2020 Award Winners and Finalists

the premier social event for the life sciences industry

June 18, 2020

About the 2020 Annual Awards Program

Each of the awards presented at the Life Sciences PA Annual Awards Program recognizes a contribution that helped shape the life sciences industry into what it is today.  The nominees and award winners represent continued dedication to the ultimate goal of achieving better outcomes for patients.

Award Winners and Finalists

2019 Deal of the Year Award

The Life Sciences PA Deal of the Year Award recognizes an organization or organizations which have promoted the growth of Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry by way of a substantial deal or strategic partnership. The organization(s) receiving the Award will have closed a deal or strategic partnership in 2019 that resulted in the continued growth and advancement of Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry. The deal can have occurred at any stage of product development or level of company/organization maturity.

Galera Therapeutics $65 Million IPO

Roche Acquisition of Spark Therapeutics

Venatorx Partnership with HHS and DOD

Galera Therapeutics $65 Million IPO

Galera Therapeutics is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutics that have the potential to transform radiotherapy in cancer and mitigate the harmful effect of radiation therapy. In November 2019, Galera announced the completion of their initial public offering (IPO), which yielded $65 million in gross proceeds.

Roche Acquisition of Spark Therapeutics

Spark is a fully integrated, commercial company committed to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies for genetic diseases, including blindness, haemophilia, lysosomal storage disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. In December 2019, Roche announced the completion of the acquisition of Spark Therapeutics, a transaction valued at $4.3 billion. Spark Therapeutics will continue to operate as an independent company within the Roche Group.

Venatorx Partnership with HHS and DOD

Venatorx Pharmaceuticals is focused on the discovery and development of novel anti-infectives to treat multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections and hard-to-treat viral infections. In July 2019, Venatorx announced its $100 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop a novel antibiotic to treat infections caused by bacteria resistant to currently available agents.

Patient Impact Award

Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s Patient Impact Award recognizes a medicine, therapy, device, or organization that has made a significant contribution to the quality of healthcare or length of life of patients in 2019. Eligible organizations include medical device, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies and research institutions with significant operations in Pennsylvania. The honorees are selected by a committee of representatives from the Pennsylvania healthcare and academic research community. The award is sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals

Harmony Biosciences

Fox Chase Cancer Center

Achillion Pharmaceuticals

Achillion Pharmaceuticals is developing a new treatment for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare blood disease that is characterized by the destruction of red blood cells, blood clots, and reduced bone marrow function. The condition affects about 1.25 people per million and is most common in younger adults. Achillion is seeking new treatments for these patients with diseased complement systems, and continues to advance a clinical-stage portfolio of orally administered factor D inhibitors and work toward the mission of transforming the lives of people with rare diseases.

Harmony Biosciences

Harmony Biosciences develops and commercializes novel treatment options for people living with rare diseases, with a focus on the central nervous system including disorders of sleep and wakefulness, such as excessive daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy.

Harmony’s introduction of WAKIX® (pitolisant) to the U.S. market following approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2019 provided people living with narcolepsy a new and important treatment option and represented the first and only FDA-approved narcolepsy medication that is not scheduled as a controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The approval of WAKIX® exceedingly positively received by members of patient and advocacy communities.

Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase Cancer Center at Temple University Hospital is home to some of the area’s top cancer specialists, dedicated to diagnosing, treating and managing all types of cancer. With its strong outreach and advocacy initiatives, Fox Chase Cancer Center maintains a robust cancer screening program and provides a broad range of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research as well as special programs in cancer prevention, detection and survivorship.

Scientific Achievement Award

The Life Sciences PA Scientific Achievement Award recognizes a scientist in the Pennsylvania life sciences community who has demonstrated outstanding achievement by advancing scientific knowledge, innovation, and/or patient care. The honoree is chosen by a selection committee from the academic research community.

Jean Bennett, M.D., Ph.D.
F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology;

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Jean Bennett is a physician-scientist with experience/expertise in molecular biology, vector development and gene therapy translational studies. Dr. Bennett was the scientific leader of a team that translated reversal of blindness in animal models to demonstration of efficacy and safety in children and adults. Her team was the first to enroll pediatric subjects with a non-lethal disease as gene therapy participants. The team completed both a re-administration study and, with Spark Therapeutics (of which she is a scientific founder), a Phase 3 registration gene therapy trial for congenital blindness, the first randomized, controlled, multi-center gene therapy Phase 3 gene therapy trial targeting a genetic disease. This work led to the first approved gene therapy for inherited disease in the USA (2017) and in Europe (2018) and more recently in the UAE (2019). This is also the first approved gene therapy product targeting a retinal disease worldwide.

Federal Official of the Year Award

The Federal Official of the Year Award recognizes a federal official from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in Washington, DC on behalf of the life sciences industry. The honoree is selected by the Life Sciences PA Advocacy Committee from nominations provided by the Life Sciences PA Federal Policy Committee.

