Foresite Labs | Transformative companies at the interface of data sciences and healthcare.

Foresite Labs is a center for entrepreneurial innovation at the nexus of data science and healthcare.

Based in San Francisco and Cambridge, 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.

Announcing the Creation of Foresite Labs

Featuring Dr. Vikram Bajaj, Co-Founder

Ramprasad Reddy Akavaram

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

Vikram Bajaj, PhD

Co-Founder & CEO

Vik is a co-founder and CEO 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).
Lisa Bedford

Lisa Bedford

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

Alex Blocker, PHD

Head of Data Science

Alex leads Foresite Lab’s platform team, including our efforts in data science, bioinformatics, engineering, and machine learning for the analysis of biomedical data.

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)
Toni Colarullo

Toni Colarullo

Administrative Assistant

Toni joined Foresite Labs in 2019 to support the Genomics Discovery team in the Boston office.
 
Prior to Foresite Labs, she was the EA of a biotech company located in the SF Bay Area where she assisted in the expansion of a site office located in Cambridge, where she handled travel, meetings, menu and event planning.
  • 18 years of senior level support across the Biotech/HVAC/high tech finance industries.
Paul Da Silva Jardine, PHD

Paul Da Silva Jardine, PHD

Head of Drug Discovery

Paul brings deep experience in drug discovery to Foresite Labs. Previously, Paul was vice president for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases at Pfizer. There he led teams that were responsible for the discovery and early development of over fifty clinical candidates across all areas of CVMD. These clinical candidates ranged from the first, lasofoxifene, a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator for the prevention of osteoporosis that was approved by The European Medicines Agency, to one of the last, ertugliflozin, a SGLT2 inhibitor approved by the FDA and EMA in 2017. In addition, two other candidates that were originally developed by his teams for human use were approved by the FDA for veterinary use.

In 2015, Paul cofounded and was chief scientific officer of Staten Biotechnology which developed an anti-ApoC-III monoclonal antibody for the treatment of coronary heart disease and hypertriglyceridemia. Paul designed and successfully executed the approach that combined modern antibody engineering with hijacking endogenous mechanisms for clearing APOC-III laden triglyceride rich lipoprotein particles. In 2017, Staten reached a buy-out option deal with Novo Nordisk worth up to $485M.

  • BSc degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University.
  • Served as venture partner at Appletree Partners where he helped in the formation of two entities.
Frederick Dewey, MD

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

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

 

Doug Foster

Doug Foster

Venture Partner

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 Graves, PhD

Data Scientist

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

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 Karandikar

Nitin Karandikar

Venture Partner

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

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

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 Luminais

Matt Luminais

Principal

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
Cindy Mesaros

Cindy Mesaros

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

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 Pease

Stephanie Pease

Executive Assistant

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 Pourzanjani, PhD

Data Scientist

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
Elise Ruark, PhD

Elise Ruark, PhD

Technical Product Manager, Bioinformatics

Elise is a product manager for bioinformatics, 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

Ellen Smith, JD, PHD

Intellectual Property Counsel and Manager of Business Strategy

Ellen is a registered patent attorney who uses her scientific, legal, and business background to support company incubation efforts in matters relating to diligence, patent procurement, and portfolio management as well as the development and licensing of new technologies.

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

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)
Zach Sweeney, PhD

Zach Sweeney, PhD

Venture Partner

Zach is a Venture Partner at Foresite Labs, where he helps to create new companies and drug discovery platforms.  He has broad experience growing and leading successful multifunctional drug discovery groups, including small molecule, biotherapeutic, and AAV discovery teams.

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, MD

Co-Founder

 
Jim Tananbaum is the founder and chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, a U.S.-focused healthcare investment firm founded in 2011 that has approximately $3 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: men and women with insights into therapeutics, devices, diagnostics or services that could, with the right support, change the world.

During the last three decades Jim has been a thought partner for some of the most impactful and fastest growth companies of their generation including: 10x Genomics (NASDAQ: TXG), Amerigroup (NASDAQ: ANTM), and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ).

Since high school, Jim has had two main areas of interest: 1) mathematics and computer algorithms and 2) biology and healthcare. Since founding Foresite Capital, Jim has been optimistic about the merger of these two previously very different fields. His intent has been to place Foresite Capital, its resources and networks at the frontier of this data-driven revolution, and 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, where he graduated with a BS and BSEE in Applied Math and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science.  He then earned an MD from Harvard and graduated from the Harvard/MIT HST Program.  He also earned an MBA from Harvard while playing rugby.

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 $19.5 million. Decades later, Renvela still has annual sales estimated over $850 million. Jim was the founding chief executive of Theravance, Inc. Under his tenure he raised $400M. Theravance 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 reaches almost $3 billion as of 2019¹.

Jim’s investment experience includes being a co-founder of Prospect Ventures and earlier in his career, a partner of Sierra Ventures, where he established its healthcare services investment practice.

  • 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 BS and BSEE from Yale University in Applied Math and Computer Science and M.S. from MIT, MD and MBA from Harvard University.
  • 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

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 affairsPrior 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.
Daphne Tsoucas, PhD

Daphne Tsoucas, PhD

Data Scientist

Daphne develops and deploys bioinformatic methods for the analysis of genomic data.

Daphne graduated from Harvard with a PhD in biostatistics. While at Harvard, she worked at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to build bioinformatics tools for the analysis of single-cell transcriptomic data. She also holds a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business, and a BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate, Daphne performed wet-lab research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she studied the function of microRNAs in gastrointestinal disease.

  • PhD in biostatistics from Harvard
  • More than five years of experience working on high-performance algorithms and software for problems of scientific and engineering interest
Aqila Zafar

Aqila Zafar

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)

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.

Blog: Foresite Labs Launches to Incubate Transformative Companies in Data Science and Healthcare

Endpoints News: Vik Bajaj unveils Foresite’s new incubator, looking to hatch future giants crossing tech and healthcare