About Us

Business Development Connections (BDC) was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 and is an independent consulting company that provides business development support to life science companies, contract research organizations (CROs), contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs), and consulting firms. We personally consult with our clients within pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostic companies to identify outsourcing, partnering, or investment needs from product development to commercialization. BDC will then connect our clients with qualified partners, investors or service providers within BDC’s network that are best suited to meet those needs. BDC’s services include the facilitation of quality connections, relationship management, follow-up and sales support to service providers.


Teresa Johnk
President & Founder of Business Development Connections
BS/MS in Chemistry, University of Memphis

Teresa began her career with Schering Plough's R&D Group as an analytical chemist, followed by a position with Oclassen Pharmaceuticals as Laboratory Supervisor, Quality Assurance and Project Management. In 1991, she moved to Cellegy Pharmaceuticals as Manager of Analytical Services, followed by Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences in Petaluma, CA, in 1994 as their first Project Manager. In 1998, Teresa moved to BioMarin Pharmaceuticals to develop their Program Management group. Teresa was responsible for six drug development programs there and played a significant role in the development and commercialization of BioMarin's first two lead commercial drug products; Aldurazyme® and Naglazyme®. In 2002, Teresa transitioned to Business Development with Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences to build their first Business Development group. Notable success with that endeavor led to the West Coast Business Development Director position for Azopharma in 2007. In November 2007, with 25+ years of experience, Teresa launched Business Development Connections (BDC), which provides business development support to service providers for the life sciences industry.

Outside of work, Teresa's charities of choice are Youth Tennis Advantage and EARN in San Francisco; and her most recent undertaking is W.O.M.E.N. ("Chicks in Charge")—a LinkedIn group she co-founded to promote philanthropy, opportunities, mentoring, empowerment and networking for women.

Steven Rausch, PMP
Chief Operating Officer

Steven is from the Reno/Lake Tahoe area in Nevada. He spent many years of his early career in IT, first as a programmer and then as a project manager.

He next joined an IT consulting group in San Diego with responsibilities for clients such as Toyota Motor Company, Accenture, Swift Transportation, Time/Warner, San Diego Zoo, Sutter Health, as well as the State of Hawaii, Arizona and the FAA.

He worked as Director of Operations for a Digital Blueprint Management Services and Technology Company based in New York City. Subsequently, Steven became interested in the resource conservation and energy efficiency industry spending several years supporting Franklin Energy, a top leader, with the growth of their business.

In 2014 he joined with several investors directing a successful medical product distribution startup based in Nevada as Vice-President of Operations and General Manager where he remains a partner today.

In 2016 he was hired by BDC as Chief Operating Officer helping the company in various roles such as administration, sales and marketing, contract negotiations, upgrading back office applications, and strategic planning involving the growth of new verticals for the business.

Courtney Johnk
Associate Director of Business Development & Marketing
BS in Business Administration & Entrepreneurship / Minor in Marketing, High Point University

Bay Area native Courtney Johnk is a business development and marketing professional who graduated as a Division I athlete with honors from High Point University in North Carolina. She began her career at the Queen’s Foundation, a local nonprofit, where she had a large role in the marketing and PR departments. Relocating to San Francisco, she then brought her experience to Yelp HQ as an account executive. At Yelp, Courtney managed 3,000+ accounts throughout the entire United States, gaining extensive sales and management training in building and maintaining business relationships, managing pipelines and exceeding quotas.

In 2015, Courtney joined BDC as the Associate Director of Business Development & Marketing and has since brought a new focus to the organization.

Outside of work, Courtney is a member of ISPE Young Professionals and Chicks in Charge. Courtney is a volleyball coach at Absolute Volleyball Club in Marin County, CA, and her charity of choice is Homeward Bound in Novato, CA.

Robert Decker
Clinical and Regulatory Consultant
BS in Biological Sciences / MS in Environmental Toxicology, University of California at Irvine

Rob is originally from San Jose, CA. He began his career as a biological researcher at Allergan Pharmaceutical in 1993 and was fortunate to work on a number of intriguing programs there, including Restasis®, which is now on the market for dry eye.

In 2000, he became interested in the clinical research field and joined Integrated Research as a clinical research associate. In 2002, his family relocated to Rohnert Park, CA, where he joined Dey LP as a Clinical and Regulatory Specialist. At Dey, he assisted with the management of a number of Phase II/III clinical trials while managing two Phase I trials.