United States Senator Pat Toomey 

United States Senator Pat Toomey is proud of his work in support of Pennsylvania’s burgeoning life sciences sector.

With cutting edge lifesaving research being conducted in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and everywhere across the commonwealth, Senator Toomey believes it’s important that policies coming out of Washington support this ever-growing sector of our economy.

During his time in the Senate, Senator Toomey fought successfully to repeal the punitive medical device tax, has led efforts to preserve and improve upon the successful Medicare Part D program while also pushing back against the harmful International Price Index, and has opposed proposals to reduce funding to the National Institutes of Health.

Senator Toomey serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, and Budget Committees. He resides in the Lehigh Valley with his wife, Kris, and their three children.

State Official of the Year Award

The State Official of the Year Award recognizes an official from Pennsylvania state government who has distinguished himself or herself as a leader who supports the life sciences community. The honoree is selected by the Life Sciences PA Advocacy Committee from nominations provided by Life Sciences PA’s State Policy Committee. We are proud and delighted to have two honorees for 2019.

Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs (D-149)





Pennsylvania State Representative Mark Longietti (D-07)

Representative Briggs and Representative Longietti are both long time co-chairs of the Life Sciences Caucus in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and have worked tirelessly to educate their peers on many facets and intricacies of the life sciences industry. They have been important leaders in coalition building within the General Assembly and have helped develop many new life sciences industry champions among state legislators and other policy makers.

President’s Service Award

The President’s Service Award recognizes an individual in Life Sciences PA’s membership who has made a significant contribution to the organization through volunteering time, leadership and energy to help advance the Association’s mission of creating a cohesive community that unites Pennsylvania’s biotechnology, medical device, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, research and financial strengths. The honoree is selected by the staff of Life Sciences PA.

Bruce Shook
Director, President & CEO
Intact Vascular and Vesper Medical

Bruce Shook is a medical device executive with more than 30 years of industry experience, including multiple early stage ventures focused on opportunities in cardiac surgery, cardiology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and vascular disease. He serves as Director, President and CEO for both Intact Vascular and Vesper Medical. Prior to Intact Vascular and Vesper Medical, Mr. Shook was co-founder, Director, President and CEO of Neuronetics, Inc., [NASDAQ: STIM] a publicly traded device company that markets a non-invasive brain stimulation technology for the treatment of depression.

Previously, Mr. Shook was co-founder, Director, President and CEO at Neuron Therapeutics, a venture-backed company developing a drug/device product for the treatment of CNS disorders, and President of Abiomed [NASDAQ: ABMD], where he obtained PMA approval for the first FDA-approved ventricular assist device. Mr. Shook also developed cardiac pacing and anti-arrhythmia products at Cordis Corporation.

Mr. Shook holds advanced degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Business Administration from Columbia University and the MIT Sloan School of Management, respectively. He earned a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University. Mr. Shook currently serves on the Board of Directors at Venarum Medical, the Penn State Research Foundation and Life Sciences Pennsylvania. He previously served as a Director at Surgiquest, Respicardia and CoTherix.

Emerging Company of the Year Award

The Life Sciences PA Emerging Company of the Year Award recognizes a company or organization of 100 employees or fewer with significant operations in Pennsylvania, that has experienced significant growth and/or achievement in 2019, while contributing positively to its community and the overall life sciences business climate of the Commonwealth. The recipient is evaluated based on five equally weighted criteria: revenue growth, business plan performance, product innovation, community impact, and entrepreneurship and leadership. The honoree is announced at the Annual Dinner.


Cal OpEx 

Century Therapeutics

Krystal Biotech 


According to their company description, Allevi is “building tools to design and engineer with life.” Their 3D bioprinters and bioinks are used by leading researchers all around the world to find solutions to humanity’s most difficult problems – to cure disease, to test novel drugs, to eliminate the organ waiting list, to build with life. Allevi is inspired by their community of users who are performing world-class research on the Allevi platform. Allevi believes when your work has life changing implications for people all over the world, it’s an amazing responsibility; everyone has the potential to change the course of medicine.

Cal OpEx

Cal OpEx Ltd. (an abbreviation of “Calibration Operational Excellence”​) is a company dedicated to the improvement of calibration programs within the life science sector. Rather than focusing on the “nuts & bolts”​ of day-to-day calibration activities, Cal OpEx Ltd. focuses on the entire system – how it operates and how it can be improved. No company can achieve world-class product supply without world-class calibration, and Cal OpEx Ltd. strives to help companies achieve this state of excellence.

Century Therapeutics

Century Therapeutics is harnessing the power of adult stem cells to develop curative allogeneic cell therapies for cancer. Century’s genetically-engineered, iPSC-derived immune effector cell products are designed to specifically target hematologic and solid cancers. The company’s commitment to developing off-the-shelf cell therapies will expand patient access and provide an unparalleled opportunity to advance the course of cancer care. For more, please visit www.centurytherapeutics.com

Krystal Biotech

Krystal Biotech, Inc. is a gene therapy company dedicated to developing and commercializing novel treatments for patients suffering from rare diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.krystalbio.com.

