Andrea Sotak is the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee and previously held the role of President and Chief Investment Officer at DRI Capital. She is a leading healthcare investing professional with a more than 20-year track record of assessing the potential of therapeutics.
Ms Sotak has been responsible for the growth and success of DRI Capital, including the development and execution of DRI’s investment strategies. Since 2003, she has led the evaluation of hundreds of investment opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas and took a leading role in the execution of all investments completed in DRI’s private equity funds. Ms Sotak developed many of DRI’s internal processes facilitating the transition of the company to a well-respected institutional private equity fund manager. She led the firm’s investment team, and set up and then led its investor relations, risk management and operations functions. In addition, she was instrumental in raising multiple private equity funds and the execution of numerous debt financings. Prior to joining DRI, Ms Sotak’s life sciences background included several years with Aventis Pasteur and Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc.
Ms Sotak acts as a mentor to seed stage healthcare companies across North America through her participation in several incubator programs. She is also a member of the Advisory Board at the Smith School of Business, volunteers her time at the University of Waterloo and is involved with a number of organizations and initiatives that champion women in STEM. Ms Sotak received a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Queen’s University.
Ignacio Faus is Chairman of the Board of Abologix, a biopharmaceutical company based in Geneva (Switzerland), as well as advisor to several european life science companies (Sibylla Biotech, NFL Biosciences, etc.). For several years he was Managing Partner in the Sage Healthcare Group, an anglo-american strategy and business development life sciences firm. Prior to that Ignacio was the co-founder and CEO of Palau Pharma, a biotec company focused on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Ignacio led the new company through two venture rounds, two joint ventures that generated several marketed products, and the sale of several R&D projects to top-tier pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co, Teva, Almirall, Valeant and others. Ignacio started his career at a number of pharmaceutical companies working in R&D, project management, strategic planning and business development. He earned a PhD in biochemistry from Indiana University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
John Brown has extensive experience in the life sciences sector. He is Chairman of Synpromics Ltd, BioCity Group, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Senior Non-Executive Director of Acacia Pharma plc. Previously he was Chairman of Kyowa Kirin International plc, BTG plc, Axis-Shield plc, Touch Bionics Ltd and CXR Biosciences Ltd and Senior Non-Executive Director of Quantum Pharma plc. In the public sector he is Chairman of the Roslin Foundation, a Fellow and Treasurer of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of MRC Council and an Honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh. He was made a CBE in 2011.
Josh Schafer is Sr. Vice President and Global Head of Business Development and Strategy and General Manager International Operation at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. In this role he has responsibility for building the Mallinckrodt pipeline through acquisitions as well as commercial oversight for building Mallinckrodt’s business outside of the US. He has led more than $12B in acquisitions transforming it into a leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Prior to Mallinckrodt, Josh was Global Head & Vice President, Oncology Marketing & Strategy at Astellas Pharmaceuticals. He served as a member of the Oncology Leadership team responsible for overall Oncology franchise strategy. He held commercial operational and P&L responsibility and was instrumental in the company’s $4B acquisition of OSI Pharmaceuticals, as well as the in-licensing of Xtandi (Medivation) and other transactions which transformed Astellas into a global category leader in oncology. He led the global launch of Xtandi, one of the most successful oncology launches. Previously, Josh was Director of Specialty Marketing at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for providing commercial leadership for Takeda’s oncology and renal pipeline and served a pivotal role in the $9B acquisition of Millennium Pharmaceuticals. He held a variety of roles including New Product Development, Business Development, Sales and Marketing.
Since 2013, Robert Armitage has acted as a consultant on IP strategy and policy matters to DRI. Prior to his current consulting role, he served for a decade as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Eli Lilly and Company. He had been Lilly’s Vice President and General Patent Counsel before becoming General Counsel for the Company. He had previously been a partner with Vinson & Elkins LLP (leading its Washington, D.C.-based IP practice). He was president of both the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel, as well as chair of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the American Bar Association. He was also a member of the IPO Board of Directors while serving as chief IP counsel for both Lilly and Upjohn. He is currently a member of the board of trustees of the American Intellectual Property Law Education Foundation. He has been a long-time advocate for patent reform initiatives and was a vocal supporter of reform measures included in both the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 and the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. He has written and lectured extensively on these and other patent reform topics. Among the professional recognitions that Bob has received for his contributions to the patent law are the AIPLA Excellence Award and the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association’s Jefferson Medal.
Dr. Mark David Vincent
Mark Vincent MD has been a Medical Oncologist at the London Regional Cancer Center since 1991, and a Senate Stream Professor of Oncology at the University of Western Ontario since 2012. His research activities in drug design include helping to invent novel compounds which potentiate therapies used widely in various forms of cancer. His research in toxicity prediction has led to several publications. Dr. Vincent holds multiple patents on the potentiation of cancer chemotherapy, and is a frequent international lecturer on the positioning of new drugs in the management of lung and gastro-intestinal cancer. Dr Vincent has authored/co-authored over 125 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Vincent is the CEO, Co-Founder and President of Sarissa Inc., a private company involved in the development of compounds which potentiate drugs including those approved for treatment of solid and hematological cancers. He is an independent director of publicly listed Aptose Biosciences Inc., and sits on the advisory boards and speaker panels of various major pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Pfizer, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Roche, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck and more. Dr. Vincent’s other interests include the translation of basic research into the clinic, the design and conduct of clinical trials, toxicity minimisation/avoidance, and resistance reversal by means of gene directed therapy and small molecule chemopotentiation. Dr Vincent has been an invited speaker at NIH and other conferences lecturing on the nature of cancer.