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BD/Licensing: Broad is Beautiful—Multiple Assets Diversify the Deal

Wednesday, October 26th, 9:00am - 9:55am 

With a recent surge in pharma companies collaborating earlier on with small biotech companies, discovery stage partnering deals seem to be the “ BD deal du jour.”  Striking a discovery stage deal can be extremely beneficial for both parties in today’s environment. Pharma gets to fill its ever elusive R&D pipeline as patent expirations loom, and the small biotech struggling to raise money to stay alive gets the capital infusion necessary to stay in play. De-risking has become a theme for deal-making  in a difficult market environment; is the best strategy to cast a wide net and diversify as much as possible? Are the days of straightforward single asset deals a thing of the past? Company executives on both sides of the table of recent discovery deals will convene to provide their insights on their experiences. 


  • Carl Spana, PhD, President & Chief Executive Officer, Palatin Technologies, Inc.


  • Christine Grygon, PhD, Interim Head, Venture Capital Liason/BI Partnering, Boehringer Ingleheim
  • Steven E. Hall, PhD, Venture Partner, Lilly Ventures
  • Michael A. Margolis, RPh, Managing Director, Healthcare Investment Banking, ROTH Capital Partners, LLC
  • Andrew Merickel, PhD, Partner,  Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP
  • Ali Tehrani PhD, President & CEO, Zymeworks Inc.

  Who's Who


Christine Grygon, PhD - Chris Grygon is head of BI Partnering in the Business Development and Licensing group at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Ridgefield, Conn. During the past year she was also acting head, Global Licensing-Oncology, where she had oversight for strategy and evaluation around external alliances for Boehringer’s oncology portfolio.  Prior to that, she was head of Technology Investments for North America, also in the Business Development and Licensing area, responsible for sourcing external innovation to support Boehringer’s Research and Development functions.  She has held positions as executive director of Biologics and Biomolecular Sciences in the Research and Development function, where she established and led a technology infrastructure group in support of the discovery of new protein therapeutics in collaboration with Boehringer’s research and development group in North America and manufacturing groups in Europe. Her team was also responsible for enabling specialized technology platforms to facilitate innovative drug discovery research for BI worldwide.

Grygon obtained her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Delaware and her M.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University.  She is an inventor on five patents and an author on more than 23 peer-reviewed scientific publications.  She was a 2008 finalist for the Connecticut Technology Council Women of Innovation, Research Innovation and Leadership Award.

Steven E. Hall, PhD - Steve brings more than 25 years of pharmaceutical experience from both multinational pharmaceutical companies and biotech organizations to Lilly Ventures. Prior to joining Lilly Ventures, Steve was Senior Vice President, Research and Development, at Serenex, Inc. where he was also a co-founder.  There he recruited and led a team in developing a novel discovery technology and applied it to a project that advanced from a novel screen to first patient dosed in just over three years. This novel orally-active Hsp90 inhibitor was the subject of strong interest across the industry and led to the acquisition of Serenex by Pfizer in April 2008.

Prior to joining Serenex, Steve was Site Director, Sphinx Labs, Eli Lilly where he oversaw lead generation efforts in the areas of combinatorial chemistry, automation, high-throughput screening, biomolecular research, and information technology.  There he was a key member of a small team that developed and executed a strategy to partner Lilly’s expertise in high-throughput chemistry with three Japanese pharmaceutical companies with an aggregate value of more than $75MM.

Steve is the author of more than 40 papers and 60 patents.  He received his BS in chemistry from Central Michigan University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Steve currently sits on the boards of FORMA Therapeutics, Hydra Biosciences, InnoCentive, and Cerulean Pharma.  He also is a board observer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals and Viamet.

Michael Margolis, RPh - Margolis is a Managing Director in ROTH Capital Partners’ Healthcare Investment Banking group and joined the firm in December 2009. He was most recently a Managing Director of Healthcare Investment Banking at Merriman Curhan Ford. Previously Margolis was a senior vice president at Rodman & Renshaw. He had extensive financial and pharmaceutical industry experience before joining Rodman. Margolis worked at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in several roles, including as a director in the global business development and licensing group. He was an equity research analyst at Ursus Capital, and he began his career as at Eli Lilly & Company as a senior pharmaceutical representative.

Margolis is a registered pharmacist with an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a pharmacy degree from Rutgers University, College of Pharmacy. He is based in our New York office.

Carl Spana, PhD - Dr. Spana, co-founder of Palatin, has served as president and chief executive officer since 2000. He has been a director of Palatin since 1996 and has been a director of Palatin’s wholly-owned subsidiary, RhoMed Incorporated, since 1995. From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Spana served as an executive vice president and chief technical officer of Palatin.

From 1993 to 1996, Dr. Spana was vice president of Paramount Capital Investments, LLC, a biotechnology and biopharmaceutical merchant banking firm, and of The Castle Group Ltd., a medical venture capital firm. Through his work at Paramount Capital Investments and Castle Group, Dr. Spana co-founded and acquired several private biotechnology firms. From 1991 to 1993, Dr. Spana was a research associate at Bristol-Myers Squibb, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, where he was involved in scientific research in the field of immunology. Dr. Spana is a director of AVAX Technologies, Inc., a publicly-held medical technology company.

Dr. Spana received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from The Johns Hopkins University and his B.S. in biochemistry from Rutgers University.

Ali Tehrani, PhD - Dr. Tehrani is one of Zymeworks' co-founders and currently serves as President and CEO of the company. He has been an integral part of many of the Company's corporate achievements including raising seed and angel financing and overseeing the Company's technical operations and patent filings. Dr. Tehrani holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts, and has a Doctoral degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia. While completing his PhD degree he co-founded the Student Biotechnology Network, for which he received the UBC Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2002.

Dr. Tehrani has served on the MITACS Industrial Advisory Board, and BIOTECanada's Industrial and Environmental Committee. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of LifeSciences British Columbia and the Student Biotechnology Network.