Foresite Labs is a center for entrepreneurial innovation at the nexus of data science and healthcare.
Based in San Francisco and Boston, we will partner broadly to launch life sciences and healthcare companies that use the tools of data science to solve our greatest unmet medical needs.
Sestina Bio, LLC
Ramprasad Reddy Akavaram
Senior Data Infrastructure Engineer
Ram builds data infrastructure that enables scientists to build and test models at scale.
Ram was most recently at Facebook, where he designed and built data infrastructure for Human Review Content Moderation efforts. He also collaborated with operational and core data science teams as a data engineer. Prior to that, he worked at Savvysherpa, the R&D division of UnitedHealth Group, where he built systems for claims and health records. This included the suite of technologies underpinning long-term longitudinal studies from real-world data. His experience extends to data analysis to evaluate the merits and risks of new business ideas in healthcare.
- Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota
- More than 8 years of engineering experience with Facebook and Savvysherpa (UnitedHealth group)
Vikram Bajaj, PhD
Co-Founder & CEO
Vik is a co-founder of Foresite Labs. He was previously the chief scientific officer of GRAIL, a life sciences company working to detect cancer early when it can be cured, and remains on its Scientific Advisory Board. He is also the co-founder and former chief scientific officer of Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) and served as chair of its Scientific Advisory Board. A former academic principal investigator, Vik retains appointments as associate professor (consulting) at the Stanford School of Medicine, and as an affiliate scientist of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, for which he serves on the advisory board of the College of Chemistry. He is an advisor to the Department of Defense through the Defense Science Board’s Task Force on Biology.
Vik’s research interests lie at the interface of the physical sciences, engineering, and the life sciences. He and his collaborators have developed nanotechnology probes for the early detection and molecular imaging of disease, spectroscopic tools for imaging objects on the nanoscale, microfabricated and miniaturized analytical and imaging systems for point-of-care testing, methods and devices that dramatically enhance the sensitivity and specificity of MRI, and new tools for clinical bioinformatics and integrative systems biology. Aspects of this work have been commercialized through several startups. At GRAIL, Vik led laboratory and data science teams at the forefront of industrial cancer genomics and diagnostics development.
He holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Vik’s scientific and engineering awards include the Anatole Abragam Prize (2012), the R&D 100 Award for the most promising commercialized technologies (2011 and 2013), and the Department of Energy’s LBL Innovation Grant (2013). In 2011, he was named as a Visiting Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
- Co-Founder and former Chief Scientific Officer of Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) and served as Chair of its Scientific Advisory Board
- Associate Professor (consulting) at the Stanford School of Medicine, and Affiliate Scientist of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, for which he serves on the advisory board of the College of Chemistry and was a principal investigator.
- His scientific and engineering awards include the Anatole Abragam Prize (2012), the R&D 100 Award for the most promising commercialized technologies (2011 and 2013), and the Department of Energy’s LBL Innovation Grant (2013).
Program Manager, Genomics Discovery
Lisa is a program manager for Genomics Discovery, focused on external engagements for multi-omics data generation and building collaborative precision medicine cohorts for therapeutics discovery.
Before joining Foresite Labs, Lisa served as manager, external partnerships and data strategy at Takeda. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Justice Studies at the University of New Hampshire, a Masters of Forensic Science in Forensic Molecular Biology at George Washington University, and just completed a Master of Science in Epidemiology with a Certificate in Statistical Genetics at Boston University.
Her work experience ranges from research microbiologist for the DoD, to senior diagnostic technician at Partners Healthcare Personalized Medicine, to research investigator at Takeda. In her most recent role she interfaced with translational medicine, drug discovery, computational biology, and external collaborators to establish and manage external partnerships in support of drug discovery and microbiome strategy.
- More than 10 years of experience in external engagement with public and private stakeholders (regulators, NGO, industry).
- Diverse background in human genetics, drug development, translational medicine, epidemiology and microbiology.
- Former technical lead for microbiome profiling strategy and external partner network at Takeda.
Alex Blocker, PHD
Head of Data Science
Prior to working with Foresite Labs, Alex worked as a staff data scientist for GRAIL, a life sciences company working to detect cancer early when it can be cured. At GRAIL, he drove development of classification methodology and machine learning-based somatic variant calling capabilities. Previously, Alex was a senior scientist and technical lead for computational biology at Verily, where he led analysis of multi-omic studies in multiple sclerosis, contributed to the design of the Baseline study, and built core elements of data infrastructure. He came to Google [x] and Verily after working as part of the quantitative team behind Google AdWords.
Alex holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University and an M.A. in economics from Boston University. In addition to computational biology, his research over the last 10 years has included statistical theory, asset valuation, astrophysics, information networks, and distributed computational methods for big data.
- Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University and an M.A. in economics from Boston University
- More than 10 years of research experience in statistics and computational biology
- Former Data Scientist at GRAIL and technical lead for computational biology at Verily (Google Life Sciences)
Frederick Dewey, MD
Head of Genomics Discovery
Frederick (Rick) directs efforts in Genomics Discovery and related new and early ventures. His team uses large scale human genomics, computational biology, and principles of precision medicine to create and evaluate therapeutic hypotheses and sustaining discovery platforms in new and early ventures.
