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Financing Growth: Unique Challenges and Opportunities in Biotech and Pharma

Moderated by

Moderator:  Mark Giamo

Panelists:  Alison Cornell | Debbie HartGlenn Sblendorio | Brian Zietsman



According to Reuters:  “Competition for tomorrow’s blockbuster drugs is now intense, inflating the cost of deals and pushing pharmaceuticals to center stage in overall mergers and acquisitions.  Pharma deals have accounted for 10.5 percent of total M&A worldwide [so far, in 2015], up from a more traditional share of 3 to 4 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.”  Biotech and pharma CFOs and industry executives contend with numerous challenges, trends, and opportunities including:

  • A significant interest in M&A and investment in biotech
  • More drug approvals coming from companies doing business in New Jersey than anywhere else
  • Evolving pharma industry employment dynamics
  • Extreme product R&D costs and timing
  • A marked increase in lab outsourcing, allowing companies to exchange higher fixed-costs for lower variable-costs, thereby reducing capital investment requirements and permitting almost instantaneous access to world-class analytical expertise and abilities
  • Challenges in financing, unique tax issues, healthcare reimbursement, accountable care organizations, and the effects of globalization

Join Glenn Sblendorio, President and CFO of The Medicines Company; Alison Cornell, CFO of Covance a LabCorp Company; Brian Zietsman, President and CFO of Enteris Biopharma; Debbie Hart, Founding President and CEO of BioNJ; and Moderator Mark Giamo, New Jersey Office Managing Partner of BDO; as they discuss the current state and the future of biotech, pharma, and healthcare, and share their insights, ideas, and expectations.


Mark GiamoMark Giamo
New Jersey Office Managing Partner
NY Metro Technology Industry Group Leader

In his role as New Jersey Office Managing Partner, Mark is responsible for managing all aspects of the assurance practice for BDO’s New Jersey Office.  He also co-leads the NY Metro Technology Practice. Mark joined BDO in 1997 and has serviced publicly-traded, private, multi-national, private equity sponsored and growth-oriented companies in a variety of industries, including technology, life sciences and manufacturing and distribution.  Mark spends a significant amount of time servicing SEC registrants as both the engagement partner and technical partner reviewer.  In addition, he acts as an instructor for continuing education and plays an active role in the firm’s internal quality inspection program.

About BDO

BDO provides assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. The Company offers a sophisticated array of services and the global capabilities of the world’s fifth largest accounting and consulting network, combined with the personal attention of experienced professionals.


Debbie HartDebbie Hart
Founding President and CEO

Debbie Hart, founding President and CEO of BioNJ, is dedicated to the mission and work of BioNJ. She worked alongside New Jersey’s biotechnology industry leaders to establish BioNJ in 1994 and has been dedicated to the organization since then. Debbie has been active on the boards and committees of numerous government and academic institutions.
She served on the transition teams of two former New Jersey governors and was recently appointed by Gov. Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno to the Council on Innovation. She is a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Technology Advisory Board and a former member and Chair of EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT). Debbie was appointed by two Governors to the New Jersey Israel Commission for her work in economic development.

Past government support activities include the Prosperity New Jersey Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Cluster Study commissioned by a former Governor and conducted by Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, the Jobs Growth and Economic Development Commission established by a former Governor and chaired by Dr. Roy Vagelos as well as the Task Force on Higher Education Quality and Competitiveness of the State. She also served on the Business Task Force established by the New Jersey State Legislature in 2011.

A strong advocate for advancing education, she is a board member of the Rutgers University Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management at Rutgers University Business School, the Advisory Board of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair University and a former board member of the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business and the Science Advisory Board at Rider University as well as the advisory boards for the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) Biomedical Engineering Program, Monmouth University’s School of Science, Technology and Engineering and as a Director of the Liberty Science Center’s Women’s Leadership Council.

She served on the advisory board that guided the establishment of the nationally recognized Monmouth County Biotechnology High School as well a member of the New Jersey Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Advisory Board. In 2005, Debbie delivered the Commencement Address at Raritan Valley Community College’s graduation ceremonies.

As an advocate for the industry, Debbie has testified before State and federal legislative committees. She is also a frequent speaker at industry events, including serving as the Keynote speaker at the 2011 Russian Pharmaceutical Forum in St. Petersburg and the 2011 Knowledge for Growth Conference in Ghent, Belgium as well as the Women’s Clinical Leadership Forum at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in Orlando, Florida in 2012 and the Shanghai Bio Conference in Shanghai in 2008.

Debbie has been honored by the Women’s Fund of New Jersey as a Woman Advancing Science, and Debbie and BioNJ have been recognized by NJIT with a New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Award.

She was named twice to the NJBIZ Power 100, a listing of the 100 most influential people in New Jersey business and is a NJBIZ New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business honoree. In March 2014 in commemoration of Women’s History Month, she was honored by the New Jersey General Assembly as a Woman Advancing Science. In May 2014, Debbie was named as one of 50 people to PolitickerNJ’s Health Care Power List of 2014.

Debbie holds an M.S. from the S. I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University where she graduated cum laude and a B.A. from Trenton State College, now The College of New Jersey, where she graduated magna cum laude.


