Arizona Bioscience Week celebrates the people and companies that are making Arizona a top bioscience and healthcare state.
In 2022, we celebrated success at the AZBio Awards, connected innovators and investors at the White Hat Life Science Investor Conference and listened to the stories of the patients we serve at Voice of the Patient.
Congratulations to our 2022 AZBio Awards Honorees
For his pioneering work in the field of mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular and phenotypic levels, Michael Lynch, PhD was honored with the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement.
For nearly 15 years, Caris Life Sciences® (Caris) has been pioneering the field of precision medicine in oncology by testing, sequencing and analyzing cancer tumors at the molecular level in order to validate diagnoses and treatment options for physicians and patients. Caris Life Sciences is the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year,
For her dedication to finding a cure, Catherine Ivy was honored as the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year.
Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton was honored as Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year for her work to deliver cures for one of this century’s greatest health challenges: Alzheimer’s disease.
Sit down with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, 2022 AZBio Public Service Honoree, and bring up the subject of biosciences, you will experience a burst of energy and insight about the innovation in healthcare taking place across Phoenix, including the growth of businesses creating jobs, and a personal passion that, “the path for a cure for cancer will run through Phoenix.”
Rachna Nath is developing future innovators as a teacher at the Arizona College Prep High School within Chandler Public School District. She was honored as the 2022 Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year.
Patients and their care teams call on our health innovators to address areas of care where new and better solutions are needed. Anuncia Medical was honored as a 2022 Fast Lane Company for the progress they are making in answering the call from people with hydrocephalus and growing their team to deliver on solutions.
Our physicians need more effective medicines to help patients who are struggling for breath due to ARDS. Aqualung Therapeutics was honored with a 2022 AZBio Fast Lane Award for their work to develop new health solutions that can help patients and their care teams when every breath matters.
Castle Biosciences was honored with a 2022 AZBio Fast Lane Award for its substantial growth and success over the past 18 months. Castle’s ongoing efforts are improving patient care and transforming disease management through innovative tests for skin cancers, uveal melanoma, Barrett’s esophagus and mental health conditions.
Investors & Innovators Share Insights at White Hat
Listening to Patient Voices
AZBio President & CEO, Joan Koerber-Walker, kicks off Voice of the Patient with Gabrielle Finley-Hazle of Dignity Health.
Rob Survick is a father of 2 kids and a loving husband to his wife, Missy. Additionally, he coaches men’s gymnastics and was coaching at the Youth Olympics when he realized he was experiencing loss of strength in his left arm. Today he is living with ALS and while there isn’t currently a cure for ALS, he is living life and optimistic he will get access to some promising treatments currently being evaluated.
Anni Foster is a mom and a cancer survivor. Foster has served as the General Counsel for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey since 2018 and has served in his administration since he assumed office in 2015. She has also served her community through organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and her church. A native east coaster, Foster has made Arizona her home where she enjoys spending time with her sons and dog outdoors.
Andrea Tyler Evans is the Owner/Publisher of Frontdoors Media, the home of Frontdoors Magazine and The Red Book. Frontdoors Media is a print and digital publication company dedicated to celebrating the people and groups who give generously and work to build the future of our community. Prior to acquiring Frontdoors in 2017, Andrea was a strategic event planning consultant for 15 years. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership Institute and proud ASU alumni. Andrea volunteers with a number of Valley nonprofit organizations that help women, children and the arts. She is married to Tom Evans and mom to Thomas, Ellie and their rescue kitties, Sally and Shelly. Andrea is also a three-time survivor of esthesioneuroblastoma, a rare skull-based cancer.
Lena Spotleson is a native of Phoenix, Arizona. She was born and raised in central Phoenix and has been a high school basketball coach for 19 years. At the young age of 26, Lena was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was given a 25% chance of survival. She currently works for the American Cancer Society as the Director of Corporate Relations. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Education. Lena has been married for over 16 years and has no children. Her passions include volunteering for various cancer organizations and loves sports and traveling.
Jack Kavanagh & Barbara Kavanagh were just days away from their wedding, in May of 1991, when the couple got a frightening diagnosis. Jack has multiple myeloma, a rare and often misdiagnosed blood cancer of the bone marrow. Over their shared journey, with Jack as patient and Barbara as caregiver, they have worked together to meet life’s challenges to help others with their cancer journeys. In 2012, Barbara founded the Arizona Myeloma Network (AZMN) which works to support cancer patients and their families. Today this dynamic duo is on a mission to educate patients and their caregivers on the disease, and close the gap between ‘what they know’ and ‘what they should know’.
Learn about chronic disease from the patient perspective in this discussion with David Larwood (Moderator), Matt Nelson, and Dylan Peay. David Larwood was infected with the polio virus as a young boy but did not let the long-term effects of his illness keep him from pursuing his passions. Today, David is a participant in a study of patients experiencing the long-term effects of COVID-19. David is the CEO and Founder of Valley Fever Solutions, a company dedicated to developing new medicines to treat a disease that impacts the lives of too many Arizonans.. He is an experienced business executive with 19 years experience as VP or CEO. Matt Nelson is first and foremost a father to two wonderful daughters and a husband to a fantastically talented wife. Throughout his career Matt has held roles in the support of science, mostly in the neuroscience field and as luck would have it, has worked at Barrow Neurological Institute at St Josephs Hospital and Medical Center as a research operation manager for last 12 years. In February of 2016, Matt came home with facial numbness and didn’t think much of it. After a visit to urgent care, the ER a neurologist and finally an MRI, he was diagnosed with relapse remitting MS. Matt has been on disease modifying therapy ever since. This therapy is designed to inhibit the immune cells that are thought to target the neuronal myelin, from leaving the lymphatic system. Dylan Peay starts his story like this... "I had a clean bill of health until March of 2021. I awoke surrounded by paramedics and was informed that I had a seizure. I was released from the hospital but returned after I had another seizure that day. EEGs were normal and MRI showed nothing of major concern. Spinal tap results later revealed signs of MS and I was diagnosed and placed on infusion treatments although seizures were my only presenting symptom. I was later diagnosed with epilepsy after more seizures and have been on the journey to find the treatment combination to remain seizure-free."
AZBio President & CEO Joan Koerber-Walker joins the co-chairs of the Arizona Bioscience & Healthcare Caucus to discuss the importance of advocacy in shaping policy that benefits patients. Representative Daniel Hernandez, Jr. is a native Arizonan, lifelong Democrat, and Member of the Arizona State Legislature representing South Tucson, Sahuarita, Green Valley and Santa Cruz County. He currently serves on the Public Safety and State & International Affairs Committees and is the Co-Founder of the LGBT Caucus and founding co-chair of the Arizona Legislative Bioscience & Healthcare Caucus. In 2011, while working in the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Hernandez took actions on January 8th with which he is credited with saving her life. That day and the aftermath drove him to advocate for Gun Violence Prevention at the state and national level, which he does to this day. He continues to fight for education funding, protections for marginalized communities, access to quality and affordable healthcare and an economy that works for all Arizonans. Representative Justin Wilmeth works to expand opportunity and continue Arizona’s legacy of innovation and prosperity. Justin is proud to live in the Deer Valley area, a proud transplant who chose to make Arizona home because of its freedom and opportunity and works to protect these vital concepts at the State Legislature. Justin serves as co-chair of the Arizona Legislative Bioscience & Healthcare Caucus.