Leadership

Director

Bill Wiesler's picture
Bill Wiesler, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale
Address: 433 Temple St, New Haven, CT 06511-6803
Phone: 203-432-5406
Fax: 203-436-8086

Bill Wiesler is the Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, a $10 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation that supports efforts to turn Yale faculty discoveries into life science treatments, drugs and devices.

He is also serving as the Director of New Ventures at OCR, a position he has held since 2002. In that role, he works with Yale faculty and students to form new ventures based on Yale technologies of all types, including biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, cleantech, and software. Since 2003, Yale has spun out 57 new companies that have raised over $830 million in venture investment. Bill has played a key role in recruiting entrepreneurs and capital for over half of these ventures and has held numerous Board and Observer seats. He currently serves as a Board Observer of: IsoPlexis, a company developing a single cell immunoassay device; NanoEngineering Corporation, a biosensor company; and TransImmune AG, a company developing ECP-based dendritic cell therapy.

Prior to joining OCR, Bill was with McKinsey & Company, where he served senior management at four of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies on a range of strategic and business development issues. Prior to McKinsey, Bill was with Radius Ventures, a startup and early-stage venture capital firm focused on the health and life sciences industry. Earlier, Bill held research positions at Cadus Pharmaceutical Corp., where he headed drug discovery, and at University of Colorado, where he was an American Cancer Society fellow.

He is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, and earned both an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University.

Board Chairman

Fred Cohen's picture
Fred Cohen, D.Phil, M.D.
Co-Founder

Fred Cohen is a Founder and Senior Managing Director of Vida Ventures, a Biotechnology investment group.  Prior to this, he was a Partner at TPG and co-founder of TPG Biotechnology, a life science focused investment effort.  During his 15 years at TPG,  he was responsible for co-leading the Biotechnology investment effort. The TPG Biotechnology team has invested in over 50 companies covering areas of Drug Discovery and Development, Personalized Medicine, Allied Pharmaceutical Services, Industrial Biotechnology and Medical Technology.  For the last 30 years, Dr. Cohen has been at UCSF where he has had clinical responsibilities as an Internist for hospitalized patients, a consulting Endocrinologist, and as the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Prior to joining TPG, he was a Professor of Medicine, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, and Biochemistry and Biophysics.  His research interests include structure based drug design, prion diseases, computational biology and heteropolymer chemistry.  Dr. Cohen has published over 200 peer reviewed articles, participated as a co-inventor on over 10 patents and has served as an editor or editorial board member of several international scientific journals.  Dr. Cohen received his BS degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, his D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, his MD from Stanford and his postdoctoral training and postgraduate medical training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at UCSF.  Dr. Cohen is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Cohen currently serves on the Board of Directors of several biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations including BioCryst, CareDx, Cell Design Labs, Five Prime Therapeutics, Genomic Health, Progyny, Tandem Diabetes, Urogen and Veracyte.

Investment Advisory Board

Stephen Knight's picture
Stephen Knight, M.D., M.B.A.
President & Managing Partner

Stephen Knight joined F-Prime Capital in 2003 where he serves as President and Managing Partner. He has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for over 25 years and invests broadly across healthcare.  Steve serves on the Board of Directors of Innovent Biologics, Iora Health, Pulmocide, Semma Therapeutics and Denali Therapeutics. Steve previously served on the boards of several private and public health care companies including, Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ: BPMC) FoldRx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD), NextWave Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Proteostasis Therapeutics (NASDAQ: PTI), and Respivert, Ltd (acquired by J&J).

Prior to joining F-Prime Capital, Steve held various senior management roles in private and public biotechnology and consulting companies. He also was a researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories, the National Institutes of Health, and Yale University. He holds an M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine, an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Organization and Management and received a B.S. in biology from Columbia University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Liam Ratcliffe's picture
Liam Ratcliffe, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
Head of Life Sciences

Liam Ratcliffe is the Head of Biotechnology at Access Industries, a privately-held multi industry investment group based in New York that invests in private and public companies.  Liam leads Access Biotechnology investment strategy, a strategy which is broad, long term and aims to enable innovative therapeutic platforms and products across three key stages: company foundation; technology translation and company expansion.  Prior to leading life sciences at Access Industries, Liam was a Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners, and concentrated on biopharmaceutical investing. Liam joined New Leaf in September 2008. Liam previously served as Senior Vice President and Development Head for Pfizer Neuroscience, as well as Worldwide Head of Clinical Research and Development. He worked for Pfizer for a total of 12 years.

Liam began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in a medical marketing role at Roche in South Africa. He received his medical degree and Ph.D. degree in immunology from the University of Cape Town and his M.B.A. degree from the University of Michigan. 

