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Polsky Entrepreneurial Outlook: Therapeutics 2019

The Polsky Center’s new breakfast series brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and experts to highlight important emerging trends in select industries. In Therapeutics 2019, we will hear from a panel of expert venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in attempting to change the treatment of illnesses as they discuss the state of the field in 2019, what is now passé, and where they see white space for entrepreneurial opportunity. This event is hosted in partnership with MATTER.

Additionally, the event will include the opportunity for networking and time for a limited number of 1-minute pitches from therapeutics startups before this engaged audience. Free breakfast is provided and registration is required.

Polsky Center Therapeutics Panel

Panelists include: //

  • Lev Becker, Onchilles – Lev is an assistant professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago. He is also the Founder, CEO, and president of Onchilles Pharma Inc., co-founder and CSO of rMark Bio, Inc., and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Cellular Approaches Inc. His interests include delineating the roles of innate immune cells in many diseases and developing therapeutics to target them. In Dr. Becker’s laboratory, a multi-disciplinary approach is used that combines proteomics, computational and bioinformatics analyses, with immunological and functional measurements of innate immune cells. His team is currently applying this approach to study the roles of innate immune cells in diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, and cancer.
  • Jay Cui, PhD ’09, MBA ’15, AbbVie Ventures – Jay is an associate director at AbbVie Ventures, which invests in novel, transformational therapeutics across oncology, immunology, and neuroscience at discovery and pre-clinical stages. Prior to AbbVie Ventures, Jay worked at ZS Associates where he advised clients across the healthcare industry on corporate and commercial strategies. He has also worked at the Portfolio Management Team at Takeda, and managed the R&D operations at the Chicago Tri-Institutional Center for Chemical Methods and Library Development, an academic drug discovery research center funded by a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Jay earned a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago and an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  • Sean Kendall, MBA ’16, ARCH Venture Partners – Sean is a senior associate at ARCH Venture Partners where he focuses on identifying and evaluating new life science technologies and provides operating assistance to early-stage portfolio companies. A chemical engineer and synthetic biologist by training, he was an early employee with LS9, Inc. (acquired by REG). Sean engineered the metabolic circuitry of cells to produce novel compounds and built robotic and software infrastructure for high throughput experimentation and modeling. He next worked at Cobalt Technologies, another biotech startup, scaling the team’s laboratory insights into an industrial process. Sean is a recipient of the President’s Green Chemistry Challenge Award. He has contributed business efforts to Twist Bioscience and has served as a board observer with Twist and Encodia. Kendall holds a BS and MS in chemical engineering from Stanford University, where he worked with Jim Swartz on cell-free protein synthesis, and holds an MBA with dean’s honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
  • Matt Smith, Polsky Center (moderator) – Matt works as the Polsky Center as is a member of the Polsky Life Sciences Launchpad team where he creates new life sciences ventures with a focus on neuroscience. Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Matt was with Pear Therapeutics, the first company to receive FDA clearance for the use of software as a therapeutic device. As a member of the founding team, Matt wore many hats throughout the company’s creation and first rounds of venture financing. Prior to Pear Therapeutics, Matt was a post-doctoral fellow in neuropathology at Harvard Medical School and he earned a PhD in molecular and cellular pathology from the University of Michigan.
  • John Trzupek, MBA ’13, KSQ Therapeutics – John is an accomplished leader in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries with key contributions spanning drug discovery, strategy, finance, operations, and entrepreneurship. In his current role, John leads finance, operations, and corporate development at KSQ Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotech that has raised over $150M in three years to pioneer the use of its proprietary CRISPRomics platform to discover and develop high confidence, patient-tailored oncology drugs. Prior to joining KSQ, John held several business and scientific roles at Pfizer.  Most recently, he served as director of strategy, inflammation and immunology where he founded and led a highly successful interdisciplinary drug discovery unit that seeded investment in new diseases and research areas. In his prior work as a scientist at Pfizer, John was the co-inventor of multiple product candidates that reached the clinic. Notably he was a primary contributor to the design and discovery of PF-06650833, a novel small molecule inhibitor being studied for the treatment of autoimmune disease.  He also helped to pioneer and build a successful open innovation collaboration with the Structural Genomics Consortium that has resulted in the generation of multiple publicly-available, highly-selective, and high-quality chemical probes for epigenetic targets. John earned an MBA with high honors as an Amy and Richard F. Wallman Scholar from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business where he concentrated in finance.  He also earned his PhD in organic chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute as a National Defense Science and Engineering (NDSEG) predoctoral fellow and completed his postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
  • Yuan Zhang, PhD ’16, SM ’14, AB ’09, Seurat Therapeutics – Yuan is the cofounder, CEO and president of Seurat Therapeutics, a biotech startup developing a nasal spray to treat and prevent migraines. Prior to joining Seurat, she served as an associate in the George Shultz Innovation Fund at the University of Chicago, a venture fund run by the Polsky Center that is designed to support technology spin-outs from the University of Chicago and affiliates. There, she evaluated promising startups to help the Innovation Fund steering committee make investment decisions about various research discoveries that can turn into impactful ventures. With a strong scientific foundation, Yuan is passionate about translating basic research into healthcare solutions. She received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences, and a dual master’s degree in translational sciences and a PhD in molecular pathogenesis and molecular medicine from the University of Chicago.

If you like this event, be sure to check out all the events in our series:

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