Chemistry during the Pharmacia acquisition, Rick was promoted to Executive Director of Research Operations in 2005 and helped establish an integrated, global Chemistry sourcing strategy.  In 2008, he became Vice President of Research Outsourcing (aka External Research Solutions or ERS), helping to implement global, non-GMP alliances related to Chemistry, Biology Pharmacology, Drug Metabolism and Drug Safety services.  In 2011, when Pfizer announced the establishment of an anti-infective Research unit in Shanghai, China, Rick was seconded to Shanghai as the Chief Operating Officer/head of Research while the company sought a Chief Science Officer. 

Following his return to the US in 2012, Rick helped Pfizer realize the vision of an agile, externally facing R&D organization:

  • He established the lead finding collaboration with the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel.
  • He enabled a broader set of external academic, government, and biotech collaborations that helped deliver the small molecule portfolio of innovative drugs to the clinic. 
  • He led the effort to monetize underutilized intellectual property within Pfizer, establishing licensing deals with Sigma-Aldrich related to reference standards and novel tool compounds, and a deal with Charles River relating to genetically engineered mice.
  • He created a pre-competitive forum centered in Millipore-Sigma that allowed large Pharma companies (AbbVie, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck KGaA, Novartis, Pfizer Roche, & Vertex) to exchange non-commercial building blocks.  This forum has the potential to reduce the cost of Drug discovery while aiding the design and speeding the delivery of more selective drugs to the clinic.

Behrad D

Behrad Derakhshan, Ph.D., Chief Business Officer, Edgewise Therapeutics

Behrad is the Chief Business Officer at VectiveBio, a biotech dedicated to conditions caused by well understood molecular alterations that can be targeted with transformational therapeutics. Prior to this position, he was the Vice President, Head of Business Development at Therachon AG, a global biotech focused on developing medi-cines for rare, genetic diseases that currently have no available treatments. Behrad has 10 years of experience in the rare/ultra-rare disease space, most recently as a Director at Alexion Pharmaceuticals responsible for Business Development and Strategic Evaluation. In this role, he reviewed and evaluated numerous opportunities for potential in-licensing or acquisition. Prior to this role, Behrad served as the Director of New Products, leading Global Commercial Insights and Analytics, also at Alexion, where he provided commercial support for both early stage development and late stage life cycle programs for Alexion’s internal portfolio as well as external Business Development opportunities.

Behrad went to Alexion after spending several years in life science consulting, first as a Senior Consultant at Easton Associates and then as an Associate Director at Navigant Consulting, Inc. Behrad provided consulting services to numerous Top 20 pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology companies, including business development/opportunity searches, corporate and commercial strategies, payer/reimbursement strategies and strategic product development.

Behrad earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology and biochemistry from Cornell University, Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences and was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Interdepartmental Program in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics at the Yale University School of Medicine. He received a First Class Honors BSc. In Biochemistry from the University of Surrey. He has presented at multiple international meetings and authored several peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters. In 2006, he was the recipient of an “International Young Investigator Award” for research performed during his graduate degree.

Eglite Erik

Erik Eglite, D.P.M., J.D., M.B.A., Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Corporate Compliance Officer, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals

Prior to joining Aurinia, Erik was Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Counsel for Marathon Pharmaceuticals and Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Counsel for Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Counsel for Ovation Pharmaceuticals and Global Chief Compliance Officer, Corporate Counsel for Aspreva Pharmaceuticals. Erik has been involved with the clinical development, launch and commercialization of 14 drugs and drug programs.  He is a nationally recognized and frequent speaker on pharmaceutical law. Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, Erik worked as Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Human Services and as a medical malpractice, product liability defense litigation and intellectual property, patent attorney for Querry & Harrow in Chicago, Illinois. He is a licensed podiatric physician and surgeon and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Erik has a M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. He also holds a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in History, M.Sc. Cand. in Chemistry, and a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. He graduated from Des Moines University Iowa Medical School with a Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, after which he completed his residency training at Michigan Health Medical Center Hospital. He also completed his medical/surgical externships at the University of Chicago, Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery and Northwestern University Columbus Cabrini Hospital, Department of Orthopedic/Podiatric Surgery. He has a graduate certificate in Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Law from Seton Hall School of Law, an Executive Certificate in Corporate Governance from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and an Executive Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame.  Currently, Erik is completing his M.S. in Clinical Research Regulatory Compliance at Northwestern University.

Kelly James

James “Jim” Kelly, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.S., Cardiothoracic Surgeon; President and Principal, Cascade Partners

James P. Kelly completed his Medical Degree from The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in 1973. He finished his residency in General Surgery, a Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery, and a Research Fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. He became an Assistant/Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and a member of the full-time Academic Faculty at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana.

