Corporate VC Panel Announced

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Corporate VC Panel Announced

September 27, 2018 | News

The Southeast BIO Investor & Partnering Forum is honored to present a panel of distinguished corporate venture capitalists to provide insight into how to work with corporations, the largest single source of capital for biopharma companies.

The Southeast BIO Investor & Partnering Forum [hyperlink: https://www.southeastbio.org/] is honored to present a panel of distinguished corporate venture capitalists on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at the Loews Atlanta. Panelists, Gladys Nunez of Amgen, Steve Hall of Lilly, Charles Kunsch of AbbVie, and Linda Lohr with Pfizer will provide insight into how to work with corporations, the largest single source of capital for biopharma companies.

Starting in a bio scientist position at Anglo-Swedish drugs group AstraZeneca after graduating from Southampton University, Gladys Nunez found her home at Amgen two years later when she joined the firm as a biochemist in 1997. In 2002, Nunez joined the company’s business development unit, and has completed numerous deals for the company over the past 13 years, focused on discovery, development, and commercial applications in life sciences. She also managed Amgen’s Academic Alliance Group, an initiative to build bridges between academia and industry through the establishment of comprehensive academic alliances, for two years from 2008.

“With my location in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I have worked with multiple east coast institutions, companies and venture capitalists to be a key contact person to support our business development goals. Recently, I have shifted formally into Amgen Ventures to help advance our early-stage investments in the technology and product areas.”

For more than a decade, Amgen Ventures has invested in more than 30 emerging biotechnology companies to advance promising medicines and technologies.  Amgen Ventures funds early-stage companies developing human therapeutics. The Fund was founded in 2004 with an initial $100 million investment. While the fund’s focus is primarily in areas of current therapeutic interest to Amgen, it also seeks out novel modalities with the potential to address targets in both current and emerging therapeutic areas of interest. Investments are made on a case-by-case basis, but Amgen Ventures typically invests $2 to 3 million per company per round with $10 million invested over the life of the company. Therapeutic areas of focus for Amgen include: Oncology, Inflammation, Hematology/Nephrology, Metabolic Disorders, Neuroscience and Cardiovascular. Amgen primarily invests in North America, but will consider investments in Europe and the United Kingdom.

Steve Hall brings more than 35 years of pharmaceutical experience from both multinational pharmaceutical companies and biotech organizations to Lilly Ventures.  Prior to joining Lilly Ventures, Steve was SVP, Research and Development, at Serenex, Inc. where he was also a co-founder.  Steve also has held operational and leadership roles at Eli Lilly, Sphinx Pharmaceuticals, and Bristol-Myers Squibb in the areas of oncology, cardiovascular disease, and lead generation technologies.

Steve currently sits on the boards of Cavion Pharma, Esanex, FORMA Therapeutics, Hydra Biosciences, Kymera Therapeutics, Lysosomal Therapeutics and Nimbus Therapeutics.  In addition, Steve also serves as the CEO for Esanex.

Steve is the author of more than 40 papers and 60 patents. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Central Michigan University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Since 2002, Lilly Ventures has focused its investments in great companies with compelling life science innovations that have the potential to create a pipeline of life-changing medicines. They partner actively with their portfolio company management teams and provide intellectual, as well as financial, resources to accelerate the path to success.

Charles Kunsch, Ph.D.is a Ventures Director with AbbVie Ventures.  Dr. Kunsch has over twenty-five years of experience in biomedical R&D, business development, and corporate venture capital investing. Since 2013, he has been a member of AbbVie’s Venture team and is based in Boston, MA, where his focus is on early-stage investments in life science companies. He is responsible for sourcing, evaluating and transacting venture investments and early-stage business development partnerships and is a board observer to several AbbVie portfolio companies.

Prior to joining the Ventures team, Dr. Kunsch served as a Director in Abbott’s Global External Research group where he was responsible for the identification, assessment, and development of early-stage partnerships across Abbott’s therapeutic areas. Before joining Abbott in 2009, he served as Vice President of Discovery at AtheroGenics, Inc., leading teams that brought several programs into clinical development for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Dr. Kunsch started his career in biotech as one of the first scientists with Human Genome Sciences, where he led a team of scientists to fully sequence the genomes of several medically important bacterial pathogens. Dr. Kunsch obtained his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Drexel University and Ph.D. from Penn State’s College of Medicine in Microbiology and Immunology. He performed his postdoctoral work at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology under the mentorship of Craig Rosen. Dr. Kunsch is an inventor of more than 30 patents and has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts, scientific reviews and book chapters.

As tomorrow’s innovations are developed by today’s entrepreneurs, AbbVie Ventures invests in transformational scientific opportunities aligned with their core R&D interests to gain access to next-generation science and build relationships with proven and emerging scientific leaders.

Linda Lohr is a Portfolio Strategist for Pfizer and has worked in small and large corporate environments in the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries. Lohr received a B.A. in Chemistry and Art History with a minor in Economics from Williams College. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Yale, where she designed solid state NMR instrumentation. Lohr next post-doc’ed at Exxon-Mobil, where she developed polymerization catalysts, increasing polymer manufacturing productivity 4-fold. At Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, she led the development of a new NMR spectrometer product line from engineering design through market launch. She later was recruited to join Pfizer as an analytical scientist. There she held positions of increasing responsibility in technology strategy, launching the division’s first NMR group, introducing solid state NMR to Pfizer, and launching the Structural Elucidation Group. Lohr was awarded Pfizer’s Global Scientific Achievement Award for unifying the technology goals of multiple lines. As a Pharm Sci Team Leader, she has won multiple awards for delivering the fastest CAN to first-in-patient in company history. Lohr later joined Materials Science to lead solid form selection and solid-state characterization and also orchestrated a panel of nation-wide experts spanning government and industry on healthcare reform and partnered with Public Affairs to impact science policy at state and federal levels. In her current role as Senior Director, she balances scientific strategy with business drivers to manage the pre-POC portfolio for Pharmaceutical Sciences. Throughout her career, Lohr has held roles on both managerial and scientific ladders and continues to be a mentor for others and is an active advocate for women’s issues and science policy. She is the author of numerous external scientific publications and presentations including four book chapters in the fields of materials science and analytical technologies.