Our Advisory Board

BenchSci’s Advisory Board is composed of experts in life science research and development and machine learning technology. These advisors provide us with strategic input and guidance in their respective areas of expertise.

Science advisors

Steve_Hitchcock
Steve Hitchcock
Global Head of Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals Global Head of Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Philip_Larsen
Philip Larsen
SVP and Global Head of Research at Bayer ... SVP and Global Head of Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals
Philip_Tagari
Philip Tagari
VP of Research (Therapeutic Discovery) at Amgen ... VP of Research (Therapeutic Discovery) at Amgen Inc.

Steve Hitchcock is the Global Head of Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He is responsible for the global research organization at Takeda across the three therapeutic areas of neuroscience, oncology, and GI from preclinical to clinical early proof-of-concept. Hitchcock joined Takeda as part of their acquisition of Envoy Therapeutics, where he was the Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery. Before Takeda, he served in senior leadership positions in the research organizations at both Eli Lilly and Amgen. He also served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute. Hitchcock completed a NATO postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University and holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Nottingham (U.K.).

Philip Larsen is the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals. He joined Bayer in July 2019, before which he was Chief Scientific Officer at Grünenthal. Before that, he served as Chief Scientific Officer, German Hub at Sanofi. Larsen has 27 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience focusing on diabetes and obesity, with 20 years of leading research divisions. After a few years of work at NovoNordisk and Zealand Pharma, he cofounded the Danish biotechnology company Rheoscience in 2001. In 2008, he took up a position as Chief Scientific Officer for Diabetes Research at Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, USA, before returning to Europe as Vice President for Early Clinical Development in CVM at AstraZeneca. He holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology, both from the University of Copenhagen.

Philip Tagari is Vice President of Research (Therapeutic Discovery) at Amgen Inc., the world’s largest independent biotechnology company. His global laboratories are responsible for many scientific discoveries and advancements, including the successful progression of over 30 innovative molecules into clinical development in recent years. Before joining Amgen in 1998, he was a Research Fellow at Merck Frosst (Canada) Inc., where he contributed to several eicosanoid and inflammatory biology programs. Tagari is an active member of Amgen Ventures and has participated in numerous research collaborations. He is also Board Chair for Amgen Biopharmaceutical Research and Development (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., a board member of MATWIN (Maturation & Accelerating Translation With Industry) in France, and a Director of CQDM (Consortium Quebecois sur la Decouverte du Medicament; Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery). Tagari holds a Master's in Natural Sciences from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University (UK).

Steve_Hitchcock
Steve Hitchcock
Global Head of Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Steve Hitchcock is the Global Head of Research at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He is responsible for the global research organization at Takeda across the three therapeutic areas of neuroscience, oncology, and GI from preclinical to clinical early proof-of-concept. Hitchcock joined Takeda as part of their acquisition of Envoy Therapeutics, where he was the Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery. Before Takeda, he served in senior leadership positions in the research organizations at both Eli Lilly and Amgen. He also served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute. Hitchcock completed a NATO postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University and holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Nottingham (U.K.).

Philip_Larsen
Philip Larsen
SVP and Global Head of Research at Bayer ...

Philip Larsen is the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals. He joined Bayer in July 2019, before which he was Chief Scientific Officer at Grünenthal. Before that, he served as Chief Scientific Officer, German Hub at Sanofi. Larsen has 27 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience focusing on diabetes and obesity, with 20 years of leading research divisions. After a few years of work at NovoNordisk and Zealand Pharma, he cofounded the Danish biotechnology company Rheoscience in 2001. In 2008, he took up a position as Chief Scientific Officer for Diabetes Research at Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, USA, before returning to Europe as Vice President for Early Clinical Development in CVM at AstraZeneca. He holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology, both from the University of Copenhagen.

Philip_Tagari
Philip Tagari
VP of Research (Therapeutic Discovery) at Amgen ...

