Board Of Directors
Rich Heyman, PhD
Executive Chairman of the Board, Founder
Richard Heyman, PhD, served as CEO of Seragon Pharmaceuticals until March 2015; Seragon was a San Diego based biotech company that that focused on the development of Selective Estrogen Receptor Degraders (SERDs) targeting estrogen dependent cancers. In August 2014, Genentech/Roche acquired Seragon. Prior to Seragon, he cofounded and was CEO of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, which developed next generation therapeutics for hormone dependent cancers based on new insights into molecular mechanisms of resistance. Johnson & Johnson purchased Aragon in August 2013 and simultaneous with this acquisition, Seragon Pharmaceuticals was spun out and created. Previously, he cofounded and served as chief scientific officer of X-Ceptor Therapeutics, a company that developed compounds targeting nuclear receptors for the treatment of metabolic diseases, which was acquired by Exelixis in 2004. Prior to X-Ceptor, he held various roles at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, including vice president of research, where he served as project leader leading to the successful identification and development of Panretin® and Targretin®, retinoids approved by the FDA for the treatment of cancer. He is the author or inventor on more than 120 publications and patents. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and is a board member of Receptos Inc., Organovo Inc., and BIOCOM. He is also a member of the Therapeutic Advisory Board for aTyr Pharma and serves on the Executive Committee of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow and staff scientist at the Salk Institute, working with Dr. Ronald Evans. He received a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota and a BS in chemistry from the University of Connecticut.
Robert Adelman, MD
Robert Adelman has a 30-year history of founding, investing in and managing companies in the life sciences sector. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley, his medical degree from Yale University, performed his residency at Cornell University Medical Center and practiced surgery in New York and New Jersey. Before founding venBio, he had a seven-year tenure as a Private Equity Partner at OrbiMed Advisors. There he was part of a team that invested $1.1B in both private and public companies across three venture capital funds. He has co-founded a number of biotech companies. He led venBio’s investment into Aragon Pharmaceuticals where he joined the Board of Directors and remained on the Board until the company’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. He also led the investment into Seragon Pharmaceuticals where he joined the Board of Directors and remained on the Board until the company’s acquisition by Genentech/Roche. He co-led venBio’s investment into Solstice Biologics and Heart Metabolics and currently serves on the board at both companies.
Kristina Burow is a Managing Director with ARCH Venture Partners specializing in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and alternative energy companies. She is a co-founder of Sapphire Energy and a director of Receptos (RCPT), Lycera, Trelys, Cenexys, AgBiome, Scholar Rock, and Kilimanjaro Energy. She has participated in the funding and development of Siluria Technologies, Ensemble Therapeutics, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (KYTH), Ikaria, Achaogen, Quanterix, and Accelerator Corporation. Prior to ARCH, she was an Associate with the Novartis BioVenture Fund in San Diego where she was involved in numerous investments in the life science sector. As an early employee at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), she directed Chemistry Operations and was active in Business Development where she helped create numerous companies as spin outs from GNF. She holds a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, a M.A. in Chemistry from Columbia University and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Amir Nashat, PhD
Amir Nashat is a managing partner in Polaris’ Boston office. He joined Polaris in April 2002 and focuses on investments in healthcare, consumer products and energy. He currently represents Polaris as a Director of AgBiome, aTyr Pharmaceuticals, BIND Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BIND), Fate Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FATE), Promedior Pharmaceuticals, Scholar Rock, and Selecta Biosciences. Additionally, he has served as a Director of Adnexus Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb), Athenix Corporation (acquired by Bayer), Avila Therapeutics (acquired by Celgene), Living Proof, Pervasis Therapeutics (acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals), Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT), Sun Catalytix (acquired by Lockheed Martin) and served as a Board Observer of GI Dynamics (GID.AX). In addition to his role as an investor, he has also served as the initial CEO of Living Proof (known as Andora at the time), and Sun Catalytix Corporation. Prior to joining Polaris, he completed his PhD as a Hertz Fellow in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a minor in Biology under the guidance of Dr. Robert Langer. He also earned both his MS and BS in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He serves on the Partners Innovation Fund and is a Catalyst of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT. He previously served on the Board of the New England Venture Capital Association. He has been named to the Forbes Midas list of Top 100 Venture Capitalists.
Ronald Evans, PhD
Independent Director, Founder
Ronald Evans is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Director of the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute. He is known for his discoveries of nuclear receptors and the mechanism of hormone signaling. Hormone receptors help to control sugar, salt, calcium and fat metabolism as well as reproductive physiology. These receptors are primary targets in the treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia, as well as osteoporosis, inflammation and asthma. His initial isolation of steroid receptors uncovered a hidden ‘superfamily’ of hormone receptors whose characterization revealed the existence of previously unknown signaling pathways for cholesterol, bile acids and fatty acids, fundamentally changing our views of both physiology and the treatment of disease such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. His work led to the development of Panretin, Targretin in leukemia (Ligand Pharmaceuticals) as well as Lasofoxifene and Bazedoxifene (Pfizer) (for osteoporosis and hormone replacement therapy). He was a cofounder of X-Ceptor Therapeutics, a company that developed compounds targeting orphan nuclear receptors for the treatment of metabolic diseases, which was acquired by Exelixis in 2004. He was a consultant for the development of Aragon ARN-509 and Seragon ARN-810 for prostate and breast cancer respectively. He is a founder of MitoBridge in Boston developing drugs to boost mitochondrial function and Xtuit (building drugs to target the tumor microenvironment). His current work focuses on energy metabolism in muscle (exercise in a pill), along with new insights into obesity, insulin resistance and cancer. He is a Professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and holds the March of Dimes Chair in Developmental and Molecular Biology at the Salk Institute and a Research Scholar of the Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic cancer. He is the recipient of the Albert Lasker Award (2004), the Wolf Prize, Israel (2012) and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.