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Propel Bio Partners Commences Operations

Co-founded by Richard Kayne of Kayne Anderson and biotech executive, Dr. Leen Kawas, Propel will support entrepreneurs advancing groundbreaking life science technologies and therapies that improve human health

LOS ANGELES, March 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Propel Bio Partners LP ("Propel" or "the Firm") today announced the commencement of its business operations, which will involve supporting life science companies focused on changing standard of care and improving quality of life.

Propel, an equity investment firm, which was co-founded by investment veteran, Richard Kayne, and biotech entrepreneur, Leen Kawas, PhD, will target and support companies at various stages across the life science space. The Firm's goal is to help founders and management teams fulfill the urgent mission to advance human health with disruptive therapies and technologies.

Kayne, founder and co-chair of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, brings significant business experience to Propel. Kawas, co-founder and former CEO of Athira Pharma, is an experienced biotech executive and entrepreneur with significant expertise in drug discovery, operations, clinical trial methodologies, regulatory frameworks and financing.

"I am proud to be partnering with Dr. Leen Kawas in this important new venture," said Richard Kayne, Propel General Partner. "Leen is a visionary entrepreneur with a unique blend of drive, intelligence and demonstrated business acumen. In six short years, she built a company from the ground up, taking it through the early stages of drug development, through its public offering and into the final stages of developing its potentially game-changing therapy. Under Leen's leadership, I believe Propel is uniquely positioned to identify excellent opportunities to assist entrepreneurs along the path to success."

"I am looking forward to providing promising and passionate entrepreneurs the same opportunity that Ric Kayne and others gave to me when I started Athira," said Dr. Leen Kawas, Propel Managing General Partner. "Propel brings real experience in supporting founders and management teams. The companies we support can access our team's deep expertise to help them navigate the challenges of bringing life-saving technologies to market. We look forward to making a lasting impact and helping individuals live better and healthier lives."

Kayne and Kawas are joined by Senior Associate, Dasom (Christine) Yoo, PhD, who brings scientific expertise in stem cell regenerative therapies. Yoo comes to Propel from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she served as Business Development Manager and was in charge of helping advance research programs into clinical development, connecting innovations with commercial partners.

Building a Collaborative Ecosystem Dedicated to Improving Human Health

Among its resources, the Firm offers the companies it supports access to an established ecosystem of medical experts, operational advisors and best-in-class service providers that, together, cover the critical aspects of the development process across all stages of corporate growth, with a focus on efficiency and quality.

Propel's Advisory Board will assist the Firm in evaluating opportunities and will be accessible to the companies it supports. Its members include:

  • Carol Criner, Vice President of Strategic Accounts at HCL Technologies, a global technology company with operations in 52 countries. Criner is a strategy and operations expert with 20-plus years' experience as a technology sector executive and entrepreneur. She will support Propel in the digital healthcare sector.

  • Ronald Farkas, MD, PhD, a 10-plus year FDA veteran, having served as Clinical Team Leader in the Neurology Division. Farkas is a regulatory and clinical research expert with experience in investigational new drug applications (IND) and new drug applications (NDA).

  • Mike Gibbs, former Global Head of Neuroscience, Infection & GI Emerging Brands at AstraZeneca. Gibbs is a marketing expert and a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive with deep experience in drug commercialization.

  • Suzanne Hendrix, PhD, CEO of Pentara Corporation, a boutique vendor specializing in statistics and data management in Alzheimer's disease and other CNS disorders. Hendrix is a renowned biostatistics and clinical trial design expert in the biopharmaceutical industry.

  • Ronald Lee Krall, MD, former Chief Medical Officer of GlaxoSmithKline and current Director at the NIH Foundation. Krall is a clinical development and drug safety expert, and a seasoned pharmaceutical executive who has overseen the successful development of over 25 medicines.

  • Erik D. Laursen, MS, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology executive with 20-plus years' experience, and expertise in drug development and operations.

  • Sylvia S. McBrinn, former Global VP of Marketing at Pfizer. McBrinn is a commercialization and operations expert with 30-plus years of experience in executive, operational and commercial leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry.

  • Richard Sudek, PhD, EMBA, a seasoned tech entrepreneur with over 20 years' experience as an angel investor. Sudek has extensive experience in leadership and management development and early-stage fund creation, as well as drug commercialization, strategy and operations. He will support Propel in the Artificial Intelligence sector.

Additional information on Propel can be found at:

About Propel Bio Partners Propel Bio Partners LP is a Los Angeles- and Seattle-based global equity investment firm focused on helping entrepreneurial life science companies advance groundbreaking technologies and therapies that improve human health. In addition to a financial commitment, the Firm provides its portfolio companies access to its ecosystem of medical experts, operational advisors and best-in-class service providers. For more information about Propel, visit

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