Board of Directors
Our board of directors includes industry experts in the research, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics and orphan drugs.
Steven M. Altschuler, M.D.
Senior Vice President of Health Affairs, University of Miami CEO, UHealth-University of Miami Health System
Steve is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the University’s clinical delivery system, which includes the University’s hospitals, faculty practice plan and clinics. As South Florida’s only academic-based health system, UHealth combines patient care, research and education to create a leading-edge, precision medicine approach to health care. UHealth’s comprehensive network includes three hospitals: Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only Cancer Center of Excellence in South Florida, as designated by the state; University of Miami Hospital, the flagship hospital of UHealth; and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, which has been recognized as the nation’s No. 1 eye hospital for 12 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report.
In addition, UHealth has more than a dozen outpatient facilities in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Collier counties; a new Bascom Palmer eye clinic in Naples, on Florida’s Gulf Coast; and a 200,000-square-foot ambulatory care facility, currently under construction, that will open on the University’s Coral Gables main campus in late 2016.
Previously, Steve was the CEO of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the nation’s oldest hospital dedicated to the care of sick children. Children’s Hospital’s Board of Trustees elected him to his position in April 2000, after an intensive international search. Prior to assuming this role, he was the Physician-in-Chief and the first holder of the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Endowed Chair in Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Altschuler took the reins of the now 527-bed hospital, at the initiation of the greatest period of growth in the institution’s 159-year history. CHOP has been ranked the nation’s No. 1 or 2 children’s hospital since 2000 by U.S. News & World Report.
Steve received his B.A. in mathematics and his M.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His pediatric internship and residency were taken at Children’s Hospital Medical Center-Boston, and he completed fellowship training in Gastroenterology and Nutrition at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. From 1985 to 2000, he was a faculty member of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His academic interests were focused in the area of gastrointestinal motility and included the leadership of a large clinical program, an NIH-funded research laboratory and a fellowship training program. He is a frequent guest lecturer locally, nationally and internationally.Currently, Steve serves on the boards of Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Weight Watchers and Spark Therapeutics.
A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President Emeritus of Health Sciences, University of Utah
During his time at the University of Utah, Lorris twice served as interim president. Following his retirement in 2012, he was named senior vice president emeritus of health sciences and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the university.
Lorris received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1969 and M.D. and Ph.D. in biochemistry and physiology in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin, and he completed his pediatric residency and a research fellowship in pediatric neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in the departments of pediatrics and neurology in 1979 and later was appointed to the faculty in the department of surgery. Other administrative appointments at the University of Michigan included associate dean for faculty affairs, senior associate dean for academic affairs, executive associate dean and interim dean.Lorris’ research focused on the physiology of the blood-brain barrier and the biochemical mechanisms that lead to brain injury in stroke. He has published over 150 scientific papers and chapters. He currently serves on the board and executive committee of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Lars Ekman, M.D., Ph.D.
Former President of Research and Development, Elan
Prior to joining Sofinnova Ventures, Lars was president of research and development at Elan. He is credited with advancing Elan’s drug discovery pipeline during his tenure, and under his leadership, the company received approval for four U.S. New Drug Applications, three European Marketing Approval Applications and five Investigational New Drug Applications. These efforts advanced Elan’s immunotherapeutic approach and brought to market three neuroscience products, including Tysabri for multiple sclerosis. Prior to joining Elan, Lars was executive vice president, research and development, at Schwarz Pharma AG, and before that, held a variety of senior scientific and clinical roles at Pharmacia (now Pfizer).
Lars is chairman of Amarin Corporation and Prothena Biosciences, executive chairman of Sophiris Bioscience, and a member of the board of directors of Ocera Therapeutics. He was co-founder and chief executive officer of Cebix, Inc. and previously served on the board of directors of InterMune (acquired by Roche) and Elan Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Perrigo).
Lars is a board-certified surgeon with a Ph.D. in experimental biology and an M.D. from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Katherine A. High, M.D.
Co-Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer
As the director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Kathy assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists and researchers working to discover new gene and cell therapies for genetic diseases and to facilitate rapid translation of preclinical discoveries into clinical application.Kathy was a long-time member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and of the medical staff at CHOP, where she was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She served a five-year term on the FDA Advisory Committee on Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapies and is a past president of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT). She received her A.B. in chemistry from Harvard University, an M.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a business certification from the University of North Carolina Business School Management Institute for Hospital Administrators and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Jeffrey D. Marrazzo
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Under Jeff's leadership, Spark has successfully completed the first randomized, controlled Phase 3 trial of an investigative gene therapy for a genetic disease and established human proof-of-concept of Spark’s gene therapy platform in both the retina and the liver. The company is currently preparing the first Biologics License Application submission for a gene therapy for a genetic disease in the U.S. In the three years since founding Spark, Jeff has raised more than $500 million in capital, established a global collaboration with Pfizer, and built an organization of nearly 200 colleagues.
During a career that has spanned the public and private sectors, Jeff has consistently championed the potential benefits of precision medicine and healthcare reform for patients. Prior to Spark, he helped build and sell the first genetic testing benefit management and pharmacogenomics medicines company to CVS Caremark. Previously, Jeff served as an advisor to former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, where he led reforms in the financing and delivery of healthcare.Jeff received a B.A. in economics and B.S.E. in systems science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a dual M.B.A. / M.P.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, a program which he founded.
Anand Mehra, M.D.
General Partner, Sofinnova Ventures
Prior to joining Sofinnova, Anand worked in JP Morgan’s private equity and venture capital group, where he was heavily involved in new investments, management of their public portfolio and the firm’s spin-out from the bank. Before joining the venture community, Anand was a consultant in McKinsey & Company’s pharmaceutical practice, advising pharma and biotech on key strategic issues, and an NIH-funded fellow focused on reperfusion injury in stroke.Anand received his M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar.
Chief Executive Officer, Idera Pharmaceuticals; Former President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, ViroPharma
Elliot Sigal, M.D., Ph.D.
Former Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Elliott received his M.D. from the University of Chicago and trained in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He received his research training at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF and served on the faculty of the UCSF department of medicine. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Purdue University. Elliott currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, the Melanoma Research Alliance and the University of California San Francisco Nina Ireland Program for Lung Health.