Laura K. Shawver, Ph.D., Founder
Laura Shawver views the field of oncology from the perspective of scientist, drug developer and survivor. 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. Currently, she is president, chief executive officer, and director of Synthorx, Inc. Prior to joining Synthorx, Dr. Shawver held the following positions: CEO and director of Cleave Biosciences, entrepreneur-in-residence for 5AM Ventures, CEO and director of Phenomix Corporation, and president of SUGEN Inc. (acquired by Pharmacia). Dr. Shawver has been involved with a number of clinical development programs including two FDA-approved therapies. Dr. Shawver is currently a director of Relay Therapeutics as well as an advisor to the industry. She is an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research serving on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up to Cancer. Dr. Shawver received her Ph.D. in pharmacology and a B.S. degree in microbiology both from the University of Iowa.
Wendy Newman, Chairperson of the Board
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.
Karin’s passion is working with the innovators and change makers of today and tomorrow. As President and Founder of Evoking Insights LLC, Karin operates at the intersection of strategy and leadership as an executive-level coach and strategic advisor. She is known for her ability to make the complex simple and to drive strategic clarity and execution throughout organizations. Karin spent 15 years in various senior leadership positions in the life sciences industry, after transitioning from a decade long consulting career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. As Vice President Customer Experience for Life Technologies, Karin developed and implemented an enterprise-wide strategy to improve customer experience across all channels and touch-points. As VP of Corporate Strategy at Life Technologies, she partnered with the CEO and executive team to set the strategic direction and plan for the $4B company. Karin has held Board positions with the Healthcare Business Women’s Association and Girls Inc, San Diego. An insatiable learner and adventurer, Karin is constantly challenging herself, and others, to see the world and people in new ways.
Lynnette Dillen, Treasurer
Lynnette is a seasoned financial executive with more than 20 years of experience encompassing life sciences, technology and retail. As a Chief Financial Officer she has been responsible for accounting, corporate finance, treasury, purchasing, information technology, human resources and risk management for both public and private companies. She has been successful in raising and restructuring capital for both public and private companies resulting in significant valuation increases. She has held key financial positions for both large public corporations including Blockbuster and Chart House Enterprises as well as medium to smaller venture capital or investment-backed companies, such as Wireless Knowledge, Inc. (a QUALCOMM and Microsoft joint venture), and Catalina Restaurant Group, Inc. Lynnette holds a BBA in Accounting from Baylor University, and is CPA, licensed in the state of California. She also serves as a Board Member for Day for Change, San Diego.
Sabrina Martucci Johnson, Vice Chairperson of the Board
Sabrina Martucci Johnson is a life sciences executive with a record of achievement in capital formation, business development, and commercial leadership. Sabrina’s unique background spans finance, global marketing, product development and bench research. Sabrina is committed to advancing innovations in women’s health. In 2015 she founded DARÉ Bioscience to bring novel technologies that clearly address unmet needs to the clinic so that the latest concepts in women’s health make it to market. Prior to founding DARÉ Bioscience, Sabrina was President of WomanCare Global Trading where she responsible for expanding the global product portfolio in women’s health. Formerly, Sabrina was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Cypress Bioscience, Inc. and held marketing and sales positions with Advanced Tissue Sciences, and a research position with Baxter Healthcare.
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, Secretary
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.
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.