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Learn more about AbbVie, its focus areas for drug discovery and development, its partnering interests, and its commitment to the west coast innovation ecosystem.


Scott Brun, MD, is AbbVie’s Vice President, Chief Strategy Office and Head of AbbVie Ventures, where he works closely with the Chief Strategy Officer and executive management team to identify and execute on strategic venture investments that are closely aligned with AbbVie’s overall R&D and corporate strategy. Scott also serves as AbbVie’s Vice President, Scientific Affairs. Prior to this role, Scott led Pharmaceutical Development at AbbVie and was responsible for advancing a broad pipeline across several therapeutic areas. In his 20+ year career at Abbott/AbbVie, he held roles of increasing responsibility across the research and development organization. Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed ophthalmology training at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School.

Steve Davidsen, PhD, is Vice President, Discovery Oncology in AbbVie’s R&D organization, where he is responsible for discovery and research efforts of AbbVie’s Oncology programs. Prior to AbbVie’s separation from Abbott, Dr. Davidsen served as Divisional Vice President, Cancer Research. He joined the company in 1986 as a research scientist and has held various positions of increasing responsibility in the Discovery organization. He steered the expansion of AbbVie’s efforts in oncology biologics and translational biology and has more than 70 scientific publications across a diverse range of topics including metalloproteinase inhibitors, kinase inhibitors and the discovery of PAF antagonists. Dr. Davidsen is a member of AbbVie’s Global Pharmaceutical R&D Senior Discovery Leadership Team and Global Pharmaceutical R&D Portfolio Leadership Team. He earned his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin.

Niels Emmerich, PhD, is Vice President, Global Head of Search and Evaluation. Niels joined Abbvie in 2011 and has held several prior positions including Global Commercial Leader for a late-stage oncology program, Director and Head of Commercial Business Development for Oncology, and Senior Director and Head of Search and Evaluation, Oncology. Transactions that Niels was involved in through his current and previous role include acquisitions (Pharmacyclics, Stemcentrx), R&D collaborations and license agreements (ArgenX, CytomX, Dong-A-ST, Harpoon, M2Gen, MD Anderson PureMHC, Turnstone, X-Chem,) and multiple venture investments. Prior to joining AbbVie Niels was CEO of BioPheresis, co-founder and COO of immatics biotechnologies GmbH, and a strategic management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Niels attended University of Tuebingen in Germany and received a Master’s in Biology and a PhD in Immunology.

James Summers, PhD, currently serves as Vice President, Neuroscience Research in AbbVie’s Global Pharmaceutical Discovery organization. In this capacity, he leads a research organization of ~200 scientists located in Ludwigshafen Germany, Lake County, IL and Cambridge, MA. The organization is focused on the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, along with other neurodegenerative disorders. Under his leadership more than twenty drug candidates have entered clinical trials. Summers began his career with Abbott Laboratories within the immunologic disease and cancer research areas. He participated in or led programs that resulted in several drug development candidates, including the anti-asthma drug Zyflo. He also served as divisional vice president, Advanced Technology with Abbott where he was responsible for a broad range of technologies and core services that have enabled and accelerated drug discovery research across all of Abbott’s therapeutic areas and sites. Summers earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Denison University and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Harvard University.

Alberto Zacarias is Site Head of AbbVie Redwood City (ABR), a state-of-the-art AbbVie R&D center focused on discovery and early development of novel oncology therapies. Key responsibilities include defining and advancing the strategy, mission, and culture of ABR. As site leader for all business and operations functions based at ABR, Alberto is also responsible for resolving any management and operational issues at the site. Prior to joining AbbVie in 2013, Alberto was the founder and president of the Zantos Group, LLC, a management consulting firm that provided strategic marketing, business development and portfolio-management advice to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the Bay Area. Before founding the Zantos Group, Alberto worked for Nektar Therapeutics as Senior Director of New Products and Strategic Planning and as Senior Director of Strategic Marketing and Portfolio Management. In addition, he also worked for Johnson & Johnson/ALZA Pharmaceuticals as Director of New Products and as Director of Global Strategic Marketing, as well as for Searle Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer) as Management Development Associate. Alberto holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago and an MS and BS in Engineering from Boston University.

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