Chris Starr, Ph.D., Chairperson
Chris has extensive experience in developing and commercializing biologic and small molecule therapeutics in the orphan genetic disease space through six drug approvals and multiple commercial launches. He was cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of Raptor Pharmaceuticals Corp. since its inception in 2006 until 2015. As Chief Executive Officer, Chris built Raptor from a startup to a 130 person Nasdaq-listed company with one approved product and two Phase 2 programs. Raptor was acquired by Horizon Pharma in 2016 for $800 million. Prior to starting Raptor, he cofounded BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. in 1997 where he last served as Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer until 2006. At BioMarin, he was responsible for managing a scientific operations team of 181 research, process development, manufacturing, and quality personnel through the successful development of commercial manufacturing processes for its enzyme replacement products and supervised the cGMP design, construction, and licensing of BioMarin’s proprietary biological manufacturing facility. Chris was recipient of a National Research Council Associate Award while a postdoc at the National Institutes of Health. He earned a B.S. from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the State University of New York Health Science Center.
Ken Harrison, Ph.D.
Ken is a Principal at Novo Ventures (US), Inc. in San Francisco where he has worked since 2015. He brings experience as a Senior Market Planning Manager at Genentech, where he helped guide strategic decision making for the ophthalmology and HER2 franchises. Prior to Genentech, Ken worked as a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting and as the Entrepreneurship Program Manager at QB3/Mission Bay Capital, where he helped create new programs to launch and support life sciences companies in the Bay Area. He studied cellular lipid storage and metabolism as an A.P. Giannini Foundation Fellow at the J. David Gladstone Institutes, earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Yale University, and has a B.S. in molecular biology from Texas Tech University, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute undergraduate research fellow.
Peter McWilliams, Ph.D.
Peter is the CEO of Glycomine. He was previously a Managing Director at Sanderling Ventures where he was responsible for their investment in Actimis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and, as its CEO, led the company into the clinic and through to a successful exit via an acquisition by Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to joining Sanderling, Peter worked at Genentech where, as a Product Manager in Oncology Commercial Development, he managed a pipeline of oncology products in pre-clinical and clinical development including the anti-angiogenesis therapeutic, Avastin®. Prior to that he was an Associate with Booz & Co (now PwC) in San Francisco where he focused on consulting projects for major U.S. and international life science companies. Prior to that he worked for Oxford Molecular, one of the first companies in the field of rational drug design and bioinformatics. Peter received an MBA from Columbia Business School, where he was an R.C. Kopf Fellow and was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma. He received a Ph.D. and M.A. in chemistry from Princeton University where he received a Hugh Scott Taylor fellowship. He received a B.A. in natural sciences from Cambridge University.
Tim Mills, Ph.D.
Tim has more than 25 years of experience in venture capital, corporate management, and biomedical research. He joined Sanderling in 1998 and has had active roles within multiple portfolio companies including Stentor, acquired by Royal Philips Electronics (PHG), CardioNet (BEAT), Taligen Therapeutics, acquired by Alexion (ALXN), Neomend, acquired by C.R. Bard (BCR), Pulsar Vascular, acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Torax Medical, acquired by (JNJ). Prior to Sanderling, Tim served as Corporate Vice President of New Business Development and Chief Scientific Officer of Target Therapeutics. Prior to Target, he served as Director of Business Development and Advanced Research & Development in the Interventional Cardiology Division of Baxter Healthcare, now Edwards Life Science (EW). Tim was previously the Director of the Artificial Heart Program at University of California, Irvine Medical Center and faculty member at UC San Francisco. He received his Ph.D. in bioengineering from UC Berkeley and UCSF School of Medicine. Tim also received a M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Colorado Boulder.
Bali Muralidhar, Ph.D.
Bali has 15 years professional experience in healthcare across a range of functions including venture investing, R&D, clinical practice, and teaching. He works with the team in the London, Boston, and Menlo Park offices to source and evaluate new investment opportunities and support existing venture investments through to exit. Prior to joining Abingworth, Bali was a senior partner at MVM Partners LLP in London where he completed investments in and served on the boards of several companies, both public and private. Before MVM, Bali was a member of Bain Capital's healthcare deal team. Bali obtained a degree in clinical medicine from the University of Oxford and practiced general surgery at the John Radcliffe and Addenbrooke's Hospitals in Oxford and Cambridge, respectively. He has a PhD in translational cancer research from the MRC Cancer Cell Unit, University of Cambridge, and has published more than a dozen peer reviewed papers. He was also a Bye-Fellow in Medical Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge where he taught pathology, surgery, and medicine.
Niall O’Donnell, Ph.D.
Niall joined RiverVest Venture Partners in 2006 as a Kauffman Fellow and became a Managing Director in 2014. He focuses on biopharmaceutical opportunities, building and operating RiverVest portfolio companies. Prior to joining RiverVest, Niall spent five years as an immunologist at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development in San Diego. He co-authored the first paper validating the newly-discovered histamine H4 receptor as a key regulator of immune pathologies. Niall was also a member of the scientific advisory board of Ziarco Ltd., a developer of H4 receptor antagonists. Ziarco was acquired by Novartis International AG in 2016. Niall earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Dundee and an M.A. in biochemistry from Oxford University. He also received an MBA from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. His professional affiliations include the American Thoracic Society and American Association of Immunologists.
Jim Trenkle, Ph.D.
Jim joined Sanofi Ventures in 2020 with a background in R&D, commercialization, and early stage biotech investing and transactions. Prior to joining Sanofi, Jim was Vice President of Investments with Pivotal bioVenture Partners in San Francisco where he was board observer for several portfolio companies. Previous to Pivotal, Jim began his career with Gilead Sciences in 2007 where he held positions of increasing responsibility in medicinal chemistry, project and portfolio management, and commercial strategy, largely focused on hepatitis C and other liver diseases. Jim completed a B.S. in honors chemistry at University of Michigan, Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.