2018 BIOFLORIDA CONFERENCE SPEAKERS
Founder & President
The Alexis Group Consultants, Inc.
Founder and president of The Alexis Group Consultants, Gina has 25+ years of experience developing marketing communications programs for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, the service industries that support them, and non-profit research institutes. She has worked with ethical products in specialties ranging from cardiology, oncology and psychiatry to allergy and immunology. Her experience includes other regulated industries such as financial services, legal, insurance, food and beverage and other non-regulated industries.
Gina is a former Board Member and past Chair of BioFlorida, the state’s trade association for the life sciences and the affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization(BIO). She represented the industry in meetings with former Governor Jeb Bush and the state legislature. Gina currently serves as Chair of BioFlorida’s largest chapter, the Southeast Region.
She serves as a Board Member of CareerSource Broward, a federally-funded organization providing services to employers and job seekers in Broward County, is Chair of its Youth Committee and also serves on the Strategic Planning, Policy Development, Legislative Advocacy & Regionalism Committee. Gina served as an Advisory Board Member for StartUp Quest, a $12 million federally funded program to train life science and technology entrepreneurs.
She co-founded the Bioscience Task Force for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and is a former member of the Bioscience Advisory Board for One Community One Goal. Gina recently served as a Board Member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Greater Palm Beach.
Prior to founding The Alexis Group, Gina held senior healthcare and life sciences positions with major marketing communications firms in New York City. She holds a B.A. from the City University of New York.
Alice E. Ancona
Director, International Strategy & Policy
Florida Chamber of Commerce
Ms. Ancona heads the Chamber’s international efforts and is responsible for leading, developing and implementing programs that foster global trade and investment for Florida. She is additionally responsible for promoting the Chamber’s international trade agenda, including reducing barriers to trade, promoting efforts to expand trade opportunities for Florida businesses and products, and expanded development of our trade infrastructure to federal and state, elected and appointed officials, staff and agencies as well as within the business community.
Ms. Ancona serves as the lead advocate to accomplish the goals set forth in the Florida Trade & Logistics Study 2.0 (TL2) through the chamber’s International Business Council which actively works to expand Florida’s role as a global trade hub. Ms. Ancona serves as lead staff to the International Policy Committee which develops policy positions and recommendations on international trade and investment and works to promote Florida’s global competitiveness through advocacy. She additionally is the chamber’s thought-leader for the Infrastructure Coalition which serves as the unified voice of business preparing for Florida’s future growth.
Ms. Ancona is member of the International Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, member of the Florida International Trade Partnership, member of the Global Initiatives Advisory Board of Polk State College, member of the South Florida District Export Council, recipient of the 2014 International Women’s Day Award from World Trade Center Miami, named 2015 Person of the Year by the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, Inc., and recipient of the 2016 Women of Distinction Award by the Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce. Served as steering committee member of the Florida Transportation and Strategic Intermodal System Policy Plan.
President & CEO,
Enterprise Florida, Inc.
Florida Secretary of Commerce
Peter Antonacci is the President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI,) and also serves as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce. He brings more than three decades of experience in Florida state government, finance and law to the EFI team. Antonacci leads EFI in the organization’s three core missions – Business Development, Marketing, and International Trade & Development. A public-private partnership, EFI facilitates job growth for Florida through business recruitment, retention and expansion; assists small and minority businesses through capital programs; and supports small and mid-sized Florida businesses with their export and international trade efforts. The organization works with county and regional organizations across the state, as well as utility, state agency and community partners to strengthen and diversify Florida’s economy.
Under Antonacci’s leadership, Enterprise Florida markets the state as the premier U.S. business location and No. 1 state for job creation, conducting its operations efficiently and transparently. Florida has recently announced competitive project wins involving dozens of leading companies, including KPMG, Amazon, GKN Aerospace, LignoTech, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and AutoZone. In addition to jobs created through competitive projects, Antonacci manages the organization's facilitated growth activities such as international trade and the Florida Sports Foundation, which together bring thousands of jobs to the state annually.
As Secretary of Commerce, he serves in a direct support role to Governor Rick Scott in shaping economic development policy and advising on factors that impact market-driven growth. Since Governor Scott took office in December 2010, his focus on business-friendly policies has made Florida one of the best places in the world for business relocation and business success.
Prior to joining EFI, Antonacci served as Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) from 2015 to 2017. He also served as General Counsel to Governor Scott from 2013 to 2015, and in 2012 served as State Attorney in Palm Beach County. He was the governing board member of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, a member of the Florida Ethics Commission, Statewide Prosecutor of Florida and Deputy Attorney General.
Raised in Hialeah, Antonacci attended Hialeah High School and Miami Dade College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University as well as a Juris Doctorate from Florida State University College of Law.
Edgar J. Asebey
Keller Asebey Life Science Law
Edgar J. Asebey is a founding partner at Keller Asebey Life Science Law PLLC and serves as Counsel to Halloran Farkas + Kittila LLP. He is a life sciences attorney with over 20 years of experience advising clients in the medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, dietary supplement and cosmetics industries on FDA regulatory compliance, transactional, importation, licensing and venture finance matters. Mr. Asebey represents clients before numerous regulatory agencies including the FDA, USDA, CBP, FTC, CPSC and EPA, providing compliance and enforcement defense services before those agencies. He also assists both U.S-based and non-U.S.-based clients in registration, clearance, and pre-market approval submissions to the FDA and advises clients on compliance issues associated with the development, manufacture, marketing, and sale of FDA-regulated products.
Mr. Asebey counsels bioscience companies on issues of 510(k) premarket notifications, clinical trial design, priority review voucher qualification, data security and CGMP compliance. He is a recognized expert on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and has advised numerous companies as well as the governments of Japan and Colombia on the design and implementation of FSMA compliance programs.
Mr. Asebey counsels clients and preforms regulatory due diligence in support of financings, public offerings and M&A transactions. He also advises telemedicine and health IT companies on the intricacies of FDA regulation of Medical Device Data Systems (MDDDS), mobile medical apps, and clinical decision support (CDS) software.
Early in his career, Mr. Asebey worked as a patent and licensing advisor at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he evaluated inventions for patentability, drafted and negotiated CRADAs and sponsored research agreements as well as patent licensing agreements with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. After leaving the NCI, he founded and ran a drug discovery company that specialized in discovering and developing novel antineoplastic compounds derived from natural products.
Mr. Asebey holds a degree in biology from The University of Chicago, a Juris Doctorate degree from Catholic University of America (Washington, DC) and is a member of the Food & Drug Law Institute (FDLI), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Dade County Bar Association, and BioFlorida. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Washington, DC Bar and speaks and writes Spanish at a native level.
President Latin America
Sandoz, a Novartis division
Francisco Ballester (Paco) joined Sandoz in November 2012 as the President for Latin America where he has transformed the region by building a best-in-class team and creating a winning culture. His vision and commitment led to the turnaround of the Sandoz business within the region and drove consecutive double-digit growth in sales and profits in the last 4 years.
Previously, he led Novartis Pharma Spain, where since 2008; he held the role of Country Head. During his tenure there, he successfully grew the market share, built a talent pipeline and developed a strong, positive culture positioning Novartis as a marketplace leader and the #1 best place to work in Spain. Prior to this, Paco held roles of increasing responsibility both at the regional level, including Head Marketing / Sales and Strategy for Latin America, as well as several sales leadership roles locally within Spain. Paco joined Novartis in 1991. He also had previous experience in banking.
A Spanish national, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy at the University of Valencia (Spain) and his MBA at the Industrial Engineering School at the Polytechnic University. Married with three children, he enjoys playing soccer, running, traveling and technology.
Vice President of Medical Informatics
Judy Barkal currently serves as the Vice President of Medical Informatics at M2Gen. She brings deep experience in strategy, innovation and complex business and technology transformation. Judy’s most recent role was Head of Information Strategy and Innovation at Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University. At OHSU, Judy established a cancer informatics strategic roadmap and, as PI, led the creation of a clinical data repository integrated with genomics data to serve multiple cancer researchers and programs. Judy was previously a Partner at IBM, Global Business Services where she led complex business and technology transformations globally in financial services, healthcare, energy, and retail. Prior to IBM, Judy specialized in clusters and high performance computing at Sequent Computer Systems. In her early career, she developed safety-critical, real-time flight control systems at Rockwell Collins.
Florida State Senate
Lori is a lifelong and loyal Democrat who has fought for progressive values over her seven years in the Florida House. She serves as the Democratic Floor Leader and was one of only a handful of legislators to score 100% on the “People First Report Card” measuring legislative votes that put the interest of people over the powerful. She has a strong record of standing up for a woman’s right to choose, pushing for commonsense gun violence prevention measures, advocating for traditional public schools, expanding access to high quality healthcare, and fighting for seniors.
Lori has been a life-long resident of Florida, growing up in Plantation and graduating from Nova High School. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Tufts University and received her law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University. She also earned an LLM in Estate Planning from the University of Miami.
Lori has a long record of community service and has been actively working with many educational and social service programs. In high school, Lori became interested in the political process when she worked on the campaign of Charlie Friedman for Congress. Lori continued her interest and became actively involved in Palm Beach County politics during Robert Wexler’s first campaign for Congress, joining his team as a Legislative Aide during his first term. In 2010, she was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and has served for 7 years.
Executive Director, Synapse Florida
Founding Partner, Florida Funders
Marc Blumenthal is a serial entrepreneur, investor and visionary leader in the technology industry. Throughout his 36 year career Marc has been committed to helping entrepreneurs succeed and making Florida one of the best places to build a company. Marc understands first-hand the needs - and challenges - of entrepreneurs searching for meaningful connections, investments and opportunities. His personal mission is to ensure that the business community thrives in Florida. It was a natural evolution of his journey to be a founding member of both Florida Funders and Synapse Florida, Inc., to transition Florida from “sunshine state to startup state.”
Florida Funders’ mission is to accelerate the success of early-stage Florida companies through a hybrid approach of equity crowdfunding alongside traditional venture capital funding. By connecting Florida-based entrepreneurs with a large and diverse group of accredited investors, Florida Funders can provide companies with the capital and support they need to stay and scale in Florida. Since its founding in 2014, Florida Funders has grown into a state-wide company with thousands of accredited investors and an $18 million early stage venture fund providing capital and guidance to nearly two dozen companies per year.
Synapse Florida, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit enabling innovators to connect across industry, technology and geography so they can easily find what they need and share what they’ve created. Unique from any other professional community, Synapse connects entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, service providers, governments, entrepreneur support organizations, talent and educational institutions. By linking these eight personas, businesses and professionals can curate a customized network to meet their needs. Synapse connects the innovation community via a custom-built digital platform, purpose-driven live events, innovation challenges and city-focused “Innovate” yearbooks.
