Senior Fellow, Computational Biology, GSK
Pankaj Agarwal is a GSK Senior Fellow. Since 1996, he has been on a quest at GSK to discover drugs, targets and indications using algorithms and machine learning. He has published innovative methods for gene set enrichment, literature analysis, network analysis, target identification, connectivity map, and drug repositioning. He has done strategic work on evaluating innovation in industry pipelines and identifying disease areas for investment. He has led GSK-wide efforts on systematic drug repurposing and evaluated rare disease strategies. Pankaj obtained a B. Tech. in Computer Science & Engineering from IIT, Delhi, Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University. He was one of the founding members and directors of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). He serves on the Translational Medicine Advisory Committee for PhRMA.
Chief Medical Officer, Biophytis – New Therapeutics for Aging Diseases
Samuel Agus has served as our Chief Medical Officer since July 2018. From April 2017 to June 2018 he served as Vice President, Chief Medical Officer of Hansa Medical AB (Publ), a biotechnologycompany. Prior to that, he served at various leadership positions in clinical development andmedical affairs, in several pharmaceutical companies, such as Teva Pharmaceuticals industries,Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Abbott, Shire and H. Lundbeck A/S. Dr. Agus holds a doctorate inMedicine from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a board-certified neurologist (from Israel) and has had academic training in biostatistics and bioinformatics.
Head, Commercial Partnerships Invitae
Daniel leads the Commercial Partnerships group at Invitae where he is responsible for building the network of programs with biopharma companies and patient advocacy groups. Prior to joining Invitae, he worked in J.P. Morgan’s healthcare investment banking group where he advised biotech and medtech companies on M&A, capital raising and other strategic transactions.
Daniel started his career at the management consulting firm ZS Associates where he specialized in addressing healthcare sales and marketing issues. He has also worked in South Africa and Tanzania to expand access to vaccination programs.
Daniel lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and 1 year old daughter.
Brian Bronk, ph.D.
Head of Business Development, Rare Diseases & Rare Blood Disorders, Global Business Development & Licensing
Since joining Sanofi in 2014, Brian has contributed to partnering and business developmentactivities through a number of different roles. He started as a member of the Sunrise team, wherehis efforts focused on building and maintaining a portfolio of investments, including MyoKardia, Portal, Warp Drive Bio, DiCE and Thermalin. Brian then joined the Sanofi Business Development team in 2017 as head of External Innovation, Rare Diseases and assumed his current responsibilities in 2018. In this role, he and his teams are responsible for working with senior leadership to define an overall portfolio strategy, with accountability for identifying and securing external opportunities that fill portfolio and business needs for each of these therapeutic areas.
Prior to joining Sanofi, Brian was Vice President of Research and Development at Satori Pharmaceuticals, where he was a member of the Executive Leadership team and led chemical sciences and drug metabolism. He also advised several venture capital and life science groups; his efforts contributed to a number of successful financing rounds, as well as advancing R&D portfoliosthrough key milestones. Brian started his professional career with Pfizer (1994-2008), rising to the level of Senior Director. During this tenure, his responsibilities included shaping R&D strategy across multiple platforms andtherapeutic areas and delivering clinical candidates in psychiatry, neurology, infectious diseasesand metabolic disorders. Brian and his teams have been involved in the discovery of more than twenty development candidates, including the launched products Draxxin™, Convenia™, Cerina™and Slentrol™.
Brian earned his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1989. Following a year as a FulbrightFellow in Dortmund, Germany, he initiated his doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving his doctorate in chemistry in 1994.
Philip John (P.J.) Brooks
Program Director, Office of Rare Diseases Research, NCATS
Philip John (P.J.) Brooks is a Program Director in the Office of Rare Diseases Research in theNational Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). Prior to taking on this role, he was in the NCATS Division of Clinical Innovation, where he was the lead program director for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program Collaborative Innovation Awards, designed to fund projects that will result in novel and creative approaches to overcoming road blocks in translational science. In addition to his work in NCATS, Brooks is the Working Group Coordinator for the NIH Common Fund Somatic Cell Genome Editing.
