The Healthcare Technology Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Healthcare Technology Leaders of San Diego for 2022. San Diego often does not receive the same acclaim as other California locales, like San Francisco and Silicon Valley, for its tech industry. However, in 2021, Moove It ranked San Diego number 9 of the 85 best cities for healthtech in the world, when accounting for investment, corporate infrastructure, human capital, and sector expertise. And there is certainly no shortage of innovation coming out of the city, if this list is any indication. In specialties as wide ranging as pharmaceuticals, genomics, microscale robotics, and chemoproteomics, this year’s honorees and the companies they represent are revolutionizing the healthcare technology industry.
Some of the distinguished leaders on this year’s list include Eric Dube, President and CEO of Travere Therapeutics, which is advancing a pipeline of potential first-in-class medicines targeting rare diseases with significant unmet needs and oftentimes no approved treatment options. Meanwhile, Dr. Russell Nofsinger, Senior Director of Business Development of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, has led efforts to expand clinical access to rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS), developing a network of more than 80 healthcare systems providing access to genomically-informed care for some of their most fragile patients. And since President and CEO Anthony Shimkin took over leadership of AVACEN Medical, the company has launched three new products while moving up the Inc. 5,000 list 761 positions to number 1,480.
The awardees on this year’s list lead from a range of positions, from CEO to CSO, COO, Chief Research Officer, and SVP, but what they have in common is their experienced and effective leadership in the healthcare technology space, advancing products and treatments that are measurably improving the lives of patients around the world. Please join us in celebrating The Top 25 Healthcare Technology Leaders of San Diego for 2022.
1. Andrew McKnight
Company: Kyowa Kirin
Title: Chief Research Officer and Head of Open Innovation
Andrew McKnight is Chief Research Officer and Head of Open Innovation for Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research. Kyowa Kirin is a global specialty pharmaceutical company that applies state-of-the-art biotechnologies to discover and deliver novel medicines. It works on some of the hardest to treat diseases, where need is high and potential for life-changing impact is possible. Kyowa Kirin works as a collaborative team to understand clinical needs and advance innovations that have a profound impact on patient lives. Its growth in North America relies on entrepreneurial team players who are willing to share their expertise and ideas in an environment that prioritizes innovation, diversity, integrity, and “wa” (Japanese for “harmony”). Each person plays a significant role in shaping the work that the company does, and the results it delivers.
McKnight first joined Kyowa Kirin in 2015. Previously, he was Vice President of Target and Translational Biology at AnaptysBio, and before that, a director at Pfizer Biotherapeutics R&D. Earlier in his career, he worked with UCB Celltech as a group leader and senior principal scientist. McKnight earned a PhD in molecular immunology from Oxford University and an undergraduate degree in immunology from the University of Glasgow.
2. Eric Dube
Company: Travere Therapeutics
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
Eric Dube is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Travere Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to identify, develop, and deliver life-changing therapies to people living with rare diseases. To do this, the company is advancing a pipeline of potential first-in-class medicines targeting rare diseases with significant unmet needs and oftentimes no approved treatment options. Its efforts are led by late-stage development programs of sparsentan, which is a novel product candidate targeting rare kidney diseases – focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and IgA nephropathy (IgAN). The company is also partnering with leaders in patient advocacy and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on earlier-stage development work in rare liver diseases. Travere Therapeutics is constantly pursuing its vision of becoming a leading biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the delivery of innovation and hope to patients in the global rare disease community.
Before joining Travere Therapeutics, Dube was the head of ViiV Healthcare – North America. Earlier in his career, he worked with GSK as Vice President of the Oncology Business Unit. Dube graduated from Cornell University with a PhD in developmental and social psychology, and from Santa Clara University with an undergraduate degree in biopsychology.