Prior to joining the Foresite Labs team, Rick held positions of increasing responsibility at the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC). While Head of Translational Genetics at the RGC, he led teams that used large scale human genomics to systematically understand human biology and disease pathogenesis, critically evaluate therapeutic targets in all stages of discovery and development, and discover novel therapeutic targets. His team’s work validated multiple therapeutic targets and created active novel target biology and drug discovery programs across therapeutic areas.
Rick is a board-certified physician-scientist with training in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine from Stanford Hospital and Clinics. While at Stanford, he drove the development of analytical and clinical workflows for use of whole exome and genome sequencing in clinical care, and used clinical epidemiology, large scale sequencing, and experimental biology to understand familial cardiovascular disease pathogenesis.
Rick holds an A.B. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard College and M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. His research interests span clinical epidemiology, genomics, computational biology, and implementation science, all with a view towards clinical translation. He is an author of peer-reviewed publications in top-tier journals such as Science, Lancet, JAMA, and New England Journal of Medicine.
- A.B. in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard College and M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine with concentration in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Sciences
- Board-certified physician-scientist with residency training in Internal Medicine and fellowship training in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford Hospital and Clinics
- More than 13 years of research experience in academia and industry in large scale genomic discovery, computational biology, clinical epidemiology, and implementation science
- Former Head of Translational Genetics at Regeneron Genetics Center
Guy Haskin Fernald, PhD
Staff Data Scientist
Guy analyzes biomedical data and builds big-data infrastructure and machine learning pipelines at Foresite Labs.
Guy brings both biomedical science and software development expertise to the team. Before joining Foresite Labs, he built large-scale machine learning and data analysis pipelines for the preclinical drug discovery platform at Vium, Inc. In his doctoral research at Stanford University, Guy developed novel machine learning methods to predict drug binding and drug-induced gene expression changes. During his academic career, he authored papers for peer-reviewed journals in immunology, chemical informatics, biomedical informatics, and clinical pharmacology.
Guy also brings more than 20 years of software industry experience to the team. He was a founder and engineer at several ecommerce companies including NetMarket and Ariba, Inc, and he is an author on two patents.
- PhD in Biomedical Informatics and Master’s in Medicine from Stanford University
- More than 20 years industry experience in software development
- Former data scientist for preclinical drug discovery
Brian is a Venture Partner at Foresite Labs. Prior to joining Foresite Labs, Brian spent 24 years at Deloitte Consulting LLP where he focused on Corporate Strategy, M&A, and Transformation Leadership with leading Managed Care, Provider, Health System, and Life Sciences companies. He held numerous senior leadership roles spanning Value-Based Care, Virtual Health, HCIT Alliances, Fortune 50 Global Account Leadership and Mergers & Acquisitions.
Brian’s focus at Foresite Labs is to identify, incubate, and launch innovative companies that combine Managed Care, Provider, and Health System capabilities with data science, applied science, and biologics. He is also a Senior Advisor at Foresite Capital, supporting the Firm’s efforts in evaluating Healthcare Services funding opportunities in the growth equity, private equity and direct investment platforms.
Brian has an A.B., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology from Wabash College and an MBA from the Wharton School where he majored in Strategic Management, Finance, and Health Care. He lives in Winnetka, IL with his wife Katie, sons Andrew and Joshua, and daughter Chloe.
- Former U.S. Value-Based Care Leader and Life Sciences & Health Care National Go-to-Market Leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP
- MBA from the Wharton School and A.B., Summa Cum Laude, from Wabash College
Doug is a venture partner at Foresite Labs. He was previously chief executive officer and chief strategy officer of Verana Health. Verana Health is a real-world data company focused on specific specialties in healthcare. The company partners with specialty societies in medicine to manage the world’s largest clinical databases of their kind. These databases are used for research in the life sciences industry, improving clinical trial operations and to develop data-based tools used by physicians to provide care to patients. The company raised over $100mm in venture financing and is one of the leading RWD companies today.
Prior to Verana, Doug was managing director and part of the founding team of Longitude Capital Management. Longitude Capital is a venture capital firm dedicated to innovation in the life sciences and medical device industries. Prior to Longitude, Doug was a portfolio manager at Pequot Capital, and worked at Robertson, Stephens & Company in Equity Research.
Doug holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from Yale University.
- CEO and chief strategy officer of Verana Health, one of the world’s largest RWD companies
- MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and BA from Yale University
- More than 25 years of experience in healthcare, with an early focus on electronic health records
Chris Graves, PhD
Chris analyzes biological data and builds new methods at Foresite Labs.
Chris is an experienced data scientist with strength in machine learning and statistical experimental design, and more than 10 years of experience turning complex datasets into actionable knowledge. Prior to joining Foresite Labs, Chris served as a postdoctoral scientist in machine learning at Bayer, working with the data science and bioprocess optimization teams.
