Dr. Leen Kawas: A Trailblazing Journey in Biotechnology Leadership

Dr. Leen Kawas, the Managing General Partner of Propel Bio Partners, has carved a remarkable path in the biotechnology industry. Her journey, which began with a childhood dream of curing cancer, has led her to become a driving force in drug development and a champion for diversity and patient involvement in clinical trials.

In a recent appearance on the Recruitomics Consulting Podcast, Dr. Kawas shared valuable insights into her approach to building effective teams. She emphasizes the importance of a growth mindset and a fresh perspective. She values candidates with a “beginner’s mindset,” approaching each problem individually and learning from everyone around them. Dr. Kawas also recognizes the significance of a friendly workplace where team members enjoy working together and have fun while executing their ideas.

As Propel Bio Partners expands, Dr. Kawas actively seeks candidates who embody these qualities. She believes that individuals just starting their careers can bring a unique and valuable perspective equal to that of seasoned professionals with decades of experience in the industry.

Dr. Kawas also strongly advocates for increased diversity in clinical trial management and patient selection. She firmly believes that a more diverse management team, including more women and minorities, can lead to more successful clinical trials and better patient recruitment. By ensuring Drugcan better understand how their products will impact a significant portion of the population.

In addition, by ensuring that the clinical trials society is a diversion to her focus on diversity, Dr. Kawas is a fierce proponent of patient involvement throughout the drug development cycle. She believes patients should play an integral role in each drug discovery and development phase rather than being invited to participate only when the development cycle is near completion. This commitment to patient involvement stems from her experience conducting patient feedback sessions to determine why certain drugs fail to incorporate patient voices to improve outcomes.

Looking ahead, Dr. Kawas has ambitious goals for the next decade. She aspires to invest in companies developing technologies to improve human health globally. Additionally, she is dedicated to providing internships for students and recent graduates from diverse backgrounds, recognizing the importance of fostering the next generation of biotechnology leaders.

Dr. Kawas’ journey inspires aspiring entrepreneurs. After obtaining her pharmacy degree in Jordan, she briefly worked as a community pharmacist before realizing that a research-focused career would allow her to make a more significant impact. 2008 she emigrated to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. Armed with her doctorate, Dr. Kawas co-founded Athira Pharma Inc. in 2014, serving as its Chief Executive Officer and leading the company through a successful initial public offering in 2020.

As the Managing General Partner of Propel Bio Partners, Dr. Kawas continues to drive innovation in the biotechnology industry by providing financial and technical support to start-up and early-stage companies. Her commitment to giving back to future entrepreneurs is a testament to the mentorship and guidance she received throughout her career.

Dr. Leen Kawas’ remarkable journey in biotechnology leadership is a shining example of one person’s impact on an industry. She is paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future in drug development and biotechnology through her dedication to diversity, patient involvement, and fostering the next generation of leaders.

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