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San Diego Based Business Development Executive Allison Formal appointed Director of Pitt’s Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program

PITTSBURGH (March 6, 2018) … After an extensive national search, the Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program at the University of Pittsburgh (Coulter@Pitt), has named Allison Formal, MBA as the Director of the Coulter Program in the Swanson School of Engineering.  Ms. Formal succeeds Max A. Fedor, MBA who moved within the University as the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh CREATES program at the Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh.

Allison has a proven talent for identifying innovation. From concept through execution, she has produced thoughtful plans to assess business opportunities and assist researchers in addressing challenges in translational technology and development. “Allison’s business development experience will be very helpful to lead Coulter@Pitt through its next phase of growth and sustainability for the program at Pitt,” stated Sanjeev G. Shroff, PhD, the principal investigator of the Coulter@Pitt Program and Distinguished Professor and Gerald McGinnis Chair of Bioengineering at Pitt.

Allison earned her MBA in finance and marketing from Marymount University. She started her professional career at Pfizer and has over 30 years of industry experience creating business alliances to advance biomedical innovations toward commercialization. She was most recently an Entrepreneur in Residence at UCLA with the Technology Development Group (the equivalent of Pitt’s Innovation Institute) and a consultant for Tollbridge Therapeutics founded by Nobel Laureate Bruce Beutler and the Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Research Foundation (MPNRF) where she now serves on the Board of Directors. Allison has been and remains focused on strategic planning and implementation for successful proof of concept studies.

As the VP of Research Business Development at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Allison played a key role building the successful venture philanthropy arm, the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP). She created more than 60 research and development partnerships, investing in biopharmaceutical companies and academic researchers to develop therapies and diagnostics aimed at changing the standard of care for blood cancers.

Allison has also held several leadership roles in biopharmaceutical companies including: VP, Business Development, MediQuest; VP, Business Development, Neuralstem; Director, International Division of Watson Pharmaceutical (now Allergan); and Director, Business Development, Humanitarian Aid Division of Schein-Bayer Pharmaceutical.

Another unique set of qualifications brought by Allison include the roles she has played as an oversight committee member for the Translational Medicine and Commercialization Program at the University of Michigan Medical School (MTRAC, a program in the state of Michigan modeled on the Coulter process), a member of the grant review committee funding Bio-Therapeutic innovations at Oregon Health & Sciences University, and working with the commercialization committee at Washington State University.

Alison said, “The University of Pittsburgh has a rich history of outstanding innovation, and I am very excited to be a part of its future, playing a role that will enable the biomedical engineering excellence to further develop and thrive. Pitt has played a leading role in making the Pittsburgh area a growing tech and innovation hub, and the Coulter model has significantly enhanced the entrepreneurial spirit. I am so pleased to be part of this vibrant community.”

About the Coulter Program

The Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program is a University based accelerator, designed to help faculty researchers translate their innovations to commercialization. By way of a competitive grant program, training processes, and collaborative services, our goal is to de-risk University technology and identify viable commercial pathways through the complex healthcare industry landscape. Further, we engage extensively with business partners, mentors and clinical experts to bring industry perspectives to translational research. In 6 years, the Coulter Program has attracted almost 200 applications, funded 31 projects leading to eight license agreements, four optioned technologies and eight start-up companies.

About the Department of Bioengineering at the Swanson School of Engineering

Bioengineering is the application of engineering principles to analyze native biological systems and to design and manufacture tools, structures, and processes for solving problems in the life sciences. Successful patient-focused and commercialization-oriented collaborations between engineers and physicians who traditionally employ differing methodologies are critical to the burgeoning field and to regional economic development. Pitt's Department of Bioengineering, established in 1998 as part of the Swanson School of Engineering and ranked as one of the nation's top bioengineering programs, is credited for developing many major biomedical technologies: cardiac-assist device for infants, a blood-treatment tool that can free patients from ventilator dependence, materials that help regenerate various tissues and organs, to name a few.


Contact: Leah Russell