3. Jean-Luc Girardet
Company: Mirum Pharmaceuticals
Title: Senior Vice President
Jean-Luc Girardet is the Senior Vice President of Mirum Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to transforming the treatment of rare diseases. Mirum’s late-stage pipeline includes two investigational treatments for debilitating liver diseases affecting children and adults. Maralixibat (LIVMARLI®), an oral ileal bile acid transporter (IBAT) inhibitor, is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for pediatric liver diseases and includes the MARCH Phase 3 study for progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) and the EMBARK Phase 2b study for patients with biliary atresia. In addition, Mirum has an expanded access program open in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and several countries in Europe for eligible patients with Alagille syndrome.
Girardet first got his start in 1998 as a principal scientist at ICN Pharmaceuticals. From there, he went on to Ribapharm, before eventually rising to SVP of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Brii Biosciences, his most recent position prior to joining Mirum. Girardet graduated from the University of Montpellier with a PhD in organic chemistry.
4. David Walsey
Company: MEI Pharma
Title: Senior Vice President
David Walsey is Senior Vice President of MEI Pharma. He first joined the company in 2018 as VP of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. MEI Pharma is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of novel, best-in-class cancer therapies intended to improve outcomes for patients. Its approach is to fully understand and leverage the mechanisms and properties of its drug candidates to optimize the balance between efficacy and tolerability to best meet the needs of patients with cancer. Each of its pipeline candidates has a unique mechanism of action with the objective of developing therapeutic options that are: (1) differentiated, (2) address unmet medical needs, and (3) deliver improved benefit to patients either as standalone treatments or in combination with other therapeutic options. MEI Pharma is committed to pursuing its company mission in a manner that upholds its workplace values of dedication, shared commitment, personal accountability, mutual trust, and fiscal discipline.
Previously, Walsey was VP of Corporate Communications at Alder Biopharmaceuticals Inc., and before that, Managing Director of BrewLife Agency, a W2O Company. Earlier in his career, he worked with The Ruth Group as a VP. Walsey earned a JD from Brooklyn Law School, an LLM in tax law from the New York University School of Law, and an undergraduate degree in sociology from Franklin & Marshall College.
5. Gregory Richmond
Company: Enumera Molecular
Title: Vice President and Head of Technology
Gregory Richmond is Vice President and Head of Technology at Enumera Molecular, a life science tools company developing rapid, low cost solutions for the assessment of biomolecules via liquid biopsy. Founded in 2022, Enumera Molecular’s scalable platform transforms the field of clinical molecular testing into a simpler, more actionable tool, helping physicians improve patient care at a lower cost and provide rapid clinical liquid biopsy tests. Enumera Molecular is advancing its platform by partnering with Arboretum Ventures in order to focus on bringing better, faster, cheaper technologies to the market.
Before joining Enumera Molecular, Richmond was a distinguished scientist at Progenity Inc., and before that, Director of Biochemistry at Omniome, Inc. Earlier in his career, he worked with Agilent Technologies as a senior scientist. Richmond graduated from the University of Dundee with a PhD in biochemistry and molecular microbiology, from the University of London’s London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a master’s degree in molecular biology, and from Purdue University with an undergraduate degree in cell biology.
6. Russell Nofsinger
Company: Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine
Title: Senior Director of Business Development
Dr. Russell Nofsinger has been helping to better understand genomics and harness the power of genomic technology to advance precision healthcare for more than 20 years. Dr. Nofsinger conducted his PhD and postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute. Following his scientific training, he served in a variety of commercial roles for several genomics technology companies. During this time, he developed clinically focused businesses supporting proprietary test development across a wide range of indications. Through his experience creating and expanding applied markets for cutting-edge genomics technologies, Dr. Nofsinger developed a passion for driving clinical implementation and broadening access to clinical genomics technologies.
