Life Science Innovation Northwest 2024

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Thomas Lynch, Jr

President & Director at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. is a world-renowned scientist, highly respected oncologist, and successful National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center leader. As the President and Director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Dr. Lynch brings more than three decades of experience at highly regarded US cancer centers. He has expertise in solid tumor research, precision medicine, and discoveries in fundamental biology.

Before joining Fred Hutch, Dr. Lynch held leadership roles as CSO at Bristol-Myers Squibb, CEO of Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, director of Yale Cancer Center, physician-in-chief at Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, as well as chief of hematology-oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Lynch is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. 

Vineeta Agarwala, MD, PhD

General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz

Vineeta Agarwala, MD, PhD is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) where she leads investments for the firm’s bio + health fund across biotech, life sciences, and digital health, with a focus on companies that are leveraging unique datasets and technologies to advance drug development, precision medicine, and innovation in patient care delivery. She was previously a consultant at McKinsey, director of product management at Flatiron Health, and venture partner at GV (Google Ventures). Vineeta completed her graduate work in computational biology and human genetics at the Broad Institute.

Vineeta holds a B.S. in biophysics from Stanford, and MD/PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School/MIT. She is board certified in internal medicine, and sees patients at Stanford as an adjunct clinical professor in the Division of Primary Care and Population Health. Vineeta serves on a number of portfolio company boards and is also a board director at Tenet Healthcare and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

Luke Timmerman

Journalist at Timmerman Report

Luke Timmerman is a biotech journalist, author, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Timmerman Report, a leading biotech industry newsletter, and author of "Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age," a biography of automated DNA sequencing pioneer Leroy Hood. Luke was named one of the 100 most influential people in biotech in 2015 by Scientific American. He has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and in the 2005-2006 academic year, he was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. His mountain climbing campaigns have mobilized the biotech community to give more than $6 million to fight cancer and poverty.


Milad Alucozai, DrPH

Head of Bio and Deep Tech at BoxOne Ventures

Currently, Milad is the head of Bio and Deep Tech at BoxOne Ventures, where he spearheads the firm’s investments in early-stage companies with breakthrough scientific ideas. With nearly 80 early-stage investments, they are recognized as one of North America’s most active venture firms. He is also a Venture Partner at Entrepreneur First, a global fund that has built over 500 companies from scratch with an enterprise value of $10B. He supports founders with strategy, scaling, business development, securing growth capital, and leadership training, often being their first investor and guiding them from startup inception to IPOs or acquisitions.

John China

Managing Director, Co-Head of Innovation Economy, Commercial Banking at J.P. Morgan

As the Co-Head of Innovation Economy for J.P. Morgan Commercial Banking, John co-leads a team of dedicated bankers who support the Innovation Economy, including Technology and Disruptive Commerce, Life Sciences, ClimateTech and Healthcare IT industries. Throughout his career he have constantly – and enthusiastically - made connections between entrepreneurs, founders, venture investors, the Fortune 500, winemakers, and global limited partners.

Jeffrey Cohen

Senior Vice President and General Manager at Philips Ultrasound

Jeff Cohen is presently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Philips Ultrasound. In this role Jeff is responsible for leading the global business including strategy, research and development, sales, marketing, and clinical science. Jeff joined Philips in 2005 as a Program Manager within Ultrasound focused on delivering product solutions to the market. In 2006, Jeff assumed the responsibility of development with external partners globally. Jeff steadily increased his responsibility to become a Director in Research and Development focusing on solutions for new users of ultrasound.

In 2010, Jeff was named General Manager of Traxtal; a Philips acquired technology start-up in Toronto Canada focused on oncology solutions. In this capacity, he was responsible for integration into Philips Ultrasound, ensuring the venture was on a path to value creation and establishing the strategy that met the needs of clinicians and patients. Jeff transferred to Bothell, WA in 2013 and was a part of the management team establishing a Program Management Office focused on ensuring solutions were delivered to the market on time, on-target meeting customer expectations. In 2015, Jeff was promoted to lead the General Imaging and Women’s Healthcare business for Philips Ultrasound. During his tenure the category was able to gain market share globally and expand margin. Jeff led breakout moves focused on customers in the High End and in China. Jeff moved to the North American Commercial team in 2020 leading Large-Scale Projects, Sales Excellence and Training. In this capacity Jeff led a significant growth of LSPs in North America and created a center of excellence focused on maximizing the impact of the commercial teams harmonizing numerous business processes and leveraging best in class tools.

