2018 Award Winners

the premier social event for the life sciences industry

March 14, 2018  |  Pennsylvania Convention Center

Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Leadership Award

Benson Smith
Chairman of the Board and former CEO of Teleflex, Inc.

Benson Smith is the Chairman of the Board and former CEO of Teleflex, a leading global provider of specialty medical devices for a range of procedures in critical care and surgery. Benson retired from his role as CEO at the end of 2017. Under Benson’s leadership as CEO over the last six years, Teleflex achieved an unprecedented level of success, including market cap growth of over 300% over the six-year period, representing an increase of $8.7 billion; integration of over 30 acquisitions globally, including three valued at approximately $1 billion, two of which closed in 2017; and fueled innovation in improving health outcomes and reducing costs for patients and clinicians around the world, including launching 25 new products and line extensions in 2016 alone. Benson donates significantly in time, expertise and finances to several charitable, academic, and health-related organizations.

Frank Baldino Bioscience CEO of the Year Award

Peter Miller
CEO of Optinose, Inc.

Under Peter Miller’s leadership, Optinose delivered on its aggressive 2017 business plan, including flawless execution of its regulatory strategy and first-pass FDA approval of XHANCE™. Peter’s team delivered on its capital strategy, completing three fundraisings for a total of $240 million, including a successful IPO that raised $138 million in gross proceeds. Optinose grew from approximately 20 employees in January 2017 to 80 employees today. With Peter’s leadership of this high-performing team, Optinose was also selected as one of the finalists for the Life Sciences PA Emerging Company of the Year Award, also to be conferred at our Annual Dinner.

Emerging Company of the Year Award


Neos Therapeutics, Inc.

Neos is a pharmaceutical company developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative extended-release products utilizing its proprietary modified-release drug delivery technology platforms. During 2017, Neos successfully commercialized Adzenys XR-ODT™ for the treatment of ADHD, the first ever extended-release product that allows the drug to be delivered through an Orally Disintegrating Tablet. Neos experienced 39% quarterly prescription growth throughout 2017 and grew the number of prescribers of Adzenys XR-ODT™ by 128%. Also in 2017, Neos launched its second ADHD product, Cotempla XR-ODT™, and plans to launch its third ADHD product in the first quarter of 2018. To date, Neos has raised more than $200 million. Neos has assembled a highly experienced team in Blue Bell, PA including a field force of approximately 125 sales reps.

Optinose, Inc.

Optinose is a specialty pharmaceutical company on a mission to improve the quality of life of patients with diseases that are treated by ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and allergy specialists. Optinose delivered on ​its ​business plan, including flawless execution of its regulatory strategy and first-pass FDA approval of XHANCE™, a rare achievement for drug-device combination products. The team also delivered on its capital strategy, completing three fundraisings for a total of $240 million, including a successful IPO that raised $138 million in gross proceeds. Optinose grew from approximately 20 employees in January 2017 to ​an expected ​approximately 150 employees by the end of the ​first quarter of 2018.

Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Paratek is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies and focuses on drugs that target infectious disease and other difficult to treat conditions. Paratek successfully completed the clinical development program for its lead product, omadacycline, in skin infections and pneumonia and recently announced it completed the submission of its New Drug Applications (NDAs) to the FDA for the Company’s once-daily oral and IV formulations of this broad-spectrum investigational antibiotic. Paratek continues to advance its pipeline plans for omadacycline by initiating a Phase 2 program in UTI and evaluating biodefense opportunities against plague and anthrax. In 2017, Paratek expanded its corporate office space to accommodate the growth of its PA-based teams and plans to create as many as 50 more positions in King of Prussia, PA over the next two years.

Deal of the Year Award


Complexa, Inc. for its $62 million Series C Financing to Test CXA-10 in Two Orphan Disease Proof-of-Concept Trials. 

Complexa, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the treatment of fibrosis and inflammation-associated orphan diseases. In July of 2017, Complexa announced the completion of a $62 million Series C funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Pfizer Venture Investments, LLC. Complexa plans to use this financing to advance a second compound toward an IND for a yet-to-be-disclosed indication; to advance CXA-10 into Phase 2 trials, which is expected to begin in 2018; and to support phase 2 of oral CXA-10 as a differentiated disease-modifying treatment for PAH.

Harmony Biosciences for its $270 million in Equity Financing.  

Harmony Biosciences is an innovative biopharmaceutical company dedicated to identifying, developing, and commercializing novel treatment options for patients with rare diseases. In October of 2017, Harmony announced it has acquired the exclusive US right to develop, register and market the drug pitolisant from French company Bioproject SCR. Harmony also announced it has raised $270 million in equity financing, representing one of the largest private capital raises in North America during 2017 and a significant investment in biotech innovation for Pennsylvania.

Teleflex, Inc. for its Acquisition of Neotract.  

Teleflex is a global provider of medical technologies designed to improve the health and quality of people’s lives by driving innovation and a relentless pursuit of identifying unmet clinical needs to benefit patients and healthcare providers. In October of 2017, Teleflex announced the completion of the acquisition of Neotract, a transaction valued at up to $1.1 billion. Neotract is a privately-held medical device company that has developed and commercialized the FDA-cleared UroLift ® System, a minimally invasive technology for treating lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.

