Our second keynote speaker is Andy Walker, CEO of Jewel Therapeutics and formerly Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Juno Therapeutics. He has a prolific resume working with #biotech startups and will be speaking about #entrepreneurship in the industry! #wcheindustrypanel #businesssuccess #tuesdaytreat #entrepreneurlife //Andy is an experienced senior leader overseeing Process Development and GMP manufacturing of cellular therapeutics and protein biologics. He is the former Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Juno Therapeutics where he led Process and Analytical Development, CMC Lifecycle Management and GMP Manufacturing departments. He oversaw the growth of the Technical Operations organization from less than 10 people to more than 200 people and supported the Juno IPO and business development due diligence activities. Andy oversaw all aspects of the development of production processes for Juno cell therapy products and was responsible for establishing the GMP supply strategy for autologous CAR-T and TCR products. He also led all aspects of site selection, design, construction, start-up and operation of the Juno Manufacturing Plant (JuMP), an innovative, multi-product GMP manufacturing facility designed for global clinical and commercial supply of CAR-T and TCR cell therapies.Prior to joining Juno, Andy served in multiple senior leadership roles at CMC Biologics, a contract biologics drug development and manufacturing organization. While at CMC Biologics, Andy’s senior management roles included serving as the head of the GMP Manufacturing Department, where he led the design, start-up and operation of multiple GMP manufacturing facilities. Andy also served as the head of the Process Development organization where he oversaw all aspects of drug development from cell line creation, upstream and downstream process development, analytical and formulation development, and process transfer and process validation. Andy is currently serving as the CEO of Jewel Biotherapeutics, a start-up company currently raising funds to support the development of novel cell therapies using technology from the UW and Seattle Children’s.
Craig is the CEO of Impact Bioenergy. Impact manufactures commercial-scale, portable anaerobic digesters that convert food waste into renewable energy and probiotic plant food with zero-waste.
Previously, Craig served as the CEO of multiple innovative, break-through companies including SuperCritical Technologies, a manufacturer of distributed power generation units, and 3TIER (acquired by Vaisala, NASDAQ OMX Helsinki). 3TIER’s big-data, weather analytics platform forecast for over 45,000 MW of wind capacity and assisted in securing over $8.0 billion in financing for utility-scale wind and solar facilities on six continents.
Craig was also CEO of General Software (acquired by Phoenix Technologies Ltd, NASDAQ: PTEC), and Healia (acquired by Meredith Corporation, NYSE: MDP). Earlier in his career, he founded CourtLink Corporation (acquired by LexisNexis) and served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer. Currently, Craig is also the Chairman of the Clean Tech Alliance and is a Career Coach for Harvard Business School.
Dr. Kjersta Larson-Smith is a Technical Lead Engineer at Boeing Research & Technology Chemical Technology with expertise in coatings & interface science, nanotechnology and colloidal science. In her current role, she is leading a team to create the next generation paint production system that improves safety, reduces manufacturing flow time, reduces environmental impact and improves aircraft performance. Throughout her career she has focused on developing a range of new coating technologies, such as transparent coatings for passenger/flight-deck windows, co-cure coatings for composites, fast cure coatings, selectively strippable coatings and inkjet printed liveries. She has been awarded 13 US patents and authored more than 20 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. Kjersta earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, a B.A. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University.s
Natalie Winblade Nairn has almost 20 years of experience developing therapeutic protein and peptide drug delivery approaches in the Seattle biotechnology industry. Her work has included design of bioconjugates and targeted therapies, process development for GMP manufacturing, intellectual property evaluation and protection, and managing research groups and corporate partnerships. She is interested in strategic program development from conception to clinic.
Dr. Nairn earned her B.S.Ch.E. from the UW Chemical Engineering Department. She then earned a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from California Institute of Technology. She performed her graduate work with Professor Jeffrey Hubbell and as a visiting scholar at UW with Professor Allan Hoffman. Dr. Nairn gained experience in many aspects of drug development at Corixa and Allozyne, with modalities including PEGylated proteins, antibody-drug conjugates, protein bispecifics, and microspheres.
In her current position as Sr. Director, Formulation and Peptide Drug Discovery at Blaze Bioscience, Dr. Nairn has developed a room temperature stable formulation of a peptide-fluorophore conjugate intended for visualizing cancerous tissue during tumor resection surgery. She is also the Blaze liaison with Professor Jim Olson’s Optide peptide discovery program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She is now spearheading a therapeutic pipeline at Blaze, including developing strategic plans, recruiting investors and staff, and leading research programs.
Dr. Nairn also enjoys family life with her husband and two children, as well as skiing, gymnastics, and other non-age-appropriate sports.
Sara York has eight years of experience working with industrial sites and energy efficiency programs across the Pacific Northwest. As an engineer with Cascade Energy she identifies, specifies, and verifies energy efficiency opportunities. At present she manages Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Smart Industrial Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Program. SEM focuses on process improvements which are tracked via regression models over multi-year engagements.