Kay Wagoner, Ph.D.
Kay Wagoner, Ph.D.

Former health-care executive Kay Wagoner, Ph.D., has joined the Eshelman Institute for Innovation as associate director for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Wagoner is also life science executive in residence in the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Commercialization and Economic Development, an EIR for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network and an adjunct associate professor in the UNC Medical School’s Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.

Working with the leadership team of the EII, Wagoner will assist in developing strategies for evaluating, funding and supporting cutting edge innovations, which may lead to processes and technologies that substantially benefit health care for patients around the world. She will focus much of her work on assisting faculty in the development of sound businesses that can successfully translate innovations into products.

“There are numerous pathways for new discoveries to effect change, but all require finding the best vehicles to transform innovations into great products that improve health outcomes,” Wagoner said. “Given my background and experience in the science of business, I can help innovators identify and solve scientific and business challenges.”

Wagoner’s work history in health care is extensive and multifaceted. She got her start as a certified clinical nurse specialist in cardiovascular disease and later served on the faculty at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing. After completing her doctoral and postdoctoral studies in physiology and pharmacology, she worked for and with many of the leading large pharmaceutical companies. Over the last 25 years she has been involved with the founding of numerous startup companies, including Icagen, Inc. which she took public in 2005 and a not-for-profit cardiovascular health-care company, which is now part of the UNC Wellness Center.

Wagoner has served on the North Carolina Biotechnology Center Board, the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Emerging Companies Board and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Board of Visitors.  She is currently serving on the UNC School of Nursing Foundation Board, the UNC CH Board of Visitors and on the boards of Symberix, Inc. and Valanbio Therapeutics, Inc., spinouts from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.

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