Time to just say no

An Open Letter to the Biopharmaceutical Industry and Its Investors

We can't believe it's 2016 and we have to spend our time writing this letter.

This year during JPMorgan week in San Francisco there was yet another cocktail party in which inappropriately clad women served as eye candy.

This time it was the LifeSci Advisors After Party, where young, female models were brought in to escort the guests on buses to the Exploratorium and to mingle with the crowd.

According to one person who was there, "There were a lot of young women in their early 20s in the shortest dresses I've ever seen who were obviously not part of the biotech crowd. It was just degrading. And there were all these men getting really drunk. I want to talk to people and have a professional conversation, but I just didn't want to stay. It was just gross."

The After Party wasn't affiliated with, organized by or endorsed by JPMorgan.

This isn't the first time backward looking firms in the securities industry have put women on show for the titillation of their predominantly male clientele. Those events are common knowledge and some are widely shared, if not celebrated, on the internet.

In fact, the official video of the 27th Annual ROTH Conference proudly flaunts its use of scantily clad female dancers, who appear alongside cool male rock stars and skateboarders, and images of professionally dressed businessmen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_Xvla_5lo

Really people? REALLY??? Are we still working with people who think of women as chattel?

What compelling business rationale could there possibly be for that kind of entertainment?

It doesn't matter who, or what kind of company, organized these events. If biotech executives attend, they endorse them. That reflects not only on them as individuals, but on us as an industry.

Indeed, Bloomberg Business saw fit to use the LifeSci After Party as a hook to out our industry's dismal lack of diversity.

It's time for us, as senior women and men in the industry, to say "Enough."

We shouldn't need to outline the myriad ways this is wrong. But for those who need it spelled out:

It's not "fun" when you have to insult half the human race to have it. It's certainly not business when the smart, dynamic women in our industry are forced to choose between demeaning themselves and making business connections.

We expect better of our industry, which prides itself on enhancing the health and wellbeing of others.

Why would any high-achieving woman (or man) want to work at a company that engages in or endorses that kind of activity?

And how can any of us expect our daughters -- or sons -- to respect us and want to follow in our footsteps?

Let this letter be a shot across the bow to the entire industry. We, as leaders, and thousands of others at every level who don't feel empowered to speak out, want change.

This is a message from all of us that actions like this, and the attitudes they betray, influence our decisions about whether to join a company, leave a company, work with a company and invest in a company.

We don't need to give a full prescription of what every company needs to do. But a good place to start is by not hiring models.

Karen Bernstein

Co-Founder & Chairman

BioCentury Publications, Inc.; BioCentury International Inc.

Kate Bingham

Managing Partner

SV Life Sciences Advisers LLP; SV Life Sciences Managers LLP

Hoda Abou-Jamra, Founder and CEO, BioExec Institute

Jane Adams, Partner, Cooley LLP

Lisa Adler, SVP Corporate Communications, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Mette Kirstine Agger, Managing Partner, Lundbeckfond Ventures

Sebastian Alexanderson, Partner, Head of Healthcare, ABG Sundal Collier

Monique Allaire, President, Thrust Investor Relations

Biren Amin, Managing Director, Jefferies

Goran Ando, Chairman, Novo Nordisk A/S

Shari Annes

Martin Babler, CEO, Principia Biopharma

Dani Bach, Partner, Imperial Innovations

Mike Balmuth, Partner, SV Life Sciences Advisers

Peter Barrett, Partner, Atlas Venture

Ayse Batova, University of California San Diego

Ali Bauerlein , CFO and Founder, Inogen Inc.

Luca Benatti, CEO, EryDel SpA

April Blodgett, PerkinElmer

Michael Bonney, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Bruce Booth, Partner, Atlas Venture

Alexis Borisy, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Maria Bozilenko

Christine Brennan, Principal, Novartis Venture Funds

Roel Bulthuis, Managing Director, MS Ventures

Nathan Caffo, President, Presage Biosciences, Inc.