Dr. Brooks earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing a post doctoral fellowship at the Rockefeller University, Brooks became an investigator in the intramural program of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He developed an internationally recognized research program focused on two distinct areas: the molecular basis of alcohol-related cancer, and rare neurologic diseases resulting from defective DNA repair.
Principal Investigator, Phelan-McDermid Syndrome International
Megan is the the parent of an 18-year-old daughter with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome (PMS). This diagnosis includes autism, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, ADHD, and other medical conditions. She is the Principal Investigator for the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Data Network (PMS_DN, PCORnet) and the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome International Registry (PMSIR). Megan is passionate about the value of the patient’s voice in: research, drug development, clinical trial design, development of related legislation, and quality of life decisions. She advocates for data sharing, collaborating with other advocacy groups, sharing resources and streamlining IRB practices and policies.
President and CEO - Eiger BioPharmaceuticals
David Cory is an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience in large pharmaceuticals, emerging stage biotechnology, and specialty pharmaceutical organizations with an established track record of operational performance, including five successful Orphan Designation drug programs.
Cory is President and CEO, Director, and business founder of Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, leading the company since its founding in 2008 and responsible for negotiating the company’s multipletechnology and product licenses from Stanford University, Merck, Nippon Kayaku, Janssen, BMSand The Progeria Research Foundation. Prior to Eiger, Cory was President and Chief Operating Officer of Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, an orphan CNS specialty pharmaceutical company, which was acquired by Biovail for $160 million in 2007. Previously, Cory was a Co-Founder at CoTherix, an orphan pulmonary arterial hypertension company, which was acquired by Actelion for $425 millionin 2006. Cory began his biotech career at InterMune, focused on developing orphan products foridiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, where he was a Senior Vice President and a key executive in the company IPO, building and managing the company’s commercial organization, in-licensing 4 products and raising over $400 million in the capital markets. InterMune was ultimately acquired by Roche for $8 billion in 2013. Cory spent over a decade in large pharma in positions of increasing responsibilities in commercial operations at Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome, and Glaxo Smith Kline where heled teams in oncology, critical care, CNS, infectious disease and respiratory therapeutic areas, and directed 10 newly approved pharmaceutical product launches.
Cory earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati, College ofPharmacy, was board certified in Pharmacy in the state of Ohio, and holds a Master’s Degree inBusiness Administration from the University of Maryland.
Anne B. Cropp
Chief Scientific Officer - Early Access Care LLC
Anne has over 25 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, marked by achievements in the successful development of several new drug products in adult and pediatric populations.
Prior to Early Access Care, Anne was VP in Global Product Development at Pfizer Inc and led global teams from Phase 2 through NDA/MAA submission and successful registration and commercialization. She has partnered extensively with Patient Groups across a multitude of disease areas, including rare disease, to integrate patient and caregiver voice into development and pre-launch strategy. She has focused on removing barriers to the incorporation of the patient throughout the development of a compound and has created tools used by product teams to place patients at the center of development and launch strategies. She specializes in optimizing early access programs as part of the overall development strategy of new medicines in rare disease indications.
Anne serves as the Chief Scientific Officer for Early Access Care, providing consultative, functional and operational support to biopharmaceutical companies for global early access programs.
CEO, Founder, Zebra Leaf Publishing, Writer, Hunt for a Cure, Author
Khrystal joined the rare disease community in 2011 when her newborn son, Hunter, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1, the leading genetic cause of mortality in children under the age of two. SMA Type 1, often described as ALS in babies, robs the ability to move, swallow, and ultimately breathe. Khrystal is the author of Hunt for a Cure: An Unexpected Adventure to Save a Life. Khrystal founded Zebra Leaf Publishing to provide the rare disease community a platform to promote rare disease awareness.
In May of 2016, Khrystal advocated alongside the FAST Movement (Families for the Acceleration of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatments) in a meeting with top FDA representatives for access to Spinraza, an SMA treatment in clinical trials at the time. Together with other FAST members, she asked the FDA to stop placebo trials, provide a means of access for the weakest SMA patients, accelerate the approval, and approve the treatment for all SMA patients regardless of age or type of SMA. In an interim look completed on August 1, 2016, the FDA found the treatment met trial objectives. An Expanded Access Program for SMA Type 1 patients commenced August 12, 2016, and the FDA approved Spinraza for children and adults with SMA on December 23, 2016.
