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Deborah Novick

Taskforce Co-Chair

Deborah Novick is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Westchester County Office of Economic Development, where she identifies opportunities to improve and expand the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Westchester. Programs within her portfolio include Launch1000, Westchester RISES, the Element 46 incubator program, the Westchester County Life Sciences Initiative, and the Life Sciences Accelerator program. Prior to joining the County, she was the Director of BioInc@NYMC, the biotechnology incubator at New York Medical College, where she oversaw a doubling of the space, which houses more than 10 startups. Since February 2020, she has been a member of the Board of the Westchester County Association.

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Bridget Gibbons
Taskforce Co-Chair

Bridget Gibbons serves as Westchester County Executive George Latimer's Director of Economic Development. In this role, she is focused on attracting and retaining businesses and talent in Westchester. Since the pandemic started, she has focused on providing critical funding, information and crisis advisory programs to help our businesses recover and become more resilient.

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Amy J. Allen
Vice President

Amy is Vice President of the Westchester County Association (WCA), a business leadership organization that acts as an integrator to drive economic vitality in Westchester and the region by stimulating growth and innovation.  Her main focus is on areas that are critical to the economic viability of the region such as health care, workforce development and public policy advocacy.  Currently, she leads the work of the WCA Healthcare Consortium, which provides the opportunity for those who give, get and pay for health care to come together to collaborate on improving the quality and value of care for the people of the Westchester region.

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Michael Aberman

Michael Aberman, M.D. is a biotechnology executive with over 20-years experience who is on the board or advising several early stage biotechnology companies. Previously, he was the president and chief executive officer of Quentis Therapeutics, an early stage biotech company. Prior to joining Quentis, Dr. Aberman spent over seven years at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategy. In that role, Dr. Aberman was a member of the senior management team and was responsible for the investor relations, corporate communications, business development, and corporate strategy functions at Regeneron. Prior to joining Regeneron, Dr. Aberman spent six years as a Wall Street research analyst covering the biotechnology industry at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Before moving to Wall Street, Dr. Aberman was Director of Business Development at Antigenics, Inc., an oncology-focused biotechnology company. Dr. Aberman received B.A. from Cornell University (’93), his medical degree from the University of Toronto (’97), completed residency training at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and received an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of Business (’01).

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Patricia Ardigo

Ms. Ardigo, has over 25 years of experience in life science commercial real estate.  Ms. Ardigo not only offers tenant and landlord representation to bioscience, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, but also serves as a national consultant to developers, universities and institutions in facilitating the development of research and innovation parks by understanding the areas of excellence in both science and research. Some of her past projects include the Pfizer site in Skokie, IL, the Scripps Project, West Palm Beach, FL, the New Orleans Medical District, and SkySong at Arizona State University. 

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Jonathan Bandel

Jonathan Bandel is the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation for White Plains Hospital. He oversees strategy, programmatic growth and development, and innovation. Jonathan is responsible for establishing the innovation department’s vision, goals, strategic imperatives, and investment theses. Jonathan has over 16 years of healthcare strategy and operations experience, and previously raised a $5M venture fund. Jonathan has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, a MPA from New York University, and a MS in Finance from Baruch College, in addition to being a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, certified Six Sigma Green Belt, and Project Management Professional. 

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Heidi Davidson

Heidi Davidson is the CEO of Galvanize Worldwide, the largest distributed marketing and communications consulting firm in the world. The Galvanize team focuses on startup advisory work, outsourced marketing, crisis communications and change management for organizations of all sizes. Before co-founding Galvanize Worldwide, Heidi spent four years as part of the turn-around team at BlackBerry in senior executive roles focused on helping BlackBerry move from a device manufacturer to a security software and services provider. Prior to that, Heidi worked at MasterCard Worldwide at its global headquarters in Purchase, New York for 11 years. She served in various leadership capacities across communications, marketing, compliance, global public policy, consumer education, training and events, security and risk management, mergers and acquisitions, among others. Heidi’s career began in association and agency public relations.

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Marsha Gordon

As leader of Westchester County’s largest and most influential business organization, Dr. Gordon brings more than 25 years of community, commerce and leadership experience. Under her leadership, BCW has tripled its membership, developed programs to meet the needs of the County’s diverse business community and become a lead advocate for business and economic development in the region and New York State. 

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As a senior strategist, Laurence P. Gottlieb is primarily responsible for leading RMC Bio1, a life sciences and health technologies initiative he launched to enhance Robert Martin Company’s (RMC) real estate portfolio, which includes 6 million square feet of office, retail, industrial and residential properties. He joined the firm in 2019 with over 30 years of executive and C-suite management experience as a high-level communications and economic development expert.

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David Gould

David Gould, MD joined the Burke Neurological Institute (BNI) as Chief Operating Officer in April 2021. He works synergistically with the Chief Executive Officer and the BNI Board to support the growth of the scientific and clinical impact of BNI to meet the growing societal and institutional demands created by their mission.

Dr. Gould previously joined Actinium Pharmaceuticals in 2014, initially as SVP Finance and Corporate Development before assuming the position of SVP Corporate Development and Corporate Affairs in 2016, which included responsibilities for corporate and business development and medical and corporate affairs. Prior to joining Actinium, he had 15 years of healthcare sector investment experience across the life sciences spectrum. From 2003 to 2013, he was a Principal and Partner at Merlin Nexus, a specialized late-stage private equity firm that invested in emerging public and late-stage private biotechnology and medical device companies. There, he was part of an investment team which generated consistently strong, benchmarked returns, driven in part by a disciplined focus on clinical data and unmet medical need, including oncology.