Chris holds a B.S. in Biological Science from the University of Vermont, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University in 2017 for his research on evolution under antagonistic pleiotropy and detection of driver mutations from microbial population genomics data. His graduate research was funded as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and awarded an NSF dissertation grant.
- PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University in 2017 for research in population genetics
- Graduate research funded as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow; awarded NSF dissertation grant
Joshua Hoffman, PhD
Senior Scientist, Genomics Discovery
Josh is a statistical geneticist , focused on the application of high-throughput genetic and genomic technologies for drug target discovery.
Before joining the Foresite Labs team, Josh was an Investigator at GlaxoSmithKline(GSK) in the statistical genetics group. While at GSK, Josh was focused on drug target discovery and validation using large scale genetic data. He completed his PhD in Human Genetics at Vanderbilt, with a focus on modeling macular degeneration using quantitative phenotypes. He went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF, studying the genetic architecture of breast cancer risk, asthma, allergy, and atopic disease risk using a combination of GWAS, cis-eQTL, and other molecular data types. His discovery experience spans the analysis of quantitative phenotypes in bottlenecked, endogamous populations such as the Old Order Amish, linkage analysis, association analysis, and nomination of functional hypotheses from dissection of GWAS loci.
- PhD in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt University
- Extensive experience using large scale biobank data for genetics studies
Nitin is a venture partner at Foresite Labs.
Prior to joining the Foresite Labs team, Nitin was a senior vice president at Verana Health, where he recruited and led the technology and data science organization. This technology team developed a secure, scalable, high availability cloud-based platform to handle data curation, quality and enhancement for one of the largest real-world ophthalmology and neurology datasets in the US. The data science team developed powerful algorithms and AI and NLP models for clinical and commercial analytics of patient health data. The team also developed an iPhone-based tele-ophthalmology product for retinal imaging.
Previously Nitin led EHR integrations at Intuit Health and led the development of mobile and web apps at Epocrates, one of the first mobile healthcare apps for physicians at the point of care.
Nitin has an MS in Computer Engineering from UC Santa Barbara and a B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mumbai.
- Seasoned technology executive, with a track record of building large-scale technology/data platforms and delivering complex, challenging projects successfully
- More than 15 years of experience in healthcare technology and data companies, including senior management positions at Epocrates, Intuit Health and Verana Health
- Extensive startup experience in building technology teams, products and processes from scratch, along with managing organizational growth
John Kim, PhD
Senior Bioinformatics Engineer
John develops cloud computing tools that use machine learning and AI to generate biological insights from large clinically relevant datasets.
John has worked in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics for over ten years in academic and industrial settings. He started his career at the University of California at Santa Cruz where he received the Chancellor’s fellowship for designing new sequencing assays and algorithms for diagnostics and immunology. After receiving his PhD in Bioinformatics and Biomolecular Engineering, he joined the Advanced Research group at Illumina. John played a critical role in launching Illumina’s single cell product by developing the accompanying cloud-based bioinformatics software and was given the CEO award for his contributions.
John departed from Illumina to make a significant impact on the fight against cancer by joining Grail as one of its founding members. At Grail, John led a team of data scientists, software engineers and statisticians as a bioinformatics technical lead. His team worked to gain a better understanding cell free nucleic acids and develop diagnostic products that detect cancer earlier than the current standard of care. John holds multiple patents and was an author on the first patent awarded to Grail. In addition, he has co-authored peer-reviewed publications on his work related to the early cancer detection from cell free nucleic acids.
- PhD in Bioinformatics and Biomolecular Engineering from UC Santa Cruz
- Over 10 years research experience in NGS, bioinformatics and data science
Gulum Kosova, PhD
Senior Scientist, Genomics Discovery
Gulum is an applied statistical geneticist, focused on designing and executing analyses across therapeutic areas.
Prior to joining Foresite Labs, Gulum was a senior scientist in the clinical pharmacogenomics group at Merck, where she was responsible for managing and executing genetic association studies of drug response and pharmacokinetic variability. During the same time, she also served as a genomics data analyst within the cardiovascular medicine department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, conducting genome-wide association studies of eicosanoid measures in the Framingham population. Gulum came to Merck after postdoctoral positions at Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital, studying genetic factors underlying cardiometabolic traits.
Gulum holds a B.S. in molecular biology from Bogazici University, and a Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Chicago with a dissertation focusing on genetic mapping studies of cardiovascular and reproductive phenotypes in the Hutterite population, for which she received an American Heart Association fellowship.
- B.S. in molecular biology from Bogazici University and Ph.D. in human genetics from the University of Chicago
- More than 15 years of academic and industry experience in executing large-scale genetic association studies of wide range of phenotypes
- Former senior scientist in clinical pharmacogenetics at Merck
Matt focuses on new and early ventures in life sciences and health technology, as well as the application of data science methodologies to the investment process.
