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Leen Kawas is the co-founder and managing general partner at Propel Bio Partners. Leen is building a biotech focused fund to support life science innovations, leveraging her experience as an inventor, scientist, and entrepreneur. She came to the US from Jordan in 2008. She co-founded Athira and became CEO in 2014. She led the advancement of multiple late-stage clinical programs and took the company public in 2020 raising over $400 million. She was the first woman in 20 years in Washington State, and one of only 22 women founders in the US to take their company public. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including Life Science Entrepreneurial Achievement Award (2020), French-American Foundation Leader (2019), and GeekWire Startup CEO of the Year (2019). Leen serves on multiple boards including Inherent Biosciences and Persephone Biosciences, and she is part of the Springboard Network and is a passionate supporter of scientist entrepreneurs, in particular women. In her current position, in addition to capital, her vision is to support impactful research and next gen innovators; helping people live better healthier lives. Leen lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children - she enjoys music, good food, learning and engaging conversations.   


Dr. Kawas is a passionate supporter of scientist entrepreneurs, particularly women, providing equal opportunities and access to education and knowledge. She enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures, and cooking! 


  • Managing General Partner, Propel Bio Partners LLC
    Nov 2021 - Present
    Propel Bio Partners ( is a global venture fund that is focused on life science investments. Propel Bio provides an entire ecosystem of experts to support entrepreneurs achieve their vision.

  • Member Board Of Directors, Persephone Biosciences
    Jul 2022 - Present
    Persephone is pioneering the use of synthetic biology for microbial products that impact patient and infant health. We are building an end-to-end platform to industrialize the development of engineered cells that restore health to damaged human ecosystems.

  • Member Board of Directors, Inherent Biosciences, Inc.
    Aug 2022 - Present
    Biotechnology company pioneering epigenetic medicine for complex diseases. Inherent epigenetic platform detects dysregulation across multiple genes and related pathways to pioneer a new category of diagnostics and therapeutics that leverage the biology's inherent mechanism for gene regulation, to radically transform how we diagnose and treat complex diseases.

  • Member, Forbes Business Council
    Sep 2022 - Present

  • Advisor-Seattle, Nucleate
    Aug 2022 - Present
    Nucleate is a student-led nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of biotech leaders. We streamline company formation so that founders can focus on translating cutting-edge science.

  • Member, Chief
    Apr 2022 - Present

  • Athira Pharma
    CEO & President, Jan 2014 - Oct 2021
    Vice President of Research, Aug 2011 - Jan 2014

  • Research Associate, Washington State University
    Jan 2013 - Feb 2015

  • Staff Pharmacist, Pharmacy1, Amman Jordan
    Jun 2008 - Aug 2008

  • Clinical Pharmacist, University of Jordan Hospital
    2007 - 2008

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