The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Ilka Wicke, director, Boehringer Ingelheim

A long-time member of pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim’s staff and a strong driver of innovation at the Germany-based company, Ilka Wicke came to the company nearly 20 years ago to explore new drug discovery approaches as head of an interdisciplinary research laboratory. Based in Ingelheim, Germany, she is a director at Boehringer Ingelheim and an investment manager at the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.

In 1999, Wicke made her first moves towards corporate venturing when she moved to a corporate development role at Boehringer Ingelheim in which she developed strategic partnerships and conducted negotiations of licensing and technology agreements. She earned a promotion in 2001 to director and led patent licence and research collaboration agreements with universities, other companies, and research institutes for the majority of the first decade of the new millennium. Throughout 2009 she played an integral part in creating the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.

Since its launch in 2010, Wicke has sat in the director’s chair at the fund. She actively seeks for seed and series A opportunities in the biotech sector, and has played a part in a number of deals. These include Boehringer’s 2013 seed investment into cancer metabolism startup MetaboMed, 2014’s $3.2m for anti-fungal firm Pcovery, and $22.7m for Université Catholique de Louvain’s liver treatment spinout Promethera Biosciences in 2012. In total, the unit currently has 14 portfolio companies.

Before coming to Boehringer, Wicke spent a year at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre after obtaining her PhD from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. While there, she worked on retroviral gene therapy, which stimulates anti-tumour responses. The research would lead on to Sloan’s contribution, along with intellectual property from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, to the creation of Juno Therapeutics, one of the main startups driving forward the promising immunotherapy treatments for cancer that can genetically alter white blood cells so they can identify and target tumours. Juno, launched in December 2013, would go on to raise $310m before completing its IPO within a single year.