Khrystal is committed to improving health outcomes in those with rare diseases through improved access to rare disease treatments. She advocates for the expansion of newborn screening programs and insurance policies that conform to FDA labels for orphan drugs. She is a proponent of patient-driven access to rare disease treatments.
Khrystal holds a Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law and is certified in Clinical Trial Design and Interpretation by Johns Hopkins through the Coursera program. She is a proud wife and mother of five who enjoys traveling the world with her family.
VP, Global Medical Affairs, Sarepta Therapeutics
Bio coming soon
RN, Founder /President of Rare New England (RNE)
Julie Gortze is a registered nurse and also Founder /President of Rare New England (RNE), a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on offering educational opportunities to patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders in the rare disease community. RNE also creates awareness of available resources and builds foundations for support for patients and families touched by rare and complex disorders.
Julie has worked as an RN in pediatric home care, sub-acute care, and acute care. She has volunteered her time in several patient advocacy organizations. Julie has been involved in legislative efforts for the creation of a rare disease task force initiative through CT legislation and has been championing a similar bill, “An Act to Create a Rare Disease Advisory Council” in MA that would provide a group of rare disease stakeholders to form a committee to investigate issues in the rare disease community and collaboratively find solutions.
Julie is a member of the Regional Genetics Group Steering Committee, Global Genes Alliance, and North Attleboro Commission on Disabilities. She is a Rare Disease Advisory Panel Member through Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Julie has been on various organizations’ conference planning committees as well as been part of organization for Rare Disease Day State House events.
Julie has personal experience with a complex disease and has learned first-hand what patients and families must deal with while searching for a cause for symptoms. As a nurse, she also understands that the average medical personnel do not have the familiarity or sufficient education for recognizing, diagnosing and treating a complex medical disorder. She recognizes a need for bridging the gap for patients and families between the busy clinics and available resources to enable more beneficial continuing of care and improved quality of lives. She strongly believes in empowering patients with information relevant to their medical issues through educational opportunities, enabling potential for improved quality of lives.
Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, National Kidney Foundation
Anthony is responsible for forging and maintaining relations with key external stakeholders across a wide range of industries, to advance NKF’s mission and objectives, along with those of its partner organizations. Anthony oversees two national Corporate Development Teams, focused on securing revenue necessary to ensure NKF programmatic excellence and impact. He has been with the Foundation since 2002.
Prior to NKF, Anthony was a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Technologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where he was responsible for processing autogeneic / allogeneic bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells for transplantation. He holds a master’s degree in Biochemistry from Columbia University.
CEO & Founder Pulse Infoframe Inc.
Dr. Femida Gwadry‐Sridhar is the Founder and CEO of Pulse Infoframe Inc. She has her PhD in Research Methodology, Health Economics, McMaster University. She is a pharmacist, epidemiologist and methodologist with over 25 years of experience in clinical trials, disease registries, knowledge translation, health analytics and clinical disease outcomes. She founded the first knowledge translation health informatics lab in North America in 2006, creating a collaborative ecosystem for interdisciplinary research. In 2008 this facility, I‐THINK research, developed a physical and virtual platform to support multidisciplinary research. The platform has evolved to enable the integration of clinical, imaging and histopathology data.
Pulse Infoframe has developed healthieTM, a revolutionary evidence-based platform transforming rare disease and cancer clinical research and treatment. Pulse’s SaaS data platform is becoming the de facto standard for real work evidence, meeting an urgent regulatory requirement. Pulse builds multi-stakeholder collaborative networks of pharmaceutical companies, researchers and patients and enables stakeholder access to clinical trials, input on trial design, new treatment development, and accelerated research. Pulse captures, organizes, analyzes, curates and shares existing and unique data using its industry leading and scalable data-sharing platform powered by AI and machine learning.
Under Dr. Gwadry-Sridhar’s guidance Pulse has developed a global presence. Pulse has collaborated with international funding agencies advancing the requirements for rare disease registries. Collecting relevant and actionable data in rare disease is essential. Pulse has addressed relevant questions about data sharing, governance, ontologies and patient reported outcomes- all key to understanding and enabling the development of real-world evidence. DrGwadry-Sridhar is a life-long collaborator and has done so across different disciplines and cultures. This experience has resulted in a comprehensive understanding of the value of collaboration to fast-forward progress and improve lives everywhere.
Exec. Director & Global Head, Emerging Science & Innovation - Rare Diseases,Worldwide R& D, Pfizer, Inc.
Aileen Healy has been focused on drug development for monogenic rare diseases for the pastdecade. At Pfizer, Aileen leads the Emerging Science and Innovation efforts for the Rare Disease Research Unit, focusing on rare hematologic, endocrine, neuromuscular diseases and inborn errors of metabolism. Prior to joining Pfizer, Aileen was Vice President of Preclinical Development at Cydan, where she co founded two companies each focused on rare diseases. Aileen began work inrare diseases at Seaside Therapeutics as Vice President of Research, where she focused ondeveloping treatments to improve the course of neurodevelopmental disorders. Aileen hasextensive experience in drug development leading preclinical research in multiple therapeutic areasat Momenta and Millennium Pharmaceuticals. She began her career as an Assistant Professor atBoston University School of Medicine, conducting biomedical research. Aileen holds patents and has published in peer-reviewed journals on a wide range of topics. Aileen received her PhD from Tufts University and post doctoral training from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
T Anthony Howell
Esq., Co-Founder & Digital Community Builder, rareLife solutions, creators of onevoice.world
Tony’s primary role is to execute the vision of rareLife solutions offerings for individuals, communities and industry clients. He and Dan Donovan, co-founders, envisioned and built the onevoice technology platform to bring all stakeholders to one platform by collaborating with advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical companies, academic centers, CROs and hospitals. The rareLife solutions collaborative teams benefit rare patients’ lives by developing communication programs rooted in science and online platforms customized for a particular rare disease.
Prior to rareLife solutions, Tony built the clinical-outreach medical journal publisher, LeJacq Ltd. and sold it to Wiley-Blackwell. He then founded TheMedicalRoundtable.com — medical publications that harness the power of collaboration among key opinion leaders for busy clinicians.
He is currently admitted to practice law in NY and CT, holds an Advanced Certification in Healthcare & Compliance Law from Seton Hall Law School and held associate positions
at both Schulte Roth and Paul Hastings after graduating from Rutgers University School of
Law–Newark, New York University, and The Lawrenceville School.
Chief Medical Officer, Sentien Biotechnologies
Dr. Pedro Huertas is the Chief Medical Officer at Sentien Biotechnologies, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing immunomodulatory applications applications of mesenchymal stem cells for inflammatory conditions.
Dr. Huertas, a native of Chile, is a graduate of Stanford University (MS, Biochemistry), Harvard University (PhD, Cell and Developmental Biology), the Program in Health Sciences and Technology between Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MD), and the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS, Management). He trained in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Palliative Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a licensed physician in Massachusetts.
Dr. Huertas has been in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 30 years with 10 years in basic research, 10 years in development (including translational, preclinical and clinical) and 10years in medical affairs. During these 30 years, he has worked as a bench scientist, a program leader and has managed development and early through late-stage clinical programs in biotechnological star-up companies and major pharmaceutical companies. He has been a C-level executive in several biotechnology companies.
Most recently, Dr. Huertas was Chief Medical Officer at Eloxx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ELOX), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing advanced small molecules as read-through agents for genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations. Prior to Eloxx, he served as the Precision Medicine Clinical Lead and Head of Precision Medicine for Rare Diseases at Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development. Previously, he was the Medicines Development Group Team Lead for Vyndaqel (tafamidis meglumine) in the Specialty Care Business Unit at Pfizer Inc.
VP, Medical Sciences, Ovid Therapeutics
Leslie is a neuropsychologist with over 20 years of experience in academia, pharmaceutical and biotech neuroscience research. She is the VP of Medical Science at Ovid Therapeutics. She, along with her fellow Ovidians, are dedicated to developing medicines that significantly impact the lives of patients with rare neurological disorders.
