Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

WARF appoints Deborah Keller board chair

Jeanan Yasiri Moe
Director of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
[email protected] | (608) 960-9892

MADISON, Wis. – Deborah Keller, an accomplished life sciences executive with extensive global experience in drug development, has been appointed Chair of the WARF Board of Trustees. Keller succeeds Dr. Jim Berbee, who will remain a WARF Trustee.

Keller served nearly 30 years at Covance Inc., including as CEO of Covance Drug Development. At Covance, Keller was responsible for $3 billion in revenue and more than 12,000 employees in 125 countries involved in all phases of drug development from late discovery to commercialization services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Keller retired from Covance in 2016.

“We are honored to have Deborah lead our WARF Board of Trustees,” says Erik Iverson, WARF Chief Executive Officer. “Her leadership is evident in all her contributions to WARF and UW and her expertise in drug development is an important complement to WARF and UW-Madison’s portfolio of work in this area.”

Today, Keller is the founder and principal with Black Frame Advisors LLC, which serves the health care and pharmaceutical industry. In addition, she serves as chair of Avalere Health and as a director for West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. Keller received Fierce Biotech’s Top 10 Women in Biotech Award and the Healthcare Business Women’s Association Rising Star Award.

“Serving our great public University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of our state’s greatest assets, through WARF is a true honor,” says Keller. “UW’s research community is one of the finest engines of innovation in the world, meeting the complex challenges of today and the future. WARF is a storied organization with a mission to support research and innovation and helping the citizens of Wisconsin and others around the world, ranging from developing life-saving medicines such as warfarin to funding environmental monitoring stations, part of the “Wisconet,” which aid agriculture and other industry in Wisconsin. The scope of technology and innovation advancements by WARF on behalf of the UW is vast and growing, allowing WARF’s 21st century contribution to the Wisconsin Idea.”

Keller holds a master’s in business administration (MBA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in business administration – accounting and another in chemistry, at Nazareth College.

Keller was first elected to the WARF Board of Trustees in 2017. Berbee, an emergency medicine physician and entrepreneur, served as Chair since 2018.

Keller lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

About WARF
Incorporated in 1925, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) patents and licenses discoveries from UW-Madison research, manages an investment portfolio generated from licensing and investment proceeds, and provides annual grants to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research to support further scientific investigation and research. By driving collaborations among researchers, investors, industry and entrepreneurs, WARF commercializes innovations from campus through various initiatives. WARF Accelerator improves the commercialization potential of university intellectual property through industry engagement and investment in proof-of-concept milestones to validate market potential, demonstrate commercial value and de-risk technology. WARF Therapeutics partners with UW-Madison and Morgridge Institute researchers employing an industry-focused approach to improve the value propositions of drug candidates. WARF Ventures is an early-stage venture fund that invests in startups based on UW/WARF technologies. Learn more at warf.org.