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News > Club News > WIB-Capital Region News > WIB-Capital Region: You’ve Come a Long Way – Spotlighting Women in Biotech w/JLABS, November 8, 2023

WIB-Capital Region: You’ve Come a Long Way – Spotlighting Women in Biotech w/JLABS, November 8, 2023

On November 8, WIB-Capital Region enjoyed an energetic and inspiring afternoon at the JLABS@Washington, DC, coordinated by WIB member Stephanie M. Davis, PhD. The first source of inspiration was the JLABS location itself at the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, where members learned firsthand how JLABS is boosting innovative R&D efforts from women-led biotech companies in the greater Biohealth Capital Region. We started with an engaging tour led by Public Affairs Liaison Shamia Holloway. She included the history of the facility (site of the former Walter Reed Medical Center) as well as an overview of the biotech companies currently benefiting from a JLABS partnership. Located in close proximity to federal research institutions and agencies, universities, and academic research centers, the state-of-the-art Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @Washington, DC site is open to entrepreneurs, innovators, and startups focused on innovation across the healthcare spectrum, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health tech.

The group of 26 women was further inspired and motivated by the panel discussion moderated by WIB member Nao Gamo, highlighting the trajectory of female founders and C-level executives: Dr. Anne Naclerio (Polaris Genomics), Dr. Beth Sharlow (KeViRx), Dr. Sherine Chan (Neuroene Therapeutics) and Dr. Olivia Walch (Arcascope). Each of these intelligent and inspiring women outlined their often unconventional path to leadership, sharing insights on how to navigate obstacles along the way. The career roadmap discussion continued during the networking hour, where ideas, conversation, and delicious food flowed in abundance. The WIB-Capital Region members left energized and motivated to undertake their next triumph in biotech. Such a valuable and fun event!

Some highlights from the panelists:

Sherine Chan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Neuroene Therapeutics, a biotech company developing novel mitochondrial therapeutics for difficult-to-treat neurological diseases. She is a mitochondrial biologist with a BSc honors degree in veterinary biology (Murdoch University, Australia) and a PhD in clinical biochemistry (University of Western Australia). After her postdoctoral fellowship on mitochondrial diseases at NIEHS/NIH in Research Triangle Park, NC, she moved to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, SC, to start her lab in the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, where she rose to Associate Professor. Dr. Chan now runs Neuroene Therapeutics full-time and recently moved the company to JLABS @ Washington, DC, as Neuroene was selected to join the Blue Knight Program, a joint initiative between Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS and BARDA.

Anne Naclerio currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Polaris Genomics. She is a graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences & George Washington University. An authority on the unique experiences of women in the military, Anne co-authored the seminal book Women at War. She served for 30 years in the US Army before retiring in 2019, and also served as Chief Surgeon for the Army National Guard. Motivated by the impacts of trauma while deployed in Iraq, Anne is dedicated to improving people’s lives through leveraging advances in behavioral health.

Beth Sharlow currently serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of KeViRx, Inc., a University of Virginia (UVA) spinout company focused on the development of novel small molecules that target drivers of human cancer and acute lung injury. She has over 25 years of drug discovery experience obtained in academia and industry with a focus on assay development, high throughput screening, lead discovery, and preclinical development. Additionally, Dr. Sharlow has published over 50 scientific manuscripts and reviews. She is also Research Professor Emerita (Pharmacology) at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Olivia Walch is the CEO of Arcascope, a circadian rhythms software start-up, as well as an investigator in Neurology at the University of Michigan. Her company and research focus on using phones and wearables to track and steer circadian rhythms under real-world conditions, with the ultimate aim of timing treatments in a personalized way to improve efficacy and minimize toxicity. Her work has been featured on CNN, the New York Times, and The Atlantic. She is also the co-editor of the textbook Political Geometry from Birkauser and an upcoming pop-sci book about sleep and circadian rhythms.

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