A 501(c)(3) Venture Investment Fund
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Richard is the CEO of Cureatr, a tech-enabled telehealth organization that keeps high-risk patients out of hospitals by optimizing their complex medication regimens across their many doctors. Prior, he led GQ Life Sciences, a venture-backed software and data company, and was CEO of Harmony Line, Inc., and Mosaic Bioinformatics. Richard is the Chair of the Arts and Sciences Advisory Board at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and holds an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management, an M.S. in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Libby joined NeuroNetworks Fund in July 2020 as a social media intern. She works with Ming to expand and enhance the relationship between NNF and its “virtual” social community. Her work applies her knowledge of branding, research, and content creation. Prior to joining NNF, Libby has previous experience in public relations and social media strategy. Libby is currently a student at Florida State University studying English and Communications.
Ming joined NeuroNetworks Fund in June 2018 as a social media intern; she continues lead and manage NNF’s social media outreach from her base in China. She has lead the work to expand and enhance the relationship between NNF and its “virtual” social community. Her work applies her knowledge of content strategy, audience analysis, and Facebook advertising. Prior to joining NNF, she had experience managing social media accounts ranging from technology to fashion for both start-up and established companies. Ming received her BS in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. She is also currently developing a fashion and beauty start-up in China.
Rajesh Ranganathan, PhD. is the Director of Translational Medicine at MGH. Prior to that role he was Vice President of Science and Regulatory Advocacy at PhRMA. A global research executive with broad experience in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and government. Rajesh was formerly the Director of the Office of Translational Research at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) where he was responsible for leading the Institute’s efforts to more quickly and effectively convert basic and translational research results into new therapeutics. He received his bachelor’s degrees from Amherst College and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Paul Thurk is a Managing Director with ARCH Venture Partners, joining in 2000 via a two-year Kauffman Fellowship. He established ARCH’s European Headquarters in 2011, moving to Dublin as part of it. Mr. Thurk has been co-founder and initial CEO of Innovalight (acq by DuPont), CoolEdge Lighting, and Pinon Technologies (acq by a large German chemical co). He has participated in the development of ARCH portfolio companies Kotura (acq by Mellanox), Movidius (acq by Intel), Nitronex (acq by MACOM), Cambrios, Semprius, and ARCH entrepreneur-in-residence programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories with the U.S. Department of Energy. More recently, he co-founded Carrick Therapeutics and Genomics Medicine Ireland, and serves as Director of both.
Dr. Michele Kong is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and a pediatric intensivist at Children’s Hospital of Alabama and UAB. She is a NIH funded researcher in the field of acute lung injury and viral infection and is also a trailblazer in making hospitals and public arenas sensory inclusive. She co-founded Kulturecity, a national nonprofit with the mission to rethink accessibility to create acceptance and inclusion for individuals of all unique abilities. Under her leadership, Kulturecity became not only the fastest growing special needs nonprofit in the United States but also the best reviewed. Dr. Kong is a well published medical author and her work has been covered in JAMA, USA Today, INC and Fox News just to name a few. She is also a sought after speaker both in the field of Pediatric Critical Care and Autism.
Anika is a seasoned strategy consultant working in pharma and biotech. She joined the NeuroNetworks Fund after supporting the UK government in the development of the Dementia Discovery Fund, an initiative sponsored by the G7 and World Dementia Council to find a cure for dementia by 2025. Anika worked for PwC for five years on corporate venture capital and first-in-kind funds before joining Partners Healthcare Innovations where she manages industry alliances and business development. Anika is a graduate of the University of Chicago.
Marina Bozilenko, Head of Biotech & Pharma, Managing Director, joined William Blair & Company in 2010. Ms. Bozilenko brings to the firm over 20 years of investment banking and other healthcare industry expertise, including raising more than $24 billion in capital and executing numerous M&A transactions. Most recently, she was a principal at Kidd & Company, a private-equity firm, and prior to that, worked at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. as a senior managing director in the healthcare group. Before that, Ms. Bozilenko was at Banc of America Securities as a managing director and head of biotechnology, and Vector Securities International, where she was a partner. She received her B.A. in molecular biology and M.A. in economic history from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Deborah Hirtz is Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences and Pediatrics, University of Vermont School of Medicine. Previously she was a Program Director for Clinical Trials and Studies at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago and medical degree at Hahnemann Medical College. She is board-certified in Pediatrics and Neurology, and trained at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center and George Washington University in Washington, DC. Since that time, she has been at NINDS, where she has managed a large portfolio of research focused on clinical trials, seizure disorders in children, autism and other developmental disorders, cerebral palsy, and neurodevelopmental disorders of infants and children in lower and middle income countries. She has been a clinical consultant in Child Neurology for the Montgomery County Health Department and the National Children’s Center, and currently consults at Children’s National Medical Center of D.C.
