Tech Launch Arizona Welcomes Alumnus, Pharmaceutical Senior VP as Mentor-in-Residence

Friday, June 7, 2019
Kenneth Wertman, Ph.D.

Kenneth Wertman, Ph.D.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Tech Launch Arizona, the technology commercialization arm of the University of Arizona, welcomes Kenneth Wertman, Ph.D., as its latest Mentor-in-Residence. As a member of TLA’s Venture Development team, Dr. Wertman will be responsible for developing and coaching startup teams to success as they work to commercialize inventions stemming from UA research.

A University of Arizona alumnus with a doctorate in microbiology and immunology, Dr. Wertman brings a knowledge base and a set of talents that will be valuable in facilitating the success of UA life sciences startup teams. He has a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry landscape having served in various leadership positions with pharmaceutical companies, including senior vice president of Icagen and associate vice president at Sanofi-Aventis. The latter grew out of a Selectide, a company started by Dr. Victor Hruby, Regents Professor Emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry.

“The critical insights I’ve gained throughout my career will provide a solid basis for helping new companies effectively position discoveries in the Life Sciences field,” Dr. Wertman said. ”I’m a people-centric person, so I’m excited to work with teams to help people create shared value and impact through the incredible startups coming out of UA research labs.”

Dr. Wertman first got his taste of working with TLA a year ago, when he joined the team as a Commercialization Partner – a group of volunteers with industry and high-tech entrepreneurial experience who collaborate with TLA on a regular basis, providing expert feedback and perspective regarding new technologies developing at the UA.

“Ken brings a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical world – in R&D, commercialization and leadership – and he’ll be and essential team member as we continue to grow our portfolio of UA startup projects,” said Senior Director of Venture Development Joann MacMaster. “We are excited to welcome him as an official TLA Mentor-in-Residence.”

A life-long member of the UA family, Dr. Wertman is likewise excited to be engaging more closely with his alma mater.

“I'm a Wildcat. I bleed red and blue. My father was the chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Medical Technology and I have two degrees from the University of Arizona,” Dr. Wertman said. “It will be both rewarding and humbling to bring my professional experience back to this institution to help faculty create commercial value from their discoveries. This role was tailor made for what I'm passionate about.”

Paul Tumarkin
Sr. Manager, Marketing and Communications