Yelena is a Venture Fellow / entrepreneur-in-residence at Santé Accel, a Santé start-up incubator. Yelena is passionate about bringing together business, strategy, and scientific innovation to make an impact on developing life-changing therapeutics. She is thrilled about the opportunity to work with the Santé team on translating scientific advances into potentially transformative medicines for devastating diseases. Yelena will focus on ideating new companies developing novel therapeutic approaches.
Prior to joining Santé, Yelena spent nearly six years at Novartis Institutes of BioMedical Research (now known as Novartis Biomedical Research) in Cambridge, MA, in the Business Development & Licensing Alliance Management team where she was responsible for structuring strategic alliances and managing early clinical stage/research strategic collaborations, with a wide range of biotech partners across therapeutic areas and stages of development (discovery stage to clinical assets). Prior to Novartis, Yelena worked for 10+ years in a variety of diverse roles with increasing responsibilities in clinical development, regulatory and scientific affairs, clinical sciences, and R&D in biotech and pharma with a focus on oncology, contributing to regulatory approvals of several novel cancer therapies.
Throughout her career and outside of work, Yelena is dedicated to promoting women in STEM careers. Yelena served on the board of directors of the Boston-based non-profit Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology (WEST) and mentored junior scientists at Novartis.
Yelena earned her PhD in molecular cancer biology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine under Dr. Karen E. Knudsen and completed undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh Honors College. Yelena received the NIH National Research Service Award, AACR Scholar-in-Training Award and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Fellowship for her post-doctorate studies at the Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, MA.
What attracted you to the Santé Ventures team: healthcare and life sciences space?
I am fascinated by the intricate puzzle that connects biology, drug discovery, medicine, and business. Bringing transformative innovation to patients in need is my passion. I am thrilled to work with a talented Santé Ventures team to translate scientific discoveries into the next generation of medicines. I am humbled to get to work with the Santé team and learn to navigate the challenges of generating value, raising funds, and launching patient-centric companies that execute drug discovery with high efficiency.
What is something most people do not know about you?
I am an avid enthusiast for foraging wild edible mushrooms and berries. It’s my form of meditation and a way to connect with Nature. My family heritage traces back to a small town in Eastern Siberia, Russia, where mushroom hunting is known as “true national sport.”