Jennifer Che, JD
VP, IP and Legal Affairs
Jennifer Che has over 18 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Axcella in 2015, she spent a year at Cerulean Pharma as a consultant advising on patent strategy, patent portfolio management, business development activities and contracts. Before Cerulean, Che worked for more than 10 years at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where she oversaw all IP matters for the company’s UK and Canadian sites in early-stage programs (oncology, microbiome-related inflammatory bowel diseases, tuberculosis) and clinical-stage programs (e.g., VX-970 for advanced solid tumors and VX-765 for epilepsy). Che began her career as a medicinal chemist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (now part of Takeda), developing small molecule inhibitors in the areas of oncology, obesity and cancer cachexia. She received her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School and her S.B. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Q&A with Jennifer
What do you like most about Axcella?
I love the energy and the people. I truly appreciate Bob’s [the CEO’s] investment in the company culture. He strongly values good relationships and encourages group activities that strengthen our team and culture (e.g., a group trapeze lesson!). It is by far the best culture I have ever experienced, and it’s definitely what makes Axcella a unique, fun and special place to work.
Who is your role model?
My mom. She left her country and career behind to start over in the U.S. She had to learn a new language, a new culture and raise a young family all at the same time. She is entrepreneurial and smart, and has successfully started multiple businesses. She makes the best out of every situation while always trying to find ways to help others.
What is your greatest non-professional accomplishment?
I won an international food blogging competition with my blog Tiny Urban Kitchen. There were over 2,000 contestants and 10 elimination rounds. I have never worked harder or pulled more all-nighters for anything in my life (and that includes my four years at MIT!). The final award was a cash prize that I donated to a local charity.
Favorite video game?
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you were younger?
Don’t fret so much about “what career should I pursue?” Now that I’ve switched careers at least once, I’ve learned that it does not matter so much what you do as much as who you are doing it with. If you work with really great people, you will really enjoy your job.