Born and raised in Toms River, N.J., Marc graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. For the past 36 years he has lived in Tampa with his wife and three children. He serves on a number of company boards and enjoys supporting local charities and the University of South Florida, where he serves on the USF Muma College of Business Executive Advisory Council.
Vice President, Business Development
Graham joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2002 and has transactional responsibility for the full array of collaborations covering research, clinical and commercial stage assets across BMS' global pharmaceutical business. Graham is also responsible for Japan Partnering activities.
Prior to joining BMS, Graham was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development at 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company and before that Vice President, Worldwide Business Development at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, where he spent 10 years.
Graham has successfully led and overseen numerous transaction teams involved in company acquisitions, co-development and co-promotion deals, compound in and out licensing, product disposals, research collaborations, patents licenses and other strategic transactions.
Charles Bruce, MD
Medical Director, Life Sciences Incubator
Associate Medical Director, Mayo Clinic Ventures
Director for Business Development in the Center for Regenerative Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Florida
Charles Bruce, MD, serves as the Medical Director of the Life Sciences Incubator as well as Associate Medical Director for Mayo Clinic Ventures, and Director for Business Development in the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida. He is a practicing cardiologist as well as a researcher, inventor, and professor of Medicine. His unique perspective into the challenges of health care delivery are shaped by his medical experiences in South Africa and the United States. Dr. Bruce is an accomplished innovator who helped create seven start-up companies. He holds more than 21 issued patents for medical inventions.
Guojun Bu, PhD
Mary Lowell Leary Professor of Medicine, Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine
Jorge and Leslie Bacardi Associate Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine
Associate Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Molecular Neurodegeneration
Dr. Guojun Bu is the Mary Lowell Leary Professor of Medicine, a Consultant in the Department of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, and the Jorge and Leslie Bacardi Associate Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine. He is also an Associate Director for Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic in 2010, he was a Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Bu received his B.S. degree in biology from Beijing Normal University, his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Virginia Tech, and completed his postdoctoral training in cell biology at the Washington University School of Medicine.
Dr. Bu is a leader in the field of apoE and apoE receptors, which play critical roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. His primary interest is to understand why APOE4 is a strong genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and how this pathway can be targeted for therapy by studying animal and stem cell-based cellular and organoid models. Dr. Bu has received numerous honors and awards including the Zenith Fellows Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the Investigator of the Year award from the Mayo Clinic, and the MetLife Foundation Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s disease. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Neurodegeneration and an Associate Editor for Science Advances.
Charles D. Burger, MD
Consultant, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Professor of Medicine
As Medical Director of the Mayo Clinic Florida Clinical Trials Office, Dr. Burger supports the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education Clinician-Investigator Program based on his experience and expertise. He developed and lead the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus that has national certification by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association as a Comprehensive Care Center excelling in clinical practice, education and research, the only such center in Florida. All of his research has focused on translational concepts in pulmonary vascular disease, rare cystic lung disease and liver-lung syndromes. He has served as principal investigator for multiple important studies in these growing areas of inquiry. The resulting body of work has led to his national recognition as a leader in the field. He has 100 peer reviewed articles, five book chapters, and multiple letters to the editor as well as many abstracts. Approximately one-half of these publications have involved academic mentoring of a trainee or junior staff.
Dr. Burger has held multiple leadership positions internal and external to Mayo Clinic. Within the institution, He has chaired the Department of Critical Care Medicine and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. Mayo Clinic is a physician led organization that assigns clinic-wide practice committees accountability to insure a patient-centered integrated practice. As head of the Florida hospital practice committee (the equivalent of President of the Medical Staff in most healthcare organizations), he oversaw the establishment of all solid-organ transplant programs; automation of the clinical record including orders; and the planning, build, and transition to a new hospital in April 2008. Externally, his leadership positions have ranged from local involvement as Chair, Florida Society of Critical Care Medicine to national as member of the Pulmonary Hypertension Scientific Leadership Council and Editor-in-Chief of Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension, 2015-2017.
Douglas W. Calder
Douglas W. Calder serves as President of Vycellix, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company advancing immune-modulating small molecules and RNA-based products to enhance innate and adaptive cell & gene therapies, facilitate cell-based manufacturing processes and optimize human immune response against disease with a focus on cancers. Vycellix’s pipeline significantly impacts next-generation immune cell-based therapies, including CAR-T, in redefining the manufacturing paradigm to maximize cost and speed efficiencies, as well as amplifying T cells and natural killer cells (NK cells) into more potent disease-targeting lymphocytes.
Mr. Calder also serves as Strategic Advisor to Nova Southeastern University’s NSU Cell Therapy Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The NSU Cell Therapy Institute is accelerating the advancement of precision medicines such as targeted immunotherapy and regenerative medicine in collaboration with leading medical research scientists from Sweden’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute, globally recognized for annually awarding the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Mr. Calder has 25-years of life science executive experience, having served in various senior executive roles for Florida-based biotechnology companies and research institutes including Viragen, Accentia Biopharmaceuticals, Biovest and the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida, as well as having formerly served as a registered financial portfolio manager with a focus on life science equities with the NYSE-member firms, Gruntal & Co. and Dean Witter Reynolds.
Head of Healthcare Investment Banking
NOBLE Life Science Partners
Nathan Cali has more than 14 years of combined healthcare, biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience. Mr. Cali was previously a sell-side analyst for 9 years with expertise and publications cover many areas of biotechnology, specialty pharmaceuticals (branded and generics), medical devices, and regenerative medicine. He has been quoted in most business journals including Reuters, BioMed Reports and the Washington Business Journal. Mr Cali is the co-founder of Variant Pharmaceuticals an early stage biotechnology company advancing orphan drugs for the treatment of renal diseases. He is currently a Committee Member at the Moffitt Cancer Center for Commercialization and a member of the Development Board of Palm Beach County. Mr. Cali started his career in healthcare at Andrx Corporation, a biotechnology and specialty pharmaceuticals company known for its expertise in the development of controlled-release drugs. Mr. Cali was a corporate manager dealing in finance, state taxation, corporate governance, patents, drug distribution and business development for the biotechnology firm. Andrx was purchased by Watson Pharmaceuticals in 2006 for $2.0 billion in cash. Prior to joining NOBLE, Mr. Cali gained investment experience as a portfolio account analyst/manager at Franklin Templeton Investments. Mr. Cali holds a B.S. in Finance from The Florida State University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Nova Southeastern University. Nathan also currently holds series 7, 79, 86, and 87 FINRA designations.
Managing Director, US & Head of Life Sciences Industry
gA of North America
Ariel Capone is a senior executive at gA, responsible for the US and Global markets, the fastest growing business unit, based in Miami, Florida. As global head for the Life Sciences practice, Ariel is a specialist in the Medical Devices, Pharma and Healthcare industries.
Over the last 15 years Ariel has built a portfolio of global clients, including market leaders in different categories, such as Medtronic, LifeScan, Ethicon, Baxter, DePuy-Synthes, Cordis, Biosense Webster, Shire and the healthcare giant Cardinal Health.
In addition, he is a member of the gA Executive Management Team, and a founder of Parabolt, a digital incubator within the gA ecosystem. Mr. Capone’s achievements include taking gA to become one of J&J’s global prime service providers.
Ariel began his career with gA in 1999 as an associate in the Consumer Goods industry, later shifting to the Life Sciences & Healthcare industry. Mr. Capone holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Buenos Aires and has an Executive Management degree from the University of San Andrés in Argentina (2010). He is currently a member of the Council of the Americas, and is a frequent speaker at Life Sciences seminars and roundtables. He regularly contributes to specialized publications such as ComputerWorld, Nearshore Americas, and Saúde and El Nuevo Herald, among others.
He is married, has two children and lives in Miami.
Timothy J. Cartwright
Partner and Co-Founder, Fifth Avenue Advisors
Chairman, Tamiami Angel Fund III, LLC
Timothy J. Cartwright is a partner at Fifth Avenue Advisors, LLC specializing in venture capital, private equity and mergers & acquisitions. Prior, he co-founded By-Products Interactive, an electronic trading, market research and publishing company; and Benchmark Solutions, a supply chain consulting company. He began his career working with middle market companies at Arthur Andersen in Chicago, Illinois.
He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin and his Masters of Management in Finance and Accounting from Northwestern University - J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He resides in Naples with his wife and three children. He is a softball coach, a soccer coach, and an active member of First Baptist Church of Naples.
Kathy Chiu is a Founding Partner of the FAN Fund, an early stage fund that invests in Florida startups. Previously Kathy had been a telecom venture capitalist, international business consultant, product marketing and product management executive, finance and economics analyst, as well as computer science and electrical engineer. Kathy has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is trilingual and speaks Chinese and Taiwanese with native fluency.
Executive Vice President, Technology & Marketing
Mr. Colapietro is a leader in the development of technology and marketing solutions supporting Life Sciences. He has more than 20 years of consulting expertise exclusively serving the Life Sciences industry. He has proven his ability to develop, manage, and deliver business strategies and technical implementations in Customer Engagement, Commercial Launch, CRM, Data & Analytics, MDM, Multi-Channel Marketing, Sales & Marketing Operations.
Mr. Colapietro oversees HighPoint’s Commercial Excellence, Research & Development, Pharmacovigalence, and ERP/HR practice areas. Mr. Colapietro has published articles in a number of industry publications, including: CBI Agg Spend: The Government Made Us Do It – Pharma Finally Has CRM, Money Matters TV: Effect of Healthcare Reform on Life Sciences Industry, Multi-Channel Marketing: Increasing Sales Through Diverse, Multi-Channel Initiatives, Social Media: What Can Pharma Learn, Life Sciences Executive Briefing, FirstWord: Closing the Loop - Beyond Digital Detailing, FirstWord: CLM Expert Insight, PharmaVoice: Changing Sales Force Models and Motivation, Pharmaceutical Commerce: Closed Loop Marketing Industry Perspective, BtoB Magazine: Vertical Marketing – The Leaner Drug Company, and Incentive Magazine: Novel Incentive Plan Design for New Product Launches. Prior to joining HighPoint, Mr. Colapietro held leadership positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, and CSC.
Founder & CEO
Global Health Intelligence
Guillaume Corpart is the Founder and CEO of Global Health Intelligence. With over 20 years’ business consulting experience, Mr. Corpart supports life-science companies in their growth plans throughout emerging markets.
Global Health Intelligence developed HospiScope – the world’s largest hospital database focused on Latin America, with profiles on over 18,000 hospitals in the region. Through HospiScope medical equipment manufacturers can increase visibility into market opportunities and key accounts. Through ShareScope clients can determine market size & share of both medical equipment and medical devices with over 90% accurace. In 2018, Global Health Intelligence launched SurgiScope – detailing procedure volumes by hospital and thus enabling device manufacturers to identify targeted opportunities by account.
