Speakers

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Ales Strancar
CEO
BIA Separations

Ales Strancar is the CEO of BIA Separations since 1998 and one of the main inventors of the CIM Convective Interaction Media® (new generation of chromatographic support). Ales Strancar is author or co-author of more than 80 scientific papers dealing with separation and purification technologies. As well he is a co-author of several book chapters dealing with novel chromatography technologies for biomolecule separation. He co-developed several industrial scale purification processes, among them for company Octapharma (FIX - human plasma protein), Vienna, for company Boehringer Ingelheim (plasmid DNA).

Kristin Wannerberger
Director Alliance Management R&D
Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Dr Wannerberger holds a Ph.D. in Biophysical Technology from Lund University, Sweden and a M.Sc. Chem. Eng. - Food and Dairy Technology. She has worked 17 years in the Pharmaceutical Industry with development of drugs covering various therapeutical areas and several administration forms. Dr Wannerberger has had various positions based in Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. Dr Wannerberger currently holds a position as Director Alliance Management R&D, based in Switzerland. She is directing several alliances in the field of the human microbiota/microbiome.

Jaroslaw Dastych
CEO
Proteon Pharmaceuticals

Professor Jarosław Dastych is the Founder, CEO and President of the Board of Proteon Pharmaceuticals S.A., an innovative biotechnology company developing alternatives to antibiotics in animal, plant and human health. Prof. Dastych received his PhD in Medical Biology from the Medical University of Łódź in 1991 and started his scientific career at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Lodz, Poland. For several years he worked at the US National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, USA. In 2000 Prof. Dastych established the first research laboratory at the newly created International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw. In 2005 Prof. Dastych established Proteon Pharmaceuticals. The company has developed a unique bacteriophage platform technology for development of effective alternatives to solving and preventing bacterial disease in animal farming and aquaculture as well as egg production and poultry farming. Its research platform and products have won international recognition and numerous innovation awards. Prof. Dastych research interests range from immunology, toxicology and molecular biology to the development of novel diagnostic tools and bacteriophage-based or related treatment of disease. He has coordinated twelve European R&D projects. He is the author of over 40 publications in international scientific journals and has co-authored 4 biotechnology-related patents.

Karen Gallant
Global Project Director
CARB-X

Karen Gallant is the Global Project Director and a member of the Joint Oversight Committee of CARB-X, a global public–private partnership investing up to US$500 million to accelerate the development of innovative antibacterial products. As Global Project Director, she oversees CARB-X’s investment activities to build a diverse and robust portfolio of antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics. Karen is an internationally experienced pharma R&D and business development executive. Prior to joining CARB-X, she served as VP of Infection Business Development at AstraZeneca, and was integral to the building of a rich pipeline of products for treating serious bacterial infections through partnerships, in-licensing and M&A. Prior to joining AZ, she spent several years at Novartis leading global project teams to deliver innovative medicines across a number of therapeutic areas. She has a PhD in Pharmacology with a specialty in Toxicology.

Assaf Oron
Chief Business Officer
BiomX

Assaf Oron has served as chief business officer since January 2017. Prior to this position, he served for over a decade at Evogene (NYSE:EVGN), an agriculture biotechnology company which utilizes a proprietary integrated technology infrastructure to enhance seed traits underlying crop productivity. At Evogene, he worked in various roles such as executive vice president of corporate development and executive vice president of strategy and business development. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Oron served as CEO of ChondroSite Ltd., a biotechnology company that develops engineered tissue products in the field of orthopedics. From 1999 to 2003, Mr. Oron was a senior project manager and strategic consultant at POC Ltd., a leading Israeli management consulting company. Mr. Oron holds an M.Sc. in Biology (bioinformatics) and a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Economics, both from Tel Aviv University.

