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Activation Capital Names New Vice President of Entrepreneurship

RICHMOND, Va., April 12, 2024 – Activation Capital, an innovation ecosystem development organization, announced today that it has appointed Jim Pannucci, Ph.D., PMP as its Vice President of Entrepreneurship. As the new Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Dr. Pannucci will help Activation Capital continue to grow a deep talent base of life sciences entrepreneurs operating in the region and help empower them to create solutions that prevent and cure disease, maintain human health and well-being, and modernize agriculture and animal science.

“Catalyzing new businesses and industries in Virginia starts with entrepreneurial development,” said Chandra Briggman, President and CEO of Activation Capital. “It’s part of our core mission to help the next generation of entrepreneurs to start, grow, and compete in global markets. The addition of Dr. Pannucci as our new Vice President of Entrepreneurship will ensure that Activation Capital can offer the boldest risk-takers, idea generators, and solutions seekers in our region the foundation required to grow and impact the world.”

Dr. Pannucci brings to the Vice President of Entrepreneurship role a deep level of expertise earned throughout an impressive career in science. He is known for achieving lasting impact and transformation throughout the pharmaceutical industry, U.S. National Laboratories, federally funded research and development centers, and contract services for research and scientific program management. Like many scientists, Dr. Pannucci’s time at the bench evolved throughout his career to include leadership roles where he was increasingly responsible for strategy, business and pipeline development, profit-and-loss management, and R&D operations. The technical spectrum of his work has included basic and applied research, GMP/GLP product development, GLP testing, technology review and investment decisions, team formation and leadership, as well as the fundamentals of running a science business.

Additionally, Dr. Pannucci’s operational experience includes technical, financial, and business development responsibilities for a $28M/year division of scientists that conducted contract biomedical product development and program management for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Pannucci also led a $14M/year department of 70 drug development scientists conducting government and commercial contract research on anti-infectives at BSL-2 and BSL-3, including GLP testing. Dr. Pannucci’s other operational roles have included Director of Operations for a $25M multi-department research project seeking to instill interoperability among synthetic biology laboratories. And as Director of Partnership Development at the NCI’s Frederick National Lab for Cancer Research, he was responsible for establishing research collaborations between the lab, industry, and academia.

Dr. Pannucci’s drug discovery and development experience includes immuno-therapeutics, vaccine, and small molecule antiviral development. He served as Chief Business Officer for a startup cancer cell-therapy biotech company using CAR-T technology against solid tumors. Dr. Pannucci also led a team that discovered 13 peptide drug candidates targeting the
cancer-related checkpoint receptors PD-1 and LAG-3. This $12M effort resulted in eight patent families and four publications. For ten years he was Technical Project Manager and then corporate Vice President with responsibility for a $76M NIH program that translated basic research on novel malaria antigens into readiness for clinical testing. His group worked on 20 different vaccine constructs, five of which entered NIH clinical trials after delivering cGMP material to the sponsor and Investigational New Drug Applications to the FDA.

“What this means for the entrepreneurs that we serve is that Dr. Pannucci can comfortably speak finance, legal, IP, and contracts just as easily as he can speak science, data, and publications,” said Briggman. “Ultimately, entrepreneurs operating in our region’s thriving innovation ecosystem can look to Dr. Pannucci as someone who can help empower them at any point in their entrepreneurship development journey. We are honored that Dr. Pannucci is part of our team committed to activating a globally competitive, lively, and diverse innovation community in our region.”

About Activation Capital

Activation Capital is a leading innovation ecosystem development organization providing social, knowledge, and financial capital to clusters, entrepreneur support organizations, and entrepreneurs – accelerating their progress through development and maturation. Activation Capital, an independent authority of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is on a mission to grow life sciences and other advanced technology innovation by promoting scientific research, commercialization, and ecosystem development that attracts and creates 21st-century jobs and companies. It operates the 34-acre Virginia Bio+Tech Park – the hub of life science and technology innovations in Central Virginia, oversees the Cluster Accelerator for Advanced Pharmaceutical R&D and Manufacturing, and supports the development and expansion of the region’s startup ecosystem. For more information, visit www.activation.capital.

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