Leslie started her pharmaceutical career in clinical development. She has led Phase 1 through 4 clinical development programs across a wide range of CNS conditions including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease. While at MGH in the Department of Psychiatry, Leslie was the Program Director for the first public health study of bipolar disorder, the Systematic Treatment Enhance Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD). Leslie holds a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, where she also completed her post doc in adult and pediatric epilepsy. Her research interests in CNS are guided by the vision and passion of bringing innovative treatments to patients.
Director, Regulatory Strategy and Communications, Prevail Therapeutics
Dr. Litwack received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT. After postdoctoral studies at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, a member of the Program in Neuroscience, and a founding member of the School’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. In 2010, Dr. Litwack was awarded an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship in NCI’s Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research. In that role, he led several efforts to develop policy and programs to advance the use of biobanking for personalized medicine. In 2012, Dr. Litwack joined the Personalized Medicine Staff of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health at the FDA, where he developed policies to guide the review of investigational biomarker tests, companion diagnostics, and next generation technologies. He is now Director of Regulatory Strategy and Communications at Prevail Therapeutics.
President & CEO, Amyloidosis Research Consortium
Isabelle Lousada is the founder and CEO of the Amyloidosis Research Consortium (ARC) formed in 2015 and located in Boston. As President & CEO of ARC, she designs and leads innovative, global programs: Bringing together doctors, researchers, patients, industry, and regulators in order to build meaningful programs and break down the barriers that prevent successful drug development for the amyloidosis diseases. Ms. Lousada leads a team of dedicated employees and volunteers and oversees ARC’s progressive initiatives.
In 1996, Ms. Lousada was diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, and was one of the first patients to successfully undergo a stem cell transplant. For the past twenty years, she has been committed to empowering other patients while serving on the boards of a number of non-profits. She developed programs to encourage research, increase access, and support the critical and unmet needs of patients.
Now in its fourth year, with Isabelle Lousada at the helm of the ARC, successful collaborations across the sectors have been created to advance the science and understanding of the amyloidosis diseases.
Manager, Policy Development, Patented Medicine Prices Review Board / Government of Canada
With both public and private sector experience, Elena Lungu is an expert in the area of pharmaceutical policy, pricing and reimbursement in Canada. Currently, she is the Manager of the Policy Development with the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) and in this role, she coordinates the development of strategic policy advice related to price regulation for the Board. Previously, Elena served for a decade as the Manager of the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System (NPDUIS) of the PMPRB, building this initiative into a leader in economic analyses related to price, utilization and cost trends in support of policy decisions in Canada. Prior to her career in the public service, Elena held various management and senior economist positions in private consulting related to market access as well as public and private reimbursement markets. Elena holds a Masters of Arts in Economics from Carleton University and has 16 years of pharmaceutical market experience.
Han C. Phan
Founder and Executive Officer, Rare Disease Research
Dr. Han Phan is a board-certified sleep medicine specialist & neurologist with special qualification in child neurology. She is currently the director of clinical research at Rare Disease Research, LLC. She has been a principal investigator many trials from phase 1-4 and has over 10 years experience in clinical research both in large academic institution and at independent clinical research center lending her the skills to navigate and expeditiously galvanize any clinical trial, big or small.
She also serves as special government employee on the FDA pediatric advisory committee and guest researcher with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Birth Defects and Newborn Screening Branch.
Chief Medical Officer and Head of Research & Development, Ovid Therapeutics
Amit Rakhit is Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Ovid Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OVID), a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on developing medicines for people living with rare neurologic conditions. In this role Amit oversees research, drug development and commercialization for the Ovid portfolio. Amit has over 20 years’ experience including both clinical practice and pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry experience. Amit earned his B.A. in molecular biology from the University of California, Berkeley, his M.D. from Tufts University, his M.S. in clinical investigation from Vanderbilt University and MBA from Columbia University. He completed his fellowship in pediatric cardiology and was subsequently on staff at The Children’s Hospital, Boston affiliated with Harvard University.
Prior to Ovid, he was SVP and Head of Worldwide Medical at Biogen where he led the medical function in disease areas such as multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and hemophilia, and orphan diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Prior to Biogen, Amit was part of the R&D and medical organization at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Amit is an Advisor Trustee for the Liberty Science Center in NJ as well as an Advisory member of the Healthcare Board of the Partnership Fund for New York City.