Dr. Pelphrey is the Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Psychology; Co-Director of the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience; Co-Director NIMH T32 Training Program in Childhood Neuropsychiatric Disorders and co-directs the Yale Center for Translational, Developmental Neuroscience. He serves as the Principal Investigator of a multisite Autism Center for Excellence, and leads an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) network that includes Yale, Harvard, UCLA, UCSF, University of Southern California, and the University of Washington. Among numerous awards, Dr. Pelphrey received a Scientist Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, a John Merck Scholars Award for work on the biology of developmental disorders, and the American Psychological Association’s Boyd McCandless Award for contributions to Developmental Psychology. Dr. Pelphrey received his PhD from UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Smith is Head of Translational Sciences at BlackThorn Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutics for neurodevelopmental disorders. Prior to this Dr. Smith was Vice President, Innovative Technologies at Autism Speaks and President of Delivering Scientific Innovation for Autism LLC, a venture philanthropy affiliate of Autism Speaks. He is a neuroscientist by training and has a decade of experience in research and development, project leadership and due diligence activities in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Smith is responsible for creating and managing a portfolio of projects and investments focused on identifying and delivering evidence-based products and services to address the healthcare and quality of life challenges faced by people with autism. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Temple University and a Ph.D. in Psychobiology from Purdue University.
Dr. Whitley is the chair of the NNF Scientific Advisory Board and is a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology, Medicine and Neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Among many honors, he holds the Loeb Eminent Scholar Chair in Pediatrics. He is also Associate Director for Drug Discovery and Development and Co-Founder and Co-Director, Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance. Dr. Whitley is responsible for the NIH Funded Collaborative Antiviral Study Group. His research interests include the translation of molecular biology to clinical application. He is a past President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and received the UAB President’s Medal in 2007. In 2013, he was named as the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Clinical Research Scholar and Educator in Residence at the NIH Clinical Center. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Gilead, Inc. and has founded and/or advised numerous startups including Aviron, NeuroVir, Vaxart and Arrow Therapeutics. Dr. Whitley received his BA in Chemistry from Duke University and his MD from George Washington University.
Jane is a corporate finance attorney who headed Kelley Drye & Warren LLP’s venture capital practice before agreeing to become the practice group head of its mergers & acquisitions practice. She has over thirty years of experience advising venture funds and early-stage and emerging growth companies in a variety of industries. She has represented early stage companies in the pharmaceutical and medical device areas, as well as venture funds focused on healthcare. She typically acts as the outside “in-house general counsel” to companies, advising on debt and equity financing, licensing, strategic partnering, joint ventures, intellectual property licensing, purchase and supply agreements and general corporate finance matters. Jane received her BS from Cornell University and her JD from the New York University School of Law.
Peder is a neurologist and has extensive global drug development experience gained across a variety of therapeutic areas, including neurology, cardiovascular, anti-infective, oncology and immunology. During his tenure at Schering Plough/Merck, Dr. Jensen held global senior research and development positions, including Vice President Clinical Research, SPRI, Executive Vice President Worldwide Drug Development, SPRI, and most recently Corporate Senior Vice President, and General Manager, R&D for Japan and Asia/Pacific. Dr. Jensen has been responsible for more than 40 new drug approvals in the U.S., Europe and Japan. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Acorda Therapeutics; BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and FivePrime Therapeutics, Inc. Peder earned his MD and completed post graduate studies in neurology and internal medicine at Copenhagen University.
Tierney is the Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications at Acorda Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing therapies that restore function and improve the lives of people living with neurological disorders. Her group is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with patient advocacy organizations, as well as media relations, investor relations, thought leadership, social media and philanthropic giving. She has worked at Acorda for 20 years and is a member of its executive management team. Before joining Acorda Tierney had over 10 years’ experience in public relations, marketing, and corporate communications. She attended the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.
George joined NNF in the summer of 2016 as a social media intern and today remains involved with the team as a volunteer. His professional work focuses on building platforms to process and search large, unstructured datasets. He has been working as a software engineer at a seed stage start up since May 2017. This work involves writing code that sources and understands data from arbitrary sources. George received a BS in Physics from Yale University.
Brian is a parent of an autistic child and has first hand experience of the challenges of care and the immediate need for therapeutic intervention. Brian has spent his career at the interface of academia and early stage investment, either as a venture capitalist funding/founding numerous start up and early stage companies where he served as director or chairman, as well as investing in collaborative research programs in private:public partnership. Prior to his career in venture, Brian led preclinical research activities for biotechnology companies focused on developing new treatments for brain tumors and chronic pain. Brian has a BSc (hons) from Glasgow University, a PhD from the University of Cambridge and was a Charles A King Fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Sandra has extensive venture capital and life science investment experience at Cross Atlantic Partners (CAP), Vector Fund Management, Oppenheimer Funds and Salomon Brothers Venture Capital. Notable investments relevant to neurodisorders include Martek Biosciences and Acorda Therapeutics both of which Sandra sponsored and was a board member of behalf of the funds that she managed. During her thirty year career as a healthcare venture capitalist she has served on over 20 Boards of public and private companies ranging in size from start-ups to those with billion dollar market capitalizations. She has first hand knowledge of how the venture capital community is abandoning the activity that NNF will fulfill. Prior to her investment career, she was in the Economic Studies Division at the Brookings Institution, and before that an assistant professor of Pathology, at the University of Chicago. Sandra received her BS and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago.