Leigh-Ann Durant, Esq., is a senior legal and business executive with more than 24 years of experience in the global pharmaceutical, bio-technology, life sciences and legal sectors, with demonstrated expertise in drug development and commercialization, turning legal strategy into business action, analytical problem solving, strategic thinking, corporate governance, commercial and corporate transactions, legal and regulatory compliance, risk mitigation, and developing innovative solutions to improve business operations and profitability.
For the past decade, Attorney Durant has served at EMD Serono, Inc., the US affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, where she is the Head lawyer for all R&D activities in the US from early development to launch. She has structured, negotiated and closed numerous high-profile, complex strategic collaborations and transactions, in/out-licensing transactions and business development agreements.
Earlier in her career, Attorney Durant was a Partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, a Global 100 Law Firm, in its Complex Commercial Litigation, Pharma and FDA Practice Groups. For over two decades, Attorney Durant has served on a variety of boards of directors, executive committees and has led various legal and non-profit organizations as President. She has received numerous awards, including the national Top 30 Emerging Leaders in the Pharmaceutical Industry Award and the Massachusetts In-House Leaders In The Law Award, Woman of the Year in Law Award and Top 10 Women Lawyers in Massachusetts Award.
Attorney Durant received a B.A. with a double major with honors in Foreign Affairs/International Relations and Political Science from Miami University, Oxford, OH, and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA. After law school, she served as the appellate law clerk for the late Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.
Dr. Mender received her PhD from Hacettepe University Medical Faculty, Department of Biochemistry. She received national and international scholarships during her PhD and completed her doctoral research and postdoctoral training at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Cell Biology in Dallas. She is currently an Assistant Instructor at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Cell Biology. Dr. Mender’s research focuses on developing telomerase-dependent telomere-based therapeutic strategies and/or combinatorial strategies and investigating the role of immunity in response to these therapeutic strategies in cancer. Dr. Mender is an expert on 6-thio-2’deoxyguanosine (THIO) and has published many papers in telomere/telomerase field.
Jean-Manassé Théagenè has over twenty (20) years’ experience in the life sciences industry serving in diverse roles from global strategy, marketing, commercial operations, licensing, and business development. He has globally marketed multiple blockbuster products, notably with Novartis Oncology and Schering-Plough (Merck). As a serial entrepreneur, Jean-Manassé has been engaged in companion diagnostics, where he launched one of the world’s first non-invasive liver biomarker tests. Jean-Manassé is the founder of 360Medlink, a digital health company serving global clients in the large pharmaceutical, small biotech, and government sectors. As CEO of a healthcare technology company, and an early pioneer of Digital Therapeutics (DTx), Jean-Manassé is also a strategic advisor to both private and public agencies in the areas of innovation and healthcare technology.
A 20+ years multi-national global business leader, Charlotte Tsou has held several leadership positions in the U.S., Asia, and Latin America in Banking & Financial Service sector.
In her current role as Head of Marketing Analytics & Insights, Charlotte oversees full-fledged marketing analytics solutions, consumer research, and experiments driven by AI at Prudential Financial. Prior to joining Prudential Financial, Charlotte spent 17 years with HSBC, help multiple leadership roles in Strategic Planning, Partnerships, Digital & CRM Transformation, and built one of the largest AI-driven Data & Analytics centers in banking.
Charlotte is a champion of diversity; she mentors top-performing individuals both internally and in the external communities. Charlotte earned a B.A (Hons). in Media Communication from NYU & Shin Hsin University and an M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communication (Specialized in Digital & Database Marketing) from Northwestern University. She is a Doctoral Candidate (2022|2023) with SBS Swiss Business School. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two young daughters. She enjoys travel, opera, hosting house music party, and being a community yoga instructor.