Prior to joining Foresite Labs, Matt was an analyst at Militia Hill Ventures, a biotech formation and venture firm in Philadelphia where he managed deal flow and assisted with due diligence and incubation of potential portfolio companies. As part of these efforts, Matt managed relationships with investing partners, initiated collaboration with academic founders, and developed scientific and business strategies.
- M.Sc in Biotechnology and B.Sc. in Neuroscience from Brown University
- Experience with the development, structure, and formation of new biotech companies and the evaluation of emerging life science technologies
Head of Brand & People
Cindy head marketing and HR for Foresite Labs, bringing 20 years of experience as a marketing executive at technology startups.
Cindy was previously a consultant to early and mid-stage startups with clients in entertainment, healthcare and professional services. She served as VP marketing at We Heart It, the social image-sharing platform with 40MM members. Cindy co-founded mobile ad targeting platform Metaresolver, acquired by Millennial Media, and mobile content company Moderati, acquired by Bellrock Media. She has also held executive-level positions in HR, including serving as VP People for Yelp. Cindy holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas school at U.C. Berkeley.
- Co-founded mobile ad targeting platform Metaresolver, acquired by a public company within a year of inception
- Holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and a BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley
- Co-founded and served as head of marketing and partnerships for mobile entertainment firm Moderati
Jonathan Packer, PhD
Scientist, Genomics Discovery
Jonathan is a computational biologist, focused on using genomic technologies such as single cell RNA sequencing to guide drug target discovery.
Jonathan completed his PhD in Genome Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, studying the embryonic development of the nematode C. elegans using high-throughput single cell RNA-seq technologies. He also holds a B.S. in Operations Research from Columbia University. In the summers while he was at Columbia, he interned at the Regeneron Genetics Center. There, he developed a novel algorithm for detecting copy number variation from exome sequencing data, and developed pipelines for large-scale genotype-phenotype association analyses.
- PhD in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington in Seattle
- Author/co-author on publications in top journals, including Science and NEJM.
Stephanie works in the office of the CEO. She helps manage the operations of the San Francisco office.
Stephanie previously served as executive assistant at General Catalyst where she supported early stage and growth venture partners. During her time at General Catalyst, Stephanie was involved in running special projects and events for the firm. Prior to General Catalyst, she was executive assistant to the CEO, CAO and Board Chair at Palo Alto Medical Group, a division of Sutter Health.
Stephanie holds a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a BA in Sociology.
- Spent three years after college working at Google in satellite imagery as quality control lead.
- Holds a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a BA in Sociology.
Arya Pourzanjani, PhD
Arya develops and implements novel methods for the modeling of genomics data.
Arya graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a PhD in computer science. His thesis focused on novel Bayesian hierarchical models for biomedical applications as well as improved computational techniques for the inference of such models. During his time at UC Santa Barbara Arya worked on several applied biomedical problems ranging from modeling the disease progression of Alzheimer’s to diagnosis of acute, traumatic coagulopathy.
- PhD in computer science from the University of California, Santa Barbara
- More than five years of experience in probabilistic modeling of biomedical data
Head of Finance
Kylie heads finance for Foresite Labs.
Kylie previously served as the Head of Finance for Ginkgo Bioworks building the finance team and leading the organization through its first Big 4 audit. Kylie has held positions of increasing scope throughout her career leading finance teams in both public and private life science companies.
Holds an MBA from Boston University and is a CPA in Massachusetts.
Extensive experience driving finance transformation and building finance organizations in both public and private life science companies.
Elise Ruark, PhD
Product Manager, Data Science & Engineering
Elise is a product manager of data science and engineering, focusing on internal and external applications of biological data to investment processes and the portfolio.
Elise joined Foresite Labs from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), where she was a senior computational biologist focused on discovery, characterization and utilization of cancer predisposition genes. She also served as informatics coordinator for the Transforming Genetic Medicine Initiative (TGMI), directing design and informatics strategy for large-scale research projects in medical genetics. Elise was previously a senior bioinformatician for TGLclinical, responsible for design, implementation, validation and maintenance of clinical cancer predisposition gene testing pipelines. She holds a Ph.D. in cancer genetics from Institute of Cancer Research, a M.S. in biostatistics from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in statistics and mathematics from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
- Ph.D. in cancer genetics from Institute of Cancer Research
- 8 years of research experience in cancer genetics, informatics and computational biology
Ellen Smith, JD, PHD
Assistant General Counsel
Ellen advises Foresite Labs on a wide range of legal matters including intellectual property, transactional, and corporate matters.
Ellen is a registered patent attorney. Prior to joining Foresite Labs, Ellen was an intellectual property attorney at several of the top international law firms where she focused on patent prosecution and diligence matters for life science and healthcare companies at every stage of development—from startups to multimillion-dollar global corporations. She received her B.S. in neurobiology and anatomy from Purdue University, her Ph.D., from the University of California, Irvine, where she was a California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) fellow, her J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, and her M.B.A. from the University of California, San Diego Rady School of Management.
