26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Heather Wasserman, vice-president and head of corporate business development

Heather Wasserman was promoted to vice-president and head of corporate business development at US-based pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly, in September 2019 following the sabbatical of GCV Powerlist mainstay Darren Carroll after 22 years at the company that included the development of its US and Asia-focused corporate venturing units.

Wasserman’s responsibility at the company encompasses business development transactions, emerging technologies and innovation, and venture capital. She oversees the Lilly Ventures team that includes founding managing director Edward Torres and general partners Armen Shanafelt and Steve Hall, as well as the Lilly Asia Ventures team that counts 23 members including GCV Emerging Leader Judith Li who serves as a Hong Kong-based partner.

Eli Lilly’s global corporate VC program was founded by Carroll, who is now a partner at venture capital firm Polaris Partners, in 2005. Lilly Ventures and Asia-focused peer Lilly Asian Ventures developed out of his earlier work on the open innovation market in physical sciences through spinning open innovation and crowdsourcing specialist InnoCentive out from the company.

Lilly Asia Ventures participated alongside peer Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC in a $151m series A round for Legend Biotech Corporation, a cellular therapy subsidiary of China-based biotech producer Genscript Biotech, in April 2020, which came shortly after the corporate investing in a $10m round in UK-based immunometabolic drug developer Sitryx as part of a licensing and research collaboration deal involving a $50m upfront payment and up to $820m in milestone payments.

Lilly Asia Ventures also took part in China-based oncology therapy developer Abbisko Therapeutics’s $70m series C round in March 2020 after the corporate backed Sigilon Therapeutics, a US-based developer of treatments for chronic illnesses, in an $80.3m series B round earlier the same month.

In addition, Lilly Asia Ventures had co-led a $100m funding round for China-based antibody drug developer RemeGen, which followed another portfolio company Passage Bio, a US-based genetic medicine developer, closing its initial public offering (IPO) at more than $248m in early March.

Eli Lilly backed UK-based biopharmaceutical medicine developer Immunocore’s $130m series B round after US-based genetic medicine developer Passage Bio raised $216m in its IPO in February. China-based biopharmaceuticals developer Transcenta Holding received $100m in a series B-plus round featuring Lilly Asia Ventures the month before.

Eli Lilly hired Wasserman in 2013 as a director of search and evaluation in immunology before promoting her to senior director almost three years later. She then spent over a year as senior director of external innovation and emerging technology and innovation from mid-2018.

Prior to joining Eli Lilly, Wasserman had been a senior scientist at biopharmaceutical company Human Genome Sciences for more than four years before it was acquired by UK-listed drugs maker GlaxoSmithKline in 2013.

Wasserman holds a bachelor’s in biology from University of Maryland, a master’s in entomology from University of Florida and a PhD in immunology and entomology from University of Georgia.

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF