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2018 Advisory Committee

John Chambers, President and Head of Investment Banking, H.C. Wainwright & Co.

Mr. Chambers currently serves as President and Head of Investment banking at H.C. Wainwright and Co. Mr. Chambers joined HCW from Roth Capital Partners where he had been Vice Chairman and Head of Healthcare Investment Banking. In his 28-year career, Mr. Chambers has played a senior role in the Life Sciences/Healthcare Investment Banking groups at Rodman & Renshaw, Cowen, Lehman Brothers and UBS Securities.

Eric Cheng, Managing Director, Head of Healthcare Investment Banking, ROTH Capital Partners

Mr. Cheng is the Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Investment Banking at ROTH Capital Partners. Prior to ROTH, Cheng was with Maxim Group where he was Senior Managing Director, Head of Healthcare Investment Banking. Eric has over 20 years of investment banking experience and has completed over 130 equity, debt and M&A transactions, representing over $8.5 billion in aggregate value. He has advised and raised capital for a wide range of biotechnology, specialty pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare services companies. Prior to joining Maxim, Mr. Cheng was Director of Life Sciences Investment Banking at BMO Capital Markets and also co-founder and Senior Vice President of the healthcare investment banking group of WR Hambrecht & Co. He has also been an investment banker with Deutsche Bank Securities and Lehman Brothers. Mr. Cheng began his career as a public accountant at Deloitte & Touche.

Manon Cox, PhD, Transition Task Force Leader (former President and CEO), Protein Sciences Corporation (acq. Sanofi Pasteur 2017)

Manon Cox

Dr. Manon M.J. Cox, MBA has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Protein Sciences Corporation since April 2010, a Director since 2008, and is a member of the Nominating Committee. She joined Protein Sciences in 1998 as Director of Business Development and became Chief Operating Officer in 2003. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Pall BioPharmaceuticals and iCubed, the Board of Directors of United Way, Meriden & Wallingford, and the Netherlands-America Foundation and its Education Committee. Previously she was with Gist-brocades, a large Dutch company specialized in fermentation, where she held various management positions, most recently in New Business Development and before that in Production and Research and Development. Prior to joining Gist-brocades, she worked as a Molecular Biologist on the development of a PCR screening test for cervical cancer at the University of Amsterdam. Dr. Cox has received many honors and awards recognizing her stature as a leader in innovation and influenza, including in 2014 receiving a Doctorate in Humane Letters honoris causa from St. Joseph University and the Woman of Innovation award from the Connecticut Technology Council. Dr. Cox holds a Doctorate from the University of Wageningen, received her MBA with distinction from the University of Nijenrode and the University of Rochester, NY and holds a Doctorandus degree in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Biochemistry from the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Carol Gallagher, PharmD, Partner, New Enterprise Associates

Carol Gallagher

Dr. Gallagher joined NEA in October, 2014.  She is primarily focused on biopharma investments.  Carol is a proven entrepreneur, operator and more recently investor with more than 25 years of experience in commercial, drug development and business development roles.  Prior to joining NEA she was a Venture Partner with Frazier Healthcare and she served as an independent director on multiple Boards including Aragon Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired in 2013 by Johnson and Johnson for $650 million upfront and a total consideration of $1 billion. 

From 2008-2011, Dr. Gallagher was the president and CEO of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals that developed the first-in-class cancer therapeutic, CAL-101, now known as ZYDELIG.  During her tenure as CEO at Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Gallagher raised $80 million in venture financing and led the company to a successful exit with the acquisition by Gilead Sciences in April 2011 for $375 million and a total consideration of $600 million.  Gilead has continued to rapidly advance registration trials of ZYDELIG in patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma.  In 2014, ZYDELIG was approved in the US and Europe for three indications simultaneously.

Linda S. Grais, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ocera Therapeutics, Inc.

Dr. Grais has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. since January 2008 and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. since June 2012. Prior to her employment by Ocera, Dr. Grais served as a Managing Member at InterWest Partners, a venture capital firm from May 2005 until February 2011. From July 1998 to July 2003, Dr. Grais was a founder and executive vice president of SGX Pharmaceuticals Inc., a drug discovery company focusing on new treatments for cancer. Prior to that, she was a corporate attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she practiced in such areas as venture financings, public offerings and strategic partnerships. Before practicing law, Dr. Grais worked as an assistant clinical professor of Internal Medicine and Critical Care at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Grais received a B.A. from Yale University, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa, an M.D. from Yale Medical School and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Arca Biopharma, Inc. and PRA Health Sciences, Inc.

Nouhad Husseini, Vice President, Head of Business Development, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Mr. Husseini currently leads Regeneron’s Business Development team which is responsible for sourcing and executing in-licensing, out-licensing, and new collaboration opportunities. Prior to joining Regeneron in 2011, he held various positions at Genentech in Corporate Finance/M&A and Business Development where he was most recently responsible for sourcing and executing collaboration opportunities in Ophthalmology. Nouhad also has several years of previous experience working in Biotechnology Equity Research at both Morgan Stanley and Robertson Stephens. He received an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Leff, Partner, Deerfield Management; Chairman, Deerfield Institute

Mr. Leff is a Partner on the Private Transactions team and Chairman of the Deerfield Institute. He joined Deerfield in 2013, and focuses on venture capital and structured investments in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Deerfield, for more than sixteen years, Mr. Leff was with Warburg Pincus, where he led the firm’s investment efforts in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Mr. Leff has also been active in public policy discussions related to healthcare and medical innovation. He serves on the Emerging Companies Section Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and is a member of several not-for-profit Boards, including the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation, Friends of Cancer Research, and the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Advisors. In addition, he previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), and previously led NVCA’s life sciences industry efforts as Chair of NVCA’s Medical Innovation and Competitiveness Coalition (NVCA-MedIC). Mr. Leff received his A.B. from Harvard University, and earned his M.B.A. from The Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Michael Margolis, RPh, Co-Head of Healthcare Investment Banking, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Mr. Margolis serves as Managing Director and Co-Head of Healthcare Investment Banking at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. Mr. Margolis joined Oppenheimer from ROTH Capital Partners where he was Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Investment Banking group. Prior to ROTH, Mr. Margolis was a Managing Director of Healthcare Investment Banking at Merriman Curhan Ford and previously served as a senior vice president at Rodman & Renshaw. He had extensive financial and pharmaceutical industry experience before joining Rodman. Mr. Margolis worked at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in several roles, including as a director in the global business development and licensing group. He was an equity research analyst at Ursus Capital, and he began his career at Eli Lilly & Company as a senior pharmaceutical representative. Mr. Margolis throughout his career has executed a significant number of banking and strategic transactions across all healthcare sectors. Mr. Margolis is a registered pharmacist with an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a pharmacy degree from Rutgers University, College of Pharmacy. He is based in our New York office.

Timothy P. O’Connor, PhD, Executive Vice President, The Rockefeller University

Dr. O’Connor was appointed executive vice president of The Rockefeller University in February 2016. In this role, he oversees most university operations, including research support, technology transfer, facilities, and information technology, as well as finance, investments, human resources, and legal affairs. Working in partnership with the other executive officers, he provides administrative leadership to the university and represents the president both internally and externally. Dr. O’Connor joined the university in 2013 as chief of staff and vice president, offering high-level support to the president while overseeing the university’s day-to-day operations as well as its long-term initiatives, including the ongoing construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus. Dr. O’Connor’s career has focused on both biomedical research and academic administration. A native of Los Angeles, he majored in biology at the University of California, Berkeley; earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan; and worked as a postdoc in Jared Diamond’s laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1998, he set up his own lab at the City College of New York, and later moved to Weill Cornell Medical College, where he was appointed associate research professor and vice chair in the Department of Genetic Medicine. In 2009, Dr. O’Connor moved to Yale University, where he served as associate provost for science and technology. There, he helped administer financial resources and scientific support services for researchers working in diverse areas, including biosciences, physics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, and computer sciences, among others. Dr. O’Connor serves on the board of several not-for-profit organizations, including the New York Structural Biology Center, the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, NewYorkBIO, and the Friends of the East River Esplanade. He is also a board member of Accelerator Corporation, a biotechnology investment and management company.

Jason Park, PhD, Principal, Flagship Pioneering

Dr. Park joined Flagship in 2015 and focuses on life science investments. He is based in New York City, where he is helping lead the firm’s activities in the development of the city’s life sciences industry. Prior to joining Flagship, Jason was with the Boston Consulting Group where he was a core member of the Health Care, Strategy, and Technology teams. Jason led projects across a broad variety of topics, including early stage R&D, portfolio investment strategy, biopharmaceutical manufacturing, strategic and commercial due diligence, and global health. His time at BCG included wide geographic exposure, including years abroad as a member of the Mumbai and Paris offices. Earlier in his career, Jason was a director at an early stage biotech start-up focused on targeted drug delivery as well as the co-founder of an internet advertising firm. Jason holds a Ph.D., an M.S. and a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Yale University where he continues to serve as an external venture creation mentor. His research focused on the use of nanotechnology for immunomodulatory purposes and he is the author of several book chapters and numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Susan Peschin, MHS, President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance for Aging Research

Ms. Peschin, MHS, is president and CEO at the Alliance for Aging Research. While at the Alliance, Ms. Peschin has led efforts to: improve healthcare-associated infection surveillance and control, and antibiotic stewardship, in long-term care; significantly increase funding for Alzheimer’s disease and aging research as chair of the Friends of the National Institute on Aging (NIA); co-organize and fundraise for a first-ever summit on geroscience at the NIH; and produce an award-winning film on geroscience and extension of healthspan. Additionally, Ms. Peschin has led her colleagues at the Alliance to increase annual revenue by 10 percent in the most recent year; to update financial and grants management processes for the organization; to identify and secure several new funding streams; and to successfully transition with the organization’s founder. Prior to her current role, Ms. Peschin was vice president of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), where she successfully advocated for passage of health reform provisions for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their family caregivers; achieved a doubling of appropriations for the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program; co-chaired the Leaders Engaged in Alzheimer’s Disease coalition; and served as an advisor on the “Caregiver Initiative” included in the 2010 annual report for the Middle Class Task Force, chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. Ms. Peschin has published studies on cognitive screening, federal funding at the National Institute on Aging, and policy recommendations for implementation of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. Previous to her work at AFA, Ms. Peschin ran her own consulting business, offering lobby day training and strategic planning services. She also worked for more than 10 years in firearms violence prevention at the Consumer Federation of America and the Violence Policy Center, where she led advocacy efforts to pass the 1996 Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban. Ms. Peschin currently serves as a board member for the American Aging Association; as a Steering Committee member for the Coalition for Imaging & Bioengineering Research; and as a member of the Expert Panel on Respite Research convened by the Lifespan Respite TA Center at the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center in collaboration with the Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging. Ms. Peschin earned a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University and an MHS degree in Health Policy from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dennis J. Purcell, Founder and Senior Advisor, Aisling Capital

Mr. Purcell is the original Founder of Aisling Capital LLC and currently serves as a Senior Advisor to Aisling. Previously, he served as the Senior Managing Partner. Prior to Aisling Capital, Mr. Purcell served as Managing Director of the Life Sciences Investment Banking Group at Chase H&Q (formerly Hambrecht & Quist, “H&Q”) for over five years. While at H&Q, he was directly involved with over two hundred completed transactions and supervised over $10 billion of financing and advisory assignments in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products industries. During his tenure, BioWorld and other industry publications cited H&Q as the leading underwriter of life sciences securities. Prior to joining H&Q, Mr. Purcell was a Managing Director in the Healthcare Group at PaineWebber, Inc. Mr. Purcell is a frequent commentator on the industry and has been honored in the “Biotech Hall of Fame” by Genetic Engineering News, named to the Biotechnology All-Stars list by Forbes ASAP, honored as one of the top 50 Irish-American businessmen and cited as one of the top 100 contributors to the biotechnology industry. Mr. Purcell has served as a director of Aton Pharma, Bridge Pharmaceuticals, Cengent Therapeutics, Dynova Laboratories, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Valentis and Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals. He has served as a member of the Advisory Council at Harvard Medical School, the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Association, as well as the New York Biotechnology Association, the Irvington Institute and on the Board of L.E.K. Consulting. He currently sits on the board of Real Endpoints, Summus Global, Inc., Life Science Leader Magazine–Editorial Advisory Board, NY BIO Association and is a member of The University of Delaware Investment Visiting Committee Member. Mr. Purcell received his M.B.A. from Harvard University and his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Delaware.

