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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.

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.