Leen Kawas is President and CEO of Athira Pharma, Inc., a drug development company striving to improve human health by advancing new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Leen has led the company in business and financial growth through two oversubscribed financing rounds. The funds raised will support and accelerate growth of the company and take the lead candidate through the early stages of human testing.
For her leadership and accomplishments at Athira Pharma, Inc., Leen has won many awards and recognitions including: GeekWire Startup CEO of the Year (2019), 40 under 40 in Life Science Leader (2017), PharmaVOICE 100 honoree (2017), Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Association of Washington Business (2016), was selected as one of EY’s Winning Women Entrepreneur (2016), 40 under 40 award from the Puget Sound Business Journal (2016), Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist for EY (2016) and a Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist for GeekWire (2016). She was named one of Seattle’s Most Influential People by Seattle Magazine (2015) and one of the Women to Watch in Life Sciences by the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (2015). As a company, Athira was also named as a finalist for Health Innovation of the Year (2019) and one of Seattle’s 10 hottest startups (2016), both by GeekWire.
She also serves on multiple boards, including the Washington Governor’s Life Science Advisory Board, the Scientific Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association-Washington Chapter Board, She also co-chairs the International Alzheimer’s Association Business Consortium.
She earned a doctorate in molecular pharmacology from Washington State University in 2011, and received the Harriett B. Rigas and Karen DePauw awards for academic achievement and leadership skills. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD.) from the University of Jordan (2008). Dr. Kawas also completed the Executive Training Program at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington (2014).