Stephen M. Ritoch, Chairman and CEO, Blaise Group International

Stephen M. Ritoch is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Blaise Group International, Inc. (BGI), a leading retained human capital search and strategic services firm exclusively servicing Life Science organizations on a global basis.
Mr. Ritoch has uniquely structured BGI’s executive through board level search divisions into three niche market categories: Cell & Gene Technologies, Regenerative Medicine and Medical Device. Many of BGI’s clients are some of the world’s largest and well-known pharmaceutical and medical device companies, prestigious academic and not-for-profit organizations, middle market and emerging biotechnology, pure-play device and diagnostic companies.
Two years after the company’s inception Mr. Ritoch formed BGI’s strategic services division that further supports its clients by offering truly value added business development opportunities and organizational development solutions.
Mr. Ritoch has been an early technology enabler and pioneer within Life Sciences, Internet, and enterprise-wide technology solutions serving on the Board of Directors for MyPage, Inc. The first ever guaranteed safe and family appropriate Internet community, a hybrid of the World Wide Web and traditional “brick and mortar” retailing. Mr. Ritoch was also a member of the Board of Directors for Sports Zombie, a collaborative technology solution with a secondary focus for network television targeting amateur sport enthusiasts with a strong emphasis on athletic and sport health wellness. Additionally, Mr. Ritoch served on the Board of Directors of Craft, the “first-to-market” industry specific auction house, selling online B2B (business to business) to Fortune 1000 corporations and professionals.
Prior to co-founding BGI, Mr. Ritoch served on the senior executive search team of Lucas Group, a national executive search firm founded in 1970. Mr. Ritoch helped the company obtain a much larger market-share position for a desired future IPO (Initial Public Offering). Before Mr. Ritoch’s tenure with Lucas Group, he was an operations and business development specialist with a focus on growth strategies, corporate partnering, talent acquisition, human resource and organizational development. He served in many high profile capacities with a variety of domestic and multi-national companies.
Mr. Ritoch has been a serial entrepreneur with two prior successful start-up companies. The divestiture of these companies brought great value and a tremendous return-on-investment to all shareholders. Mr. Ritoch also is a noteworthy executive advisor and coach to many high profile and influential individuals in senior leadership roles within industry, academia and government institutions. He is also been a significant investor and collaborative partner in several biotechnology and high technology corporations. Mr. Ritoch is an accomplished writer and has been published in the business community, internal corporate enterprises, philosophy and ethics sectors.

Carlo Rizzuto, PhD, Partner, Versant Ventures

Dr. Rizzuto is a Partner with Versant Ventures and focuses on biotech investing and company building. Carlo joined Versant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals where he led global product development teams in the advancement of innovative pipeline products. He previously held the position of Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company advising US and European clients in the pharmaceutical, payor and provider sectors. Prior to joining McKinsey, Carlo helped found engeneOS, a Boston-based biotech startup. Carlo received a PhD in Virology from Harvard University and a BA in Biology from the University of Virginia.

Matthew Roden, PhD, Head of Strategic Corporate Development and Global BD Assessment, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Matthew Roden, PhD, is Head of Strategic Corporate Development, and Global Business Development Assessment at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he oversees the Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) and Search and Evaluation (S&E) teams. In this role, Matt works with leaders across the organization to recommend creative options and proactive strategies to expand the R&D and product portfolios. Prior to joining BMS, Matt was Head of Biotechnology Equity Research at UBS, covering the technical, strategic, and financial outlook for biotech companies regardless of therapeutic area. Prior to joining UBS in 2010, he was a Senior Analyst covering biotechnology at J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and launched his Wall Street career as an Associate at Credit Suisse First Boston. Matt holds a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and earlier was a pre-doctoral clinical research fellow in immuno-oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD.

Sapna Srivastava, PhD, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, Abide Therapeutics

Sapna SrivastavaDr. Srivastava has more than 15 years of experience as a senior executive in the biopharmaceutical industry and on Wall Street. She is currently Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at Abide Therapuetics. Previously, Dr. Srivastava held the position of Chief Financial and Strategy Officer at Intellia Therapeutics, where she played a key role in equity financings including taking the company public, and in setting the strategic direction of the company. Prior to that role, Dr. Srivastava spent over a decade on Wall Street as a Senior Biotechnology Analyst for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and ThinkEquity Partners, LLC. She began her career as a research associate at J.P. Morgan. Dr. Srivastava has also served as an independent strategic advisor for biotechnology companies focused on developing therapeutics, and co-founded a neuroscience-focused biotechnology company. Dr. Srivastava earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the New York University School of Medicine and her B.S. in Biology from St. Xavier’s College at the University of Mumbai.

Nassim Usman, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst Biosciences

Dr. Usman served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Catalyst Biosciences from 2006 until 2015. Since the merger with Targacept in 2015, Dr. Usman has served as Catalyst’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Usman joined Catalyst from Morgenthaler Ventures, where he is currently a Venture Partner. Prior to joining Morgenthaler in 2005, from 2004 to 2005, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Sirna Therapeutics Inc., which was subsequently acquired by Merck, and held various R&D positions at both Sirna and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, including Vice President of R&D and Chief Science Officer, from 1992 to 2004. Dr. Usman has overseen the entry of several drugs into clinical development, completion of multiple licensing deals with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and raised capital in both private and public financings. Dr. Usman was an NIH Fogarty and NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow and Scientist in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1987 to 1992. He has authored more than 70 scientific articles and is the named inventor in 130 issued patents and patent applications. Dr. Usman serves on the boards of directors of Mosaic Biosciences and Principia Biopharma. He received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from McGill University. In his doctoral dissertation, he developed a method for the solid-phase synthesis of RNA that is widely used in science and in a marketed RNA product.