Dynamic Deal Structures for Ever-Changing Environments      

Join us on Thursday, December 10th to learn more about navigating pandemic obstacles and common dealmaking challenges using creative deal structures from a panel of female leaders in the Life Sciences. Hear from experts with vast experiences across capital fundraising, venture investment, M&A, licensing agreements, research collaborations, and academic partnerships while networking with other women in the Biotech and Pharma industry. This virtual event, hosted by The Deal Mak(her)s, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST), will consist of a panel discussion followed by breakout groups with each of the panelists and a festive networking activity. We hope you can join us!


  • Marian Nakada, VP Venture Investments for Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC
  • Lizabeth Leveille, Associate Vice President, Head, BD&L Boston Innovation Hub, Merck Research Laboratories
  • Vivian Berlin, Managing Director, Strategic Partnerships at Harvard Office of Technology Development
  • Maude Tessier, Chief Business Officer of Ikena Oncology
  • Elena Diez Cecilia, Senior Director External Innovation DPDS at Janssen R&D (Moderator)


Date and Time:  
December 10, 2020
5:30 - 7:30 PM

5:30-5:40pm: Welcome
5:40-6:40pm: Panel Discussion
6:40-7:10pm: Breakout rooms with panelists (2 rotations)
7:10-7:30pm: Festive Networking 



Register Here


Download the Event Flyer


Panelist Bios  

Marian Nakada, VP Venture Investments for Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, has almost 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, starting her career at the laboratory bench at Centocor and moving to a research leadership role before Centocor’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 1999.  She transitioned to Janssen Business Development where she executed deals to support the expansion of the Biologics portfolio.  She joined JJDC, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate venture group in 2013.   She is passionate about leveraging Johnson & Johnson’s capabilities to help her portfolio companies succeed.  Marian has a B.A. in Biology from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is currently on the Boards of Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Twenty-eight Seven Therapeutics, Ribon Therapeutics as well as the New England Venture Capital Association where she is working to champion change as an active contributor to its Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Lizabeth Leveille, MS, MBA, is Associate Vice President, Head, BD&L Boston Innovation Hub, Merck Research Laboratories. Liz brings over 18 years industry experience and over the past 15 years has focused her work in business development at large pharmaceutical companies.  She is currently the Head of the Merck Boston Innovation Hub, which is a Business Development & Licensing team focused on early-stage therapeutics (prior to human proof-of-concept) as well as accessing innovative research and technologies through collaboration, licensing, or M&A in the academic, pharma, and biotech community.  Previous to Merck, she spent nine years at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in the Strategic Alliances department.  During her time at NIBR, her roles included search and evaluation activities as well as leading the negotiation of licensing, collaboration, and M&A transactions including Novartis’ acquisition of CoStim Pharmaceuticals and licensing deals with Servier, Peptidream, among others. Liz also has industry experience in scientific roles, given her time at companies such as AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Akceli, Millennium, and Genzyme.  Liz has a Masters degree in Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.

Vivian Berlin, PhD, Managing Director, Strategic Partnerships at Harvard Office of Technology Development. Vivian has been part of OTD’s business development team since 2008. During her tenure at OTD, Vivian has established numerous major research alliances between the university and industry partners, which have provided more than $170M in research funding to Harvard. She has spearheaded the commercialization of groundbreaking life-science technologies developed at Harvard, notably through licenses to startups focused on developing next-generation therapeutics (e.g. Semma, Magenta, Editas, Beam, Sana, Fog) that have collectively raised $1.6B in venture financing and greater than $1B from IPOs and M&A. Prior to joining Harvard, Vivian held positions in research management and business development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Mitotix, and GPC Biotech. She led multiple R&D programs, advanced programs from discovery to late pre-clinical development, and helped to establish proprietary positions in several therapeutic areas. She has also been a strategic consultant to several life-science companies and investor groups. Vivian holds an M.S. from the Harvard School of Public Health and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Dr. Maude Tessier is currently Chief Business Officer of Ikena Oncology. Maude brings 15 years of business development, licensing and alliance management experience in pharma, biotech and academia. Most recently, she served as Executive Director, Business Development & Licensing at Merck & Co, leading oncology partnering in the Boston Innovation Hub. Prior to joining Merck, Maude was Assistant Director, Business Development and Strategic Initiatives in the Technology and Innovation Development Office at Boston Children’s Hospital. In this role, she forged discovery alliances with industry partners and also built and managed the Marketing & Communications team. Maude began her career at Xanthus Pharmaceuticals, a small venture-backed oncology biotech company in Cambridge, Mass., where she had key roles in Business Development and Program Management of a Phase 3 asset leading to its eventual FDA approval. Maude is a MassConnect mentor at MassBio and a Board Member for the Brown University Biomedical Innnovation Fund. She holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University and a Ph.D. from the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

Elena Diez Cecilia, PhD. MBA, is currently Senior Director of External Innovation within Discovery, Product Development & Supply (DPDS) at Janssen R&D and part of the J&J Innovation East North America team. She is responsible for scouting and evaluation of external opportunities across all synthetic drug modalities and disease areas. Elena is a passionate life science innovation specialist with extensive experience in drug development. Previously, she served as Director of Business Development and R&D Strategy for A2A Pharmaceuticals, consulted for tier-1 pharma companies and served as a venture advisor for two VC firms on the West Coast, where she performed due diligences of biotech therapeutic and platform companies. She also serves as an expert evaluator for the European Commission Horizon 2020 grants. Additionally, she is a co-founder of the DealMak(HER)s organization to empower women in deal-making capacities in the Life Sciences. Elena obtained her Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin in medicinal chemistry followed by research positions at University of Toronto and San Francisco State University, researching oncology and neurological diseases drug discovery. She also completed an MBA from EAE Business School.