In 2011, Mr. Corpart was awarded the Prix Releve Excellence from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales and in 2014 Mr. Corpart received the Outstanding Business Award from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico.
Mr. Corpart has a B.A. in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (Montreal, Canada) and in 2017 pursued a degree in Scaling Businesses at the Stanford School of Business (California, USA). Mr. Corpart is fluent in English, French and Spanish.
Douglas M. Crumb
President & CEO
Mr. Crumb has extensive experience with medical device companies in both the private equity and publicly traded sectors. His specialties are in lean manufacturing, project management, product development and driving profitability. His experiences are both domestic and international. Mr. Crumb managed multiple large manufacturing operations domestically and internationally in NY, MX and CA for ConMed Corporation. Mr. Crumb also led manufacturing operations, quality assurance and engineering for DHD Healthcare and IZI Medical Products, successfully transitioning both medical device manufacturers from private equity holdings to new ownership. Mr. Crumb earned his Masters in Advanced Engineering from the State University of New York in 1999.
Ebony Daniels Sanon
Director of Business Development
Ebony Daniels Sanon is the Director of Business Development at BioTeknica, Inc., a leading provider of Engineering and Regulatory Consulting Services to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Having earned her Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University, Ebony began her career as a mechanical engineer in the automotive industry working for Timken Bearings & Steels and subsequently Texas Instruments Sensors & Controls. She later transitioned into academia for 5 years where she successfully influenced many middle school and high school students to pursue engineering as a career. Her secret to student success is to inspire young people to believe that they can accomplish anything using contextual learning techniques.
In response to her 19-year-old brother’s sudden death from leukemia, she decided to transfer her engineering and academia skills to the biomedical industry by pursing a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University. She has since been fortunate to work as an engineer for NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration), the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), Boston Scientific, Zimmer Corporation, Siemens Healthcare, Goode Consulting Inc. and BioTeknica, Inc. She continues to be a champion of public health by working with various pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and organizations in order to ensure patient safety and device effectiveness.
Ebony continues to inspire and educate youth and their parents about the exciting possibilities in STEM. Her diverse skill set in STEM enabled the successful launch of her own jewel-encrusted luxury purse line named The LimeLight Collection where she intends to teach young girls how to mass produce pretty things through engineering.
Her past engineering work includes filter characterization and imaging for NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, the assessment of endothelial cell behavior and surface treatments on the biocompatibility and corrosion of titanium biodegradable alloys for orthopedic applications, hazard analysis of endoscopic devices, validation activities for implantable surgical mesh, metallic knee/hip implants and design control and traceability for in-vitro diagnostic immunoassays.
Ebony also serves in multiple leadership roles for the Southeast Chapter of BioFlorida, a state-wide organization that serves as the voice of Florida’s life science community.
Ronald L. Davis, PhD
Professor and Founding Chair, Department of Neuroscience
Scripps Research - Florida Campus
Ronald Davis is a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute Florida. He was the Founding Chairman of the Department from 2009-2018, growing the department from 5 neuroscientists to now more than 100 studying brain function and dysfunction. Davis is a leading expert on the biology of memory formation and the brain disorders that disrupt memory. His current biomedical research focuses on unraveling the secrets of memory formation and forgetting and developing new therapeutics for neuropsychiatric disorders. Prior to joining the Scripps Research Institute, he was the R.P. Doherty-Welch Chair of Science at the Baylor College of Medicine, holding an appointment as Professor for approximately 20 years in multiple scientific and clinical Departments. He was the Vice Chair for Research in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Director for the Center for Memory and Learning at that institution. Prior to his tenure at the Baylor College of Medicine, he was the Senior Neuroscientist at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Davis completed his doctorate degree in genetics at the University of California and pursued postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Davis serves continually as a consulting reviewer for many different scientific journals and NIH Study Sections. He serves on the Editorial Boards for several journals including Learning & Memory and Neuron. He has received significant recognition for his research discoveries, including a Scholars Award from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award, a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, a Senior Scholars Award in Aging from the Ellison Medical Foundation, a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health, and a competitive Research Program Award from the National Institutes of Health. In 2009, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Ken Dawson-Scully, PhD
Associate VP for Strategic Initiatives, Florida Atlantic University
Head of Institutional Partnerships, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
Dawson-Scully was born and educated in Canada where he received his PhD from the University of Toronto. He came to FAU in 2008 and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and a faculty member of the newly formed International Max Planck Research School for Brain and Behavior.
Dawson-Scully currently serves in a joint administrative appointment between Florida Atlantic University and the Max Planck Florida Institute. As Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives (FAU) and the Head of Institutional Partnerships (MPFI), he serves as a liaison between the two institutes to foster and prioritize partnerships in education, research, infrastructure, and regional affairs. FAU and MPFI currently have a number of joint educational programs including the newly formed FAU Max Planck Honors Program for undergraduates on the John D. MacArthur campus.
Dawson-Scully's laboratory investigates ways to protect the brain from neurodegeneration as a result of acute and/or chronic cellular stress using the genetic model organisms, the fruit fly D. melanogaster and the nematode worm C. elegans. His research has identified a number of molecular targets that can rescue high temperature, low oxygen and oxidative stress in the invertebrate nervous system as a model for human diseases, such as stroke, epilepsy, and most recently migraine, which has led to an FAU Tech Runway company called Neuropharmalogics Inc., a 2016 BioFlorida BioPitch finalist.
Sr. Communications Manager
Stacey Singer DeLoye is the senior communications manager for Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida. An award-winning health and science journalist, she previously founded AuthentiVox, Inc., a communications firm based in Boynton Beach, Florida. Her news and communications background included stints at The Palm Beach Post, the Sun-Sentinel, the Chicago Tribune and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. She studied science writing and journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Felipe Echeverri believes that every problem has a solution. You just have to be creative enough to find it. He is currently the Managing Director at Biorep Technologies with over 15 years of experience in product development of research equipment, surgical instruments, and automated equipment. Felipe grew Biorep’s operation from a single employee to a worldwide-recognized medical product development company. He led ground up implementation of an ISO 13485 Quality System which enabled Biorep to become an FDA registered company for Medical Device Manufacturing. His contributions have aided in creating a new surgical technique for minimally invasive heart surgery and the reversal of type 1 diabetes in multiple patients. Biorep’s equipment is being used by leading universities, research centers, and pharmaceutical companies in over 25 countries worldwide.
Felipe holds a B.S in Biomedical Engineering, M.S in Mechanical Engineering from Mercer University, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. Beyond being a scholar, inventor, published author, great friend, devoted father, and car nut, he’s also an avid tennis player.
Co-Founder, AxoGen, Inc.
John Engels is a founder and investor focused on new technology development and commercialization. John founded AxoGen (NASDAQ:AXGN, Russell 2000), a leading medical technology company dedicated to peripheral nerve repair. At AxoGen from 2002 to 2018, John served in various leadership roles, including sourcing, negotiating, and managing product development, sales and marketing, and licensing partnerships for its flagship products; managing seed, venture and growth capital financing; setting up and running manufacturing operations; and leading its international sales and business development efforts expanding into Europe, South America and Asia. Prior to AxoGen, John Engels worked with the University of Florida, Saffron Hill Ventures and others on entrepreneurship and venture funding projects. John started his career at CACM, a boutique investment banking firm that pioneered innovative emissions and energy trading markets. John is a Board member of: MMI, a private robotic microsurgery company bringing super dexterity to surgery; BioFlorida, the voice of Florida’s life sciences industry; and Oxicool, a privately-held company providing disruptive cooling technologies. John is on the advisory board of UF Innovate at the Univeristy of Florida. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and BA from the University of Chicago.
Maurice R. Ferré, MD
CEO & Chairman of Board
Maurice R. Ferré MD is INSIGHTEC’S CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Ferré brings over 20 years of experience in the medical device industry. Before INSIGHTEC, Dr. Ferré served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of MAKO Surgical Corp, a transformational robotic surgical company that he co-founded in 2004. The company was IPO’d in 2008 and recently sold to Stryker Corp. for $1.65 billion in 2013. Prior to MAKO, Dr. Ferré was Founder, CEO and President of Visualization Technology Inc. (1993-2002). VTI became the world leader in image guided surgery for ENT, cranial and orthopedic procedures. The Company was acquired by GE Healthcare in 2002.
Dr. Ferré received his Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health from Boston University in 1992. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Ernest & Young 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Dr Ferre is currently active on the following boards: Advamed, The Everglades Foundation and Boston University.
Robert G. Finizio
CEO, Co-Founder and Director
Robert (Rob) G. Finizio is Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder, and Director of TherapeuticsMD Inc., an innovative women’s health pharmaceutical company. With over 20 years of healthcare experience, Rob started his career in an operational role at Endoscopy Specialist, Inc. (ESI), a leader in laparoscopic equipment outsourcing and intraoperative technical support. During his tenure at ESI, Rob advanced to a regional management role, eventually leaving to join Omnicell Technologies (OMCL), a leader in pharmacy automation. While at Omnicell, Rob served as a sales director, ultimately leaving the company to co-found CareFusion in 2001. CareFusion was a pioneer in hospital patient safety systems for Medication, Blood, and Specimen verification at the point of care. The company was successfully sold to Cardinal Health in 2006. Rob co-founded TherapeuticsMD (TXMD) in 2008, combining his background in women’s healthcare, pharmaceutical technology, clinical software, and patient safety. Today, TXMD is a leader in women’s health, pharmaceutical development, and commercialization. In 2011, Rob took TXMD public, with a current market capitalization of over a billion dollars. Since inception, Rob raised more than $500 million in capital and listed TXMD on the NYSE before transferring to the Nasdaq in 2017. Rob sits on the Board of Directors for two non-profit organizations, BioFlorida and the Boca Raton Police Foundation. Prior to his healthcare career, Rob, a University of Miami graduate who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Premed and Psychology, taught English in Osaka, Japan.
Gregory Frost, PhD
Chairman & CEO
Dr. Frost currently serves as Chairman and CEO of F1 Oncology, a biotechnology company discovering and developing adoptive cellular therapies (ACTs) for solid tumors. F1 Oncology leverages its globally integrated science, development and informatics teams located across multiple time zones to accelerate the design, high-throughput screening, discovery and development of adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) candidates. The company is developing two CAB-based ACT platforms to develop TME-restricted CAR-T therapies for solid tumors, as well as developing highly scalable systems for global deployment, beginning in Asia.