Dr. Nofsinger joined Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine in 2018 to contribute to the institute’s mission to improve the lives and care of children with genetic disease. He has led efforts to expand clinical access to rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS), developing a network of more than 80 healthcare systems providing access to genomically-informed care for some of their most fragile patients. With a goal of bringing rWGS to first-line standard of care in NICUs and PICUs across the globe, Dr. Nofsinger and the Rady team also work closely with public and private payers, helping ensure alignment on value and best implementation strategies across the healthcare system. This effort has recently contributed to Medicaid and commercial coverage policies in multiple states, which are helping to eliminate the diagnostic odyssey and enabling personalized care delivery to improve outcomes in babies with genetic disease.
7. Ranjan Batra
Company: Locanabio, Inc.
Title: Senior Vice President
Ranjan Batra is Senior Vice President of Locanabio, Inc. Locanabio is creating a new class of precision medicines to treat a range of human genetic diseases. The company’s RNA-targeting technology platform allows it to precisely address these mutations on the level of RNA. By targeting RNA, Locanabio’s approach avoids the risk of off-target effects in DNA and is suited to address many diseases linked to the dysfunctional processing of RNA. The wide range of potential indications is supported by the modularity of Locanabio’s RNA-targeting gene therapies, which are composed of interchangeable components that provide exquisite control of specificity and activity. With world leadership in RNA biology and RNA-mediated diseases, and a top-tier board of directors and panel of scientific advisors, Locanabio is poised to develop the next generation of genomic medicines for the functional correction of disease.
Batra first got his start in 2017 as a scientist at Verily Life Sciences. He graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in human/medical genetics, from The Ohio State University College of Medicine with a master’s degree in pharmacology, and from Delhi University with an undergraduate degree in pharmacy.
8. Alex Kiselyov
Company: Bionaut Labs
Title: Chief Scientific Officer
Alex Kiselyov is the Chief Scientific Officer of Bionaut Labs. Bionaut Labs is a biotechnology start-up focused on treating central nervous system disorders (CNS) with its precision medicine treatment modality. Bionaut is a novel treatment modality that uses remote-controlled microscale robots to deliver biologics, nucleic acids, or small molecule therapies locally to targeted CNS disease areas. Through precision localized brain targeting, the company’s therapeutics could offer better efficacy and safety that cannot be achieved through traditional treatment modalities.
Kiselyov first joined Bionaut in 2017. Previously, he served as President at ChemDiv, Inc., and before that, Director of Chemistry for CHDI Foundation. Earlier in his career, he worked with Amgen as Group Leader for parallel chemistry, oncology, and CNS. Kiselyov earned a PhD in organic chemistry from Georgia State University and a Master of Science in organic chemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University.
9. Pingda Ren
Company: Kumquat Biosciences Inc.
Title: Co-Founder, President, and Chief Operating Officer
Pingda Ren is a Co-Founder and the President and Chief Operating Officer of Kumquat Biosciences Inc. The company’s vision is to develop innovative therapies to bring about sustainable and life-changing benefits to cancer patients. Kumquat is committed to translating breakthrough science to innovative medicines by combining internal expertise in drug discovery and development with external collaboration with academics. Kumquat brings together an accomplished management team with a proven track record in discovering and developing innovative oncology medicines. The founding team has previously co-founded Intellikine, Araxes/Wellspring Biosciences, and Kura Oncology. Kumquat currently focuses on multiple first-in-class programs, including targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Before co-founding Kumquat, Intellikine, Araxes/Wellspring Biosciences, and Kura Oncology, Dr. Ren was a senior research investigator at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. Earlier in his career, he served as a senior research chemist at Albany Molecular Research Inc., a global contract research and manufacturing organization. He is a co-inventor of more than 100 patents and patent applications, and a co-author of more than 40 scientific publications. Dr. Ren earned his PhD and Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Fudan University in China. He completed his postdoctoral research with Professor Huw M. L. Davies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
10. Anthony Shimkin
Company: AVACEN Medical
Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
Anthony Shimkin is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AVACEN Medical. AVACEN is a leading manufacturer of noninvasive, drug-free, FDA-cleared diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices designed to identify cardiac issues and treat pain resulting from numerous chronic and acute conditions, including the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and potentially other conditions that can cause joint pain. Since Shimkin joined the company in May 2022, AVACEN has launched three new products while moving up the Inc. 5,000 list 761 positions to no. 1,480.
