Meet Our Team
Our PharmStarsTM team is dedicated to driving digital health adoption. Our goal is to improve patient outcomes. With extensive expertise across pharma, startups, digital health, and innovation, we understand the challenges that pharma and startups face when seeking to collaborate. We work with our pharma members and digital health startups to “bridge the gap.” This will lead to greater success for both pharma and startups as well as faster adoption of “beyond the molecule” benefits for patients.
The PharmStars team creates and manages every aspect of our program: coursework, mentorship curriculum, one-on-one mentoring, pitch preparation, and the Showcase Event. The PharmStars team is involved every step of the way.
Naomi Fried, PhD, is the founder and CEO of PharmStars. An internationally recognized thought leader in healthcare innovation, Naomi brings over two decades of expertise in digital health strategy and innovation, as well as an entrepreneurial spirit.
Naomi is also the co-founder and general partner of Ambit Health Ventures, a venture capital fund focused on early-stage digital health and medical device startups. In this capacity, she serves on the board of directors of Wavely Diagnostics. Before founding PharmStars and Ambit, Naomi led a boutique consulting firm, Health Innovation Strategies, which advised pharma on digital health strategy and innovation activities.
Previously, Naomi was Biogen’s first VP of Innovation and External Partnerships, where she developed their “innovation beyond the molecule” strategy to deliver non-pharmacological value to patients and providers. Before her time at Biogen, Naomi served as the first Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and also the first VP of Innovation and Advanced Technology at Kaiser Permanente.
Naomi has been a member of the Governor of Massachusetts’ Innovation Council and the Board of the American Telemedicine Association. Her awards include Healthcare IT News’ “Health Information Technology (H.I.T.) Men and Women of the Year Award, Innovators.” Naomi was named “The Emerging Executive of the Year” in 2014 by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and one of Medical Marketing and Media’s 40 “Healthcare Transformers” in 2016.
Naomi received her PhD in Materials Science from MIT and her BS in Chemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley. When not working, Naomi can be found dancing up a storm in Zumba classes or lifting weights.
Laura Gunn, PhD, is the Managing Director of PharmStars. Laura is a seasoned pharmaceutical executive with over 15 years of experience across the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries. She brings a unique combination of scientific and business acumen, along with a collaborative approach to developing novel approaches to complex problems. Laura has a passion for building and optimizing high performing teams through transformational leadership and coaching.
Prior to joining PharmStars, Laura spent 9 years at Biogen. Most recently, she worked as the Global Head of Scientific Partnership, leading a team responsible for a multichannel medical communication and scientific exchange strategy across the firm’s portfolio and pipeline. Prior to that role, Laura served as Biogen’s Chief Learning Officer, where she built and cultivated a modern, learner-centric culture of continuous learning across the enterprise. Laura also built and led the Global Scientific Meetings and Congress team, bringing a more strategic approach to scientific exchange and medical education at scientific conferences. Her outstanding contributions in both business and culture at Biogen were recognized repeatedly during her tenure, including her receiving the “CEO Top Talent” award twice and the “Biogen Elements” award for work on Biogen’s Covid task force.
Prior to Biogen, Laura held several field-based medical roles at EMD Serono and Quest Diagnostics, where she was responsible for building relationships with medical and scientific leaders to advance corporate objectives and clinical partnerships. Before transitioning to pharma, she worked and published in both industry and academic positions in the areas of diagnostics, biomarker technologies, and emerging biomarker discovery.
Laura received her BS from Simmons College. She earned an MS in Environmental Health Sciences and a PhD in Toxicology and Molecular Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time in the garden or on the water, sailing and kayaking with family. She is also on a quest to perfect her sourdough recipe.
Dr. Shrawan Patel is the Mentorship Director of PharmStars. Shrawan is seasoned mentor with decades of experience in startups and pharma digital health. He has first-hand experience as a participant and mentor in multiple accelerators. Shrawan brings real-world business and technology acumen to the PharmStars program.
Shrawan is also the Managing Director of Strategy Health, a boutique consulting firm that assists healthcare firms in making the most of emerging digital technologies. Previously, he was the Vice President of Clinical Transformation at RxHealth, which offers a digital health platform for prescribing and monitoring digital therapeutics. At RxHealth, he led the development and implementation of major partnerships with large pharma companies, serving as project lead and clinical lead for these partnerships. Alongside his role at RxHealth, Shrawan was the Clinical Transformation Lead at Mount Sinai’s digital health incubator, the AppLab.
Shrawan earned his MD in Medicine at Imperial College of London with a distinction in General Practice. He also holds a BS from Imperial College in Medical Science and Respiratory Science.
Shrawan enjoys playing sports and is a two-time US adult field hockey champion. He is also quite proficient with a sewing machine and enjoys outfitting himself, his family, and his apartment with his creations.
Meredith is PharmStars’ Program and Projects Manager. As a business consultant with more than 25 years of experience in organizational and professional development, Meredith brings expertise in strategic planning, project management, and client communication to her work on the program development and implementation of PharmaU.
Prior to PharmStars, she was the Planning and Projects Coordinator at Health Innovation Strategies, where she worked closely with clients on innovation challenge executions, including designing, building, and quality assurance testing the challenge websites.