Brian Varnum
Chief Development Officer
C3J Therapeutics

Dr. Varnum is a biotech veteran with more than twenty years of experience.  Brian began his career with Amgen, and spent more than 18 years at the biotech pioneer as the company grew from a start-up to the largest and most successful biotechnology company.  He started in discovery research where his team purified novel growth factors and advanced antibodies and small molecules into clinical studies.  Brian also worked in development, assisting with clinical development of proteins, antibodies and small molecules.  In this capacity, Brian contributed to key regulatory filings, market research and product launch, giving him experience in drug discovery and development from the lab bench to product launch and marketing. After retiring from Amgen in 2007, Brian turned his focus to the start-up landscape, working in several capacities, including assisting investors, entrepreneurs and start-ups in the assessment of technologies for funding or in-licensing.  In these capacities, Brian established research strategies and plans, and served as CSO for several companies, securing funding, and executing research contracts with large and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies.   Brian obtained his Ph.D. from UCLA studying oncogenes, and his drug development research experience includes hematopoietic growth factor discovery, oncology, auto-immune/inflammatory disorders, personalized medicine in IBD and infectious diseases.

Benjamin Chan
Associate Research Scientist
Yale University

Ben Chan is an associate research scientist at Yale University.  His research focuses on the isolation and characterization of bacteriophages that utilize virulence factors and proteins involved in antibiotic resistance and their subsequent clinical application to treat difficult to manage infections.

Cara Cassino
Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Chief Medical Officer
ContraFect

Dr. Cassino has over 20 years of experience as a clinician and executive in healthcare, including extensive experience in pharmaceutical product development with 20+ successful regulatory submissions/approvals in the US and globally. Dr Cassino joined ContraFect Corporation in 2015 and currently serves as Executive Vice President of Research and Development, and Chief Medical Officer. Prior to joining ContraFect, Dr. Cassino served as Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Development at Forest Laboratories, Inc (acquired by Actavis plc, now Allergan plc), where she oversaw across 4 therapeutic areas, including Antiinfectives. Prior to this, Dr. Cassino held senior executive positions at Pfizer, including Global Medical Team Leader of Pfizer's antibacterial franchise and Medical Development Group VP for Pulmonary Vascular Disease and Rare Diseases. Dr. Cassino also served as Executive Medical Director for the late stage US respiratory franchise at Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc, and saw Spriva through US NDA submission, approval, launch and post-marketing activities. Prior to joining industry, Dr Cassino spent 8 years a part of the full time faculty of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Cassino received her BA, summa cum laude, in Chemistry from New York University (NYU) followed by an M.D. from NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Cassino completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at NYU/Bellevue Hospital and a fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at NYU and Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr Cassino is Board Certified in both internal medicine and pulmonary medicine.

Carrie-Lynn Langlais Furr
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Program Management
AmpliPhi Biosciences

Carrie-Lynn Langlais Furr is Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Program Management for AmpliPhi Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of bacteriophage-based therapies for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.  Dr. Furr has 12 years of regulatory affairs and integrated product development experience with ten of those years in the CRO industry.  She has made significant contributions to FDA market approval of 6 drugs and a biologic-device combination product, as well as preparation and submission of several INDs and has lead several successful formal interactions with regulatory agencies.  She holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Texas A&M University and studied under Professor Ryland Young to elucidate the antibiotic mechanism of A2, the multifunctional maturation protein of ssRNA bacteriophage Qbeta.

Chris Kaplan
Director, Product Development
C3J Therapeutics

Dr. Kaplan began his career working on targeted antimicrobials and helped advance a lead candidate through a successful IND.  His contributions included developing a companion diagnostic deployed in clinical trials.  Dr. Kaplan assumed a central role clinical trial design and clinical microbiology as the product advanced through phase 2.  Dr. Kaplan deploys that broad experience in this current role leading the product development group which is establishing non-clinical and process development methodologies to bring industry leading drug development standards to phage therapeutics.

Clara Leandro
Senior Scientist
Technophage

Clara has a degree in Biology, MsC in Medical Parasitology and she is presently doing her PhD in Biotechnology. In the past 13 years she has been actively working at Technophage SA, and as Head of the Infection therapeutic area she is responsible for the bacteriophages group. Author in 32 scientific publications in peer-review journals, Clara also counts with several oral communications presented in international conferences. She also collaborates with the University of Lisbon in teaching activities as invited lecturer. Clara expertise includes the research of new antimicrobial products, namely bacteriophage based therapies, and the development of experimental animal models for preclinical efficacy studies. Her know-how in bacteriophage biology field has allowed her to be presently the responsible for the establishment of a GMP facility, aiming the production of the most advanced Technophage’s product targeting diabetic foot infections.