Dr. Frost has been Managing Director of F1 BioVentures, LLC since 2015. Previously, he led the Health Sector of Intrexon Corporation, a multinational public biotechnology company, where he was responsible for expanding their oncology franchise and gene and cellular-based therapies for a number of orphan diseases. From 1999 to 2014, Dr. Frost was at Halozyme Therapeutics, a San Diego public biotechnology company he co-founded, focused on oncology biologics and medication delivery, where he served on the Board of Directors and in numerous operational roles, including Chief Scientific Officer since 2002, and CEO since 2010.
As an entrepreneur, Dr. Frost brought the founding platform technologies to Halozyme and secured the initial capital for the company. In 2012, Gregory Frost was named by Forbes as one of Americas 20 most powerful CEO's 40 and under, and was a finalist for Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in San Diego. Dr. Frost additionally serves on the Board of Directors of BioCom, a member-driven organization serving the life science community of Southern California and BioAtla, LLC.
Behnaz Ghoraani, PhD
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems
Engineering Assistant Professor, Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Ghoraani is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). She completed her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ryerson University, in Toronto, Canada, in 2010, and was a postdoctoral fellow in Faculty of Medicine at University of Toronto (2010-2012). Dr. Ghoraani is the founder and director of the Biomedical Signal and Image Analysis (BSIA) Lab at FAU. The multidisciplinary research at BSIA lab has largely focused on developing innovative signal analysis solutions to tackle big bottlenecks in data analytics with an emphasis on automated and reliable clinical decision-making, long-term and continuous health monitoring, and remote, personalized therapeutic management. Her research received the best paper awards of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society in 2016 and the Gordon K. Moe Young Investigator Award in 2015. Dr. Ghoraani has over 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, one book, and two book chapters. She holds a research funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a catheter guidance algorithm for identification of atrial fibrillation ablation targets.
Stephen C. Glover
Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Glover has over 30 years of business experience in biopharmaceuticals and life sciences. Mr. Glover is formally the Co-Founder of Coherus Biosciences where he was focused on the business strategy, partnerships, product development efforts and capitalization of the company. Prior to Coherus, he was the President of Insmed Therapeutic Proteins as well as Chief Business Officer of Insmed Incorporated. At Insmed, Mr. Glover was responsible for the creation of the biosimilar business unit and the divestiture of the business to Merck. As Chief Business Officer he led Insmed's strategic review process which resulted in the merger of Insmed and Transave. Prior to Insmed, Mr. Glover held the position of Senior Vice President and General Manager at Andrx Laboratories and Andrx Therapeutics, both divisions of Andrx Corporation. At Andrx Mr. Glover was responsible for the strategy and operation of the Andrx Labs which developed and marketed products in metabolic diseases and Men's Health, and Andrx Therapeutics which was focused on the development of new controlled release products and contract manufacturing. He earlier held multiple sales, marketing and operational roles at Hoffman LaRoche, Amgen Inc. and IMS Health. Mr. Glover has multifaceted experience in Fortune 100, start up and entrepreneurial environments. His transaction experience covers over 25 transactions totaling over $10 billion.
Dr. Smitha Gubbi
Director of Clinical Research
Jupiter Medical Center
Dr. Smitha Gubbi, CCRC, is the Director of Clinical Research at Jupiter Medical Center. Dr. Gubbi holds a medical degree from Bangalore University, India and is certified thru ACRP. She has over 15 years' experience in Clinical Research. Dr. Gubbi brings both hospital and private practice research experience; she has extensive experience in planning, developing and conducting complex original research requiring comprehensive knowledge of research theories, practices and procedures. Collaborated with multiple departments in major hospital setup to ensure that research activities met the standards that are established at a national as well as corporate level.Strong understanding of FDA regulations, familiar with GCP guidelines, approval and maintenance of regulatory documents with local and central IRBs. Oversaw and managed institutional review boards (IRB). Thorough understanding, involvement and implementation of the complete study cycle including initial site feasibility evaluation, contract and budget negotiations for conducting successful clinical trials.
Dr. Gubbi brings her expertise and knowledge in clinical research to build a strong and successful research program at Jupiter Medical Center.
Joshua M. Hare, MD
Chief Sciences Officer, Senior Associate Dean for Experimental and Cellular Therapeutics and Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Founding Director, Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI)
Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, Longeveron
Dr. Joshua Hare is Chief Sciences Officer, Senior Associate Dean for Experimental and Cellular Therapeutics, Director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), and Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Hare is a practicing cardiologist and an expert in cardiovascular medicine, specializing in heart failure, myocardial infarction, inflammatory diseases of the heart, and heart transplantation. He is an internationally acknowledged pioneer in the field of stem cell therapeutics for human heart disease, currently seeing and evaluating patients from all over the world for this new experimental therapy.
Dr. Hare is the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, an Institute devoted to basic scientific and translational work in the field of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. The Institute houses 70 faculty members and 15 independent research groups. Dr. Hare led the first randomized allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) clinical trial for patients with myocardial infarction and is Principal Investigator of two major NHLBI programs that advance cell based therapy. He has pioneered the use of all allogenic MSCs for multiple disease areas. Under his leadership, ISCI now has active programs in cancer biology, cardiology, aging, neonatology, skin diseases, bone diseases, neurologic diseases, ophthalmology, and a program devoted to the ethics of stem cell therapy.
He has published over 300 publications and reviews in the peer reviewed literature, holds numerous investigational new drug authorizations (INDs) from the FDA for cell therapy, and has been awarded several U.S. patents.
Vice President of Research Operations
Florida Hospital | AdventHealth
Rob Herzog has served Florida Hospital for the past four years as the Vice President of Research Operations, providing administrative oversight of all research activities, supporting the Chief Scientific Officer. Florida Hospital Research Institute (FHRI) is the largest footprint for clinical research throughout the 46-hospital, 80,000 employee national Adventist Health System (AHS). His scope includes the clinical research operations for fifteen different research departments across Central Florida, including Cancer Research, Cardiovascular Research, Neuroscience Research and the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, with a total portfolio of more than 500+ active clinical studies at any given time. During his tenure, Rob has established new infrastructure to facilitate high-impact clinical research including launching the Office of Sponsored Programs, the Office of Research Integrity and the Center for Collaborative Research, a core service designed to leverage the scale of the AHS-wide ‘data lake’ with the goal to use rapid learning to advance discovery and improve the health of our communities.
Rob began his career with Florida Hospital in 2004, advancing to the role of Administrative Director for the Neuroscience Institute before moving into his current position in the Research Institute. He has served as an instructor for Florida Hospital’s leadership development training, launched multi-agency pilot programs to improve the health of the Central Florida community and supported grass-roots innovation through the Community Health Impact Council (CHIC). Rob is a board member and current Vice Chair of BioFlorida.
Prior to joining Florida Hospital, Rob spent four years as the Director of Operations for Coventry Healthcare, Inc. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Virginia, attending James Madison University and the University of Virginia, respectively.
Rob enjoys forging relationships with Florida Hospital’s 225+ clinical investigators, striving to link their innovative spirit with industry and academic partners to achieve the shared goal of transforming healthcare for the sake of each patient that we serve.
James Hickman, PhD
Founder & Chief Scientist, Hesperos Inc.
Professor, NanoScience Technology, Chemistry & Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida
James J. Hickman is the Founding Director of the NanoScience Technology Center and a Professor of Nanoscience Technology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Science, Material Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Central Florida. Previously, he held the position of the Hunter Endowed Chair in the Bioengineering Department at Clemson University. Dr. Hickman has a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Chemistry. For the past twenty-five years, he has been studying the interaction of biological species with modified surfaces, first in industry and in the latter years in academia. While in industry he established one of the first bioelectronics labs in the country that focused on cell-based sensors and their integration with electronic devices and MEMS devices. He is interested in creating hybrid systems for biosensor and biological computation applications and the creation of functional in vitro systems for human body-on-a-chip applications. He has worked at NSF and DARPA in the area of biological computation. He is also the founder and current Chief Scientist of a biotechnology company, Hesperos, that is focusing on cell-based systems for drug discovery and toxicity. He has 131 publications and 20 book chapters, in addition to 21 issued patents out of 44 total patent applications.
Fox Rothschild LLP
Laura Holm is a business lawyer and partner at Fox Rothschild, a national law firm. She provides strategic counseling to life science clients on forming their companies, securing funding, safeguarding intellectual property, negotiating licensing and development agreements, establishing partnerships and bringing new products to market. Holm has overseen several significant financing transactions for life science companies, including a $100 million initial public offering and $450 million sale transaction. Her clients include biotechnology, medical device, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. She also works with venture and private equity funds and investment banking institutions active in the life sciences industry.
Laura received her B.A, magna cum laude, from Amherst College and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Sharon Hrynkow, PhD
Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs
CTD Holdings, Inc.
Sharon H. Hrynkow, PhD is Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Co-Chair, Scientific Advisory Board, CTD Holdings, Inc., a Florida-based biotechnology company working to develop cyclodextrin-based drugs for the treatment of Niemann-Pick disease Type C and other diseases with unmet medical need. Dr. Hrynkow also Co-Chairs Family and Physicians Listening Circle. Prior to joining CTD, Dr. Hrynkow served in seniormost leadership roles at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, including as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the John E. Fogarty International Center and as Associate Director of the National Institute on Environmental Health Sciences. She also served as Senior Science Advisor at the U.S. Department of State. After 20 years of federal service, Dr. Hrynkow became the inaugural President of the non-profit organization Global Virus Network. A developmental neurobiologist by training, Dr. Hrynkow has devoted her professional career to improving the health of people globally. She developed a number of innovative grant programs while at NIH, including the Framework Program for Global Health, and she led policy development at NIH and the Department of State on the challenges of emerging infectious diseases and HIV/AIDS, among others. She has held a number of prestigious advisory roles at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Institute of Medicine, Society for Neuroscience, and Canada’s Institute on Gender and Health, among other organizations. Dr. Hrynkow has received numerous honors during her career, including the U.S. President’s Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Executive, the King of Norway’s Order of Merit, and the AAAS “40 by 40” recognition for her work to advance science in service of society. She is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations and elected as a AAAS Fellow. In 2017, she joined The Presidents’ Circle of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences.
Robert Igarashi, PhD
President and Co-Founder
Robert Igarashi, PhD, Co-Founder, Chief Science Officer – Dr. Igarashi has a diverse background in life sciences and has played an instrumental role in executing the combination of Dr. Lee’s method of growing NK cells with Dr. Kopik’a particle based natural killer (NK) cell stimulating technology. He has applied his biochemical and physico-chemical expertise to combine with immunology for developing and refining the nanoparticle based method for NK cell stimulation that could be used for ex vivo expansion as well as in vivo stimulation of therapeutic NK cells. Dr. Igarashi has been crucial in understanding the biochemical aspects of the plasma membrane particles interacting with NK cells and how they can be further innovated to add novel therapeutic dimensions for adoptive NK cell therapy.
