Thong Le, the managing director of WRF Capital, has been named chairman of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. Le was named vice chairman of the state’s leading biotechnology lobbying group in January, and assumed the new position from outgoing chairman Tom Clement recently. Le will remain employed at WRF Capital, a Seattle venture capital firm that invests heavily in the life sciences and medical device fields.
“I’m honored and delighted to serve our industry in this role as the life sciences sector in our state is one of the few bright spots of economic growth,” Le tells GeekWire.
At the WBBA, Le said he will continue to focus efforts on commercialization and translational research, making it easier for companies to raise money and highlighting relevant policies in Olympia and in Washington DC to stimulate the life sciences industry in the state.
Le said that the industry faces ”a lot of real challenges.” The big ones, in his mind, are reduced levels of federal funding in research; a tough funding climate for early-stage companies; an unpredictable approval process at the FDA; and volatility in the public markets.
“As an industry, we need to think hard about how we can help to better position our member organizations to be successful against this backdrop,” he said. ”I am encouraged by what we have to work with locally, and I look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to come up with specific, concrete measures to benefit our industry.”
Clement, the medical device entrepreneur who is stepping down as chairman, welcomed Le in the new role.
“From my perspective, I am thrilled that someone with the character and capability that Thong has is willing to dedicate the time to this leadership role at WBBA. Thong brings a new and unique perspective as one who has been responsible for investments across the many diverse aspects of life sciences that our organization represents.”