Scientific Achievement Award

Carl H. June, MD
Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, Perelman School of Medicine
Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania

Carl H. June, MD, is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He is currently Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine, and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania. He maintains a research laboratory that studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection.

In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. The treatment has now also been used with promising results to treat children with refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He has published more than 350 manuscripts and is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine in 2012 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014, the William B. Coley award, the Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology, the Philadelphia Award in 2012, the Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science in 2014 (shared with S. Grupp, B. Levine and D. Porter), the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (shared with J. Allison), the Novartis Prize in Immunology (shared with Z. Eshaar and S. Rosenberg), the Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award, the Debrecen Award and a lifetime achievement award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Dr. June is a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He had graduate training in Immunology and malaria with Dr. Paul-Henri Lambert at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, from 1978 to 1979 and post-doctoral training in transplantation biology with E. Donnell Thomas and John Hansen at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle from 1983 to 1986. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.

President’s Service Award

Thomas Hess
Senior Vice President & CFO, Genomind

Mr. Hess, CPA  is the SVP & CFO of Genomind. Prior to Genomind, he was the CFO of Keane, the largest provider of unclaimed property services in the United States which sold to Lovell Minick in 2014.  Mr. Hess was also the CFO for Yaupon Therapeutics and Adolor which were development stage biotechnology companies, each of which successfully launched an FDA approved drug and were sold to Actelion Pharmaceuticals (now part of J&J) and Cubist, respectively. Mr. Hess also served as the Corporate Controller for Vicuron Pharmaceuticals which was sold to Pfizer in 2005 and previously was with KPMG. He is an adjunct professor at Penn State and DeSales University and the Chairman for the Nittany Lion Club Annual Fund.

Mr. Hess received a BS in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

He is also a board member of FSSolutions in Chalfont, PA.

Federal Official of the Year Award

U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-13)
United States House of Representatives

Congressman Brendan Boyle was born and raised in the Olney neighborhood of Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District. A first generation American, Congressman Boyle’s father emigrated from Ireland in search of a better life. As the proud son of a janitor and a crossing guard, he learned from an early age that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it in America.

The first in his family to attend college, he attended the University of Notre Dame on a scholarship and later graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government with a master’s degree in Public Policy.

Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2008, Boyle became the first Democrat to represent Pennsylvania’s 170th state legislative district. In 2014, he was sent to Washington to represent his hometown in Congress. Now in his second term, Congressman Boyle proudly represents the 13th Congressional district, which is made up of Northeast Philadelphia, parts of North Philly, and about half of the bustling suburbs of Montgomery County. He currently serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Committee on the Budget.

Throughout his career in public service, Congressman Boyle has remained an ardent supporter of working families. He is the founder and co-chair of the “Blue Collar Caucus” which advocates for working families by addressing wage stagnation, job insecurity, and dwindling career opportunities for those in manufacturing and the building trades.

State Official of the Year Award

Pennsylvania State Senator Kim Ward (R-39)
Pennsylvania State Senate

In 2008, Senator Ward won the Pennsylvania 39th Senatorial District seat and was the first woman ever elected to that seat. She was re-elected in 2012 & 2016. Prior to her election to the Senate, she served as a Westmoreland County Commissioner in 2008, and on the Hempfield Township Board of Supervisors from 2002-2007 where she was Chairwoman of the Board for the final three years.

Senator Ward has introduced and had legislation signed into law reducing spending on state subsidized methadone treatment transportation; implementing the federal E-Verify program to ensure workers on publicly funded construction projects were legally permitted to work; and re-authorizing the emergency services grant program. In addition, she led the successful effort to reform Pennsylvania’s child abuse laws in order to provide greater protections for children against abuse. In July 2015, her Ready to Succeed college grant program legislation for middle-income families was signed into law. Recently, Ward helped to extend benefits to the families of campus police officers who die in the line of duty and was instrumental in moving the Commonwealth into compliance with the Federal REAL ID Act, thereby helping Pennsylvanians avoid the need for a passport to visit a military base, get into a federal building or fly domestically.

Senator Ward is currently the Chairwoman of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, which includes among its purview unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, labor law and workforce development issues. In relation to her capacity as the Chair of Labor & Industry she also serves as the Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, a member of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, Co-Chair of the PA Senate Manufacturing Caucus, member of the PA Film Advisory Board and a member of the History Center’s leadership team in Pittsburgh.

Senator Ward is a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Hempfield Township, the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, the NRA and is a Mentor for the Anne Anstine Women’s Services. She is also a Fellow at the University Of Pittsburgh Institute Of Politics and 2012 Legislative Fellow at Indiana University of PA.

State Senator Kim Ward is a native southwestern Pennsylvania resident who grew up in Meadowlands, Washington County. She attended The Community College of Allegheny County Respiratory Therapy program, the University of Pittsburgh, and Middle Tennessee State University.

Before entering politics Kim worked as a Board Certified Respiratory Therapist at Allegheny General Hospital, Vanderbilt University Hospital and Hershey Medical Center.

She and her husband, Dr. Thomas Ward, have three sons, Tom, Michael, and Matthew.

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