Changing the Face of Biotech Leadership – San Diego


Thu, February 12, 5:30pm – 7:30pm


Sanford Consortium - 2880 Torrey Pines Scenic Drive - La Jolla, CA 92037


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What does it take to build winning teams over time? Is there a specific culture to women-led companies? What has been their recipe for success and what does that mean for the contemporary life sciences industry? Please join us for an evening with accomplished industry leaders as they share a range of unique insights into how they successfully navigated the changing biotech landscape and rose to leadership in the industry. This forum will be an interactive panel discussion followed by a question and answer session.


  • Carol Gallagher, Partner, NEA
  • Ginger Graham, former President & CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals
  • Magda Marquet, Founder & Co-Chair, Althea Technologies
  • Helen Torley, President & CEO, Halozyme
  • Karen Possemato, Chief of Staff, Illumina (moderator)

Carol Gallagher, PharmD, is a partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA) where she primarily focuses on biopharma investments. Prior to joining NEA she was a venture partner with Frazier Healthcare. From 2008-2011, Carol was the president and CEO of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, leading the development of the first-in-class cancer therapeutic, CAL-101, now known as Zydelig. During her tenure as CEO there, Carol raised $80 million in venture financing and led the company to a successful exit for investors, selling the biotech to Gilead Sciences in April 2011 for $375 million in cash upfront and a total consideration of $600 million. Gilead has continued to rapidly advance registration trials of Zydelig in patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma.

Ginger Graham is the president and CEO of Two Trees Consulting. She advises first-time CEOs in the areas of leadership, strategy, board-effectiveness, and organization-building. She is the former president and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on diabetes and obesity. Prior to her time at Amylin, Ginger was group chairman, Office of the President for Guidant Corporation. Ginger has received numerous awards and honors and was included in Pharma VOICE’s “100 of the Most Inspiring People” list in 2006. Ginger was the first woman CEO named to the PhRMA Board and Executive Committee. Graham has taught entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and has written for Harvard Business Review.

Magda Marquet, PhD, is co-founder and co-chair of Ajinomoto Althea. Magda is also co-founder and director of Althea Dx, a spin-off of Althea Technologies with a focus on personalized medicine and companion diagnostics development. In addition, Magda is co-president and CEO of Alma Life Sciences, LLC, a consulting and investment firm. Prior to starting Althea, she held management positions at Vical Inc., Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Protein Polymer Technologies, Syntro Corporation, and Transgene. Magda has received numerous awards throughout her career. She was the winner of the 2005 regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Life Sciences category, the Athena Pinnacle award, and the Most Admired CEO award from the San Diego Business Journal.

Helen Torley, MB, ChB, MRCP, is president and CEO at Halozyme Therapeutics. Throughout her career, Helen has led several successful product launches, including Kyprolis®, Prolia®, Sensipar®, and Miacalcin®. Prior to joining Halozyme, Helen served as executive vice president and CCO for Onyx Pharmaceuticals overseeing the collaboration with Bayer on Nexavar® and Stivarga® and the U.S. launch of Kyprolis. Helen spent 10 years in management positions at Amgen Inc, held various senior management positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and began her career at Sandoz/Novartis, where she ultimately served as Vice President of Medical Affairs, developing and conducting post-marketing clinical studies across all therapeutic areas, including oncology.

Karen Possemato is chief of staff, office of the CEO and president at Illumina Inc. In her current role, she works directly with the executive team to manage communications, facilitate business operations and drive strategic projects. In her previous role she managed outbound marketing programs and communications, public relations, corporate websites, and brand and demand generation. Karen has spent more than 10 years at Illumina building out the corporate marketing function, building the corporate brand and image, and now working directly with the executive team to help the company scale. Karen’s marketing team received awards from industry journals such as Genome Technology and professional organizations such as the Business Marketing Association and the Society for Technical Communications.

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