Jennifer Leeds is Executive Director and Head of West Coast Search and Evaluation, Business Development and Licensing, for the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). She is responsible for identifying new science and technology from the western United States for potential partnering with Novartis.

Before assuming her current role, Jennifer Leeds was Head of Antibacterial Discovery in the infectious diseases area of NIBR. She was responsible for the strategy and execution of the new antibacterial portfolio from target discovery through pre-clinical validation, and the clinical microbiology strategy and resources in clinical development. Jennifer co-invented and co-led the international discovery project team for the novel antibacterial LFF571, which demonstrated safety and efficacy in humans for the treatment of C. difficile infection. In June 2017, the NIBR antibacterial discovery group disclosed the preclinical discovery programme for LYS228, a novel antibacterial in phase II, which is being developed to treat infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. In 2018, Novartis announced their exit from antibacterial R&D and Jennifer, in partnership with the NIBR BD&L team, successfully out-licensed LYS228, along with two other preclinical antibacterial programs, to Boston Pharmaceuticals.

Jennifer joined Novartis in 2003 as a research investigator, progressing to project team leader before assuming the leadership role for the Antibacterial Discovery Unit in 2010. Before joining Novartis, Jennifer was a senior scientist in the new technologies group at Dyax Corp.

Jennifer represented Novartis in drafting and reviewing recommendations for vehicles to incentivize antimicrobial R&D and was a member of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research Working Group.

She served on strategic teams for business development and licensing in the antimicrobial and respiratory disease areas and, in her new role, leads in-licensing and out-licensing teams in multiple therapeutic areas. She has chaired several conferences and symposia on antimicrobial R&D and AMR.

Jennifer has published 37 primary research articles and five review articles, and is the author of four book chapters. She is also inventor on three issued patents. Jennifer is an editorial board member of ACS Infectious Diseases and is a member of the Finance Committee of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

Jennifer is an expert in bacterial genetics and physiology, antibacterial mechanisms of action and resistance, drug discovery, clinical microbiology, clinical development, and business development.

Jennifer was a postdoctoral fellow in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, where she trained in the laboratory of Dr Jonathan Beckwith. She received her BSc degree in microbiology from Cornell University, and her PhD in medical microbiology and immunology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US.

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