Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation Hires First CEO

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Marine research in coastal NC will soon have a fresh flux of energy. The first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has been hired for the Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation (MBCOI). Dr. Deborah Mosca began her new role on March 10. Launched through funding of a Center of Innovation grant provided by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the MBCOI will be a catalyst for commercialization, partnership and entrepreneurial and fiscal investments for marine-based research and innovations. The MBCOI strives to be a sustainable, not-for-profit entity which will integrate marine biotechnology-based research, services, innovations, and entities to identify and meet market needs. Creating unique alignments between market demands and potential technology solutions, the MBCOI, will accelerate commercialization of marine biotechnology research and development, and drive company creation and job growth for North Carolina. The MBCOI will be closely tied to academic marine science research centers throughout North Carolina. It will have offices located in both Wilmington, NC and in Morehead City/Beaufort, NC.

Marine research in coastal NC will soon have a fresh flux of energy. The first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has been hired for the Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation (MBCOI). Dr. Deborah Mosca began her new role on March 10. Launched through funding of a Center of Innovation grant provided by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the MBCOI will be a catalyst for commercialization, partnership and entrepreneurial and fiscal investments for marine-based research and innovations. The MBCOI strives to be a sustainable, not-for-profit entity which will integrate marine biotechnology-based research, services, innovations, and entities to identify and meet market needs. Creating unique alignments between market demands and potential technology solutions, the MBCOI, will accelerate commercialization of marine biotechnology research and development, and drive company creation and job growth for North Carolina.  The MBCOI will be closely tied to academic marine science research centers throughout North Carolina.  It will have offices located in both Wilmington, NC and in Morehead City/Beaufort, NC.

New CEO, Dr. Deborah Mosca is a resident of San Diego but will relocate to Wilmington, NC. Dr. Mosca’s experience and expertise is a culmination of 31 years in roles of increasing responsibility in various biotech research and commercial organizations. She is a proven leader of multi‐disciplinary project teams focused on drug discovery and development and displays the ability to anticipate risks and implement creative solutions to meet project timelines and budgets. Dr. Mosca has a clear, sound and responsible fiscal history; she has executed critical roles in securing funding totaling more than $33M in contracts and $100M in venture funding. Formerly in a full time role as the Vice President of Project Management at PaxVax, Inc., Dr. Mosca provided strategic leadership in the development of orally delivered, stable vaccines and assisted the CEO with revenue generation through licensing, corporate partnerships, and venture capital activities. Dr. Mosca has led seven (7) multi‐disciplinary project teams focused on vaccine development. As Senior Director Business Development at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), she was responsible for executing the business plan for Scripps Florida. Her duties included out‐licensing technologies, negotiating terms for contracts and collaborations, and facilitating the development of new enterprises derived from scientific efforts at Scripps Florida. Other key accomplishments include organizing the business track for the first Scripps‐Oxford International meeting, participating in Governor Jeb Bush’s economic mission to Switzerland, and implementing a web‐based program to enable the Florida academic community to access TSRI’s state‐of‐the‐art screening technologies.

In her role as CEO, Dr. Mosca will be responsible for creating a portfolio of high-value projects that are properly balanced and directly tied to the business strategy of the MBCOI.  She will work to establish criteria and methods that will maximize the value of the MBCOI’s portfolio in terms of sales revenue, profitability and likelihood of success, ensuring the final portfolio of investments is strategically aligned with the needs of the market or industry.  In addition, Dr. Mosca will be tasked with creating, engaging, informing and communicating with a marine biotechnology network – that includes but is not limited to universities, businesses, funding agencies, economic development agencies, marine biotech research advisory groups throughout North Carolina, regional partners and state leaders – to successfully cultivate collaborative innovation and accelerate North Carolina’s bioscience research engine to deliver economic benefits statewide.  “The talent in North Carolina’s marine technology is inspiring and I am humbled to have been selected to lead the creation of the MBCOI. Key to its success will be the development of the entrepreneurial spirit at the level of the individual contributor through education, outreach, and personal interactions. I look forward to working across the state to bring our collective vision to reality,” said Dr. Mosca.

Representatives from all of NC’s major marine research institutes as well as individuals from North Carolina’s Eastern Region and the NC Biotechnology Center participated on the Project Management Team (PMT). After an exhaustive 6 month international search by The Wellington Group, Dr. Mosca was selected. “It’s taken us awhile to get here, but we’ve arrived at a great place.  The hiring of a superb person like Deb Mosca, who brings so much talent, energy, and connections, as the leader of the MBCOI is thrilling.  I am excited about the future of marine biotechnology in eastern North Carolina,” said John Chaffee, President & CEO, North Carolina’s Eastern Region. Seconding those thoughts, Mary Beth Thomas, Vice President of the Centers of Innovation Program at the NC Biotechnology Center added, “The potential of the marine biotech sector in NC as an economic driver has been recognized for years.  With Deb’s hiring, we are entering into a new exciting phase – Deb’s leadership of the MBCOI will drive a strategic focus for the commercialization of marine biotech innovations with the goal of new NC companies and new jobs.”