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Life Sciences

BioNJ Elects Board Chair, Officers and Trustees

BioNJ, the trade association for New Jersey’s life sciences industry, has announced the election of its 2024 officers and board members. This election preceded BioNJ’s 31st Annual Dinner Meeting and Innovation Celebration, held on Feb. 8 at the Hilton East Brunswick.

The newly elected officers are Emer Leahy, Ph.D., MBA, President & CEO of PsychoGenics, as chair, and Samuele Butera, MPP, president of Janssen Pulmonary Hypertension and Retina, as vice chair. Additionally, Jayne C. Gershkowitz, chief patient advocate at Amicus Therapeutics, was re-elected as treasurer, and Christopher Mortko, Ph.D., MBA, vice president & head of hq research and evaluation at Merck Business Development & Licensing, was re-elected as secretary.

Dr. Leahy was unanimously elected by the BioNJ Board as chair, succeeding Amadou Diarra, Ph.D., senior vice president, global policy, advocacy & government affairs, Bristol Myers Squibb, who now assumes the role of immediate past chair.

“Under Dr. Diarra’s stewardship, BioNJ achieved unprecedented milestones,” stated Debbie Hart, president and CEO of BioNJ. “Committed to leaving no patient behind, Dr. Diarra spearheaded the BioNJ Health Equity in Clinical Trials initiative, introducing pioneering strategies which will have a lasting impact for years to come. Dr. Diarra’s leadership has left an indelible mark on our organization. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for his steadfast commitment to BioNJ, the industry and to patients.”

“I feel privileged to step into the position of BioNJ’s chair, carrying forward the momentum established by Dr. Diarra and our esteemed Board,” remarked Dr. Leahy. “Our industry stands at a pivotal moment. Unfortunately, there is a significant gap between the immense efforts, dedication and risks associated with delivering innovative treatments to patients, and the perception of the public. I firmly believe in the transformative potential of our industry. There is a significant opportunity for our community to collaborate in educating the public about the opportunities and risks inherent in drug discovery and our collective impact on Patients.”

“We look forward to working with Dr. Leahy, BioNJ’s first female chair, and all of our board officers and members as we forge ahead ensuring that New Jersey remains a robust life sciences ecosystem and that innovation and Patient access are empowered,” added Hart.

Joining the board as a newly elected member is Keely Beck Zipp, who serves as vice president of commercial strategy and innovation for internal medicine at Pfizer.

The following Board Members were re-elected to another term: Tina Deignan, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, U.S. Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology, Novartis; Matthew B. Klein, M.D., M.S., FACS, CEO, PTC Therapeutics; Will Lewis, JD, MBA, Chair & CEO, Insmed; Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., FACP, CPE, Chair & CEO, Outcomes Matter Innovations; and Spiro Rombotis, MPH, MBA, President & CEO, Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals.

Bio for Newly Elected Chair:

Emer Leahy, Ph.D., MBA, president & CEO, PsychoGenics

Dr. Leahy is CEO of PsychoGenics, a preclinical CNS service company, as well as CEO of PGI Drug Discovery, a company engaged in neuropsychiatric drug discovery with five partnered clinical programs, including one in Phase III. Dr. Leahy has more than 30 years of experience in drug discovery, clinical development and business development for biopharmaceutical companies, including extensive knowledge of technology assessment, licensing, mergers and acquisitions and strategic planning. She served on the Emerging Companies Section Governing Board for the Board of Directors of BIO, the Business Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. She sits on the Board of Directors of PsychoGenics, Intensity Therapeutics and Pasithea Therapeutics.

Bio for Newly Elected Board Member:

Keely Beck Zipp, vice president, Commercial Strategy and Innovation, Internal Medicine, Pfizer

Zipp is responsible for leading asset- and portfolio-level commercial strategy for drugs in Discovery through Phase III at Pfizer. She is a seasoned life sciences executive with extensive leadership experience in pharma and biotech across a variety of functions, including marketing, corporate development, operations and corporate strategy. Zipp has a strong track record of leading clinical development strategy, business development, product commercialization, public relations/investor relations and financing strategy. Prior to Pfizer, Zipp held corporate development leadership positions at private and public biotechs, where her responsibilities included leading business development, financing and clinical development strategy. In addition, she has over a decade of experience in large pharma and biotech, with positions of increasing responsibility at Wyeth, GSK and Incyte.

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