Sanford Zweifach (Chair)
Sandy is a senior executive with 25 years in the life sciences industry with extensive experience in the areas of corporate partnering, business development, operations, P&L, private and public investing, and capital raising. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nuvelution Pharma, Inc. Previously, Mr. Zweifach served as CEO of Ascendancy Healthcare, Inc., which he also founded. From 2005 until mid-2011, Sandy was a Partner at Reedland Capital Partners, a boutique investment bank, where he headed life sciences M&A and advisory efforts. Prior to joining Reedland, he was the CEO of Pathways Diagnostics, a biomarker development company. From 1997 to 2004, Sandy was a Managing Director/CFO of Bay City Capital, a venture capital firm and merchant bank specializing in the Life Science sector; in this capacity he also served as President of the firm’s M&A and financing divisions. From 1995 until 1997, he was President and CFO of Epoch Biosciences and led its acquisition by Nanogen in 2004. Sandy received his B.A. in Biology from UC San Diego and his M.S. in Human Physiology from UC Davis.
Casey Cunningham, MD
Casey is Chief Scientific Officer of Santé Ventures. In addition to providing technical and scientific expertise at a fund-wide level, he has served in formal operating roles in several portfolio companies including Beta Cat Pharmaceuticals, Terapio Corp. and Molecular Templates, serving additionally on the Board of the latter two, as well as on the Boards of AbVitro and Mirna Therapeutics. Casey was a founding member of the Division of Experimental Medicine at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and served as Associate Director of the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center in Dallas from 1999 through 2007. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed fellowship training in oncology and hematology at Harvard Medical School, where he subsequently served on faculty.
Jason Hong, PhD
Jason is a Principal at Third Point LLC, an event-driven hedge fund based in New York City. At Third Point, he is responsible for public and private investments across all healthcare subsectors. Before joining Third Point, Jason worked at Goldman Sachs, Polygon Investment Partners and Sanford C. Bernstein. Prior to Bernstein, he spent four years at McKinsey & Company, working with global healthcare companies in the areas of business development, post-merger integration and clinical program development. Jason holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University and a B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.
Tony Natale, MD (Observer)
Tony blends his extensive business, investment and company formation experience with a background in clinical medicine. He has invested across a number of therapeutic areas, including orthopedics, ENT, ophthalmology, drug delivery, GI, robotics and women’s health. A committed board member, Tony works alongside entrepreneurs to build out management teams, establish effective corporate governance and bring operational discipline to R&D and early commercialization efforts. He was previously with Prism Ventures and MDS Capital where he made and managed investments in the life sciences sector. Tony has been a founder, director and/or lead investor of several venture-backed life sciences companies. He trained in General Surgery and Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery before transitioning into entrepreneurial activities. Tony holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia, an M.D. from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and an M.B.A. from the Yale University School of Management.
Niall O’Donnell, PhD
Niall joined RiverVest® in 2006 as a Kauffman Fellow and became a Managing Director in 2014. At RiverVest, he acted as interim Chief Medical Officer at Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was central to the development and execution of its clinical strategy prior to the company’s acquisition by Shire plc. He also served on the board of Excaliard Pharmaceuticals, Inc., acquired by Pfizer Inc. Niall helped co-found and seed Excaliard. He was an observer at Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., acquired by Aptalis Pharma, and at Otonomy, Inc., which completed its initial public offering. Prior to joining RiverVest, Niall spent five years as an immunologist at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development in San Diego. He was part of a successful cross-disciplinary team of chemists and biologists that drove small molecule anti-inflammatory drugs into clinical trials. Niall earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee, Scotland, M.A. in Biochemistry from Pembroke College, Oxford, and M.B.A. from the Rady School of Management of the University of California, San Diego.
David Wurtman, MD, MBA
David is President & CEO and co-founder of Lyric Pharmaceuticals. He is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with over 15 years of leadership roles in industry, and prior to Lyric, served as Vice President of Medical Affairs & Product Development at Kineta. David has had a successful career as an independent corporate & product development consultant and held senior positions at Protein Design Labs in corporate and commercial development and at Eos Biotechnology, Genzyme and S.G. Cowen in business development and related areas. He has executed numerous licensing and partnering transactions and successfully raised funds from both U.S. government and venture sources. David received his B.A. from Harvard College, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He completed a primary care internal medicine residency at Mt. Auburn Hospital, a Harvard teaching hospital and practiced Primary Care at Harvard Community Health Plan. He has been board-certified in Internal Medicine.