Jason Rhodes's picture
Jason Rhodes, M.B.A.
Partner

Jason Rhodes is a partner at Atlas Venture and focuses on the creation, development, and business strategy of novel therapeutics companies. He is the chairman and was the founding CEO of Generation Bio, and is the executive chairman and acting CEO of Disarm Therapeutics. He sits on the boards of Atlas portfolio companies Replimune (NASDAQ: REPL), Accent Therapeutics, Gemini Therapeutics, Bicycle Therapeutics, and several seed-stage companies. Prior to joining Atlas, Jason was president of Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM), which he joined when it was a private, research-stage company and helped lead through a series of successful partnerships and an IPO in 2013. Prior to that Jason led business development at Alnylam (NASDAQ: ALNY), and he was a founder and partner with Fidelity Biosciences before that. Jason received his BA from Yale University and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the advisory board of the Harvard Institute for RNA Medicine, the investment advisory board of the Blavatnik fund at Yale, and the Berklee College of Music Presidential Advisory Council.

 
Stacey Seltzer's picture
Stacey Seltzer, M.B.A.
Partner

Ms. Seltzer joined Aisling in 2008 and currently serves as a Partner. Previously, Ms. Seltzer was at Schering-Plough, where she held roles in business development, marketing and sales, most recently serving as the U.S. Schering-Plough Brand Lead for Zetia. While in business development, Ms. Seltzer was involved in the structuring and negotiation of several deals with an aggregate value in the billions, ranging from in-licensing deals to broad development and commercialization alliances. Prior to Schering-Plough, Ms. Seltzer was the Director of Business Development for Akceli, a biotechnology company developing cell-based microarrays. Ms. Seltzer began her career as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.

Ms. Seltzer serves as a director of Aimmune Therapeutics and Promentis Pharmaceuticals, and as a Board observer of Prolacta Bioscience. Previously, she served as a director of Miramar Labs (acquired by Sientra) and as a Board observer for Agile Therapeutics, Durata Therapeutics (acquired by Actavis) and ZELTIQ Aesthetics (acquired by Allergan). She also acted as the Aisling representative for its investment in PreCision Dermatology (acquired by Valeant) and was closely involved in Aisling’s investments in Dermira and PowerVision.

Ms. Seltzer received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Palmer Scholar. She received her M.S. and B.S. from Yale University, awarded cum laude in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

Tim Shannon's picture
Tim Shannon, M.D.
General Partner

For more than 25 years, Tim Shannon has been an entrepreneur, executive, researcher, professor, and practicing physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine. A Canaan investor since 2009, we rely on Tim’s operating experience to help companies grow from their earliest stages to funded companies creating value through partnerships, M&A and IPOs. Most recently, Tim was startup CEO and currently serves as the Chairman of Arvinas, named by Fierce Biotech as a Fierce 15 company of 2015.

Tim was one of the early institutional investors and remains on the board of CytomX Therapeutics, which completed a $92 million initial public offering in October 2015 (NASDAQ: CTMX). He was a co-lead Series A investor in Civitas Therapeutics, which was acquired by Acorda Therapeutics in October 2014 for $525 million, and a lead Series A investor in Novira Therapeutics, Inc. which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in December 2015. In addition, he serves on the boards of IDEAYA Biosciences, NextCure, Spyryx Biosciences, Vivace Therapeutics and VaxInnate Corporation.

Prior to Canaan, Tim was president and chief executive officer of CuraGen, a publically traded biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology, after serving as executive vice president of R&D and chief medical officer. Earlier he was the senior vice president and head of global clinical development for Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Business Group. Tim began his career as assistant professor of the pulmonary and critical care division at Yale University School of Medicine.

Tim received his post graduate medical training at the Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School and at Boston University, earned his medical degree from the University of Connecticut, and has a B.A. in chemistry from Amherst College.

David Singer's picture
David Singer, M.B.A.
Managing Partner

David B. Singer is Managing Partner of Maverick Ventures.  He joined Maverick in 2004.  Mr. Singer is a founder and former CEO of three healthcare companies:  Affymetrix, Inc., Corcept Therapeutics, Inc. and Genesoft Pharmaceuticals, Oscient’s predecessor.   Mr. Singer currently serves on the boards of several private companies in the fields of healthcare information technology, healthcare delivery, and biotechnology.  He currently serves on the board of Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT), and has served on the boards of several public companies, including the three companies he founded.

Mr. Singer received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.  Previously, he was a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Rand Corporation’s Health Advisory Board.   He is currently a Sterling Fellow of Yale University, Vice Chair of College Track and Vice President of the San Francisco Health Commission.

