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Virginia Bio Welcomes New Members to its Board of Directors

Monday, December 19, 2016  
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RICHMOND, Va., December 19, 2016- Virginia Bio, the premier statewide non-profit association representing the life science industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia, has elected five new members to their Board of Directors for a term of three years. The election took place on December 8, 2016 at the Virginia Bio Annual Membership meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

The newly elected directors are: Rony Thomas, President & CEO, LifeNet Health; Thomas Frantz, Chairman Emeritus, Williams Mullen; Julie Idelkope, Vice President, US Government Relations, Pfizer; Amrie Grammer, COO & CSO, Ampel BioSolutions;  Ross Dunlap, President & CEO, Ceres Nanosciences; and Mickey Kim, Director, Biotech Partnering & Strategy, MedImmune.


“I’m pleased to join the VA Bio board and am excited to bring my experience as a biotech entrepreneur to help drive the growth and success of Virginia’s life sciences industry”  said new board member, Ross Dunlap.

Members also elected Brian Pollok, CEO, Neoantigenics, Cynthia Rancourt, CEO, Polymer Solutions and Carl Sahi, CEO, Engineered Biopharmaceuticals, Inc to serve a second three-year term on the Board of Directors.


Chairman of the board, Crystal Icenhour said "I am looking forward to working with our new board members. They each bring a unique set of skills that will further enrich our board".

New Board Member Backgrounds


Rony Thomas serves as the President and CEO of LifeNet Health. LifeNet Health Inc., based in Virginia Beach, is one of the world’s largest Life Sciences not-for-profit organizations specializing in organ, tissue and cell procurement and the utilization of tissue for bio-medical applications in a variety of surgical disciplines. Prior to joining LifeNet Health, Mr. Thomas served as CEO and held other executive leadership positions at USA Instruments, a General Electric company. Mr. Thomas has over 20 years of experience in the medical device and Tissue Engineering industries, working in entrepreneurial and major corporate settings.




Thomas Frantz currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board for Williams Mullen. Drawing on his tax background, he also maintains a robust corporate legal practice as a Partner representing multi-national corporations, handling major mergers and acquisitions, and advising corporations on a variety of legal matters. Tom previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the firm from 2010 to 2015. Before joining the firm, Tom was an original principal with Clark & Stant, which merged with Williams Mullen in 1999. He became General Counsel to Tidewater Health Care, Inc., the parent company of Virginia Beach General Hospital, in 1989. He currently serves as Outside Corporate Counsel to Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc., a NYSE REIT. Along with Rony Thomas he Co-chaired the Mayor of Virginia Beach’s Bioscience Task Force, which was comprised of twenty university, healthcare and bioscience executives from Charlottesville to the Ocean front, which developed a regional bioscience plan from UVA to the Oceanfront, with multiple hubs.



Julie Idelkope is the Vice President for US State Government Relations for Pfizer Inc.  She has over 20 years of experience in corporate government affairs and as a state and local public official. Julie developed and directed the government affairs strategy for a number of America’s leading corporations including Burger King Corporation, the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, Wal-Mart Stores and Northwest Airlines.  Julie served as the Deputy Commissioner of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development during the administration of Governor Jesse Ventura and as the Deputy Mayor to Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton. 




Dr. Amrie Grammer is the co-founder, COO and CSO of AMPEL BioSolutions, LLC located in Charlottesville Virginia.  AMPEL uses cutting-edge data science techniques to identify “druggable” pathways in autoimmune diseases and analyze them with state-of-the-art clinical trials.  Specifically, AMPEL specializes in translational and personalized medicine including drug and target identification, protocol design and management, biomarker identification, and bioinformatic analysis.  Amrie is a PhD Translational Immunologist specializing in human Autoimmune Diseases and headed up the B Cell Biology Group in the Autoimmunity Branch of NIAMS at the NIH before heading to Charlottesville to found AMPEL.  She has also worked as an independent research consultant specializing in clinical trials, biomarkers, cell-cell interactions & the biochemistry of signaling cascades with expertise in primary lymphocyte biology, flow cytometry, and bioinformatics of gene expression & proteomics.



Ross Dunlap is the CEO and a co-founder of Ceres Nanosciences. In the role of CEO, Ross is responsible for strategic planning, technology development and product commercialization; financial management and capital fundraising; and business development and industry partnerships. Ross has led Ceres since its inception during which time he has raised over $8MM in Angel and grant funding, overseen the build out of a highly effective and efficient business infrastructure and team, and established multiple high-profile partnerships with industry and academic leaders. Currently, Ross is directing the clinical development, validation, and market launch of a novel Lyme Antigen Test that will provide the most sensitive and accurate detection of Lyme disease.  Ross has over 20 years of experience working in operational and strategic business development. He began his career with Arthur Andersen's Business Consulting practice, working with start-up technology companies to establish and grow critical business operations and deliver services and technologies to new markets. Following this, Ross spent five years with Washington Consulting, where he helped build the firm from the ground up into a successful and profitable enterprise that ultimately was acquired by a large defense contractor.



Dr. Mickey Kim is the Director of Partnering and Strategy and Head of Out-licensing / Spin outs at MedImmune, the biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. Dr. Kim joined MedImmune in 2013 and assumed his current role in 2015, in which he established and leads the out-licensing and spin out group for the company. During the past three years, Dr. Kim and his team have completed numerous business development deals, out-licensing transactions, spin outs and ecosystem collaborations. He has led efforts to grow the bioscience ecosystem in MedImmune’s key locations, including Maryland and the UK. Prior to MedImmune, Dr. Kim was a venture capital investor with Canaan Partners and BioVentures Investors. Earlier in his career, he was an entrepreneur, co-founding a technology incubator and investment fund in Asia, and a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company and CSC Healthcare. He holds a Doctor of Medicine from the Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.




You can view the complete list of Virginia Bio board members at

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