Brian Cain, Vice President, Market Research and Business Analytics, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Brian M. Cali, Founder and SVP, Preclinical R&D, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Carin Canale-Theakston, President & Founder, Canale Communications

Begona Carreno, Global Business Devt & Licensing, Head search & evaluation, arthritis, bone and musculoskeletal disease, Novartis AG

John Carroll, Editor, FierceBiotech

Jennifer Cayer, Board Member, Travus Therapeutics

Abbie Celniker, CEO, Eleven Biotherapeutics

Farah Champsi, Managing Director, InterWest Partners

Kay Chandler, Partner, Cooley LLP

Bihua Chen, Chief Investment Officer, Cormorant Asset Management

Rob Chess, Chairman, Nektar Therapeutics

Heidi Chokeir, SVP, Canale Communications

Anna Chrisman, Group Managing Director, EBD GROUP

Dina Ciarimboli, General Counsel, Third Rock Ventures

Chip Clark, President and CEO, Genocea Biosciences Inc.

Cynthia Clayton, Head of Communications, Third Rock Ventures

Jeffrey Cleland, Interim CEO, Graybug

Ron Cohen, President & CEO, Acorda Therapeutics Inc.

David Crean, Managing Director, Life Sciences, Objective Capital Partners, LLC

Roberto Cuca, SVP & CFO, Trevena Inc.

Jeremy Curnock Cook, Managing Director, Bioscience Managers Ltd.

Bassil Dahiyat, President & CEO, Xencor Inc.

Kate de Santis

Nancy-Ann DeParle, Consonance Capital

Hannah Deresiewicz, Associate, Stern Investor Relations Inc.

Sue Dillon, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Immunology , Janssen Pharmaceuticals R&D

Gerianne DiPiano, President and Chief Executive Officer, FemmePharma

Michelle Doig, Corporate Finance, Third Rock Ventures

Deborah Dunsire, President & CEO, Forum Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Christopher Earl, President, Innotrove LLC

Jon Edwards, Associate, Medixci Ventures

John Edwards, Executive Chairman, F-Star,

Georgia Erbez, EVP, Chief Financial Officer, Asterias Biotherapeutics

Cartier Esham, EVP Emerging Companies Section, BIO

Shawdee Eshghi, Senior Scientist, Caribou Biosciences

Seth Ettenberg, Chief Scientific Officer, Unum Therapeutics

Neil Exter, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Ali Farquhar

Nancy Fegley

Emilie Finiels, Director of Business Development, Axonics Modulation Technologies

C. Simone Fishburn, Editor, BioCentury Innovations

David Flores, Co-Founder, President & CEO, BioCentury Publications, Inc.; BioCentury International Inc.

James Foley, Managing Director, Aqua Partners LLC

Jean-Francois Formela, Partner, Atlas Venture

Nicholas Galakatos, Co-founder and Managing Director, Clarus Ventures

Michele Garufi, Chairman & CEO, Co-founder, Nicox SA

Jim Garvey, Partner, SV Life Sciences Advisers

Deb Geraghty, Vice President, Commercial & Portfolio Strategy, Dimension Therapeutics, Inc.

Halley Gilbert, SVP & Chief Legal Officer, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Kevin Gillis, Partner, CFO, Third Rock Ventures

Glen Giovannetti, Global Life Sciences Leader, EY LLP

Robert Gould, Former CEO, Epizyme Inc.

Maxine Gowen, CEO, Trevena Inc.

David Grayzel, Partner, Atlas Venture

Annette Grimaldi, Managing Director, Life Sciences Investment Banking, BMO Capital Markets

Shivani Gupta, NSF Graduate Research Fellow, University of Washington

Deborah Harland, Vice President and Partner, S.R.One Ltd.

Paul Hastings, Chairman & CEO, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals

Jeff Hatfield, President & CEO, Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Rachel Haurwitz, President & CEO, Caribou Biosciences Inc.

James Healy, General Partner, Sofinnova

Peter Hecht, CEO, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Mary Lynne Hedley, President & COO, Tesaro Inc.

Russell Herndon, President & CEO, Hydra Biosciences

Sarah Heywood, CEO, MedCity

Paul Higham, CEO, Glycotope GmbH

Beth Hill, Senior Director, Platform Innovation, J&J Innovation

Eugene Hill, Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences Advisers

Claudia Hirawat, Chair, International Circle of Advisors, EURORDIS - European Organization for Rare Disorders

Steve Holtzman, EVP Corporate Development, Biogen Inc.

