The BioCT Leadership and Board of Directors brings industry expertise, advice, and support to the Connecticut bioscience community. This team looks forward to serving as mentors and advisors to our members.
President & CEO
Dawn Hocevar is President & CEO at BioCT. She is the 2017 President and Board Chair of Women In Bio and has spent the last five years in various roles with Women In Bio including: fundraising, national program chair and helped establish Women In Bio’s Boardroom Ready program. Women In Bio has 13 chapters across the country with over 2000 members. With her most recent role as Vice President, Business Development with BioSurplus she worked closely with BIO and affiliates across the country helping to grow vendor programs and membership. With BioSurplus, she seeded and built business platforms in San Francisco as well as Boston and the New England area including Connecticut. She excels in building relationships and her vast network adds tremendous value to her work with BioCT. She has experience in distribution, sales, management and marketing with her 20 years working with Fisher Scientific. She obtained her BS in Microbiology and Chemistry from San Jose State University and worked at Stanford University for six years prior to joining Fisher Scientific.
Peter Farina, Ph.D.
Executive in Residence
Dr. Peter Farina is an Executive in Residence at Canaan Partners, a venture capital firm located in Westport, CT where he assesses and advises on pharma/biotech/healthcare investments. He is also the managing partner of a consulting firm, Salient Science & Technology, LLC which advises several US and Chinese biotech firms on strategic and technical matters in pharmaceutical R&D. Dr. Farina currently serves as the Co-Chair and Board Member of BioCT; the Advisory Board of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, member of the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN) steering committee; Emory University DRIVE Advisory Board, and was a Founder and CEO of Developing World Cures, a nonprofit company working on neglected diseases.
Dr. Farina retired in 2008 as Senior Vice President of Development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Ridgefield, CT where he was responsible for North American development of drugs in the therapeutics areas of Immunology/Inflammation, Virology and Cardiovascular Disease. During his tenure as SVP at BI, his interdisciplinary team worked on the development and successful registration of Aptivus®, an HIV protease inhibitor, Viramune XR® for HIV and Atrovent HFA® for COPD and emphysema. Prior to this position he served as Vice President of Research at the Ridgefield Center. He has also held positions as Director of Inflammatory Diseases and Director of Biochemistry over his 28 year career with Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to joining BI he spent 6 years in the Corporate Research Laboratories and Medical Products Division of Union Carbide Corporation in Tarrytown, NY where he did research and development of immunodiagnostics. Dr. Farina’s research interest has been generally at the interface of chemistry and biology. He has worked over his research career in inflammatory and immunological mechanisms, particularly cytokines and arachidonic acid mediators. In addition, he was engaged in HIV virology research which led to discovery and successful registration of one of the first non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors Viramune ®(nevirapine). He is the author of over fifty publications and patents.
Dr. Farina has a PhD in organic chemistry from SUNY Buffalo and did postdoctoral work in bioorganic chemistry at Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Stephen Benkovic. In May 2014 Dr. Farina was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the UConn School of Pharmacy for his career accomplishments, leadership in pharmaceutical sciences, and contributions to community and education.
Paul Hughes, J.D.
Partner, Wiggin and Dana, LLP
Paul Hughes is the Managing Partner, Co-Chair of the Emerging Companies and Venture Capital Practice Group and former Chair of the firm’s Corporate Department. He also practices in the Health Care Department. He is experienced with the representation and operation of both mature and emerging growth companies in a variety of industries, including energy and utilities, information technology, clean technology, telecommunications, biotechnology, health care services, manufacturing, and outsourcing.
Paul regularly represents clients in the areas of debt and equity financings, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and corporate governance.
Paul has served as Vice President and General Counsel of a venture capital-backed pediatric health care services company and its pediatric clinical trials network. He was active in all aspects of business development, corporate strategy, and operations and was responsible for all of the companies’ legal affairs, including equity and debt financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, licensing, real estate leasing, and contract negotiations.
Chambers USA lists Paul as one of the leading corporate/M&A lawyers in Connecticut and adds that he offers experience of working with mature and emerging growth companies from a range of sectors, including biotechnology and telecommunications. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in the area of Private Equity Funds.
Paul was awarded his J.D. with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he served as an Articles Editor at the Connecticut Law Review. Following graduation, he held the position of law clerk to Justice Fleming L. Norcott, Jr. of the Connecticut Supreme Court. He earned his B.A. from the University of Connecticut. Paul is admitted to practice in Connecticut.
Stanley Choy, M.B.A.
