Selection Committee

The selection committee process is facilitated by Expedite Animal Health.

The members of the 2017 Selection Committee have a long and distinguished track record in the animal health industry. They bring a mixture of entrepreneurial and established company experience and understand the financial aspects of developing and acquiring technologies.

Sam Al-Murrani, Ph.D., MBA

SAM-al-murraniChief Executive Officer, Babylon BioConsulting LLC

Dr. Sam Al-Murrani, is Managing Director of Babylon BioConsulting LLC (BBC), a human and animal health full service consulting firm. BBC specializes in pre-revenue and early stage valuations of Animal Health and Biotech companies and provides clients with investor outreach, due diligence, business development and intangible asset management and valuation services.

Sam is recognized as an industry and technical expert with numerous editorials and articles in various industry and scientific peer reviewed journals. He serves as director on the boards of several human and animal health companies and is an advisory board member for the International Animal Health Journal. A summary of his professional experience can be found on his Linkedin page.

Dr. Al-Murrani has a B.Sc. in Animal Science from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in Immunology/Biochemistry from the Roslin Institute and the Department of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Edinburgh. He holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Baker University.

Bill Anderson

Bill-AndersonActing Executive Director, Missouri Technology Corporation
State of Missouri

Bill Anderson serves as the Executive Director of the Missouri Technology Corporation (“MTC”).  He is responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of MTC including implementation of the Missouri IDEA Funds (Innovation, Development, and Entrepreneurship Advancement), a seed and venture capital co-investment program.  Since April 2011, MTC has invested $37 million in over 100 Missouri start-up companies, positioning them to raise over $450 million in additional private capital.  Under his leadership, MTC has also provided over $18 million to support entrepreneur development and capacity building projects that are growing innovation ecosystems in communities across Missouri.  Bill joined MTC in July 2008 as Deputy Director and began serving as Executive Director in April 2012.

Prior to joining the MTC, Bill served as Director of Policy for Governor Matt Blunt.  During his time in the Blunt administration, Bill provided policy advice on a variety of issues including budget, education, economic development and tax policy.  Bill also spent time as a budget analyst for the Illinois Bureau of the Budget.

Bill holds a Master of Science in Economics and Finance and Bachelor of Science in Economics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Crissa Cook

CACProfilePic (3)Partner, Hovey Williams LLP

Crissa is a Patent Attorney and Partner at Hovey Williams LLP. She represents large, medium, and small clients across the U.S., as well as several internationally-based corporations and institutions. Her practice focuses primarily on patent preparation, prosecution, enforcement, and licensing in the animal health, life science, chemical, pharmaceutical, medical, mechanical, and food science arts. She also helps companies, institutions, and universities manage and evaluate their IP portfolios and those of their competitors, including the preparation of non-infringement and invalidity opinions, as well as various agreements (e.g., non-compete, non-disclosure, material transfer, etc.). She also handles due diligence, trademark, and trade secret matters. Crissa is also an Adjunct Professor at The University of Kansas School of Law.

Jane Eagleson

Jane Argenta HeadshotOwner, Bleecker Street Consulting

Jane is a veterinarian and animal health pharmaceutical industry professional with 30+ years experience working with multinational and small companies in the USA, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  She is the author of more than 35 publications in peer reviewed journals and has an established track record in global pharmaceutical product development, departmental restructuring/relocation and staff management, Asian R&D unit start up operations, outsourcing and business development. 

Jane practiced as a companion animal veterinarian in Australia and the UK for several years before joining Merck Animal Health in 1985 working in positions of increasing responsibility first in Australia and later in the USA.  In 1999 she moved to Pfizer Animal Health as Senior Director in Clinical Development later transferring to New Products Marketing and then to a special assignment starting up a pharmaceutical laboratory department in Mumbai, India. In 2006 she joined Argenta Manufacturing, an animal health CMO based in New Zealand, managing their R&D, Project Management and Business Development functions.  Today she concurrently serves as the owner of Bleecker Street Consulting specializing in animal health product development services and as Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Nexvet. Jane is also a member of the board of directors at Zomedica. 

Her major career achievements include development of multiple pharmaceutical products for the global market, including 5 new chemical entities, taken from pre-clinical through to final regulatory approval and commercialization.  

John Mannhaupt

john-manhauptVice President, Brakke Consulting, Inc.
Dallas, Texas

John has big company experience in financial planning, product management, marketing outside the US and sales management.  At Brakke Consulting, John now focuses his time on opportunity analysis, transactions, business valuations, and recruiting assignments.  His financial background makes him the go-to person for evaluations of businesses and technologies that are either looking for a new owner or seeking to enter the market.  He provides a quantitative slant on major strategic decisions.  John also specializes in recruiting assignments for positions that are particularly difficult to fill.

