Meet the BioMotiv Team: Dr. Tim Pelura, Executive-In-Residence
By: Erin Reese
Tim Pelura, PhD, is Executive-in-Residence for OptiKira, a biotech start-up developing a therapeutic to prevent cell death in diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cancer, diabetes, retinitis pigmentosa, and neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Tim is a serial life science entrepreneur with over 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries, and has been pivotal in the development of several new drugs and devices spanning numerous therapeutic areas. I sat down with him to learn more about when his love of science began, how he found himself in an executive-in-residence role, and what it means to work with a biotech accelerator like BioMotiv.
When did you first realize your interest in science?
When it came to questions on how things work, I always seemed to have more questions than answers. My third-grade teacher, Mr. Hughes, started an after-school science club for me and my other classmates. I enjoyed it immensely and knew that since there would always be more questions than answers, it would be a lifetime passion.
What led you toward a career in science?
My two passions have been music and science. I realized in high school that in order to be successful in music, I would need to be REALLY good. I was good, but not good enough. With that in mind, I just focused my attention on science, my other outlet for creativity.
If you could go back and provide one piece of advice to your undergrad self, what would it be?
Study more! I did well but I could’ve learned a lot more with a little more work.
If you could choose any career outside of the life sciences, what would it be and why?
Besides music, I have always had an interest in constitutional law. Law could have been a good second choice.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career, to date?
Scientifically, I was pivotal in the development of Diprivan (propofol), probably the most successful anesthetic developed to-date. In the business arena, the successful exits for two of my startups were particularly satisfying.
What does it mean to be an “executive-in-residence”?
An executive-in-residence (EIR) is typically found in a venture capital firm to assist the investment team with any of the existing portfolio companies. The EIR builds the value proposition, business plan, attracts an investment syndicate, and builds the company. The company benefits from this by getting significant access to the new company started by the EIR, and, usually, is the first investor in EIR's new company, giving them a chance to influence some company decisions. This is a new role at BioMotiv and I am excited and honored to be the first to hold it.
Tell us about OptiKira – what excites you the most about the work from its scientific founders?
The science behind OptiKira represents a powerful cell life and death mechanism involved in the pathology of multiple diseases (including some of CDC’s top ten most costly chronic diseases). The science is new, very impactful, and we are clearly a leader in the field. We have great founders and a fantastic, motivated team. I am truly lucky to be part of an effort that has such potential.
What are the benefits of working with a biotech accelerator like BioMotiv?
First, the people. Accelerators like BioMotiv typically have access to some of the best professionals in our business. Between our employees and our contractors and consultants, we are indeed one of the best, if not the best, accelerators in the life sciences. Second, the diversity of our portfolio. Diversity is critical to success, whether in your investment portfolio or product development portfolio. Pharma and the life sciences are an inherently high-risk proposition, so diversity helps to mitigate the risk. Additionally, our diverse portfolio makes sure that our scientific curiosity will never be satisfied!
What do you like to do outside of work?
Besides spending time with my family (my wife, Donna, and daughters, Claire and Gabrielle), I love music and our pets. I play piano and guitar (I’m a frustrated rock star). My dog, Bourbon (also my favorite drink), is always by my side and I love spending time with our horse, Nelson, a 23-year-old Dutch Warmblood that is still competing at the highest levels of dressage.
To learn more about OptiKira, visit www.OptiKira.com.
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