In early 2003, he initiated a contract research position as a clinical trial manager with Genentech. He was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the multiple sclerosis clinical program under the direction of Dr. Craig Smith. He assisted with the management of a large Phase II trial while taking the lead on a smaller Phase I trial. Both of these studies were undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies in treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

In 2005, he joined forces with Teresa Johnk, Karen Chu, and colleagues at Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences as an Assistant Manager in the Clinical Affairs Department. At Dow, he managed a number of Phase I–III clinical trials and also supported significant regulatory submissions, many of which resulted in marketed product approvals in the dermatology space.

In early 2009, he joined BDC as the Director of Clinical Development, working closely with current staff and clients to develop new business in the pre-clinical and clinical research arena as well as to support new and existing clients with their clinical and regulatory development goals.

Todd Galles
Business Development Advisor
BA in Business Administration / IBLAS (International Business and Language Area Studies), St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI / Schiller College, Heidelberg, Germany

With more than 30 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical and biotech life science fields, Todd has accumulated vast and deep understanding of the life science business model. His experience is rooted in sales, molded in strategic and commercial marketing, and now leveraged in business development. Todd’s career began at Syntex Laboratories, where he stayed for nearly 15 years starting in field sales and hospital sales and then transitioning into numerous marketing and product management positions. He also worked at Dey Laboratories (Dey LP) for seven years and directed their corporate image development and numerous product launches. Todd’s next career move was to Santen, Inc., where he was Director of Marketing. In this role, Todd directed a commercial team of 12. Later, he served as Director of Strategic marketing and worked on prioritized global projects requiring market research and due diligence.

Over the years, Todd has gained experience in ophthalmology, dermatology, women’s health, rheumatology, orthopedics, respiratory care and pediatrics. He has worked with KOLs, advisory boards and advocacy groups. Todd has also gained experience in orphan indications requiring patient and consumer interface. Todd has also worked extensively in channel marketing for retail and homecare pharmacies. Additionally, Todd has worked with numerous CMOs and CROs.

Todd began consulting in 2008 and has done contract work for Mylan, Genentech, BioMarin and Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2011, he was contracted as Dow’s Director of Business Development and Sales for ophthalmic services; and in early 2012, he joined BDC as the Director of Business Development for key accounts.

Elise Brownell, PhD
Founding Partner, ZephyrBiotech, LLC
BS in Biology, Allegheny College / MS, MPhil & PhD in Biology, Yale University

Elise Brownell has extensive experience in senior project management and leadership positions in the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Most recently, she was a founding member, head of project management and senior director of Aerovance, Inc., a venture-backed biotechnology company spun out from Bayer Healthcare. At Aerovance, she created and managed effective team processes to bring four product candidates into full-scale clinical Phase I and II development. Prior to Aerovance, Dr. Brownell acted as head of project management for Bayer’s Biotechnology Unit, where she integrated project strategies to meet therapeutic and market needs. Other roles were directed toward building and negotiating partnerships with third parties to support the development programs and leading research teams through early bench-to-clinic development phases.

Dr. Brownell has been named a member of the Life Science Committee for Astia (www.astia.org), the nation’s premier entrepreneurial organization focused on women-led businesses. She is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Contract Pharma magazine and serves as chairperson for the Leaders Network of Women in Consulting (www.womeninconsulting.org).

Charles G. Chavdarian, PhD
Senior Pharmaceutical CMC Consultant
BS in Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor / PhD in Organic Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley / Postdoctoral Appointment in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco Medical Center

Charles Chavdarian is an industry consultant specializing in pharmaceutical research and development, QA/QC and regulatory CMC. He was formerly the Executive Director of Analytical Sciences & Regulatory CMC at Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences, Inc., in Petaluma, CA. He held earlier management positions at Syntex Corp., Penederm, ALZA Corp., Cellegy Pharmaceuticals and InSite Vision. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 25 years (and earlier in the chemical industry), his pharmaceutical expertise spans nearly every dosage form—including solid oral, parenteral, topical (dermatological and ophthalmic) and transdermal—and also includes commercial Rx, OTC and personal care products.

Dr. Chavdarian is the author of over 35 technical publications and patents. His strong technical background includes organic and analytical chemistry, analytical method development and validation, formulation development and manufacturing support (APIs and drug products), technology transfer, bioanalytical studies, quality control testing, stability testing, management of stability facilities and studies, and QA auditing of GMP laboratories and manufacturing facilities. He has also worked as Project Manager and Business Development Representative with client companies, where his duties included performing due diligence audits/inspections.

