Life Science Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Carolina Startup Services


Kay Wagoner founded and served as President and CEO of Icagen Inc., a biopharmaceutical company in RTP. In her time there, she negotiated licenses to technologies from more than two dozen major universities and also negotiated and led multi-million dollar strategic alliances with six major pharmaceutical companies. She took venture-backed Icagen public on the Nasdaq in 2005 and in 2011, led its acquisition by Pfizer Inc.

Prior to Icagen, Kay founded a nonprofit cardiovascular company that delivered a broad array of cardiovascular preventive and rehabilitation services. Today, this services company forms a valuable part of the UNC Wellness Center complex. She also held research management positions at Glaxo, where she initiated and led Glaxo’s U.S. ion channel drug discovery efforts in central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Kay has served on a variety of private, public and nonprofit boards of directors, including the N.C Biotechnology Center Board, the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Emerging Companies Board, the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Board of Visitors and the UNC School of Nursing Foundation Board.

She holds a master’s degree in nursing, is a Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiovascular Disease and holds a Ph.D. in physiology from UNC. Her clinical practice spanned multiple hospital and out-patient healthcare delivery settings, and additionally she served on the UNC Chapel-Hill faculty in the School of Nursing.

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