Zafrira Avnur, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer and partner at Quark Venture Inc.
Prior to Quark, Dr. Avnur was the Global Head of Academic Innovation, Roche Partnering 2009 – 2016. She was responsible for creating relationships with the world’s leading academic institutions and world class innovators, gaining Roche early access to innovation. She has created eleven startup companies. Dr. Avnur was named Global Head of Neglected Diseases Roche Partnering 2010-2012. Preceding her academic innovation leadership role, Dr. Avnur assumed responsibility for scientific evaluations of partnering opportunities and started the “Finder” group for Biomarkers for all therapeutic areas at Roche. She acted as Liaison between Pharma and Diagnostic Divisions and contributed to the PHC (Personalized Health Care) initiative. Prior to her partnering roles, Dr. Avnur worked in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics research and development for nearly 20 years. She held number positions progressing from scientist and manager to global responsibilities. In this role, she was overseeing the advancement of compounds from the bench into the clinic, and was involved in the design and execution of early clinical studies that characterize the pharmacodynamics and clinical effects of a number of compounds. In her management roles, Dr. Avnur ran groups of up to 44 scientists. Dr. Avnur was named Distinguished Scientist, the highest scientific appointment at Roche. Major scientific achievements include advancing three compounds (a PTHrP analog and two vitamin D analogs, for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis) from early exploratory discovery research to the clinic.