Shimkin previously served as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Kajeet and as Chief Marketing Officer of ReadySet Surgical. He has held senior leadership positions in marketing, strategy, and business development at Cardinal Health, Qualcomm, Quidel, and Alaris Medical Systems. Shimkin was also head of healthcare equity research at Wedbush Securities. During his 25-year career, he has consulted for 30 companies, including Genentech, Roche, Abbott, Sanofi, Boston Scientific, and CVS Health. He received an MA in medical sciences from Boston University School of Medicine, an MBA from Boston University School of Management, an MS in executive leadership from the University of San Diego, and a BA in psychology from Boston University.
11. Robert Wicke
Company: Biolog, Inc.
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Robert Wicke is the Chief Executive Officer of Biolog, Inc., a leader in microbial identification, phenotypic cell profiling, and metabolic fingerprinting for microbial and mammalian cells. The company’s products enable the identification of thousands of species of bacteria, yeast, and fungi as well as the characterization of human cells and mitochondria. Its product lines have been built upon patented technology that greatly simplifies the testing of cells. Biolog’s first products were introduced in 1988, and by 1990 it had established a growing business in microbiology for the identification and characterization of microbial cells. Biolog products are available worldwide, either directly from the company or through its extensive network of international distributors.
Previously, Wicke served as Vice President of Product Development for Molecular Devices. From there, he became VP of Product Development and Operations for Forte Bio (now a division of Pall Life Sciences). He later served as CEO of Halo Labs, Inc. and Omniome. He is currently a board member of both IXRF, Inc. and lino Biotech AG. Wicke graduated from the University of Oregon with a master’s degree in computer science, and from Drew University with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science.
12. David Flickinger
Title: Chief Executive Officer
David Flickinger is the Chief Executive Officer of NANISX. NANISX is a spine medical device firm that excels at creating less exposure surgery (LES) technologies for outpatient surgical centers. To support the movement of LES of the spine in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), KICVentures announced the formation of NANISX, which would have two divisions: NANISX Pain, focused on interventional pain management; and NANISX Ortho-Neuro. KICVentures Group recently merged its holdings in three of its portfolio companies, NanoFUSE Biologics, InSpan, and Sacrix, into NANISX, which is already gaining market adoption in outpatient spine surgery.
Flickinger joined NANISX in September 2022. Previously, he was an area sales leader at Surgalign, and before that, U.S. sales leader at Medicrea. Earlier in his career, he co-founded and served as CEO of Plain Name Media. Flickinger earned an MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University, and an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of North Florida.
13. Christophe Schilling
Company: Genomatica, Inc.
Title: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Christophe Schilling is a Co-Founder and the current Chief Executive Officer of Genomatica, Inc, a biotechnology company that develops biobased chemicals for the food packaging, auto parts, and clothing industries. It is accelerating the world’s transformation to sustainable materials by replacing fossil fuel sources with plants. The company believes that all products should be responsibly sourced, traceable, and transparent — the sustainable source™. Genomatica is breaking the planet’s reliance on these fossil fuels by creating something better. Its vision to drive climate action at scale starts by making the same molecules, ingredients, and materials that Geno relies on every day, but deriving them from more sustainable sources. Spanning products across a wide variety of industries, Geno’s technologies power high-performance at leading scale and volume, delivering plant-derived ingredients to some of the world’s largest brands. With that, Geno is shaping the creation of more transparent, traceable, and responsible global supply chains for brands and their consumers to rely on. The company’s technology and capabilities, developed and honed over two decades, harness the ever-increasing power of biotechnology, where microorganisms and industrial processes are designed to ferment plant sugars into materials and ingredients.
