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Washington State Life Science Summit 2020 - Speaker Bios
Washington State Life Science Summit 2020


Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath

Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD PhD

President & CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

Michelle McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) as President and CEO on June 1, 2020. A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, Dr. McMurry-Heath becomes just the third chief executive to steward the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group since BIO's founding in 1993.

The common thread in McMurry-Heath's work across academia, government and industry has been her focus on broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation. Driven by her own past family experiences navigating clinical trials and funding uncertainties within the rare disease community, McMurry-Heath calls "the distribution of scientific progress the social justice issue of our age."

McMurry-Heath received her MD/PhD from Duke's Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African-American to graduate from the prestigious program. She spent 12 years working at the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

McMurry-Heath lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Sebastian Heath, a veterinarian, and their daughter, Isabella. To relax, she enjoys yoga, snorkeling and her daughter's sporting events.

Leslie Alexandre

Leslie Alexandre. DrPH

President & CEO, Life Science Washington

As President and CEO of Life Science Washington (LSW) and Executive Director of the LSW Institute, Dr. Alexandre leads the development and execution of strategies to strengthen Washington state's life science industry and build ecosystem vibrancy. A 30-year veteran of the health care and life science industries, Dr. Alexandre received her Doctor of Public Health from UCLA. Her career includes leadership roles in companies ranging in size from startup to Fortune 500, prominent research institutions and non-profit organizations.

As President and CEO of the internationally renowned North Carolina Biotechnology Center from 2002-2007, Dr. Alexandre championed the development and execution of "New Jobs Across North Carolina: A Strategic Plan for Growing the Economy Statewide through Biotechnology," resulting in tens of millions of dollars of new State investment in biotechnology education, research, and company creation and thousands of new jobs. She previously served as Assistant Director of Industrial Relations for the National Cancer Institute, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Oncormed, and in senior health policy positions for two U.S. senators.

Dr. Alexandre is the recipient of numerous business awards and other honors and has extensive experience serving on corporate, academic and non-profit boards. She currently serves as a non-voting member of the LSW Board and on the boards of the Andy Hill Cancer Research (CARE) Fund and the Technology Alliance. She also represents the life science sectors on the Career Connect Washington Industry Advisory Board.

Stephen Graham

Stephen Graham

Partner, Fenwick & West

Stephen Graham is co-chair of Fenwick & West's life sciences practice and managing partner of the Seattle office. He concentrates in the areas of private and public mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, private placements, and corporate governance matters, including advising boards of directors, audit, compensation and nominating/corporate governance committees, preparation and filing of periodic SEC reports and other securities law compliance. Stephen’s diverse practice focuses on representing emerging and established high growth companies. He has represented companies and investment banks in numerous IPOs, a wide variety of M&A transactions, and private offerings of debt and equity.

Patrick Stayton

Patrick Stayton, PhD

Distinguished Career Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington

Patrick Stayton currently serves as the Distinguished Career Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. He is also the founding and current Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering and Sciences. He received his B.S. in Biology (summa cum laude) from Illinois State University in 1984, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1989, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology the University of Illinois.

Dr. Stayton’s eclectic research group works at the interface of fundamental molecular science and applied molecular bioengineering. Dr. Stayton has a strong interest in translating the group’s research, and was a co-founder of the PhaseRx Inc. based on his group’s RNA delivery technology that is now part of Arbutus Biopharma/Genevant Sciences.

Dr. Stayton has been elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and has been the recipient of the Clemson Award from the Society For Biomaterials and the CRS-Cygnus Recognition Award from the Controlled Release Society. He served as Co-Chair of the Gordon Conference on Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology in 2010. He has also been awarded the Faculty Research Innovation Award, UW College of Engineering, and the Distinguished Teacher and Mentor Award from the Department of Bioengineering.

Dr. Stayton has been a passionate educator committed to creating better environments and programs to increase the participation of Under-Represented Minority (URM) and Women in bioengineering, biomedical sciences and in biopharma careers. He was the PI and Director of two Department of Education Graduate Assistantship in Areas of National Need (GAANN) diversity training grants. He also was the PI and Director of the NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity Program at UW for over a decade, devoted to increasing the numbers of URM students succeeding in biomedical degree programs. Together with dedicated professional staff in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, these programs were successful in helping many of our students move into impactful academic and biopharma careers.

Marvin White

Marvin White

President and Chief Executive Officer, Aptevo Therapeutics

Mr. White has served as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a Director of the Board of Aptevo Therapeutics since August 2016. Previously, Mr. White served as Chief Financial Officer of St. Vincent Health, and was responsible for finance, patient financial services and managed care for all 19 hospitals and 36 joint ventures. Prior to St. Vincent Health, Mr. White served as Chief Financial Officer of LillyUSA, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, where he also held leadership positions in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking. Prior to his career in healthcare, Mr. White held leadership positions at General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola, including financial roles within its Japan, South Asia and Latin America Cellular Group. He is currently a Director of the Board at OneAmerica Financial Partners and Emergent Biosolutions. Mr. White earned his B.S. in Accounting from Wilberforce University, an HBCU, and received an M.B.A. in Finance from Indiana University where he was awarded the Consortium Fellowship. He has been married to his lovely wife Gennifer White for 33 years and they have two kids Michelle and Michael.

Susan R. Windham-Bannister

Susan R. Windham-Bannister, PhD

President and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC

Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in biopharma innovation, market access and market optimization strategies. She has been recognized by the Boston Globe as one of the "10 Most Influential Women in Biotech," by Boston Magazine as one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Boston" and by Biosphere as one of the 10 most prominent African American life science leaders. She is Chair of the National Governing Board of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), a Director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a Director of Aridis Pharmaceuticals and a Director of Tufts Health Plan, New England’s second largest health plan.

From 2008-2015 Dr. Windham-Bannister served as President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which administered a $1-billion (USD) Life Sciences investment fund created to catalyze innovation in all sectors of the Massachusetts life sciences community – biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical diagnostics and bioinformatics/analytics. She was a member of the Center’s Board of Directors with Joshua Boger Ph.D., founder of Vertex; Adelene Perkins, CEO of Infinity Pharmaceuticals; Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D., founder and CSO of Cytonome-ST; Abbie Celniker, Partner in Third Rock Ventures; Edward Benz, M.D., President of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Peter Slavin, M.D., President of Massachusetts General Hospital. Since completing her tenure with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, Dr. Windham-Bannister serves as President and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC, serving as an advisor to innovation initiatives in the U.S. and internationally.

Dr. Windham-Bannister received a B.A. from Wellesley College, a Doctorate in Health Policy and Management from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Doctor of Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (honoris causa). She completed her doctoral work at the Heller School under a Fellowship from the Ford Foundation and was also a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School. Dr. Windham-Bannister also served as a Fellow in the Center for Science and Policy (CSAP) at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.

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