Connect & Collaborate Presenters

AUTM Annual Meeting

Lineup of Presenters


Vahid L. Aidun
Sr. Licensing Manager
Corteva Agriscience

Vahid has held licensing, technology acquisition and intellectual property roles at Syngenta, POET Companies & Cargill before joining Corteva Agriscience in 2010 via legacy company Dow AgroSciences. 
In addition to Licensing germplasm, biotech traits & ag chemicals, Vahid has led the External Opportunities team, conducted IP & agreement training and enjoys public speaking & STEM out-reach.

A native of Canada, Vahid earned his Ph.D in Crop Science from University of Guelph. Vahid lives in Indianapolis where he actively maintains his ‘Canada Card’ by playing hockey, curling & guzzling maple syrup.

Shawn M. Baier, M.S., M.B.A.
VP of Business Development, Innovative Products Division

Shawn Baier holds a Masters of Science degree from Iowa State University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Iowa. In 1997, he was hired by MTI Biotech as a Research Scientist with specific responsibilities related to overseeing outside research projects related to HMB and muscle performance and health as well as work on marketing and sales of HMB to the sports nutrition and adult nutrition markets. In 2003, Baier accepted a position at Iowa State University Center for Designing Foods as an Assistant to the Director responsible for managing all research projects at the Center. In 2007, Baier returned to MTI Biotech with the role of Director of Sales and Marketing, and in 2008, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In 2019, as part of a change in ownership interests at MTI Biotech with TSI Group LTD, Baier become VP of Business Development for their Innovative Products Division. His responsibilities include new business development, research and development management, and identifying and acquiring new technologies for commercialization.
Paul Carter
Sr. Director Business Development & Licensing, North America, ERS Genomics

Paul has over 20 years of multidisciplinary technical and international licensing experience. He joined ERS from Washington University in St. Louis where he was Business Development Director in the office of technology management. While there he was responsible for the commercialization of life science, healthcare, and engineering technologies. This included negotiating complex license agreements with companies, overseeing patent prosecution, serving on the board of select startups, and managing an accelerator for proactive startup formation.

Paul was previously Director of Intellectual Property Licensing for IBM with worldwide responsibility for licensing semiconductor, networking, display, healthcare and life science technologies. Paul holds undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Richard Cox
Director, Global Transactions & Contract Management
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dick Cox joined Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the US affiliate of Boehringer Ingelheim International, in June 2021.  Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) is a global leader in human and animal health therapeutics development and pharmaceutical manufacturing.  As a Director in the global Business Development & Licensing group, Dick is taking nearly 30 years of university technology commercialization experience and applying it to BI’s corporate and academic partnerships, leading teams that are negotiating the full range of partnering agreements around the world.  While based in Ridgefield, CT, Dick calls South Bend, Indiana home.  

Prior to joining BI, Dick served 13 years with the University of Notre Dame, first as the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and then as Director of Licensing & Business Development in the ND IDEA Center, the successor to OTT and the University’s center for entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, new venture programs, competitions & startup formation, incubator & accelerator facilities and services, and economic development.  Previously he had also served as the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development at the University of Hawai’i and held similar leadership positions at the University of South Carolina, the National Technology Transfer Center, and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.  Over his 30 year career in university tech commercialization, Dick helped commercialize several hundred technologies in a dozen or more commercial sectors, in areas as diverse as forestry, tropical agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and diagnostics, to manufacturing, education, fintech, and environmental remediation. Prior to his career in technology commercialization, he worked for 8 years in industry, primarily in manufacturing management (textiles, defense, consumer electronics).

He is a long time member of AUTM, where he has served on programming and organizing committees, headed an effort to develop a professional exchange program, and is a frequent speaker.  In addition, he was previously on the Board of Directors of the Midwest Research University Network (MRUN) and is currently a member of the Project Committee for UIDP (“Strengthening University-Industry Partnerships”).  Dick holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management and a Master of Business Administration, both from the University of Tennessee. He enjoys surfing and snowboarding and can be found touring the countryside on his motorcycle when the weather in northern Indiana cooperates.
Dinesh Divakaran
Vice President of Partnerships, North America
Owkin Inc.

Dinesh Divakaran is the Vice President of Partnerships, North America with Owkin Inc., a french-american unicorn venture that combines cutting-edge  and biology to advance drug discovery. In his role at Owkin, he leads a team that builds partnerships and collaborations around multi-modal data, AI/ML and federated learning with academic medical centers, healthcare systems and real world data companies across North America. Before joining Owkin, he worked as Vice President of Healthcare Business Development, North America at Sensnye Health plc., a real world data company based out of Oxford, UK.  

