AUGUST 29, 2019
As published in the San Antonio Business Journal
By W. Scott Bailey – Senior Reporter, San Antonio Business Journal
While there is acknowledgment that women have made progress in their climb to executive-level positions in San Antonio’s bioscience industry and may find fewer roadblocks here than in some markets, some of the local women leaders in the industry said there is a need to bust a wider hole through the glass ceiling.
“San Antonio has offered a supportive environment for women in biotech compared to the rest of the country, but in truth, the bar is not high,” said Maria Zannes, founder and CEO of bioAffinity Technologies, an Alamo City company that’s working to commercialize a new early cancer detection device.
Zannes points to a recent analysis from BioPharma Dive, which found that fewer than 20 of the top 194 biotech executive positions in the U.S. are filled by women. The top 25 companies showed even less diversification, she said.
“Unfortunately, the statistics don’t improve very much when we compare women in management overall,” she said.
Cathy Burzik, who chairs San Antonio-based StemBioSys Inc.’s board of directors, said several factors have slowed women’s rise to top executive positions, including a lack of options for adequate and cost-effective day care. She cites gender bias as another hurdle for women in bioscience.
“Women need to be encouraged by their families to pursue higher education at an early age,” Burzik said. “I believe this is a place where San Antonio can culturally improve.”
There is some optimism that the doors will open wider for women in San Antonio, where Ann Stevens is president of BioMed SA, the organization working to promote and grow the industry. Some of it stems from the impact Stevens and other women in key leadership positions have had on the sector – and on the willingness of more men to support their advancement.
“I’ve been privileged to work with a large number of men in biotech who stand side by side with women executives who are advancing breakthroughs in medicine,” Zannes said, adding that the female executives leading San Antonio’s bioscience industry have proven to be “innovative, resourceful, focused, skilled, experienced and business savvy.”
What can San Antonio leaders do to clear a wider path for women in bioscience?
“Leaders all over our industry are asking that question,” Burzik said. “Companies need to provide environments where men and women can pursue a career and a family simultaneously. We are not there yet in the bioscience, medical device or high-tech fields.”
WOMEN IN SA’s BIOSCIENCE C-SUITE
Here are some Alamo City companies with women in top executive or board positions:
BioAffinity Technologies – Maria Zannes, founder and CEO
BioBridge Global – Becky Butler Cap, chief operating officer
Bluegrass Vascular Technologies – Gabriele Niederauer, CEO
Dominion Aesthetic Technologies Inc. – Janet Campbell, chairwoman and CEO
Emtora Biosciences – Carole Spangler Vaughan, CEO
INCELL Corp. LLC – Mary Pat Moyer, founder and CEO
Metric Medical Devices — Nancy Fox, interim chief financial officer
Rochal Industries LLP – Ann Beal Salamone, president
Stem BioSys Inc. – Cathy Burzik, chairwoman
About bioAffinity Technologies, Inc.
bioAffinity Technologies, Inc. (www.bioaffinitytech.com) is a privately held development-stage company addressing the significant unmet need for non-invasive, early-stage cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Company develops proprietary in-vitro diagnostic tests and targeted cancer therapeutics using breakthrough technology that preferentially targets cancer cells. Research and optimization of its platform technology is conducted in bioAffinity Technologies’ laboratories at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). The Company’s platform technology will be developed to diagnose, monitor and treat many cancers.