Prior to joining CytoSen, Dr. Igarashi served on the faculty at the University of Central Florida as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry with a joint appointment in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Igarashi achieved his B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry at California State University Fullerton and Ph.D. in biochemistry at Utah State University and was a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, Berkeley.
Christine M. Jackson
Sr. Director, Global Health Policy, Reimbursement, & Health Economics
Christine Jackson is a Sr. Director in the Global Health Policy, Reimbursement, and Health Economics Department at Medtronic. In this role, Christine works to shape Medicare payment policy for Medtronic devices, therapies, and services, with a specific focus on leading the policy analysis and development related to emerging payment models and other value-based health care initiatives. In addition, Christine serves as a corporate liaison to the Latin American Reimbursement Council, providing coordination and guidance to the team in Latin America as part of the reimbursement function’s global strategy.
Christine joined Medtronic in August 1997 and has served in various health policy and reimbursement roles throughout her years with the company, including roles in the Neuromodulation and Cardiac Rhythm Heart Failure management divisions. Christine has experience in strategic reimbursement planning, health policy and advocacy, reimbursement training and education, and clinical study reimbursement. Christine started her career with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.
Christine graduated from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and is a recent graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law (formerly William Mitchell College of Law) in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she received her Juris Doctor in the spring of 2016. In October 2016, she was admitted to the bar and is now a licensed attorney in the state of Minnesota.
Richard Jove, PhD
Institute Director, NSU Cell Therapy Institute
Distinguished Research Professor, Nova Southeastern University
Richard Jove, PhD, is an accomplished cancer researcher, professor and director of the Cell Therapy Institute at Nova Southeastern University. He earned his doctoral degree at Columbia University and then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University in New York. Dr. Jove began his independent faculty career in 1988 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and subsequently helped establish the Moffitt NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Tampa. From 2005 until 2013, Dr. Jove was deputy director of the City of Hope NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Beckman Research Institute in Los Angeles.
David E. Kang, PhD
Director, Division of Basic Research, Byrd Alzheimer's Institute
Fleming Endowed Chair in Alzheimer's Disease
Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine
USF Health Morsani College of Medicine
Dr. Kang is a Tenured Professor and Director of Basic Research at USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, Morsani College of Medicine and a Research Neurobiologist at James A. Haley VA Hospital. He has been directing an active and collaborative research group focused on understanding the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related neurodegenerative disorders, such as Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In his laboratory, they utilize various molecular, biochemical, cell biological, advanced imaging, and animal modeling (mouse & C. elegans) tools to answer important questions pertinent to healthy vs. pathological brain function. This goal is to gain insights from cutting-edge cell biology and neuroscience investigations to advance translational therapeutic strategies to treat or prevent neurodegenerative disorders. Specifically, they are interested in 1) mechanisms of Abeta production and neurotoxicity in AD; 2) signal transduction mechanisms between Abeta and tau in AD; 3) interplay between pathogenic proteins such as tau and the UPR activation in neurodegenerative processes; 4) tau triaging and aggregation mechanisms via RanBP9 and Hsp90/Hsc70 chaperone system in AD & TBI; 5) mechanisms underlying mitochondrial dysfunction in AD, FTD/ALS, and PD; 6) role of selective autophagy and mitophagy in the accumulation of toxic components in neurodegenerative processes; and 7) the study of extracellular vesicles (i.e. exosomes) as neurodegenerative disease biomarkers and agents of neurodegeneration. He has been fortunate to mentor successful postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, many of whom have established successful careers in academic research and/or medicine. Over the years, he has gained substantial administrative and leadership experience by serving as Director of Basic Research at the Byrd Institute as well as serving on key advisory committees, scientific panels, and editorial boards at multiple local and international institutions.
Veena Krishnappa, DVM, PhD
Technology Development Officer
Scripps Research - Florida Campus
Krishnappa is responsible for licensing, business development and day-to-day operation of the Office of Technology Development at Scripps Research Florida campus, which houses about 50 research laboratories. Innovation on the campus is the foundation for a number of new ventures, including recent ones, namely, Expansion Therapeutics and CALM Therapeutics. Krishnappa actively participates in the institute driven financial instruments that source funds to de-risk novel technologies at various stages of development. She has led efforts in the creation of the first in-house new venture which utilizes significant drug discovery capabilities, expertise, and infrastructure available at the institute. Krishnappa liaises to integrate business development efforts between Florida and California campuses. Krishnappa is trained in veterinary medicine and pharmacology in India, completed her PhD and postdoctoral training in regenerative medicine at Scripps Research Florid campus, and she had served as an intern in business development for several years before appointment to a full-time position in the office. Krishnappa is from the historic gold mining township, Kolar Gold Fields in south India.
Glenn P. Ladwig
Saliwanchik, Lloyd & Eisenschenk
An intellectual property (IP) attorney for almost 20 years, Glenn concentrates his practice in patent law relating to most areas of the life sciences, including the filing and prosecution of patent applications; counseling clients with regard to IP strategy and licensing matters; and providing legal opinions regarding patentability, freedom-to-operate, validity, and infringement. Glenn is a Registered Patent Attorney, is Board Certified in Intellectual Property Law by the Florida Bar, and is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP). His clients include individuals, universities, research institutions, and companies, and he has served as in-house intellectual property counsel for a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company. A graduate of Stetson University College of Law, Glenn also has an undergraduate degree in biology from Saint Leo University, and two master’s degrees from the University of Florida Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Prior to serving on the Board of Directors of BioFlorida and chairing its Membership Committee, Glenn was a Chapter Co-Chair of the Northeast Chapter of the organization, encompassing Gainesville, Alachua, and Jacksonville. Glenn lives in Gainesville with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering as an Assistant Scout Master with Boy Scouts of America and coaching in Upward Sports.
Orin Levy, MD
Orin Levy, MD recently served as a Director in Florida’s premier structured angel investor group and is an angel investor. He graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and did his residency in urologic surgery at George Washington University. He was a practicing urological surgeon for over 15 years in South Florida where he had the opportunity to utilize many medical innovations including, imaging devices and minimally invasive modalities. Dr. Levy received an MBA in entrepreneurship from Florida Atlantic University. He joined New World Angels (NWA) and became involved in the entire process from sourcing and screening to due diligence. He led deals for NWA including a $1.1M series seed investment in Bioceptive, a medical device company in women’s health with a device for safer and more accurate IUD insertion. Bioceptive also has a novel cervical retractor that received FDA approval. Dr. Levy led NWA’s participation in a $3.3M series seed round in Paracosm, a 3-D mapping company for augmented reality and architectural engineering. He has served on the Board of Directors of New World Angels and Bioceptive and was a board observer for Paracosm. He is active in supporting the start-up and angel investor community. Dr. Levy has been a panelist at meetings focusing on angel investing, mentors, and entrepreneurs and he guest lectures at several Florida university campuses. He also has been involved in investing in blockchain technologies as well as early stage ventures undergoing ICO and tokenized digital assets.
Mark S. Long
Director, Incubation Services
Mark S. Long is currently the Director of Incubation Services for UF Innovate at the University of Florida, which includes the Sid Martin Biotechnology incubator in Progress Park, on of the top bioscience business incubators in the world, and also The Hub, a mixed-use facility in downtown Gainesville. Mark is also the Director of the Collaboratory for Women Innovators, a 5-year partnership with the US EDA and the University of Florida to educate, inform and encourage women in technology startups. Mark was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Management at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and a 2010/2012 winner of the IU Trustees Teaching Award. Mark was also the President of Long Performance Advisors, LLC, a global consulting company focused on accelerating efforts in business incubation, technology transfer, small business formation/management and economic development – Mark has completed studies for over 100 business incubators and research parks around the world. Mark was a board member of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), and in 2014 he received the InBIA President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Business Incubation. He has authored numerous books on incubation and economic development and is considered a global authority on policies and procedures for business incubators. Long is the former President and CEO of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC). As CEO of IURTC, Long directed the activities of IU’s business incubator, the Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center; the Technology Transfer Office; the Office of Indiana University Trademarks and Licensing; and Kelley Executive Partners, the executive education arm of the Kelley School. Mark was the previous Director of Technical Operations at Washington University in St. Louis. Long has more than thirty years of experience in medical diagnostics in sales, marketing, and technical services, holding additional positions at Sigma Diagnostics, Coulter Corporation and Baxter Healthcare. Mark has an A.S. degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Indian River Community College, Ft. Pierce, Florida (2007 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner); B.S. degree in Biology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida; and an M.S. degree in Molecular Biology from Florida State University.
Keith March, MD, PhD
UF Center for Regenerative Medicine
Keith L. March, MD, PhD, FACC, has dedicated his career to bringing new medical approaches to patients. His publications include more than 150 manuscripts. He was the editor of the first book dedicated to cardiovascular gene transfer. Dr. March’s research has resulted in more than 55 worldwide (20+ U.S.) patents, with others pending. He invented the Closer, a widely-utilized patented suture-mediated closure device, used to close the puncture wound in an artery following heart catheterization. This device allows a patient to “walk off the table” after a catheterization without requiring prolonged bedrest. In 1999, Abbott Vascular, an affiliate of Abbott Laboratories, acquired the company that developed this technology, and the Closer approach has been used worldwide to treat more than 8,000,000 patients. He has served as a scientific advisor to numerous pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. Most recently, he co-founded NeuroFx, Inc., based on a patented platform of technology originating in his laboratory that establishes the therapeutic factors secreted by stem cells as powerful therapeutics for critical medical needs, including degenerative and ischemic diseases of the nervous system. With FDA input, NeuroFx is pursuing this off-the-shelf approach to markedly reduce stroke and prolong quality life in ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as two near-term goals.
His laboratory focuses on vascular biology, with a particular emphasis on the function and translational study of stem cells found in the adipose (fat) tissue, which his laboratory identified as cells with critical roles in blood vessel growth and control of inflammation. Dr. March is recognized as a leading expert in the field of adult stem cell research, particularly that involving adipose-derived stem cells. From 2008-2012, he was Chair of the National Institutes of Health Data and Safety Monitoring Board that oversees cell therapy trials in the areas of heart, lung, and blood diseases. In 2012, his center was selected as one of the seven Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN) centers in the USA which would work together to conduct NIH-sponsored cell therapy clinical trials during a 7-year period. He has obtained FDA approval to conduct U.S. trials employing one’s own adipose-derived stem cells: one of these to avoid amputations in legs of patients with severe circulatory disease, and another to avert knee replacements in patients with severe arthritis.
In addition to his research roles, Dr. March has served as the President (2007) of the International Federation of Adipose Therapeutics and Science (IFATS), and as the Chief Medical Advisor for the Cell Therapy Foundation. He continues to serve on the IFATS Board. In these affiliations, he has worked to advance collaboration as well as public awareness about the significance of adult stem cells.