Danish Malik
Senior Lecturer
University of Loughborough

Danish Malik’s research focus is on the application of Chemical Engineering Science principles to address the global health challenge of antibiotic resistance. His research group is working on the development of scalable manufacturing platforms for next-generation antibiotic biotherapeutics including bacteriophages, bacteriocins, endolysins and virus like particles (VLPs), their production and purification, micro- and nanoencapsulation and targeted delivery to treat bacterial infections including intracellular infections across a range of clinical areas.

Dave Ousterout
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer
Locus BioSciences

Dr. Dave Ousterout is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Locus Biosciences. Dave’s expertise is in protein engineering and early stage applications of new technologies to treat human diseases. Dr. Ousterout earned a BS in Biological & Environmental Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. Dave completed his doctoral studies at Duke University in the lab of Dr. Charles Gersbach, where he developed novel gene editing approaches for correcting mutations that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy. His other work has spanned across several fields, including designing and engineering viral and non-viral delivery vectors, DNA binding protein engineering and gene regulation. Prior to Locus, Dave was a consultant at McKinsey & Company.

Greg Merril
Co-Founder & CEO
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics

Greg Merril is an experienced life-science entrepreneurial executive. He has served as founding CEO for four VC-backed fast growth health-related product companies. As founding CEO of Immersion Medical (NASDQ: IMMR) he led the creation of the world’s first commercially successful virtual reality surgical training simulators resulting in a company that was one of Maryland’s fastest growth technology firms for four consecutive years. He served as invited Guest Editor for the Proceedings of the IEEE Special Issue on Virtual and Augmented Reality in Medicine and as Principal Investigator on numerous federally funded research grants and as a referee/reviewer for government-sponsored and non-profit grants related to medical informatics. Greg has been recognized as a TEDMED Innovation Scholar for his work developing and commercializing head impact sensor technology to address the issue of sports-related traumatic brain injury.  During his career Greg’s product developed efforts have been recognized twice as Innovation of the Year by the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA)/ Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).  Other awards have included the 2015 International Sports Technology Award for Best Wearable Technology, A Wall Street Journal Startup Company of the Year (2013), BusinessWeek Product Design of the Year; Popular Science “Best of What’s New” winner.  Greg has been recognized by Ernst & Young as a regional Entrepreneur of the Year winner.

Jeffrey Wager
Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO
EnBiotix, Inc.

With >25 years senior executive life science experience, Dr. Wager began his career with a unit of the Bank of Tokyo, where he was responsible for helping Japanese pharmaceutical clients design and implement overseas clinical development and strategic alliances.  Between 1995-2000, Dr. Wager helped run Medical Science Partners, a Harvard-sponsored VC fund focused on forming spin-outs from the Harvard medical system, including firms such as deCODE, ICAgen, Inspire, Oravax (subsequently Acambis), ZYCOS, Inc. and Diatide, amongst others. In 2000, he formed Apeiron Parthers, LLC, a FINRA-registered investment bank, to focus on designing and executing corporate spin-outs, having successfully completed six to date (including Targacept, Inc. (NASD:TRGT) and Artisan Pharma, Inc.).  Between 2003 and 2006 he advised on the establishment and investment of Z-Cube s.r.l., the €60 million corporate VC arm of the Zambon Group, a €650 million privately-held Italian pharmaceutical company.  From 2006 – 2010 he formed and led Artisan Pharma, Inc. as its founding CEO, raising >$50 million, building the entire team and implementing a 750 patient, 17 country Phase 2b/3 study which ultimately led to Artisan’s acquisition by Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation (Japan) in 2011. Between 2011-2017, he was co-creator & BOD observer to Grupo Biotoscana SL, a Latin American specialty pharma roll-up created by a series of acquisitions financed by Advent International & Essex Woodlands focused on cancer, infectious disease and orphan disease, leading to its ~USD 1 billion 2017 IPO on sales of $240M and 600 staff in 10 LatAm markets.  Dr. Wager is also Chairman of Proterris, Inc., a clinical-stage firm focused on therapeutic uses of low-dose carbon monoxide. Dr. Wager earned his MD from Rush Medical College and his MBA from the University of Chicago.