- Ph.D. focused on the regulation of human embryonic stem cell self renewal and pluripotency
- More than 10 years of experience in personalized/precision medicine, stem cells, genetics and genomics, and genetic engineering
Damien Soghoian, PhD
Head of Strategy and Operations
Damien heads strategy and operations for Foresite Labs.
Prior to working with Foresite Labs, Damien was part of the Verily’s scientific team for nearly 4 years. He contributed to the Baseline study and served as technical lead for immunology, driving the deployment of Verily’s immunology platform across multiple collaborations. Damien received his B.S. in Biology from Caltech and a Ph.D. in Virology from Harvard University. During his PhD, his research into CD4 T cell biology and the mechanisms of immune control of HIV were done primarily within Bruce Walker’s lab at the Ragon institute, combining rigorous immunology with CyTOF and other high-dimensional readouts.
- Ph.D. in Virology from Harvard University for research in HIV immunology
- More than 10 years of experience in systems biology, immunology research, and biochemistry research across academia and industry
- Former technical lead for systems immunology at Verily (Google Life Sciences)
Phyllis advises Foresite Labs on a wide range of legal matters including enterprise structure and transactions.
Previously, Phyllis was Deputy General Counsel of a $4 billion privately held company where she led the corporate governance, strategic and commercial transactions, privacy and intellectual property functions. Prior to that, Phyllis led the legal work for a well-known entertainment technology company’s IPO and then focused on its public company responsibilities, cross-border and domestic acquisitions, and corporate legal needs ranging from employment law to export compliance. Before that, she was a transactional and securities partner for Farella Braun & Martel LLP. Phyllis received a B.A., magna cum laude, in International Relations from Pomona College and a J.D., magna cum laude, from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
- Over two decades representing companies at all stages of growth — from startups to mature public companies — in strategic and commercial transactions, equity and debt financings, and corporate governance matters.
- Dedicated to bridging the justice gap: Board member and officer of Legal Access Alameda, which provides free legal services to low-income clients in Alameda County.
Zach Sweeney, PhD
Zach is a Venture Partner at Foresite Labs, where he helps to create new companies and drug discovery teams. He has broad experience growing and leading successful multifunctional drug discovery groups, including small molecule, biotherapeutic, and AAV discovery platforms.
Zach was previously the Chief Scientific Officer at Denali Therapeutics, where he guided the growth of the discovery portfolio and research group. Prior to joining Denali, Zach was a leader in the drug discovery groups at Novartis, Genentech, and Roche. Molecules that Zach and his teams have developed at these companies have been the subject of six major licensing deals that cumulatively generated more than $1B in upfront payments.
As an undergraduate, Zach attended Stanford University, where he received a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Zach’s research interests include the application of genomic and biomarker information in drug discovery, computational approaches to improve small molecule and biotherapeutic design, and the chemical biology of drug candidates. He is listed as an inventor on approximately 60 published patent applications and 40 scientific publications.
- Molecules that Zach and his teams have developed have been the subject of six major licensing deals that cumulatively generated more than $1B in upfront payments.
- Listed as an inventor on approximately 60 published patent applications and 40 scientific publications.
- B.S. in Chemistry from Stanford University, Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard University.
Jim Tananbaum, MD
Jim Tananbaum is a co-founder of Foresite Labs, and founder and chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, a U.S.-focused healthcare investment firm founded in 2011 that has ~$4 billion in assets under management. Jim assembles the people, ideas and money needed to launch products that save lives and improve healthcare. He is always looking for visionaries: women and men with insights into therapeutics, devices, diagnostics or services that could, with the right support, change the world.
Since high school Jim has had two main loves: 1) mathematics, algorithms and machine learning and 2) biology, genetics and healthcare. Jim has been optimistic about the merger of these two previously very different fields. His intent has been to help build transformative healthcare companies that will significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of the entire U.S. healthcare system.
As an undergraduate, Jim attended Yale College, where he graduated with a BS and BSEE in Applied Math and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science. He then attended the Harvard/MIT HST program and graduated with an MD from Harvard and an MS from MIT. He also earned an MBA from Harvard while playing rugby. The combination put him at the intersection of computer science, genetics and biology, and most of the companies he has since built or funded have grown out of insights generated from the overlap of these disciplines.
Jim’s first success came while he was still at Harvard when he co-founded GelTex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GENZ). For less than $80 million in funding, GelTex brought two drugs to market. The company was acquired in 1999 for $1.6 billion when its lead drug, Renagel (later renamed Renvela), had an annual revenue run rate exceeding $200 million. Decades later, Renvela still has annual sales of about $1 billion.
Jim was the founding chief executive of Theravance, Inc., which has since split into two parts, one of which is now part of GSK’s respiratory franchise through a joint venture, Innoviva (NASDAQ: INVA), and the other was spun out into Theravance Biopharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: TBPH). Together, they have a combined market capitalization that exceeds $3 billion.
