By Alyssa Patrick, Economic Development, and
Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture
SEATTLE – Professor Susmita Bose and Leen Kawas, CEO of a Washington State University spinoff company, will be recognized as “women to watch in life sciences” during the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association’s annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference July 1 in Seattle.
The award recognizes women “who are thought-leaders in their fields and shaping the future of their industries,” according to the organization. The WBBA is a Washington life sciences trade association that includes more than 650 member organizations.
Four women will receive the award. Learn more at http://www.washbio.org/?page=WomentoWatch_15.
Bose conducts research in medical materials, including 3D printing of bone-like materials to make implants more biocompatible and less prone to infection.
“Many technologies she developed are poised to make significant advances to the standard of care for patients needing orthopedic device implants or other surgical intervention to correct skeletal disorders,” said Michael Kessler, director in the WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. “Her research is always patient-focused and in tune with the upcoming needs of the medical device industry.’’
Bose holds three patents for medical devices, is a co-inventor on five active patent applications and has published more than 200 journal articles. She recently received a five-year, $1.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to improve the way metallic bone implants integrate into the body.
Her awards include the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest U.S. government honor for early-career scientists and engineers, and the American Ceramics Society’s Schwartzwalder-Professional Achievement in Ceramic Engineering and Richard M. Fulrath awards. She is a Kavli fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the American Ceramic Society.
Kawas became president and chief executive officer of WSU spinoff M3 Biotechnology, Inc., after completing her Ph.D. at WSU in 2011. She pursued her degree and stayed on as a post-doc in the labs of Joe Harding and Jay Wright, the WSU researchers who founded M3.
The young therapeutics company is pursuing development of novel drug candidates that could reverse the course of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Kawas became the chief scientist and co-inventor of a series of WSU patents licensed to M3 and demonstrated entrepreneurial skills that advanced her to CEO in 2014.
“One of the most important reasons Leen is a ‘woman to watch’ is that she has been able to transition very successfully as a researcher in academia to the role of CEO,” said Lance Stewart, an M3 business advisor. “She’s done a tremendous job raising a diversified source of funds to move M3 technologies into the clinic.”
Under her leadership, M3 was selected as one of five companies in the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s partnering program and has received significant funding from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Association, the state Life Sciences Discovery Fund and private investors.
M3’s lead compound, MM-201, will likely qualify for fast-track approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, moving it into human clinical trials by 2016.
Susmita Bose, WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-7461, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leen Kawas, M3 Biotechnology, email@example.com
Tina Hilding, WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture communications, 509-335-5095, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alyssa Patrick, WSU Office of Economic Development communications, 206-219-2427, email@example.com