Executive Director, Congenital Hyperinsulinism International
Julie Raskin is a founder and the executive director of Congenital Hyperinsulinism International (CHI). CHI, a 501(c)3, is a lifeline to those born with congenital hyperinsulinism (HI) and their families. CHI is the global organization dedicated to supporting children and adults born with HI. CHI supports research for better treatments and cures, HI families every step of the way, and is the foremost advocate for increased awareness and better medical protocols for HI to reduce preventable brain damage and death from prolonged hypoglycemia. Julie works with a collaborative team to fulfil CHI’s mission to improve the lives of people born with HI.
Julie is also the Rare Action Network State Ambassador for New Jersey. The Rare Action Network is the nation’s leading advocacy network working to improve the lives of the 30 million Americans living with a rare disease at the state level. The Rare Action Network is powered by NORD.
Founder, KIF1A.ORG / Vice President, Patient Engagement & Government Affairs, Ovid Therapeutics
In his role at Ovid Therapeutics, Luke works closely with patient and family organizations to foster innovative, cross-functional collaboration between the Ovid team and members of the rare disease community. He sits on the Board of Directors of Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE) and works to ensure children with disabilities have equal access to New York City Public Schools. Luke is the Founder of KIF1A.ORG, a non-profit foundation working to support research and eliminate challenges for families affected by KIF1A Associated Neurological Disorder.
MD, FACC, FCCP, Global Program Head, Rare Disease (current), Sanofi Genzyme
Alison is currently the Global Program Head for the Rare Disease Development at Sanofi Genzyme. She is responsible for defining the strategic focus of Rare Disease development in collaboration with Head of Commercial. She works closely with external innovation and BD to make review and decide on opportunities to be brought forward for consideration including Bioverativ. In addition, Alison now leads the acid sphingomyelinase deficiency (ASMD) (formerly known as Niemann-Pick) Global Team. She coordinates the regulatory, clinical operations, medical affairs, legal and CMC to allow submission for the first in class therapy for this ultra-rare diseases with high mortality and morbidity and no known treatment.
Dr. Schecter is an internationally recognized physician scientist and board-certified cardiologist. Her academic research focused on chemokine and cytokine signaling in cardiovascular and viral diseases focusing on vascular disease, lipids and heart failure with over 50 peer reviewed papers and multiple NIH RO1 grants that supported her independent laboratory. Dr. Schecter, as tenured Associate Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was Co-Director of the over one hundred person Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Research Center and sat on multiple NIH and AHA study sections and special panels.
Alison completed her Internal Medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and her Cardiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital with a research fellowship at Mount Sinai. She also co-founded the Women’s CARE (Cardiac Assessment and Risk Evaluation) Program to educate and treat under-served women in Spanish Harlem, NY and has appeared on national, local TV and radio as a medical expert on cardiovascular and women’s health.
Managing Director, SKC Beratungsgesellscha
Prof. Matthias P. Schönermark, M.D., Ph.D., is a trained head & neck surgeon with a Ph.D. in molecular oncology. In 1998, he left his job as an Associate Professor at Hannover Medical School for a position as project leader & manager at The Boston Consulting Group, where he spent several years, supporting clients in the health care industry in Europe and overseas. In 2005, after a year as Associate Partner with A.T. Kearney, he founded the SKC Beratungsgesellschaft mbH (SKC). He was appointed as Professor of Health Care Management at Hannover Medical School in 2001. He spent several years at Columbia University in New York and at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire and lectures at universities & business schools in Europe and the U.S. on strategic issues in health care.
In his function as managing partner, he is a permanent consultant to numerous leadership personalities of international health insurance and provider organizations, as well as of medtech and pharmaceutical companies on strategic management, innovation management and change management issues. He holds an unrivalled track record of solving complex and demanding market access challenges, especially in the orphan drug and oncology sector and is one of the most experienced negotiation leaders in reimbursement and pricing procedures.
Samuel Seward, Jr.
