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New executive vice chancellor hired to lead business development initiatives

Brendan O’Leary, PhD, an accomplished scientist and venture capitalist specializing in the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic sectors, will join UMass Medical School as an executive vice chancellor responsible for promoting innovation and business development, announced Chancellor Michael F. Collins. Dr. O’Leary joins UMMS from Prism Venture Management, where he served as a general partner in charge of the life sciences group and was responsible for working with his partners to manage large-scale investments, fundraising and investor relations. He will start Dec. 3.

“This newly created position, which is aligned with the UMass system’s life sciences strategic direction, reflects our institutional emphasis on developing a comprehensive and multi-faceted business strategy that promotes innovation, supports entrepreneurship, optimizes the medical school’s research portfolio and leverages the wide array of expertise and capabilities that exists throughout our academic community,” said Chancellor Collins.

As an integral member of the senior leadership team, O’Leary will engage with key campus stakeholders to diversify and expand business ventures, enlarge commercialization efforts, enhance entrepreneurial activities and drive new strategic partnerships. This new role also includes oversight of the Office of Technology Management, where O’Leary will be responsible for structuring, negotiating and implementing business transactions, as well as for protecting and fully leveraging the institution’s intellectual property portfolio.

“Brendan’s investment track record, which ranks him within the top tier of all U.S. life sciences venture capitalists, makes him an ideal choice to take on this new and important role,” Collins said. “During the past decade, he has analyzed thousands of life sciences companies across the therapeutic spectrum, and actively mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs.”

Prior to becoming an investor, O’Leary held numerous operating roles at IGEN International, a medical diagnostics company that was acquired by Roche and Meso Scale Discovery, a high-throughput drug discovery spinout. He earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began his career as a productive and highly regarded scientist with numerous publications, inventions and commercialized products to his name.

Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost, and dean of the School of Medicine, chaired the executive vice chancellor for business development search committee.

“Our medical school will benefit from Brendan’s leadership, business acumen, scientific knowledge and collaborative disposition,” Collins said. “He will bring to this position and our institution a wealth of experience and expertise at the convergence of scientific research and business innovation. As a result, Brendan will serve as a great resource for our academic community, particularly faculty members and students interested in the commercialization process.”