Co-Chair & Treasurer
Stanley Choy has been a finance executive and business leader for over 20 years both in the pharmaceutical and legal industries. A bioscience entrepreneur, he was most recently Vice President, Finance and Administration of Kolltan Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Kolltan in 2009, Mr. Choy was the chief financial officer for a leading Am Law 100 law firm, Edwards Angell, Palmer & Dodge LLP. From 2003-2006, Mr. Choy served as financial controller with Shearman & Sterling LLP, managing the firm’s finance and accounting organization, including fiscal and reporting functions. Prior to joining the legal industry, Mr. Choy spent eleven years at Pfizer Inc., and held several senior finance management positions with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., including finance director of business planning for the Consumer Health Care Division, finance director of the Asia & Latin America Region for the Animal Health Care Division, and finance director of the U.S. and Asia Region for the Corporate Finance and Treasurer’s Division. Mr. Choy spent four years at Arthur Andersen & Company in the audit and tax practices early in his career. Stan has an M.B.A. from Syracuse University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s, NYS Society of CPAs, Law Firm CFO Group, and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Finance and Tax Committee.
Todd E. Arnold, Ph.D.
Chief Laboratory Operations Officer
Dr. Todd E. Arnold is the Chief Laboratory Operations Officer for Sema4, a spinout company of the Mount Sinai Health System. Sema4 is an interdisciplinary health information company committed to providing open access to data and creating practical tools that help patients, clinicians, and researchers better predict health trajectories. Prior to his role at Sema4, he was the Managing Director of the Mount Sinai Genetic Testing Laboratory–Connecticut, a state of the art, high throughput nucleic acid sequencing facility. The laboratory was an extension of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His team was responsible for generating and analyzing sequencing data to enable researchers and clinicians to gain a better understanding of the biology of cancer and inherited diseases, improve the accuracy of diagnoses, apply the most appropriate therapeutic regimens, and achieve optimal patient outcomes.
Previously Dr. Arnold was the Vice President of Research and Development at 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company, where his team developed next-generation sequencing instruments, reagents, assays, and software. Prior to joining 454 he was the Director of Product Development and Applications Support for Healthcare at CUNO, Incorporated, a 3M Company. He and his team introduced innovative filtration and separation media for use in therapeutic monoclonal antibody purification and pharmaceutical applications, as well as creating multiple diagnostic membrane platforms. He earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Indiana University, his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Georgia, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Arnold is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.
An active participant in curriculum development at colleges and universities, Dr. Arnold served on the advisory boards of the Connecticut Health and Life Sciences Career Initiative and the Genomic Workforce Consortium. He is currently a member of the New Haven Region Bioscience Career and Academic Pathway (BioPath) Advisory Board, the Workforce Advisory Board of the National Professional Science Master’s Association, the Workforce Advisory Board for the Professional Science Master’s Health Care Genetics Graduate Program at the University of Connecticut, and the Graduate Education Advisory Board at the University of Georgia. In addition, he is a member of the Connecticut Bioscience Growth Council, Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE) Government Affairs Committee, the Connecticut Health Data Collaborative, and BioArray Genetics’ scientific advisory board.
Robert Bettigole, MPPM
Elm Street Ventures
Rob is the founder and the managing partner of Elm Street Ventures. He serves on the boards of P2 Science (where he is chairman) and SeeClickFix and is Elm Street’s observer on the boards of Arvinas and Device42. Previously, Rob was a board member of AxioMx, Occam Sciences, ShareGrove, and Retail Optimization Inc., and served as an observer on the boards of Affomix, BioRelix, and Metagenomix. Before founding ESV in 2006, Rob ran an infrastructure business and helped found several start-ups. Earlier in his career, he was a venture capitalist with Rothschild Inc. and Investor AB.
He began his professional career as an electrical engineer, mainly working in software. Mr. Bettigole has a BS in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University and an MPPM from the Yale School of Management, where he is an Executive Fellow and helps teach courses on entrepreneurship. Rob has served on the Operating Board of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute since its inception in 2007 and is on the Investment Committee of the YEI Innovation Fund, which Elm Street Ventures also manages. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer and holds several U.S. and foreign patents.
John Burkhardt, Ph.D.