He went into the Private Practice of Cardiothoracic Surgery in South Bend, Indiana in 1986 and he was the President and Senior Surgeon in a #5 Surgeon group - Cardiothoracic Surgery, PC -doing Adult Acquired Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery.  

He completed his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management in 2007. As he completed his MBA, he started 2 companies - Cascade Partners, LLC and the Advanced Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery, LLC.

With the Advanced Center, he became the Medical Director for Thoracic Oncology. Cascade Partners is a Strategy Consulting Entity which mentors, advises, and invests in early stage disruptive, innovative medical/surgical devices, technologies, and processes. He continues as President and Principal.

He is a Member of #2 Angel Groups and he sits on #3 not-for-profit medically related Boards in Chicago and in Indiana. He is President of the Northwestern Medical Alumni Association. He is a member of CIM - Chicago Innovation Mentors - since its inception in October of 2010 and he has been a Mentor at MATTER in Chicago since its start in April of 2015. He has mentored and advised start-up companies at CORTEX (Washington University - St. Louis), MATTER (CHICAGO), THE GARAGE (Northwestern University - Evanston), CHICAGO INNOVATION EXCHANGE (University of Chicago - Hyde Park), and INNOVATION PARK (Notre Dame University- Notre Dame, Indiana).

His investments include Briteseed, Innoblative, Sintect Medical Systems, Intui-Tap, Surgical Innovation Assoc., Rhythmn Therepeutics, Venli, Cardialen, My Burger, Preferral, Endotronics, 4-D Healthware, Edge Surgical Products, SimMachine, NovaScan, Derma Close, LaSalle Grill, Red Post, Paragon Motors, Green Bridge and Healthy Points.

Jim has 4 children - #2 Lawyers, an Art Professor, and a Management Trainee in the gourmet restaurant business. His wife is a Masters level ICU nurse and he enjoys golf, fly fishing, and travel.

Kolinsky Monica

Monica Kolinsky, Ph.D., J.D., Associate Counsel, Corporate Department & Life Sciences Practice Group, Wiggin and Dana LLP

Monica is an Associate in the Corporate Department and Life Sciences Practice Group at the law firm Wiggin and Dana LLP in Stamford, CT.

Monica's practice focuses primarily on life sciences and biotechnology transactional matters including licensing, corporate partnering and other technology-transfer transactions. She also provides intellectual property-related support for due diligence matters, mergers and acquisitions, and litigation. She is experienced in preparing and prosecuting patent applications in the life sciences area and maintains an active patent prosecution practice. Monica works directly with a range of clients in the life sciences industry, including domestic and European public companies and emerging biotechnology and pharmaceutical startup companies.

Before joining the firm, Monica was Of Counsel at Grimes & Yvon LLP in New York, where she prepared and prosecuted patent applications in the areas of life sciences and biotechnology and drafted and negotiated agreements related to intellectual property and research materials. She was previously a Licensing Officer for Medical Research Council Technology (now known as LifeArc) in London, England and an Associate and Technology Specialist at WilmerHale in New York. Monica was short-listed as a 2017 U. S. Rising Transactional Star by LMG Life Sciences.

Monica holds a Ph. D. in Pharmacology from Cornell University, Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and she earned her J.D. cum laude from New York Law School. She earned her B.S. cum laude in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Moravian College, and was an undergraduate Carolina Summer Research Fellow in the Pharmacology department at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

G Labonia Headshot

Gabe LaBonia, Ph.D., Senior Associate, McKinsey and Company

Gabe LaBonia is a Senior Associate at McKinsey & Company, a global management consultancy. He has served Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries including transportation, logistics, agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical products and specialty chemicals. Functionally, he has helped companies on topics of strategy, enterprise-wide transformations, and marketing and sales. 

Gabe has developed expertise in McKinsey’s Organization practice and is passionate about helping companies achieve their organizational goals targeted at their most important resource: people. Gabe’s work in the Organization practice has focused on organizational re-designs, talent acquisition and management, culture and transformation changes, and decision making.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Gabe worked at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in Memphis, Tennessee. While at the TBI, Gabe worked on DNA profiling, toxicology, drug, and ballistic analysis for crime scene investigation.

Gabe holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Forensic Chemistry from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame, Gabe’s research focused on imaging-mass spectrometry method development, three-dimensional cell cultures, and proteomics for colon cancer research. While at Notre Dame, Gabe was a Research Like a Champion award winner and an NSF Ethical Leaders in STEM fellow.