Prior to working in the biopharma and health tech industry, Dinesh worked in technology transfer for a decade and a half starting with University of South Florida followed by Texas A&M University System, then North Carolina State University and finally Duke University & Health System, where he eventually served as Director, Digital Innovations with Duke Office for Translation and Commercialization. Dinesh also served as an adjunct faculty at both NC State and USF. While working at Duke and NC State, he served as a reviewer/panelist with the SBIR/STTR grant programs at NIH and NSF. Outside of working in technology transfer, Dinesh had a short stint in venture capital as a fellow with the Alumni Ventures Group. He also served on the boards of three health tech startups and two non-profits.
Dinesh currently serves as an Executive in Residence at the Duke Institute for Health Innovation. He had also served on the Forbes Business Development Council, advisory board of NC TECH, innovation committee at HIMSS and high tech committee at LES, USA & Canada. 
Josefina Edsbagge
Director, Academic Alliances, Business Development, Licensing and Strategy, AstraZeneca

As Director Academic Alliances in the Business Development, Licensing and Strategy team at AstraZeneca, Josefina leads transactions for pre-clinical academic collaborations in the Respiratory and Immunology area, with responsibilities for evaluation, negotiation and execution of agreements.
Josefina began her pharma career with Astra in 1997 where she performed her master thesis project at Gastro-intestinal Pharmacology department at AstraHässle and continued in the scientific field and held a PhD degree, from Gothenburg University, Sweden with focus on stem cells and organogenesis. Josefina continued her scientific career for 13 years at the Gothenburg based stem cell biotech company Takara Bio Europe (TBE), former Cellartis AB where Josefina had roles as Project Leader and  Application & Service Manager before starting at the AstraZeneca’s BioPharma R&D unit as Academic Alliances Manager in 2017.
Mark Fairey
Senior Business Development Officer, STEMCELL Technologies

Mark Fairey works at STEMCELL Technologies as a Senior Business Development Officer, where he is involved in licensing technologies and building lasting relationships. Mark's experience at STEMCELL began in the Research & Development group, and his extensive product knowledge led to further roles in Scientific Sales and Business Operations prior to his current role in the Licensing team - all spanning 17 years at the organization. STEMCELL Technologies is Canada's largest biotech company, and has a global reputation for high quality, innovative reagents and instrumentation, which is largely built on the strong partnerships built with our academic collaborators and our customers.

Rubén Flores-Saaib
Academic Innovations and Partnerships Lead
​General Inception

Flores-Saaib is a native of Nayarit, México and is the Academic Innovations and Partnerships Lead at General Inception. Throughout his career, he has led and developed academic and corporate teams working on commercialization and partnering programs in life sciences, diagnostics, therapeutics, artificial intelligence, materials, and software. He 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.
Flores-Saaib 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. Flores-Saaib 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. He capped his career in the corporate world as Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Genway Biotech.
Flores-Saaib's 10-year career 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.

Jody Hankins, PhD, MBA
Associate Director - Strategic Partnerships & Business Operations
Regeneron Genetics Center

Currently, Jody conducts due diligence, negotiates and monitors potential and current collaborations regarding the generation of genomic data for drug target discovery at the Regeneron Genetics Center, primarily with academic and not for profit partners. Previously, she served as a Senior Licensing Officer at Vanderbilt's University's tech transfer office managing a portfolio of ~100 life science inventions, in particular specializing in therapeutic antibodies.
Peter Himes
General Manager
Haier Silicon Valley Innovation Center

Peter Himes has held senior executive positions in sales, strategic alliances, marketing, operations, innovation and corporate development in Fortune 500 as well as startups throughout his career. The industries he has worked in include consumer electronics, home appliances, computing and communications, cloud services and the MEMS and IC industries. He currently runs the Haier Silicon Valley Innovation Center, the North American corporate development office for Haier and its family of brands which include GE Appliances, Fisher & Paykel, Candy Hoover, Leader, Casarte and many others. Previously, he established and led the Silicon Valley office for SITRI, a Shanghai-backed incubator of “More than Moore” technologies and IoT Solutions. He also acts as advisor to several startups and VC firms, and has a keen interest in how market evolutions inform new technology adoption. Himes has a BSEE in solid state electronics from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Santa Clara University.
Orla Hough
Director of Business Development, EMEA

