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Tracy Lawhon | Athena Foundation Board Member

Strategic Development and Operations Consultant

Ms. Lawhon is an executive entrepreneur accomplished in driving drug development in both large pharmaceutical companies and the biotech environment.  During her 33 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Ms. Lawhon has significantly contributed to the development, registration and commercialization of key oncology products including Tasigna®, Temodar®, and Gemzar®.

In 2007, Ms. Lawhon co-founded Tragara Pharmaceuticals (later renamed Adastra), a virtual biotech company focused on improving patients’ lives through development of oncology/hematology drugs.  In her role as Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Lawhon drove strategic direction and operational excellence advancing two assets from IND-enabling studies through Phase 2 clinical studies. She was a key member of the partnering/ fund-raising team with primary focus on presenting TG02 development plan and rationale to bankers and investors resulting in over $80M of venture funding raised from 2007-2018.

Ms. Lawhon joined Tragara from Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals where she was Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Development Operations.  She supported the successful sale of the company and transitioned the active Phase 3 program to Pharmion. Previously, she was Executive Director, Project Management at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In that role, she led the development, registration and commercialization strategy for Tasigna, ranked 2nd priority program within Novartis, from first-in-man through global regulatory submission. Under her leadership, development from FIM to first submission was completed in 29 months. This was a new milestone for a NCE development timeline and was used as a benchmark for future accelerated programs within Novartis. Prior to that, she worked with Schering-Plough Research Institute, Warner Lambert Company and Eli Lilly and Company. Ms. Lawhon has a B.S. in microbiology from Indiana University and a Jurisprudence Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. She is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association.

Ms. Lawhon has been a long-standing mentor and advocate for women in STEM.  She joined Athena San Diego in 2007 and has co-chaired Athena’s 1:1 mentoring program and led FEW, Athena’s peer mentoring program.  She served as a member of the Board of Directors for 6 years during which she co-chaired Athena’s Pinnacle Event for 2 years.  For eight years, Ms. Lawhon was a steering committee member of BE WiSE, (Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering) an organization that provides middle and high school women with hands-on educational opportunities in STEM.  Additionally, Ms. Lawhon is currently a member of the Board of Directors of YWCA of San Diego whose mission is to empower individuals and families to break the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness and achieve self-sufficiency.

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