Outside of work, Gabe enjoys sports and spending time outside.  Gabe currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Carolyn, a 2018 Biochemistry Ph.D. graduate from the University of Notre Dame.

Mcgill Jay

John “Jay” McGill, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Indiana Biosciences Research Institute

Jay McGill, Ph.D. is the Chief Operating Officer of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) where he is responsible for the day to day scientific operations.  In addition, Dr. McGill plays a key role in establishing both public and private collaborative relationships with the IBRI.  Prior to joining the IBRI in January 2018, Dr. McGill spent 28 years at Eli Lilly and Company in a variety of positions.   In his final role, Dr. McGill was the Senior Director, Lilly Research Laboratories Operations responsible for Science and Technology Partnerships where he served as the interface between academic institutions and scientists within Lilly Research Labs.  In addition, Dr. McGill oversaw Lilly's portfolio of research based Public Private Partnerships and consortium participation.  Dr. McGill brings a vast experience in collaboration, partnership, research operations and venture to this critical interface with Indiana’s innovation and academic research communities.

In 2013 and 2014, Dr. McGill was on assignment as a loaned executive with BioCrossroads, where he held the title of Translational Scientific Officer. His responsibilities at BioCrossroads included the support of several initiatives at the Indiana Clinical and Translational Institute (Indiana CTSI) at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Dr. McGill was instrumental in establishing the Indiana CTSI–Covance partnership for a Phase One clinic within IU hospital and played a critical role in creating the Strategic Pharma-Academic Research Consortium for Translational Medicine (SPARC).  Dr. McGill served as the Chief Operation Officer and Treasurer for the Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities.  Leveraging his experience with 6-Sigma, Dr. McGill led the redesign of the process for industry sponsored clinical research engagement dramatically reducing the time line for contracting and start-up of industry-sponsored clinical trials with IU School of Medicine.  In addition to his work with the Indiana CTSI, Dr. McGill supported the creation of the Indiana Bioscience Research Institute (IBRI). 

Previous to his assignment at BioCrossroads, Dr. McGill was the Senior Director of Research Business Operations where his responsibilities included the oversight and management of all Research based (preclinical) collaborations, alliances, and outsourcing partners including chemistry, in vitro and in vivo biology, preclinical ADME and toxicology.   Dr McGill was also responsible for the Research Quality and Compliance organizations.  From December 2010 to June 2012, Jay served as the interim COO of the Lilly China Research Development Center (LCRDC) in Shanghai, China.  After Eli Lilly announced its intentions to create an R&D site in China, Dr. McGill led a team to identify a location, construct the facility and establish the operations for LCRDC which opened in June 2012.   

After receiving a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Georgia and a PhD in organic chemistry from Indiana University, Dr. McGill joined Eli Lilly and Company in 1990 as a Senior Scientist in the Chemical Process Development Group.   In 1998, Jay joined the Discovery Chemistry Research and Technologies organization where he held a number of positions including Head of the Custom Synthesis Lab, Director of the Discovery Chemistry Synthesis Group, Sr. Director - Global Chemistry Sourcing.  In 2008, as part of reorganization within Lilly Research Laboratories all of the Research based sourcing groups (chemistry, in vitro and in vivo biology, tox and ADME) were consolidated under Dr. McGill’s leadership as Senior Director, External Research Operations.  

Dr. McGill has over 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development, research collaborations, and outsourcing management.  During his career he has been instrumental in creating and developing Eli Lilly’s collaborations in Asia, and establishing operations to support an external network of research based outsourcing partners and alliances. Dr. McGill is known for his leadership in the pioneering of novel and transformational partnership models.

Packman Kathryn

Kathryn Packman, Ph.D., Senior Scientific Director & Global Head of Tumor Biology, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Kathryn Packman is Scientific Director of Oncology Collaborations at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. From the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Boston, she leads academic and biotechnology research collaborations for the Oncology therapeutic area located on the East Coast of the U.S. In this role, she brings cutting- edge technologies and deep biological insight to accelerate development of transformative medicines for cancer patients. Kathryn is an in vivo pharmacology leader with extensive preclinical drug discovery experience. Kathryn was head of preclinical oncology research at the Roche Translational and Clinical Research Center, where she defined the small molecule externalization strategy and delivered preclinical research support through academic and biotechnology alliances.

