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Dr. Joseph Balthasar (David and Jane Chu Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery and Development Director of the Center for Protein Therapeutics Executive Director, University Research Initiatives Co-founder and President at Abceutics Inc.)

Dr. Joseph Balthasar

David and Jane Chu Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery and Development Director of the Center for Protein Therapeutics Executive Director, University Research Initiatives Co-founder and President at Abceutics Inc.

Dr. Balthasar is the David and Jane Chu Endowed Chair in Drug Discovery and Development and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Balthasar received a B.S. in Pharmacy (1991) and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics (1996) from the University at Buffalo. He served as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics at the University at Buffalo from 1996-1997 and, from 1997-1999, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Utah. Dr. Balthasar rejoined the University at Buffalo as an Assistant Professor in 1999, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003 and to Full Professor in 2008. Dr. Balthasar also serves as the Director of the Center for Protein Therapeutics and as UB’s Executive Director for Research Initiatives. Dr. Balthasar’s research utilizes pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses to guide the development of new immunotherapies. Current research in the Balthasar Lab, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Center for Protein Therapeutics, focuses on the development of new platform strategies to improve the safety and efficacy of antibody-based treatments for cancer. Balthasar’s Payload Binding Selectivity Enhancer (PBSE) platform is under development by Abceutics Inc., a UB start-up company, and the lab’s Anti-Idiotypic Distribution Enhancer (AIDE) platform is being pursued via the Empire Discovery Institute.

Dr. Joseph Conrad (Senior Technology Analysis & Marketing Specialist Technology Analysis & Marketing Unit at National Cancer Institute)

Dr. Joseph Conrad

Senior Technology Analysis & Marketing Specialist Technology Analysis & Marketing Unit at National Cancer Institute

Dr. Joseph M. Conrad III, Esq. received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from American University and his JD from George Washington University Washington College of Law. He’s a former U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Patent Examiner and spent several years working with two Washington DC patent law firms doing patent preparation and prosecution. He joined the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID’s) Office of Technology Development (OTD) in 2003, where he was responsible for the management of NIAID’s patent portfolio and educating scientists on patent related matters. In 2006, he joined the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Technology Transfer Center (TTC), where he was responsible for negotiating technology transfer agreements and overseeing invention activities for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In 2016, he joined TTC’s Technology Analysis and Marketing Unit (TAMU) and is now a Senior Technology Analysis & Marketing Specialist. In this position, Dr. Conrad is responsible for developing and improving TTC technology marketing activities; increasing awareness of licensing and partnering opportunities with the NCI (and other NIH Institutes); increasing technology visibility to the private sector and improving relationships with private sector stakeholders.

Michael Davoli (Senior Government Relations Director of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network)

Michael Davoli

Senior Government Relations Director of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

MIchael Davoli is the Senior Director of Government Relations – New York, for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). He was born and raised in Syracuse New York where he attended the University at Albany, earning a double B.A. in political science and public administration and history.
For ten years he has served in several roles at ACS CAN including leading ACS CAN’s statewide grassroots network in New York, managing ACS CAN’s public policy work in New York City, and most recently serving as ACS CAN’s Director of Government Relations in New Jersey before being named Senior Director of Government Relations – New York.

Christine E.B. Howard (Founder & CEO of E.B. Howard Consulting)

Christine E.B. Howard

Founder & CEO of E.B. Howard Consulting

Christine E.B. Howard is passionate about equal and equitable access to funding (dilutive and non-dilutive) for historically underrepresented founders of start-ups. It is her ambition to support the innovation ecosystem and promote inclusive economic growth. She believes inclusivity is imperative for innovation, and building a strong and diverse economy where all our citizens thrive is essential. With this in mind, she founded E.B. Howard Consulting in 2013 (celebrating 10 years this year and securing 100M+ in funding for clients), where they help startups and those that support the startup eco find and apply for funding and measure the success of funding.