In 2017, Dr. March joined the University of Florida as Director of the University of Florida Center for Regenerative Medicine. This multidisciplinary center is working to bring regenerative therapies to patients with unmet medical needs.
Gary S. Margules, Sc.D.
Vice President for Office of Research and Technology Transfer
Nova Southeastern University
Gary S. Margules, Sc.D. Dr. Margules has direct business experience in technology management, academic technology transfer, strategic planning, corporate ventures, R&D/project management, licensing, regulatory affairs, clinical trials, and product development. Prior to joining NSU, he gained twenty-nine years of research management experience; eight years with Cordis Corporation as Senior Scientist, three with Pfizer Hospital Products as Assistant Director of Technology Development, three with Senmed Medical Ventures as Director, Medical Technology, and fifteen with the University of Miami as Assistant Vice Provost for Technology Transfer and Industry Research.
Dr. Margules broad experience has given him an in depth knowledge in medical devices, therapeutics, biotechnology, and diagnostics. He earned Doctor of Engineering Science and Master of Science degrees in chemical/bio-engineering from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Miami.
General Manager/Latin America Lead
Natalia is an organizational psychologist and strategist focused on merging innovation, entrepreneurship, and community impact. She focuses on creating connected communities and vibrant ecosystems, most recently by leading the expansion of the Cambridge Innovation Center to Miami, seeking to deepen and nuance the conversation about entrepreneurship, and building tangible bridges to innovation hubs and Latin America. As part of this effort, she oversees over $4M in annual revenue for the core two-year old business, in parallel with the master planning of an innovation district that requires setting a joint agenda between the public, academic, and private sectors in Miami.
Prior to that, she served as the Chief Innovation & Technology Officer for a nonprofit focused on Cuba, as well as one of six product strategists for a $5B human resources software company.
Natalia is the founder of Awesome Foundation MIAMI, which has awarded $100K in grants to small, grassroots ideas across Miami. She is also the Founder of Aminta Ventures, an educational vehicle focused on educating and empowering professional and philanthropic women to become angel investors. For this and other work, Natalia has been appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, a body that oversees the administration of $32 million in federal, state, and local funding to deliver high-impact educational and volunteer programs in the state of Florida.
She works extensively with the public and private sector in Latin America, engaging often with governments, ministries, investment and economic development actors. She also engages with multilateral actors such as the World Economic Forum and the Interamerican Development Bank in areas that relate to entrepreneurship, cross-stakeholder engagement, and inclusive innovation, and has been invited to attend and speak at their events.
Natalia has been a contributor to outlets such as The Huffington Post, the World Economic Forum, Mic, and La Nacion. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Government from Harvard University and an M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.
E. Russell McAllister
President, CEO and Executive Director
Intezyne Technologies, Inc.
Mr. McAllister brings 20 years of business development, corporate finance, leadership and strategic advisory experience to the management team at Intezyne, a clinical-stage oncology company focused on the development of novel therapies. Previously, Mr. McAllister served as Chief Financial Officer at Intezyne, where he was selected as a 'CFO of the Year (Small Company)' honoree by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and won SEBIO's Deal of the Year award for Intezyne's $10M Series A Preferred round. Prior to that, Mr. McAllister served as Vice President of Finance for Qu Biologics, a Vancouver, Canada-based clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on the development of a novel immunomodulator platform technology with applications in both oncology and inflammatory disease, and, prior to that, as the Chief Financial Officer for Lakewood-Amedex, a clinical-stage infectious disease company focused on the development of novel antimicrobial and nRNA platform technologies. Earlier in his career, Mr. McAllister worked in both New York and San Francisco as a Managing Director of Healthcare Investment Banking and Head of Healthcare Strategic Advisory at H.C. Wainwright (formerly Rodman & Renshaw) and various other healthcare-focused banks, where he engineered the private and public offerings and/or turnarounds of numerous micro- and small-cap biopharmaceutical companies, successfully raising more than $1 billion in capital for his clients in the process.
Prior to moving into investment banking, Mr. McAllister worked as a Senior Biopharmaceuticals Equity Research Analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners and Head of Healthcare Research at Merriman Curhan Ford & Co., where he received 5-star ratings from StarMine. Mr. McAllister began his career as a Senior Accountant in Forensic Services at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Mr. McAllister holds Masters degrees in both Accounting and Business (Finance) from Northeastern University and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Asian Studies from Rice University. Mr. McAllister was also a fellowship doctoral candidate in Behavioral Finance at the University of Illinois.
Jennifer McCafferty, PhD
Director, Research Institute
Nicklaus Children's Hospital
Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer & Business Partnerships
University of South Florida
Valerie Landrio McDevitt is a U.S. registered patent attorney and Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer & Business Partnerships at the University of South Florida. Valerie is responsible for the USF Patents and Licensing office, which acts as the main university contact for industry partners and start-up companies interested in technology transfer. Valerie represents the university and Senior Vice President for Research & Innovation, as needed, for research and innovation in matters related to industry connections, startups and technology transfer.
Prior to joining USF, Valerie served as assistant patent counsel and a research chemist for Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals. She also participated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship program and worked as a science advisor with a House subcommittee in Washington, D.C.
Valerie received her BS in Chemistry from Siena College in Loudonville, New York, MST in Chemistry at the University of Florida, and a JD at Emory University School of Law. She is a certified licensing professional through LES, a member of the Georgia and Florida bars, and is admitted to practice before the Federal Patent and Trademark Office.
Manuel A. Mencia
Sr. Vice President, International Trade and Development
Enterprise Florida, Inc.
Manuel (Manny) A. Mencia is Sr. Vice President of the International Trade and Development unit of Enterprise Florida, Inc. Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a not-for-profit government business partnership established to guide the development of Florida’s economy. The International Trade and Development unit is headquartered in Miami and maintains offices in six Florida cities as well as fourteen countries around the world.
In 2000, Export Magazine and the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) conferred their Gold Award to EFI’s Division of International Trade, as the best statewide export development organization in the country. In 2001, EFI received the prestigious Presidential E-Award for Export Development in its first year of eligibility. In 2009, EFI’s ITD unit received the President’s E Star Award for Export Promotion Excellence, our nation’s highest trade development honor.
Mr. Mencia is a member of the Board of Directors of SIDO (State International Development Organizations), the national organization of state trade development agencies and served as its President during 2010-2012 and 2016-2017. He also chairs the Florida International Trade Partnership (FITP) and serves on the board of the Florida Export Finance Corporation, World Trade Center-Miami, University of Miami’s CIBER Center and the Florida District Export Council.
In 1990, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce selected Mr. Mencia as Government Hispanic Business Advocate of the Year. In 2003, the International Business Council of South Florida named him International Businessman of the Year and in 2010, he was awarded the International Achievement Award, Florida’s most prestigious award for lifetime achievement for international business.
Mr. Mencia obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida International University in Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University in Political Science.
Karen B. Moore
Founder & CEO
Karen B. Moore is the founder and CEO of Moore, Inc., Florida’s largest independently owned communications and public affairs firms, and in the top seven largest in the nation. Headquartered in Tallahassee, MCG has additional offices located in West Palm Beach, New Orleans and Denver. Moore has been named to Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of the “Fastest Growing Companies in America,” honored by Florida Trend Magazine as a “Best Company to Work For” and recognized by PR News as a “Top Place to Work in PR.” The firm is one of the largest and top-ranked public affairs, healthcare, branding and Latino marketing firms in the nation. The company has received more than 450 state and national awards for its campaigns.
As a national thought leader in the advocacy arena, Karen has helped hundreds of organizations utilize advocacy to develop a powerful voice that breaks through a crowded message landscape. Karen has successfully built a vast array of state and national coalitions, impacting important legislative issues. With a passion for health care, economic development, and education initiatives, she has shaped conversations surrounding critical policies using a smart mix of grasstops, grassroots, and strategic alliance development efforts.
In her bestselling book, “Behind the Red Door: Unlock Your Advocacy Influence and Success”, Karen helps decision makers and others understand why advocacy is a vital tool for their organization, regardless of their specific industry. Karen presents readers with a comprehensive look at the application of advocacy that includes building an advocacy plan framework, creating and utilizing a brand, building and mobilizing internal and external stakeholders, using social media, handling crisis, and finally, measuring results for advocacy campaigns.
James J. Mulé, PhD
Associate Center Director, Translational Science
The Michael McGillicuddy Endowed Chair for Melanoma Research and Treatment
Scientific Director, Cell-Based Therapies
Moffitt Cancer Center
Dr. James Mulé is the Associate Center Director for Translational Science, the Michael McGillicuddy Endowed Chair for Melanoma Research and Treatment, and Scientific Director of Cell-Based Therapies at Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Mulé, who recently was designated a “Master of Immunology” by the American Association for Cancer Research, serves on Advisory Boards of numerous biotechnology and pharma companies (e.g., Fulgent Genetics, OncoPep, Iovance, GT Biopharma, Vault Nano, and Celgene, among others). Prior to his arrival in Tampa, Dr. Mulé helped to launch and scientifically direct two biotechnology companies in Palo Alto, CA, which were acquired by Sandoz (now Novartis). He also recently prepared both Novartis and Spark Therapeutics for presentations to the FDA, leading to the approval of Kymriah and Luxturnia, respectively. Dr. Mulé remains a long-standing special government employee to the FDA (both CDER and CBER) and the NCI. He was Chair of the Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee of CBER, FDA. Dr. Mulé has published nearly 200 articles in the areas of cancer vaccines and cancer immunotherapy.
James Onuffer, PhD
Dr. Onuffer has been Vice President, Synthetic Biology and Immunology at F1 Oncology, Inc. since 2016. Prior to joining F1 Oncology, he was an independent consultant in the Biotech/Pharma space, advising clients on cell-based immunotherapy, immunology and synthetic biology. From 2009 to 2015, Dr. Onuffer was responsible for the establishment and coordination of a translational medicine laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco as part of an NIH sponsored Nanomedicine Center, where he served as Associate Director and Laboratory Head. At UCSF, he initiated and spearheaded the engineering of novel synthetic T-cell responses and safety control systems for use in cell-based immunotherapy of cancer which included the development of pharmacologically controlled chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), multiple antigen input and gated receptor systems and biological systems that sense and shape local tissue environments. From 1995 to 2007, Dr. Onuffer was at Berlex Biosciences, a subsidiary of Schering AG, where he led several therapeutic discovery and development programs in the Department of Immunology. During his tenure at Berlex, he was the recipient of several corporate awards for creativity, leadership and teamwork and served as a speaker and review committee member in the corporate review of projects throughout the Berlex/Schering AG global organization. Dr. Onuffer received his B.S. in microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry in the Molecular and Cell Biology Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He has authored multiple scientific articles during his career and is an inventor on several patents in the small molecule, biologics, and cell therapy space.
