Life Science Washington names new CEO as state’s biotech industry sees new growth

L.AlexandreLife Science Washington, the trade association formerly known as the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, has named Leslie M. Alexandre as its new president and CEO.

She replaces Chris Rivera, who stepped down from the role last year after six years at the helm.

Alexandre, who previously served as president and CEO of the the North Carolina Biotechnology Center from 2002 to 2007 and most recently was the director for the Office of Research Development and Collaborations at Georgia Regents University Cancer Center, will assume the new role on May 31.

“A Washingtonian by birth, I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead this outstanding association and accelerate the growth of our life sciences economy,” said Alexandre in a press release. “Working with our members and partners throughout the state, I am confident we can establish Washington globally as a premier location for life science innovation and supportive public policy.”

Alexandre will help lead an industry in Washington state that has seen ups and downs over the years, but is in the midst of a bit of a rebirth.

There were more than $3 billion in life science transactions in 2015 in Washington state, up from $1.6 billion in 2014. Companies such as Juno Therapeutics, Adaptive Biotechnologies and organizations such as the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are giving the industry new weight. There are now about 800 life sciences companies in the state, employing nearly 100,000 people.

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