TRACK C - Biopharmaceuticals & Drugs:

Meeting the Challenges of University Start-Up Companies

This panel session will profile 3 to 4 start-up companies based on technology licensed from Georgia institutions. Issues common to company formation in the university environment will be discussed including licensing intellectual property, conflicts of interest and commitment, use of university facilities, management of the enterprise and funding sources.

H. Lee Herron​, DVM
VP of Venture Development, Georgia Research Alliance

Dr. Herron is Vice President of Venture Development for the Georgia Research Alliance directing the activities of GRA Ventures.  Through GRA Ventures, a milestone-based process is used to accelerate the formation of new companies around university research by offering a suite of services including commercialization awards and loans to validate technology and business concepts.  GRA Ventures funding is provided in sequential phases corresponding to increasing levels of risk mitigation.  Prior to joining the GRA in July 2008, Dr. Herron worked with the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech and prior thereto spent many years in the start-up and developing company environment. 

Ed Cannon, PhD
Founder, President & CEO, NovAb, Inc.

L. Edward (Ed) Cannon, Ph.D. is the business founder, President, CEO and Chairman of NovAb, Inc., which was formed to commercialize products based on a novel monoclonal antibody technology developed by Max Cooper of Emory University. Dr. Cannon received his doctoral degree in Biochemistry from the University of Georgia, completed postdoctoral training at Harvard and has held staff and faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, Brandeis University, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He has founded and participated in senior management of numerous biotechnology companies including Hygeia Sciences, the leading developer of monoclonal antibody-based home diagnostic products, Protein Engineering Corporation/Dyax Corp., developer and marketer of  Kalbitor™ and Lanadelumab biotherapeutics, and Unigen Pharmaceuticals, developer and manufacturer of proprietary natural products utilized in prescription medical foods, herbal medicines, cosmetics, and personal care products.

Trevor Thompson
Managing Director, Pullan Consulting

Trevor Thompson joined Pullan Consulting in 2016 where he works with clients on their financing and partnering strategy execution.  In his capacity at Pullan Consulting, Trevor will occasionally take on operational roles to help bridge clients to permanent management teams.  One such engagement is Aeromics, where Trevor currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer and has played a significant role in Aeromics’ transition to a clinical stage company.  Prior to Pullan Consulting, Trevor was the VP of Corporate Development for a small biotechnology company focused on therapeutics antibodies.


A registered representative, Trevor is deeply involved in the process of positioning and securing clients to attract the resources necessary to advance their company – whether through investment capital, licensing or M&A and brings over 15 years of finance and operations experience to his practice at Pullan Consulting.

Erika Tyburski
CEO & Co-Founder, Sanguina

Erika is the CEO and co-founder of Sanguina, a company that spun out of Georgia Tech and Emory University in 2014. Sanguina is focused on development and launch of home use wellness tools, including AnemoCheck, a color-based disposable screening tool for anemia, and a revolutionary new non-invasive smartphone app for screening anemia. Sanguina has raised over $2.0M in non-dilutive grant funding for continued development and commercialization of several technologies. In 2017, the company received FDA clearance on AnemoCheck for clinical use, and entered the market in 2018. We are currently pursuing over-the-counter clearance for our second AnemoCheck product and developing our smartphone app, both planned for launch in 2020. Sanguina aims to market direct to consumer offering access to “your health at your fingertips”.

Erika graduated from Georgia Tech with her degree in biomedical engineering in 2012. Since graduating, she has garnered both technical and entrepreneurial skills through hands on execution of all preclinical and clinical assessments, regulatory studies and strategies, quality management systems development, company operations, funding management, and team expansion. Erika holds one method patent for her AnemoCheck technology, and has several others pending. Erika also functions as the Director of Operations for the newly NIH-funded Atlanta Center for Microsystems-Engineered Point-of-Care Technologies (ACME-POCT). There she assists teams who have developed or are developing microsystems-based POC technologies to define their clinical needs, conduct clinical validation, and refine their technology with the objective of accelerating the path to translation and clinical adoption and directly addressing the barriers thereof.

Vladimir G. Zarnitsyn, PhD, LLM
COO & Co-Founder, Moonlight Therapeutics, Inc.

Researcher skilled in biomedical engineering, medical and physical sciences. Cofounded Clearside Biomedical, Inc. where worked as Director of Biomedical Engineering for 5 years.  Conducted research in the field of Drug Delivery in Georgia Institute of Technology for more than 10 years. In Russia served as an Executive Director for International Soros Science Education Program. Authored more than 20 peer reviewed publications and 9 US patents. 

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