Bridging Science and Business

Vivo Group

Gwen Acton, PhD, is an expert on the intersection of science and business. She is CEO of Vivo Group, a consulting firm that improves productivity and innovation in life science and technology companies through strategic leadership development. Prior to this, she served as Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute, where she established institute strategy for building long-term relationships with industry.

improvement. A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Mr. Hutchinson currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce and as a consultant with his own practice. For the past five years, Mr. Hutchinson has also provided public and private workshops on sales-related topics to professional organizations including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Software Engineer designing expert systems.She is the founder of Art in Giving, a non-profit company that promotes the fine arts of several artists and galleries to benefit childhood cancer research and other health causes. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Wheelock College, The Boston Club, and the Leadership Council for The Kenneth Schwartz Center at Mass General Hospital. She earned her MBA from Boston College and is fluent in French and Arabic.

negotiated the $18 million RNAi Consortium Agreement with Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squib, Ely Lilly and Academia Sinica for the newly formed Broad Institute at MIT. In addition he negotiated over $8 million in funded scientific collaborations between Whitehead Institute and corporate partners including Affymetrix, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squib, Cellomics, Genomic Collaborative, Genset, Millennium, Merck and Pfizer Inc. Mr. Ittelson is a graduate of Harvard College in Biochemistry and did his graduate work at the Harvard Medical School. His book, Financial Statements, A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Creating Financial Statements, has sold over 100,000 copies.

Eliane Markoff has over 30 years in the high tech and biotech industries, specializing in business mediation, conflict resolution, strategic planning and team dynamics. Previously she was an Adjunct Professor at Bentley University where she taught Team Management, Business Planning and Organizatonal Behavior. She was responsible for the development of programs and tools that leveraged intellectual capital across a Fortune 500 company, and served as a Principal

Paul Hutchinson


Robert Gottlieb


Prior to joining Cambria, Dr. Kirsch was a research manger at Squibb, where he served as a research group leader working on the discovery of natural product therapeutic drugs for anti-infective and cardiovascular applications, and as Director at and Genetics Institute and Wyeth, where he lead a genomics research group identifying new drug targets from genomic sequences. Dr. Kirsch received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in molecular biology.  Following a postdoctoral research appointment in the pharmacology department at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, he joined the faculty there as an instructor prior to beginning his industrial career.  Dr. Kirsch is the author of over 50 scientific publications and technical monographs, an inventor on 24 US patents and patent applications, and has served for over 20 years at the NIH as a reviewer of grant applications.

He is currently a Principal at the communications and strategy consulting firm, RMG Associates. Prior to this, he co-founded Feinstein Kean Healthcare (now a division of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide), and directed press relations and corporate communications at Biogen Inc. In addition, he served as executive editor of F-D-C Reports, “The Pink Sheet,” where he covered the FDA and drug regulation, pharmaceutical business and the emergence of biotechnology as an industry, as well as founding The NDA Pipeline, a reference publication for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, which has been published annually for more than 25 years.

Robert Gottlieb has more than 30 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as a consultant on strategy and communications, successfully working with over 100 companies and organizations ranging from start-ups in and outside of the U.S. to multi-nationals. Mr. Gottlieb brings particular expertise in corporate positioning, external and internal communications strategy, and preparation for financing and partnering.

Dr. Acton also ran the operations of the Functional Genomics Program, overseeing operations for a $40 million, 50-person sponsored research program related to the Human Genome Project, while successfully managing alliances with industry sponsors.

​Dr. Acton received a doctorate in biology from M.I.T. where she worked in a Nobel-Prize winning laboratory. She next served as a faculty member at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Dr. Acton recently led the non-profit group Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (WEST), where she expanded membership and programming by over 10-fold. She currently serves a member of the Board of Directors of The Bioscience Network (TBN).

Dr. Acton is the author of the book The Bluffer’s Guide to Genetics, published by Oval Books. She has also authored industry reports published by the Cambridge Healthtech Institute, and has written over 50 freelance articles for organizations such as the Associated (AP), National Public Radio, and Technology Review Magazine. A popular speaker and moderator, Dr. Acton is a member of the National Speakers Association.

She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University, and is accredited by the Society for Human Resources Management. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Bioscience Network (TBN), a professional organization for scientists and operational professionals in life sciences. She is a member of the New England Compensation Consortium, The Boston Club, and a trusted affiliate of the Boston Business group. She is certified to deliver programs and profiles using Insights Discovery®. 

Donald Kirsch, PhD



Tom Ittelson is an expert on business development, strategic planning, and technology transfer in the life science and technology industries. With over 30 years industry experience, Mr. Ittelson most recently served as Director, Intellectual Property Office at the Whitehead Institute with responsibilities for IP policy, technology licensing, corporate collaborations and corporate sponsored research at this MIT affiliated medical research institute. While there, he 

Tom Ittelson


Eliane Markoff


Donald Kirsch has over 25 years experience in leadership and management in the pharmaceutical industry. He currently runs a biopharma consulting practice in Boston and New York, and teaches Drug Discovery and Management at the Harvard University Extension School and at MassBio. Previously he served as the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Cambria Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw the development of drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Paul Hutchinson has over 20 years of corporate and private experience enabling companies to achieve significant sales growth through systematic approaches to their business development and sales processes. Mr. Hutchinson has worked with a wide range of industries, and has been a consultant to business owners, new entrepreneurs, non-profits and professional associations and individuals, specializing in sales strategy, sales training/coaching and sales process 

Maura Snow


Gwen Acton, PhD


Maura Snow is a VP and Senior Consultant in Human Resources at Great Brook Biotech. She has over 20 years experience in the role of Senior Human Resources Leader with Fortune 100 companies, mid-sized organizations, and two-person start up environments. Prior to her current position, she served as VP, Human Resources at Basilea Pharmaceuticals, as HR Director at EMD Lexigen Research Center, and as HR Manager at Merck Medco.