Cosme Ordoñez, PhD
Managing Director Healthcare Investment Banking
NOBLE Life Science Partners
Deputy Vice President, Policy & Research
Saumil Pandya is a Deputy Vice President in the Policy & Research Department of PhRMA, and is focused primarily on policy and research related to prescription drug spending and utilization, the pharmaceutical supply chain, and trends in U.S. health care expenditures. He came to PhRMA most recently from Evergreen Health Cooperative, where he was the Vice President for Medical Economics. Saumil has 20 years of health care finance experience including Medical Economics and Finance roles at payers CIGNA HealthCare and Coventry Health Care of Delaware, along with Pricing and Contracting Strategy experience at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. He has extensive experience in managed care, financial analysis/modeling, and pharmaceutical pricing and contracting strategies. Saumil holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Towson University, and a Masters Degree in Health Finance and Management from The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene & Public Health.
President & CEO
Steve Parkinson, an accomplished senior executive, has extensive well-rounded experience, including 36 years in biomedical science, over 32 of those in biotechnology companies and the last 20 years as a CEO. Steve spent 14 years in the Massachusetts biotechnology community before moving to Florida in 2006. With a strong scientific background, he has extensive experience; as President/CEO for four companies, and also in operations, manufacturing, sales, marketing, business development, contract and partnership negotiation, in- and out-licensing, general management, management team building, strategic business planning and has raised over $150M in private and public equity and corporate investment.
Steve has worked for a number of companies in manufacturing management, sales, marketing and business development including; Fermentech Ltd, Johnson & Johnson, PPL Ltd, Genzyme Corp, Genzyme Transgenics, and as President/CEO of Advanced Cell Technologies, TranXenoGen Inc, CereMedix Inc and Lakewood-Amedex Inc.
Amongst Steve’s major achievements is that as co-founder, President/CEO of TranXenoGen he led the company through three private funding rounds and to an IPO on London AIM in 2000. The company within a year reached a $230 million valuation and was well supported on the exchange.
Responsibilities have included: negotiating corporate collaborations, acquisitions, developing contracts, raising capital, drug development, regulatory affairs, restructuring and running companies. Steve has extensive experience with start-up and development stage companies. He has conducted business extensively in North America and Europe.
Lakewood-Amedex is a privately held clinical-stage pharmaceutical discovery and development company. The company is addressing many major areas of human disease using gene-silencing technology, with an initial focus on infectious diseases with a novel class of antimicrobials called bisphosphocins.
Chairman & CEO
Quang Pham is a biopharmaceutical entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in financing, founding, and growing companies. He has served as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman since he founded Espero in 2014. Espero has a robust clinical pipeline, including tecarfarin (Phase 3 ready for thrombosis/prevent blood clots and a potential orphan designation), budiodarone (third Phase 2 ready for refractory atrial fibrillation) and three FDA-approved cardiovascular products. Espero was also named by the Jacksonville Business Journal as the fastest growing company in NE Florida in 2017 and 2016.
Quang also founded Lathian Systems, an innovative company that provided online data and marketing services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He raised $14 million in venture capital and corporate funding for Lathian, grew the business, and led its eventual sale in 2012.
After serving as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot in the Persian Gulf War, Quang began his pharmaceutical sales career with Astra Merck and Genentech BioOncology. He is a published author and holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018, BioFlorida’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and named a Veteran of Influence in Jacksonville. He currently serves on the Board of BioFlorida.
Matthew Rhyner, PhD
Director, Global Marketing and Product Management
Matt is the Director of Global Marketing and Product Management for Beckman Coulter’s Hematology and Urinalysis Business Unit. He has spent 10 years with Beckman Coulter in a variety of sales, marketing, and product management roles, in both life sciences and diagnostics. Dr. Rhyner has several peer reviewed publications; his PhD research focused on nanoparticles for cancer diagnosis at the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. He also holds a BS in Chemical Engineering, highest honors (Georgia Tech), and a MBA (UMASS Amherst).
Raquel (Rocky) A. Rodriguez
Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez is Miami native and attorney with more than 30 years of experience in a wide variety of government, business and litigation matters. She currently serves as the managing member of the Miami office for McDonald Hopkins LLC, a national business advisory and advocacy law firm. Rocky Co-Chairs BioFlorida’s Government Affairs Committee and sits on BioFlorida’s Board of Directors.
Previously, she served as general counsel to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, working on some of the most complex and urgent issues facing the state during his administration. This included conceiving and co-drafting the legislation for and negotiating the largest economic development project in state history in 2003, a $310 million economic incentive grant to The Scripps Research Institute. In private practice, Rocky has represented leading life science entities coming to Florida, including negotiating their state and local incentives and handling their legal matters. Between her time in the Governor’s office and in private practice, Rocky has been involved in nearly $1 billion state and local economic incentive deals in the life sciences. She also represents clients in matters before the state executive and legislative branches, including legislative lobbying, regulatory matters and administrative proceedings.
She is an AV-rated lawyer and has received national and statewide recognition for her work, including recognition in Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyer and Chambers and Partners.
Rocky is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she earned her J.D., summa cum laude in 1985, and her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, in 1982.
Joshua M. Samek
Greenberg Traurig, P.A.
Josh Samek focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, financing transactions and general corporate and business law matters. Josh represents a broad range of clients at all stages of development, including public companies, private equity funds and portfolio companies, start-up companies and private investors. Josh regularly counsels public companies and private investors on SEC reporting and compliance matters and serves as outside general counsel to various private companies. Josh received his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Mario Saporta, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology and Human Genetics, Neuromuscular Division
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Mario Saporta, MD, PhD, MBA is an assistant professor of Neurology and Human Genetics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is the director of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) Center of Excellence and Muscular Dystrophy Association Care Center at the University of Miami where he coordinates a multidisciplinary clinic to provide specialized care for patients with neuromuscular neurogenetic diseases. He also leads the CMT translational stem cell laboratory where he develops patient-derived platforms for drug discovery in CMT.
After completing his Neurology training in his home country of Brazil, Dr. Saporta trained in neuromuscular and electrodiagnostic medicine with emphasis in the peripheral neuropathies, in centers in the United Kingdom (Institute of Neurology, University College London), France (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bicêtre) and the US. He did his Neuromuscular/Neurophysiology fellowship at the Detroit Medical Center with Prof. Michael Shy and was the first clinical research fellow of the NIH Inherited Neuropathy Consortium.
Dr. Saporta has published extensively on the pathophysiology of different types of CMT, using various disease models, including patients’ skin biopsies, knockin mouse models and stem cell derived motor neurons from patients with CMT. He has worked for 2 years as a visiting scientist at iPierian, a biotechnology company that pioneered the use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells for drug discovery in neurological disorders. Dr. Saporta was the first investigator to publish on the use of patient-derived motor neurons to study CMT.
Dr. Saporta’s current research interest includes the identification of mediators of axon degeneration in inherited neuropathies and the use of patient-derived neuronal cell lines for drug discovery in neuroscience.
Michael Sardano has served in many capacities at Sensus Healthcare, Inc. since 2013. He is currently their General Counsel & Director of Governance & Regulatory as well as serving as Corporate Secretary. Michael works on a range of issues for Sensus, including, State and Federal Regulatory Matters, Government Affairs, and SEC Compliance. Prior to joining Sensus, Michael served on the United States Senate Rules & Administration Committee working on campaign finance reform and 501(c)(4) "SuperPAC" regulations during the 2012 Presidential Election. A licensed attorney in the State of Florida, Michael graduated from Bentley University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Management & Finance and graduated from New England School of Law in 2013 receiving his Juris Doctor.
General Counsel and Director of Governance & Regulatory
PAREXEL Access Consulting
Thom brings a broad array of experience to PAREXEL in his career in the life sciences industry and as a clinician. He brings significant experience in U.S. and global market access having worked in senior leadership roles in consulting organizations such as Double Helix Consulting, Heron Evidence Development, LLC, IMS (now IQVIA) Consulting and The Zitter Group.
In his role at PAREXEL he provides management and strategic oversight of engagements as well as acting in a project advisory capacity on content, methodology, quality and overall direction.
Relevant industry experience includes positions at Sanofi, as the Head of the Pricing & Contract Strategy team within their Pricing & Market Access group (U.S. and Global), and at Novo Nordisk, Thom was the head of the Pricing, Contract Operations, and Reimbursement team and has also worked BMS in Customer Channel Marketing, Policy and Reimbursement and has also worked at TAP Pharmaceuticals.
Thom holds professional credentials and has practiced as a Registered Physician Assistant, specialized in surgery and internal medicine. Relevant qualifications: Certified Physician Assistant (Surgery and Internal Medicine); Certificate of Professional Achievement (Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania).
Ben Scruggs, PhD
Hatteras Venture Partners
Ben Scruggs, PhD, is an Associate at Hatteras Venture Partners, venture capital firm that builds transformational companies in the areas of biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare IT, and related opportunities in human medicine. Prior to joining Hatteras in 2016, Ben completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. He has performed research in the fields of genomics, metabolism, RNA biology, and transcription regulation. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Molecular Cell and Cell Metabolism, among others. Ben focuses on the firm’s deal flow process and due diligence.
Ben received his B.E. in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Ben is a board observer at Graybug Vision and Trefoil Therapeutics. He serves on NHLBI’s national network of mentors and the North Carolina Microbiome Consortium Steering Committee. He has served on various committees and panels for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, SE BIO, and SC BIO.
Sr. Executive Healthcare Policy Advisor, Butler Snow LLP
As a former executive in the device industry, Machelle Shields currently focuses her practice on compliance and regulatory services for life science companies, including device/technology reimbursement strategy (coding coverage and payment), the infrastructure needs of start-up device companies and all aspects of compliance program design, operation, and implementation across the healthcare spectrum – physicians, hospitals, Medicare Advantage, device, pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare providers.
Machelle served as Vice President and Compliance Officer for Medtronic’s Spinal and Biologic Division for four years. During this time she executed and implemented Kyphon’s Corporate Integrity Agreement (reimbursement focused) and laid the foundation for and executed a second Corporate Integrity Agreement. Machelle has served as a Federal Monitor team lead for a device company’s deferred prosecution agreement and is currently a monitor for an OCR HIPAA settlement with a large academic medical institution. In addition to her undergraduate degree in healthcare and MBA, Machelle has a Master of Science in Jurisprudence from Seton Hall School of Law – device and pharmaceutical/health and hospital law.
