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2019 Life Science Innovation Northwest - Speakers
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Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD

Executive Vice President and President, Merck Research Laboratories

Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD, is executive vice president and president of Merck Research Laboratories. Prior to his current role, he was EVP and head of R&D at Amgen from 2001 to 2012 and held leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Merck from 1997 to 2001.

Previously, Dr. Perlmutter was professor and chairman of Immunology, University of Washington, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University, and pursued clinical training in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco.


James N. Topper, MD, PhD

Managing General Partner, Frazier Healthcare Partners

Jamie co-leads Frazier’s Life Sciences team and has over 25 years of experience working with entrepreneurs to found and build successful therapeutics-focused companies.

Jamie is a Managing General Partner of Frazier Healthcare Partners' Life Sciences team. He joined Frazier in 2003 and opened Frazier’s Menlo Park office in the same year. Throughout his 14 years as a General Partner, Jamie has invested across over 20 companies encompassing a broad spectrum of Life Science and Biopharmaceutical companies.

Jamie received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Stanford and holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan. He did his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He has authored over 50 publications and was the recipient of a Howard Hughes Scholars Award while on the faculty at Stanford.

Peter C.R. Emtage, PhD

Senior Vice President and Global Head of Cell Therapy Research, Kite Pharma, a Gilead company

Dr. Emtage currently serves as the Global Head of Cell Therapy at Kite Pharma, a Gilead company. Previously Chief Scientific Officer at Cell Design Labs, Inc. (CDL) recently acquired by Gilead. Prior to joining CDL, he was Vice President of Synthetic Immunology at Intrexon Corporation and was Vice President of Immune Mediated Therapy in the Oncology Innovative Medicines group at Medimmune. At Medimmune, Dr. Emtage designed and implemented a comprehensive immune therapy cancer strategy. He has over sixteen years of biologics development experience in the fields of oncology, autoimmunity, infectious diseases, and inflammation. Dr. Emtage holds a B.S. and M.S. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Guelph and received his Ph.D. in Molecular Virology, Immunology and Inflammation at McMaster University. At the beginning of his career, he also was a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health and held roles at Aventis Pasteur and Harvard Medical School.

Robert M. Hershberg, MD, PhD

Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development and Global Alliances, Celgene Corporation

Rob Hershberg currently serves as Executive Vice President/Head of Business Development and Global Alliances at Celgene Corporation. In this capacity, Rob serves as a member of the Executive Committee and is responsible for business development in all therapeutic areas within the Celgene portfolio. He joined Celgene in August 2014 to lead the scientific and early clinical efforts in Immuno-Oncology (I-O) and established a Therapeutic Center of Excellence for I-O in Seattle.

Prior to joining Celgene, Rob was the President and CEO of VentiRx Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, which he co-founded in 2006. Rob previously served as Senior Vice President and CMO at Dendreon Corporation, where he led the clinical, regulatory and biometrics groups, focusing on the development of Provenge® in metastatic prostate cancer.

Stanley Riddell, MD

Scientific Director, Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Stanley Riddell is a Member in the Program in Immunology and Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington. His research focuses on understanding how T cells respond to pathogens and tumors, and on the development and clinical application of adoptive T cell therapy for cancer by genetically modifying specific subsets of T cells with natural and synthetic receptors to instruct them to recognize tumor cells. His lab led the first trials of antigen specific T cell therapy in humans and the first trials to administer genetically modified antigen-specific T cells. Dr. Riddell has received numerous honors including the E Donnall Thomas award from the American Society of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation, a Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Study at the Technical University of Munich, the Hans Messner Award from the Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group, and election to the Association of American Physicians and American College of Physicians. He is an Ambassador and Distinguished Affiliate Professor at the Technical University of Munich and Virginia Hobbs Charitable Trust Research Professor of the American Cancer Society.


Panel Chair

Jerel Davis, PhD

Managing Director, Versant Ventures

Jerel Davis, Ph.D., is a Managing Director based in Vancouver, Canada. Since joining Versant in 2011, he has been involved in launching and investing in a number of Versant’s portfolio companies including Quanticel (sale), Novira (sale), Crispr (2016 IPO), Inception 4 (sale), Inception 5 (sale), Northern, Turnstone, BlueRock, Repare, VenatoRx and Akero. He has led Versant’s execution of creative corporate transactions with multiple pharmaceutical partners including Celgene, Roche and Bayer, and was instrumental in establishing Versant’s presence in Canada, including the creation of our company-building infrastructure in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Jerel was promoted to Managing Director at Versant in 2015.

