The Wake Forest Innovations team has extensive experience in translational science, product development, commercialization, entrepreneurship, business development, contract law, licensing, capital formation, and incubating and building private and publicly traded companies.
We have adopted industry best-practices to ensure fair agreements with our partners as they seek both to license technologies and to access our unique scientific research assets and capabilities.
Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD
Chief Innovation Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
President, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter
Dr. Tomlinson leads the Wake Forest Innovations enterprise that focuses on accelerating the creation and commercialization of innovative products, discoveries and services arising from the clinical and academic base at the Medical Center and Wake Forest University, and on developing a new hub for science and business innovation in biomedical and materials technology and information science centered at Innovation Quarter.
Dr. Tomlinson has a background as a scientific and business leader working both in early-stage and clinical stage biotechnology companies and within a global pharmaceutical company. He has built companies and teams from their inception and fundraising to their development of biological and small drug/device combination products and gene therapy products. He has transacted mergers of publicly traded companies and raised private and public equity corporate financings, in addition to broad-based product licensing and commercialization agreements with major pharmaceutical companies.
Vice President, Industry Relations & Business Development
As Vice President, Industry Relations & Business Development, Jeff Brennan has direct responsibility for several core services including: Business Development, Market Analytics, Intellectual Property Management, Technology Licensing, New Company Formation and Incubation, and Contract R&D Services Sales.
Jeff joined Wake Forest Innovations in January 2015. He comes to Wake Forest Innovations after a career in industry with senior business development responsibility at several organizations including Sanofi, Inc., and most recently at Targacept, Inc. He has successfully developed and negotiated major product licensing and commercialization agreements with industry, established start-ups, and executed major research agreements between academia and industry, which made him the ideal candidate to lead the Industry Relations & Business Development Department that supports our open innovation engagement model with industry.
Mark Furth, PhD
Executive Director, Innovation
Dr. Furth joined Wake Forest Innovations as Innovation Leader after eight years as a researcher and senior administrator at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Furth now provides scientific leadership in advancing innovative translational programs toward clinical implementation and commercialization.
From 1986 to 2004, Dr. Furth held senior executive positions in several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He directed the Molecular and Cell Biology program at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and contributed to the development of three neurotrophic factors that advanced to clinical trials. As Vice President for Molecular Sciences at Glaxo Research Institute, now GlaxoSmithKline, and as Chief Scientific Officer of PPD Discovery, he helped introduce genomics technologies into drug discovery. Dr. Furth received his BA from Harvard University and completed graduate training in Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Chris Jerome, B.Vet.Med., Ph.D.
Associate Vice President, Contract Research & Development Services
Dr. Jerome leads contract research & development services directly and indirectly managed by Wake Forest Innovations, including currently: Preclinical Translational Services and the Center for Applied Learning. The Contract Research & Development Services group includes a dedicated sales team focused on contracting fee-for-service business with companies interested in the scientific research capabilities and assets of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Previously, Jerome held senior leadership roles at several contract research organizations (CROs), including as co-founder and CEO of SkeleTech, and most recently as Scientific Director at Numira. Jerome is a former Associate Professor of Comparative Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Mr. Nolan oversees finance, accounting and operations management, including human resources, legal contracting and performance metrics management.
Previously, Mr. Nolan was Director of External Agencies and Affairs for Piedmont Triad Research Park, Manager of Wake Forest University Health Sciences Subsidiaries & External Agencies, and the principal Business Officer for the Center for Applied Learning. He obtained his BS in business administration from Appalachian State University and a Master of Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina.
Real Estate Development, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Mr. Pleasants leads site development and infrastructure for the Innovation Quarter. He was the co-founder of Meridian Realty Group in 1986, and by 1990 Meridian was the top commercial brokerage firm in Winston-Salem. After divesting his interest in Meridian, he formed and managed Forsyth Partners Brokerage, which became Carter of the Carolinas, a partnership with Carter of Atlanta. This company became the first full-service commercial real estate provider in the area with offices in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. Mr. Pleasants also later helped form Magnolia Partners, developer for One West Fourth Street, a 430,000-square-foot, Class A office building in downtown Winston-Salem. He now owns Pleasants Properties and also serves in various community leadership positions and with numerous economic development professional organizations in Winston-Salem.