She actively mentors and advises small businesses through programs like the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), Columbia Technology Ventures, Verizon Forward for Good Accelerator, NYSERDA's EIR Program, Startup Grind, and many others. She has also served as a pitch judge for start-up competitions like 43North, Female Founders in Tech & (FinTech and InsurTech) competitions, E^3 and NYBPC, and many others. She is a Buffalo/Niagara National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Past Board Member and Past President. She has served as Sponsorship Committee Chair, Programming Committee Chair, and Nominating Committee Chair. She is also an active member of the Chapter's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

PS - She is a recent Cancer survivor - 2 years of treatment wrapped up in November of 2022 for HER2+ Breast Cancer. She is in full remission.

Rachael Eckles (Senior Director/Team lead in Therapeutic Area policy team in US Policy & Government Affairs of Bristol Myers Squibb Company)

Rachael Eckles

Senior Director/Team lead in Therapeutic Area policy team in US Policy & Government Affairs of Bristol Myers Squibb Company

Rachael Eckles is a lawyer and bioethicist by training and has worked for the past 20 years in clinical research, public policy, government affairs, and patient advocacy roles at university cancer centers and 4 large pharmaceutical companies. She is currently at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she leads the Therapeutic Area policy team in US Policy & Government Affairs. She focuses on oncology policy.

Prior to her corporate roles, Rachael spent 5 years at the Indiana University Cancer Clinic, where she recruited patients for research and oversaw several medical ethics studies.

Rachael earned a J.D. with a health law concentration from Indiana University and a M.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in Bioethics from Indiana University.

Scott E. Friedman​ (Partner and Team Leader: Startups/VC and Family Business at Lippes Mathias)

Scott E. Friedman​

Partner and Team Leader: Startups/VC and Family Business at Lippes Mathias
Ketan Gujarathi (Executive Director of Cell Therapy Operations at BMS)

Ketan Gujarathi

Executive Director of Cell Therapy Operations at BMS

Ketan Gujarathi is the Executive Director of Cell Therapy Operations at Bristol Myers Squibb at their large cell therapy manufacturing site in Summit, NJ. Ketan has been with BMS for 7 years and in the industry for a dozen year across various roles of increasing responsibility ranging from manufacturing, quality, engineering, strategy, and site operational leadership. Most recently, Ketan was the Site Head and General Manager for a Biologics Drug Substance manufacturing facility in Syracuse, NY where multiple I-O mAB medicines were manufactured. Currently, Ketan leads the end-to-end value stream for one of two cell therapy medicines manufactured at BMS’s Summit facility. In this role he’s accountable for all activities that incorporate the ~1 month of “vein to vein” time that patients experience.
Ketan holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering from the New jersey Institute of Technology and an MBA from Rutgers Business School.

Jennifer Hawks Bland (Chief Executive Officer at NewYorkBIO)

Jennifer Hawks Bland

Chief Executive Officer at NewYorkBIO

Jennifer Hawks Bland is the Chief Executive Officer of NewYorkBIO. Prior to joining NewYorkBIO, Ms. Bland was an Executive Director in the State Government Affairs & Policy group at Merck. She has also held government affairs positions at GlaxoSmithKline and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the 136-year old trade association representing manufacturers of over-the- counter medicines. Ms. Bland previously was an associate with the Jackson, MS law firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens, & Cannada, PLLC where she principally practiced in the area of products liability litigation. Before entering the practice of law, she worked for six years for U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (RMiss.). Ms. Bland is a member of both the District of Columbia and Mississippi Bar Associations. She also has extensive volunteer experience and is currently the PTA co-president of her child’s school and sits on the Board of the Pelham Art Center. Ms. Bland currently resides in Pelham, New York with her husband, R. Trabue Bland and their two sons.