Glenn Sblendorio
The Medicines Company
President and Chief Financial Officer

Glenn P. Sblendorio has been a director since July 2011 and has been our chief financial officer and president since February 2012.  From March 2006 to February 2012, he served as our chief financial officer and executive vice president. From November 2005 until he joined us, Mr. Sblendorio served as a consultant to a company in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining us, Mr. Sblendorio was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from February 2002 until it was acquired by OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in November 2005. From July 2000 to February 2002, Mr. Sblendorio served as our senior vice president of business development. From 1998 to July 2000, Mr. Sblendorio was the chief executive officer and managing director of MPM Capital Advisors, LLC, an investment bank specializing in healthcare related transactions. Mr. Sblendorio’s pharmaceutical experience also includes 12 years at Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, in a variety of senior financial positions, including vice president, finance of Roche Molecular Systems and head of finance-controller for Amgen/Roche Europe. Mr. Sblendorio currently serves as a director of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company and Opthotech Corporation, an ophthalmology company. Mr. Sblendorio received his B.B.A. from Pace University, his M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and he is a graduate of Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program.

About The Medicines Company

The Medicines Company’s purpose is to save lives, alleviate suffering and contribute to the economics of healthcare by focusing on 3,000 leading acute/intensive care hospitals worldwide. Its vision is to be a leading provider of solutions in three areas: acute cardiovascular care, surgery and perioperative care, and serious infectious disease care. The company operates in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions with global centers today in Parsippany, NJ, USA and Zurich, Switzerland.

The Company was founded in 1996 and is publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol MDCO.


Alison Cornell
Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Alison A. Cornell is Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and has overall responsibility for finance and corporate development activities. She serves as a member of the Executive Committee and reports to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Ms. Cornell joined Covance in 2004 as Vice President, Late Stage Development Services, overseeing financial management for the company’s Phase II-IV, cardiac and interactive voice response services. She was a key member of the clinical development leadership team and played a critical role in transforming that business into a major growth driver for the company. She was also a driving force in the evaluation and lowering of the company’s cost structure, and successfully designed and executed programs that have significantly lowered the company’s Days Sales Outstanding. In 2010, she was promoted to Vice President, Global Financial Planning and Analysis, responsible for approximately 75 percent of Covance’s finance staff, end-to-end financials, value-added business analytics, business development, controllership, resource management and contract management. Her ability to recruit, develop and retain talent has significantly enhanced the company’s finance bench strength company-wide. She was appointed Chief Financial Officer in May 2012.

Prior to joining Covance, Ms. Cornell spent 19 years with AT&T, where she held leadership roles and positions of increasing responsibility, including heading finance for a $30 billion division as Vice President, Forecasting, Performance and Investment Analysis.

She is active in several professional associations, including Financial Executives International, the Association for Financial Professionals and the Institute of Management Accountants.

Ms. Cornell earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Business Administration in marketing from Rutgers University. In addition, she is a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP), completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School, and received a Certificate in Treasury Management from Villanova University.

About Covance

Covance, the world’s most comprehensive drug development company and a leader in nutritional analysis, is dedicated to advancing healthcare and delivering Solutions Made Real™. The company, headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, has annual revenues greater than $2.5 billion and more than 12,500 employees located in over 60 countries. Information on Covance’s solutions, recent press releases, and SEC filings can be obtained through its website at


Brian ZietsmanBrian Zietsman
Enteris BioPharma
President & Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Brian Zietsman, the President and Chief Financial Officer of Enteris BioPharma, joined the Company in July 2013. He brings more than 20 years of strategic finance and accounting experience to his position, over half of which has been in the pharmaceutical industry for both public and private companies. Prior to joining Enteris BioPharma, Mr. Zietsman was the Chief Financial Officer of Unigene Laboratories, Inc. where he played a pivotal role in that company’s restructuring. Prior to working at Unigene, he was the Corporate Controller at Duff & Phelps (NYSE DUF) and between 2005 and 2011, he worked in various financial capacities at Enzon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (NASDAQ – ENZN), including Vice President and Corporate Controller. Prior to Enzon, Mr. Zietsman was the Corporate Controller at Reliant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held company which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline, and earlier worked at Deloitte where he held various positions of increasing responsibility, leaving as a Senior Manager in the audit group. Mr. Zietsman is a graduate from Rhodes University, South Africa where he earned his B. Com (Accounting), BSc (Computer Science) and HDIPACC certifications. Mr. Zietsman is a registered CPA.

About Enteris BioPharma

Enteris BioPharma is a privately held, New Jersey-based biotech company offering innovative formulation solutions around our proprietary delivery technologies.

The acquisition of clinically proven platform technologies from Unigene Laboratories, Inc. has positioned Enteris BioPharma as an industry leader in innovative oral dosage formulations. Our innovative formulation solutions enable the oral delivery of BCS class II, III and IV compounds, including peptides, in an enteric-coated tablet. In addition to the industry leading oral delivery technology, Enteris BioPharma has also acquired a proven nasal delivery technology and a recombinant manufacturing process for therapeutically relevant peptides. Enteris BioPharma continues to make progressive strides in addressing many of today’s unmet medical needs and challenges.

Enteris BioPharma is dedicated to building long term strategic relationships to solve complex formulation issues with our proprietary delivery platforms.

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