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After eight years, the Wistar Institute, a local leader in cancer, immunology and infectious disease research, will get a new chair to its board of trustees.
Longtime member Richard Horowitz — who is president and CEO of RAF Industries — was recently named as the science organization’s new chair, succeeding eight-year-chair Helen Pudlin. Horowitz has served on the board since 2002, and has been vice chair since 2012. Pudlin, the retired EVP and general counsel of the PNC Financial Services Group, will remain on the board as an active member, the organization said this week.
Currently, Horowitz serves as a Netter Center National Advisory Board member and member of the board of advisors of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences, as well as board member of the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center and National Constitution Center.
“Wistar has been an engine of important medical discovery for over a century and it’s poised now for even greater scientific leadership — not just in groundbreaking cancer research, but also in the new frontier of pandemic preparedness, where Wistar is exceptionally well equipped to advance medical science,” Horowitz said in a statement.
Wistar has been grabbing headlines during the pandemic. Alongside researchers from other local institutions, its scientists received funding in December to develop a COVID-19 antibody treatment. And earlier in 2020, its researchers also worked with Pennovation-based life sciences technology company Allevi on 3D-printed models of lungs to use to study the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.
Pudlin said the role has been a “great privilege” and source of personal fulfillment over the years. She added that she’s proud of the work Wistar has accomplished.
“Not only are we contributing to the advancement of scientific initiatives on a global scale, we are playing a key role in the scientific and educational vitality of our region, whose reputation as a biomedical science hub is growing rapidly,” she said.
University City Science Center announced this month that it had brought on Alexa Morse in a newly created role of director of commercialization programming. Morse joined the institution in January, and brings a background in public health with her to the role, and she was most recently the program manager of accelerator and business development at GCMI.
“At its core, public health represents a systems thinking approach, focused at looking at a whole instead of parts, identifying trends, and understanding how variables interact,” Morse said in a recent Science Center Q&A. “These general principles are applicable in a variety of settings, especially in identifying market trends and developing program strategies.”
Morse comes (virtually, for now) to Philadelphia from Atlanta, both cities she said have a collaborative community, diverse talent, a lot of universities and healthcare systems and a relatively affordable cost of living, with access to early-stage capital.
“I have really been impressed with the ecosystem’s support and willingness to collaborate,” Morse said. “Everyone I have met so far has been extraordinarily helpful and passionate about the work they are doing. I am really looking forward to meeting my Science Center teammates and members of the ecosystem in person.”
goPuff continues to add to its leadership team from other big-name disrupting companies. Sharad Sundaresan, former head of growth and traffic at Airbnb, has joined goPuff as SVP of product and growth, the company announced last week.
Late last year, the company — which just announced a cool $1.15 billion raise this week — added leadership from Lowe’s, Uber and TripAdvisor. Sundaresan shared on LinkedIn that he feels the on-demand delivery company “has the potential to unlock a world of possibilities, and create a new paradigm for what customers should expect from technology to improve their day-to-day lives.”
“I look forward to building innovative products, coupled with design and insights, to provide a great customer experience, and position the company for long-term sustainable growth,” he wrote.
IP Group, Inc., a hard science investment company with a focus on early-stage companies like Philly’s Exyn Technologies, Carisma Therapeutics and MOBILion Systems, is welcoming Varun Chandra, managing partner of strategic advisory firm Hakluyt, to its board of directors.
IP Group cofounder and CEO Michael Burychka said Chandra’s appointment is a first step in forging a partnership with Hakluyt, which will hopefully add dimension to the company and its portfolio investments.
“Varun has been a friend and trusted advisor to us for many years,” Burychka said in a statement. “His appointment to the board is a critical first step in forging a partnership with Hakluyt. Their team adds a valuable dimension not only to our company but also to our portfolio investments, where they are well-placed to provide expert advice based on industry insights and access to their global network.”
Chandra’s background is investing and merchant banking, and he’s currently a London-based managing partner at Hakluyt. He said in a statement that interface between hard science and commerce exciting and will likely be the “trends which will drive business and shape our world for years to come.”
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