Biotechnology is an evolving industry, and behind its progress are entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to introduce revolutionary products and processes into the market. Here are three successful entrepreneurs that have helped the biotechnology industry achieve unprecedented growth.
Kathleen Sereda Glaub
Glaub has over 30 years of management experience for biopharma companies. She has been instrumental in the development of innovative drugs to treat debilitating diseases such as cancer. When Glaub was the president of Plexxidon, she partnered with Peter Hirth to develop a drug called Zelboraf. They sold Plexxidon for around $935 to Daiichi Sankyo in 2011 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zelboraf to treat metastatic melanoma. Glaub remained president of Plexxidon until 2013, after which she took the helm at Afferent Pharmaceuticals in September 2014. Merck acquired Afferent for $500 million and another $750 million as a milestone payment.
Venter co-founded Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI) with Peter Diamandis and Robert Hariri in March 2014. He led the company as the chief executive officer (CEO) till January 2017, after which he became the executive chairman of the board of directors. HLI is one of the top biotech companies in the biopharmaceutical industry right now as it is “using advanced genomics-based information to empower individuals to shape their own health and shift the practice of medicine from reactive to proactive, personalized, and preventative.”
Venter has made invaluable contributions to genome sequencing throughout the course of his career. His first milestone came as early as 1984 when he developed Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs), a revolutionary new strategy for rapid-gene discovery. He founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in 1992 where he developed the genome shotgun technique. Venter also founded Celera Genomics in 1998, which was instrumental in the launch of new tools and processes to sequence genomes.
Wilson is currently the president, CEO, and a member of the board of directors at Kura Oncology, which he co-founded in August 2014. Kura develops precision medicines to treat cancers and Wilson believes that “cancer will become a manageable condition within our lifetime” due to significant advances in oncology. Before starting Kura, he also co-founded Ambrx, Intellikiline, Wellspring Biosciences, and Avidity Biosciences. Intellikiline was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals for $310 million in 2012. Wilson is also the director at Puma Biotechnology, a biopharmaceutical company that works on the development of innovative treatments for cancer.