Karen Hong, Partner, ProQuest Investments

Nancy Hong, Principal, BioMed Ventures

Susan T. Hubbard, Investor Relations & Corporate Communication Consultant, Former Vice President, Investor Relations, Gilead Sciences

Gene Hull, Chief Compliance Officer, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Wende Hutton, General Partner, Canaan Partners

Annalisa Jenkins, CEO, Dimension Therapeutics Inc.

Andrea Johnston, Founder & CEO, Pure Communications Inc.

Daniel Junius, President & CEO, ImmunoGen Inc.

Emil Kakkis, President & CEO, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.

Mark Kaufmann, CFO, Ardelyx Inc.

Meredith Kaya, Director, Investor Relations, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Anna Kazanchyan, Senior Vice President, Ovid Therapeutics Inc.

Hugh Kennedy, Partner, EVP Planning, PJA Advertising + Marketing

Mark Kessel, Partner , Symphony Capital LLC

Rachel King, CEO, Immediate Past Board Chair, BIO, Glycomimetics

David Kirn, CEO & Co-founder, 4D Molecular Therapeutics

Nina Kjellson, General Partner, Canaan Partners

Anja Koenig, Managing Director, Novartis Venture Fund

Scott Koenig, President & CEO, MacroGenics Inc.

Johan Kördel, Senior Partner, Lundbeckfond Ventures

Melissa Krauth

Arthur Krieg, CEO, Checkmate Pharmaceuticals

Un Kwon-Casado, Chief Strategy Officer, Caribou Biosciences Inc.

Paul Laviolette, Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences Advisers

Fern Lazar

David Leathers, Partner, Abingworth LLP

Jonathan Leff, Partner, Deerfield Management

Nick Leschly, chief bluebird, bluebird bio

Jeremy Levin, Chairman & CEO, Ovid Therapeutics Inc.

Mark Levin, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Barbara Lindheim, BLL Partners, LLC

Marie Lindner

Marcus Lippold, Editor-in-Chief, iito Life Sciences

Gretchen Longcore, Consultant Medical Writer

John Mack, Editor & Publisher, Pharma Marketing News

Gail Maderis, President & CEO, Antiva Biosciences Inc.

Ivana Magovcevic-Liebisch, SVP and Head Global Business Development, Teva Pharmaceuticals

Nagesh Mahanthappa, President & CEO, Scholar Rock

John Maraganore, CEO, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Magda Marquet, Co-Founder and co-Chair, Althea

Andrew Marshall, Nature Publishing Group

Janine McCargo, Vice President, Tiberend Strategic Advisors Inc.

Barbara McClung, Chief Legal Officer, Caribou Biosciences Inc.

Tom McDonald, Managing Director, Westwicke Partners

Constance McKee, President & CEO, Manzanita Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Sarah McQuaid, Associate Director , Genentech

Alan Mendelson, Senior Partner, Latham & Watkins LLC

John Mendlein, CEO, aTyr Pharma

Steve Mento, President & CEO, Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Clare Midgley, President, Midgley Advisors

Cathy Miller, Vice President, Global Strategic Marketing and Brand Management, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Jill Milne, CEO, Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Kenneth Moch, Managing Partner, former President & CEO, Chimerix Inc., The Salutramed Group LLC

Leslie Molony, Senior Director, Business Development, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Lorien Moore, MalinRock LLC

Walter Moos

Bob More, Managing Director , Alta Partners

Ginger More, Retired General Partner, Oak Management

Arlene Morris, CEO, Willow Advisors LLC

Scott Morrison, U.S. Life Sciences Leader (Retired), EY LLP

Trista Morrison, Director, Corporate Communications, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Lonnie Moulder, CEO, Tesaro Inc.

Craig Muir, Partner, CTO, Third Rock Ventures

Judy Muller-Cohn, Founder , MXCglobal Inc.

John Mulligan, Founder and CEO, Good Therapeutics, Inc.

Mary Myers, Director of Training BHC , Bayer Healthcare

Janis Naeve, Managing Director , Amgen Ventures

Kathryn Nelson, Research associate, University of Minnesota

William Newell, CEO, Sutro Biopharma Inc.

Ursula Ney, Former CEO , Genkyotex SA

Christian Nolet, Partner and Life Sciences Leader West Region, Ernst & Young LLP

Sara Nunez-Garcia, Senior Associate, Soffinova Partners

Elizabeth O'Day, CEO and Founder, Olaris Therapeutics Inc.

Jessica O'Leary, Associate Director, Program Management, SAGE Therapeutics

John Orwin, President & CEO, Relypsa Inc.