Previously, Schilling served on the board of directors for GT Life Sciences, and he currently serves on the board of BIOCOM. He founded Geno with renowned bioengineering professor Bernhard Palsson while finishing his PhD in bioengineering at the University of California – San Diego. He also graduated from Duke University with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering.
14. Jeff Hatfield
Company: Vividion Therapeutics. Inc.
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Hatfield is the Chief Executive Officer of Vividion Therapeutics. Inc, a biotechnology company focused on transforming the future of human health through the creation of highly selective small molecule medicines that drug traditionally inaccessible targets. The company is advancing a broad, diversified pipeline of multiple, selective small molecule therapeutics for highly sought-after disease-causing target proteins in oncology and immunology. The platform expands the definition of druggability on mechanisms in serious illnesses, while delivering new routes to address highly validated disease targets.
Previously, Hatfield served as CEO of Zafgen, Inc. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of Vitae Pharmaceuticals and held multiple leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb. He currently serves on the board of advisors for Harvard Business School, on the board of directors for Vir Biotechnology, Inc., and is Chairperson of the Board for ROME Therapeutics. He is also an adjunct professor at Purdue University. Hatfield graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA, and from Purdue University with an undergraduate degree in pharmacy.
15. Sean Saint
Company: Beta Bionics
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Sean Saint is the Chief Executive Officer of Beta Bionics. He first joined the company in 2022. Beta Bionics is a biotechnology company that provides a bionic pancreas device for the glucose metabolism to diabetes community. It brings better access to better solutions to innovative type 1 diabetes management. Beta Bionics knows instinctively that each person with diabetes has different needs, experiences and resources. Whatever health inequalities or other challenges clients face, Beta Bionics is committed to bringing forward solutions that enhance their experience in managing diabetes. Beta Bionics is also the first medtech company to incorporate as a public benefit corporation. Unlike traditional corporations, Beta Bionics is obligated to define and serve its public benefit mission.
Saint joined Beta in August 2022. Previously, he founded and served as President and CEO of Companion Medical (acquired by Medtronic), and before that, Director of Mechanical Engineering and Advanced Technology at Tandem Diabetes Care. He got his start as an engineer with United Defense. He also co-founded and is a member of the board of directors of Luna Diabetes. Saint earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.
16. Mark McKenna
Company: Prometheus Biosciences, Inc.
Title: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Mark McKenna is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Prometheus Biosciences, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering a precision medicine approach for the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapeutic and companion diagnostic products for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases, starting first with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The company’s precision medicine platform, Prometheus360™, combines proprietary machine learning-based analytical approaches with one of the world’s largest gastrointestinal bioinformatics databases to identify novel therapeutic targets and develop therapeutic candidates to engage those targets.
McKenna served as President and CEO of Prometheus from 2019 to 2021 before transitioning to Chairman and CEO. Prior to that, he was President of Salix Pharmaceuticals, and before that, he spent over 10 years at Bausch + Lomb, ending as Senior Vice President and General Manager. Earlier in his career, he worked with Johnson & Johnson as a field sales trainer. McKenna graduated from Azusa Pacific University with an MBA, and from the W. P. Carey School of Business – Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in marketing.
17. Neha Krishnamohan
Company: Kinnate Biopharma Inc.
Title: Chief Finance Officer and Executive Vice President, Corporate Development
Neha Krishnamohan has over 12 years of experience in healthcare investment banking and finance. She joined Kinnate from Goldman Sachs, where she most recently served as a Vice President in the healthcare investment banking group and a member of the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) group within the investment banking division. While at Goldman Sachs, she established herself as a senior leader in the healthcare coverage group, working with a variety of biopharmaceutical boards and management teams on a broad range of strategic financial matters, executing financings as well as leading M&A transactions.
Krishnamohan has successfully executed over $100 billion in transactions in the biopharmaceutical, medical technology, and tools/diagnostics sectors. She currently serves as a board member of Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc. and is a member of Chief, a private network built to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there. She holds a BSE in biomedical engineering and economics from Duke University.