Richard Snyder, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Brammer Bio, LLC
Richard O. Snyder, PhD is the Chief Scientific Officer at Brammer Bio, a CDMO providing clinical and commercial supply of vectors for in vivo gene therapy and ex vivo modified-cell based therapy, along with process and analytical development, and regulatory support, enabling large pharma and biotech clients to accelerate the delivery of novel medicines to improve patients’ health. Dr. Snyder has been investigating virus biology, vector development, cGMP vector manufacturing and analytical technologies, and viral vector-mediated gene transfer for over 30 years, and was a member of teams who developed novel viral vector-based human gene therapies. Dr. Snyder was an Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Director of Biotherapeutic Programs at the University of Florida; an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School; and was previously employed by Cell Genesys, Somatix, Merlin, and Avigen where he was engaged in the development of gene transfer vector and vaccine technology, along with therapeutic applications. Dr. Snyder was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, received his doctoral degree in Microbiology from The State University of New York at Stony Brook, and obtained his B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Slobodan Stefanov is currently the Director, Innovations at SHL Group, one of the world's largest solution providers in design, development and manufacturing of advanced drug delivery systems. Slobodan's background and skills include medical device development, combination products, parenteral devices, innovations teams management in order to create and introduce new ideas, processes, or products industriously, technology forecasting, project management, product line planning and portfolio management, product life-cycle management with very short development time, without sacrificing quality or meeting the needs of the market, push/pull process product development, new device innovation and full product development(cross collaboration with QC, QA, Tooling, Manufacturing, Automation, Industrial design, Regulatory).
Slobodan obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, his Master's Degree in Information and Communication technologies from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University and a Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Professional Certificate, Innovation from Stanford University.
Kiminobu Sugaya, PhD
Professor and Head of Neuroscience, Chair of Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Alliance, College of Medicine
University of Central Florida
Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya is a Professor and Head of Neuroscience in Burnett School of Biomedical Science, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida (UCF) since 2004. He is also a Chair of Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Alliance of UCF. He moved from Japan to Mayo Clinic as a post doc. in 1992 when he was a lecturer in Science University of Tokyo and he was promoted to an associate consultant in 1994. Then he moved to University of Illinois at Chicago as an assistant professor in 1997 and promoted to an associate professor in 2002. He has been conducting stem cell researches to treat neurodegenerative diseases for more than 20 years. He recently received National Honor Plaque of Panama for his exceptional contribution to neuroscience from the President of Panama. His publication regarding improvement of memory in aged animals by stem cell transplantation was reported by Washington Post, BBC, NBC, ABC and other media in all over the world.
Dr. Sugaya is also a founder and chair of Progenicyte, which is a biotech company holding his 67 patent licenses. Among those are a revolutionary process of creating pluripotent stem cells from a patient's own cells and a novel pharmacological approach to increase endogenous stem cells. With His proprietary technologies covering all aspects of stem cell manipulations, he funded SynapCyte to conduct clinical trial on pharmaceutical products to increase neuronal regeneration for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases therapies.
Yuri Takeuchi, MD
Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences
Yuri Takeuchi, MD is a medical specialist in Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. Clinical experience of more than 24 years as chief of the Department of Neurology of Fundación Valle del Lili (Cali, Colombia) a university hospital that has been considered the most important high complexity center for referral of patients in Colombia and one of the three best hospitals in Latin America. She served as Director of Education there and, in 2009, she helped found the Faculty of Health Sciences at Universidad Icesi (Cali- Colombia). Since then she has been Dean of this recognized faculty that has more 22 medical specializations and subspecializations and 7 graduated cohorts. Currently, she is a member of the Colombian Association of Neurology and participates in research on clinical epidemiology as a member of the Biomedica research group of the Universidad Icesi (Category A1, of the Colombian research ranking provided by Colciencias).
Dean J. Trantalis
City of Fort Laurderdale
Dean Trantalis was elected mayor of Fort Lauderdale on March 13, 2018. His election represented the largest victory in city history for a candidate running for a first term as mayor. Dean previously served on the City Commission representing District 2 from 2003 to 2006 and from 2013 until his ascension to the mayor's office. He twice served as vice mayor: from 2005 to 2006 and from 2016 to 2017. He has represented the city on the board of directors of the Broward League of Cities, the Broward County Homeless Continuum of Care Task Force, the Broward Water Resources Task Force and the Broward County-Palm Beach County Joint C-51 Reservoir Work Group.
Born and raised in Norwich, Connecticut, Dean attended high school at Norwich Free Academy. At Boston University, he majored in political science and graduated cum laude and with distinction in 1975. He received a Juris Doctorate in 1979 from Stetson University School of Law, while completing international law courses in Eastern Europe, Russia, and London. Dean was admitted to the Connecticut and Florida Bar Associations in 1980 and has practiced law in Broward County since 1982. He currently maintains a successful general law practice in Broward County with some emphasis in the areas of real estate, probate, estate planning, bankruptcy, and corporate matters. Commissioner Trantalis is a member of the Federal Bar and the National Association of Bankruptcy Attorneys.
Nicholai T. Urban, PhD
Abberior Instruments America
Nicolai T. Urban is a physicist by training who has gone on to build a career in neuroscience and technology. As Microscopy Specialist at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) in Jupiter, Florida he uses the newest super-resolution imaging techniques to solve cutting edge neuroscience research questions. He also works as an independent consultant for Abberior Instruments America, manufacturer and distributor of STED imaging technology, developed by Nobel laureate Dr. Stefan W. Hell, who Dr. Urban studied under as a doctoral student. Dr. Urban played a major role in establishing Abberior’s first North American location at the Max Planck Florida Headquarters in 2017. Prior to working with MPFI and Abberior, Dr. Urban was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Nanobiophotonics at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, where he also earned his PhD with the rank of “summa cum laude” and defended his thesis under two Nobel laureates. He has spoken about advances in imaging at events throughout the world such as the Society for Neuroscience Conference, SPIE Photonics West, Optics Within Life Sciences (OWLS) in Genoa, Italy, Molekulare Bildgebung (MOBI) in Göttingen, Germany, and the Joint European Magnetic Symposia in Dublin Ireland. His work has been published in many notable journals, including Nature, Neuron, and Nature Communications.
Juan E. Valencia Z., MD
Director Reimbursement and Health Economics Latin America
Juan Carlos Varela
Vice President, Restorative Therapies Group Latin America
Juan Carlos Varela has over 23 years of experience in the medical device market in Latin America, managing different business units/segments such as: Ortho, Neuro, EP, and others. Professional background includes sales, marketing and supply chain. As well as country specific roles in key markets like Brazil and Colombia. Currently, Juan Carlos responsible for the sales and marketing VP leadership role for Neurosciences in Medtronic Latin America.
Juan Carlos has a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Washington and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Nicholas J. Virca
President & CEO
HedgePath Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Nicholas Virca has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of HedgePath Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (HPPI) since August 2013. HPPI is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company with a preliminary focus on the development of therapies for cancer in the United States of America market, with the first indication targeting basal cell carcinoma in patients with Basal Cell Carcinoma Nevus Syndrome (also known as Gorlin Syndrome) for which HPPI intends to file an NDA with FDA in Q1 2019.
From 2008 until April 2012, Mr. Virca served as the Chief Operating Officer for LamdaGen Corporation, a privately held company focused on monitoring assays for biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing applications, as well as high-sensitivity detection for human diagnostic biomarkers, such as oncoproteins related to cervical cancer. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Virca was Vice President for Global Biotechnology at Pall Life Sciences where he was responsible for growth strategies and programs in the biotechnology arena, including new technology and product initiatives, joint ventures, licensing and acquisitions. He also founded the first Scientific Advisory Board for Pall’s Biopharmaceuticals Division.
From 1997 to 2004, Mr. Virca was COO, and later CEO and President of Adventrx Pharmaceuticals focusing on anti-cancer drug development in human clinical trials. He was instrumental in transitioning the company from a private corporation to a listing on the American Stock Exchange. Mr. Virca held various marketing and general management positions at Damon Biotech, Promega Corporation, Nicolet Imaging Systems, Ortho Diagnostic Systems, Fisher Scientific, Waters, Ross Laboratories and Pfizer Diagnostics. He previously served on the boards of Adventrx Pharmaceuticals between 2001 and 2004, and Diametrix Detectors between 1991 and 1997. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Youngstown State University, is the co-inventor of packaging technology for enzyme research reagents, as well as co-inventor of three patents using itraconazole for treatment of cancer, and is a member of numerous biotechnology organizations for which he has been a speaker and organizer over the last several decades.
Senior Director of Campaign & Elections
Florida Chamber of Commerce
As the Senior Director of Campaigns and Elections for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Andrew Wiggins manages the Florida Chamber’s political campaign activity throughout the state of Florida.
Prior to joining the Florida Chamber, Wiggins served as the Deputy Director of Senate Campaigns at the Republican Party of Florida, where he previously spent three years working for House Campaigns. Wiggins has worked on grassroots campaigns all over the United States as well as working statewide in Florida and working for both the executive and legislative branches of government. Andrew has a vast history of experience that ranges from working on Rudy Giuliani’s mayoral campaign to working with U.S. Senate, congressional and for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. More recently, he has more than 18 years of experience helping elect candidates to the House and Senate across Florida.
Wiggins, a sixth generation Floridian, was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. in History, as well as a M.A. in Political Science with a certificate in Political Campaigning. Andrew has two children, Katherine and Gavin.
Director of Business Development
Andrew Willert is the Director of Business Development and Operations at SirenMD, a robust, cloud-based medical record, telehealth, and communication platform that improves athlete health by connecting the athletic trainers, physicians, and other caregivers who treat them. Andrew manages much of the company’s day to day operations and executes strategies to expand the company’s network to additional health care providers and athletic teams.
Prior to SirenMD, Andrew worked in consulting and healthcare administration at the University of Miami Health System and Cleveland Clinic.
Andrew earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami, making him a Double Cane.
Ezequiel Zylberberg, PhD
Manager, Strategic Alliances
Ezequiel Zylberberg, Ph.D. is the Manager of Strategic Alliances for Akron Biotechnology, a Florida-based company that develops, manufactures, and markets ancillary materials under cGMP compliance for the production of cell therapies, gene therapies, and engineered tissues, serving the regenerative medicine industry from research to commercialization. Dr. Zylberberg is also Acting Executive Director of the Florida Organization for Regenerative Medicine (FORM), a new stakeholder-led initiative that aims to articulate a common vision for the state’s regenerative medicine ecosystem, to foster shared learning and collaborative translational research that advances new discoveries, and to accelerate innovation by supporting the commercialization of advanced therapies and engineered tissues for the benefit of patients in the State of Florida and beyond. Dr. Zylberberg earned his doctoral degree from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and conducted his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Industrial Performance Center.