John Nash MedTech Leadership Award

The John Nash MedTech Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding leader in the Pennsylvania med tech community who best exemplifies the spirit of innovation in Pennsylvania. John Nash has been one of the med tech industry’s leading engineers and entrepreneurs, co-founding Kensey Nash and inspiring many industry scientists, and executives. His vision for the industry and for the region, as well as his spirit and will to succeed, remain among his great legacies.

Caroll H. Neubauer
Chairman and CEO,
B. Braun of America Inc.

Caroll Heinz Neubauer is a member of the global Management Board of the B. Braun Melsungen Group of Companies. Mr. Neubauer oversees the North America operations from Bethlehem, PA, where he serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of B. Braun of America Inc.

Mr. Neubauer has served B. Braun for more than 30 years. In 1991, he was elected to the Management Board of B. Braun Melsungen AG and appointed General Counsel for the B. Braun group. Prior to that, he was the Head of the Legal, Security and Environmental Matters Departments for B. Braun Melsungen AG. Mr. Neubauer began his career with B. Braun in 1988 at B. Braun Melsungen AG, where he served as Legal Assistant to the Chairman of the Board and principal of the company.

Mr. Neubauer is, inter alia, since 2004 a Member of the Board of the German American Chamber of Commerce New York, from 2006-2019 as Chairman. He is a member of the Board of Directors of AdvaMed (the industrial association of medical device manufacturers in the U.S.). He also serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Group of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Member of the Board of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC).

Mr. Neubauer was born in New Jersey, and completed his schooling in both the United States and Germany. He earned a German Law Degree from The Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany in 1983. Mr. Neubauer earned his Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Georgetown University in 1987.

Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Leadership Award

The Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding leader in the life sciences community who best exemplifies the spirit of innovation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Hubert J.P. Schoemaker is widely noted as an inspiration and mentor to many industry CEOs, scientists, and executives. His vision for the industry and for the region, as well as his spirit and will to succeed, remain among his great legacies.

Mike Dougherty
Longtime Philadelphia Biotech Executive

Michael R. Dougherty has been involved in the life sciences community over the past four decades, joining Centocor, Inc. in 1983 and later serving as Centocor’s Chief Financial Officer. He has since held senior positions at several biopharma companies, including President and CEO at Magainin Pharmaceuticals and at Adolor Corporation, and most recently Executive Chairman at Celator Pharmaceuticals.

Mike has also served as an independent director at a number of companies in the industry, including Viropharma Incorporated and Foundation Medicine, Inc. He was a founding Board Member of Pennsylvania BIO (now Life Sciences PA), and is currently a Director at Idera Pharmaceuticals, Marinus Pharmaceuticals and Trevena Inc.

Mike is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area and a 1980 graduate of Villanova University. He and his wife Eileen are the parents of five children, and have six grandchildren.

Frank Baldino CEO of the Year Award

The Frank Baldino CEO of the Year Award recognizes a CEO who has demonstrated visionary leadership and active participation to advance the industry. Frank Baldino, Jr., founder and CEO of Cephalon, Inc., was a pillar of the Life Sciences community in the Greater Philadelphia region and of the biotechnology industry as a whole.

Usman “Oz” Azam, M.D.
President and CEO,
Tmunity Therapeutics

Dr. Azam was appointed President and CEO of Tmunity Therapeutics in December 2016. He has over 20 years of extensive U.S., global and international pharmaceutical industry experience, and has held senior leadership roles in the areas of clinical development, regulatory and commercial.

Prior to joining Tmunity, Dr. Azam was the Founder and Head of the Cell & Gene Therapies business unit at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and was a member of the Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. While at Novartis, he lived and worked in the U.S. and Switzerland. Previous roles at Novartis include Head of Global Medical Affairs & HEOR, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of U.S. Clinical Development, and Global Head Regulatory Affairs for the Neurosciences & Ophthalmic business franchise.

He has served as Chief Executive Officer of Novaccel Therapeutics LLC, a company he founded focusing on accelerating assets in the translational medicine setting. Prior to that, he served as Chief Medical Officer at Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Inc, a company that focused on orphan and rare autoimmune disease states. Aspreva was acquired by Galenica S.A. in 2008. Dr. Azam was Vice President in Internal Medicine at Johnson & Johnson in Pharmaceutical Research & Development (JJ PRD) and Chief Medical Officer at Johnson & Johnson Ethicon. He started his life sciences career with Warner Lambert-Parke Davis in 1998.

Dr. Azam is an Executive Committee Member of the Alliance of Regenerative Medicines (ARM).

Dr. Azam is a graduate of The University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, where he completed undergraduate studies in human biology and anatomy.

He graduated from the University of Liverpool school of medicine & attained board certification as an Obstetrician & Gynecologist in the U.K

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