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About Us

About Us

Ferran Prat, Ph.D, JD

Vice President
Strategic Industry Ventures
Mid Campus Building 1 (1MC9.2140)
Office:  (713) 792-7805

Ferran Prat has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California – Los Angeles and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. He’s coming here from Alere Inc., an international firm dedicated to developing health management services and solutions, including diagnostic tools and tests. At Alere, Ferran led a business turnaround and integrated three businesses in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He also served as the head of the Oncology and Women’s Health Divisions in San Diego, where he was responsible for all pre-commercialization activities and post-launch product management.

Prior to Alere, Ferran held a number of industry and academic positions, including vice president for licensing at Biosite Inc., management consultant at McKinsey & Co., engineer at Chromogenia-Units and researcher at the University of California – Los Angeles. In these roles, he in-licensed and out-licensed new technologies, led and executed strategic plans, coordinated intellectual property agreements among private and public sector entities, and conducted basic science research that led to multiple peer-reviewed articles.

Luetta Allen, Ph.D

Project Director, External Collaborations
Strategic Industry Ventures
Mid Campus Building 1 (1MC9.2136)
Office:  (713) 563-3545

Project Director, External Collaborations

Luetta Allen, Ph.D., Project Director, External Collaborations, joined the staff of Strategic Industries in February, 2013, transferring from the Office of Technology Discovery (OTD) in Translational Research. Dr. Allen facilitates the establishment and management of strategic alliances between the institution’s faculty and industry and coordinates company interactions with faculty.  She assists the institution’s inventors by facilitating collaborations and seed funding opportunities for the commercial advancement of technologies.

Dr. Allen received a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics from Texas A&M University. She began her career as a genetics laboratory technician at ImmGen, Inc., confirming parentage of registered livestock, and subsequently joined MD Anderson as a research assistant in the department of Molecular Genetics where she cloned and characterized Xcart-1, a developmentally important gene.  She received her Ph.D. jointly from MD Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences with molecular-based research on sub-cellular RNA localization, completed in MD Anderson’s department of Molecular Genetics.

Dr. Allen worked as a Technology Analyst in MD Anderson’s Office of Technology Commercialization and then as a Licensing Associate. While there, she was responsible for assessing patent and marketing landscapes of new technologies, overseeing patent prosecution, establishing inter-institutional agreements with co-owners of joint intellectual property, developing and launching marketing strategies for the institution’s intellectual property, and negotiating and managing license agreements with biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and start-up companies.  She next was a Senior Licensing Associate in The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s Office of Technology Commercialization, where in addition to activities directly associated with commercialization of intellectual property, she was also responsible for institutional, UT System, state, and national reporting, export controls as it related to intellectual property licensing, agreement compliance, review of intellectual property language in sponsored research agreements, educational seminars, and personnel management.

Shara Avis

Strategic Business Development Specialist
Strategic Industry Ventures
Mid Campus Building 1 (1MC9.2139
Office: (713) 792-8139

Shara Avis, Strategic Business Development Specialist, joined the Strategic Industry Ventures staff in August 2013.  Shara establishes direct contact within the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, domestically and internationally, in order to bring new phase 1 clinical trials to MD Anderson.  Shara works very closely with the Investigational Caner Therapeutics department to facilitate growth of their clinical trials.

Shara double majored in kinesiology and psychology at Texas A&M University. During her undergraduate studies, she interned in the breast oncology department at MD Anderson, where her interest in oncology clinical trials began. Prior to joining the Strategic Industry Ventures team, Shara worked for several small pharmaceutical and biotech companies focusing primarily on radiation oncology.  Shara has managed very large territories in her previous roles and worked with international companies to assist development on radiation oncology staff worldwide.

Shara in an active member in the Houston Skyline Rotary club, where she participates in numerous community service activities. As a personal trainer since 2002, Shara enjoys training for triathlons and helping others to with their fitness goals.

Tracy Warren

Executive Assistant
Strategic Industry Ventures
Mid Campus Building 1 (1MC9.2267)
Office:  (713) 792-7714

Tracy Warren, Executive Assistant, joined the staff of Strategic Industry Ventures in April, 2013.  She is responsible for coordinating meetings and site visits with industry partners as well as managing the administrative functions for the office.

Tracy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  She worked as a publicist and became an accomplished media relations practitioner having placed clients on such venues as CNN and CNBC.  After several years in the public relations industry, Tracy joined The Methodist Hospital in Houston where she worked as a trainer and facilitator of their “Living Methodist Values” program.  Here she assisted the Vice President on many initiatives for integrating the company’s values throughout the hospital system.  

Tracy joined the Executive Recruitment department at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2006 helping to recruit candidates and coordinate their visits to MD Anderson.  Tracy later joined the Department of Anesthesiology supporting the Division Head, Chairman and several faculty members in an administrative function.  Some of her accomplishments while at MD Anderson include successful coordination of the 2012 Global Conference on Perioperative Medicine and serving as Fitness Ambassador for the department of Anesthesiology helping to increase employee morale and well being.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center