Katy Spink, Ph.D.


~20 years of C&GT operations experience, combining strategic vision and cross-functional technical leadership in the field

About Katy

Katy brings her deep experience as a corporate officer of publicly traded cell therapy companies for the past 10+ years to Dark Horse Consulting clients and partners. At Dark Horse she leads practice operations and business development as well as providing strategic and operational leadership for a wide range of client engagements.

Katy started her career at strategic management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where she consulted for an array of biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical companies on topics ranging from R&D strategy to marketing and business development. She then moved on to Geron Corporation, initially in a business development role, and quickly rising to Senior Vice President of Cell Therapy Program Operations and Alliance Management. While at Geron, Katy led the team to FDA clearance to initiate the first-ever clinical trial of a pluripotent stem cell-derived therapy, among many other accomplishments.

After leaving Geron, as an independent consultant, she served as interim COO for an ophthalmology cell therapy company, negotiated partnership terms between small and large biotechnology companies, wrote two successful translational medicine grant applications, and established a project workplan and investment stage-gating plan for a complex multiparty collaborative research project.

Most recently, Katy served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Asterias Biotherapeutics. She was a founding member of the company’s executive team and designed and led the portfolio prioritization process to establish a corporate strategy and operating plan at the company’s founding. She also led the design, build and validation of an in-house cGMP manufacturing facility for one of Asterias’s programs, and the selection and oversight of a CMO for a second program. Katy was integral in the growth of the company, which grew to over 60 employees after only four years. She wore many hats at Asterias with responsibilities ranging from corporate strategy, business development, intellectual property and investor relations to process development, research, program management, manufacturing, quality and facilities.


  • Authored CMC Quality sections for US, Canada, Japan and European regulatory submissions for 2 ex vivo genetically modified cell therapy products
  • Developed streamlined investor relations messaging for company preparing for IPO
  • Performed CMC due diligence on cell therapy company for VC firm
  • Performed strategic landscape scan to identify new market opportunities for two clients in the services and tools and technologies spaces.


Asterias Biotherapeutics
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Spink Consulting LLC
Founder & Lead Consultant

Geron Corporation
Senior Vice President — Program Operations and Alliance Management
Vice President — Program Operations, Regenerative Medicine
Program Director — Cardiovascular Disease
Director — Corporate Development

McKinsey & Company
Senior Associate


Stanford University School of Medicine
Ph.D. in Cancer Biology (Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow)

Rice University
B.A. in Biochemistry (Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

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