Besides Foresite Capital, Jim’s investment experience includes being a founding partner of Prospect Venture Partners II and III, and earlier in his career, a partner of Sierra Ventures, where he helped establish its healthcare services investment practice.
Jim has led numerous investments, including 10X Genomics, Aerie Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AERI), Aimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AIMT), Amerigroup (NASDAQ: AMGP), Healtheon (NASDAQ: WBMD), Intarcia Therapeutics, Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ), Puma Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PBYI).
- Founded Foresite Capital in 2011.
- Co-founded GelTex, which was acquired for $1.6 billion by Sanofi-Genzyme
- Co-founded Theravance, Inc., (Total Market Cap of $2.68B) which subsequently changed its name to Innoviva, Inc. (NASDAQ: INVA) and with its spin-off Theravance BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: TBPH), the companies have a combined market capitalization of $2.68 billion.
- Earned a BS and BSEE from Yale University in Applied Math and Computer Science, an MD and an MBA from Harvard, and graduated from the Harvard/MIT HST Program
- Member of Yale’s University Council and the advisory committee of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science.
- Four-time Midas List honoree: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Mera Tilley, PhD
Senior Director, Genomics Discovery
Mera is a translational science expert at Foresite Capital. She leverages human biology to guide research and development of novel therapeutics.
A genetic epidemiologist and human geneticist, Mera previously did a stint in the start-up world leading the Precision Medicine and Translational Genetics group at Goldfinch Bio. Prior to Goldfinch, she spent six years at Pfizer in roles across drug discovery, development, and medical affairs. Prior to Pfizer, she was at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where she developed new methods for analyzing rare variants in DNA sequence data to discover novel genetic causes of coronary artery disease. During her early career she trained in a variety of fields, including molecular biology, bioinformatics, and science policy.
- PhD from National Institutes of Health/NHGRI Intramural Graduate Partnership Program with Penn State University with science policy training in the U.S. State Department Office of the Science Advisor to Sec. Hillary Clinton
- 8 years of pharmaceutical and biotech experience across Pfizer, Goldfinch Bio, Salimetrics and P&G.
- Extensive experience leading precision medicine and translational genetic strategies in cardiometabolic disease, inflammation/immunology, and rare disease from early target discovery in R&D through post-marketing studies in Medical Affairs.
Program Manager, Operations
Aqila works with the operations team on programming operations on new and early venture strategy.
Aqila previously served as Director of Operations at Roam Analytics, an early stage healthcare analytics company. While at Roam, she helped create the LIGHT Forum at Stanford University, which focused on the future of artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare. Prior to Roam, she worked on policy and advocacy for emerging companies and managed the ICBA programming at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).
Aqila is a graduate of the University of Denver with a degree in International Affairs. She also studied Global Security Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
- Founding partner of the Leaders in Global Healthcare & Technology Forum (LIGHT) held at Stanford University.
- Managed BIO’s International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA)
Paola Arlotta, PhD
Chair, Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Paola Arlotta is a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard University, and Chair of HSCRB. She is a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, an institute member at the Broad Institute, and an associate member of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute.
Dr. Arlotta received her M.S. in biochemistry from the University of Trieste, Italy, and her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Portsmouth in the UK. She subsequently completed her postdoctoral training in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.
- Chair, Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
- Golub Family Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University
- Associate Member, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute
Alex Aravanis, MD, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, Head of R&D, and Co-Founder at GRAIL
Alex Aravanis MD PhD joined Illumina in June 2020. As Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, he is responsible for leading Illumina’s research and technology development functions and the innovation engine for next-generation sequencing platforms and applications, accelerating technology breakthroughs and translation to the clinic. This includes the Illumina Accelerator, the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on creating an innovation ecosystem for the genomics industry.
Aravanis is an experienced entrepreneur and was involved in founding several start-ups in the life sciences and health care. Most recently, he co-founded GRAIL Bio where he served as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D. At GRAIL, Aravanis led the research, development, operational, and clinical teams developing its multi-cancer early detection test..
Alex earned BS in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics Minor from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering, and an MD from Stanford University.
- Developed multiple products at Illumina, including clinical assays for the analysis of RNA and DNA from fixed tissues, whole exome analysis, massively parallel single cell transcriptomics and liquid biopsy using cell-free nucleic acids.
Margaret Chu Moyer
Amgen’s Chemistry, Characterization, Technology group
Margaret Chu-Moyer joined Amgen in 2009 and is currently head of Amgen’s Chemistry, Characterization, Technology group. Her group encompasses medicinal chemistry, separation sciences, structure, biophysics, analytical sciences, computational & data sciences, materials management, high-throughput screening, research automation, bioassay and chemistry/biologics outsourcing, including a broad collaboration with Syngene in Bangalore, India.
Margaret’s organization is accountable for advancing Amgen’s small molecule portfolio, for which recent clinical candidates include AMG 176, AMG 397, AMG 510, AMG 594 and AMG 650. Margaret also held the role of Site Head for Amgen’s Cambridge, MA research facility from 2010 to 2014. Prior to joining Amgen, Margaret led both Medicinal Chemistry and Hit-To-Lead groups at Pfizer Global Research and Development in Groton.