He has extensive experience with regulatory CMC, leading technical teams involved in the design and implementation of Phase I–IV stability programs, as well as the compilation and authorship of drug substance and drug product CMC sections for regulatory submissions (i.e., e-CTDs), both domestically and internationally (IND, NDA, ANDA, NDS, IMPD, CTA). In addition, Dr. Chavdarian has interacted firsthand with regulatory agencies (FDA, Health Canada, Europe) on many occasions (guidance meetings, pre-approval inspections) and has successfully worked on many approved drug applications (e.g., NDA, NDS and ANDA submissions).

Dr. Chavdarian rounds out his experience as a public speaker, presenting at technical workshops and conferences, including a recent national webinar on topical drug product development.

Jack J. McGovern, CPA
Financial Adviser & Consultant
BS in Accounting & Finance, California State University, Chico

Jack McGovern brings to BDC years of expertise in offering accounting, financial and operational support to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries.

Having started out in public accounting—specifically, at KPMG, serving both public companies and as a member of the Small Business Advisory Practice—he transitioned into a career in investment banking, focusing on structured asset financings (commercial aircraft) and M&A advisory roles. In these two capacities, he completed in excess of $3 billion in transaction financings.

Jack then held positions as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for both public and private (venture-backed) companies in the life science and technology industries, with primary emphases on strategy, capital (debt and equity) formation, operations and M&A activity. For the past several years, he has been performing these functions in an interim consulting role for start-ups and middle-market companies.

He’s now lending his skills and talents to BDC’s clients, providing them with outsourced accounting, financial and investment banking services, either for specific projects or to meet ongoing administrative needs.

Daniel E. Levy, PhD
Principal Consultant, DEL BioPharma
BS in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley / PhD in Organic Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Daniel Levy is an experienced organic/medicinal chemist who has contributed to the design of novel therapeutic agents targeting cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammatory disorders. In close to 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Levy has led interdisciplinary teams focused on kinase inhibitors, GPCR antagonists, matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors and cell adhesion molecules. His work is documented in ~30 peer-reviewed publications and 11+ issued/published U.S. patents. He is also the author/editor of three books addressing aspects of carbohydrate chemistry and mechanistic organic chemistry.

Having held positions at Glycomed, COR Therapeutics and Scios, Dr. Levy’s most recent role was as Director of Synthetic Chemistry at Intradigm Corporation, where he designed innovative nanopartical delivery vehicles for siRNA-based therapeutics. He has broad experience in the chemistry of amino acids/peptides, sugars/carbohydrates, heterocycles, polyethylene glycols and lipids. As a consultant, Dr. Levy provides strategic guidance and program implementation services to companies interested in small molecule drug discovery/development, diagnostics, drug delivery and microfluidics. Setup and management of outsourcing activities is a key service supporting these sectors. Additionally, he provides technical due diligence services, facilitates intellectual property development and supports the filing of grant applications.

For more on Dr. Levy's specialty services and areas of expertise, visit www.delbiopharma.com.

Rob Sterling
BDC Pharmaceutical/Business Development Consultant

Business executive Rob Sterling has evidenced his entrepreneurial acumen and record of success in several key positions throughout his illustrious career, including Vice President of Business and Project Development for Bioenvision, a start-up biopharmaceutical company that sold to Genzyme (a Top 5 International Biotech Company) for $345M six years after its establishment. In this role, Rob helped shape the company from a virtual business in 2001 to a commercial operation with a sales force and an EMEA-approved product in the European Union by 2006; he also successfully out-licensed three drugs/technologies during his tenure (with two others pending at the time of the sale) and acted as one of the public faces of the company, both to expand the investor base and raise operational funds in excess of $100M.

Prior to his role at Bioenvision, Rob was instrumental at Hoechst-Roussel for nine years, the first six in Sales and Sales Training and then as a member of the management tier of the North American Companion Animal Business Unit, which saw 100% growth under his three-year supervision. Furthermore, he has been part of the founding group for three other biotech companies, ranging from oncology to nutraceuticals, displaying his leadership in such capacities as participation on the Boards of Directors.

Rob now applies his past experience in veterinary pharmaceuticals and biotech start-ups by consulting in multiple key areas, including commercial evaluation; project formation, licensing, and partnership; and funding and leadership training for start-up companies.