MD, FAAP, FACP, Professor and Chair, Dept of Medicine
Dr. Seward received his M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine in 1990. He joined the Sinai faculty, for the first time, in 1994, as an Associate and, later, Program Director of the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency. In 2004, he joined the faculty of Columbia University Medical Center, ultimately rising to Associate Vice President of Columbia Health which provided a broad array of outpatient services and programs to the Columbia community. Dr. Seward returned to Mount Sinai in 2016 as the Site Chair, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and West hospitals. Dr. Seward is internationally known for his work with the Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome patient population; HPS is a rare autosomal recessive disorder. In addition, his clinical interests include the care of adult patients who are survivors of congenital and pediatric disorders.
President, Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation
Kristin Smedley’s two sons were diagnosed soon after birth with a rare blindness. Although Kristin was initially paralyzed with fear of raising two blind children, she launched an extraordinary mission to change their bleak future ahead. She worked with education systems in multiple states in which she lived to get her sons the tools they needed to achieve in public schools.
Her children have become popular, accomplished athletes, high achieving students, talented musicians, and International Braille competition finalists. Her oldest son, Michael has achieved Dean’s List in his first two college semesters.
In 2011 Kristin founded the only patient organization in the world for her sons’ inherited retinal disease. CRB1.org is a global leader in changing what a rare eye disease diagnosis means, and Kristin is a sought-after speaker and collaborator in the field.
Kristin recently published her first book, Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight. It hit #1 New Release in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.com.
Principal, Law Offices of Michael Swit
Michael Swit has been addressing critical U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) legal and regulatory issues since 1984. Before returning to private law practice in late 2017, he served for three years at Illumina, Inc., the world’s leading developer of gene sequencing technology, as its chief regulatory counsel. Prior to that, Swit was a special counsel in FDA Practice at the global law firm of Duane Morris LLP in it’s San Diego office.
Before joining Duane Morris in March 2012, Swit served for seven years as a vice president at The Weinberg Group Inc., a preeminent scientific and regulatory consulting firm in the Life Sciences. His expertise includes product development, compliance and enforcement, recalls and crisis management, submissions and related traditional FDA regulatory activities, labeling and advertising, and clinical research efforts for all types of life sciences companies, with an emphasis on drugs, biologics, therapeutic biotech products, medical devices, and IVDs, but also has experience with foods, cosmetics, and clinical research issues. His FDA legal experience has included tenures in the food and drug law practices McKenna & Cuneo (now Denton’s) and Heller Ehrman, and as vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Par Pharmaceutical, a top public generic and specialty drug firm, where he helped spearhead the company’s recovery from prior management’s involvement in the Generic Drug Scandal of the late 1980’s. He also was, from 1994 to 1998, CEO of FDANews.com, a premier publisher of regulatory newsletters and other specialty information products for FDA-regulated firms. He has taught and written on many topics relating to FDA regulation and associated commercial activities and is a past member of the Food & Drug Law Journal Editorial Board. He earned his AB, magna cum laude, with high honors in history, at Bowdoin College, and his law degree at Emory University.
Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer, Kadmon Pharmaceuticals, LLC
Ms. Taitel is Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer at Kadmon, where she is responsible for the strategy, tactical execution and forecasting of in-line promoted products, portfolio contracting strategies and the launch readiness of pipeline assets.
Haya leads commercial operation disciplines including marketing, sales, national accounts and contracting strategies across several therapeutic areas. She also oversees the commercial operation infrastructure, including the business analytics, market segmentation and customer service units.
Prior to joining Kadmon, Haya led the U.S. commercial franchises of both the Pharma and Device sectors of Johnson & Johnson. In her 25-year tenure with J&J, she launched new chemical entities in several therapeutic areas including neurology, analgesia, peripheral diabetic neuropathy, women’s health, and urology, with focus on interstitial cystitis.
Chairman, National Alliance of People with Rare Diseases – Bulgaria
Chairman of the National Gaucher Association 1999-2004
President of the National Organization of the Gaucher Patients 2004-2007
Chairman of the National Alliance of People with Rare Diseases 2007- until now
Chairman of the Euro-Asian Alliance for Rare Diseases 2012- until now
President of the Confederation of Health Protection – Largest Patients Assembly in Bulgaria 2010-2013 2018 – until now
Member of the Advisory Council on Rare Diseases at the Ministry of Health – 2009-2014.
