Speaker Biographies

Karan Ambwani, Head of Strategic Projects, EU & International Market, Teva
Karan is current a Senior Director at Teva, where he is responsible for the strategic projects & alliances for Generics, OTC & Branded medicines across more than 40 countries. Before joining Teva, Karan worked with Novartis, IBM & Capgemini.  He has more than 13 years of experience in  Corporate strategy, Business Performance Improvement, M&A and innovation across Healthcare, FMCG, Aerospace, Education & TMT industries. Karan has significant international experience having worked in India, Singapore, Spain & the Netherlands and is also an author & speaker on innovation and business model disruptions in healthcare delivery. He holds an MBA with honors from IE Business School and Bachelors in Technology from University of Delhi.

Patrick Benz, PhD, Senior Director Alliance Management, Janssen Business Development (JBD), Janssen
Patrick Benz, Senior Director Alliance Management, manages all global commercial and R&D key alliances for Neuroscience in all different global regions.  Patrick joined Johnson & Johnson in 1998 at Janssen Switzerland. He progressed through several commercial roles into the board of the Swiss Operating Company as Business Unit Director CNS, and then moved to Italy, holding several commercial roles at board level, advancing to EMEA Franchise Leader for Neurology, overseeing the entire EMEA Neurology Franchise. Since October 2008, Patrick has been a member of the Janssen Business Development team. In this group, he was holding the position of Senior Director, Business Development & Licensing for the Neuroscience Franchise until 2013, where he was negotiating several transactions for commercial as well as R&D assets. Patrick holds a Master Degree in Pharmacy and a PhD in Organic Chemistry. Before joining Janssen Switzerland in 1998, Patrick did work for Gebro Pharma AG, Switzerland, and for Boehringer Mannheim/Roche.

Celine Carlet, Director, Alliance Management & Business Development, Global Operations, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Pharmacist with nearly two decades in multinational biopharmaceuticals organisations, Céline Carlet is Corporate Strategy professional with track records in leading commercial, business and strategic corporate development initiatives. Céline has managed several cross-functional teams for complex international projects in established and emerging markets. More recently she has established a new Alliance Management function to enable Ferring to build strong business relationship with Corporate Partners. She has also led BD projects and closed several transactions for drugs, microbiome and devices.

Elena Cavalli, CSAP, Director - Alliance Management, Business Development, Astellas Pharma Europe
Elena Cavalli is an experienced Pharma Professional with strong Alliance Management and Divestment capabilities. With a highly flexible mindset, she has held a variety of positions, global, affiliate and regional primarily at Hoffmann La Roche and for the past 11 years at Astellas Pharma Europe. Her increased responsibilities spanned from Medical Affairs, Business Development, Sales, Marketing and Corporate Development & Alliance Management. Of note she has led successfully the Transitional Period for QUTENZA Divestment while in parallel maintaining her role of Alliance Management Lead for Strategic Alliances. Since having established the Alliance Management function within Astellas EMEA, Elena has generated the culture of thorough internal alignment for core partnerships ahead of every key discussion with the partners. This has created an effective professional partnership environment, very well received by upper management and partners. Elena is an enthusiastic active ASAP member; CA-AM and CSAP certified

David Gold, PhD, Director, Strategic Alliances, Regeneron
David Gold is a Director in the Strategic Alliances group at Regeneron. Prior to Regeneron, David held positions in Business Development at Adaptive Biotechnologies and Halozyme Therapeutics and began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey & Company.  David received his B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington, his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from University of California, San Diego and did a post-doctoral fellowship at The Salk Institute.

Dana Hughes, Vice President & Global Head, Integration and Alliance Management, Worldwide Business Development Group, Pfizer
Dana Hughes is a Vice President in Pfizer’s Worldwide Business Development group where he is the Global Head for Integration Management, Global Head of Alliance Management and also BD Operations. He completed the integration of Wyeth ($68B, 2009-2010, directly leading integration of the pharmaceutical business), completed the integration of King Pharmaceuticals ($4B, 2011) and managed the separation of Pfizer’s Nutrition and Animal Health businesses ($29B, 2011-2012). From 2012 on, Dana has sponsored the Pfizer Integration Community to propagate common tools, vocabulary and a cross-functional, integration-experienced cadre of colleagues that serve the variety of Pfizer’s successful integration projects. Most recently, he directly led the Allergan integration program (until cancelled in April 2016), and oversaw the integration of Anacor and Medivation. Pfizer’s enterprise alliance team oversees the largest, most complex partnered programs with peer global pharmaceuticals such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Merck and Merck KGaA. In addition to integration and alliance oversight, Dana has been involved in enterprise projects in corporate strategy, innovative deal structures and the design and construction of Pfizer’s new, sustainable Worldwide Research and Development organization. Prior to Pfizer, Dana was a Principal in The Boston Consulting Group, focusing on the strategy and financial performance of healthcare and information technology clients.  Earlier, Dana advised multi-industry businesses with Lazard Frères & Co. He was also a Senior Associate at the former CSC Index. Mr. Hughes has an MBA in international finance from Columbia Business School and an AB cum laude in Classical Archaeology from Harvard College. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Christoph Huwe, PhD, Strategic Alliance Manager Therapeutics, Global External Innovation & Alliances, Bayer AG Pharmaceuticals
Christoph has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in different roles at Bayer (Germany), Berlex Biosciences (USA) and Schering AG (Germany). He has been responsible for alliances and consortia in Europe, the US and China for more than 10 years, covering various therapeutic areas. He is also a founding member of Bayer's Alliance Community Excellence team focussing on alliance management capability development, and has served as member of the Pharma Industry Benchmarking Forum and the EFPIA Industry Liaison Group.

