Donn RubinPresident & CEO at BioSTL
As founding President & CEO of BioSTL, Donn Rubin has helped lead systemic change for St. Louis, bringing new economic vitality and a transformational entrepreneurial culture that leverages the region’s world-class strengths in innovation, especially the medical and plant biosciences. BioSTL is a non-profit civic organization and coalition of university, business, and philanthropic leaders that ensure St. Louis has the financial, physical, policy and talent assets to support a dynamic bioscience and innovation ecosystem. In its early years (2001-2002), the group launched Cortex, St. Louis’ urban innovation district, and established BioSTL’s venture development and investment arm, the BioGenerator, now among the most active bioscience seed investors in the U.S. BioSTL enjoys wide acclaim for its innovative best practices, including recognition from the Brookings Institution, Harvard Business School, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and the Organization of American States (as a “Best Practice of the Western Hemisphere”).
Mr. Rubin conceived of GlobalSTL (the newest BioSTL initiative) to connect St. Louis with dynamic innovation hubs worldwide, starting with Israel in 2014, with the aim of enriching St. Louis’ innovation economy with high-growth companies, technology, and talent from overseas that bring competitive advantage to St. Louis. As a result, dozens of international companies have established their U.S. base or are otherwise deeply engaged in St. Louis.
Mr. Rubin co-founded the Innovation Advocacy Council, which promotes federal policy with Congress and Federal agencies that advances U.S. leadership in innovation and related economic growth. He has served under Republican and Democratic Governors of Missouri as a director (and as Chairman, 2005-2008) of the Missouri Technology Corporation, charged by the General Assembly with leading the state’s innovation-based economic strategy.
As founding chairman and president of Missouri Cures, a coalition of 70,000 citizens and more than 100 leading patient and medical groups, Mr. Rubin led the successful passage of the Missouri Stem Cell Research Initiative, or “Amendment 2” to the Missouri Constitution, approved by voters in what the Washington Post called the nation’s “emblematic election” of 2006. Mr. Rubin continues to lead Missouri Cures and its education foundation in advancing medical research and pro-science policies in Missouri.
Mr. Rubin’s background is in law, finance, and international development. During the 1990s, he assisted the post-communist governments of Eastern Europe reform their legal and health systems. He advised the Minister of Justice and the Constitution Drafting Committee of Albania, and provided counsel on legislation, foreign investment, and privatization of state-owned enterprises. He established and led pioneering, volunteer-based programs in nine Eastern European countries to help reform and improve post-communist health care systems, and served as consultant to the World Bank on legal reforms and institution building.
Mr. Rubin has provided leadership to many civic and non-profit organizations. He was named a “Pillar of the Community” in 2010 for contributions to the St. Louis region. The St. Louis Business Journal has named him among the “Most Influential St. Louisans” numerous times, and ALIVE Magazine recognized Mr. Rubin in 2015 as one of the “Bold Minds Creating a Better St. Louis.”
Mr. Rubin received his B.S. in Economics, summa cum laude, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School.