Wendy Newman, Chair
Wendy Newman has over 30 years experience in creating and leading innovative healthcare and marketing programs for non-profits, start-ups and large publicly traded companies. She began her career at MD Anderson Cancer Center, developing cancer prevention and early detection programs and continued this work at Scripps Health Cancer Center. She followed her passion for healthcare, particularly women’s health, in her role as Program Director at Women First Healthcare. Recently, she led marketing at Human Longevity, Inc. and held the position of SVP of Corporate Marketing at AMN Healthcare, Inc. Ms. Newman has served on multiple local and national professional and non-profit boards and has volunteered her service on international medical and community development missions. She serves as Vice-Chair of the Clearity Foundation Board and Marketing Committee Chair. She holds an MPH from San Diego State University and a B.S. in Health Science and Biology from State University of New York at Cortland.
Laura K. Shawver, Ph.D., Founder
Laura Shawver views the field of oncology from the perspective of scientist, CEO of Cleave Biosciences and survivor. Cleave is focused on developing protein degradation inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. Following her own diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer in 2007, Dr. Shawver founded The Clearity Foundation to help women with ovarian cancer make more informed treatment decisions. Today, Clearity is the only501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing molecular profiling to help women with recurrent and refractory disease prioritize their treatment options. Dr. Shawver is an experienced biotech executive with more than 25 years of experience in the development of small molecule drugs for cancer and other serious diseases. She currently serves as CEO of Cleave Biosciences, Inc. Prior to joining Cleave in 2011, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence for 5AM Ventures. She served as CEO of Phenomix Corporation from 2002 – 20010 and as President of SUGEN Inc. from 2000 – 2002 after holding various positions there since 1992. SUGEN focused on understanding key molecular pathways of cancer cells and developed the drugs Sutent™ and Palladia™. Prior to SUGEN, she was employed at Berlex Biosciences, formerly known as Triton Biosciences. Dr. Shawver has served on a number of editorial boards and as an advisor to biotech companies. She is an active member of AACR and ASCO, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up 2 Cancer. Dr. Shawver received her PhD in Pharmacology and a BS degree in Microbiology, both from the University of Iowa.
John Crawford has been an executive officer and director for more than a dozen life sciences firms. Five of these firms focused on cancer drug development programs. Starting in the biotechnology industry in 1981, he took two firms in the 1980s and 1990s as first executive employee through initial offerings of stock to the public. Now semi-retired, he has followed his service as co-chair of Clearity’s board by chairing Clearity’s Development Committee. He also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, another non-profit organization. Mr. Crawford holds a B.S. in mathematical sciences from Stanford University and an M.B.A. in Finance from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.
As Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities Operations, at Nektar Therapeutics. Ms. Hirth is responsible for designing and implementing HR strategies and programs that attract, develop and retain talent for a high-performing workforce. Ms. Hirth’s experience spans 20 years at biotechnology companies leading strategic and tactical aspects of human resource functions, including managing issues surrounding mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Nektar in 2007, Ms. Hirth headed the human resource programs at Sirna Therapeutics, where she was part of the diligence team during the acquisition process by Merck. She was also part of the team that started SUGEN and transitioned it from start-up through two acquisitions initially by Pharmacia and then by Pfizer Inc. In addition, she served as Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities at Kosan Biosciences and Corgentech/Anesiva.
Jennifer Jarrett is Managing Director in Citigroup’s Healthcare group and directs Citigroup’s West Coast healthcare effort. Ms. Jarrett joined Citigroup in 2010. Prior to Citigroup, Jennifer was the Head of U.S. Biotech at Credit Suisse where she spent 12 years. She has led numerous banking transactions in the healthcare sector, including initial public offerings, follow-ons, private placements, licensing deals and mergers and acquisitions. Ms. Jarrett received her BA from Dartmouth College and MBA from Stanford University.
