PANEL 2  •  10:25-11:25am

Mission-Driven Funding

The Collaborative Approach of Venture Philanthropy

Christina Waters

Christina Waters, PhD, MBA, CEO RARE Science

Dr. Christina Waters has been responsible for leading precision medicine research and clinical development in a broad range of organizations ranging from academia and disease – focused non-profits to biotech and large pharmaceutical companies. Her broad range of experience in translational research, clinical development and business strategies converge to specialize in the development of novel approaches to personalized medicine and health, creation of synergistic partnerships and implementation of new innovative research initiatives that can accelerate treatments to patients world-wide.

Linda Martin

Linda Martin, President, Mission Cure Capital

Linda Martin is co-founder and chairperson of the board of Mission: Cure, a nonprofit organization focused on creating a new model for curing chronic and complex diseases, starting with pancreatitis. Linda is also co-founder and president of Mission Cure Capital, LLC, the first and only impact investment company focused on identifying and investing in commercially-promising therapies to improve the lives of children and adults dealing with pancreatitis.Prior to co-founding Mission: Cure, Linda had over 30 years experience as a corporate executive, consultant, investor, and board member, developing startups and early-stage companies. She began her career with AT&T, followed by several years as General Manager and Senior Vice President with ALLTEL Mobile. One of the early pioneers in what was then new mobile technology, Linda’s vision and leadership was recognized and she was named one of the top 10 most influential women in wireless by Fierce Wireless.
Jessica Gibson

Jessica Gibson, MBA, Ariel Precision Medicine

Jessica is the CEO and co-founder at Ariel. Her background in genomics, healthcare and pharma is now enabling Ariel to create strategic partnerships and collaborations that serve multiple customers in the healthcare community. Jessica loves working at Ariel because she has been able to build innovative solutions to enable the diagnosis and management of chronic diseases and really move the needle on a number of challenging conditions.

Susan Hedstrom, Executive Director, Foundation For Prader-Willi Research

Susan Hedstrom, Executive Director, Foundation For Prader-Willi Research

Susan Hedstrom has been Executive Director for the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research since 2013. Passionate about finding treatments for PWS, Susan joined FPWR shortly after her son was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Rather than accepting PWS as it has been defined, Susan has chosen to work with a team of proactive and tireless individuals to accelerate PWS research and change the future of PWS. Under Susan’s leadership, more than $25 million has been raised for PWS research.

Neil M Cowen

Neil Cowen, PhD, MBA, Sr. Vice President of Drug Development, Soleno Therapeutics

Dr. Cowen joined Soleno as the Senior Vice President of Drug Development in March 2017, as the result of the acquisition of Essentialis. Previously, Dr. Cowen was part of the senior management team of Essentialis since its founding in May 2003, functioning first as founding CEO and most recently as President and CSO, directing the product development, finance and business development functions. From 2001 to 2003 Dr. Cowen served as VP for Strategic Development at Epicyte Pharmaceutical. From 1986 to 2001 Dr. Cowen functioned in various business development and research management roles in Dow Chemical and its subsidiaries, ending as Global Business Leader for biopharmaceuticals and animal health.