In addition to her work in healthcare, Meredith has worked extensively in the creation and delivery of training programs for customers in the IT consulting industry. Meredith graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a BA in Psychology.
Meredith loves the snow and if she had her way it would be winter all the time! In her free time, you can find her on the slopes, building a snowman, or dreaming of the next big blizzard.
Dr. Yan Chow brings his thought leadership and broad experience across healthcare, pharma, startups, and innovation to his role as the Special Advisor to PharmStars. With over 15 years of experience in large healthcare and biopharma enterprises and startup ventures, Yan has deep expertise on both “sides of the table.”
Yan is the Global Healthcare Industry Leader at Automation Anywhere, which is a pioneer in the robotic process automation industry. Previously, he was the Medical Director for Digital Medicine in the Translational Medicine group at Amgen, where he led efforts to investigate digital biomarkers and incorporate digital technologies such as wearable sensors, virtual studies, mobile apps, social media, and advanced analytics into clinical trials. Until 2014, Dr. Chow was the national Director of the Innovation & Advanced Technology Group (IAT) at Kaiser Permanente, which assessed and made recommendations about over 2,000 new and emerging clinical information technologies.
Yan has founded and advised several startups. Yan was selected by Healthcare IT News (HIMSS) as a winner in the Innovator category of the 2014 H.I.T. Men & Women Awards. Yan earned his AB with honors from Harvard University and his MD from UC San Diego. In 2005 he received his MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School, where he graduated as valedictorian.
In his free time, Yan enjoys photography. He is also known to sneak in some occasional programming when he has a few spare minutes!
Mohan Nair is an accomplished visionary and problem solver, serving as advisor, investor, company creator, entrepreneur, corporate executive, speaker and author. He is currently the Chief Executive of Emerge Inc., an advisory firm based on the principle that business transformation accelerates when companies and individuals are motivated by the greater good.
For 10 years prior, Mohan served as Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President of Cambia Health Solutions. In this role, he transformed the internal culture, accelerating problems to solutions and creating and launching 6 startups in 10 years. For 7 years prior, Mohan was Chief Marketing Executive and Executive Vice President for Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, leading all front-end functions for the multi-billion dollar firm.
Mohan was named Marketing Executive of the Year in 2009 by The Marketing Leadership Council. He has authored a book entitled Strategic Business Transformation: the 7 deadly sins to avoid as well as two other books and published over 15 refereed-journal articles on high-performance measurement and servant leadership. He publishes in Forbes.com and Ramaonhealthcare.com and is also a TED speaker.
Mohan has taught as an adjunct professor of business at JL Kellogg School of Management for 12 years. New Zealand awarded him the prestigious Edmund Hillary Fellowship and he is a healthcare advisor to MOVAC capital, the largest New Zealand venture fund and Caramed Capital, a fund focused on healthcare.
Mohan was a Singapore TV talk show host. He is a musician with 20 copyrighted songs and plays the bagpipes and the guitar. He is also the first healthcare executive to have auditioned for, and lost at, America's Got Talent.
Omkar Kulkarni is the first chief innovation officer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In his role, Omkar is responsible for fostering innovation across CHLA's clinical and research enterprises, including launching an enterprise virtual care program, incubating and implementing new digital health tools and medical devices, and rallying communities inside and out of the hospital to solve problems in the field of pediatrics. These efforts all share the goal of enhancing the experience and outcomes for the children and families CHLA serves. Omkar is also the Founder and Managing Director of KidsX, the first and only national pediatric digital health accelerator program.
Prior to joining CHLA, Omkar served as the Executive Director of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator powered by Techstars, where he helped build and launch the accelerator program. In that role, he evaluated over 3,000 health care startups and provided extensive mentoring, serving as the main liaison between the startup community and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Omkar also led the performance improvement department at Cedars-Sinai for many years and has experience in financial process redesign at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Omkar has a BA in business administration from George Washington University and an MA in public health and health care management from Columbia University.
Nina Kandilian is the Director of Solution Strategy and Marketing at Orbita. Prior to Orbita, Nina led operations at the MassChallenge HealthTech startup accelerator program helping hundreds of digital health startups create meaningful partnerships with corporations and the venture capital community. Prior to MassChallenge, Nina held various product roles at Mass General Brigham. Nina received her BS from Suffolk University and MBA from Babson College.
Rachele Ryan is the Director of Partnerships at LabCentral, a launchpad for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups. In this role, she is responsible for business development strategy, resident growth and development, and leading entrepreneurship programming.
Rachele has over seven years of experience connecting startups to the Boston innovation ecosystem. Prior to joining LabCentral, Rachele led the MassCONNECT mentoring program at MassBio, the Massachusetts biopharma industry association. In that role, she matched life sciences entrepreneurs and founders with seasoned life science professionals to catalyze and commercialize innovation. Previously, as a part of the International Business Development team at the Consulate General of Canada in Boston, she assisted Canadian companies with their expansion efforts into New England and supported fast-growing startups participating in the Canadian Technology Accelerator in Boston. Rachele holds a BA from College of the Holy Cross and an MA from Middlebury College.