Robert Overell, President & CEO, PhaseRx Inc.

Stewart Parker

Ed Penhoet, Co-founder and Former CEO, Chiron Corp.

Adelene Perkins, Chair, President & CEO, Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Kris Peterson, CEO, Valeritas Inc.

Cary Pfeffer, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Julia Phillips, Senior Managing Director, Healthcare & Life Sciences Team, FTI Consulting

Grant Pickering, President & CEO, SutroVax Inc.

Richard Pops, Chairman & CEO, Alkermes plc

Mike Powell, General Partner, Sofinnova Ventures

Anna Protopapas, President & CEO, Mersana Therapeutics Inc.

Mike Raab, CEO, Ardelyx Inc.

Michael Rabinowitz, Aetheria Therapeutics, Inc.

Hollings Renton, Retired Chairman & CEO, Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Joshua Resnick, Partner, SV Life Sciences Advisers

Jason Rhodes, Partner, Atlas Venture

Mike Ross, Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences Advisers

Suzanne Roy, Project Team Leader, Clovis Oncology

Linda Rubenstein, Partner, FLG Partners

Ed Saltzman, President, Defined Health

James Sapirstein, CEO, ContraVir Pharmaceuticals

Blythe Sather, Senior Scientist, Juno Therapeutics Inc.

Vicki Sato, Professor of Management Practice, former President, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., Harvard Business School

Glen Sato, Cooley LLP

Steven Saunders, Partner, Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP

George Scangos, CEO, Biogen Inc.

John Scarlett, President & CEO, Geron Corp.

Susan Schaeffer, Editor, BioCentury

David Schenkein, CEO, Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Paul Sekhri, President & CEO, Lycera Corp.

Thomas Seoh, President & CEO, Eqalix, Inc.

Tim Shannon, General Partner, Canaan Partners

Shalini Sharp, CFO, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical

Nancy Simonian, CEO, Syros Pharmaceuticals

David Slack

Moncef Slaoui, Chairman, GSK Vaccines

Kristen Slaoui, Vice President, Head of North America Business Development, GlaxoSmithKline plc

William Slattery, Partner, Deerfield

Danielle Smith, Medicines Development for Global Health

Holly Soutter, Principal Research Scientist, X-Chem, Inc.

Ulrik Spork, Founder, former Managing Partner, Novo Growth Equity, SporCon LifeScience Advisors

David Stack, Chairman & CEO, Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Christiana Stamoulis, CFO and Head of Corporate Development, Unum Therapeutics

Kevin Starr, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Harald Stock, CEO-Elect, Ovascience

Katherine Stueland, Head of Investor Relations and Communications, Invitae

Shinichi Tamura, Chairman & CEO, Sosei Group Corp.

Robert Tepper, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

Sharon Tetlow, Founder and Managing Partner, Potrero Hill Advisors LLC

Michael Tippie, CEO, TomegaVax, Inc.

Lisa Tittemore, Partner, Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP

David U'Prichard, Co-Founder and Senior Adviser, Former Chairman R&D, SmithKlein Beecham' Former Head of Global Research, Zeneca, The Harrington Project

Gil Van Bokkelen, Chairman & CEO, Athersys Inc.

Jan van de Winkel, President & CEO, Genmab A/S

Kurt von Emster, Managing Partner, Abingworth

Timothy Walbert, Chairman, President & CEO, Horizon Pharma plc

Elise Wang, Principal, Deerfield Management

Bu Wang, SQZ Biotech

Neil Warma, President & CEO, Opexa Therapeutics Inc.

Tom Wiggans, Chairman & CEO, Dermira Inc.

Sarah Gordon Wild, Managing Director, SGW Research Ltd.

Kathleen Williams, Partner, Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP

Dennis Willson, President & CEO, ITF Pharma, Inc.

Chuck Wilson, President & CEO, Unum Therapeutics

Kleanthis Xanthopoulos, Managing Partner , Vandel-Group

Cissy Young, Russell Reynolds Associates

Debra Yu, Managing Director, Labrador Advisors

Xi Zhao-Wilson, President , BioMarker Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Alex Zisson, Managing Director, H.I.G. BioVentures

This list includes names received and confirmed as of Feb. 3, 2016. We appreciate the support from the many others not included here who responded after the cut-off.