Executing the Dream II: Eyes on the Prize - Strategic Science Tactics & the Pursuit of Business Objectives

Thursday, September 26 2013
8:00 am – 10:00 am

Location: MassBio, 300 Technology Square, 8th Floor, Cambridge, MA

This event is at capacity and registration is now closed. Please contact lauren.perna@massbio.org with any questions.


Please join us for the fourth part of the Adventures in Biotech series as we explore how three selected companies have employed different scientific strategies and tactics in building and growing their successful organizations. Each has grown significantly over the past five years.

Come learn:

  • How the scientific strategy was planned at the founding of the company
  • How critical the strategic scientific plan was to propelling the growth of the company
  • How that strategy has changed over time


  • Birgit Schoeberl, Vice President, Early Stage Discovery, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals
  • Muthiah Manoharan, PhD, SVP Drug Discovery, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Steven Tregay, PhD, Founder, President and CEO, Forma Therapeutics
  • Laurence Reid, PhD, Senior Vice President, Chief Business Officer, Alnylam


  • Daniel Behr, Managing Partner, Seed Partners; Interim President, FlowSel


This Forum is presented by the Drug Discovery, Biostatistics / Data Management / Clinical Trials, and CRO/CMO Forum Working Groups.


Speaker Bios

Daniel Behr, Managing Partner, Seed Partners; Interim President, FlowSel

Daniel Behr brings 25 years of experience in all aspects of innovation and commercialization as entrepreneur, venture investor and technology development professional. He has been involved in launching and/or funding dozens of ventures in the life and physical sciences.  Daniel was a founder and Senior VP of Access BridgeGap Ventures, an early-stage biopharma ventures group whose portfolio includes Mnemosyne (neuropsychiatric diseases), Exithera (antithrombotics), and Vedantra (vaccines).  Prior to BridgeGap he was Director of Technology Ventures at Allied Minds, an investment firm focused on creating and funding academic spinoffs, where he led the formation and Series A funding of SciFluor, a fluorine chemistry drug development startup.  From 2006-2010, Daniel was Director of Business Development at Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development (technology transfer) where he helped launch various Harvard spinoffs including GnuBio, Capsum and Qstream. Previously, Daniel was co-founder of 3 instrumentation startups (In-USA, Compact Instruments, Arradiance).  He also launched Seed Partners, a seed-stage angel fund.  Before starting his first company, Daniel was a business strategy Consultant at Bain & Co. and an advanced materials Research Engineer at Albany International.   He earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and his BS in Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and speaks Spanish (fluent) and German (conversational).

Birgit Schoeberl, Vice President, Early Stage Discovery, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Birgit Schoeberl is the Vice President of early stage discovery at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Schoeberl has been with Merrimack since 2004 and has led the formulation of Merrimack’s research and development platform, Network Biology. She was also responsible for designing the company’s lead Network Biology derived therapeutic, MM-121, and taking it into clinical development. Currently, she also serves on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of Silvercreek Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco. Dr. Schoeberl received an M.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, and a Ph.D. degree from the Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany. She joined Merrimack Pharmaceuticals after being a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Douglas Lauffenburger and Peter Sorger at MIT in 2003.

Muthiah Manoharan, PhD, SVP Drug Discovery, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Mano Manoharan was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India  and carried out his college education at American College, Madurai. He earned his PhD in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he studied with Professor Ernest  Eliel. He did post-doctoral research on DNA repair enzymes at Yale University and at the University of Maryland  with Professor John Gerlt using synthetic oligonucleotides. He has been an oligonucleotide chemist since 1983 and has been involved in oligonucleotide-based therapeutics since 1988 when he started his industrial career at Lifecodes, a small antisense company in Valhalla, New York during the early days of antisense research. He moved to Isis Pharmaceuticals in 1990 and contributed to its growth through discovery of numerous chemical modifications and development of conjugation chemistry to enable delivery of oligonucleotides. Since his move to Alnylam in 2003, Mano has worked to make siRNAs therapeutically viable using chemical modifications, conjugates and cationic lipids and other delivery systems.

Mano’s  research and publications over the past two decades  have embraced all major areas of oligonucleotide therapeutics - antisense, RNAi, antagomirs, immunostimulatory oligonucleotides and pre-mRNA splicing modulation. He is an author on over 160 publications and over 300 abstracts, as well as the inventor on over 150 issued U.S. patents.

Steven Tregay, PhD, Founder, President and CEO, Forma Therapeutics

Prior to joining FORMA, Steven Tregay was a Managing Director for the $200M Novartis Option Fund. He led the fund’s investments in and served on the Board of Directors of FORMA Therapeutics, Adenosine Therapeutics (acquired by Clinical Data: FRX) and Cequent Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Marina Biotech: MRNA). Prior to joining the venture group, he was the Executive Director and Head of Strategic Alliances-Oncology, Ophthalmology and Technologies at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. He managed a team who were responsible for identification, negotiation and management of collaborations for the oncology and ophthalmology disease areas and all the technology areas. Prior to Novartis, he had roles in business development at Array BioPharma and research. He received his PhD and MS in organic chemistry from Harvard University and a BS from Davidson College.

Laurence Reid, PhD., Senior Vice President, Chief Business Officer, Alnylam

Dr. Reid joined in 2010, bringing to Alnylam over 20 years of business development and strategic planning experience within the global biotechnology industry. During his tenure at Ensemble Discovery, he led the development and implementation of key business strategies for the company's therapeutic and diagnostic portfolios, as well as executed major therapeutic discovery alliances with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer. Prior to that, Laurence worked as a founder of two start-up companies in the fields of stem cell therapeutics and inflammation. He previously spent ten years at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he had worked in a range of general management and business development positions. Roles included General Manager of Millennium UK with responsibility for Millennium's European operations, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning for the company's predictive medicine efforts, as well as in pharmaceutical business development and technology acquisition. Before joining Millennium, he was an assistant editor of the journal Cell. Laurence received his Ph.D. from London University and his B.A. from Cambridge University. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of The Possible Project.

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