Margaret received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University. Margaret currently serves on the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Editorial Advisory Board, the Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry and Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters Editorial Advisory Board, the Boston Children’s Hospital Technology Development Fund Advisory Board, the American Cancer Society Cancer Drug Discovery Peer Review Committee and the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry Strategic Advisory Board. She was recently honored as one of 2019’s Fiercest Women in Life Sciences.
- Board member of Electronic Arts (EA) and The Exploratorium
- Former board member of Illumina (ILMN; 2014-2016)
Steve Finkbeiner MD, PhD
Director, Taube/Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research at Gladstone
As one of the first investigators to join the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in 1999, Dr. Finkbeiner is best known for his pioneering work on neurodegenerative diseases. He invented robotic microscopy, a new form of imaging that has helped unravel cause-and-effect relationships in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Finkbeiner used his robotic microscope to resolve a long-standing puzzle in Huntington’s disease.
He completed his PhD and MD training at Yale and moved on to an internship and residency in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a year as chief neurology resident. He also completed a fellowship in neurology at Harvard Medical School. After a short time as an assistant professor at Harvard, he joined Gladstone and UCSF.
- Investigator, Roddenberry Stem Cell Center
- A study based on results from his robotic microscope became the most-cited paper in the field of neuroscience in the last decade
George Golumbeski, PhD
Former Executive Vice President Business Development, Celgene
Trained as a research scientist, George is an industry leader in biopharmaceutical collaborations & business development. In his nearly 30-year career in this sector, George has worked on many medications that have reached the market and are benefiting patients worldwide. He is known globally within the biotechnology industry for his interest in leading-edge science, and his constructiveness / creativity in forging inter-company collaborations.
George was most recently executive vice president of business development for Celgene Corporation, where he and his team were responsible for the full array of worldwide business development activities (evaluation of opportunities, structuring & negotiating collaborations, M & A, and Alliance Management). During George’s tenure, Celgene became the clear “Partner of Choice” within the biotechnology industry (based on data from Boston Consulting Group). His collaboration with Dr. Tom Daniel is recognized as the engine behind Celgene’s well-regarded partnering strategy.
- Known globally within the biotechnology industry for his interest in leading-edge science, and his constructiveness / creativity in forging inter-company collaborations.
Vice-Chair, GRAIL (founding CEO of GRAIL, formerly SVP of Google and board member of Illumina)
Jeff is the founding chief executive officer and vice chairman of the board of directors of GRAIL. GRAIL’s mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. Prior to Grail, Jeff worked at Google[x] at the intersection of life science and computer science (2013-2016). Previously at Google, Jeff led development for Google Ads (2003-2011), Google Apps (2005-2010), and Google Maps (2011-2013). Earlier, Jeff was vice president of architecture and systems development at eBay and senior vice president of engineering at Excite@Home, where he led consumer product and infrastructure development.
Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from Harvard University.
- Board member of Electronic Arts (EA) and The Exploratorium
- Former board member of Illumina (ILMN; 2014-2016)
June Lee, MD
Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Myokardia
June Lee is a physician, translational scientist and a respected biotech executive.
Most recently, as the EVP and Chief Operating Officer and Chief Development Officer of MyoKardia. June built MyoKardia’s world class development organization. She has also driven portfolio strategy, led clinical and non-clinical development,medical affairs, digital health, pharmacovigilance, and has overseen quality and manufacturing organizations and successfully transformed MyoKardia into a high performance development organization which delivered positive pivotal registrational study in obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. BMS acquired the company for $13.1B.
Prior to MyoKardia, June was a Professor of Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine, where she served as Director of Translational Research and built an internal accelerator at UCSF for early stages technologies. She is also the founding chair of University of California Drug, Device, Discovery and Development Group. Previously, she was the therapeutic area head in early clinical development in cardiovascular, metabolism, respiratory, and infectious diseases at Genentech.
She serves on the Advisory Board for Johns Hopkins Center for Therapeutic Innovation and SAB for Aer Therapeutics.
- During her time at Genentech, she was one of the translational medicine staff helping to interpret the data from a large respiratory study – TENOR – that resulted in multiple insights into risk factors and demographics for asthma sufferers
- From 2011 to 2017, Lee served as the director of the Catalyst Program inside UCSF, which served as an internal incubator for entrepreneurial ideas from faculty, in addition to providing de-risking outsourcing partnerships and educational modules for graduate students
Jennifer Listgarten, PhD
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley; Chan Zuckerberg Investigator
Jennifer Listgarten is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Center for Computational Biology, at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also a member of the steering committee for the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab, and a Chan Zuckerberg investigator. From 2007 to 2017 she was at Microsoft Research, through Cambridge, MA (2014-2017), Los Angeles (2008-2014), and Redmond, WA (2007-2008). She completed her PhD in the machine learning group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, located in her home town. She has two undergraduate degrees, one in Physics and one in Computer Science, from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Jennifer’s research interests are broadly at the intersection of machine learning, applied statistics, molecular biology and science.