Prior to joining Philips, Jeff held a variety of engineering, manufacturing and quality roles over 10 years at Raytheon, Polaroid and an automotive components company.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute a MBA from Boston College and an Executive Management Certificate from MIT.

Jonathan Cohen

VP of Applied Research at NVIDIA

Jonathan Cohen is the VP of Applied Research at NVIDIA where he is responsible for large language models including AI for Drug discovery (BioNeMo) and genomics (Parabricks).

Marc Cummings

President & CEO at Life Science Washington

As President & CEO of Life Science Washington (LSW), Marc sets the strategic direction, guides policy priorities, and directs business operations to ensure our members have the talent, investment, and partnerships needed to sustain the industry’s robust growth and solidify Washington state’s reputation as one of the top life science clusters in the nation. Marc also serves as the Chair of the Life Science Washington Institute, which is an affiliated non-profit focused on supporting life science entrepreneurs and growing start-up companies in Washington.

Before taking the helm as President & CEO, Marc served as Vice President, Public Policy & External Affairs for LSW. Prior to joining Life Science Washington, he served as Director of Policy & External Affairs for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), where he was actively involved in creating and advocating for several statewide bioscience initiatives including the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. He was also deeply involved in a range of PNNL’s philanthropic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education partnerships and science education initiatives. Prior to moving to Washington state, Marc held a variety of policy and consulting positions in Washington, D.C.

Phillip DiGiacomo, PhD

Principal at Qiming Venture Partners

Phil DiGiacomo, PhD, joined Qiming US in 2020 upon completion of his doctoral work. While completing his PhD, Phil worked as an associate at ND Capital, where he focused on sourcing and diligence of early-stage life science companies, as well as portfolio support.

Phil holds a PhD in Bioengineering from Stanford University where, as a SPARK Translational Research Fellow and Training in Biomedical Imaging Fellow, his research focused on the discovery and development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for neuroinflammatory diseases.

He holds an MS in Medicine from the Stanford University School of Medicine and a BS with Distinction in Mathematics, Cognitive Science, and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Richard Giersch

Executive Director at Life Science Washington Institute

As the Executive Director to Life Science Washington Institute Rich works on connecting entrepreneurial support resources across the state and leads the development and delivery of new Institute programs and services. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Board for the Bioscience Association of West Virginia, and was the founding CEO of Valtari Bio.

Prior to joining LSWI Rich held Director level positions at two venture capital firms, was the chief operating officer of a biotech company in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and the Chief Science Officer for the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University.  He has helped companies secure over $100 million in federal funding, tax, and relocation incentives and written over $15M in successful SBIR/STTR applications.

Danielle Greenawalt

Executive Director, Translational IPS, Informatics and Predictive Sciences at Bristol Myers Squibb

Danielle received her PhD in Molecular Genetics, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. She began her computational research career in industry at Merck, spending 5 years leading pharmacogenetic analysis in oncology, CV & diabetes and developing internal NGS capabilities. She then spent 3 years at AstraZeneca as the Global lead of Target ID Oncology Informatics, translating patient data into oncology targets through novel informatics approaches. Danielle currently leads a team of computational biologists within the Translational Informatics & Predictive Sciences team at Bristol Myers Squibb focused on deriving novel insights from large scale translational disease and clinical datasets to advance our drug development pipeline.

Leroy Hood, MD, PhD

CEO at Phenome Health, Chief Innovation Officer and Professor at Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and Chief Strategy Officer and Professor at Institute for Systems Biology

Dr. Lee Hood is a world-renowned scientist and recipient of the National Medal of Science in 2011, Dr. Leroy Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in 2000 and served as its first President  from 2000-2017. In 2016, ISB affiliated with Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) and Dr. Hood became PSJH’s Senior  Vice President and Chief Science Officer. He is also Chief  Strategy Officer and Professor at ISB.  Dr. Hood is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. Of the more than 6,000 scientists worldwide who belong to one or more of these academies, Dr. Hood is one of only 20 people elected to all three. 

He received his MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his PhD in biochemistry from Caltech. Dr. Hood was a faculty member at Caltech from 1967-1992, serving for 10 years as the Chair of Biology. During this period, he and his colleagues developed four sequencer and synthesizer instruments that paved the way for the Human Genome Project’s successful mapping and understanding of the human genome. He and his students also deciphered many of the complex mechanisms of antibody diversification. In 1992, Dr. Hood founded and chaired the Department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington, the first academic department devoted to cross-disciplinary biology. Dr. Hood has co-founded 17 biotech companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Rosetta and Arivale. His many national and international awards include the Lasker Prize, the Kyoto Prize, and the National Medal of Science. Currently, he is the CEO of Phenome Health and Co-Founder and Professor at the Institute of Systems Biology in Seattle. 

Ann Houseman

Vice President and Site Head, Bothell Cell Therapy Manufacturing Plant at Bristol Myers Squibb

Ann Houseman is the Vice President, Site Head of the Bothell Cell Therapy Manufacturing Plant in Bothell, WA. Ann oversees all aspects of the state-of-the-art cell therapy manufacturing facility, equipped with cutting-edge technologies and over 700 highly trained manufacturing, quality, and support teams to produce engineered cell-based therapies for people with cancer.

Before joining BMS, Ann worked at Merck & Co for 18 years, serving in a variety of quality, technology, and operations roles; most recently serving as the Executive Director of External Manufacturing. Additionally, Ann is a strong advocate for women and served as an executive mentor for the women's network employee resource group at both Merck and BMS.

Ann enjoys spending time with her husband, three daughters, two cats, and a dog. She is an avid tennis player and enjoys reading and cross-stitching in her free time. She has a passion for traveling and learning about different cultures and building on her experiences.

Hallie Kuhn, PhD

Senior Vice President of Science and Technology & Capital Markets at Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Alexandria Venture Investments

Prashanth Kumar

HEAD OF AI / ML at Nanowear

Prashanth Kumar is the current head of AI and ML at Nanowear. Prashanth was previously a research assistant at the University of Arkansas from October 2008 to May 2014.

Loretta Little

Managing Director at WRF Capital

Loretta Little focuses on investment opportunities in the life sciences such as medical devices, digital health, and scientific instrumentation. Her portfolio includes consumer technology, software and advanced materials companies. She has worked closely with several of WRF Capital’s investments including C-SATS (acquired by J&J/Ethicon), FlexMinder (acquired by JellyVision), Clarisonic (acquired by L’Oreal), Mirador Biomedical (acquired by Centurion Medical Products), Amnis (acquired by EMD Millipore), Mobisante (acquired by Renew Group), and EKOS (acquired by BTG plc). She oversees WRF Capital’s investments AbSci, Lightspeed Microscopy, MDmetrix, Medcurity, Direct AMS, Transformative Med, and Cardiac Insight.

Previously, Ms. Little served as senior technology licensing manager at Washington Research Foundation. Before joining WRF, she worked as a marketing manager for a biotechnology company and as a market consultant. Ms. Little received an MBA from the University of Arizona and a B.A. in zoology from Pomona College. She currently serves as a board member with the Alliance of Angels.

Alice Ly, PhD

Vice President at Alexandria's Venture Investments and Head of Alexandria LaunchLabs - Seattle

Alice serves as a Principal on Alexandria’s Venture Investments and Science & Tech teams where she engages the company’s investment and tenant portfolios based in the Pacific Northwest, respectively. Additionally, as the Head of Alexandria LaunchLabs – Seattle, Alice collaborates with entrepreneurs and supports early-stage companies in the Seattle region. Ultimately, these roles contribute to Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ efforts in fueling the growth and development of each of Alexandria’s regional life science innovation clusters located around the United States.

Shaye Mandle

Executive Director at AdvaMed Digital Health Tech

Shaye Mandle serves as the Executive Director of the AdvaMed Digital Health Tech. Shaye is an accomplished corporate, association, and government executive with more than 25 years of experience in innovation sectors and public policy, including healthcare, technology, entrepreneurship, national defense, and economic development. Shaye has served on multiple Boards and advisory committees, including major research universities and public sector appointments.