Stephen Squinto's picture
Stephen Squinto, Ph.D.
Venture Partner

Stephen Squinto, Ph.D., is a Venture Partner with OrbiMed who brings over 25 years of biotechnology industry experience.  Dr. Squinto was a co-founder of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and recently served as its Executive Vice President and Chief Global Operations Officer. Prior to 2013, he was Alexion’s Global Head of Research and Development.  From 1988 to 1992, Dr. Squinto held various positions at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Prior to Regeneron, he held a joint academic position at both the Tulane University and LSU Medical Schools.  He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards from academic and professional organizations for his scientific work.  Dr. Squinto received his B.A. in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Loyola University of Chicago.

Mary Tanner's picture
Mary Tanner
Senior Managing Director

Mary Tanner is a Senior Managing Director of EVOLUTION Life Science Partners, an investment banking and advisory boutique, offerings securities through Gordian Investments, LLC, Member FINRA/SPIC.

Ms. Tanner is also a co-founder, with Frederick Frank, of Life Sciences Partners, LLC, a financial advisory and consulting firm. Life Sciences Partners concentrates on strategy and financial advice to life sciences companies. Previously, she served as Senior Managing Director at Lehman Brothers Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co., and as a Managing Director of Peter J. Solomon Company.

Ms. Tanner has devoted more than 25 years to the global healthcare industry. Her expertise includes the ethical pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices, healthcare services, cosmetics and consumer medicine industries. In addition to her well-known work with large companies, Ms. Tanner specializes in domestic and cross-border transactions between large and small companies, including corporate partnering and minority investments.

Ms. Tanner’s clients have included: Pfizer in its $60 billion acquisition of Pharmacia; Amgen in its $16 billion acquisition of Immunex; Rhône-Poulenc in its acquisition of Rorer; followed by Rhône-Poulenc Rorer in its acquisition of U.K. company Fisons; BASF/BASF Pharma, in its acquisition of U.K. company Boots Pharmaceuticals and numerous other strategic transactions. Ms. Tanner has directed over 130 initial public offerings of life sciences companies.

Ms. Tanner received a B.A. from Harvard University. Ms. Tanner is a member of the Board of Directors of Lineagen, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company and Genticel SA, an immune oncology company. She serves on the Dean’s Council of the Yale School of Medicine and the Advisory Board of the Yale School of Management.

Peter L. Thoren's picture
Peter L. Thoren
Executive Vice President

Peter L. Thoren is Executive Vice President of Access Industries, a privately held, U.S.-based industrial group with long-term investments worldwide and offices in New York, London and Moscow.  Access’s industrial focus spans four key sectors: natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, real estate, and technology and ecommerce.

Before joining Access in 2001, Mr. Thoren was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Walker Digital Corporation.  Previously, he served in senior management positions with Salomon Inc and Citigroup and was an attorney with Rogers & Wells law firm in New York.  In addition to corporate boards, Mr. Thoren is on the boards of The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Vice Chairman), The Institute of Strategic Dialogue, The Center for National Policy/Truman National Security Project, ThanksUSA, and the Darien Historical Society.

Mr. Thoren graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Phi Beta Kappa) and has degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Georgetown University Law Center.  He is a member of the N.Y. State Bar and of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Mr. Thoren is married and has three children.

Faculty Representative

Amy Arnsten's picture
Amy Arnsten, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and of Psychology

Dr. Arnsten was raised in Maplewood, N.J. where she attended Columbia High School. She received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Brown University in 1976, and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCSD in 1981. She did post-doctoral research with Dr. Susan Iversen at Cambridge University in the UK, and with Dr. Patricia Goldman-Rakic at Yale. Dr. Arnsten’s research examines the neural basis of higher cognition. Her work has revealed that the newly evolved cortical circuits that underlie higher cognition are uniquely regulated at the molecular level, conferring vulnerability in mental illness and age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Arnsten’s research has led to new treatments for cognitive disorders in humans, including the successful translation of guanfacine (IntunivTM) for the treatment of ADHD and related prefrontal cortical disorders.

Blavatnik Fellows

Sorin Fedeles's picture
Sorin Fedeles, Ph.D., M.B.A
2018-19 Blavatnik Fellow

Cohort 1 

Sorin Fedeles has an extensive background in academic basic research with a focus on genetic kidney diseases. Through his research he has contributed to the understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney and Liver Disease (ADPKD/ADPLD).   He obtained his PhD in Genetics at Yale and after his postdoc continued at Yale as research faculty. During the last few years, he spearheaded a collaboration with a bio-engineering group at MIT to develop a novel class of drugs for the treatment of ADPKD which has recently secured patent protection through the combined efforts of Yale’s OCR and MIT’s TLO teams. 