Orla has a background in law and genetics and worked in academia for four years as a Business Manager in UCL Business, the technology transfer office of University College London. She recently joined Abcam as a Director of Business Development at their Cambridge site in the United Kingdom.
Minoru Kameda
Associate Director at Search & Evaluation, Astella

Dr. Minoru Kameda is an Associate Director at Search & Evaluation team of Astellas’ Business Development. He is based in Cambridge, MA. Minoru has around 20 years’ experiences in pharmaceutical industry at Astellas and Banyu Pharmaceutical, which was a Merck’s company in Japan, with wide range of R&D expertise. He started his career as a medicinal chemist and led multiple discovery programs at research stage. He also contributed the successful NDA approval and launch of XOSPATA® for the treatment of AML patients as a clinical operation lead during his career at clinical development. After moving to the department of Business Development, he is contributing to identify highly potential opportunities being addressed by early-stage partners, as well as new therapies and/or technologies, levering his broad range of R&D knowledge and experience. Dr. Kameda holds Bachelor of Science from Hokkaido University and Ph.D. from Kyoto University.

Chloé Leprêtre, PhD, MBA
Head of Global Search & Evaluation
R&D External Innovations

Chloé holds a PhD in Aging Biology and an MBA, and she has 13 years of experience in various positions in Search & Evaluation and in Business Development in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.  

Chloé joined Servier’s Global Business Development Team in 2018 to lead partnering deals in the Discovery and early development space, and then she moved to R&D to head the External Innovations team in charge of Search & Evaluation. Before joining Servier, Chloé worked at Onxeo, a listed biotech company in Paris, where she was Program Acquisition Manager, involved in all aspects of scouting and deal-making. She has a technology transfer background having previously worked for many years at France Innovation Scientifique et Transfert (FIST), CNRS' TTO, as well as in the Tech Transfer Office of the Parisian Hospitals (APHP).

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, Lough was Director of Life Sciences Business Development in the Office of Technology Development at Boston University. 

Lough 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. 

Ayelet Marom
Program Director for BioTools Innovator
MedTech Innovator

Ayelet Marom is the Program Director for BioTools Innovator at MedTech Innovator. She earned her Ph.D. in Cancer Immunology from The Weizmann Institute in Israel, and a Postdoctoral Professional Masters in Bioscience Management from KGI, Claremont alongside her post-doctoral research at City Of Hope. Ayelet is experienced in the innovation ecosystem; prior to MedTech Innovator, she was a senior program manager at Larta Institute, where she managed commercialization programs for science-based Innovations, as well as co-founded and led the product development in a digital health Startup. She is passionate about bringing technology and healthcare closer together to make a real impact on human health.

Ryan D. Michalek, PhD
Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Development 
NightHawk Biosciences, Inc

As Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Development, Dr. Michalek leverages scientific, clinical, and program management expertise to drive organizational growth through the alignment of projects with corporate objectives, the identification of strategic risks, and the development of partnership opportunities. 
Dr. Michalek received his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Wake Forest University with a focus on redox regulation of T cell activation.  Subsequent postdoctoral studies at Duke University included foundational studies on the metabolic regulation of T cell differentiation, while biochemical profiling work with Metabolon resulted in publications encompassing cancer, autoimmune disease, and diabetes.  Dr. Michalek’s experience also includes oversight of early and late phase clinical trials across several treatment modalities (cell and gene therapy, immunotherapy, small molecule inhibitors) with previous roles as the therapeutic area head of oncology for Pharm-Olam, co-chair of the Gene Therapy Operational Center of Excellence at PPD, and project leadership within IQVIA and Chiltern.
With over 30 peer-reviewed publications, ~5,000 citations, a previous appointment to the NIH Biomarker Consortium steering committee for Inflammation and Immunity, and awards from the Cancer Research Institute and American Association of Immunologists, Dr. Michalek is committed to identifying and advancing medical breakthroughs.

Dr. Katy Montague
Senior Director, External R&D and Strategic Alliances
AstraZeneca Oncology R&D


Katy manages the Global Collaboration Agreements team in AstraZeneca’s Oncology External R&D and Strategic Alliances group. This multinational team is responsible for facilitating AstraZeneca’s preclinical and nonclinical Oncology collaborations with academics worldwide to support the company’s R&D strategy, and in particular preparing and negotiating the agreements that underpin these partnerships. Katy is based in Cambridge, UK.

