Industry experience
spans broad and deep.

Our clients range from start-ups to established companies, venture capital firms, research institutions and government agencies.  We provide a single source of resources to companies whose growth needs exceed their internal resources.

Sectors we serve

  • Therapeutics
  • Bio-Manufacturing
  • Diagnostics
  • Oncology
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Research Tools

Fields of expertise

  • Technology & Opportunity Assessment
  • Strategic Planning & Partnering
  • Due Diligence
  • Business Plans
  • Investor Presentations
  • Market Research
  • Preclinical & Clinical Development

High expertise. High touch. High impact.

Nelsen Biomedical team members bring a valuable blend of expertise and real world experience to our clients. Our consultants are all industry veterans, experienced at growing life science companies from the inside out. We’ve brought new drugs to market, put new diagnostics into use, invested in, and grown businesses. We pledge to deliver outcomes with high impact. Outcomes achieved through extending your capabilities with our knowledge and networks.

Our clients attest to the passion we bring to each project and have even referred to Nelsen Biomedical as an “arm to their business”.

It’s not just theory, it’s practice. Made perfect.

Team Members

Barbara Nelsen, PhD, MBA

Barbara Nelsen is the founder of Nelsen Biomedical. She brings more than 20 years of experience in R&D, business, and strategic development within life science industry.

Barbara has extensive experience in moving technology from concept to commercialization, developing business models, implementing business plans, and creating strategic partnerships and market expansion activities.

Barbara has truly sat on all sides of the table. She has been an investor (Sofia Fund, Northern Lights Seed Fund), and a scientific investigator (Brandeis University, The Whitehead Institute). She has worked in the industry in both research and development (Director, Cancer Therapeutics and Diagnostics the Austin Institute Australia) and in business development (MGI Pharma). She uses her broad experience, deep expertise, and extensive networks to create successes for her clients.

Barbara holds both a PhD in molecular biology and an MBA.

Barbara offers a wonderful combination of strategic perspective and a strong work ethic.
Jessica Zeaske Lehmi Ventures

John R. MacDonald, PhD, DABT

John has had over 25 years of experience in all aspects of pharmaceutical drug development and licensing. He led the preclinical and clinical R&D efforts at MGI Pharma, a Twin Cities based oncology-focused company, from 1996 until retiring as Senior VP R&D at the end of 2005. At MGI John oversaw the FDA approval of several new drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, supportive care of cancer patients and patients with autoimmune disease. He served as a member of the MGI corporate management team that built the company through product and company acquisitions that culminated in the acquisition of MGI by Eisai, Inc.

John is a board certified toxicologist and prior to joining MGI worked in pathology and experimental toxicology in the Parke-Davis Research Division of Warner-Lambert participating in the early development of numerous well known therapeutics.  He is currently active in drug development as the CEO of PepTx, Inc. John is an active consultant to pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, serves of the Board of Discovery Capital, and is an advisor to the Office for Technology Commercialization and to the Committee for Pharmaceutical Development.

John has successfully brought numerous drugs from pre-IND to FDA approval for one or more indications. He is the person I most rely on for thoughtful advice on drug development strategies.
Sheri Smith, President Courante Oncology

Joanne Chang, MBA

Joanne has over 10 years of experience in strategic and operations consulting in the pharmaceutical, medical device and health IT industries. She is a graduate of MIT and earned her MBA from Harvard. She has worked for Oliver Wyman, PRTM (now Price Waterhouse Cooper). Joanne has a strong life sciences startup background, including strategic finance, marketing and business development.

Jeff Baker

Jeff brings over 25 years of Senior Executive experience from the Pharmaceutical and Medical Diagnostics arena. Areas of expertise include progressive sales, sales management, marketing, marketing management, new product development, market development and franchise leadership experience. Jeff’s former positions inlcude General Manager of US Virology at Alere and Director of HIV Marketing at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Margi Hamilton

Margi brings over 25 years of business and marketing management. She received her Bachelors of Science degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. Her career includes both advertising agency side where she led account teams working with DuPont Pharma, Sandoz and MGI Pharma. She worked for MGI Pharma as Director of Marketing and then as the Business and Finance Manager for Quest Food Management, Inc. located just outside Chicago.

Brittni Peterson, PhD.

Brittni has 8 years of preclinical research experience with a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. She brings her experience in project management, market research analytics, opportunity assessment and strategic planning that she’s gained through her work with the University’s Office for Technology Commercialization, Office of Discovery and Translation, and Nelsen Biomedical. The combination of her strong life sciences background and business experience provide her with the skillset necessary for mastering the business of science™.

Michelle Smith, Intern

Michelle has 9 years of preclinical research experience in stem cell biology, transplant immunology, biochemistry and analytical chemistry. As part of her internship at Nelsen Biomedical, Michelle brings her domain expertise and scientific background in cell and regenerative medicine with her strong analytical strengths to provide market research and analysis, and marketing communications. Michelle will be completing her PhD in Immunology from the University of Minnesota fall of 2016.

Xiaobai Patrinostro, Intern

Xiaobai Patrinostro has over 10 years of preclinical research experience in developmental biology, hematology, biochemistry and molecular biology. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Minnesota. Xiaobai brings her strong organization and analytical skills to Nelsen Biomedical and is gaining valuable business experience in market research and communications.

Talent Sharing

As part of our commitment to support innovative growth in the life sciences, we provide advisory services and domain expertise pro bono to the following incubators, government agencies and start-up organizations:


The Mission of iBIO Institute’s PROPEL Center is to increase the number and success rates of life science start ups in Illinois.

MN-REACH Program

University of Minnesota’s unique program that helps ensure that the most promising new medical technologies and pharmaceuticals make it to market.

Discovery Capital

The Discovery Capital Investment Program provides seed funding to startup companies based on University of Minnesota technology to kick-start the transfer of university inventions to the market.