For the past 12 years, Shaye has served as a healthcare association executive, including advocacy for medical technology, biotechnology, and digital health organizations. Shaye has served as the Chief Operating Officer of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Alley Association (MAA). Shaye has also served as the Chair of the State Medtech Alliance (SMTA) for AdvaMed.

Akira Matsuno

President, Chief Financial Officer, and Co-Founder at Tune Therapeutics

Akira Matsuno is the President, Chief Financial Officer, and Co-Founder of Tune Therapeutics. An accomplished biotech executive with a background in cell & gene therapies, Akira was previously CFO and Head of Corporate Development at Lyell Immunopharma, where he led multiple private fundraising rounds, strategic alliances, and a global R&D collaboration. 

Prior to Lyell, he was the global NEX-T Platform Program Lead at Juno Therapeutics, focused on the development of a next-generation cell therapy manufacturing process and multiple drug candidates. As VP of Finance, he led the strategic planning, FP&A and treasury organizations, and led negotiations on multiple executed transactions, including academic partnerships, industry collaborations, and acquisitions. He is also the Co-Founder of JW Therapeutics, a cell therapy company based in China. Previously, Akira was a late-stage private equity investment professional at Vulcan Capital, and started his career at Lehman Brothers, in its investment banking division. He received his BS in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania. 

Sean McClain

CEO & Founder at Absci

Sean McClain is the Founder and CEO of Absci, a leading generative AI Drug Creation company with a mission to create better biologics for patients, faster. 

Sean embodies entrepreneurial spirit, having built Absci from basement lab to a publicly traded company and continuing to strive towards his vision to create therapeutics at the click of a button. Under his leadership, Absci scaled to over 200 employees, raised over $525M in capital, established a growing number of industry-leading partnerships, and built an Integrated Drug Creation Platform that merges bleeding-edge generative AI models with proprietary high-throughput wet-lab data. 

Sean studied biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Arizona and has been the recipient of numerous recognitions for his entrepreneurship and innovation. He serves as a board member for the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute, and Life Science Washington

Snehal Patel

EVP and Chief Technical Officer at Sana Biotechnology

Snehal Patel is the Executive Vice President and Head of Technical Operations at Sana Biotechnology.  He has oversight of Process and Analytical Development, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, CMC Regulatory, and Technical Quality for Cell and Gene Therapy.  Snehal has a breadth of knowledge and experience in leading roles in Manufacturing, Technology, Supply Chain, and Quality Assurance in Biologics, Small Molecules, and most recently in Cell Therapy.

Prior to Sana, Snehal was the Global Head for Cell Therapy Manufacturing at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS). He led the growing global manufacturing network to produce Clinical and Commercial Cell Therapy Products, including two cell therapies commercially launched in 2021 by BMS. Prior to this role he served as Site Head for Cell Therapy Manufacturing in Bothell, Washington for Juno Therapeutics.  Prior to Juno, Snehal worked at Genentech/Roche for 18 years, holding a variety of different roles with increasing responsibility, including Head of Global External Drug Product Manufacturing, Head of Drug Product Operations, and Head of Quality Operations.

Joy Sacmar

Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Robotics & Digital Solutions at Johnson & Johnson

Anya Schiess

Co-Managing Partner, Healthcare Private Capital at J.P. Morgan

Anya Schiess joined J.P. Morgan as co-managing partner of the Healthcare Private Capital group from Healthy Ventures, where she was Co-Founder and General Partner. Healthy Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in healthcare and pharma technology. Previously, Anya was a venture capitalist at Thomas, McNerney & Partners, where she focused on life sciences including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and genomic technology. Throughout her career, Anya has invested and been a board member/observer in over 30 companies.

Joseph Sirosh, PhD

Former Chief Technology Officer of Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft

Dr. Joseph Sirosh has served as a member of Absci's board of directors since January 2022. Dr. Sirosh has served as Vice President of Amazon's Alexa Shopping group since October 2022. Previously, Dr. Sirosh served as the Chief Technology Officer of Compass, Inc. from December 2018 to August 2022 and held various positions at the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) from July 2013 to December 2018, including Chief Technology Officer of Artificial Intelligence.