Previous to joining Brakke Consulting, Mr. Mannhaupt held several sales, product management, and marketing positions with Sandoz Corporation, a major pharmaceutical, chemical, and agricultural products firm that is now part of Novartis.  John also held corporate financial positions with Occidental Petroleum and General Foods, which is now Kraft.

He holds an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie-Mellon University and a B.S. in Mathematics from Iona College.

Robert Nordgren

Robert NordgrenManaging Director, Aix Bio Consulting LLC 
Athens/Duluth, GA

Robert is managing director of Aix Bio Consulting, a newly created animal health vaccine and bio-therapeutics dedicated consulting company. Aix Bio Consulting works with a diverse network of specialized talent around the globe to support university research groups, start-up companies and large multi-national firms to address challenges, lead finding, market assessment, I.P. support and development strategies.

He has over 32 years of international animal health experience, resulting in the direct or indirect registration of over 80 unique vaccines worldwide.  Prior to Aix Bio Consulting, Robert was with Merial for 17 years holding a variety of leadership roles.

Robert has a Master of Science in Veterinary Parasitology and a Doctor of Philosophy, Veterinary Immunology from Texas A&M.

Ronald Meeusen, Ph.D.

Ron-MeeusenFounding Partner, Cultivian Sandbox Food and Ag Funds I & II
Carmel, Indiana

Ron is a founding partner of the Cultivian Sandbox Food and Ag Funds I and II. Ron has over 30 years of experience in bringing new technologies and products to market. He has led research and development for major corporations in agricultural chemicals, field crop and vegetable genetics and breeding, animal health, novel foods and industrial materials. His successful projects include the world’s first field trial of a genetically engineered crop trait in 1986, development and launch of one of the first insect and herbicide resistant corn hybrids in 1996, introduction of a trans-fat free canola oil, and development of dozens of new varieties of field and vegetable crops on three continents. Ron has been a frequent speaker at conferences, a consultant to Federal policy on biotechnology regulatory issues, and active in industry trade groups. Prior to forming Cultivian Ron led the expansion of the biotechnology research and development program of Dow AgroSciences, and co-founded a biopharmaceutical company, Immuneworks, Inc. Ron currently serves on the boards of directors of Agrivida, AbCelex, Asilomar Bio, enEvolv, Vestaron, Virgin Plants and Rivertop Renewables. He was also a member of the board of directors of Allylix, Aratana, Proterro and Divergence, Inc. Allylix was sold to Evolva, Divergence was sold to Monsanto Company and Aratana was taken public in 2013. Ron holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in plant cell biology, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in plant physiology.                                              

Dan Phillips

small _ DanManaging Director, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures
Chicago, IL

Dan Phillips is a Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, where he helps lead and manage the firm's investments in food & agriculture technology startups. Prior to joining Cultivian Sandbox, Dan spent several years leading various efforts withing Sandbox Industries, a Chicago-based firm that manages venture funds across several industries. During that time, Dan helped to build Healthbox, an accelerator program that supports seed stage healthcare companies, and also led investments in health IT startups. Dan earned his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Michigan, where he majored in biology.

Chris Ragland

Photo_Ragland_2.9.13 copyKCCEO, Animalytix, LLC
Salisbury, Maryland

Animalytix® LLC and its Canadian affiliate, Animalytix Ltd. provide an array of market insight and electronic publishing services to manufacturers, distributors, veterinarians and retailers in the United States and Canada.  Animalytix maintains a comprehensive database of more than $50 billion in sales history for vaccines, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, human labeled pharmaceuticals and supplies consumed in the US veterinary and OTC markets. Additionally, Animalytix maintains a comprehensive library of product labeling and safety information which it makes available through the Compendium of Veterinary Products and its COMPAS Safe Data Services.  The company recently expanded its insight services to include practice level reporting through its Vetalytix veterinary services division, offering the industry’s first platform designed to deliver internal profit center-level reporting for the practice owner.


Edward Robb, DVM

ED Robb Web

CEO, BioPharmaPotentials (BPP)
Kansas  City, Missouri

Dr. Edward Robb is CEO of BioPharmaPotentials (BPP) an animal health based consultancy that enables its global partners in achieving their extreme potential including technology evaluation, due diligence and assessments of new and repurposed chemical and biologic entities. Services include the execution/conduct of critical Proof of Concept and Proof of Value studies to define value and to provide various opportunity runways.  In addition BPP executes clinical efficacy and safety studies in laboratory, target animal and in the clinical setting. BPP develops regulatory and development strategies for small molecules (pharmaceuticals), biologicals (vaccines), medical devises and nutraceuticals. The practice engages on behalf of its clients various public and private funding sources and in the development of manufacturing and quality programs (analytical/formulation development) in concert with the project management to support the technology/product plan. Dr. Robb serves on the Boards of various start-up organizations predominantly in the role as Chief Scientific Officer.

