Session 305
Making a Positive Impact on New Drug Modality Alliances

As alliance managers we are both increasingly working for and partnering with companies that are leaders in new drug modalities. This can result in misaligned expectations or cross-purposes conversations as traditional small molecule models for working together confront the different development and manufacturing processes entailed in gene therapy, RNAi, and gene editing. Additionally, the increased pressure of "first to market" in curative therapies can create tense environments, where it is difficult to create the space for effective communication.

As well as sharing a little bit of the science behind gene therapy, RNAi, and gene editing, our panelists will discuss their experiences supporting alliances in these newer drug modalities. Key questions that will be addressed include:


Mai-Tal Kennedy
Engagement Leader
Vantage Partners

Mai-Tal Kennedy is an Engagement Leader at Vantage Partners, where she helps clients to collaborate more effectively–both internally and with alliance partners. Mai-Tal has worked primarily in alliance and relationship management since graduating from Law School in 2012, and has supported organizations across a variety of industries to launch and transform their alliances, as well as build Alliance Management teams and organizational capability. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and prior to joining Vantage Partners in early 2018 was a Senior Manager with KPMG.

Most recently, Mai-Tal has been focused on R&D alliances between academic institutions and industry, as well as alliances spanning new drug modalities. She is a values-driven consultant working to help create positive impact in her personal and professional communities, and is looking forward to connecting with many of you (albeit virtually).


Petra Sansom, CA-AM, PhD
Vice President Alliance Management
Voyager Therapeutics

Petra Sansom is head of Alliance Management at Voyager Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases including Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

Prior to her current role, she was Genzyme Head of Alliance Management and a member of the Sanofi Alliance Management Group, with responsibility for alliance management for the Genyzme division collaborations focused on rare genetic diseases. Previously, she was a Global Alliance Director at Hoffmann-La Roche where she was responsible for alliance management of global research, development, and commercial alliances in several therapeutic areas. Petra has over 20 years of experience managing alliances and leading transactional and strategic initiatives. She has been on the leadership team for the New England ASAP chapter for five years.

She has a JD from Fordham Law School in New York City and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

Vin Sharma
Vice President & Head, Alliance Leadership
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Vin Sharma heads the Alliance Leadership Team at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, building the organization's capability as a world-class leader in partnering, collaborative performance & alliance optimization. Under Vin's purview, his team manages Alnylam's portfolio of partnerships from drug discovery to commercialization, and across rare, cardiometabolic, CNS, ophthalmic and infectious disease. During his tenure, Vin has been a key member of multiple deal teams, kicked-off new partnerships, and has established alliance best practices and processes.

Prior to Alnylam, Vin was most recently at Vertex Pharmaceuticals where he held multiple commercial roles including in Global Marketing, US Marketing, Sales, and New Product Planning. A former consultant, Program Manager, and Case Manager, Vin leverages his diverse experiences and engagements to strategize, build upon and promote alliance management principles. Vin holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, an MPH with a focus on organizational behavior from Boston University, and a BS in neuroscience & psychology from Brandeis University.

Jay Vora, PhD
Head of Alliance Management
Sangamo Therapeutics

Jay is responsible for managing multiple research and development partnerships at Sangamo Therapeutics. Previously, Jay established Program and Alliance Management function at REGENXBIO. Prior to that Jay served as Product Development Leader at BioMarin for several clinical stage programs. In addition, as a management consultant with PRTM Management Consultants, Jay assisted several life sciences companies in design and execution of R&D strategies. Jay has a PhD in Pharmacokinetics from Northeastern University, Boston, and an MBA from University of California, Berkeley.