Commitment and Talent Taking Targeted Therapeutics to Market
Our strength is in our team, including the investors and leaders who make up our Board:
Brad Bolzon is a Managing Director with Versant Ventures. Brad brings more than thirteen years of global pharmaceutical industry experience to Versant’s biotech investment team. He specializes in early-stage biotech investing with a particular emphasis on new company start-ups.
Prior to joining Versant, Brad served as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Business Development, Licensing & Alliances with F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Under his leadership, Roche established alliances with over 75 biotech companies worldwide and significantly strengthened its product pipeline. Previously, Brad held executive roles at Eli Lilly in drug discovery, clinical research, regulatory affairs, and business development.
Jerel Davis is a Managing Director based in Vancouver. Since joining Versant in 2011, he has played a critical role in launching and investing in a number of Versant’s portfolio companies including Quanticel Pharmaceuticals, Crispr Therapeutics, Blueline Bioscience, Northern Biologics and several of the Inception Sciences discovery start-ups. He has also led Versant’s execution of build-to-buy structured acquisitions with Celgene, Roche and Bayer. Over the last few years, Jerel has focused on establishing Versant’s presence in Canada, including the launch of new companies in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Prior to joining Versant, Jerel was Associate Principal at McKinsey and Company where he advised healthcare corporations in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical device and molecular diagnostics. He has worked in a number of healthcare markets globally including the US, Europe, China, Russia and India. Jerel was a post doctoral researcher at Stanford University until 2005 and in research at Amgen from 1999-2000.
Mary Haak-Frendscho is CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Blueline Bioscience, and a Venture Partner with Versant Ventures. Dr. Haak-Frendscho also is Executive Chair of Sirenas. Mary brings 25 years of biotechnology industry experience spanning global pharma to early stage biotech start-ups. Prior to joining Blueline, she established and was Chairman of the Board of Compugen, Inc. and was CEO and member of the Board at Igenica Biotherapeutics, Inc. Previously Mary was founding President, CSO and Board member of Takeda San Francisco, establishing and overseeing Takeda’s Center of Excellence for Biologics. Earlier in her career Dr. Haak-Frendscho held positions of increasing responsibility at XOMA, Abgenix (now Amgen), and Genentech, where she secured collaborative relationships with external corporate partners and led therapeutic programs. At Genentech, she played a key role in the development of omalizumab (Xolair®). An immunologist by training, Mary obtained her BS from the University of Michigan, MLA from Washington University in St. Louis, MS from SUNY-Stony Brook, CSEP from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and PhD from the University of Wisconsin, where she has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences.
Ben Neel is the Director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center (LIPCC) and Professor of Medicine at NYU-Langone Medical School. Ben’s research focuses on cellular signal transduction, with a particular interest in the biology and regulation of protein-tyrosine kinases and phosphatases, the role of RAS/ERK pathway mutations in developmental disease and malignancy, and the functional genomics of breast and ovarian cancer.
Prior to LIPCC, Ben was the Director of Research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC), and Professor of Medical Biophysics and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto. Prior to PMCC, he was the William B. Castle Chair of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Ben holds a PhD in Viral Oncology from Rockefeller University, and an MD from Cornell University.
Joan Seoane is currently the director of the Translational Research Program of the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) integrated in the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, head of the Gene Expression and Cancer Laboratory, and member of the Executive Board of VHIO. He is also an ICREA Research Professor and associate professor of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He previously worked at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as a Research Fellow and Research Associate. At VHIO, he has generated a multidisciplinary group focused on translational research in brain tumors. Joan’s group has identified several therapeutic targets against cancer, his publications have generated more than 4,000 citations and has collaborated with several pharmaceutical companies (Eli Lilly, Novartis, MSD) to develop anti-cancer agents.
Phil is the Chief Executive Officer of Northern Biologics, and a member of the Northern Biologics Board of Directors. Prior to joining Northern Biologics, Phil served as Global Head of Research and Development and a member of the Executive Committee of Shire, a biotechnology company focused on the development of therapies for the treatment of rare and specialty conditions. Under Phil’s leadership Shire’s pipeline had approximately 40 programs in clinical development in the areas of Genetic Disease, GI disease, Hematology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Ophthalmology and Oncology. Prior to Shire, Phil held positions of increasing responsibility in Research and Development at Merck, Pfizer, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals. Phil is also a member of the Board of Directors of Revance Therapeutics.
Phil obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto, which was followed by postdoctoral research in mechanisms of multidrug resistance in breast cancer at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
Stefan Larson is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Versant Ventures, and co-founded Northern Biologics in his role as President of Blueline Bioscience, a Toronto-based biotechnology incubator.
Prior to joining Versant, Stefan was the co-founding CEO of Tornado Medical Systems, a revenue stage scientific and medical instruments company with product lines in high performance Raman spectroscopy and optical coherence tomography. He began his professional career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, serving clients in the healthcare and technology sectors as an Associate Principal in the firm.
Stefan received his PhD in Biophysics from Stanford University, where he studied as a James H. Clark Graduate Fellow. He received his MSc in Molecular and Medical Genetics from the University of Toronto.