CEO, Flexion Therapeutics
Dr. Clayman is a co-founder of Flexion Therapeutics and has served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and as a director of the company since its inception in 2007. Previously, Dr. Clayman had a lengthy career at Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company, where he was most recently Vice President, Lilly Research Laboratories, and General Manager of Chorus, Lilly’s early-phase development accelerator. During his career at Lilly, Dr. Clayman also led its Global Regulatory Affairs division; the Cardiovascular Discovery Research and Clinical Investigation, Research and Development at Advanced Cardiovascular Systems, a medical device subsidiary of Lilly; the Internal Medicine Division; the Lilly Clinic, Lilly’s dedicated Phase 1 unit; and served as Chair of Lilly’s Bioethics Committee. Prior to his tenure at Lilly, Dr. Clayman was an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research centered on the immunopathogenesis of renal disease. Dr. Clayman is the recipient of the Physician Scientist Award from the National Institutes of Health. He earned a BA, cum laude, from Yale University and an MD from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Following an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Moffitt Hospitals, Dr. Clayman completed clinical and research fellowships in Nephrology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Managing Director, Novartis Venture Fund
For 20 years, he has held various positions in the intellectual property and venture areas at Nestlé, Pasteur Mérieux Connaught (now Sanofi Pasteur) and Novartis. Florent is a Kaufmann Fellow (class 12), holds a biotechnology engineering master degree, and did his master thesis at GSK Biologics’ laboratories. He also holds European and French patent lawyer degrees, and a master degree in private law. His prior investments into Okairos (acquired for $325M), Evolva, Cellerix and Neovacs, resulted in successful exits. Florent serves on the boards of Anokion, Atlas Genetics, Applied Immune Therapeutics, Immune Targeting Systems, Merus, Myopowers and Opsona.
John Hohneker, MD
CEO and President, Kanyos Bio
Prior to joining Kanyos as CEO, John was President of Research and Development at FORMA Therapeutics Inc., where he guided the company’s transition from a discovery-stage biotech to one with programs in clinical trials. Prior to FORMA, he held roles of increasing responsibility at Novartis AG, most recently as senior vice president and global head of development for immunology and dermatology. During his tenure at Novartis, John played a key role in the development, approval, and commercialization of products including Cosentyx®, Xolair®, Ilaris®, Gleevec®, Tasigna®, Zometa®, Afinitor® and Exjade®. Prior to joining Novartis, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Glaxo Wellcome and its legacy company, Burroughs Wellcome.He currently serves on the board of directors of Torque Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company. He also previously served on the board of directors of Dimension Therapeutics Inc., which was acquired by Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: RARE).
John received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Gettysburg College and an M.D. from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at Rutgers Medical School. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine and his fellowship in medical oncology, all at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.
Co-founder, Chief Scientific Advisor
Jeff is a professor and founder of the Institute of Bioengineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL), and a professor at the Institute of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on engineering approaches to immunomodulation, drug delivery, and regenerative medicine. Jeff has successfully spun-out several companies based on technology from his laboratories, co-founding Focal, Inc. (Lexington, MA) and founding Kuros Biosurgery AG (Zurich, Switzerland). He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Niles Kumar, PhD
Partner, Novo Ventures
Nilesh has been with Novo Ventures (US) Inc. in Boston since 2015. Prior to joining Novo, Nilesh was Senior Director at MS Ventures where he invested in early stage life science companies. Nilesh led the initial investments and served on the Boards of Auxogyn, Canbex, f-Star, Raze Therapeutics, RaNA Therapeutics, Padlock Therapeutics and TocopheRx. In addition to his venture investment role, Nilesh has successfully led several strategic licensing transactions at Merck Serono in oncology and autoimmune therapeutic areas.
Nilesh received his PhD from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. He holds an MBA from Harvard University, and did his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK.
Dhavalkumar Patel, MD, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, UCB SA
Dhaval is a physician scientist who serves as an Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at UCB in Brussels, Belgium, and on the Boards of Directors for several biotech companies. He received an MD and PhD (Microbiology and Immunology) from and further clinical training in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, and Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Duke University. He was an Eminent Professor of Medicine, Chief of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill prior to joining industry in 2006. During a 10 year career at Novartis, he led Research in Europe and the Autoimmunity, Transplantation and Inflammation Disease Area which contributed to the registration of secukinumab (Cosentyx), fingolimod (Gilenya), canakinumab (Ilaris) and everolimus (Zortress/Certican, Affinitor) in multiple indications. He was also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Novartis Venture Fund.
Chief Financial Officer, Cytos AG
Harry Welten, MBA, spent more than twenty years in international senior executive functions, sixtee of which as chief financial officer in biotechnology companies (privately as well as publicly held). He was involved in IPO’s, mergers and acquisitions and raised more than CHF 320 million from private and public investors. He holds a degree in banking and finance, a degree in economics and business administration and an MBA (Hons.) from Columbia University, New York.
He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Novaremed AG as well as of BiognoSYS AG, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Kanyos, ASIT Biotech, ProteoMediX, Virometix and Horizon Pharma AG. Harry is also a member of the foundation council of HBM Fondation.
Tom Woiwode, PhD
Managing Director, Versant Ventures
Tom has been with Versant Ventures since 2002, serving as a Venture Partner since 2008 and a Managing Director since 2014. Tom has served in a number of operating roles over this time, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer of Okairos, a biopharmaceutical company developing genetic vaccines for major infectious diseases. Tom led the process that culminated in the sale of Okairos to GlaxoSmithKline for $325M. Prior to his role with Okairos, Tom co-founded EuroVentures, a wholly owned biotech incubator within Versant Ventures, and in this role, served as the founding Chief Business Officer for three biotech companies created within Versant: Flexion (public), Synosia (public, merged with BioTie), and Amira (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for up to $475M). Prior to his role as a Venture Partner, Tom was a Principal at Versant Ventures and served on the boards of Antipodean, Metabolex and Saegis. Tom was a research scientist at XenoPort before joining Versant. Tom earned his PhD in Organic Chemistry as an NSF Fellow at Stanford University and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English and received the Departmental Citation for his B.S. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. Tom currently serves on the boards of Annapurna, Anokion, Audentes, CRISPR, Gritstone, Therachon, and Kanyos Bio.