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TN Biotech group confirms its new chair's resignation
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Leslie Wisner-Lynch, DDS, DMsc

Tennessee Biotechnology Association yesterday confirmed that its recently appointed chairwoman has resigned from the organization.

Leslie Wisner-Lynch, DDS, DMSc, a former member of the founding management team at BioMimetic Therapeutics, headquartered in the Cool Springs Life Sciences Center, had earlier this summer accepted the chairmanship offered by the TBA board of directors.

Responding to a series of VNC queries, Wisner-Lynch confirmed Monday she recently resigned the TBA chairmanship, her board membership and her membership in the association, itself.

Former TBA Chairman Robert Acuff, Ph.D., who served in the post more than five years prior to Wisner-Lynch's agreement to succeed him, told VNC yesterday he will honor a board request that he serve as interim chairman while a search for a successor is conducted.

Acuff is director of East Tennessee State University's center for nutrition research and devotes much of his time to public-affairs and government-relations duties for the Johnson City-based university.

Asked yesterday by VNC why Wisner-Lynch opted-out of the chairmanship, Acuff said he gathered that "after looking and talking with a bunch of folks," she "just felt she wasn't the person who would be best for the organization at this point."

Wisner-Lynch told VNC yesterday that TBA has an "exciting opportunity, in terms of what is truly possible," but in her view "the organization as a whole has some large decisions to make about how to move the organization forward, to be effective and to accomplish its goals."

She indicated she had communicated to TBA leadership the "strong sense of urgency that I think is called for" in pursuing those goals. She declined to elaborate.

As reported earlier by VNC, Wisner-Lynch and others influential in the state's technology-driven economic development efforts have long called for an aggressive, collaborative effort to seize transformative opportunities available through the burgeoning life-sciences sector.

Acuff noted that TBA faces financial and other challenges, including making TBA "more relevant" to its members, while also preparing for such events as the end of the Bredesen Administration in 2011 and the ensuing transition to a new gubernatorial administration.

Acuff said he hopes TBA will find "someone like Leslie who's in the industry," from within the ranks of TBA board members or beyond, to lead the 10-year-old organization.

Since her appointment in May, according to several persons close to the process, Wisner-Lynch and key members of the TBA board had begun intensely reviewing TBA direction, resources and priorities.

Although many of the state's business, science and technology influentials had gradually become aware of Wisner-Lynch's movement toward the TBA helm, Wisner-Lynch had yet to announce her appointment.

She told VNC yesterday she will now refocus her energies on the BioTN Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that aims to help cultivate businesses, careers and education focused on science and technologies within the life-sciences sector, with a major emphasis on workforce development.

BioTN was founded in 2007 by Wisner-Lynch and her husband, Sam Lynch, the founder and CEO of BioMimetic Pharmaceuticals.   Wisner-Lynch, who was BioMimetic's director of applied research, played a key role in the company's relocation to Nashville in 2000.

TBA President Joe Rolwing declined to comment for this story, when contacted by VNC

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Tags: , BioMimetic Therapeutics, BioTN Foundation, education, Joe Rolwing, Leslie Wisner-Lynch, life sciences, Phil Bredesen, politics, research and development, Robert Acuff, Sam Lynch, science, Tennessee Biotechnology Association, workforce

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