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Five Pharma & Biotech Innovation Leaders to Judge AMWA’s 1st Healthcare Innovation Challenge

1st AMWA Healthcare Innovation Challenge March 25th
During AMWA’s 108th Annual Meeting
~ Judges Announced ~

In-Person and Streaming Options

AMWA is pleased to announce the five esteemed judges who will preside over the 1st Healthcare Innovation Challenge Start-up Pitch Competition — held 1-3 pm ET on March 25 in Philadelphia, during our 108th Annual Meeting.

Judges will select one of five women physician entrepreneurs finalists to win the Grand Prize of $10,000 in cash, a one-year membership to, the premier HealthTech incubator, and an AMWAxCel Fellowship.

The Innovation Challenge Judges are accomplished leaders in the healthcare and biotech industries who share AMWA’s goal of improving healthcare quality and access and are committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of healthcare and medicine. They are:

  • Paul Kirchgraber, MD, MBA – CEO of Labcorp Drug Development, with 16 years in the CRO industry
  • Sandra Milligan, MD, JD – Head of Research and Development at Organon and Board member for Gossamer Bio
  • Nancy Phelan – SVP at Indegene, with 25+ years experience in healthcare and biotech
  • Alina Su, PhD – Founder and CEO of NovaXS Biotech, with experience  advancing academic discoveries to commercialization and patient benefit
  • Geeta Vemuri, PhD, MBA – Founder and Managing Partner at Agent Capital, who holds a PhD in biochemistry

“We aim to empower diverse women to leverage their skills and unique perspectives to innovate healthcare,” said AMWA’s Healthcare Innovation Challenge Chair, Dima Elissa, MBA, CEO and Founder of VisMed3D. “We are excited for the first such challenge and to engage with winners beyond this meeting through our AMWAxCel Fellowship, which offers individual, team, and group programming to help de-risk and catalyze start-up efforts and to deepen connections and knowhow within our innovation community.”

“We thank the highly qualified leaders in pharma and biotech innovation who have committed their time and expertise to judge our first Healthcare Innovation Challenge,” said AMWA President, Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD, Professor of Medicine at AU/UGA Medical Partnership. “Despite the critical contributions of women in healthcare – and the fact that more than half of the population is women – women-led startups overall receive less than 3% of venture capital funding. This is a serious strategic miss for our society, which we aim to help rectify through the AMWA Healthcare Innovation program.”

AMWA acknowledges and thanks the 2023 Healthcare Innovation Challenge sponsors:, the premier healthcare incubator and innovation hub; World Business Chicago, the city of Chicago’s public-private economic development agency; and iBIO, the state trade association that represents biosciences jobs in Illinois, primarily in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, as well as Cooley LLP, who sponsored our kick-off event in Chicago in February.


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