Wendy Johnson currently serves as Interim COO and board member at AmpliPhi Biosciences, a US public biotechnology company and on the Board of Directors of MorphoSys AG, a public biotechnology company located in Munich, Germany. She has over 30 years experience in drug development, venture capital, licensing, strategy, and corporate development. Until January 2014, Ms. Johnson served as the President & CEO of Aires Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Mast Therapeutics. In this role she has raised over $40M of venture financing and entered into a $250M acquisition option agreement with Novartis Pharmaceuticals. In her professional career she has successfully licensed multiple value-generating therapeutic products, negotiated acquisitions, and established several international strategic alliances. She served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, at Salmedix Inc., where she led the effort to in-license their lead cancer therapeutic; the company was successfully sold to Cephalon/Teva for $200M and the key asset has become the standard of care drug for treating hematologic cancers generating $1B annually in the United States. Ms. Johnson has additional experience with medical devices, diagnostics, drug discovery and development, and regulatory affairs. Additionally, Ms. Johnson served as Assistant Director with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ms. Johnson holds an M.B.A. from Loyola University, an M.S. in clinical microbiology from the Hahnemann Medical School and a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Maryland.
Kerry Kelly, JD
Kerry Kelly has more than 25 years as an attorney both in private practice and in the biotechnology industry. She currently serves as a consultant to a number of biotech companies. Ms. Kelly was most recently Vice President and General Counsel at Ambit Biosciences, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of small-molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. She came to Ambit from The Scripps Research Institute, one of the country’s largest non-profit research organizations where she served as Associate General Counsel. Prior to joining Scripps, Ms. Kelly served as the head of Corporate and Legal Affairs for the biotechnology company SUGEN which developed Sutent™ for renal cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. (SUGEN was later acquired by Pfizer.) Prior to SUGEN, Ms. Kelly was a partner in the Palo Alto law firm of Bialson, Bergen and Schwab. She received her J.D. from Santa Clara University and her B.A and M.A. from Stanford University.
David Nelson, Ph.D.
Dr. Nelson has over 30 years of scientific and management experience in the biopharmaceutical and diagnostic industries and was a previous Chairman of the Board for the Clearity Foundation. He is the President and CEO of Splash Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Nelson previously served as Chief Strategy Officer of Provista Diagnostics, President and CEO of a proprietary mobile health “mHealth” company, Founder/President and CEO of Epic Sciences, Vice President of Business Development of Amalyte Pharmaceuticals, and President of the Life Science Group. Before that, Dr. Nelson worked at Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Aurora Biosciences, the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, 3M, and the University of Minnesota.
Michael Pollock currently serves as the President of Reynolds Pollock & Associates, a health outcomes research and market access strategy consulting company. Immediately prior to founding Reynolds Pollock & Associates, Mr. Pollock was vice president of Global Health Economics at Biogen Idec, with worldwide responsibility for health economics strategy and research, across the entire portfolio of marketed and pipeline products. He began his career in Ireland and first became responsible for health economics 20 years ago at Glaxo Canada, where he was instrumental in founding the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada’s Healthcare Economics Committee.
Leonard Post, Ph.D.
Dr. Leonard Post is BioMarin’s Vice President of Drug Discovery. Prior to joining BioMarin, he served as Chief Scientific Officer for LEAD Therapeutics, from time of its founding through acquisition by BioMarin. Previously, Dr. Post served as Senior Vice President for Onyx Pharmaceuticals and was responsible for the co-development (50:50 with Bayer) of Nexavar from IND through FDA approval for renal cell carcinoma. Prior to that, he served Vice President of Discovery Research at Parke-Davis where he led a multinational drug discovery organization. He has also held several positions at the Upjohn Company, including Director of Infectious Disease Research. During his industry career spanning more than 25 years, he has led numerous programs that have resulted in multiple clinical candidates across various therapeutic areas. Dr. Post is a virologist by training and received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan.
Robin Toft is the President and CEO of Toft Group Executive Search. Prior to establishing the Toft Group in 2010, Robin served as Managing Director of Sanford Rose Associates® – San Francisco since joining the company in 2006. Over her 10+ years in the executive search industry, Robin has placed over 500 executives from Director through C-level, including numerous CEO’s, within rapidly growing biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, medical device, and digital health companies. Robin’s passion is working with private equity, venture-backed, and entrepreneurial early and mid-stage companies to build their management teams
Robin has served on the Board of Directors of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Foundation of San Diego, CA, was Vice President of the Sanford Rose Associates® Owners Association Board of Trustees, and served as a Director at Innovative Biosensors, Inc., an emerging biotech company based in Rockville, MD. She currently serves on the Board the Scripps Mercy Hospital Foundation Board, and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Team, and LEAD San Diego, the only organization in the San Diego/Northern Baja California region solely dedicated to developing civically engaged leaders.