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.

Gaylene has won several leadership awards for her work with faculty and students, particularly with respect to her entrepreneurial accomplishments (including her own company, Waterproof Kids®)..

Connell Rick

Richard “Rick” Connell, Ph.D., 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.

In 2018, Rick was named US / EU Chief Operating Officer for WuXi AppTec: A Contract Research Organization (CRO) with nine locations in the US as well as R&D sites in Munich, Germany; Couvet, Switzerland; and Oxford, UK. In his role, he leads several operating units including IT, Legal, Facilities, Procurement, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), and Government Affairs.

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Sandra Coufal, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, Toragen, Inc.

Dr. Sandra I. Coufal, M.D., has served as a member of the Tricida board of directors since July 2013 and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board since August 2013. Since January 2022, Dr. Coufal has served as Chief Executive Officer at Toragen, a biotechnology company developing drugs for HPV-induced cancers. Dr. Coufal is a co-founder and has served as a co-manager of Sibling Capital Ventures LLC, an affiliate of one of our principal stockholders, since 2013. Dr. Coufal was a co-founder and a co-manager of Sibling Capital, LLC from 2012 to 2016.

For the past 21 years until February of 2022, Dr. Coufal has been the Biomedical Advisor for the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. Dr. Coufal served as the Head of the Division of Internal Medicine at the Torrey Pines site of Scripps Clinic from 1997 until 1999, was a member of the board of directors of Scripps Green Hospital from 1997 until 1999. Dr. Coufal founded and served on Relypsa, Inc.’s Scientific Advisory Board since 2007 and was a co-founder of Ilypsa’s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Coufal has served on the boards of directors of BioAesthetics Corporation and SafetySpot Inc., since February 2016 and March 2017, respectively.

Dr. Coufal served as Associate Faculty in the Division of Internal Medicine for the University of California San Diego. She completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. Dr. Coufal received her M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and received her B.S. in Science Preprofessional Studies from the University of Notre Dame and was designated a Notre Dame Scholar.

Behrad D

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

Behrad is the Chief Business Officer at Edgewise Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing small molecule therapies for musculoskeletal diseases. Prior to this position, he was the Chief Business Officer at VectivBio, a global, clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative treatments for severe rare conditions with high unmet medical need. Previously, he was the Vice President, Head of Business Development at Therachon AG, a global biotech focused on developing medicines for rare, genetic diseases that currently have no available treatments. Behrad has over 10 years of experience in the rare/ultra-rare disease space. As a Director at Alexion Pharmaceuticals he was 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., Chief Business Officer, ARDVIR and ReversePAH Pharmaceuticals

Erik is Chief Business and Chief Regulatory Officer for ARDVIR and ReversePAH Pharmaceuticals, which specialize in ARDS, COPD and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of 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 and Corporate Counsel for Aspreva Pharmaceuticals. Erik has been involved with the clinical development, regulatory approval, launch and commercialization of 16 drugs and drug programs, including a launch earlier this year for Lupkynis, which is indicated for Lupus Nephritis. 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 and a M.S. in F.D.A. Regulatory Legal Compliance & Clinical Research from Northwestern University. He also holds a B.S. in Biology, a B.A. in History, a M.Sc. in Chemistry, and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago. He graduated from Des Moines University Iowa Medical School with a Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, D.P.M. (2019 Alumni of the Year), 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; Great Lakes Naval Hospital Department of Podiatric 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.

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 - Two 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.

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

Monica is Of Counsel 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., Engagement Manager, McKinsey and Company

Gabe LaBonia is an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, a global management consultancy. He has served Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, medical products, transportation, and logistics. Functionally, he has helped companies on topics of strategy, enterprise-wide transformations, organizational design, commercial effectiveness, and operations.

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 of Science degree 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 a NSF Ethnical Leaders in STEM fellow.

Gabe currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife, Carolyn, a 2018 Biochemistry Ph.D. graduate from the University of Notre Dame, and their 18 month-old daughter, Harper.

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 timeline 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 a 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 - 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.

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Lou Stancato, Ph.D., Associate Vice President, Pediatric Clinical Development, Eli Lilly & Company

Louis Stancato is an Associate Vice President in Pediatric Clinical Development at Eli Lilly and Company and is a recognized 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 25 years of industry research experience, spanning the continuum of drug discovery and development. Lou’s team’s research underpins much of the Lilly pediatric clinical portfolio, notably for Verzenio, Cyramza, and the AuroraA inhibitor. In 2020 Lou joined Lilly’s PEDS Hub and is a leader in pediatric drug development in oncology and immunology advocating for safe and novel clinical trial designs to ensure the best possible care for our youngest patients.

