Please Click here to create a profile and access the presentation material for Ancora’s Information Session on the Exploratory Biologics Initiative held earlier this year.


About Us

On April 6, 2018, Vanderbilt University and Deerfield Management announced the launch of Ancora Innovation, a collaboration focused on the union of Vanderbilt’s innovative life science discovery efforts and Deerfield’s commitment to accelerating state-of-the-art drug development. Deerfield will fund Ancora Innovation with up to $65 million to pursue novel therapeutics and will provide additional capital to fund successful start-up companies that spin out of Ancora.

Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy. For more information, please visit

Vanderbilt University researchers are at the forefront of discovery, innovation, scholarship, and creative expression. Our mission is to promote Vanderbilt’s distinctive research culture, which aspires to improve the human condition.



Joint Steering Committee

Kenneth Holroyd, M.D., MBA

Ken is Vice President for Technology Transfer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Medical Director for the Vanderbilt University Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine. Ken has served as the Vanderbilt representative on the Board of Directors for Cumberland Emerging Technologies (a division of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals), Human Vaccines Project, Informatics Corporation of America, DigiChart, Acuitec, Friends in Global
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Health, and the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation. Ken serves as medical lead for the Vanderbilt Accelerating Drug Discovery and Repurposing Incubator. Before joining Vanderbilt University in 2005, Ken was COO with former NASDAQ company Genaera Pharmaceuticals. Since returning to academia, he continues a part time clinical practice in anesthesiology, and has taught courses on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries at Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management MBA program. Ken received his medical and research training at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health, with certifications in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, and anesthesiology.
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Michael Villalobos, Ph.D

Mike joined Vanderbilt University in September 2011 to head up the Biotech Licensing Team and is responsible for commercializing therapeutic, medical device and diagnostic technologies through corporate partnerships. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, he managed the commercialization of technologies for The Cleveland Clinic and Purdue University. Mike is a seasoned licensing professional with over 15 years of experience bringing early-stage life science and medical device technologies to the
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commercial markets through licensing and co-development partnerships. Prior to his career in licensing, Mike was a Senior Process Scientist at Abbott Laboratories where he oversaw the manufacturing of diagnostic assays for human blood borne pathogens, namely Hepatitis B and C. Mike has a strong life sciences background, which includes a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Illinois -Urbana and a doctorate in Molecular Biology from Loyola University Chicago. He is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Licensing Executives Society (LES).
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Gary Sulikowski, Ph.D.

Gary is the Stevenson Professor of Chemistry at the Vanderbilt University Department of Chemistry, the Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, and the co-PI of the Vanderbilt Center for Cancer Drug Discovery (VCCDD). His current research program continues to encompass the study of complex natural products with an added emphasis on the biology associated with select natural products and synthetic small molecules. He is currently investigating the development of small molecule
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modulators of GIRK (G-protein Inward Rectifying Potassium) ion channels, small molecule regulators of circadian rhythms, small molecule regulators of bacterial two-component systems and synthesis/study of novel fluorescent and affinity probes. As co-PI of the VCCDD, Gary has worked within team science drug discovery projects with a variety of centers including UCSF, SRI international and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (part of the NIH). He has personally trained and graduated over 25 Ph.D. and 10 M.S. graduate students and has also mentored 16 postdoctoral researchers and over 50 undergraduate researchers over his 25-year academic career. Gary received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania under the mentorship of Amos B. Smith, III and then pursued postdoctoral studies at Yale University under the sponsorship of Samuel J. Danishefsky with funding from an American Cancer Society research fellowship.
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William Slattery

William Slattery is a Partner on the Therapeutics team and joined the Firm in 2000. Prior to Deerfield, Mr. Slattery was a senior healthcare analyst for 10 years at Amerindo Investment Advisors, where he oversaw biotechnology investments. He has held various positions in research
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including those at National Medical Enterprises, Johnson & Johnson, and HMSS. Mr. Slattery is the Chairman of Gilda’s Club New York City, a non-profit organization supporting cancer patients and their families. He holds an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from State University of New York at Albany and completed coursework in Immunology at the Graduate School-New Brunswick, Rutgers University.
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Jana Jensen, PhD, MBA

Jana Jensen, Ph.D., is the Chief Operating Officer, Deerfield Discovery and Development, and joined the Firm in 2019. Prior to Deerfield, Dr. Jensen was Vice President and Head of Business Operations at Covance. Before Covance, Dr. Jensen spent almost 11 years at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she was Head of Development Business Operations and R&D
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Collaboration, and prior to that, she was Director of Vendor and Outsourcing Management and Associate Director of Project Planning and Management. Dr. Jensen spent six years at Pfizer as a research scientist and began her career as a chemist at Merck. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University.
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Scientific Collaboration Director

Margaret Read Ph.D.

Margaret is the Alliance Manager for Ancora Innovation. Prior to joining Ancora Innovation, she was an independent consultant in the oncology sector for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Margaret previously served as vice president of Portfolio and Product Development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Infinity, she was a director at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where she led Cell and Molecular Oncology and was the discovery leader on the VelcadeTM product development team.
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She started her career in drug discovery at ProScript as a senior scientist and leader of the Cell Cycle team. Before joining industry, Margaret was an instructor and research fellow at Harvard Medical School. Margaret brings extensive experience in drug discovery and development to Ancora Innovation, including filing IND’s, leading cross-functional project teams through clinical proof-of-concept studies, and bringing a first-in-class drug to market. She holds a bachelor’s degree in cell biology from University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. in pathology from Vanderbilt University.
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News & Events


Deerfield Management and Vanderbilt University announce the launch of Ancora Innovation


Deerfield Vanderbilt Leadership Summit

Ancora Presents: Accelerating Biomedical Commercialization: Rare Genetic Diseases

Therapeutic Antibody Discovery & Development Seminar

Investigator RFP Information Session

VICB Annual Symposium


Proposal Submission


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Investment Evaluation

How to Apply

For more information on proposal submissions, please reach out to the Ancora Innovation Alliance Manager Margaret Read at

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