Russell W. Blacher
Principal & Founder, Biopharmaceutical Development Consulting

Russ Blacher is an experienced research and development professional for biologic drug compounds (peptide, protein and antibody). He has spent more than 25 years bridging the gap between research and pharmaceutical development programs in a variety of corporate environments, from virtual biotech start-ups to big pharma. He has successfully turned academic research discoveries into viable drug candidates and advanced them into the clinic and through advanced-stage clinical trials. He has actively participated in the programs of several currently marketed biopharmaceutical products: human insulin (Humulin®), Interferon Alpha (Roferon®), Interleukin-2 (Proleukin®), anti-CD11a (Raptiva®) and anti-EGFR (Vectibix®). He is knowledgeable in peptide synthesis, protein manufacturing and purification, and analytical methods development; he is experienced in managing multiple outsourced contract manufacturing programs, process development/scale-up, analytical and biological testing laboratories as well as device development, clinical assay development, quality assurance and compliance; and he has authored the CMC section of regulatory submissions. Additionally, he is current in Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP).

Mr. Blacher has published 50+ scientific papers in the related fields of protein chemistry and was most recently the Senior Director of Biopharmaceutical Development at MDS Pharma Services.

Donald B. Anderson
Marketing/Business Consultant, Anderson Consult 1, LLC
BS in Biology, Alma College / MBA, Western Michigan University

Don has acquired an expansive bank of industry knowledge that allows him to deliver targeted and customized consulting expertise to assist clients in attaining their goals. He began his career as a field Pharmaceutical Sales Representative for Pfizer. He then joined the Upjohn Company, where he held positions on the domestic side of the business in Marketing Research and Product Management before moving to the International Division, for which he served as Product Manager, Manager of Marketing Research, and Director of Regional Marketing/Management. His 24-year tenure at Upjohn culminated in his role as Executive Director of Worldwide Strategic Marketing.

Following the Pharmacia-Upjohn merger, Don joined the CommonHealth Agency, securing senior positions in both its Advertising and Medical Education units. Since 2000, Don has been dedicating his talents full-time to his own consulting firm, advising all kinds of clients, from small companies to “big pharma,” from within U.S. borders to international enterprises. For each and every client, Don is able to offer multiple perspectives that truly bring added value. He enjoys both “guiding” and actually “doing” tasks, depending on the needs of the client.

Thomas V. Compton
BDC Consultant
University of North Carolina / MBA, Sacred Heart University

Tom Compton has more than 25 years of leadership and management experience in the successful operation of established pharmaceutical and start-up biotech companies. He has worked for large pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Bausch & Lomb, smaller companies such as Purdue Pharma and Dura Pharmaceuticals and early-stage companies such as Ligand Pharmaceuticals and Proveri, Inc.

His experience spans commercial operations, sales and marketing, new product launches, business development and product development. Tom’s domain expertise includes dermatology, pain management, aesthetic medicine, anti-aging products, medical diagnostics, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, ophthalmics, anti-infectives and anesthetics. His consulting services include market analysis, market planning, strategic and tactical planning, market research, development of Scientific Advisory Boards, development of Strategic Advisory Boards, publication planning and podium presentation planning and new product launch planning.

Shenna Moe
BDC Relocation Specialist
McGuire Real Estate / BRE# 01854690 / www.ShennaMoe.com

Shenna is dedicated to helping professionals relocate wisely by providing a high-quality relocation experience. She has a wide network of like-minded residential and commercial professionals at hand to cover relocation needs throughout the Western states. Organized, driven, and detail-oriented, Shenna brings her extensive background in banking and mortgage finance, as long as her talent for negotiation, to all her relocation assignments, ensuring success for her clients. She guides clients through buying and selling wisely at the best price possible, believing that home ownership creates community and is a sound investment that builds wealth over time.

Shenna’s business runs solely on referrals—a rarity in her industry that speaks to her skills in delivering expert analysis, giving honest advice, and producing outstanding results. She has always enjoyed being a trusted advisor and negotiator, starting with her first career on Wall Street as a municipal bond trader and portfolio manager in charge of tax-exempt fixed income trading at Montgomery Securities. She provided portfolio strategies and asset allocation recommendations for private clients and weekly market commentary broadcast company-wide. Prior to working in real estate, she was a top-performing Business Development Manager at IndyMac Bank, advising mortgage brokers on how best to structure loans.