Prior to joining Versant, Jerel was an Associate Principal at McKinsey and Company where he advised healthcare corporations in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical device and molecular diagnostics. He has worked in a number of healthcare markets globally including the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Russia and India. Jerel was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University, where he also completed his Ph.D., and trained at Amgen as a researcher.

Philip D. Gregory, DPhil

Chief Scientific Officer, bluebird bio

Philip D. Gregory, D. Phil., has served as Chief Scientific Officer of bluebird bio since June 2015. Prior to joining bluebird Philip was at Sangamo BioSciences, Inc., where he held multiple leadership positions, most recently serving as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President, Research. Philip has led pioneering research in gene therapy and genome editing and was named by Thompson Reuters as one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014” and “Most Cited Researchers 2015”. He served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Keystone Symposia from 2009 to 2015, and the ASGCT Advisory Council from 2016. Before joining the biotechnology industry Philip was at the University of Munich, Germany, where he studied the role of chromatin structure in gene regulation. Philip earned a D. Phil. in biochemistry from the University of Oxford (Keble College) and holds a B.Sc. in microbiology from the University of Sheffield.

Andrew Scharenberg, MD

Chief Scientific Officer, Casebia Therapeutics

Andrew M. Scharenberg, MD, is an Attending Physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, from which he is currently on leave. He presently serves as Chief Scientific Officer of Casebia Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA.

Prior to joining Casebia, Dr. Scharenberg co-directed (with David Rawlings M.D.) the Program in Cell and Gene Therapy at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, working to translate cell and gene therapies for the treatment of inherited immunologic and blood diseases. This work led to the development of a program in engineered regulatory T-cells, recently partnered with Casebia for the purpose of developing gene edited cell therapeutics for IPEX syndrome. Dr Scharenberg also is a past Chief Scientific Officer of Cellectis Therapeutics, where he initiated the development of an allogeneic CAR T-cell platform, and past co-founder of Pregenen Inc., a gene editing and cell-signalling technology company that was acquired by bluebird bio in 2014.


Peter Thompson, MD

Partner, OrbiMed Healthcare Fund Management

Peter Thompson, M.D., is a Partner on the private equity team, with over 25 years of industry experience. He held executive positions at Becton-Dickinson and Chiron, co-founded and was CEO of Trubion Pharmaceuticals, co-founded Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Cleave Biosciences, Silverback Therapeutics and serves as a Director on several company boards. Dr. Thompson is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awardee, an Affiliate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington, an inventor on numerous patents and a board-certified internist and oncologist. He was on staff at the National Cancer Institute following his internal medicine training at Yale University.


David Baker, PhD

Director of the Institute for Protein Design, University of Washington

David Baker is the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professor in Biochemistry, Director of the Institute for Protein Design, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and adjunct professor of Genome Sciences, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics at the University of Washington. He received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry with Randy Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley and did postdoctoral work in biophysics with David Agard at UCSF. His research group is focused on the prediction and design of macromolecular structures, interactions and functions. Dr. Baker received young investigator awards from the National Science Foundation and the Beckman Foundation, and the Packard Foundation fellowship in Science and Engineering. He has also received the Irving Sigal Young Investigator award from the Protein Society and the Overton Prize from the International Society of Computational Biology. He is a recipient of the Feynman Prize from the Foresight Institute, the AAAS Newcomb_Cleveland prize, the Sackler prize in biophysics, and the Centenary award from the Biochemical society. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences. His research group is a world leader in computational protein design and protein structure prediction.

Simone Fishburn, PhD

Vice President and Executive Editor, BioCentury

Simone serves as Vice President and Executive Editor of BioCentury and BioCentury Innovations. She was previously Editor of BioCentury Innovations, and prior to that was a senior editor for SciBX: Science-Business eXchange, a joint publication between BioCentury and Nature Publishing Group. Simone also serves as an advisor on two university translational programs: the CTSI Catalyst program at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and the SPARK program at Stanford University. Prior to joining BioCentury in 2013, Simone spent nine years in preclinical drug development at Nektar Therapeutics, where she headed the pain program as director of translational research, and two years at Exponent Inc., where she assisted small and large biotechs on a range of scientific projects. Before she entered the industry, Simone spent eight years in academia, first as a post-doc at UCSF and then performing research at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Simone is also active in programs to advance women's careers; she is a Board member of Women In Bio and served as president from 2013-2014. She is a Fulbright scholar, and holds a Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology from the Weizmann, and an M.A. and B.A. in pharmacology from Cambridge University.


