“Bio-Tech: The Next Big Thing”

Ana C. Ward (Moderator)
Panelists: Dr. Jessica Hanover, Dr. Steven Leslie, Greg W. Hartman, Joe Skraba

Ana C. Ward

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

Home to 3,300 technology companies, nationally recognized medical facilities, and a top-tier research university, Austin is emerging as a best in class life sciences community. The convergence of biology and technology allows Austin to capitalize on its global reputation as a technology hub. Collaboration between universities, hospitals, businesses, and others include curriculum planning, research, medical training, and support of life science initiatives.

In addition to private sector and university programs, the state of Texas has also recognized the growth potential of this industry. Since 2005, 44 percent of the companies receiving Texas Emerging Technology funding in the Central Texas region have been within the bio-technology and life sciences sector. What makes Austin a chosen community for bio-tech? What roles do the private, university, and medical institutions play in furthering this growth?

Ana C. Ward
Ms. Ward is senior vice president and general counsel for Asuragen, Inc. and Mirna Therapeutics Inc. Prior to these positions, she was the general counsel for Ambion responsible for a wide variety of legal issues including, licensing, corporate transactions, patents, and trademarks. She also served as senior intellectual property counsel for Tricon Global Restaurants, and as an associate at the law firm Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood. She has a masters in molecular biology, a doctor of jurisprudence, and an MBA–all from The University of Texas at Austin.

Jessica Hanover

Steven Leslie

Greg Hartman

Joe Skraba







Dr. Jessica Hanover
Dr. Hanover served as the first bioscience director at UT’s Austin Technology Incubator (ATI). She identified early-stage companies developing technologies relevant to the life sciences space such as drug therapies, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools. She is credited with admitting four early-stage bioscience companies into ATI. During Dr. Hanover’s tenure with ATI, bioscience member companies raised approximately $8 million in funding. She also helped to build the Central Texas bioscience infrastructure of investors, entrepreneurs, clinicians, scientists, and engineers, while collaborating with the science and engineering communities within UT Austin, helping to create avenues for commercialization of bioscience technology.

Dr. Steven Leslie
Dr. Leslie is the provost of The University of Texas at Austin. He oversees the academic programs on campus, and creates and sustains an unrelenting focus on excellence and innovation in undergraduate and graduate education. As the provost of a top research university, Dr. Leslie plays an important role in hiring university research talent for bio-tech.

Greg W. Hartman
Mr. Hartman is the president and CEO of the Clinical Education Center at the University Medical Center Brackenridge. He is involved in the collaboration between Seton, The University of Texas at Austin, and UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas to bring “translational” medical research to Austin. Translational research refers to bridging the gap between academic research and use in the field.

Joe Skraba
Mr. Skraba is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in commercialization of a broad range of medical devices and bio-tech products. Among other endeavors, he is currently serving as a CenTex RCIC Selection Team Member. Mr. Skraba will speak to the current and historical environment in Austin for bio-tech entrepreneurs.