Sheila Mikhail founded Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio) in 2001 and set out on a mission to bring life-changing drugs to patients in desperate need. Started during a time when gene therapy was not thought of as a realistic therapeutic approach, AskBio went without a round of funding for more than 15 years.
With the belief that their therapeutics could change the world, Sheila, her co-founder Jude Samulski and their team persevered. Over the course of 20 years, Sheila transformed AskBio into a gene therapy pioneer with an established global operation of more than 350 employees. In 2020, AskBio was acquired by Bayer AG for $4 billion.
Sheila was recently named Ernst & Young’s 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award Winner. Among her many notable accomplishments, Sheila’s commitment to diversity and inclusion stands out — today, 41 percent of AskBio’s leadership positions are held by women, which is significantly higher than other biotech companies.
On December 13, Sheila sat down with MATTER CEO Steven Collens to discuss her entrepreneurial journey, her perseverance and vision for AskBio and lessons she has learned along the way.