H. Lee Herron, DVM
Senior Vice President
As Senior VP, Dr. Lee Herron leads GRA’s agricultural technology programs, which includes recruiting outstanding scientific talent to Georgia’s universities and advancing the most promising ag technologies to boost Georgia’s farm and agri-business economy.
A key part of this effort is overseeing GRA’s Greater Yield initiative, which helps drive more university inventions to benefit Georgia farmers and food producers. The ingenuity of university scientists can help the ag industry meet such challenges as labor shortages, animal health, drought and crop disease. Lee’s efforts to tap and translate that ingenuity help strengthen the relationships between Georgia’s universities and the state’s agriculture industry.
Lee joined GRA in 2008 and directed its award-winning venture development program for 15 years. In that time, GRA successfully launched 200+ university-based companies that attracted more than $2 billion in equity investment. As a seasoned executive, Lee draws on his own 20 years of entrepreneurial experience to help Georgia’s faculty startups adopt sound business strategies and operational plans. As he explains, it’s not enough to just have a brilliant idea. “Successful entrepreneurs must be comprehensive in their understanding of what questions to ask.”
Prior to joining GRA, Lee managed the biosciences division of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), advising early-stage life science companies. In his earlier career, he founded SeaLite Sciences, Inc., a company that developed and commercialized diagnostic products and molecular biology reagents derived from a light-emitting protein found in jellyfish. He was also a founding team member of three other bioscience companies: Biopool International, Inc., CytRx Corporation, and Theragenics Corporation. Lee also worked with German biotech company BRAHMS AG to establish its North American operations.
Today, Lee serves on the board of the Southeast Life Sciences Alliance. He also serves on the scientific advisory board of Elias Animal Health, the Global Center for Medical Innovation’s Industry Advisory Board, the Biolocity Oversight Committee and the NSF Center for Cell Manufacturing Technology’s Commercialization Advisory Board.
Lee holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The University of Georgia; additionally, he completed an internship at Cornell University. He also studied experimental pathology at Emory University.