Lorenzo Corsini
Co-Founder & CEO
PhagoMed

Lorenzo Corsini is a biotech and consulting professional, at PhagoMed as Co-Founder, CEO, Research & Development since it was founded in November 2017. Lorenzo was involved in successfully raising €4m from private and governmental investors to develop PhagoMed’s assets. At PhagoMed, Lorenzo designed the R&D program and leads, motivates, develops, and coaches a team of 4 in PhagoMed’s internal lab and manages 4 research contracts with academic and CRO partners. As a Principal at BCG until 2017, Lorenzo lead multiple teams on projects in pharma manufacturing, R&D, pharmacovigilance and other areas. Lorenzo brings in the analytical and structured thinking of a biochemist, and the communication and interpersonal skills developed while working across levels (board members to shopfloor workers) and functions at multiple leading Pharma and Generics companies.

Mark Engel
Chairman & CEO
Phagelux

Mark has been founding and building life sciences companies in China since 1990 including most recently Phagelux which develops antibacterial products for multiple industries, particularly focusing on antibiotic resistant strains. Mark is also the co-founder and director of Haoyisheng which is a leading Chinese professional healthcare technology group company. Previously built companies include: (1) NPO Pharmaceuticals (sold in 1999) and at the time a leading “multinational” pharma company in China; (2) Excel PharmaStudies (sold in late 2009 to PPD) and at the time the largest clinical research organization in China with additional operations throughout Asia; and (3) Tiger Medical Group (merged with ASP Global in 2013), a distributor of about 800 branded medical products from Asia to institutional buyers worldwide. Mark’s fund Tianshi Capital is also an investor in China life sciences companies including: (1) animal vaccines; (2) medical devices and (3) agri/aquaculture technologies.

Michael Brownstein
CMO
Adaptive Phage Therapeutics

Michael Brownstein, Ph.D., M.D. earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and completed his graduate training at the University of Chicago, where he earned an M.D. and Ph.D. in pharmacology. He received his clinical training at the Boston Children’s Hospital and then moved to the National Institutes of Health to work with Julius Axelrod, recipient of a Nobel Prize in 1970 for his studies in the field of neuropharmacology. Dr. Brownstein remained at NIH after completing his fellowship, where he served as Chief of the Laboratory of Genetics of the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Human Genome Research Institute. For two years, he was the Scientific Director of the NIMH Intramural Research Program. While at the NIMH/NHGRI, he directed the Brain Molecular Anatomy Project. Simultaneously, he contributed to the Mammalian Gene Collection, a trans-Institutional effort to clone and sequence cDNAs corresponding to all human, mouse, and rat transcripts. Subsequently he directed the functional genomics program at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD for three years. He has worked in the fields of neurobiology, neuroendocrinology, biochemical pharmacology, genetics, and genomics; has published more than 300 papers in peer reviewed journals; and has served on major editorial boards and continues to serve on a number of scientific advisory boards. Dr. Brownstein also co-founded several successful bio-pharmaceutical companies.

Paul Turner
Professor
Yale University

Dr. Paul Turner is the Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and Microbiology faculty member at Yale School of Medicine. His research concerns the evolutionary genetics and applied uses of microbes, particularly phages specific to bacterial pathogens. He chaired the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Division on Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology and served on the NSF Biological Sciences Advisory Committee, ASM Committee on Minority Education, and multiple National Research Council advisory committees. Dr. Turner was elected American Genetic Association Councilor, Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology, and Chair of the CNRS Jacques Monod Conference on Viral Emergence. He chaired the Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship award committee for ASM, and received the E.E. Just Endowed Research Fellowship and William Townsend Porter Award from Marine Biological Laboratory, and fellowships from Woodrow Wilson Foundation, NSF, NIH and HHMI. He is author of nearly 100 scholarly journal articles, reviews and book chapters on microbiology and the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. Dr. Turner served as Departmental Chair and Director of Graduate Studies, and most recently as Dean of Science at Yale University.  

