Biotechnology Entrepreneurism

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Dr. Whoriskey’s career has focused on creating companies that pioneer scientific breakthroughs to save lives and improve healthcare costs. She has helped build three of Massachusetts top successful biotech companies from the ground up as a member of the founding Executive Teams of Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) and Moderna. These companies have innovated cutting edge science and developed life saving affordable medicines, while building significant shareholder value and contributing numerous jobs to the Massachusetts economy in the process. She played key roles in managing these companies to grow from the “big science idea” through seed venture capital, scientific proof of concept, IPO, follow-on financings and the achievement of multiple FDA drug approvals. She is currently working on her fourth start-up, a privately held company focusing on gene repair.

Cubist developed Cubicin® to treat multi-drug resistant Staph aureus bacterial infections (MRSA). It was one of the first new chemical classes of antibiotics in over 50 years and has been used to treat over 1M patients saving numerous lives. Merck purchased the Company for $9.5B in 2014.

Susan helped start Momenta Pharmaceuticals to expand access to high quality, more affordable medicines. The company pioneered the field of biogenerics successfully achieving the first FDA approval ever for a complex mixture generic drug, enoxaparin, to prevent and treat deep vein thrombosis and acute coronary symptom. It was the most successful IV generic launch ever in the US, saving the U.S. health care system hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2015 Momenta received FDA approval for GlatopaTM a complex generic version of Copaxone®, the leading product to treat multiple sclerosis, which was also marketed at a significantly discounted price. Momenta employs greater than 200 people and is currently valued at > $1B.

Susan helped start Moderna to pioneer messenger RNA therapeutics™ a novel technology to develop therapies faster and at lower cost to treat a variety of diseases. The company founded out of Flagship Venturelabs employs > 200 people and is rapidly growing. Dr. Whoriskey helped the company establish their technology and patent strategies and establish scientific proof of concept, while raising >$110M in private equity, $25M in government grants and over $240M in corporate partnership financing. In 2015 Moderna closed on $450M of investment funding, the largest biotechnology venture financing on record. The company remains privately held.

Dr. Whoriskey has held various positions in academics, venture capital and biotech executive management. She has been a Research Fellow in Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School with 2009 Nobel Prize Recipient Dr. Jack Szostak, a consultant to venture capital firm Polaris Venture Partners, and an Entrepreneur in Residence at MIT.

Dr. Whoriskey earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a PH.D. in Molecular Biology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA. She is a proud recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Biotechnology and Entrepreneurism from the University of Ulster and The Golden Bridges Award-Irish Echo. She is an inventor on 9 issued patents and multiple pending patent applications.

A Conversation with Susan Whoriskey

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