Board of Directors

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Board of Directors

Srinivas Akkaraju, MD, PhD

Managing General Partner
Samsara BioCapital

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Srini Akkaraju has more than 20 years of investment and operational experience in the life sciences sector. Since 2017, he has been the Managing General Partner at Samsara BioCapital, a venture fund focused on biopharmaceutical investments.  From April 2013 until June 2016, he was a General Partner and Senior Advisor with Sofinnova Ventures. Srini’s board memberships have included ZS Pharma (acquired by AstraZeneca), Piramed (acquired by Roche), Eyetech Pharmaceuticals (EYET), Synageva BioPharma (GEVA), Seattle Genetics (SGEN) and Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT). Previously, Srini served as a Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners and was a co-founder and Managing Director at Panorama Capital. Before forming Panorama, he served as Partner of J.P. Morgan Partners. Prior to J.P. Morgan Partners, Srini held business and corporate development positions at Genentech. He received BA degrees in both Biochemistry and Computer Science from Rice University and MD and PhD degrees in Immunology from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Jay P. Shepard

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Jay has more than 33 years of experience across pharmaceutical, biotechnology and drug delivery companies, most recently as an Executive Partner at Sofinnova Ventures, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm, where he leveraged his industry expertise in support of the firm’s portfolio companies and served as Executive Chairman of the Versartis Board of Directors since early 2014. Previously, he was President and CEO of NextWave Pharmaceuticals, a pediatric-focused company acquired by Pfizer; President and CEO of Ilypsa, a nephrology company acquired by Amgen; and interim President and CEO of Relypsa (Ilypsa’s spin-out company). Jay has extensive commercial experience, helping lead over 17 product launches and establishing and coordinating multiple sales and marketing operations. He previously served as Vice President of Commercial Operations at Telik, where he oversaw all commercialization and market planning activities for the company’s oncology programs. Jay was one of the early commercial executives at Alza Pharmaceuticals, where he was Vice President in the Commercial Operations group, having held leadership roles of increasing responsibility in its establishment, operations and commercial presence. Alza was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in late 2001. He began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Johnson & Johnson and Syntex Labs. Jay is a board member of Bullet Biotechnologies, Durect Corporation, Marinus Pharmaceuticals and the Santa Clara University Entrepreneurial School. Jay holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

Ed Jennings

Life Sciences Consultant

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Ed Jennings, a biotechnology industry consultant, had a key leadership role in Genentech’s commercialization of the first recombinant human growth hormone. During his 15 years at Genentech he also held a number of senior-level positions including Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Corporate Development. Most recently, Ed served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Angiogenix, Inc., directing all scientific and business activities at the cardiovascular biotechnology startup company. Previously, he was the Chief Commercialization Officer at Pain Therapeutics, where he was responsible for the company’s business development, marketing and sales functions, as well as leading the development of the company’s commercialization strategy. Ed began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Bristol Myers, where he managed sales and marketing functions for more than a decade.

Anthony Sun, MD

Biotech Consultant

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Tony Sun, a biotechnology industry consultant, has been involved in numerous life science company activities from company formation to fundraising to capital market exits to acquisitions. He has spent the last 13 years on the investment side of the business, first at Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceutical Fund and then at Aisling Capital where he served as Partner. Previously, Tony was an Adjunct Instructor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Tony received his MD from Temple University School of Medicine with A.O.A. honors. He received his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. In addition, he has been Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

Shahzad Malik

General Partner
Advent Life Sciences

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Shahzad Malik joined Advent in 1999. He came with a strong grounding in science and clinical medicine. Prior to joining Advent he spent six years practicing medicine, before joining the London office of management consultants McKinsey & Company. Here he served international clients in the Healthcare and Investment Banking sectors. During his time with Advent he has been actively involved with numerous investments in Europe and the United States in the biopharmaceutical and medical device arenas. Shahzad gained an MA from Oxford University and an MD from Cambridge University. He subsequently specialized in interventional cardiology while also pursuing research interests in heart muscle disorders both in the clinic and basic science laboratory.

John Varian

Former Chief Executive Officer
XOMA Corporation

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John Varian was appointed Chief Executive Officer of XOMA Corporation in January 2012 after serving as Interim CEO for five months. Previously he was Chief Operating Officer of ARYx Therapeutics and also served as its Chief Financial Officer. As Chief Financial Officer of Genset S.A., John was a key member of the team negotiating the company’s sale to Serono S.A. Prior to Genset, he was Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration of Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., joining the company as part of its acquisition of Neurex Corporation. Prior to the acquisition, John was Neurex Corporation’s Chief Financial Officer. Earlier, John was the VP Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Anergen Inc. and an Audit Principal/Senior Manager at Ernst & Young, where he focused on life sciences. He is a founding member of the Bay Area Bioscience Center and a former chairman of the Association of Bioscience Financial Officers International Conference. He has been a member of the XOMA Board of Directors since 2008. John received a BBA degree from Western Michigan University.

R. Scott Greer

Managing Director
Numenor Ventures

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R. Scott Greer founded Numenor Ventures, LLC, a venture capital firm focused on life science companies, and has served as its Managing Director since June 2002. Prior to that, Scott co-founded Abgenix, Inc. and from June 1996 through May 2002, he served as its Chief Executive Officer. He also served as a director of Abgenix from 1996 and Chairman of the Board from 2000 until the acquisition of Abgenix by Amgen, Inc. in April 2006. Prior to Abgenix’s formation, Scott held senior management positions at Cell Genesys, Inc., initially as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development and later as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. Scott currently serves as the chairman of the board of Calimmune, Inc. and is a director of Inogen, Inc., Sientra, Inc., StemCells, Inc. and Nektar Therapeutics, Inc. He previously served as chairman of the board of Sirna Therapeutics, Inogen, Inc. and Ablexis LLC and as a director of Illumina, Inc., Auspex, Inc. and CV Therapeutics, Inc. He has also previously served on the board of numerous private companies. Scott received his BA in economics from Whitman College, earned his MBA in business administration from Harvard University and was a certified public accountant.

Eric Dobmeier

Chief Executive Officer
Silverback Therapeutics

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Eric Dobmeier is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Silverback Therapeutics, a private Seattle-based biotechnology company.  Previously, he served as Chief Operating Officer of Seattle Genetics, overseeing business development, corporate communications, manufacturing and program/alliance management activities, as well as corporate strategy initiatives. While at Seattle Genetics, was directly involved in raising more than $1.2 billion in equity capital, and led negotiation and completion of multiple corporate alliances with leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to that, Mr. Dobmeier was with the law firms of Venture Law Group and Heller Ehrman LLP where he represented technology companies in connection with public and private financings, mergers and acquisitions and corporate partnering transactions. Mr. Dobmeier received a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law and an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.