Prior to that, David was a Vice President at Dresdner Kleinwort Capital, as part of their Global Private Equity healthcare investment team based in New York and London. He managed direct investments in life sciences companies, had several Board observer roles, and contributed to healthcare fund-of-fund activities. He gained additional experience there in pharmaceutical equity research. Dr. Gould received an MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He also received an MBA in Finance from Stern School of Business, New York University, and a BS in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

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Barry Kappel

Barry Kappel is the founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Sapience Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing peptide therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. As a biotechnology entrepreneur and executive, Dr. Kappel is driven to help develop and foster the biotechnology community in New York, and Sapience is the latest example of this effort. 

Prior to founding Sapience, Dr. Kappel was a senior executive of ContraFect Corporation, a company that he played an integral part in founding in 2009. As the Senior Vice President of Business Development, he was involved in all aspects of the company, including financing activities, licensing of the company's key technologies, establishing scientific collaborations with academic and corporate partners, presenting to regulatory authorities and developing a corporate strategy. Prior to ContraFect, Dr. Kappel was a Senior Consultant at Easton Associates, LLC, a boutique life science consulting firm located in Manhattan. Easton Associates has since been acquired by Navigant Consulting. 

Dr. Kappel holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Emory University, a Ph.D. in Immunology and Pharmacology from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and an M.B.A. from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Dr. Kappel was also chosen as a Howard Hughes Pre-Doctoral Fellow and has published 17 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Thom Kleiner

Thom Kleiner has been the Executive Director of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce development Board since 2018. He is responsible for directing all aspects of the workforce development and career center system including program development, staffing, operations, budgeting and fiscal management. He partners with economic development agencies, academic institutions, not for projects and business partners to identify hiring needs and skills gaps and optimizes opportunities for job seekers in Westchester and Putnam counties. Previously he was Hudson Valley Regional Representative for the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Labor and Deputy Director of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Prior to that, he was a seven term Town Supervisor in the Town of Orangetown in Rockland County.

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Hillary Knepper

Dr. Hillary J. Knepper, MPA, is a Full Professor at Pace University and she currently serves as the Associate Provost for Student Success. Her primary responsibilities in her administrative role include Advising, Tutoring, Student Accessibility Services, and First Year and Transfer Student Experiences. Hillary brings to her academic work the knowledge and skills she developed during a career in health and human services administration prior to moving into higher education. Her scholarship focuses largely on policy and disparities of opportunity, access, and power. Her most recent work appears in Public Administration Review, the Journal of Public Affairs Education, Public Integrity, Teaching Public Administration and Public Administration Quarterly. She is the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Health & Human Services Administration. She received National Recognition for her work in 2018 by the American Society for Public Administration, where she was one of 14 women recognized and profiled in Profiles of Excellence, in PA Times.

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Dana Mordue (PhD) is the Vice Chancellor for Middle States Accreditation at New York Medical College. She is also involved in strategic planning for the College including biomedical research initiatives and core research facilities. She is a professor in the School of Medicine at New York Medical College and an experienced National Institute of Health and Department of Defense-funded biomedical researcher. Her research focus is infectious diseases including tick-borne diseases endemic in Westchester County.

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Deborah Viola, MBA, PhD is the Vice President of the Clinical Research Center for Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth Network). The Clinical Research Center focuses on promoting research and supporting grant opportunities across the WMCHealth Network and affiliated institutions and provides strategic, operational, and financial oversight of clinical research programs, facilities, and information systems. The Cellular and Tissue Engineering Laboratory (CTEL) at Westchester Medical Center is a state-of-the-art cell and tissue manufacturing and processing facility designed to service a range of clinical and research programs in oncology, hematology, neurology, genetics and cardiology that harness stem cell, cellular, tissue and gene therapies. The laboratory consists of an 8,000 square foot FDA approved GMP facility with advanced equipment and expertise designed to facilitate and enhance cellular therapy (CT) manufacture for use in autologous and allogeneic transplants for clinical treatment and investigational new drug applications (IND).

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Vivien Wong

Vivien Wong, PhD is a pharmaceutical executive with over 20 years of experience in the development of drugs and diagnostics. Dr. Wong has held positions of increasing responsibility in Research and Development at Emisphere Technologies, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and most recently serving as Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Progenics Pharmaceuticals. At Regeneron, Dr. Wong pioneered translational pharmacology research that led to the development of Arcalyst®, Eylea®, Zaltrap®, Kevzara®, and Dupixent®. At Progenics, she led multifunctional teams to achieve FDA approval of Relistor® Subcutaneous Injection, Relistor® Tablets, and AZEDRA®, including successes in obtaining Breakthrough Therapy, Fast Track, Priority Review, Orphan Drug, and Special Protocol Assessment designations for these products.

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Elaine Zacharakis

Elaine Zacharakis Loumbas is an experienced health, privacy and technology attorney with a broad range of health care transactional experience focusing on the life sciences and digital health space. For more information on this expertise, please visit: www.zacharakislaw.com. Currently, in addition to her law practice, Elaine is an adjunct professor at the Biotechnology, Management & Entrepreneurship Program at Yeshiva University.



Goals and Responsibilities of the Task Force:

•  Promote awareness of the robustness of the industry

•  Promote awareness of the accomplishments of the participants in the industry

•  Promote collaboration among participants in the industry

•  Highlight the cutting edge research being done here, and assist with connections/partnerships to advance research toward the clinic

•  Attract new entrants into the industry, particularly those that can readily collaborate with or support the operations of the existing establishments

•  Promotion of local ‘centers of excellence’; areas of specific expertise in which the county has real depth

•  Stay up to date on trends in the industry, and needs of the ecosystem/industry participants, so that strategic action can be taken in response to needs that are identified, and WC can capitalize on trends

•  Keep the ecosystem map up to date

•  Serve as a “brain trust” to the Life Sciences Industry Desk/concierge service