Leen Kawas

Entrepreneur and Pharmaceutical in Seattle, Washington

Visit my website

Dr. Leen Kawas is a scientist, CEO and entrepreneur. She’s made strong headway in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and is known for her work as co-founder and CEO of Athira Pharma, formerly M3 Biotechnologies Inc. She is also a strong supporter of entrepreneurs in the field of science, and especially wants to support women in her industry. As just one of a select number of female founders to ever lead a company to an IPO, it’s important to her to level the playing field.

Professional Accolades

Dr. Kawas has received several professional honors and awards throughout her career, including:

  • Endpoints 20(+1) under 40
  • Life Science Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
  • French-American Foundation Leader
  • Alzheimer’s Cure Coin Award
  • BioSpace 7 Millennial Influencers in the Biotech Industry
  • GeekWire Startup CEO of the Year
  • Life Science Leader 40 under 40
  • PharmaVOICE 100 honoree
  • Association of Washington Business Entrepreneur of the Year
  • EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women
  • Puget Sound Business Journal 40 under 40 award
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist
  • GeekWire Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist

She was also named one of the Most Influential People by Seattle Magazine and a Woman to Watch in Life Sciences by the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association.

In addition to Dr. Kawas’ personal accolades, Athira was also named as a finalist for Health Innovation of the Year and as one of Seattle’s 10 hottest startups by Geekwire. As President and CEO of the company (from 2014 – 2021), her tenure was marked by both financial and technological growth.

Pushing the Envelope

Dr. Kawas received a doctorate in molecular pharmacology in 2011 and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Jordan in 2008. She also completed the Executive Training Program at the University of Washington in 2014. This ambitious professional is known for getting her work into the public eye and educating venture capitalists so they understand what her company’s compounds can do.

While neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s have no known cure, researchers continue to seek ways to restore cognitive and motor functionality. At Athira, she invented several drug candidates, including its leading candidate ATH-1017.

Dr. Kawas will continue to search for solutions that improve people’s lives. As a dedicated researcher, inventor and entrepreneur, her work is critical to the industry.