Houston as a Biomedical Innovation Hub Connecting Texas to Asia and BeyondVIEW EVENT DETAILS
In partnership with Convergence Ventures and Greathouse Holloway McFadden Trachtenberg PLLC
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Thursday, April 6, 2023
6 p.m. Reception
7 p.m. Program
Join us for a discussion on the importance of maintaining and building connections between Houston’s biomedical community and Asia, as well as the need to build a critical mass to ensure Houston becomes a long-term global hub of biomedical innovation. The discussion will feature Ann Tanabe, CEO of BioHouston; Dr. Ferran Prat, Senior Vice President of Research Administration and Industry Ventures at MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Abria Magee, Senior Program Manager for Product Development Research at CPRIT; Eric Johnson, Executive Managing Director for Transwestern’s Life Science Advisory Services Group; Dr. Paul Cherukuri, Vice President for Innovation at Rice University; and Convergence Venture’s partner John Nghiem.
About the Speakers
Dr. Paul Cherukuri is Rice University’s first Vice President for Innovation where he leads Rice’s technology and commercialization infrastructure to translate breakthrough discoveries into inventions for societal benefit. Cherukuri is a physicist, chemist and med-tech entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in academia and the pharmaceutical industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Kentucky and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry under Nobel laureate Richard Smalley at Rice.
Before returning to Rice in 2014, Cherukuri was a visiting scholar with Harvard University chemistry Professor George Whitesides and a member of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics faculty at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He was also co-founder and chief technical officer of MAReNIR Technologies LLC and a senior scientist at Sanofi, where he developed drug products and biomedical devices. Prior to being named vice president of innovation, Paul was executive director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering.
Eric Johnson serves as Executive Managing Director for Transwestern’s Life Science Advisory Services Group. He is responsible for overseeing the leasing, tenant advisory, investment sales, and development for healthcare and life science clients across the country. He has over 30 years of experience and has been consistently recognized as one of Transwestern’s top national producers.
Eric has worked with a variety of institutional owners, including Ascension Health, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, Beacon Capital, and The Texas Medical Center Corporation. He has completed anchor tenant transactions with Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson, The Texas Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Health System, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Orthopedic Hospital, University of Texas Health Science Services, and Kelsey Seybold Clinic. Eric’s healthcare team has preleased over 800,000 square feet of speculative medical office space in new development projects in the past five years.
His team is currently handling the project leasing for the TMC3 Helix Park project, a 37-acre mixed use biomedical research campus in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. The TMC3 founding institutions are Texas Medical Center, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth), and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Eric received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas at Austin. He also serves on the National Executive Committee and Board of Directors for Transwestern.
Dr. Abria Magee is the Sr. Program Manager for Product Development Research at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Dr. Magee manages a portfolio of over 50 oncology companies that have been awarded over $320 million in CPRIT funding. She is responsible for developing and piloting new PDR program concepts for the expansion of product development funding mechanisms. Prior to joining CPRIT, Dr. Magee was the Associate Director of Industry Ventures in the Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation at the University of Houston.
Dr. Magee serves as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Interdisciplinary Molecular Sciences and Training (IMST) Integrated Review Group (IRG). For the past few years, she has peer reviewed NIH’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications focused on entrepreneurship and product development.
Dr. Magee is a native Houstonian and received her doctorate degree in Plant Pathology and Microbiology from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.
Ferran Prat, Ph.D., J.D., Senior Vice President, Research Administration & Industry Ventures, MD Anderson Cancer Center, helps the faculty and researchers at MD Anderson develop collaborative opportunities with pharmaceutical, biotech, diagnostics, imaging, laboratory medicine and other industry partners. He is responsible for establishing a direct line of contact with pharmaceutical companies to understand their needs in terms of pre-clinical and Phase 1 activities, and internally convey them so that the researchers and clinicians at MD Anderson can follow-up and establish personal relationships with such companies.
Prior to joining MD Anderson he worked at Alere Inc., an international firm dedicated to developing health management services and solutions, including diagnostic tools and tests. At Alere, Ferran led a business turnaround and integrated three businesses in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He also served as the head of the Oncology and Women’s Health Divisions in San Diego, where he was responsible for all pre-commercialization activities and post-launch product management. Prior to Alere, Ferran held a number of industry and academic positions, including vice president for licensing at Biosite Inc., management consultant at McKinsey & Co., engineer at Chromogenia-Units and researcher at the University of California – Los Angeles. In these roles, he in-licensed and out-licensed new technologies, led and executed strategic plans, coordinated intellectual property agreements among private and public sector entities, and conducted basic science research that led to multiple peer-reviewed articles. Prat has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California – Los Angeles and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Ann Tanabe was appointed CEO of BioHouston in October 2015 after serving four years as the company’s COO. Prior to joining BioHouston in 2011, Ann served as vice president of investor relations at Synthesis Energy Systems, a publicly traded alternative energy company from May 2008 to December 2010. Prior to this position, Ann served as vice president of corporate communications and investor relations and investor relations director at Encysive Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded biotechnology company from July 2003 to May 2008.
From October 2000 to July 2003, Ann served as investor relations manager and corporate communications coordinator to Texas Biotechnology, the predecessor company to Encysive Pharmaceuticals. Prior to 2000, Ann held a variety of positions at Rochem Separation Systems. Ann earned a BA degree from Loyola Marymount University. Ann is a member of the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Product Development Advisory Committee. Additionally, Ann is a member of The University of Houston BME Industrial Advisory Board, Rice University’s Professional Science Master’s Program Advisory Board, Houston Community College’s Biotechnology Advisory Committee and External Advisory Committee for the UTMB Health Education Center. Ann has been an active member of the Houston Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) since 2000.
About the Moderator
John H. Nghiem is a Partner at Convergence. An experienced investment banker and private equity professional, Mr. Nghiem has completed a variety of domestic and international corporate financings, mergers and acquisitions, and financial advisory transactions, and has worked with various public and private corporations, financial institutions, and public private partnerships investing or operating across multiple industries. Mr. Nghiem began his investing career in 1997, and has served as an investment banking and private equity professional at WestLB AG, SMH Group, Credit Suisse and Industry Capital. Mr. Nghiem holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago and was formerly chair of the Asia & Australia Committee for the Houston Mayor’s International Trade & Development Council and a member of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans. Mr. Nghiem also served on the board of directors of the US China Partnerships which was chaired by former U.S. President, George H.W. Bush.
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