Member of the Commission for Rare Diseases аt the Ministry of Health from 2015 – until now
Member of the Advisory Council on Treatment for Chealdren at the Ministry of Health -2015 – 2018
Education: MA in Design, Pedagogy and Health Management
Speaks Russian and English.
SVP, Operations, Anavex Life Sciences
Stephan Toutain, Senior Vice President of Operations, brings more than 25 years of drug development, general management, operations, commercial development, market access, and sales and marketing leadership with particular expertise in neurology and orphan drug markets globally. Before joining Anavex, he held the role of CCO at Interleukin Genetics. He also worked with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to build its early access program. Previously, he led Global Commercial Development for Sarepta Therapeutics and served as General Manager for Alexion Pharmaceuticals in Europe. Mr. Toutain has also held various U.S. commercial, marketing and product management positions with Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Celgene Corporation, and Johnson & Johnson. He received a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Engineering in Biotechnology from the University of Nancy II in France.
CEO and President, Farmacon.co
Sara Tylosky is an experienced Global Executive in the healthcare field with over 20 years of success leading diverse teams in a variety of competitive fast paced environments within the medical industry. As the CEO of Farmacon, a novel research-consulting firm, Sara and her medical expert network have successfully helped Pharmas and Biotechs complete enrollment goals and develop strategic plans for market access, with a particular focus in Orphan Disease projects in Latin America. Farmacon has an established record as an expert problem solver with an ability to get results by mobilizing the right groups and providing the cultural feedback and intelligence so that data endpoints can be properly met. She holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University, is fluent in Spanish and has lived in 3 continents so far, with a passion for helping others. She is also an accomplished dressage horse rider.
Robert (Bob) Ward
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Eloxx Pharmaceuticals
Mr. Robert (Bob) E. Ward is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Eloxx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Eloxx”). He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and President at Radius Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: RDUS) successfully completing the initial public offering that became the top performing IPO; raised over $780M from private and public sources; achieved FDA approval and launch of the new drug TYMLOStm injection while gaining Fast Track development status for the Elacestrant oncology program. Prior to joining Radius, Mr. Ward held a series of progressive management and executive roles with established companies such as NPS Pharmaceuticals, Schering-Plough (Merck), Pharmacia (Pfizer), Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech. Mr. Ward has been a Director of Akari Therapeutics, Plc since October 14, 2016 where he chairs the Governance Committee. He served as a Director of Radius from December 2013 until July 16, 2017. Mr. Ward serves as a Director of the Massachusetts High Technology Council. Mr. Ward received a B.A. in Biology and a B.S. in Physiological Psychology, both from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an M.S. in Management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Immunology from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
CEO and Founder, Beyond the Diagnosis
Patricia Weltin is the CEO and Founder of the Beyond the Diagnosis. Beyond the Diagnosis unites art and science to inspire research and innovation of treatments for people living with orphan and neglected diseases.
Beyond the Diagnosis began working on a project to increase research and raise awareness of rare diseases within the medical community through art. Professional artists paint portraits of children living with a rare disease, the portraits then become part of a traveling exhibit for medical schools, research institutes and hospitals. This exhibit has also touched the hearts and minds of the general public. Since the debut, Beyond the Diagnosis has visited the NIH, Broad Institute, Hofstra Medical, Harvard Medical, the FDA and many more.
Patricia, the mother of two children with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, began working in this space by creating a new business model of working by state. Her award-winning work in state-level advocacy grew to national advocacy efforts. Today, Patricia proudly works to successfully use art as a powerful tool to create awareness and increase innovation into orphan and neglected diseases.
Martine Zimmermann PharmD
Senior Vice President, Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
Martine Zimmermann PharmD. is the Senior Vice President and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Based in Zurich, she has over 20 years of combined R&D and global regulatory strategy experience. She joined Alexion in 2009 and since then has been dedicated to the registration of Orphan Medical products as well as shaping a favourable regulatory environment for orphans. Throughout her career, Martine has been directly involved in multiple regulatory approvals across the globe and most recently Strensiq approval in 2015 in Japan, Europe and US. Martine received her Pharm D. from University Louis Pasteur, in Strasbourg (France).