Prior to that, she led preclinical tumor biology at Roche Pharmaceuticals for 10 years, where her laboratory examined drug efficacy and biological mechanisms of action in vivo. This work culminated in the advancement of ten drugs with companion biomarkers into clinical investigation, including CDK inhibitor R547, multi-kinase inhibitor R1530, MEK 1/2 inhibitor RO5068760, Gamma Secretase inhibitor RG4733, anti-PlGF MAb RG7334, anti-Tweak MAb RG7212, first-in-class p53-MDM2 antagonists RG7112 and RG7388 currently under clinical investigation, and the marketed BRAFV600 inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf) for the treatment of melanoma. Dr. Packman’s laboratory also focused on modulation of dose, schedule, and combination therapy to optimize tumor apoptotic response while limiting drug toxicity. Their work provided the basis for clinical investigation of the dose-dense regimen for the marketed drug capecitabine (Xeloda) in breast and colorectal cancer, as well as intermittent schedules for p53-MDM2 antagonist RG7388 under clinical investigation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and prostate cancer.

Kathryn has published over 40 peer-reviewed research articles and 6 patents. She also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical and Dental School for 10 years. Dr. Packman earned her BSc. Degree in Biology at the State University of New York at Geneseo, and a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Notre Dame.

Lou Stancato Photo V3

Lou Stancato, Ph.D., Research Fellow & Group Leader, Eli Lilly & Company

Louis Stancato is a Research Fellow in Discovery Oncology at Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis and is an accomplished expert in adult and pediatric cancer translational research.  At the intersection of the bench and the bedside, translational research is essential to enabling the conversion of fundamental biological understanding of molecules and disease into testable clinical hypotheses.  Lou’s scientific career began with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology, followed by a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan.  Prior to joining Eli Lilly and Company, he was an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the National Institutes of Health, twice receiving the NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence.  Lou joined Eli Lilly and company in 1997 and has nearly 23 years of industry research experience, spanning the continuum of drug discovery and development.  Currently, he is privileged to lead a team of talented scientists whose mission is to deliver translational research data packages for key clinical assets, both large and small molecules, while building a preclinical pediatric research capability that identifies promising drugs for kids with cancer.  Passionate about bringing game-changing therapies to the youngest patients, Lou’s team jumpstarts pediatric clinical development through research and collaboration, helping Lilly to develop a robust clinical pediatric portfolio.

Proudly representing Lilly’s pediatric cancer research interests around the globe, Lou is a prominent figure in the pediatric cancer community.  In 2015, he championed a novel public private partnership resulting in his current leadership position for an Innovative Medicines Initiative project in the EU ( to develop a preclinical pediatric proof of concept network to identify potential new medicines for children with cancer (ITCC-P4; This 22-member consortium brings together many of the EU’s top pediatric cancer centers with scientists from Bayer, Pfizer, PharmaMar, Roche, Charles River Labs and Lilly to develop a world-class research platform to deliver innovative and life-saving medicines to children with cancer.  The legacy of this five-year project will be a sustainable pediatric cancer research platform, available to researchers across the globe, that will support clinical development for years to come. 

Contributions to the scientific community are critical to the team’s mission and much of their research is disclosed at prominent scientific conferences and in leading journals. A passionate and vocal supporter of basic research within the pharmaceutical industry, Lou has mentored multiple post-doctoral fellows, and is very active in publishing and presenting on behalf of Lilly Oncology. Dr. Stancato is honored to serve as a senior editor for Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (AACR family of journals).

James Thompson Web Orig

James Thompson, Associate Vice President for Innovation; Executive Director, Commercialization Engine Team, University of Notre Dame

James has over 17 years’ experience in management, business development, marketing, biotechnology research and quality systems. Most recently James was the Interim Executive Director of the Technology & Venture Commercialization office (TVC) at the University of Utah. While at the TVC, in multiple roles including the Interim Executive Director, Director of the Engineering Team and Business and Technology Manager, James helped to develop and implement a stage gated, milestone-driven commercialization process called the Utah Model of Commercialization or affectionately called the Commercialization Engine. The Commercialization Engine is a system to assist companies with licenses to university-owned technologies successfully commercialize the licensed tech (providing assistance in the areas of strategic planning, funding, problem solution fit, product market fit, recruitment of leadership and more). The system substantially improved both internal and external customer service while increasing the commercialization activity of technologies developed and owned by the University of Utah.

Prior to the University of Utah, James was the Director of Business Development and Director of New Product Development for a chemical company (Frontier Scientific) and a research reagents company (Echelon Biosciences). In these companies, James released over 200 new products (resulting in an increase of total product offering by 15% and set up collaborations with over 27 entities.

