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Bio Innovations Speaker Series

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. - Live and Virtual via Zoom

Advances in Diagnosing, Preventing and Treating Brain Diseases

Industry Panelists:

  • James Hendrix, PhD, Executive Director for U.S. Medical Affairs, Eli Lilly
  • Jim Sullivan, PhD, CEO, Vanqua Bio and Venture Partner, Orbimed
  • Murali Gopalakrishnan, PhD, Global Head Neuroscience Search & Evaluation, Corporate Strategy Office, AbbVie

Rosalind Franklin University Panelists:

  • Grace (Beth) Stutzmann, PhD, Professor and Director, Center for Neurodegenerative Disease and Therapeutics
  • William Frost, PhD, Professor and Director, Stanson Toshok Center for Brain Function and Repair

This free event is open to IRP partners, supporters, industry leaders, biomedical entrepreneurs, alumni, students, faculty, staff, researchers and the community.


James Hendrix, PhD
Executive Director for U.S. Medical Affairs, Eli Lilly

James Hendrix received his PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship in organic chemistry from Colorado State University. He started his pharmaceutical career as a medicinal chemist at Hoechst-Roussel (later Sanofi-Aventis) working in CNS drug discovery. James worked for the company for 18 years, rising to the level of Senior Director, U.S. Site Head for CNS Research. James also spent two years in biotech with various companies before joining the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago as Director of Global Science Initiatives. In 2018, James became the Chief Scientific Officer for LuMind IDSC, a non-profit focused on Down syndrome research. In April of 2022, James joined Eli Lilly and Company as Executive Director for U.S. Medical Affairs working in the Neuroscience Business Unit acting as a clinical research scientist.

Murali Gopalakrishnan
Head of Search & Evaluation in Neuroscience, Corporate Strategy Office, AbbVie

Murali Gopalakrishnan, has responsibility for Search & Evaluation in Neuroscience at AbbVie. In prior roles, Murali held positions of increasing responsibility at Abbott and AbbVie, leading discovery research programs across therapeutic areas, including neuroscience, pain, nephrology and urology, and delivering multiple clinical candidates to the R&D pipeline. At Abbott, Murali also led the Global External Research group with responsibility for sourcing discovery research-focused external innovation and establishing early-stage partnerships, and had responsibility for the growth and leadership of Abbott China R&D Center in Shanghai. Murali obtained his undergraduate training in pharmacy, a PhD in Pharmacology with post-doctoral training in molecular biology, and also holds an MBA degree.

Jim Sullivan, PhD
CEO, Vanqua Bio and Venture Partner, Orbimed

Dr. Sullivan is co-founder and CEO of Vanqua. In addition, he has been a Venture Partner with Orbimed since January 2019. Previously, he was the Vice President of Research at AbbVie, where he was responsible for the company’s research efforts in a variety of therapeutic/disease areas, including oncology, immunology, neurology, hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis. Jim has advanced more than 100 compounds into clinical development across a number of disease states and technology platforms. These include products on the market for HCV (Mavyret and Viekira); the first-in-class Bcl2 selective inhibitor, Venclexta, for hematological cancers; a new oral agent for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, RINVOQ; and multiple compounds currently in Phase II or III clinical trials. He has authored/co-authored more than 130 scientific publications and is an inventor on 11 patents. Jim is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University and serves on the board of several companies and foundations, including Regis Technologies, Genomics Medicine Ireland, Genuity Science, MATTER Healthcare Incubator, Chicago Biotechnology Accelerator and the Pistoia Alliance. He earned his bachelor’s degree and PhD in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin and conducted post-doctoral research in neurobiology at Northwestern University.