Panel Chair

Richard Samuelson, CFA


Mr. Samuelson spent the bulk of his career in investment banking, virtually all of it located in Asia. As an investment banker he specialized in equity and equity derivatives at both UBS and BNP Paribas. Mr. Samuelson began his career as an analyst and in his final position as a Managing Director he served as global head of equity and equity derivatives for both Asia and Japan at BNP Paribas.

Since settling in Gig Harbor, Washington in 2008, he has focused on angel investing, primarily through the Keiretsu forum. He has invested in more than 25 companies and enjoyed four exits. He currently serves on the Board of Kineta, Inc. and until recently, served on the Board of Bird Buffer, LLC. He is an official advisor to Y Strategies, a listed early stage fund headquartered in California and also served on the investment review committee for Keiretsu Capital Fund 1. He is currently co-president of the Tacoma chapter of Keiretsu Forum.

Mr. Samuelson holds a BA from Yale, an MA from the Fletcher School at Tufts and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School. His professional accreditations include: the CFA, FRM and CAIA designations.

Carla Fowler, MD, PhD

Managing Director, THAXA, Inc.

Carla Fowler is the Founder and Managing Director of THAXA, a boutique executive coaching firm specializing in the science of human performance. The firm works with leaders in the business and non-profit sectors to help them achieve greater success through brutal focus. A Seattle native, she earned her MD PhD at the University of Washington, with a specialization in cancer immunology, and completed her licensing year at Stanford in General Surgery. She is an active investor in life sciences as a part of Alliance of Angels and Keiretsu Forum. Recent investments include: First Light Biosciences, Joylux, Hemex Health, Mission Bio, Healionics, Virion Therapeutics, and TransformativeMed.


Eric Bell

Managing Director, SpringRock Ventures

Eric is Managing Director of SpringRock Ventures. He has spent his entire career helping life sciences organizations translate innovation into commercialization. Eric is on the board of several of SpringRock’s portfolio companies.

Before co-founding SpringRock, Eric headed the Small and Medium Enterprise Program for the Invention Development Fund (IDF) at Intellectual Ventures (IV). Among prior work at IV, he led an international team focused on building a portfolio supporting his investment thesis in medical devices, using IV’s “invention capital” to build a new model for medtech financing – a seed medical device aggregator.

Prior to IV, Eric had spent most of his career in venture capital. He was an investment professional at Vulcan Capital, Paul Allen’s investment vehicle, and Tredegar Investments. There, he was responsible for early and mid-stage life sciences investments. Eric has also been Director of Business Development with Corixa Corporation, a biotechnology company in Seattle, WA.

Loretta Little

Managing Director, WRF Capital

Ms. Little focuses on early stage investment opportunities in the life sciences such as medical devices, health care IT, and scientific instrumentation. Most of WRF Capital’s portfolio companies are commercializing inventions originating at Washington research institutions. She has worked with several of WRF Capital’s investments, including C-SATS (acquired by Johnson & Johnson), Clarisonic (acquired by L’Oreal), Mirador Biomedical (acquired by Centurion Medical Products), and EKOS (acquired by BTG plc). She oversees WRF Capital’s investments in AbSci, Accium Biosciences, Cardiac Insight, Nexgenia, NOHLA Therapeutics, Phytelligence, and Transformative Med.

She currently serves as a board member of the Alliance of Angels, WINGS (medical technology angels), and is on the commercialization committee at Life Science Washington.

Derek Streat

VP of Digital Education Solutions, Johnson & Johnson Institute and Co-Founder & CEO, C-SATS, Johnson & Johnson Institute

Derek Streat is an accomplished healthcare and technology entrepreneur having co-founded and/or been at the earliest stages of five venture-backed companies, four of which he led as CEO. Currently, as Vice President of Digital Education Solutions for the Johnson & Johnson Institute, Derek is leading the charge to transform the organization into a leading healthcare quality improvement and continuous learning institution that directly advances patient outcomes, provider efficiency and health system value through digital solutions. Within this scope of responsibility, Derek leads C-SATS, a Johnson & Johnson Institute company he co-founded, and a developer of technologies that enable healthcare organizations to achieve better outcomes by ensuring their practitioners continuously improve their technique and adhere to proper protocols.

Derek is the Co-founder and Chairman of the Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative (IROC), the largest learning health system and data-sharing network serving over half of all pediatric transplant patients in the United States. He also currently serves on the Board of PEDSnet, a PCORI-funded consortium of eight leading pediatric hospitals working together to build the first real-time, comprehensive dataset about children with serious illness

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