Monday, October 7, 2019

Leslie Williams, 2019 Honorary Alumni Award Recipient
The UI College of Pharmacy will recognize Leslie J. Williams, BSN, MBA, as the 2019 Honorary Alumni Award recipient during a ceremony on October 17. The Honorary Alumni Award annually honors friends of the college for their personal contribution toward pharmacy achievement, leadership, and service to the profession, or exhibits exceptional service to the college. These individuals inspire students and serve as role models. 

Williams is the founder, president and chief executive officer of ImmusanT. Founded in 2010, the company is developing a new class of therapeutic vaccines to change the lives of people living with autoimmune diseases. The Epitope-Specific Immuno-Therapy™ (ESIT™) platform provides a precision medicine approach to restoring immune tolerance across a range of diseases. The lead program, Nexvax2®, has the potential to be the first therapy ever to demonstrate restoration of antigen-specific tolerance in a human autoimmune disease. She has raised over $85 million in venture capital and the company has filed over 130 patents to date.

Williams has extensive industry experience in biotechnology start-up, pharmaceuticals, device and venture capital. She has been a chief executive officer in the biotechnology industry for the last 15 years. As Ventaira Pharmaceuticals president and chief executive officer she transformed the company into a significant player in the pulmonary drug-delivery market and managed its acquisition. With INO Therapeutics, Inc., Williams served as director of marketing and sales, and played a role in the New Drug Application submission for the novel drug INOmax®. She has pharmaceutical commercial experience at Merck and GSK, and drug delivery and monitoring experience at Datex-Ohmeda. As a venture partner at Battelle Ventures she sourced and evaluated deals, and assisted early-stage technology companies with strategy, management, business development, and mergers and acquisitions.

Williams has served on public and private biotechnology and non-profit boards, in addition to the UI College of Pharmacy's Executive Leadership Board. She is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Life Science Leader and Journal of Advanced Therapies and Medical Innovation Sciences. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in nursing from the University of Iowa and an MBA from Washington University.