iona wbp rare disease.png

Rare Disease Symposium

July 18, 2018, 8:30-5
Iona College, Romita Auditorium in Ryan Library
715 North Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Click to Register

Antonio Molina-Pachon, Ph.D., Founder and CEO
       GenCo Pharma
David Zuckerman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology
       Iona College



Michael Welling, Founder and Co-Chair
Partner, Meridian Risk Management
Antonio Molina-Pachon, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, GenCo Pharma
Joanne Gere, Executive Director, Westchester Biotech Project
David Zuckerman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology, Iona College

Basic Research’s Role
David Zuckerman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology, Iona College

Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities
Bethany Hills, Esq., Partner, Chair FDA Practice, Mintz Levin

Novel Approaches to Clinical Research
Jules Mitchel, Ph.D., President, Target Health

Addressing Friedreich’s Ataxia: Research, Development, Impact
David Bettoun, Ph.D., Vice President, Preclinical Development
Chondrial Therapeutics

Cathleen Lutz, Ph.D., Director, Mouse Repository,
Rare and Orphan Disease Center
The Jackson Laboratory

Moderator: Rick Huntress, Director, Business Development, 
Clinical and In Vivo Services
The Jackson Laboratory

Innovative Data Science Approaches to Accelerate Rare Disease Clinical Drug Development
Scott Schliebner, Senior Vice President, Center for Rare Diseases
PRA Health Sciences

The Pharma Perspective: Regeneron’s Rare Disease Strategy
Scott Mellis, Ph.D., VP, Early Clinical Science,
Rare Disease, Regeneron
Justin Grindley, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist, Regeneron

Rare Disease Hub, Who’s in?
Antonio Molina-Pachon, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, GenCo Pharma

Investors’ Perspective
Sergei Petukhov, DVM, Partner, Enso Ventures

Final Comments, Adjourn
Michael Welling, 
Founder and Co-Chair
Partner, Meridian Risk Management

David Bettoun.jpg

Speaker Bios

David Bettoun, Ph.D., Vice President, Discovery and Preclinical Development
Chondrial Therapeutics

Dr. Bettoun is a drug discovery and development expert, with extensive experience in preclinical research and development, global research strategy, and startup management. He has over 17 years of experience, and a proven track record of achieving quantifiable results implementing effective and highly successful internal or partnered R&D programs to further drug development for both small molecules and biologics. He is passionate about providing groundbreaking approaches and solutions for early and mid-stage programs from target validation to IND-enabling studies. 

Prior to his position at Chondrial Therapeutics, Dr. Bettoun was Chief Scientist at HaRo Pharmaceutical, working on pediatric oncology indications. As well, he has worked with Eli Lilly, Merck, and GSK in preclinical discovery and lead optimization in oncology, inflammation, and tissue remodeling.

justin grindley.jpg

Justin Grindley, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist, Regeneron

Dr. Grindley has a strong track record of research and an in-depth knowledge of developmental signaling pathways, stem cells and oncology. He has pharmaceutical industry experience in managing preclinical development of oncology bio-therapeutics, and a broad biology research skill-set encompassing molecular biology, tissue and organ culture, in-vivo tumor models, histology, imaging and cell-based assay development. As well, he has bioinformatics and data mining knowledge encompassing transcriptomics, proteomics, and comparative genomics. 

bethany hills.jpg

Bethany Hills, Esq., Chair FDA Practice, Partner, Mintz Levin

Bethany Hills has dual specialties in FDA and health care law making her uniquely qualified to shepherd FDA-regulated companies through complex domestic and foreign compliance matters, and also to provide invaluable counsel regarding positioning, reimbursement, pricing and other strategic decisions. Bethany’s solid understanding of the current landscape and the relevant issues impacting the health care delivery system (collaborations, incentives, legal limitations, reimbursements, etc.) enable her to provide her diverse portfolio of clients with top-tier strategic advice regarding product launches and, thereby, boost their value proposition and ROI.

Dynamic and passionate about her work and clients,—who include American and foreign medical device manufacturers, life science and pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals, physicians, and collaborative delivery system organizations—Bethany provides excellent service with a great spirit of enthusiasm, energy, and collaboration to ensure successful results.

Cathleen Lutz.jpg

Cathleen M. Lutz, Ph.D., Senior Director, Mouse Repository and Orphan Disease Center
The Jackson Laboratory

Dr. Lutz has over 25 years of experience in the field of mouse genetics, and works with patient foundations to develop mouse models for the research community. The program at The Jackson Laboratory includes a growing collection of more than 10,000 unique strains, including over 1,700 live colonies for distribution to the scientific community.

Efforts to improve mouse resources for rare diseases include the generation of precise patient mutations and the development of strains for preclinical testing of therapeutics. Dr Lutz also oversees the In Vivo Pharmacology program which provide services in preclinical drug delivery and efficacy testing for biotech, pharmaceutical, and industry partners. The program specializes in multiple routes of drug delivery and in life and postmortem readouts, especially in the areas of physiology and histological readouts. 

scott mellis.jpg

Scott Mellis, Ph.D., VP, Early Clinical Science, Rare Disease

Dr. Mellis received medical scientist training at Washington University School of Medicine and postgraduate training in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He joined Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group in 1990 with a focus on Zithromax® (azithromycin), including research on B. burgdorferi in collaboration with academic colleagues.  Dr. Mellis joined Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and led clinical development for ARCALYST® (rilonacept), a medication for an ultra-rare auto-inflammatory disease.  He then led Regeneron’s translational and precision medicine initiatives across the general medicine portfolio.  He is a co-founder of the Regeneron Genetics Center.  Dr. Mellis is now leading an effort to optimize Regeneron’s development of new medications for patients with rare diseases.

Jules Mitchel.jpg

Jules Mitchel, Ph.D., President, Target Health

Dr. Mitchel is President of  Dr. Mitchel brings over 25 years of experience both in the pharmaceutical industry and basic research. He has broad based pharmaceutical experience in drugs, biologics, devices and diagnostics including strategic planning, multiple IND, IDE, NDA, PMA and 510(k) submissions; participation in FDA meetings; management of multicenter clinical trials; data management; biostatistics and clinical study reports. Dr. Mitchel leads the team at Target Health to develop software tools to enable the “Paperless Clinical Trial.”

Target Health Inc., is a privately held New York City based full service e*CRO with staff dedicated to all aspects of Regulatory Affairs, Chemistry, Manufacturing and controls, Clinical Research, Biostatistics, Data Management and Strategic Planning. Target Health is committed to bridging Internet-based technology with the drug and device development.

antonio molina.jpg

Antonio Molina-Pachon, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, GenCo Pharma

Dr. Molina-Pachon is an entrepreneur developing solutions for rare diseases and cancer. He is collaborating with the Westchester Biotech Project and international partners to develop a regional hub for researchers who are addressing the most complex, and promising, discoveries.

Since 1997 he has held many executive positions, including Director of Discovery, Director of Business Development, CSO, and CEO positions. He has been the founder of 6 companies, all of which are still running today. 

Sergei Petukhov.jpg

Sergei Pethukov, DVM, Partner, Enso Ventures

Dr. Petukhov leads Enso's biotechnology investments and holds several board positions in Enso portfolio companies including Seres Therapeutics, Galera Therapeutics, Cavion, NeuroVia and Cellectar Biosciences. He has been the Managing Director at CLS Capital, worked at RUSNANO investment fund, and was an advisor at Kaye Scholer LLP for number of US pharmaceutical companies.

He has worked and studied at The Rockefeller University, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Cambridge, Moscow 1st Medical Academy, and Moscow State Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnology.

Scott Schliebner, Senior Vice President, Center for Rare Diseases
PRA Health Sciences

scott schliebner.jpg

Scott Schliebner is an innovative drug development executive with 25 years of clinical leadership experience across the CRO, biotech, and non-profit sectors. He is interested in disruptive and innovative strategies to accelerate clinical drug development, with a particular focus on orphan drugs and rare diseases. He strongly believes the current drug development paradigm is archaic and unsustainable and seeks to implement strategies to ensure clinical trials become an integrated healthcare option for all. 

He has specialties in clinical drug development, rare diseases, orphan drugs, patient-focused approaches, precision and personalized medicine, patient advocacy, clinical trials, and study design, among others.

david zuckerman.jpg

David Zuckerman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology, Iona College

Dr. Zuckerman's research focus is on the cell biology of the soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthusM. xanthus is a model social bacterium, and communities of these cells carry out  many complex functions that require coordinated activities. A better understanding of these features will help inform us how individual cells coordinate their behaviors within larger communities, and the overall cellular organization.

His primary research interests include examining cell movement across surfaces and determining of how protein structures within the cell contribute to the shape and behavior of the bacteria.

Event Highlights: Rare Disease Symposium

  • Learn about the latest research and its implications for new diagnosis and treatments
  • Talk with experts involved in the Rare Disease field
  • Gain insights into the future of Rare Disease diagnosis and treatment
  • Meet the regional organizations that have commitments to the field

We bring together the diverse players involved in the Rare Disease space in a collaborative and educational spirit. Discussions will be forward-thinking, focused on the continued development of new treatment and diagnostic options for the many individuals in the world living with a rare disease. Westchester County's research capacity is primed for continued growth in the coming years, and it is important that Rare Disease research continues to be an area of focus.

Come share your research and its potential impact, discuss current collaborative endeavors in the space, and meet like-minded professionals working toward a common goal. Above all, just bring your energy and a desire to contribute to furthering an important cause.