Unique Opportunities and Challenges for Strategic Alliances in the Rapidly Growing Fields of Cell and Gene Therapy

The rapidly growing fields of cell and gene therapy are transforming the standard of care in cancer and genetic disease but are not without significant challenges unique to the complex drugs involved, such as delivery, clinical safety, manufacturing, and commercial considerations.

Overcoming these challenges necessitates forming strategic alliances between different industry players, and the success of collaborations in such a rapidly evolving field relies on informed and responsive alliance management. This panel will dive into how and why alliances are crucial to bringing these transformative drugs to market, and will also discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that partnering professionals can learn from to optimize their own capabilities for collaboration in this field.

Attendees will learn:


Cindy Atwell
Senior Vice President, Business Development & Alliance Management
Precision Biosciences

Cindy Atwell is the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Alliance Management at Precision BioSciences, where she leads a team which forms new partnerships, manages current collaborations, and shapes new business processes as well as the portfolio. She holds approximately 22 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with most of her time spent in business development and commercial roles. Over the course of her career, Cindy has led or participated in the negotiation of a number of transactions, totaling over $10Bn in value. Prior to Precision BioSciences, she led oncology and drug delivery deals as well as strategy projects at Halozyme. Over the years, Cindy has held various roles within the business development and commercial organizations at AbbVie, Amylin, and Impax. Early in her career, she participated in discovery research at a start-up biotechnology company.

Cindy holds a BS in biochemistry and molecular biology from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of California, San Diego's Rady School of Management.

Karen Kotkow, PhD
Director, Alliance Management

Karen is a director of alliance management at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research NIBR where she manages complex strategic collaborations with diverse stakeholders across multiple therapeutic areas and technology platforms to support NIBR's commitment to develop innovative therapeutics to significantly improve the lives of patients. Her current focus is on cell and gene therapy and immunology. Karen has experience across drug development research, early-stage clinical development, project management and business development.

Prior to her current role Karen was a program manager at NIBR in Translational Clinical Oncology. In addition, she has fostered industry-academic partnerships and research collaborations with non-profit patient advocacy groups at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. While at Curis, Inc. Karen managed a preclinical research alliance with Genentech that resulted in the development of vismodegib, a first-in-class oral small molecule drug for advanced basal cell carcinoma.

Karen holds a A.B from Colgate University, a Ph.D. from Tufts University in Biochemistry and an M.B.A from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Lauren Loughhead
Associate Director, Alliance Management
Precision BioSciences

Lauren is the associate director of alliance management at Precision Biosciences, where she manages strategic collaborations to support Precision's cell and gene therapy pipeline, including Precision's alliances with Eli Lilly and Novartis. Prior to Precision, Lauren worked in alliance management at The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she launched the Novo Broad Greenhouse, a joint initiative with Novo Ventures, and built a portfolio of novel drug discovery projects. Lauren began her career leading projects in alliance management, business development, and new products at Warp Drive Bio, a Third Rock Ventures portfolio company that merged with Revolution Medicines in 2018. Lauren holds a Ph.D. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from Harvard University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Herman Sanchez
Chief Business Officer & Senior Partner, Strategic Advisory
Trinity Life Sciences

Herman has been working in the life sciences industry for over 20 years in various positions including designing and running randomized trial research, optimizing of clinical administration of health services, and working as a strategic consultant to the life sciences industry. He joined Trinity over a decade ago and has worked closely with clients to support strategic decision making across the product lifecycle. Prior to joining Trinity, he worked as a senior associate at Boston Healthcare with device and pharmaceutical clients on product entry strategy, business development and reimbursement strategy. In his work consulting for pharmaceutical/biotech and medical device companies he has covered several diseases/therapeutic areas including oncology, rare and ultra-rare diseases, cell therapies, cardiovascular, diabetes, hepatitis C, alcohol abuse/dependence, neurological, orthopedic, and renal. He has been published in peer-reviewed publications on various topics including renal disease, suicidal ideation, minority patient recruiting, alcohol use/abuse and depression/anxiety treatment.

As a leader at Trinity, he has worked to build out of Trinity's European office and helps to run and build our centers of excellence in SPARC, Launch, and Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR).

Herman earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and an AB from Harvard University.