Global Drug Safety Research and Development
Groton Labs Site Director
John Burkhardt is Vice President, Global Drug Safety Research and Development, Groton Labs Site Director, Pfizer. Prior to rejoining Pfizer, John led AbbVie Preclinical Safety from 2008-2015. His knowledge base covers early drug discovery, late stage development, regulatory review and approval of both small and large molecules. John knows Pfizer well as he worked in Pfizer Drug Safety for 15 years prior to heading Preclinical Safety at AbbVie. While in Pfizer Drug Safety (Groton, Sandwich, and Amboise, France) John helped develop and implement many of the early discovery support platforms, like target safety assessment and discovery pathology support, that are still utilized in Pfizer today.
John earned his Doctor of Philosophy and Residency in Anatomic Pathology at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, West Lafayette, Indiana, May, 1992. He received his Bachelor of Science degree and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University School of Agriculture, West Lafayette, Indiana, in May 1985 and 1988, respectively.
Erin Duffy, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Erin Duffy, Ph.D. is the chief scientific officer of Melinta Therapeutics, responsible for translating the company’s Nobel Prize-winning crystallography ribosome modeling into the discovery and early-stage development of novel antibiotic candidates. She joined the company in 2002 and has become one of the world’s leading experts on the structure and function of the bacterial ribosome and the interaction of antibiotics with their ribosomal targets.
Dr. Duffy has led Melinta’s ESKAPE Pathogen Program from its infancy and has been instrumental in advancing the platform while also contributing to the development programs for other medication candidates. The ESKAPE Pathogen Program is Melinta’s most advanced preclinical program, focused on using a discrete, novel binding site within the bacterial ribosome to design and develop completely new classes of antibiotics to treat some of the most deadly and difficult-to-treat, multi-drug resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative infections.
Prior to joining Melinta, Dr. Duffy served as the associate director of innovative discovery technologies at Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Duffy began her scientific career as a computational chemist with Pfizer Global Research and Development in Groton, Connecticut.
Dr. Duffy was trained at Yale University, where she received her Ph.D. in 1994 in physical-organic chemistry and was a Howard Hughes postdoctoral fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Wheeling Jesuit University.
John G. Houston, Ph.D.
President & CEO
John G. Houston is currently the President & CEO of Arvinas and has over 28 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech arena. Prior to this appointment, John was CSO and President of Research and Development at Arvinas. Before joining Arvinas, John was Senior Vice President of Specialty Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he worked for over 18 years in roles of increasing responsibility. He ran all of the disease science biology departments in research such as Oncology, Immuno-Oncology, Immuno-Sciences, Fibrotic Diseases, Genetically Defined Diseases, Neuroscience, Cardiovascular and Virology, as well as accountability for the various technology platform organizations such as Applied Biotechnology, Leads Discovery & Optimization, Genomics, Biologics Discovery California (formerly Medarex) and Zymogenetics in Seattle. For many years he was the global Disease Strategy Team co-chair for Neuroscience and the co-chair for the Neuroscience Early Assets development strategy. He was also the site head at the Wallingford, CT facility and a member of the BMS R&D Executive Committee reporting to the Head of Discovery. He also chaired the Target Portfolio Committee with governance accountability in the early research and development phase of the BMS portfolio.
With his teams and his BMS Research colleagues, he progressed over 180 compounds into early development, several of which have advanced into late stage clinical testing and beyond. He was a member of the BMS senior leadership team that achieved 14 NDA’s over a 10 year period.
John was also the principal architect and driver of the ‘Leveraging Technology’ initiative at BMS which oversaw the design and implementation of an industry leading integrated lead discovery and optimization process. This initiative created revolutionary changes in the discovery process at BMS with significant improvements in capacity, speed and cost control resulting in marked increases in research productivity and success rates.
Prior to joining Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Houston worked at Glaxo Welcome Research and Development in the UK, where he served as head of the Lead Discovery Unit.
John completed post-doctoral studies with Professor Julia Douglas at Glasgow University, and obtained his Ph.D. with Professor Brian Catley in Microbial Biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
Richard Jacob, M.A.
Associate Vice President for Federal Relations
Richard Jacob has served as the Associate Vice President for Federal Relations since 1995, in 2011 he was appointed to represent Yale in all State related legislative matters.
He works closely with Yale’s senior leadership, other administrators, and faculty to identify issues of concern as well as opportunities and to coordinate the development of the University’s position on those matters. He also assists in the design of Yale’s plans for implementation of federal mandates.
Mr. Jacob has chaired several committees of the Association of American Universities, including the Steering Committee for the Council on Federal Relations. He is currently a member of the AAU Tax Task Force on Strengthening the University-Government Research partnership. He is also the former chair of the Public Issues Committee for the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, an association comprised of 31 highly selective private colleges and universities in the United States. He is a member of the Government Relations Committee of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority Board.
