Rod Ferguson, PhD – Co-Founder, Panorama Capital
Rod Ferguson is a co-founder of Panorama Capital, a venture capital firm which spun off from JPMorgan Partners (JPMP) in July 2006, where he focuses primarily on life sciences investments. He joined JPMP as a Managing Director in their life sciences venture practice in 2001.
From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Ferguson was a partner at InterWest Partners, a venture capital firm, where he focused on life sciences investments. Prior to InterWest, he held a variety of management positions over an 11-year career at Genentech, Inc., most recently as Senior Director of Business and Corporate Development responsible for worldwide licensing transactions for both technology and pharmaceutical products. Prior to joining Genentech, Inc. in 1988, Dr. Ferguson was an associate with the law firm McCutchen, Doyle, Brown, & Enersen (currently known as Bingham McCutchen LLP). Dr. Ferguson received a B.S. with honors in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a J.D. cum laude from Northwestern University. Dr. Ferguson serves on the technology advisory board of The Economist, a variety of advisory boards in the life sciences industry, and two non-profit boards. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of several private life science companies.
Gerald Proehl – Independent Board Member
Gerry Proehl is the former President and CEO of Santarus, Inc. where he led the sale of that company to Salix in early 2014 for $2.6 billion. Prior to Santarus, Mr. Proehl was with Hoechst Marion Roussel for 14 years, where he served in various capacities, including Vice President of Global Marketing.
While at Hoechst, he was responsible for marketing products in multiple therapeutic areas, including the central nervous system. Mr. Proehl holds a B.S. in education from the State University of New York at Cortland, an M.A. in exercise physiology from Wake Forest University, and an M.B.A. from Rockhurst College.
Samuel Saks, MD – Chief Development Office, Director
Sam Saks is a board certified oncologist who was most recently the founding CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals until his retirement in 2009. From 2001 until he joined Jazz, Dr. Saks was company group chairman of ALZA Corporation and member of the Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Operating Committee.
From 1992 until 2001, he held executive positions at ALZA, including group vice president, ALZA Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for clinical, regulatory and commercial activities. Prior to joining ALZA, Dr. Saks held clinical research and development management positions with Schering-Plough, Xoma and Genentech. Dr. Saks has a Bachelor’s degree in biology and his medical degree from the University of Illinois. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Texas Southwestern, and his fellowship in oncology at the University of California – San Francisco, and is Board certified in both specialties. Dr. Saks is a director of Auspex Pharmaceuticals, TONIX Pharmaceuticals, Depomed, Bullet Biotechnology, NuMedii and Velocity Pharmaceutical Development.
Sepehr Sarshar, PhD – Auspex Founder and Partner, Sloan Biotech Funds
Sep Sarshar is a partner at Sloan Biotech Funds and is a founder of Auspex. Sep received his PhD From Harvard University under the direction of Professor E. J. Corey. He began his pharmaceutical career at Ontogen Corporation (1994-1997) where he discovered and co-invented ONT-093, a P-glycoprotein pump inhibitor currently in Phase II trials,
for the reversal of multidrug resistance in cancer patients. While at Pfizer (La Jolla, 1997-2000), Sep continued his research in oncology by focusing on novel anti-angiogenic compounds. Sep was a faculty member at the University of California San Diego and has authored numerous scientific papers and patents.
Phillip Schneider – Independent Board Member
Phil Schneider is the former Chief Financial Officer of IDEC Pharmaceuticals where he served until its sale to Biogen. Since then, Mr. Schneider has served as a Board member for a variety of companies including Arena Pharmaceuticals, Gen-Probe, and CancerVax/Micromet and has frequently served as an Audit Committee Chairperson.
Mr. Schneider received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.
Pratik Shah, PhD – President and CEO, Director
Pratik Shah is President and CEO of Auspex. He was previously Executive Chairman of Auspex and has been involved in shaping the company’s strategy since joining the boardin 2007. He has been involved in a number of biotechnology companies and was lead director and founding investor in CNS Therapeutics (acquired by Mallincrodt).
He represents Thomas, McNerney & Partners as a Partner on the boards of Cebix, Ocera Therapeutics, Inc. and SGB. Pratik was co-founder of biopharmaceutical companies Kalypsys, Inc. Before co-founding Kalypsys, Pratik was at McKinsey & Company (San Francisco), where he focused on biotechnology and venture capital projects. He was formerly co-founder and VP of Operations at NephRx Corporation, a start-up company focused on the discovery of therapeutic proteins for renal disease. Pratik holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Irvine and both a Ph.D. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago.
Alex Zisson – Partner, Thomas, McNerney & Partners
Alex Zisson is a partner in the venture capital firm Thomas, McNerney & Partners and is also currently a board member of Celator Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CLPM), Clarus Therapeutics, Inc. and InnoPharma, Inc. Prior to Thomas, McNerney & Partners, he spent 11 years in the research department at Hambrecht & Quist (and its successor firms Chase H&Q and JPMorgan H&Q).
During his tenure at H&Q, Alex led research teams covering the biotechnology, specialty pharmaceutical, large-cap pharmaceutical, drug delivery and diagnostic industries. He was the lead analyst on 10 book-running IPOs and 20 book-run secondary offerings, raising over $2 billion for health care companies. In 1997, Alex was named a Managing Director and began assuming management responsibilities for the health care research group and the firm’s annual January conference. After the merger of Chase H&Q and JPMorgan, he became the firm’s Health Care Strategist. Alex was named twice in The Wall Street Journal’s All-Star Analysts Survey, including during his last year at JPMorgan, when he placed in all three categories: stock picking (#1 in pharmaceuticals), earnings estimate accuracy (tied for #2), and ‘home run’ hitting (#8 across all industries). He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.