Webinar: Alternative Funding Strategies to Discuss at JPM


The last year has demonstrated that a sound financing strategy and compelling company narrative are essential to securing funding – it’s become more important than ever that investors are excited before taking the plunge. Given the current economic environment that is causing challenges in biopharma, how should companies be approaching funding in 2024?

Listen to this discussion on different kinds of funding options available, how companies can optimize their chances to secure funding and how they should be assessing VCs in addition to alternative partners – particularly if your company will be seeking funding at JPM this January. Our host and guests also discuss current challenges, how to weather adversity, and what investment trends are anticipated for next year.


Jeff Burton of Halia Therapeutics [square]

 Jeff Burton | Halia Therapeutics | CFO

Jeff Burton joined Halia Therapeutics as the Chief Financial Officer in December 2020.

‌Prior to coming to Halia, Jeff was with Tolero Pharmaceuticals where he helped guide the company through several rounds of funding, the acquisition of Tolero by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma for $200 million upfront and $500 million in milestones, and provided support for the successful filing of five INDs and completion of nine clinical trials.

‌Prior to Tolero, Jeff was at Fusion-io, where he helped the company successfully complete its IPO, secondary offering, several acquisitions, key system implementations, and the eventual acquisition of Fusion-io by SanDisk for more than $1.1 billion.

‌Jeff holds Bachelor and Master of Accounting degrees from the University of Utah.

Karen Harris of ADDF [square]

Karen Harris | The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation | CFO and Head of Mission-Related Investing

Karen Harris is a member of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s executive team and serves as its Chief Financial Officer and Head of Mission Related Investments.

‌With a CFO background that spans both non-profits and investment banking, Ms. Harris is committed to increasing transparency and accessibility of complex financial information and heightening organizational effectiveness with robust financial governance, strategic planning, policies, controls, and training. She regularly presents to the ADDF’s Boards of Governors and Overseers, launched a board-level Finance and Audit Committee, and oversees the organization’s banking relationships. As Head of Mission Related Investments, Ms. Harris has also structured and stewarded dozens of venture-based investments for the ADDF, and she manages and monitors its extensive portfolio of securities and royalty arrangements with universities and biotech companies.

‌Previously, Ms. Harris served as Chief Financial Officer for the East Harlem Tutorial Program and Director of Development at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. She also led a career in the financial sector for 20+ years prior to her transition to non-profit leadership. Among other roles, Ms. Harris served as Global COO for global equity capital markets, a $1 billion dollar division with 190 bankers at UBS, and as a Director and investment banker at Merrill Lynch. She earned an MBA in Finance from Stanford Graduate School of Business, graduating first in her class, and a BA in Economics from Columbia University.

Rob Williamson of Triumvira [square]

Rob Williamson | Triumvira Immunologics | President and COO

Robert F. Williamson, III has been active in building biotechnology companies and shareholder value for over two decades. He currently is the President and COO of Triumvira Immunologics. Previously, he was the CBO of OncoMyx, an oncolytic virus company, and CEO of BioTheryX, a protein degradation therapeutics company, raising a $100M crossover round and preparing the company for an IPO. Prior to BioTheryX, Mr. Williamson served as CEO of both PharmAkea and ATXCo, oncology and fibrosis companies financed through a partnership with Celgene, until PharmAkea’s acquisition by Galecto and ATXCo’s acquisition by Blade Therapeutics. Prior, Mr. Williamson was CEO of Arriva Pharmaceuticals, President and COO of Eos Biotechnology, which he sold to Protein Design Labs, and COO of DoubleTwist, Inc. through its acquisition by Merck and Hitachi.

‌Mr. Williamson also serves as a director and adviser for foundations, private, and public companies. Notably, Mr. Williamson served as an early Director of Pharmasset, Inc., where he helped finance, grow, and advance the company into the public markets and through its acquisition by Gilead in 2011 for $11 billion. Earlier, Mr. Williamson was a partner with The Boston Consulting Group and a research assistant for the Federal Reserve Board. He received a BA in economics from Pomona College and an MBA from Stanford.


Lori Ellis of BioSpace [square]

⁠⁠⁠⁠Lori Ellis⁠⁠⁠ | BioSpace | Head of Insights

Lori is the head of insights at BioSpace. She analyzes and comments on industry trends for BioSpace and clients. She creates engaging content for clients to support their marketing objectives. She has been part of an award-winning marketing team and has won a Muse Creative award, a Vega award and several Adobe awards in collaborative team projects for her audio narration work. Her experience in the television/film and audio industries benefits both BioSpace and partners through her moderation and hosting of live and virtual events. While she has covered all elements of the drug development process, her current focus is on the ever-evolving impact of technology – specifically artificial intelligence – on the pharmaceutical industry.⁠

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