Fireside Chat Speakers

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | 10:30 a.m. - 11:25 a.m. | Twin Peaks North/South

Ken Drazan, MD

Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, California

Ken is Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, California.  His background includes more than 13 years in the healthcare industry and 12 years in the hospital and academic worlds.

A liver transplant surgeon by training, Ken spent several years at Stanford University before moving into entrepreneurial leadership roles in the biopharmaceutical industry and subsequently in the venture capital world. Ken’s deep background in science, his business experience, and his strong ties to the Bay Area life science community provide a unique combination of skills and expertise to his leadership of the California Innovation Center. 

Previously, Ken co-founded Bertram Capital Management in 2006. He served as General Partner of this family of growth equity funds focused on middle market equity investments in business services, consumer products, light manufacturing, and healthcare services. He was also Co-Founder and Chairman of EnGen Bio, a virtual company focused on novel therapeutics in infectious disease and oncology. 

Ken has held a variety of entrepreneurial leadership positions, including Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Arginox, a venture-backed company developing nitric oxide targeted medicines for critical care. He also held executive positions at Genesoft Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company that developed anti-infective therapeutics in collaboration with the Department of Defense and for consumer markets. 

Ken earned his B.A. in Economics from Yale College and received his M.D. Cum Laude from State University of New York. He completed his residency and Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA Medical Center, with a focus on surgery and microbiology. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. - 2:55 p.m. | Twin Peaks North/South

Nick Leschly

President & CEO, bluebird bio

Nick Leschly has served as bluebird bio’s president and chief executive officer since September 2010. Previously, he served as interim chief executive officer from March 2010 to September 2010. Formerly a partner of Third Rock Ventures, L.P. since its founding in 2007, Mr. Leschly played an integral role in the overall formation, development and business strategy of several of Third Rock's portfolio companies, including Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Edimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining Third Rock, he worked at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., leading several early-stage drug development programs and served as the product and alliance leader for VELCADE. Mr. Leschly also founded and serves as chief executive officer of MedXtend Corporation. He received his B.S. in molecular biology from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from Wharton Business School. He currently serves as a member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization board.