Neil Jones, PhD, Senior Group Leader, Discovery Bioscience, Cancer Research UK Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories
A cell biologist by training, Neil leads a group focused on target validation and disease positioning. Since joining CRUK Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories (CRUK-TDL) in 2008, he has worked on an number of projects and was part of the senior team which implemented the transition towards the lab focusing solely on academic-industry alliances. More recently has lead on the design, negotiation and management of multi-site academia-industry alliances targeting different aspects of protein homeostasis in cancer. Neil has worked in a number of areas of cancer biology including cell signalling, metastasis, metabolism mRNA translation and epigenetics and has a strong background in target identification and validation. Prior to joining CRUKT-TDL, Neil conducted postdoctoral research at the Institute of Cancer Research. Neil obtained his first degree in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Southampton.

Rob Jordan, Vice President, Clinical Operations and Program Management/Alliance Management, Palatin
Rob has been in the drug development industry for almost 20 years.  He has been employed by Palatin Technologies and involved in the development of bremelanotide for the past 12 years.  Bremelanotide is being developed as a potential on-demand treatment for female sexual dysfunction and is currently undergoing review for approval by the US FDA. As a CNS-acting drug in the sexual dysfunction space, the development of bremelanotide has had some unique aspects to the process.  Additionally, Palatin, as a small biotech company has had several collaborations with development partners, for which Rob has served as the liaison. Through sharing these aspects of the development of bremelanotide and the partnerships involved, hopes to offer a new perspective for the management of collaborations and partnerships.

Michael Kennedy, PhD, MBA, Director, Alliance Management, Business Development & Licensing, Bayer AG
Bio coming soon.

Yuri Khakhanov, PhD, Director for Projects Development, Energy Efficiency Cluster, Skolkovo Innovation Center
Yuri Khakhanov is working at Skolkovo Innovation Center which goal is to create collaborative innovative ecosystem in the high-tech hub near Moscow. His responsibilities include managing a portfolio of 100+ innovative companies and developing innovative projects. His previous experience was with Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO), which was the leading organization for hundreds nanotech portfolio companies. Yuri holds a Ph.D. in Management and Economics. He graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University: M.Sc. with Hons. in Innovation Management, B.Sc. with Hons. in Nonlinear Dynamics and Networks. Yuri’s involvement with Cambridge Healthtech Institute included presentations at the 2013 and 2015 Strategic Alliance Management Congresses in Philadelphia as well as the 1-st Strategic Alliance Management Congress Europe in 2017.

Julie Little, Strategic Alliance Executive, Commercial Partnerships, Cancer Research UK
Julie joined Cancer Research UK Commercial Partnerships (formerly Cancer Research Technology) in 2012 as a business development manager and in 2018 became a Strategic Alliance Executive with responsibility for a portfolio of drug discovery strategic partnerships with Pharma and Biotech.  During this time she played a major role in negotiating and establishing the CRUK MedImmune Alliance Laboratory, a very innovative alliance model, whose mission is to collaborate closely with academic scientists to help translate their novel science into antibody therapeutics and diagnostics for cancer patient benefit.  Other alliances in which she has played a significant role include the recently extended collaboration with Merck KGAa centred on the Hippo pathway, and the multi-party collaboration with the Cancer Research Technology Pioneer Fund, National Cancer Institute in the US and the Drug Development Unit at Beatson Institute to develop drugs against the ‘undruggable’ Ras.  Prior to CRUK Julie gained nearly 25 years scientific experience working at both Unilever and Genzyme primarily in antibody discovery research.  At Genzyme she led the antibody phage display team developing potential therapeutic antibodies for oncology, rare diseases and other autoimmune indications, and anti-idiotypic antibodies to aid clinical trials of what is now a marketed therapeutic antibody for multiple sclerosis, Campath. 

Colette Mitchem, Associate Director, Corporate and Business Development, Norgine Ltd.
Bio coming soon.

