15 women all biotech fans need to follow right now

1 Oct 2017

Image: ABB Photo/Shutterstock

European Biotech Week is over, but you can keep biotech in your feed all year round with these 15 recommended women on Twitter to follow.

Biotech Week

We’ve enjoyed marking European Biotech Week on Siliconrepublic.com, but this non-stop industry has futuristic innovations and noteworthy developments worth following all year round.

Of course, we’ll keep bringing you our own direct dose of biotech news and views right here, but there’s always more analysis and insight into biotech and the science that underpins it to be found, if you know where to look.

And, in the interest of ensuring there’s plenty of women in STEM in your Twitter feed, we’ve got 15 accounts you can follow, from investors buying into biotech to the students learning all about it, and the entrepreneurs commercialising new ideas to the scientists whose research makes these innovations possible.

Some of these women are at the top of their field, and some are potential future leaders to watch in this space. And all of them are active – even prolific – on Twitter.

Nathalie Moll (@NathalieMoll)

Nathalie Moll is the newly appointed director general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), assuming the role in April this year. Her aim is to work with the EFPIA community to foster an environment that supports continued innovation and drives better outcomes for patients. Keen to promote public engagement with biotech and biopharma, Moll has been tweeting up a storm for European Biotech Week.

Denise Scots-Knight (@PollardKnight)

CEO and founder of Mereo BioPharma Denise Scots-Knight was named alongside Moll as one of 15 women leading in European biotech by Labiotech.eu. She started out in life sciences before becoming an investment manager at Rothschild Asset Management and then managing partner at Phase4 Partners, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm. In 2015, she led the team that formally launched Mereo BioPharma as a late-stage biopharma player, on the back of $119m in funding and a portfolio of three clinical-stage development programmes from Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Elsa Sotiriadis (@thebiofuturist)

Berlin-born, London-based Swiss-Greek “cyberpunk” Elsa Sotiriadis is director of SOSV’s UK RebelBio programme, helping to accelerate deep-science start-ups. A bioengineer and technologist herself, Sotiriadis founded a ‘cancer moonshot’ project to develop synthetic, programmable DNA architectures as novel cancer therapeutics from a computer while she was a synthetic biology PhD scholar at Imperial College London and Hong Kong University. Outside of the day job, she also writes science fiction and poetry.

Aoife McLysaght (@aoifemcl)

Another trailblazer, Aoife McLysaght became the youngest professor to hold the position at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) when she was appointed at 27. Well regarded as one of Ireland’s leading geneticists, McLysaght was part of the team that analysed the initial sequence of the human genome. Her current research uses molecular evolution to pinpoint genes that could be important in conditions such as Down syndrome, and autism and schizophrenia. She is one of eight active Irish scientists immortalised in the Royal Irish Academy’s Women on Walls group portrait.

Jenny Rooke (@drjennyrooke)

Managing director of 5 Prime Ventures, Dr Jenny Rooke is an early-stage investor with a PhD in genetics, a bachelor’s degree in physics and a background in computer science, positioning her perfectly to spot synbio and biotech start-ups with potential. She recently told SynBioBeta: “I look for new technologies that could be better diagnostics or other types of biological sensors, not limited to healthcare – for example, for use in agriculture or biodefence.” She backs those interests up with investments in Zephyrus Bio, IonPath and Intabio.

Gabriela León Gutiérrez (@galeongt)

If you have a good grasp of Spanish, check out Gabriela León Gutiérrez, an industrial biochemical engineer with Gresmex, a Mexican nanotechnology firm that she co-founded with her brother. Together, they developed Nbeylax, a nanoparticle-based disinfection and sterilisation product that made their firm one of Mexico’s leading nanotech companies. The biodegradable Nbeylax molecule combats a full spectrum of micro-organisms responsible for hospital-acquired infections, and Gresmex was acknowledged in 2015 as “one of the 100 firms that will save humanity” by the UN Foundation project incubator.

Isabelle de Cremoux (@IdeCremoux)

Tweeting in both English and French is Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO of Seventure Partners, considered by Labiotech.eu as one of the most important venture capital firms in European biotech. Noticing the potential of microbiome-based ventures, Seventure established a €160m fund to capitalise on this area, starting with investments in French start-ups Enterome and Eligo Bioscience. Just this week, Eligo secured $20m to expand its technology to build nanobots for precision medicine.