Mr. Jacob was a program analyst and later deputy branch chief in the US Office of Management and Budget from 1984 to 1989. His portfolio included the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other programs. He served as Special Assistant to the Vice President and Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine from 1989 to 1995.
Richard Jacob earned a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College and holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.
Megan Rosengarten, M.B.A.
Vice President & General Manager for Surgical Innovations’ Surgical Robotics Medtronic
Megan Rosengarten is a proven leader known for commercializing new insights and opportunities, resulting in sustainable growth and iconic Brands. She rejoined Medtronic in January 2018 as the Vice President and General Manager for Surgical Innovations’ Surgical Robotics business. From 2014-2018 she served as the VP, Global Marketing for Hologic’s Breast and Skeletal Health Division where she served a key role in the company’s turnaround – defining global strategies and executing on opportunities to accelerate growth. Prior to joining Hologic, Megan worked at Covidien from 2008-2014 with her last role being VP, Global Marketing for Advanced Minimally-Invasive Surgical Systems, with a primary focus on Robotics. She has broad experience across the medical device and consumer product industries. Prior to joining Covidien, she led marketing efforts for contact lens and consumer healthcare brands at J&J.
Throughout her career, Megan has led several initiatives which have received marketing and leadership awards, including the B2B Award for Sales Enablement from CEB. Under her leadership, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies achieved the highest advertising persuasion and recall scores ever in the first aid category and highest performing ad in Brand history. She is also the recipient of the Silver Award for Best Use of Digital Marketing to Consumers from MM&M. Megan was the 2017 Hologic President’s Circle of Excellence award winner, nominated by the Field Sales organization for excellence in supporting Sales and Customers, as well as a Covidien President’s Award recipient for excellence in innovation and leadership.
Megan earned her MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC, with concentrations in marketing and international business, and her B.S. in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy from Duke University.
David I. Scheer
Scheer and Company
David Scheer is President of Scheer & Company, Inc., a firm founded in 1981, with activities in venture capital, corporate strategy, and transactional advisory services focused on the life sciences. Mr. Scheer was involved in the founding and had been a member of the Boards of Directors of ViroPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ, “VPHM”), OraPharma, Inc. (acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003), and Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. (of which he was Chairman, acquired by Pfizer in 2004). His current board relationships include Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (of which he is Chairman, NASDAQ, “ACHN”), Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (of which he is Chairman, NASDAQ, “AEGR”), Tengion, Inc. (of which he is Chairman, OTC BB, “TNGN”) Axerion Therapeutics, Inc. (of which he is Chairman), and Optherion, Inc. (of which he is Chairman).
From 1991 through 1999, he was affiliated with the health care investing team at Oak Investment Partners. Mr. Scheer has also led or played a significant role in a series of transactions involving corporate alliances, licensing arrangements, divestments, acquisitions and mergers in the life sciences. He has served as a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Harvard Malaria Initiative.
He has helped to launch, and served as Chair of the Executive Committee for “The Unfinished Agenda in Infectious Diseases”, an initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health focusing on the neglected diseases. He has also been a member of the Global Advisory Council for AIDS@30, an initiative at Harvard, and an Advisor for the Global Task Force for Expanding Cancer Care and Control in the Developing World, another Harvard-affiliated initiative. He also serves as an advisor to the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees, and Vice-Chair for the Long Wharf Theatre, in New Haven, CT.
He is the founding Chair of the Global Health and the Arts series in New Haven, which for the past 5 years has been a collaboration between Long Wharf and Yale. In 2007, he was awarded the Atlas Award for Venture Capital from CURE, of which he also serves as a member of the Board and is on the Executive Committee), and in 2009, he received the Venture CapitalLeadership Award from the Connecticut Venture Group. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award for Distinguished Service to Industry, Commerce, and Education.
He received his A.B. cum laude in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College, and an M.S. in Cell, Molecular and Development Biology, from Yale University.
J. Dormer Stephen, J.D.
Shipman & Goodwin, LLP
Dormer Stephen is Co-Chair of Shipman & Goodwin’s Business and Finance Practice Group.