Proudly representing Lilly’s pediatric cancer research interests around the globe, Lou is a prominent figure in the pediatric cancer community. In 2016, he became the co-leader of 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 30- member consortium is comprised of many of the EU’s top pediatric cancer centers along with scientists from AstraZeneca, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, PharmaMar, Roche, Sanofi, Servier, Charles River Labs and Lilly and has created the world’s largest pediatric cancer research platform to support the identification and development of innovative and life-saving medicines for our youngest patients. Lou also serves on the Industry Advisory Council for CureSearch, whose mission is to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research, is a member of the Industry Advisory Board for the Harper Cancer Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame, and is a Senior Editor for Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

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Nick Swisher, Inaugural Director of Marketing, Communications, and Events, IDEA Center, University of Notre Dame


Nick Swisher is the inaugural director of marketing, communications, and events at the IDEA Center. He was recruited by Notre Dame in 2017 to help launch the IDEA Center. In addition to handling all of the IDEA Center's marketing, communications, and events, Nick is also the executive director of IDEA Week, a large event Notre Dame and the community put on every April.

Prior to joining Notre Dame, Nick was the director of marketing, communications, and events at Technology and Venture Commercialization at the University of Utah, one of the world's leading technology commercialization operations. He served in this role from 2011 to 2017. In this role, Nick worked primarily with inventions and startups coming out of the University of Utah School of Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute including Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Myriad Genetics, BioFire Diagnostics and many more.

Before this, Nick was a special projects manager for two years in the office of former Utah Governor Gary Herbert where he focused on economic development. Prior to his role with Governor Herbert, Swisher worked for Nelson Motivation, a successful Peter Drucker-based consultancy based in San Diego, California, for nearly ten years. In his role as the organization's marketing and communications manager, he was responsible for managing every facet of the company's marketing and communications initiatives, as well as ghostwriting, survey and focus group design, exhibiting, and conducting direct research and statistical analysis. Nick helped ghostwrite two New York Times bestselling books, over a dozen journal articles, and five white papers.

Nick has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Joe Whalen V2

Joe Whalen, M.B.A., Senior Vice President, Alliances & International Business Development, Horizon Therapeutics

Joe has almost 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry leading and supporting transactions involving licensing, acquisitions, and strategic alliances. Joe was among the first 20 employees when he joined Horizon in 2010 and has led or supported many of Horizon's acquisitions since that time, helping to grow Horizon into a publicly-traded company with a market capitalization of greater than $15 billion, over 2000 employees, and net sales over $3 billion per year. He played a leadership role in the strategy and execution of Horizon's acquisition of Viela Bio for $3 billion. Other transactions he led include Horizon's acquisition of Crealta Holdings LLC for $510 million, PENNSAID® 2% for $45 million, and VIMOVO® for $35 million. He has supported Horizon's IPO and other fund-raising activities.

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

Joe is on the board of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, the Illinois Biotech Industry Association (IBIO), and was a founding member of the Industry Advisory Board of the Harper Cancer Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

Francesca Wuttke V2


Francesca Wuttke, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, nen

Francesca Wuttke  is the CEO and Founder of nen – bringing evidence-based Digital Therapeutics (DTx) pain solutions to preschool kids with cancer. Dr. Wuttke  brings broad drug development and healthcare expertise in both the US and Europe, with over 25 years of clinical, commercial, strategic, and transactional experience. She has worked with diverse organizations including start-ups, consulting, large and specialty pharma as well as academia. Formerly the Chief Digital Officer of Almirall, she created the Almirall Digital Garden to accelerate and incubate digital health startups.

Previously she led European investments as Managing Director for the MSD Global Health Innovation Fund, LLC. Prior to that, Dr. Wuttke led Almirall’s Corporate Development Strategy team to transact on both med device and pharma M&A opportunities with a new and targeted focus for the company.

Dr. Wuttke worked at Novartis where she was responsible for two Cell and Gene therapy opportunities that were successfully brought into the organization as well as managing the strategy and commercialization for the existing portfolio of cell therapy assets.

Dr. Wuttke holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and a BA from Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences.

Victoria Zellmer V2

Victoria Zellmer, Ph.D., Senior Account Executive, Harvard Bioscience

Victoria combines her scientific research experience with her business acumen as a Senior Account Executive for Harvard Bioscience. In this role, she manages the entire sales cycle of the Cell & Molecular product line for the Plains, Midwest, and Southeast geographies. After completing her doctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2017, Victoria joined Piper Jaffray (now Piper Sandler) as an Equity Research Associate covering small-, mid-, and large-cap pharmaceutical and biotech companies prior to joining HBIO. Victoria keeps active in the startup scene with her involvement in both IrishAngels and the mHUB Product Impact Fund. She resides in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and two daughters, and enjoys the Chicago restaurant scene, traveling, and cheering for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.