18. Preetanshu Pandey
Company: Kinnate Biopharma Inc.
Title: Senior Director of CMC
Preetanshu Pandey is the Senior Director of CMC at Kinnate Biopharma Inc, a clinical-stage precision oncology company focused on expanding on the promise of targeted therapies for those battling cancer. The company is developing medicines for known oncogenic drivers where there are no approved targeted drugs to overcome the limitations of marketed cancer therapies, such as non-responsiveness or acquired and intrinsic resistance. Kinnate is driven by the urgency and knowledge that patients are waiting for new, effective cancer medicines.
Pandey first got his start in 2006 as an associate principal scientist at Merck. From there, he went on to Bristol-Myers Squibb, before eventually rising to Senior Director of CMC at Carnot Pharma, his most recent position prior to joining Kinnate Biopharma Inc. Pandey graduated from West Virginia University with a PhD and MS in chemical engineering, and from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering.
19. Mary Anderson
Title: Senior Vice President of Business Development
Mary Anderson is the Senior Vice President of Business Development at Entos. Entos is disrupting drug discovery with a cutting-edge platform that integrates novel physics-informed AI design with high-throughput experimentation. Headquartered in La Jolla, CA, the Entos team is comprised of industry leaders in machine learning, laboratory automation, and biotechnology. Entos is advancing a pipeline of small-molecule therapeutics for urgent patient need in oncology, addressing challenging targets at the pace of launch-to-clinic in two years.
Anderson has more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Before joining Entos, she was the VP of Business Development at Turning Point. Earlier in her career, she worked for Merck KGaA as Executive Director and Head of Global Licensing and Business Development for Oncology. She earned an MBA from St. Mary’s College and an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo.
20. Wendy Taylor
Company: Arcturus Therapeutics
Title: Vice President of Operations
Wendy Taylor is the Vice President of Operations for Arcturus Therapeutics, where she oversees strategic portfolio management and government contracting. She first joined the company within a year of its founding in 2013. Arcturus Therapeutics is a global, late-stage clinical mRNA medicines and vaccines company with enabling technologies: (i) LUNAR® lipid-mediated delivery, (ii) STARR™ mRNA Technology (self-amplifying RNA), and (iii) mRNA drug substance, along with drug product manufacturing expertise. Arcturus’ diverse pipeline of RNA therapeutics and vaccine candidates includes mRNA vaccine programs for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and Influenza, and other programs to potentially treat ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency and cystic fibrosis, along with partnered programs including glycogen storage disease type III and hepatitis B virus.
Taylor has over 22 years of experience in biotechnology and global pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Arcturus Therapeutics, she worked at Pharmacia & Upjohn, followed by Pfizer, developing first and second-generation drug candidates in a variety of therapeutic areas, including oncology, glaucoma, diabetes, and infectious disease. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Master of Science in chemistry.
21. Yisrael Katz
Company: Viracta Therapeutics
Title: Senior Medical Director of Clinical Development
Yisrael Katz is the Senior Medical Director of Clinical Development at Viracta Therapeutics. Viracta is a clinical-stage biotechnology company based in San Diego developing novel targeted therapies for virally-associated malignancies. Globally, there is substantial unmet need for diagnosis and treatment of virally-associated cancers, and it is the company’s goal to improve diagnostic recognition as well as therapeutic options for patients worldwide.
Prior to joining Viracta, Katz was Medical Director of Clinical Development at Exelixis, supporting clinical development of multiple solid tumor programs. Prior to that, he served as lead medical expert and medical director at CALVIRI, where he oversaw transition of the company’s preclinical portfolio of preventative and therapeutic cancer vaccines into initial clinical trials. He continues to practice medicine as an attending physician at the University of California San Diego Medical Center. Katz received his MD from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency at Georgetown University Hospital. He earned his undergraduate degree in neuroscience and business from the Washington University in St. Louis.
22. Justin Ernst
Company: Belharra Therapeutics
Title: Vice President, Head of Chemistry
Justin Ernst is the Vice President, Head of Chemistry of Belharra Therapeutics. The mission at Belharra is to identify druggable binding sites on previously undruggable proteins in live cells. Belharra’s platform is based on the next generation of chemoproteomics, utilizing a proprietary photoaffinity-based approach. Unlike previous chemoproteomic strategies that rely on electrophilic chemistry to identify covalent ligands for cysteine-containing proteins, the Belharra platform identifies non-covalent ligands for any protein type. This advancement allows the company to target the entire proteome, massively expanding the scope of proteins that can be “drugged,” ultimately enabling rapid delivery of game-changing treatments to patients.
Previously, Ernst was Vice President, Head of Chemistry of Inception Therapeutics, where he helped to launch several biotech companies including Belharra, Lycia, Lighthorse, and Nighthawk Therapeutics. Prior to Inception, he was Head of Chemistry for Effector Therapeutics, leading chemistry efforts that contributed to delivering several first-in-class development candidates. Before Effector, Ernst held senior chemistry positions at Vertex and Kemia Pharmaceuticals, advancing multiple preclinical and clinical assets. He earned a PhD in organic chemistry from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University.
23. Priyanka Shah
Company: Kinnate Biopharma Inc.
Title: Vice President of Investor Relations and Communications
Priyanka is Vice President of Investor Relations and Communications at Kinnate Biopharma Inc. She has over 15 years of experience in leading and driving metrics-based end-to-end communications from conception through implementation for small and large publicly traded biotech/pharma and healthcare companies. Shah’s deep knowledge and leadership spans corporate, financial, and pipeline/product communications, as well as CSR/ESG, issues/crisis management, media relations, thought leadership, and enterprise engagement.
Prior to Kinnate, Shah served as the Head of Communications and the CSR/ESG lead at Mirati Therapeutics, Inc., a targeted oncology biotech. Previously, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Bristol Myers Squibb with leadership positions in corporate and worldwide oncology communications. Prior to that, she served as a senior strategic communications advisor to healthcare (RX, DX, consumer health) clients while at mid-sized to large public relations firms. She earned a Master of Arts in communication & information studies with a focus on organizational and mediated communications and a Bachelor of Arts in communications and public relations, both from Rutgers University.
24. Nichol Miller
Company: Kinnate BioPharma Inc
Title: Senior Director of Translational & Discovery Biology
Dr. Nichol Miller is the Senior Director of Translational & Discovery Biology at Kinnate BioPharma Inc., a clinical stage precision oncology company. She joined Kinnate in 2020, and since has led multiple projects, providing key contributions toward the company’s two ongoing Phase 1 programs: KIN-2787, a pan-RAF inhibitor; and KIN-3248, an FGFR inhibitor, among other responsibilities.
Miller’s career spans more than 25 years in biomedical research, with over 14 years in oncology, in efforts to find better therapeutic options for patients in need. Previously, she was in the Tumor Cell Biology group at the Pfizer Oncology Research Unit in La Jolla, CA where she was instrumental in progressing discovery projects to the clinic and shaping their Phase 1 early development, including next generation CDK inhibitors, among many others. Miller holds a PhD in biomedical science from the University of California San Diego and a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara.
25. Scott Nguyen
Company: Spectrum Pharmaceuticals
Title: Director of IT Cloud Infrastructure & Security
Scott Nguyen is the Director of IT Cloud Infrastructure & Security at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Spectrum Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel and targeted drug products, with a primary focus in hematology and oncology. The company recently received FDA approval for one drug and has another in advanced development.
Nguyen joined Spectrum in 2020 to lead the infrastructure team in transforming the on-premises systems towards cloud based technologies. Previously, he led the infrastructure team at Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. as Associate Director of IT. He also co-founded Ctrl-Alt-Delete and before that worked as a consultant for All Covered. He studied information and computer sciences at the University of California Irvine.