Lineup of Speakers

Dr Perdita Cheshire 
Director, Research Innovation, CSL 

As Director, Research Innovation, Dr Perdita Cheshire is responsible for the proactive identification and evaluation of external innovation opportunities to expand and diversify CSL's Research pipeline across all therapeutic areas in the US. As Head of Research Innovation for the US, she is also responsible for the development and evolution of CSL's US Research Innovation strategy, leading the expansion of strategic US-based partnerships with academic institutes, incubators, accelerators and start-ups. She is also the Global Research Innovation lead for the Cardiovascular & Metabolic therapeutic area. 

Originally from the UK, Perdita completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees at the University of Sussex, before moving to Australia where she completed her PhD in neuroscience through Monash University in Melbourne. Her post-doctoral research focused on developing cell therapies for the treatment of burn injuries in the Victorian Adult Burns Service, Alfred Hospital. Prior to joining CSL, Perdita was a Business Development Manager at a biotechnology business development consultancy focused on licensing and partnering. 

David Lough 
Director of Academic Partnerships, Global Strategy & Corporate Development, Chiesi Group

In his role at Chiesi, David Lough focused on building and developing academic relationships with researchers from leading universities, academic medical centers and research institutes to develop breakthrough therapies and technologies for respiratory diseases, neonatal care and rare diseases. David is responsible for search and evaluation for new therapeutic candidates, and the negotiation of academic transactions such as sponsored research agreements and license agreements. 

Prior to joining Chiesi, David was Director of Life Sciences Business Development in the Office of Technology Development at Boston University. 

David earned both his Bachelor of Science in Evironmental Chemistry and Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry from Edinburgh University. He also earned a Graduate Certificate in Intellectual Property from Northeastern University. 

Matthew Seavey
Vice President, Research and Technology Acquisition, NightHawk Biosciences, Inc.

As Vice President of Research and Technology Acquisition, Matthew Seavey, holds over a 15 years in drug development experience.  Matt holds a BS in Microbiology, MS and PhD in Immunology and an MBA in Business Development.  Originally trained as an immunologist and an expert in early drug development, Matt has been involved in the development of different drug modalities (biologics, small molecules, cellular therapeutics, vaccines) across multiple therapeutic areas including, GI, infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, respiratory, inflammation and cardio-metabolics.  Matt has held former positions as Drug Discovery Team Leader at Cephalon, Global Pharmacology Project Leader at Teva Pharmaceuticals, Oncology Program Director at United Therapeutics.  Matt is a co-inventor on several patents and has contributed to the intellectual property base of Advaxis and founding of Oncoceutics.   

Sharon Semones 
Senior Director, Venture Science – Academic Collaborations, Lilly Corporate Business Development 

Sharon supports Lilly’s venture science and strategic academic collaborations focusing in on early stage, novel therapeutic and platform innovations.   Sharon has a rich history of collaborating with academia, start ups and biotech in vast business areas (in-licensing and collaboration, direct investments, open innovation, sponsored research, etc.).    

Sharon received her B.S. in Chemistry from Chatham University and earned her M.S. in Analytical Chemistry from Indiana University. She joined Lilly Research Labs in 1999, building a Physical Properties group in Discovery Research. In 2004, Sharon transferred to Global External R&D where her responsibilities ranged from developing and managing technology portfolios and strategy to partnering with academic, alumni and external parties to foster novel business models and licensing opportunities.   She returned to the Lilly Research Labs from 2012-2018 to develop and execute the strategy for Lilly’s Open Innovation Drug Discovery Program.  In November 2019, Sharon returned to Corporate Business Development and began her new role in Venture science in 2020. 

Ruben Flores-Saaib
Academic Innovations and Partnerships Lead, ​General Inception

Rubén is a native of Nayarit, México and is the Academic Innovations and Partnerships Lead at General Inception. Throughout his career, Rubén has led and developed academic and corporate teams working on commercialization and partnering programs in life sciences, diagnostics, therapeutics, artificial intelligence, materials, and software. Rubén is also a co-founder, and past President, of the San Diego Innovation Council, a coalition of academic research institutes working together to elevate the profile of the San Diego innovation ecosystem to the world.
Rubén received his Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He began his career as a Scientist at BD Biosciences Pharmigen, later moved to Biosite (now Abbott) as a Clinical Scientist and Agreements Manager, and then joined Chemicon (acquired by Serologicals) to lead the Luminex Multiplex and Diagnostics teams. Rubén was a founding Director of the Scientific Collaborations and Business Development group started by Millipore following the acquisition of Serologicals and continued in that role when Merck KGaA acquired Millipore. Ruben capped his career in the corporate world as Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Genway Biotech.

Rubén’s 10-year in academic technology transfer began as Vice President for Business Development at LA BioMed (now the Lundquist Institute), continued as Director at UC San Diego and most recently as Associate Director of Licensing at the University of Southern California.