Leading Women in Life Science and Biotech: Celebrating the Achievements of Pioneering Women on International Women's Day

06 March 2023 | Monday | Influencers

Meet Leading Women in the Life Science and Biotech Industry
Meet Leading Women in the Life Science and Biotech Industry

Meet Leading Women in the Life Science and Biotech Industry

In this article, we showcase the remarkable achievements of ten leading women in the life science and biotech industry. These women have not only made significant contributions to their respective organizations but also have been instrumental in driving innovation, growth and diversity. Let's take a closer look at their inspiring journeys and their invaluable contributions to the life science and biotech sector.


Eva Van Pelt

Co-CEO & Chief Commercial Officer , Eppendorf 

Ms. van Pelt has been a member of the Eppendorf AG Management Board since 2017, responsible for Sales, Marketing and Service, and Co-CEO of the Management Board since December 2019. Prior to that she worked in management positions for Leica Microsystems, Hitachi Data Systems, Accenture and held various positions at Siemens particularly in the life sciences division. Since 2019, she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce and in 2020, she became a member of the Board of Directors of ALDA (Analytical, Life Science & Diagnostics Association) and FidAR (Women on Supervisory Boards) e.V. She holds a Master of Economy degree from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany.


Belén Garijo

Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck

Belén Garijo is the Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck since May 2021. Under her leadership, Merck has defined its strategic ambition to become the global 21st century science and technology pioneer and set its goal of € 25 billion in Group sales by 2025.

To deliver on this ambition, Garijo leads the Group focusing on key priorities:

  • Mobilizing for efficient growth
  • Leveraging innovation
  • Developing a high-impact culture
  • Creating long-term value through sustainability 


Marianne De Backer

Chief Business Officer and Executive Vice President

Marianne De Backer is Chief Business Officer; Executive Vice President; Head of Pharmaceuticals Strategy, Business Development & Licensing/Open Innovation; and Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer. She has been a strategist, scientist, business leader, dealmaker, and corporate investor in healthcare for more than two decades. Her network cuts across pharmaceutical, biotech, tech, academia, VC, NGO, and government partners worldwide. She has been directly accountable for more than 200 strategic alliances, some of which have led to novel medicines now available to patients. De Backer has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Bayer AG Pharmaceuticals’ division since 2019, where she has spearheaded the growth agenda resulting in 50 new alliances and over $7 billion in acquisitions, including Asklepios Biopharmaceutical, Vividion Therapeutics, and KaNDy Therapeutics. She has furthered the innovative business model known as “arm’s length,” allowing acquired companies to preserve their innovation agility. As a passionate champion for inclusion and diversity, she launched I&DXcelerate, a program to accelerate the development of diverse talent.


Karen Nelson
Thermo Fisher Scientific | Chief Scientific Officer

Karen Nelson is Chief Scientific Officer for Thermo Fisher Scientific. A pioneer of the human microbiome field, Nelson has authored or co-authored more than 220 peer-reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology and the newly announced PNAS Nexus, an open-access journal from the National Academy of Sciences. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Nelson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, a Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies, and a Helmholtz International Fellow. She has extensive experience in microbial ecology, microbial genomics, microbial physiology, and metagenomics, and has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts as well as the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006.


Ginger Zhou
GENEWIZ by Azenta Life Sciences
Vice President and General Manager, Genomic Services and Solutions, GENEWIZ

Dr. Ginger Zhou joined Azenta Life Sciences in November 2018 and was appointed Vice President and General Manager of the Genomic Services business in May 2019. Azenta is a leading provider of life sciences solutions worldwide, enabling impactful breakthroughs and bringing therapies to market faster. The company provides a full suite of reliable cold-chain sample management solutions and genomic services across areas such as drug development, clinical research, and advanced cell therapies for the industry's top pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, and healthcare institutions globally.


Elizabeth Kwo (tie)
Everly Health
 Chief Medical Officer

Elizabeth Kwo is Chief Medical Officer for Everly Health, which was formed in 2021 from the acquisition of PWNHealth and Home Access Health Corp. by Everlywell. Everly Health is improving the lives of millions with a fully integrated digital care platform for consumers and businesses. The company continues to innovate in the space by delivering more care to more people on a seamless diagnostics-driven platform.


Ada Wong
InterVenn Biosciences
Vice President of Intellectual Property

Ada Wong is the Vice President of Intellectual Property at InterVenn Biosciences, a global clinical technology company leveraging AI-powered glycoproteomics to transform the future of healthcare. In her time at InterVenn, Wong has built an IP team which supports the company’s rapid growth and evolving business needs, led initiatives fostering innovation, and worked cross-functionally to create a culture of IP awareness that permeates the organization. The company is developing a robust pipeline of proprietary tests and diagnostic applications that apply novel glycoproteomics insights to clinical decision-making and enable earlier disease detection that will help save more lives.


Hannah Yuan (tie)
Mission Bio
Vice President of Operations

Hannah Yuan is the Vice President of Operations for Mission Bio, a company of passionate people dedicated to solving complex biological problems with precision engineering, innovative biochemistry, and supported bioinformatics. In 2014, Mission Bio was spun out of Adam Abate’s lab for high-throughput biology at the University of California, San Francisco. The company’s precision genomics platform is based on the pioneering droplet microfluidics work of Abate and his team. Its mission is to help researchers and clinicians unlock single-cell biology to enable the discovery, development, and delivery of precision medicine.


Einav Kraft (tie)
Vice President of Quality

Vice President of Quality for Cellares Einav Kraft has over 16 years of leadership experience in quality and compliance in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical devices industries, which includes establishing, implementing, and ramping phase-appropriate quality systems from the ground up in pre-clinical, clinical, and GMP commercial environments. She also has a proven track record of developing and implementing a quality vision and culture across multiple organizations. Additionally, she has successfully hosted multiple health authority inspections and pre-approval inspections with the FDA and EMA, among others.


Kara Cannon (tie)
 Enzo Biochem, Inc.| Chief Operating Officer

Kara Cannon is Chief Operating Officer of Enzo Biochem, Inc. Cannon has been working with this leading biosciences and diagnostics company for over 12 years. At Enzo, she is responsible for leading global commercial operations, including the management of sales, marketing, production, and operations. Cannon previously held executive positions at Pall Corporation and Dynal Biotech, where she focused on commercial operations within the areas of diagnostics, biotechnology, and biosciences. She has had extensive experience in the marketing and selling of innovative platforms for the diagnostics markets, as well as the development and execution of strategic plans for growth and sustainability.


These leading women in the life science and biotech industry have made significant contributions to their respective organizations and have been instrumental in driving innovation, growth and diversity. They have broken through barriers and achieved great success in their careers, paving the way for future generations. Their stories are a testament to the fact that gender is not a barrier to success in the life sciences and biotech industry. These women continue to inspire and lead the way, showing that with hard work, dedication, and a passion for their field, anything is possible.


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