Sorin is passionate about scientific innovation and the process required to advance discoveries along the science-business continuum. In order to develop his business knowledge, he pursued an MBA at Yale SOM (class of 2016) and complemented it with fellowships in pharma BD at Boehringer-Ingelheim and life-science VC at Vida Ventures. 

 
Milica Vukmirovic's picture
Milica Vukmirovic, Ph.D.
2018-19 Blavatnik Fellow

Cohort 1 

Milica Vukmirovic previously served as a Venture Creation Consultant and Blavatnik Associate for OCR while she was an Associate Research Scientist in Dr N. Kaminski’s group at the Center for Precision Pulmonary Medicine at Yale. Milica’s research focused on understanding gene regulatory networks in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and development of an anti-fibrotic drug. 

Prior to coming to Yale, Milica was a Postdoctoral Fellow & Project Manager at the International Centre for Health Innovation, Ivey Business School, in Canada, where she evaluated potential for several inventions to be adopted into the health care sector. She received a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Florida State University, College of Medicine, where she performed research on fibrosis and in parallel, initiated a series of an Entrepreneurial Postdoctoral Panels. 

Jamison Langguth's picture
Jamison Langguth, MPH, MSED
2019-20 Blavatnik Fellow

Cohort 2

Jamison Langguth has 2 years of biotech business development and 8 years of operational experience in the clinical setting including working with children that have craniofacial abnormalities, healthy adult patients in space and sleep medicine, adult patients addicted to marijuana and/or tobacco, and oncology patients. He has validated clinical grade wearables, worked heavily with analyzing EEG/fMRI data, as well as the delivery of novel first in human treatments using targeted large/small molecules and immunotherapies. He earned his BS in Psychology focusing on human factors from Drexel University, his first masters from the University of Pennsylvania in Education Policy and his second masters from Harvard University in Health Management. Outside of work Jamison is a Silliman College Fellow, active in the Raspberry Pi community and an avid runner.

Zhiyao Lu's picture
Zhiyao Lu, Ph.D.
2019-20 Blavatnik Fellow

Cohort 2

Zhiyao Lu joins the Blavatnik Fellowship as an entrepreneur and a scientist with experience in commercializing chemical as well as biomaterial technologies. He has expertise in synthetic chemistry, catalysis and pharmaceutical sciences. He is the co-founder and the CTO of Catapower Inc., a biomaterial company that utilizes catalytic chemical technologies to reform glycerol, a common waste by-product from agribusiness, to renewable lactate, a food and cosmetic ingredient with added value. Zhiyao bridges technical development and strategic planning at the startup company, where he realized his business goals by advancing technology, conducting in-depth market research, and building industry partnership with World Energy. In addition, he secured venture support for the continued growth of the company. Zhiyao and other co-founders led Catapower to receiving several industry innovation awards including the First Prize of USC Innovation Summit and First Place of Wrigley Sustainability Prize. Prior to Catapower, Zhiyao worked at Amphastar Pharmaceuticals as a pipeline project manager, where he explored market landscape and took the initiative with drug lifecycle management. He received his BS in pharmacy and MS in medicinal chemistry from Peking University, and PhD in chemistry from University of Southern California.

 
Natalie Ma's picture
Natalie Ma, Ph.D.
2019-20 Blavatnik Fellow

Cohort 2

 

Natalie Ma is a technologist and entrepreneur with experience developing commercial strategy for small startups to large pharmaceutical organizations and expertise ranging from molecular biology to ecology. After obtaining a B.S. in Environmental Science studying the decline of tropical marine habitats, she pursued a PhD at Yale in synthetic biology where she developed genetic barriers between engineered and natural organisms for environmental and medical applications. Post-PhD, she traveled around the world for a year, then joined ClearView Healthcare Partners to help guide commercial development of therapies in neurology, oncology, and rare diseases.

In her free time, Natalie pursues projects seeking to launch humankind into permanent space settlement and to understand the interplay between biological breakthroughs and global security, as well as cultivating a passion for foraged and wild food. 

Megan Woods's picture
Megan Woods, Ph.D.
2019-20 Blavatnik Fellow

Cohort 2

Megan Woods is a trained immunologist with experience in life science technology commercialization. After obtaining a B.S. in Biology at Prairie View A&M University, she pursued a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine at Hofstra School of Medicine. Megan’s translational research focused on the understanding the regulation and development of autoreactive B cells in the germinal center of SLE.

Prior to coming to Yale, Megan was a Fellow with Mayo Clinic Ventures, Mayo Clinic’s Tech Transfer and Business Development Department. During her 2 year fellowship she collaborated with business development colleagues  to bridge the technology development and funding gap between academia and industry.

Outside of work Megan pursues her culinary interests, including attending cooking classes and surveying local food trucks.