Katy has 15 years’ experience in technology transfer and negotiating industry/academic agreements. Prior to joining AstraZeneca in 2017, Katy managed the commercialisation arm of the Babraham Institute, an academic bioscience research institute. She was responsible for commercialising the Institute's patent portfolio, facilitating collaborations between the Institute and industry, and arranging commercial access to the Institute's scientific services and expertise.

Katy also previously worked for Health Enterprise East, where she assisted NHS Trusts with protecting and exploiting their intellectual property relating to novel medical technologies. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry from the John Innes Centre, and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford.

Carles Monterrubio
Associate Director, Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Carles comes to Johnson and Johnson from Cell Signaling Technology Inc, a private biotechnology company in the antibody space. In his previous role as Sr. Manager of Business Development, External Innovation at Cell Signaling, Carles developed a global network within the innovation ecosystem, identified and led licensing and other partnering opportunities from identification through to execution of agreement. At Cell Signaling, he worked closely with the Executive team, Marketing, Finance, Legal and R&D teams to evaluate and execute new opportunities. 

Beyond for-profit Business Development, Carles brings experience from academic R&D and Technology Transfer. He played a key role in the development of a local drug delivery system that led to the formation of Cebiotex Biomedical Nanofibers, a startup company focused on the local treatment of solid tumors where he worked with the Executive team to find funding. At the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Carles contributed to the development of targeted nanoparticles for the treatment of solid tumors. Most recently, Carles was part of the MIT Technology Licensing Office where he was out-licensing a broad array of inventions in different fields, from drugs to medical devices. 

Lan Nguyen
Head of Corporate Development, WuXi Biologics

Lan Nguyen is the global Head of Corporate Development at WuXi Biologics, a leading global Contract Research, Development and Manufacturing Organization (CRDMO) offering end-to-end solutions that enable partners to discover, develop and manufacture biologics. Lan is a leader in global corporate development, strategy, and product development in technology, healthcare, and life sciences. Lan has a track record of developing successful business strategies, innovative solutions, and strategic alliances/partnerships to drive sustainable growth in her previous roles at Omnicell Technologies, Agilent Technologies, and Eli Lilly. Lan received her MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, a M.S in Biochemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in Chemistry from University of Chicago.
Samantha Piteri-Molina
Senior Director, Business Development, Forge Biologics

Samantha Piteri-Molina is Senior Director of Business Development at Forge Biologics. She brings 10+ years of diverse biotechnology experience across a range of therapeutic areas and stages of development. Prior to joining Forge, Samantha served as Chief of Staff to the Chief Business Officer and as diligence and integration lead of Business Development at PTC Therapeutics, where she led a $268M company acquisition with a Phase III ready asset for patients with phenylketonuria (PKU). She previously spent 6+ years at Agios Pharmaceuticals where she held various commercial roles focused on market development for pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency.

Gautam Prakash, Ph.D., J.D.
Associate Vice President, Intellectual Property Policy and Advocacy
Eli Lilly and Company
After a dozen years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Gautam joined Eli Lilly in 2022.  During his time at the NIH, Gautam advised and mentored nearly a hundred scientists and startup/early stage companies in IP strategies and presentation skills in order to get them ready to pitch their research and companies to angel investors, venture capital investors, and for funding competitions.  Several of the presenters and companies coached by Gautam have obtained follow-on private funding and have won best presentation prizes.  Prior to his time in the U.S. government, Gautam was a registered patent attorney for several law firms focusing on filing and prosecuting chemical and biotechnology patent applications.  He has a Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park and a law degree from the George Washington University.

Stefan Schweizer
Thermo Fisher

With a PhD in Chemistry from Georg-August University in Germany, Stefan worked for several years in biotech/pharma R&D on medical devices and cancer/infectious diseases drug development. Shifting gears, Stefan entered academic technology transfer, which launched him into an exciting career at the intersection of business and science/technology. The exposure to out-licensing of life science technologies and supporting start up companies for UTRF and USC provided the solid foundation for his current scope of work at Thermo Fisher on sourcing innovative technologies for future products, coordinating and driving due diligence and negotiating the respective financial terms and agreements.
Yogesh Sharma, PhD, MBA
Global Head of the External Research Collaborations (ExRC), NIBR

Yogesh and the ExRC team is responsible for engaging with external research community to bring in new technologies and innovations into Novartis. Prior to joining Novartis, Yogesh began his career in commercialization of inventions with Mass General Brigham, the teaching affiliates of Harvard Medical School where he had a successful 14 years tenure to become a Director of Business Strategy and Licensing and led a team of licensing professionals in managing intellectual property, licensing, venture funded start-up development, and establishing and managing research alliances with industry partners. Before joining Mass General Brigham, Yogesh had a productive research career as a molecular biologist at DuPont and Monsanto.
Tarianna Stewart
Core AI Licensing Executive
IBM Research