Dormer handles venture capital and private equity and debt transactions, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. His practice involves the representation of Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds, emerging companies and investment banks in structuring, negotiating and documenting seed through later stage equity and debt investments, mezzanine financings, syndicated credit facilities, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, buyouts, rollup strategies, intellectual property transactions, work-outs and financial restructurings and general corporate matters. Constituent companies are in a broad range of industries including financial services, insurance, life sciences, media, software and telecommunications. He also represents public and private clients in an “outside general counsel” capacity. Roles include counseling on strategic initiatives (such as joint ventures, joint development projects and intellectual property licensing and collaboration), commercial contract matters (such as distribution and supply agreements, license agreements and employment agreements) and other general corporate matters (such as employment and severance matters, equity incentive plans, corporate governance, real estate matters and insurance matters). As a member of the firm’s Opportunity Zones team, Dormer advises clients on various aspects of the Qualified Opportunity Zones program.
Prior to joining Shipman & Goodwin, Dormer was a Partner in the Corporate Department of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.
Elizabeth Sullivan, M.S.
Senior Director, R&D Operations
Elizabeth Sullivan is Senior Director, R & D Operations at Alexion (New Haven, CT). Alexion is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and delivering life-transforming therapies for patients with devastating and rare diseases. In her current role, Liz provides business management and operational support to the Global Head of Research and Development. Liz is a member of the R&D Leadership, as well as the Strategy, Portfolio and Project Management Leadership teams. Previous to this role, Liz held positions of increasing responsibility within Alexion, most notably as the program manager for Soliris, the company’s first marketed product. In this role, Liz led the global filings for Soliris in atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS).
Liz has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry spanning from target identification through marketing authorization. Prior to Alexion, Liz joined Vion Pharmaceuticals (New Haven, CT) where, as a clinical research scientist, she worked to file the company’s first new drug marketing application. Prior to Vion, Liz worked as a research scientist at Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals (West Haven, CT), where she developed extensive expertise within the oncology therapeutic area and was responsible for delivering two new molecules to the clinic.
Elizabeth received her Masters of Science degree in biochemistry and cellular biology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA) and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Assumption College (Worcester, MA). A life-long resident of Connecticut, Liz, along with her husband and two children, currently resides in Cheshire.
Eleanor L. Tandler
Eleanor Tandler is the former CEO and a founder of NovaTract Surgical, Inc. a venture-backed start-up company founded to develop new, innovative laparoscopic medical devices for surgeons to take minimally invasive surgery to the next level of ease and simplicity. Ms. Tandler is a business executive with proven ability to conceive, develop, lead, problem solve and execute in the healthcare space. She has a track record of motivating and developing high-performing teams. Over 6 years, Ms. Tandler worked to raise approximately $7MM in investment capital and led the company from concept to a product in the marketplace; having developed a proof of concept, fabricated a working prototype, tested in a lab, completed regulatory milestones and brought to market. NovaTract trialed and revised 4 versions of the device in the marketplace, gained acceptance and usage in over 2 dozen hospitals and sold the technology to a private California-based laparoscopic company for broader commercialization worldwide.
Prior to NovaTract, Ms. Tandler was the Director of Venture Development at UConn R&D Corporation where she worked to create new business start-ups based on innovative technologies developed by the faculty and staff at the University of Connecticut. During her tenure at UConn R&D Corporation, she served as interim CEO of New Ortho Polymers, a UConn start-up focused on the development of new orthodontic appliances based on utilizing high performance polymers. Prior to that, she spent five years as a venture capital investor with Radius Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on health and life sciences, based in New York City with approximately $230 million under management. While at Radius, Ms. Tandler focused on investments in the healthcare services, information technology, and medical device sectors. Prior to Radius, Ms. Tandler worked as a healthcare consultant, providing strategic and operational advisory services, primarily to healthcare and life sciences clients. Her experience includes development and implementation of business models for start-up companies and integration strategies for healthcare provider organizations and pharmaceutical companies.
Ms. Tandler received a Master’s in Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a concentration in finance and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Mathematics with honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Andrew Zehner, J.D.
Andrew Zehner served as Associate Vice President for Research, Technology Commercialization and Industry Relations at the University of Connecticut. He also served in the Office of the General Counsel as Counsel for business transactions. Andrew has twenty years of experience providing strategic and business counsel to a wide variety of industries, including life sciences, health care, telecommunications, and information technology. Andrew was most recently Senior Corporate Counsel in the Legal Division of Pfizer Inc., supporting all aspects of pharmaceutical R&D in the U.S. and United Kingdom. He led the negotiations on many research, development and commercialization transactions. Prior to that, he served as counsel for Paradigm4, People’s Choice TV and HSS, Inc., all fast-growing Connecticut technology companies.
Zehner received a B.A. degree in American Civilization from Middlebury College, an M.A. degree in history from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Juris Doctor with Honors from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Connecticut and Maryland.