Rebecca Reindel
Medical Officer
FDA

Dr. Rebecca Reindel is a Medical Officer in the Division of Vaccines and Related Products Applications in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the Food and Drug Administration. Rebecca received a BA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from University of Colorado-Boulder and an MD from University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at Children’s Memorial Hospital/Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and her fellowship training in pediatric infectious diseases at the Ann and Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital). Rebecca is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Scott Stibitz
Chief, Laboratory of Mucosal Pathogens & Cellular Immunology
FDA

Scott Stibitz obtained his Ph.D. in 1983 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison working in the laboratories of Julian Davies and William Reznikoff on antibiotic resistance transposons. He next pursued post-doctoral studies under Stanley Falkow at Stanford University. It was there that he began studying the molecular genetics of virulence gene regulation in Bordetella pertussis. Since joining the FDA in 1987, in addition to B. pertussis, he has initiated research projects on the genetic analysis of Bacillus anthracis and Staphylococcus aureus, improved testing of live biotherapeutic products, and bacteriophage therapy. He is currently chief of the Laboratory of Mucosal Pathogens and Cellular Immunology (LMPCI/DBPAP/OVRR/CBER) and oversees its regulatory activities. The regulatory portfolio of LMPCI includes vaccines against bacterial infectious diseases and malaria, as well as live biotherapeutic products, fecal microbiota for transplantation, and bacteriophage therapy.

Susan Lehman
Principal Scientist
AmpliPhi Biosciences

Dr. Lehman is a Principal Scientist with AmpliPhi Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that is developing phage-based drugs for the treatment of human bacterial infections. She has a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Brock University in Canada and has been working in the field of phage therapy for 15 years. This has included positions at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Lehman has been with AmpliPhi Biosciences for the last five years, where she manages their US lab. She has played a key role in AmpliPhi’s product development and in the integration of scientific, manufacturing, and regulatory considerations that enabled AmpliPhi to complete two phase 1 clinical trials with GMP product.

Vincent Fischetti
Professor
Rockefeller University

Dr. Fischetti has over 40 years experience in the anti-infectives field. He is Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology at the Rockefeller University, in NY. Over those years his laboratory has been involved in understanding the earliest events in gram-positive bacterial infection, so that strategies may be devised to prevent infection. His laboratory was the first to identify lytic enzymes as novel therapeutics to decolonize human mucous membranes of bacterial pathogens and treat systemic infections caused by these organisms. The first lysin against serious Staphylococcal infections has successfully completed phase 1 and is currently in phase 2 testing in hospitals. His laboratory also identified the mechanism by which gram-positive bacteria attach their surface proteins in the cell, which is now being used as a target for antibiotic development. Dr. Fischetti is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the National Academy of Inventors, and was the recipient of two NIH MERIT awards. He has been editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Infection and Immunity for 10 years, and serves as advisory editor for the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Trends in Microbiology among others. Dr. Fischetti serves on the scientific advisory board of ContraFect, Bioharmony, and the Trudeau institute and is also a trustee of the Trudeau Institute. He has published over 240 primary research articles, over 70 textbook chapters and is a co-editor of two major books on gram-positive pathogens. He is an inventor of over 40 issued patents dealing with the control of infectious diseases. Dr. Fischetti received a Ph.D. in Microbiology from New York University.  

Xavier Duportet
Co-Founder & CEO
Eligo Bioscience

Xavier Duportet cofounded Eligo Bioscience in 2014, while doing his PhD in Synthetic Biology at MIT and INRIA. After being recognized as a Technology Pioneer in 2017 by the World Economic Forum, Eligo raised $24M from Khosla Ventures and Seventure to speed up the development of a new generation of ultra-precise biotherapeutics to battle antibiotic-resistant bacteria and sculpt our microbiome using genetic engineering and CRISPR/Cas. Xavier Duportet is an MIT TR35 and was elected French Innovator of the year by the MIT Technology Review in 2015. He has recently been  of the 40 under 40 Young Leaders in Europe, one of the 30 Under 30 by Forbes in 2017 and a Young Global Leader by the WEF in 2018.

Yug Varma
CEO
Phi Therapeutics

Yug Varma, PhD, is the cofounder and CEO of Phi Therapeutics, a microbiome company based in San Francisco. He has an extensive background in bio-organic chemistry, microbiology, synthetic biology, and microbiome research. Yug received his scientific training at several distinguished academic institutions, including Johns Hopkins University (PhD) and University of California, San Francisco.