Tarianna Stewart is a Biomedical scholar and technology licensing professional with emphasis in translational research with a focus in AI/ML. Specifically, she is a Core AI licensing executive within IBM Research Intellectual Property division. Current efforts are directed towards the marketing and licensing of existing IP to established companies and investors. Previously, she was a technology licensing associate at Georgia Institute of Technology evaluating and analyzing invention disclosures, developing licensing strategies, directing patent counsel in the preparation, filing and prosecution of U.S. and international patent applications and developing market opportunities to commercialize early-stage technology. Tarianna Stewart received her PhD from Morehouse School of Medicine focusing on the field of nanotechnology. She is also a board member for the National Council on Patent Practicum, a non-profit focused on increasing quality and diversity within the patent profession.
Tari Suprapto, Ph.D., RTTP
Director for Search & Evaluation
Novo Nordisk

Tari Suprapto, Ph.D., RTTP is a seasoned technology commercialization professional in the life sciences. She is currently the Director for Search & Evaluation for Western US and Canada for Novo Nordisk, and previously was part of the External Innovation team at Elanco. Tari spent over 15 years commercializing innovations from world-class research institutions such as the Salk Institute, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Tari has extensive experience in licensing, building and managing strategic alliances, and a strong scientific background in a variety of therapeutic areas evidenced by her Ph.D. in cell biology from The Rockefeller University and an Honors B.A. from Swarthmore College. Tari is also a member of BIOCOM’s Capital Development Committee and serves on the boards of the Association for University Technology Managers, the San Diego Innovation Council, and official advisor to Founders Corner Venture Capital in San Diego.
Masakatsu Suzuki, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Search & Evaluation, Global Business Development, & Global Science Innovation Initiative, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
After receiving a Ph.D. in Animal Science from Graduate School of Agricultural Science Tohoku University, concentrating on human intestine derived lactic acid bacteria, Dr. Suzuki began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1997 at Sankyo Co., Ltd (a former company of Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) in pharmacological research in hepatology, immunology, and genomics, where he collaborated with biotech companies from the US and RIKEN research institute in Japan. Dr. Suzuki was a visiting fellow in Lowance Center for Human Immunology at Emory University with Dr. Cornelia Weyand, where he led a research project on human CD8 regulatory T cells.
Following two years academic research, Dr. Suzuki returned to Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., and has led preclinical research programs in immunology, severe asthma, and fibrosis with small molecule and nucleic acid modalities, collaborating with scientists from Daiichi Sankyo India and Spanish National Cancer Research Center until March 2018, when he moved to the Oncology Research Laboratory as a member of the Open Innovation Leadership Team. There he searched for and managed research collaborations with external scientists in areas such as antibody drug conjugates and bispecific antibodies that fit the oncology research strategy. Dr. Suzuki also worked for a venture capital firm in Tokyo as a founding member of the firm.
John D. Wilson, MS, RTTP
Director, Academic Liaison

John D. Wilson has MS Neuroscience with an emphasis in Regulatory Phsyiology. He has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 23 years and has gained a wide breadth of experience in the management of pre-clinical research development assets  and development of collaborative agreements between GSK and external partners..

For more than eight years he has been an Academic Liaison at GSK based in the Philadelphia area. His role involves close liaison with several groups outside the company including Academic Partners, Government Departments, Research, Small Biotechnology Companies and other science-driven organisations. He also sits on the AUTM Planning Committee for the Annual Meeting.
Woj Wrona
Director, Business Development & Licensing, Discovery Transactions, Merck

Woj Wrona is Director of Discovery Transactions with Merck’s Business Development & Licensing group, supporting collaborations with external parties ranging from academic and not-for-profit organizations to government and commercial entities. Woj earned his Master’s degree in organic chemistry from Boston University and worked at the bench in both smaller biotech companies and larger pharma for 14 years, focusing primarily on the synthesis of small molecule kinase inhibitors in the oncology space.  Woj later obtained his MBA from Babson College and transitioned into a business development function with the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, MA., before joining Merck & Co., Inc.  Woj is passionate about helping Merck investigators with all aspects of navigating scientific and business interactions towards engaging with external innovation and enabling partnerships.

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