James has also founded four companies, three of which are still in business. Quansys Biosciences, still in business, develops and sells test kits used in the pharmaceutical, clinical, and academic research use markets. PetroBio Tech, no longer in business, distributed a fuel additive and performed services in the oil and gas industry cleaning crude oil storage tanks using a proprietary solvent/surfactant blend. Energy Innovation Services, Inc., of which he is currently President, was founded to commercialize a patented surfactant/solvent blend + water conditioner in the oil/gas industry. The company is focused on manufacturing products and working with distributors to provide the service to oil/gas operators. Finally, Allerief, Inc., also currently President, is focused on developing an over-the-counter remedy to reduce the severity of food-specific allergic reactions.

Whalen Joe

Joe Whalen, M.B.A., Senior Vice President, Business Development & Alliance Management, Horizon Pharma

Mr. Whalen has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry leading and supporting transactions involving licensing, acquisitions, and strategic alliances.  Mr. Whalen joined Horizon Pharma in April of 2010 and has led or supported many of Horizon’s acquisitions since that time helping to grow Horizon from a company with around 20 employees and no sales to over 1,000 employees and over $1 billion in net sales.  Recent transactions include Horizon’s acquisitions of Crealta Holdings LLC for $510 million and PENNSAID® 2% for $45 million.  He also led the out-licensing of LODOTRA® and DUEXIS® ex-U.S. and has supported Horizon’s IPO and other fund raising activities. 

Prior to Horizon, he was at Baxter Healthcare where he led and supported a number of transactions as part of Baxter’s Medication Delivery business.  Mr. Whalen worked at Searle prior to Baxter where his experience included various finance roles supporting business development, European operations, U.S. marketing, and R&D. 

He earned a MBA from the University of Illinois and bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.


Francesca Wuttke, Ph.D., CEO and Founder of nen, bringing evidence-based solutions to kids with cancer

Francesca Domenech Wuttke is the Chief Digital Officer for Almirall and member of the Management Board of the company. Dr. Wuttke will be responsible for developing and executing end-to-end digital strategy, a key pillar for the future success of the company.

She leads the ‘Digital Transformation’ department for the firm, defines the new digital governance model, develops and prioritizes the enterprise-wide ‘Digital Project’ portfolio and works closely with all business stakeholders.

During the last few years, Wuttke has led European investments as Managing Director Europe for the Global Health Innovation Fund MSD’s venture capital arm. The fund is exclusively focused on investments in digital health solutions and services; there, she designed the investment thesis to accelerate the digital clinical trial ecosystem, with much success. For example, she invested in a digital clinical trial patient recruitment platform as well as a platform that interrogates electronic medical records for genomic phenotyping, clinical trial applications, and Real World Evidence.

Previously, she also worked as Global Director, Commercial Strategy at Novartis and was also co-founder of Asten BioPharma Advisors, a healthcare consultancy that supports business development of biopharmaceutical companies interested in investments in biotechnology. During her experience in venture capital, private equity, start-ups, consulting, and pharma companies, Wuttke has shown great ability to distill scientific and clinical data into investment opportunities, having prospected and evaluated hundreds of opportunities.

She holds a PhD in Pharmacology from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and a B.A. in Biology and Society by the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences.

Zellmer Victoria

Victoria Zellmer, Ph.D., Cell & Molecular Instrumentation Specialist, Harvard Bioscience

Victoria Zellmer, Ph.D., is a 2017 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she studied the breast tumor microenvironment in Dr. Siyuan Zhang’s group at the Harper Cancer Research Institute. Victoria managed and collaborated on several interdisciplinary projects resulting in multiple funded grants, manuscripts, and awards.

During her time in the Zhang Lab, Victoria was part of a team of scientists and engineers that patented a diagnostic 3D imaging technology. She worked with the Office of Technology Transfer on a commercialization plan for this technology and effectively communicated technical content to investors at multiple global business plan competitions, resulting in more than $25,000 in prize winnings.

Victoria served as the Ambassador Constituent Team (ACT) Lead with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). In this role, she was an advocate for cancer patients and lobbied Congress in support of cancer research funding at a local and national level. In addition, Victoria was a consistent communicator to the South Bend City Council on behalf of cancer research, resulting in increased awareness for screening and detection in the community. This eventually led to her involvement with Smoke Free St. Joe, and her concerted efforts led to support smoking cessation ordinances in South Bend and St. Joseph County.

Victoria is currently a cell & molecular instrumentation specialist for Harvard Bioscience, a global developer and manufacturer of advanced life science instrumentation. Previously, she covered the biotech industries as an Equity Research Associate at Piper Jaffray in Chicago, with a focus on small-cap companies in the rare and neglected disease space. She holds Series 7, Series 63, and Series 87 professional licenses, is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), and served on the Harper Industry Board as a junior member since 2017.