Dr. Roberto Pili (Associate Dean for Cancer Research and Integrative Oncology at University at Buffalo)

Dr. Roberto Pili

Associate Dean for Cancer Research and Integrative Oncology at University at Buffalo

Roberto Pili, MD, is associate dean for cancer research and integrative oncology, and professor and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine.

As associate dean, he is responsible for building the academic infrastructure for innovative and collaborative cancer research at UB and on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, particularly in the areas of immunotherapies, drug development and delivery, epigenetics and lifestyle-dietary interventions. He is the founder of the UB Cancer Research Consortium.

An international recognized expert in genitourinary malignancies, Pili specializes in research on the role of epigenetic modifications in overcoming drug resistance and modulating response to immunotherapies. His laboratory is also studying the impact of dietary interventions as adjuvant tools in patients receiving cancer treatments.

Pili holds several patent applications and is conducting several investigators-initiated clinical trials for the treatment of genitourinary malignancies. His laboratory is based at the school’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and his work is funded by grants from the National Cancer Institutes and the Department of Defense.

Pili received his medical degree from Catholic University School of Medicine in Rome and completed fellowships with National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging in biological chemistry and Johns Hopkins University in medical oncology. He has published 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals and serves as a reviewer for several medical journals and grants study sections of the National Cancer Institutes and the Department of Defense.

Kelley Purdom (Executive Director, Clinical Study Group Lead, Oncology and Rare Disease of Pfizer)

Kelley Purdom

Executive Director, Clinical Study Group Lead, Oncology and Rare Disease of Pfizer

Kelley Purdom is an Executive Director, Clinical Study Group Lead in Oncology and Rare Disease at Pfizer. Kelley has more than 25 years of industry experience and has been with Pfizer for 19. Kelley’s career spans across functions within the clinical drug development space including database development, data management, systems and process support, clinical trial and site monitoring and project management.

Ken Schlosser

Ken Schlosser

Ken is blessed to be able to live a full active life with stage IV NCLC thanks to the right testing and medication administered at the right time.

John Seman (CEO of Canget BioTekpharma)

John Seman

CEO of Canget BioTekpharma

Mr. Seman began his career in global life science corporations working for E. R. Squibb & Sons and multiple divisions of Johnson & Johnson, holding various management positions in sales, marketing and business development. During his tenure at Squibb, he was a team member responsible for the introduction a new cardiovascular drug that achieved highest first year sales in company history. At Johnson & Johnson, he managed a portfolio of eight biotech products in various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development, and actively participated in the licensing and acquisition of multiple pharmaceutical products.

For the past 20 years, Mr. Seman has been a serial entrepreneur involved in multiple startups including: A Founder of AVANTEC, an innovative technology based company focused on accelerating the receipt of clinical trial data from investigator sites, where he secured over $10M from multiple rounds of financing; CEO at HealthBridge, a reimbursement services company, where he tripled revenue and successfully positioned the company for a sale; CEO at PhysioGenix, a preclinical research company, where he secured seed funding from angel investors; and most recently licensed technology from universities for commercialization with ZOETIC Pharmaceuticals for immune tolerance and REVITALE Pharma for targeting furin inhibition to treat multiple diseases.

Mr. Seman holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy, received a Master of Science degree with honors in Pharmaceutical Economics and Business Administration, from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and completed the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Dr. Mike Smolinski

Dr. Mike Smolinski

Mike is an oncology executive who started at UB’s life science startup Athenex (fka Kinex), which is now NASDAQ listed. He led the company’s core preclinical chemistry research from its inception as a tiny startup, was promoted to be in charge of their entire preclinical research program, and ultimately worked his way up to CSO for the company. Mike took Athenex’s first drug candidate from preclinical through clinical trials to FDA approval and has extensive experience through all stages of a life science startups’ life cycle. As well as continuing to advise Athenex he has now founded his own pharma development consultancy. Mike has been an advisory board member on UB’s CAT funding program for many years and and now works with our life science startups as an Entrepreneur in Residence.