Hey, I'm Dan! I'm the CEO of Plus and a venture partner at Madrona. I write the DL, a newsletter about tech in the Pacific Northwest

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First Seattle IPO Led by a Female CEO

Over the last 20 years, 77 companies in Washington state have successfully completed IPOs, but none of them had a female CEO.

Athira Pharma will be the first Washington company to go public with a female CEO in over 20 years. Here are two great Geekwire articles about the company and Athira’s CEO, Leen Kawas. Some highlights:

  • Leen Kawas co-founded Athira Pharma in 2011 at age 26 while she was earning her (second) doctorate degree at WSU
  • She started as the company’s VP of Research and became CEO in 2014
  • Athira is a drug development company treating neurodegenerative diseases by restoring and building new connections in the brain
  • Their primary therapeutic candidate is a drug that could slow, halt, or re-establish brain function for patients with Alzheimer’s disease
  • They only have ~20 employees, but they’ve raised $100M+ of venture capital, including $85M in June (biotech is expensive!)

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