Philip Tagari is Vice President of Research (Therapeutic Discovery) at Amgen Inc., the world’s largest independent biotechnology company. His global laboratories are responsible for many scientific discoveries and advancements, including the successful progression of over 30 innovative molecules into clinical development in recent years. Before joining Amgen in 1998, he was a Research Fellow at Merck Frosst (Canada) Inc., where he contributed to several eicosanoid and inflammatory biology programs. Tagari is an active member of Amgen Ventures and has participated in numerous research collaborations. He is also Board Chair for Amgen Biopharmaceutical Research and Development (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., a board member of MATWIN (Maturation & Accelerating Translation With Industry) in France, and a Director of CQDM (Consortium Quebecois sur la Decouverte du Medicament; Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery). Tagari holds a Master's in Natural Sciences from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University (UK).

Technology advisors

Milind_Kamkolkar
Milind Kamkolkar
Chief Digital & Data Officer at Cellarity Chief Digital & Data Officer at Cellarity
Richard_Zemel
Richard Zemel
Professor of Computer Science at the University ... Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto

Milind Kamkolkar is the Chief Digital & Data Officer at Cellarity. There, he leads the implementation of machine learning science in a digital biology landscape to explore new clinical hypotheses that can alter cell behaviors. Milind joined Cellarity from Sanofi, where he was the first Enterprise Chief Data Officer in the pharmaceutical industry. His focus at Sanofi was transforming the organization from a data-generation organization into a data-driven organization to empower patients and increase Sanofi’s value to customers. He drew his approach from his tenure at Novartis, where he was the Global Head of Data Science and AI in Digital Medicines. Kamkolkar has served as a board advisor and mentor to numerous startups, founders, and VC firms focused on entering the life science space through digital, data, or AI. He holds a B.Sc. from the University of Sydney and an M.S. from Thomas Jefferson University.

Richard Zemel is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, where he has been a faculty member since 2000. Before that, he was an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Arizona and a Postdoctoral Fellow at both the Salk Institute and Carnegie Mellon University. His research contributions include foundational work on systems that learn useful representations of data without any supervision, methods for learning to rank and recommend items, and machine learning systems for automatic captioning and answering questions regarding images. Zemel holds B.Sc. degrees in history and science from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Toronto. He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and serves on the Executive Board of the Neural Information Processing Society, which organizes the premier international machine learning conference.

Milind_Kamkolkar
Milind Kamkolkar
Chief Digital & Data Officer at Cellarity

Milind Kamkolkar is the Chief Digital & Data Officer at Cellarity. There, he leads the implementation of machine learning science in a digital biology landscape to explore new clinical hypotheses that can alter cell behaviors. Milind joined Cellarity from Sanofi, where he was the first Enterprise Chief Data Officer in the pharmaceutical industry. His focus at Sanofi was transforming the organization from a data-generation organization into a data-driven organization to empower patients and increase Sanofi’s value to customers. He drew his approach from his tenure at Novartis, where he was the Global Head of Data Science and AI in Digital Medicines. Kamkolkar has served as a board advisor and mentor to numerous startups, founders, and VC firms focused on entering the life science space through digital, data, or AI. He holds a B.Sc. from the University of Sydney and an M.S. from Thomas Jefferson University.

Richard_Zemel
Richard Zemel
Professor of Computer Science at the University ...

Richard Zemel is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, where he has been a faculty member since 2000. Before that, he was an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Arizona and a Postdoctoral Fellow at both the Salk Institute and Carnegie Mellon University. His research contributions include foundational work on systems that learn useful representations of data without any supervision, methods for learning to rank and recommend items, and machine learning systems for automatic captioning and answering questions regarding images. Zemel holds B.Sc. degrees in history and science from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Toronto. He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and serves on the Executive Board of the Neural Information Processing Society, which organizes the premier international machine learning conference.

At BenchSci, we value and seek diverse opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds. We acknowledge that we still have work to do in creating a more inclusive and representative advisory board. A gender gap in STEM fields exists, which we seek to help change by investing in the development of diverse STEM talent through our BenchSci Forward platform for change.