- Expertise in machine learning, applied statistics, computational biology
Mathai Mammen, MD, PhD
Global Head of R&D, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, J&J
As global head of R&D at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Mathai’s mission is to focus the energy of the best research and development teams in the world at the intersection of profound unmet medical need and actionable breakthroughs in science and technology to make medicines of unequivocal benefit for humanity. The team works across a wide range of therapeutic areas and biological pathways. Janssen’s approach to medicines is patient-focused, agnostic to both source of the idea and the treatment modality. The team is invested deeply in data sciences in every aspect of R&D. Janssen R&D has fueled the growth of Janssen to be the largest pharmaceutical company in the United States, and the fourth largest in the world.
Prior to joining Janssen in June 2017, Mathai was senior vice president at Merck Research Laboratories, responsible for research in the areas of Cardiovascular, Metabolic and Renal Diseases, Oncology/lmmuno-Oncology and Immunology. Jointly with his team, he initiated numerous new programs and progressed eight into early clinical development. Prior to Merck, Mathai led R&D at Theravance, a company he co-founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1997 based on his work at Harvard University.
Mathai received his MD from Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (HST program) and his PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry. He received his BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and patents
Calum MacRae, MD, PhD
Vice Chair, Scientific Innovation at the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Calum MacRae is Vice Chair for Scientific Innovation at the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is the leader of One Brave Idea, a group of leading scientists from multiple disciplines working together to understand the earliest stages of coronary heart disease (CHD). His clinical interests include the management of inherited heart disease and cardiac involvement in systemic diseases.
MacRae is a cardiologist, geneticist and developmental biologist who received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Edinburgh and London before coming to Boston in 1991. He completed postdoctoral fellowships in human genetics with Drs. Christine and Jon Seidman and in developmental biology with Dr. Mark Fishman, and received additional clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology before joining the Division of Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2001. MacRae is a leading investigator at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Genomics Center, a principal faculty member at the Cardiovascular Research Center and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and an associated member at the Broad Institute.
- Holds five patents, has authored over 160 peer-reviewed publications and received research funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute
Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD
Sterling Professor of Immunobiology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Dr. Medzhitov is the Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine and an Investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is known for the fundamental discoveries he’s made concerning the role of the innate immune system in inflammation and control of adaptive immunity, and host-microbial interactions.
He earned a B.S. at Tashkent State University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Moscow State University in 1990. He performed his postdoctoral studies at Yale University Medical School.
- In recognition of his prolific contributions to the field of immunological research, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences
- In 2011 he was a co-recipient of the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine
- In 2013, Ruslan received the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science
Michael J. Sofia, PhD
Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arbutus Biopharma, Inc.
Michael J. Sofia, Ph.D. is Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arbutus Biopharma, Inc. where he established the programs in HBV-cure and coronaviruse therapeutics. Previously Mike was Sr. Vice President of Chemistry at Pharmasset, Inc. where he was responsible for the discovery and early development of sofosbuvir, which became the backbone of many HCV curative therapies including Sovaldiâ, Harvoniâ, Epclusaâ and Voseviâ. Mike has also held research and research management positions at Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Transcell Technologies and Eli Lilly and Company
Mike received his BA in chemistry from Cornell University, his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.
Mike has received numerous awards for his work on hepatitis C including the 2015 Economist Innovation Award, the 2015 ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award, 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize, the 2016 Lasker-Debakey Award in Clinical Medical Research, the 2017 Gertrude Elion Award from the International Society for Antiviral Research, the 2018 IS3NA John Montgomery Award and the 2020 Cameron Prize for Therapeutics from the University of Edinburgh. In 2017 he was inducted into the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arbutus Biopharma, Inc.
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Sarah Teichmann, FMedSci FRS
Head of Cellular Genetics and Senior Group Leader Wellcome Sanger Institute
Sarah is Head of the Cellular Genetics Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (from 2016), and co-founder and co-leader of the Human Cell Atlas project. Sarah did her PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK and was a Beit Memorial Fellow at University College London. She started a group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 2001. In 2013, she moved to the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge/UK, where her group was initially joint between the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Sarah’s work has been recognized by a number of prizes, including the Lister Prize, Biochemical Society Colworth Medal and GSK Prize, Royal Society Crick Lecture, EMBO Gold Medal and Genetics Society Mary Lyon Medal. She is an EMBO member, and fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society.
- Head of the Cellular Genetics Programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (from 2016), and co-founder and co-leader of the Human Cell Atlas project.
Wanted: Innovators and Visionaries.
We are a translational R&D team that is supporting new and early venture efforts across the healthcare space. Our goal is to create the preeminent portfolio of companies at the interface of data science and healthcare.
Announcing the Creation of Foresite Labs
Featuring Dr. Vikram Bajaj, Co-Founder