Rick Harkins

Dr. Harkins is currently a Principal Advisor for Larta’s Commercialization Assistance Program, and prior to his retirement he served as an industry advisor to Larta for five years. Dr. Harkins recently retired from Bayer Healthcare, where he held the position of Principal Scientist in the Global External Innovation and Alliances Group, based in the company’s U.S. Innovation Center in Mission Bay, San Francisco. Rick supported Bayer’s Global Drug Discovery efforts in establishing and managing strategic partnerships with U.S. academic research institutions and emerging life science firms. He also served as a Bayer scientific advisor for external venture capital and academic institutions involved in the evaluation of biotech companies as investment and partnering opportunities. He was instrumental in the formation and management of Bayer’s first life sciences incubator, called the CoLaborator, which provides laboratory space, equipment, and scientific direction for early stage biotech companies aligned with the strategic interests of Bayer.
Dr. Harkins worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 35 years in both startup biotech companies and large pharma, and held positions of increasing responsibility in the research and development of novel biologics and small molecule drugs. Dr. Harkins obtained his BS at Santa Clara University, PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Oregon Medical School, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Aberdeen University, U.K., and the University of California, San Diego. He began his career as a Senior Scientist at Genentech, and served as Director of the Protein Chemistry Department, where several human therapeutic proteins were first purified, cloned and expressed using recombinant DNA technology. He and his team developed processes and analytic methods that have become standard tools in the development of Biologics drugs. He has in depth scientific understanding of the drug discovery process from target discovery through pre-clinical testing in broad therapeutic areas. Dr. Harkins is an author of 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications and an inventor on 7 issued patents. As a result of his work he has contributed to the launch of several marketed biological drugs including human growth hormone (Protropin), tissue-plasminogen activator (Activase), human interferon beta (Betaseron), and factor VIII (Kogenate).