Penelope Shihab

  • Current company MonoJo
  • Location Jordan
  • Industry Healthcare

MonoJO is a biotech company that uses research to create a variety of products, from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals, with unique MENA ingredients. Using its know-how of the regional environment, MonoJO aims to become the leading research company in MENA.

Born and raised in Palestine, Penelope Shihab always had her sights on merging her scientific background with her business acumen. She moved to Jordan in 1992 for her undergraduate studies, receiving her Bachelor’s in Laboratory Medicine. She later joined DAKO, while getting her MBA. She also received a PhD in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology from Cambridge University.

While working at the Higher Council for Science and Technology, Penelope dreamed about Jordan’s potential to become a thriving, world-renowned biotech hub. She partnered with Dr. Osama Al-Khaldi to launch MonoJO in 2005 as a biotech center dedicated to researching the benefits of the region’s massive reservoir of untapped natural resources. When Dr. Al-Khaldi passed away, Dr. Samih Darwazah became her mentor. Together they focused on improving biotechnology in the region.

MonoJO has three patents. Its association with the University of Cambridge gives the company credibility and exposure in the Middle East, along with access to advanced academic resources that would be otherwise difficult to obtain.

As a female CEO and scientist in the biotech industry in the Arab region, Penelope is a role model in the ecosystem inspiring others to pursue business in science.

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