Board of Directors
Leon Chen Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Leon Chen. has been a Venture Partner with OrbiMed Advisors since 2013 where he plays a dual role both as founder and CEO of biotechnology companies in the OrbiMed portfolio as well as investing private healthcare companies. He started his career as a co-founder of KAI Pharmaceuticals, a company he started based on his graduate work at Stanford University. Amgen acquired KAI in 2012, which led to the approval of Parsabiv, a novel therapy for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism.
In his career Leon has started numerous biotechnology companies both as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Venrock and as a Venture Partner at OrbiMed in a variety of therapeutic areas. As a venture capitalist, he has invested and serves on the board of numerous therapeutic and diagnostic companies.
Leon holds a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology at Stanford, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Chemical and Systems Biology Department at the Stanford School of Medicine.
Peter Thompson M.D.
Private Equity Partner, OrbiMed
Peter Thompson, M.D., is currently a Private Equity Partner with OrbiMed who brings over 25 years of industry experience. He held executive positions at Becton-Dickinson and Chiron, co-founded and was CEO of Trubion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TRBN), co-founded Cleave BioSciences and Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CRVS) and serves as a Director on several public and private company Boards. Dr. Thompson is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awardee, an Affiliate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington, an inventor on numerous patents and a board-certified internist and oncologist. He was on staff at the National Cancer Institute following his internal medicine training at Yale University.
Judith J. Li
Partner, Lilly Asia Ventures
Judith J. Li, is a Partner at Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV), based in Hong Kong / Shanghai and focused on early and growth stage investments across biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics both domestically and cross-border. Her prior experience includes McKinsey's New York office, hospital administration at Partners Healthcare, and co-founding an interventional nephrology medical device venture. Judith holds a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and currently resides in Hong Kong with her husband Ben, splitting her time between Hong Kong, Shanghai, and the Bay Area.
Partner, Novo Ventures
Peter joined Novo Ventures (US) Inc. in San Francisco, California in 2012. He is chairman of the Board of Directors of Allakos Inc., and a member of the Board of Directors of Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bolt Therapeutics, E-Scape Bio. Spruce Biosciences and Tioma Therapeutics. Previously, he was a board member of Cytochroma Inc., HemoFocus ApS, Neurokey A/S and Orphazyme ApS.
From 2009-2012, Peter was employed with Novo A/S as a partner in Novo Ventures. In 2004, Peter co-founded Curalogic A/S, served as CEO until 2009 and took the company public in 2006. From 2000-2004, he was Chief Operating Officer of 7TM Pharma A/S, which he also co-founded. Previously, he worked for 11 years with NeuroSearch A/S, where he was responsible for all aspects of pre-clinical and clinical drug development.
Peter holds a PhD in medicinal chemistry from the Royal Danish School of Pharmacy. He has also been a post doc with Yale University's department of organic chemistry.
Partner, Novartis Venture Fund
Giovanni Ferrara is a Venture Partner in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining NVF, he was a consultant to leading west coast venture capital firms and portfolio companies. Most recently, Giovanni was consulting Chief Business Officer to Sorbent Therapeutics. Previously, he was Managing Director and General Partner at Burrill & Company and began his venture capital career at GeneChem Management, where in addition to investing, he held operating positions in portfolio companies, including CEO of Targanta Therapeutics (then PhageTech, Inc.). He began his career in healthcare as a pharmacist at a cancer treatment center researching experimental therapies. He received his MBA and MSc from McGill University. Giovanni serves on the board of Thesan Pharmaceuticals, E-scape and NeuroVia.
Asish K. Xavier Ph.D.
Vice President, Venture Investments Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc.
Asish is based in the Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center in South San Francisco, CA. Asish focuses on venture investments in biotechnology and diagnostics. Asish joined JJDC in 2004, and has led or co-led investments in over 20 biotech, diagnostics and medtech deals.
Asish previously worked in business development at BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corporation (King of Prussia, PA) which was acquired by Pfizer in 2007. While at BioRexis, he assisted the company in raising a $30 million round of financing. Asish has worked in business development at Structural GenomiX, Inc. (San Diego, CA), acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008; and, was a project leader at Message Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Malvern, PA).
Asish received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston and a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors. He received a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. Asish was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University.
R. Sanders (Sandy) Williams M.D.
President, Gladstone Institutes
R. Sanders (Sandy) Williams, MD, is a physician-scientist and biomedical executive. He serves currently as President of the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and Professor of Medicine at UCSF. Gladstone scientists seek deep knowledge of human biology leading to cures for unsolved diseases of the brain, the heart, and the immune system. He previously served as: Dean of the School of Medicine at Duke University; founding Dean of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore; and Chief of Cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was educated at Princeton University and Duke School of Medicine, and pursued advanced training in science and medicine at Harvard (Massachusetts General Hospital), Duke, Oxford University, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He is active at the interface between academia and life science industries, serving currently as a Director of Amgen and of the Laboratory Corporation of America. Dr. Williams is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine.