Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister is a nationally and internationally recognized innovation strategy expert. She has been recognized by the Boston Globe as one of the “10 Most Influential Women in Biotech” and by Boston Magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Boston.” Dr. Windham-Bannister currently serves as Managing Partner of Biomedical Innovation Advisors LLC, which she founded with Dr. Harvey Lodish, co-founder of Genzyme, and member of the Whitehead Institute, MIT. She also serves as the President and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC. These advisory firms leverage Dr. Windham-Bannister’s experience as a business strategist and the immediate past President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), a state-funded investment organization charged with administering a $1-billion Life Sciences investment fund created by Governor Deval Patrick in June 2008. She is the first African American in the U.S. to lead a life sciences-focused innovation fund of this scale. The MLSC invests in all sectors of the Commonwealth’s life sciences community – biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical diagnostics and bioinformatics/analytics.
As CEO, Dr. Windham-Bannister was responsible for the Center’s investment strategy, brand management, organizational development and return on public investment. She also was a member of the Center’s Board of Directors with Joshua Boger Ph.D., founder of Vertex; Adelene Perkins, CEO of Infinity Pharmaceuticals; Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D., founder and CSO of Cytonome-ST; Abbie Celniker, CEO of Eleven Biotherapeutics; Edward Benz, M.D., President of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Peter Slavin, M.D., President of Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Windham-Bannister worked closely with the Massachusetts Governor and Legislature.
During Dr. Windham-Bannister’s tenure, the MLSC invested over $700 million of the fund, leveraged another $2.7 billion in matching investment capital, established Massachusetts as the global leader in life sciences, and made the life sciences the fastest job-producing sectors of the Massachusetts economy. Her initiatives included promoting entrepreneurship and start-up activity in Massachusetts, and building an innovation ecosystem that was a major draw for industry leaders. In September 2013, the MLSC won a national award for “Excellence in Technology-Driven Economic Development.”
Since completing her tenure as President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, Dr. Windham-Bannister has been an advisor to other city, state and regional life sciences initiatives in the U.S. and abroad. Her work with the New York City Partnership Fund resulted in a $1.1B New York life sciences initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio in December 2016. She currently is advising Excel Maryland, an initiative to accelerate innovation in life sciences and cybersecurity in Maryland launched by Governor Hogan, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland System. She also has advised the Mayo Clinic on the implementation plan for its Destination Medical Center/Discovery Square Initiative. Dr. Windham-Bannister has been invited to speak on public-private partnerships and strategies that accelerate innovation at numerous national conferences and at international conferences in Barcelona, Beijing, London and Stockholm.
Before assuming her role at the MLSC, Dr. Windham-Bannister was co-founder and Managing Partner of Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions (ABS), a boutique consulting firm serving life sciences companies. She led the firm’s Commercial Strategy Group, which formulated market access and competitive business strategies for global clients. In her 35-year consulting career, she has been instrumental in the successful launch of numerous well-known therapeutics, medical devices and novel biomarkers, and has supported several high-profile M&A’s. Her client base included Fortune 50 life sciences companies (Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, Roche), technology (IBM, GE), large healthcare delivery systems and health plans (Partners, Humana, BlueCross and BlueShield), and financial services companies (CIGNA, Prudential, The Hartford, CitiGroup).
Dr. Windham-Bannister has been recognized as one of the Harvard Club’s “12 Women to Watch” (2012) and by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce with a Pinnacle Award for career achievement (2013). Other awards include the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Abigail Adams Award (2009), the Science Club for Girls Catalyst Award (2011), the Freedom House Champions of Freedom Award (2012), the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Leading Women Award (2012), the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates Hero in Health Care Award (2012).
Dr. Windham-Bannister has co-authored two books: Competitive Strategy for Health Care Organizations, and Medicaid and Other Experiments in State Health Policy. She also has written numerous articles on competition in today’s health care marketplace and is a frequent speaker at national and international life sciences conferences.
Dr. Windham-Bannister received a B.A. from Wellesley College, a Doctorate in Health Policy and Management from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Doctor of Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (honoris causa). She completed her doctoral work at the Heller School under a fellowship from the Ford Foundation and was also a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School. Dr. Windham-Bannister also served as a Fellow in the Center for Science and Policy (CSAP) at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.
Dr. Windham-Bannister’s Board experience includes directorships in life sciences, health care and financial services. She has served as Chairman of key Board Committees such as Finance and Compensation and as a member of Audit. Her Board portfolio includes large companies as well as start-ups, one of which, Beryllium LLC, was recently acquired by UCB Pharma, Ltd. Dr. Windham-Bannister also has served on special Board committees dealing with M&A’s, and sensitive employee relations. As a Board member, she brings knowledge of good corporate governance as well as expertise in innovation deployment, market access strategy, policy analysis, building public-private partnerships, finance, and risk management. Dr. Windham-Bannister’s experience in health care reimbursement, incentive compensation, risk management, and market optimization are highly valued by Boards.