George Rahim, PhD, Senior Director, Alliance & Integration Management, UCB Biopharma SPRL
George is a pharmaceutical partnering executive with eighteen years experience in Global Business Development and Alliance Management gain at Roche and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and prior to that gained a broad international experience in Medicinal Chemistry, Project and Line Management and Business Consulting in Biotechnology. George joined UCB in 2015 to help establish the Alliance Management Centre of Expertise and help create patient value from external partnerships. As Senior Director in Alliance & Integration Management within Corporate Strategy & Development, George is developing best practice in post M&A integration and management of out-licensing deals and managing other strategic projects within the group. Before joining UCB, George was the Head of Alliance Management and Operations at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in Belgium. George’s professional experience spans the entire pharmaceutical value chain from discovery to commercialization of small molecules, biologicals and vaccines. He is a recognized practitioner in alliance management with both corporate and academic partners. George holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Henrik Sorensen, PhD, Head, Alliance & Portfolio Management, Immunocore, Ltd.
Henrik Sorensen joined Immunocore Ltd in 2013 as Head of Alliance Management with responsibility for introducing and establishing efficient Alliance Management capability to service the strategic partnerships with four major pharmaceutical companies; GSK, Genentech, Astrazeneca (MedImmune) and Eli Lilly. Henrik has more than 18 years of experience in the Biotech and Pharma industry with roles spanning across pre-clinical and clinical drug development. Prior to joining Immunocore Henrik worked at Allergan as a Senior Clinical Manager with responsibility for Global Clinical Trials and also at SRA Global Clinical Development Ltd as a Senior Programme Manager / Consultant. Henrik completed an MSc in Molecular Biology at Aarhus University (Denmark) and a PhD in Molecular Immunology (Open University, UK) while working for University of Oxford, followed by a postdoc period at University of Oxford (UK).

Uli Stilz, PhD, Vice President, Alliances & Innovation Outreach, Novo Nordisk
Uli Stilz is Vice President of Alliances & Innovation Outreach at Novo Nordisk A/S. In this role he is globally responsible to access external innovation through university collaborations and public private partnerships. Furthermore he oversees Novo Nordisk’s R&D-based PhD and Postdoc programs. Uli Stilz graduated with a Master degree in Organic Chemistry from ETH Zürich. He then moved to the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, where he received his Ph.D. in 1990.  After postdoctoral studies at California Institute of Technology he joined Hoechst AG were he held various positions before he was appointed Vice President of the newly established innovation unit within the Diabetes Division at Sanofi in 2010.  In 2014 he joined Novo Nordisk A/S in his current role as Vice President Academic Partnerships. Uli Stilz was appointed adjunct professor at the University of Frankfurt in 2012. He serves on various Editorial Boards for international peer-reviewed journals, is member of Scientific Advisory Boards in Europe and North America, and represents Novo Nordisk A/S at trade organisations (EFPIA).  Between 2012 and 2014 he had been President of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry.

Hélène Svahnqvist, Senior Director, Alliance Management, AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Hélène is an Alliance Management professional with a broad cross-functional background spanning from sales, marketing, medico-marketing, and clinical operations from the pharmaceutical, biotech and management consulting business. Hélène is heading up the Alliance Management function at AMAG. In her 18 plus years of her professional career she has held positions with increased responsibility, including being Head of International Marketing and Sales at Biora, Director of Global Clinical Operations, and Customer Excellence at Biogen. She has also, among other companies, worked for Johnson & Johnson, and Novo Nordisk.  Hélène has driven implementation of customer focus and patient-centricy in the development arena as well as launched several new medicines to patients. She has hands-on work experiences from Europe, US and Asia.  In addition to Alliance Management, Hélène is considered a Subject Matter Expert in patient recruitment and retention, presenting at conferences. She also enjoys doing ad-hoc cultural trainings for executives to share her knowledge and experience of being a worldly-citizen. Hélène holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Marketing from University of South Carolina and an MBA from School of Economics and Management from Lund’s University (Sweden). 


Erick Tyssier, Head, Government Affairs Europe, Teva
Bio coming soon.

Cécile Vanderavero,Alliance Management Community Engagement Lead, Alliance and Integration Management, UCB Biopharma
Cécile has aBusiness Engineer M.Sc and CEMS Master in Management. She began in the food industry at Unilever Belgium, in sales, marketing and European innovation for the Lipton tea brand, 1993-2002 At AB-Inbev, as global marketing manager for the Leffe beer brand, consumer insights and innovation director for Europe. In charge of the co-commercialization of the Perfectdraft machine with Philips electro company, 2002-2014. She has been at UCB since 2014, first as head of the global insights team, and since 2017 as head of the AM Community

Stefan Walke, PhD, Head, Contracts and Alliance Management (CAM), Europe, Boehringer Ingelheim
Stefan Walke has 15 years of experience in pharmaceutical/biotech industry and a dual scientific and business education. His focus at Boehringer Ingelheim is on business development, innovation, productivity, strategy and financial planning.

Florian Witte, Director, Alliance Management, Pieris Pharmaceuticals
Florian spent several years in basic research (University of Würzburg, Free University of Berlin, Max-Planck Institute Molecular Genetics, Charité Human Genetics) before moving to pharmaceutical industry and joining MorphoSys AG, where he managed multi-program alliances for antibody drug development with focus on equal co-development structures. Last year, he joined Pieris Pharmaceuticals with the task to further establish alliance management capabilities and anchor a dedicated alliance management function in the organization. As a strategic alliance professional with broad scientific background and track record in managing drug development projects and multi-program collaborations, Florian is a strong advocate of collaborative thinking and joint value generation when driving pharmaceutical alliances.