Dr. Robb has a BS in Animal Science, DVM from Cornell University and a Masters in Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania; he is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Nutrition.  Dr. Robb has five years of clinical practice and has held various senior leadership positions in Research and Development, Product Development and Business Development at Upjohn, Pharmacia, Pfizer, Embrex, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, CEVA and Parnell (see Linkedin profile). Dr. Robb’s strong track record for delivering value thru innovation and legacy of leading organizations that achieved game changing registrations and successful commercialization’s spans across specie lines, therapeutic areas, technology platforms and geographies.

Donald Schwartz

Untitled1Executive Director, Merial Ltd.
Atlanta, Georgia

Don Schwartz joined Merck & Co., Inc. as a manager of global marketing communications, rising to his current role as an executive director of Merial’s US Business Operations with responsibilities for business development, market research, regulatory, customer care, veterinary technical solutions, public affairs and business analytical functions.  In between, he gained extensive experience in marketing, A&P, product management, finance, manufacturing, media management, packaging development, trademark development and distribution among other business skills.  Don was instrumental in the launch of several of his company’s landmark products including IVOMEC, HEARTGARD and FRONTLINE PLUS.  He recently led the development of the OraVet line of oral care products.

Don has been the head of a successful advertising and communications agency specializing in pharmaceutical and technical products.  He has several books to his credit, including Genus Bos: Cattle Breeds of the World, the standard reference on the subject.

He earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Union College in Schenectady, New York, did graduate work in biology at NYU and has an MS in management from CUNY.  Under duress, he will also admit he went to law school.

Andrea Sellers

SellersA_bioPartner, Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Andrea is a registered patent attorney with an emphasis in the chemical, biosciences, and animal health fields. She has significant experience in patent prosecution, infringement counseling, and licensing regarding biochemical, chemical, and mechanical inventions.  Andrea has developed particular experience in negotiating and drafting intellectual property agreements, including complex technology development and license agreements covering a wide range of technologies.  She also has extensive experience counseling clients of all sizes and stages on strategies for intellectual property protection tailored to the specific client's needs.


Rich Shuler

Rick-ShulerPresident & CEO, Shuler Consulting Services
Norcross, Georgia

Shuler Consulting Services is focused on working with companies in the area of innovation, planning and execution. SCS has more than 30 years of experience in creating and building successful businesses and developing a strong market position for their products and services. Rich Shuler has worked with businesses, producer organizations, churches and universities to develop long range strategic plans and organizational structure. SCS also assists businesses in acquiring products and technologies that fit the company’s strategic focus.

Tony Simpson

TS HeadshotPresident, AgTech Advisors, LLC

Tony Simpson is the President and founder of AgTech Advisors, LLC, a consulting firm focused on supporting entrepreneurs and investors in the agtech and animal health sectors. Previously, Tony was a Managing Director for the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) where he led the organization’s investment efforts in agtech, animal health and bioenergy. He led KBA’s investments in companies such as Aratana Therapeutics, Green Dot, SmartVet, and Advanced Animal Diagnostics. He was also responsible for KBA’s participation in the USDA Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership and KBA’s support and funding for research associated with the National Bio and AgroDefense (NBAF) facility.

Before joining the KBA, Tony spent 11 years in the fuel ethanol industry. He was a General Manager with Broin Management (now POET Biorefining), where he led the business start-up of two major green-field ethanol plants in Albert Lea, Minnesota and Caro, Michigan. For both companies, Tony led the organization of the business structure, hiring of the management and operations team, and the initial start-up of the facility. He also led each company through subsequent equity drives, refinancings and expansion efforts, adding both capacity and new businesses to each company. Later, he led ED&F Man’s U.S. ethanol division, where he was responsible for both business development and operations management of facilities in Caldwell, Idaho and Kingston, Jamaica. Tony started his career as a grain merchandiser with ADM, and was later the General Manager of ADM Milling Company’s Minneapolis “A” mill, where he had responsibility over all commercial and operational functions of an 11,000 cwt/day flour mill and bakery ingredients facility. 

Tony serves as a Principal Advisor to the Larta Institute, where he mentors early-stage agtech, animal health and bioenergy companies on the development and execution of their commercialization strategies. He also serves on the board of directors of Green Dot Holdings and SmartVet. Tony chairs the Selection Committee for the Food and Ag Track of InvestMidwest and serves on the Selection Committees of the Animal Health Investment Forum and the Ag Innovation Showcase.

Tony holds an Economics Degree from Millikin University, an MBA from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, and completed the Private Equity and Venture Capital Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

Emily McVey

Emily McVey

Director, KC Animal Health Corridor
Emily manages workforce development and assists with the implementation of strategic priorities.




Selection Committee

Judging Panel


Conference Materials

Business Partnering