Rafaèle Tordjman (@RafaeleTordjman)

Also tweeting en Français is Rafaèle Tordjman, health VC, and founder and chair of Women Innovating Together in Healthcare (WITH), an international accelerator and network that connects more than 500 women around the world. Tordjman has served as a partner at Sofinnova, one of the largest VCs in France, since 2005, following a successful career as a medical doctor and research scientist. She is also a board member with Scottish clinical-stage biopharma NuCana, which raised $100m at IPO this week.

Karen Aiach (@KarenAiach)

Though she is the founder and CEO of a biotech start-up, Karen Aiach had no background in science or pharma before she took on this role. She was working as an accountant when, in 2005, her daughter was diagnosed with a rare, incurable and life-limiting neurodegenerative disease. It was this that inspired Aiach to start Lysogene, which develops gene therapy treatments for rare diseases affecting the central nervous system. (Again, most tweets are in French, but that’s what Twitter gave us Bing translation for.)

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw)

Powerhouse Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has been chair and MD of Biocon, India’s largest biotech company, for almost 40 years. With a net worth of $2bn, she is India’s richest self-made woman, rising in the ranks thanks to Biocon shares more than doubling in the past year. She has received many awards and accolades in her time, including honorary doctorates of science from TCD and NUI Galway in 2012.

Laura Strong (@scientre)

Scientist and entrepreneur Dr Laura Strong has a PhD in organic chemistry, 19 peer-reviewed publications and 10 US patents she co-invented to her name. As president and COO of cancer drug development company Quintessence Biosciences, she oversaw bringing a biologic through an oncology Phase I clinical trial. Now founder and CEO of Propagate Health, she is building a core network of advisers and entrepreneurs across healthcare, life sciences and technology to enable problem-oriented innovation.

Deborah O’Neil (@debsoneil)

Biotech entrepreneur Deborah O’Neil is founder, CEO and chief scientific officer of NovaBiotics, a clinical-stage UK biotech focused on the design and development of anti-infectives for difficult-to-treat, medically unmet diseases. This follows a successful career for O’Neil in academic research in antimicrobials. O’Neil is also editor of the European Biopharmaceutical Review, which started 2017 with an open letter calling for greater gender diversity in biopharma.

Kim Luddy (@luddyka)

Kim Luddy claims in her Twitter bio that she “obsseses over immunology and cancer”, and the evidence is in her tweets. Originally from the US, she has a master’s in immunology from TCD and is now based in the Irish capital. While in the States, Luddy was a coordinator for Pint of Science Tampa and she has brewed up a new beverage-based science engagement initiative with Science on Tap, a science outreach organisation planning its first festival for November.

Emer O’ Shea (@emeroshea)

Emer O’ Shea is the co-founder and CEO of start-up Khonsu Therapeutics, which is currently participating in the RebelBio accelerator programme in Cork. Khonsu is developing therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory indications in both human and animal health. O’ Shea recently charted her path from neuroscience undergrad to head of a company for Siliconrepublic.com readers and said her ultimate goal is “to provide game-changing therapeutic options for a wide range of life-altering and life-threatening conditions … such as arthritis, eczema and neurodegenerative diseases”.

Ana Jiménez Orgaz (@jimenezorgaz)

PhD student Ana Jiménez Orgaz is currently based at the University of Freiburg, Switzerland, researching under Dr Florian Steinberg at the Center for Biological Systems Analysis. She is a biological sciences graduate with a double specialisation in genetics and biotechnology and has worked on areas such as molecular genetics, cancer research and molecular medicine. Another young up-and-comer on the scene, her tweets are largely on global health, science, research, biology, medicine and, of course, biotech.

Disclosure: RebelBio is part of SOSV, which is an investor in Silicon Republic

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Updated, 3.29pm, 3 October 2017: This article has been updated to remove reference to Nathalie Moll as the first woman appointed director general at the EFPIA. Moll informed us that the first director general appointed in 1978 was also a woman. Silicon Republic regrets this error.