During his tenure at Microsoft, Dr. Sirosh led product and engineering teams with responsibility for the enterprise database, Big Data, and machine learning products. Prior to Microsoft, Dr. Sirosh served as a Vice President of Technology at Amazon.Com, Inc., from December 2004 to July 2013, where he built the machine learning and Transaction Risk Management teams. Dr. Sirosh holds a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Neural Networks from the University of Texas at Austin.

Lynda Stuart, PhD

Executive Director at Institute for Protein Design

Lynda is a physician, scientist, and advocate for healthcare as a human right with over 20 years of experience in immunology, global health, and product development. Her experience transforming laboratory breakthroughs into real-world impact guides our mission to create proteins that solve modern challenges in medicine, technology, and sustainability. She is a professor of practice at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

As Deputy Director for Vaccines & Human Immunology at the Gates Foundation from 2016 to 2022, Lynda oversaw the development and distribution of vaccines, biologics, and antibody therapies to address urgent global health challenges. Notably, she led the Foundation’s COVID-19 discovery and translational vaccine response efforts, managing a large portfolio of COVID-19 and pan-coronavirus vaccine candidates. During this period, she collaborated closely with the Institute for Protein Design and guided the development and approval of the computationally designed COVID-19 vaccine SKYCovione. Since leaving the Gates Foundation, Dr. Stuart was the Vice President of Infectious Disease at the mRNA company BioNTech.

Ryan Takeya

North Creek Site Head, Senior Director of Manufacturing at Pfizer

Ryan Takeya serves as the site head for Pfizer's North Creek Manufacturing facility in Bothell, WA, showcasing a distinguished 30-year career in biotech process development and manufacturing. His extensive expertise spans a spectrum of technologies, including recombinant proteins, viral and cell gene therapy, and mRNA and DNA non-viral products.

With a proven track record in leadership, Ryan is deeply committed to nurturing talent and fostering biomanufacturing growth in the Washington state. Actively engaging with region’s post-secondary education institutions, he serves as an advisor to programs aimed at enriching the local biotech workforce and providing a pipeline of future biotech manufacturing candidates, perfectly aligning with Pfizer's dedication to innovation and excellence.

Vanessa Villaverde

Senior Program Investment Officer at California Health Care Foundation

Before joining California Health Care Foundation, Vanessa worked at health tech companies Caresyntax and Remedy Partners, where she developed value-based care programs and products. She worked at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for 10 years advising on innovative payment models, state Medicaid policy, and 1115 waivers. She has invested into health care companies through special purpose vehicles and Angel networks, created a nonprofit to further readiness for Black and Latino/x founders looking to fundraise, and served as a venture scout for Vamos Ventures, an LA-based and Latino/x-led VC fund providing capital to Latino/x and diverse teams in health care, wellness, workforce, fintech, and sustainability.

Asish K. Xavier, PhD

Vice President of Venture Investments at Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Asish is the Vice President, Venture Investments at Johnson & Johnson Innovation and is based at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in San Francisco, California.  Asish focuses on investments in biotechnology, diagnostics and machine learning.  Asish joined JJDC in 2004 and has led or co-led investments in over 25 biotech, diagnostics, machine learning and medtech companies.

Asish previously worked in business development at BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corporation (King of Prussia, PA) and Structural GenomiX, (San Diego, CA); and, in R&D at Message Pharmaceuticals (Malvern, PA).

Linda Zuckerman, PhD

Executive Vice President, Global Head of Biotherapeutics at Just-Evotec Biologics

Linda Zuckerman, PhD, brings over 20 years of biologics drug development experience to Just – Evotec Biologics including executive-level accountability for preclinical, clinical, and regulatory functions as well as business development and portfolio management activities. Prior to joining Just, Linda served as CEO of two small start-ups and was the President of ProFibrix, Inc., overseeing US-based biologics drug development activities as well as its operations.

Linda has also worked at Genentech and ZymoGenetics/BMS overseeing biologics development activities and contributed significantly to the approvals and commercialization of Raplixa (US & EU), Recothrom, and Raptiva and the filing many INDs in the areas of autoimmunity, hemostasis, and oncology. Linda received her PhD in immunology from the University of Chicago and has expertise in the regulatory aspects of the immunogenicity of biotherapeutics.