Leslie J. Williams

Leslie J. Williams

Ms. Leslie Williams has more than 25 years of industry experience in healthcare, management, commercial product development and marketing. Ms. Williams currently serves on the Board of Ocular Therapeutics and advises life sciences companies and Universities on tech transfer, company formation, strategic collaborations and fundraising.  Previously, Ms. Williams founded ImmusanT, Inc., which subsequently acquired the assets of Australian based Nexpep. Prior to founding ImmusanT, Ms. Williams was President & CEO of Ventaira Pharmaceuticals, a significant player in the pulmonary drug delivery market. Ms. Williams’ prior pharmaceutical industry experience includes commercial positions at INO Therapeutics, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, and drug-delivery and monitoring experience at Datex-Ohmeda (formerly Ohmeda, Inc.). Ms. Williams was a venture partner at Battelle Ventures and served on the Boards of Hepregen Corporation, CDI Bioscience, and on the Board of The Capital Network (TCN). Ms. Williams currently serves on the Advisory Board of Life Science Cares and is on the Executive Board of the University of Iowa School of Pharmacy. Ms. Williams also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Life Science Leader as well as The Journal of Advanced Therapies and Medical Innovation Sciences.

Ms. Williams holds an MBA from Washington University, John Olin School of Business, and a BS degree with honors in nursing from the University of Iowa. Before entering industry, she was a critical-care nurse at Duke University, Medical College of Virginia and at the University of Iowa.

 


Court R. Turner, J.D.

Court R. Turner, J.D.

Court R. Turner, JD has over 20 years of experience in corporate development, operations and healthcare venture capital. Mr. Turner currently serves as the Chief Business Officer and Managing Director of Accelerator Life Science Partners, as well as, Partner at LYZZ Capital and Executive Chair & Co-Founder of Onchilles Pharma.  Prior to joining Accelerator Life Science Partners, Mr. Turner was a Venture Partner with Avalon Ventures where he was the founding CEO and Director of both Synthorx (acquired by Sanofi), Inc. and Cellular Approaches, Inc. He was also the founding Chairman and CEO of RQx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Genentech). Mr. Turner has also served in executive management roles at Kalypsys, Inc. and Aurora Biosciences (acquired by Vertex).

Mr. Turner received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law and holds a BS in Psychology from San Diego State University.


Melissa A. Yeager, J.D.

Melissa A. Yeager, J.D.

Ms. Melissa Yeager has served in executive management for over 25 years in biopharmaceutical and medical device companies with responsibility for international regulatory affairs and operation activities. Ms. Yeager has held senior positions in global corporations such as Gilead Sciences and Becton Dickinson and start-up entities including Breath Therapeutics, Corus Pharma and PathoGenesis. In 2010, she co-founded Cardeas Pharma, a venture backed effort to develop combination therapies for respiratory infectious disease. Prior to joining Accelerator, Ms. Yeager was at Alder Biosciences with leadership responsibility for regulatory approvals of neurological products. Her areas of expertise have included early development efforts, life cycle management, and alternative dose delivery systems for biologic, drug, medical device and combination products.

Ms. Yeager received her J.D. from Santa Clara University and B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University.  She currently heads the Regulatory Consulting Group, Seattle that focuses on complex regulatory and novel development strategies for biotechnology products. She is a member of multiple nonprofit and government entity boards.


Kevin Chow, Ph.D.

Kevin Chow, Ph.D.

Dr. Kevin Chow has over two decades of experience leading business development and corporate strategy in both large and small biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. Chow was most recently Co-founder, President and CEO of Vitaeris (acquired by CSL Behring in June 2020), a privately held biotechnology company conducting a multi-national Phase 3 study in kidney transplant rejection. Under Dr. Chow’s leadership, Vitaeris repurposed the anti-IL6 mAb clazakizumab from rheumatoid arthritis into the field of solid organ transplantation under an unprecedented FDA Subpart E accelerated approval pathway in the field of transplant. Prior to co-founding Vitaeris in early 2016, Dr. Chow served as Head of Business Development at Alder Biopharmaceuticals, where he led partnering efforts for Alder’s monoclonal antibody pipeline. Previously, Dr. Chow led pulmonary in-licensing at Gilead Sciences and also helped manage the integration of Corus Pharma after its acquisition by Gilead in 2006. Prior to Gilead, Dr. Chow served as Director of Business Development for Corus Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on cystic fibrosis and asthma drug development. From 2000-2003 Dr. Chow served in various business development roles with Diversa Corporation.

Dr. Chow received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in ​Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.


Stephen Gwaltney, Ph.D.

Stephen Gwaltney, Ph.D.

Dr. Steve Gwaltney is an experienced drug discovery and development professional with a proven track record of performance, including delivery of three marketed drugs.  Dr. Gwaltney currently serves as Vice President of Chemistry of ApoGen Biotechnologies (an Accelerator Life Science Partners’ portfolio company) and chemistry consultant to Rodeo Therapeutics (an Accelerator Life Science Partners’ portfolio company – acquired by Amgen Inc).  Prior to these roles, Dr. Gwaltney founded Chrysalis Therapeutics serving as President and Chief Scientific Officer.  He served as Vice President of Chemistry at Global Blood Therapeutics and as Director of Chemistry at Takeda San Diego (formerly Syrrx, Inc.).  Dr. Gwaltney has served on the board of the San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society and on the San Diego Research Committee of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Gwaltney has co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is co-inventor on 45 issued U.S. patents.

Dr. Gwaltney received his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Indiana University Bloomington and Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of California, Irvine.


John T. Santini, Jr., Ph.D.

John T. Santini, Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. John Santini is a life science executive, serial entrepreneur, inventor, and scientist that has spent his career focused on the creation and growth of businesses developing next-generation pharmaceuticals, drug delivery systems, biosensors, and mobile health products. Prior to his current roles as CEO of Vergent Bioscience and co-founder/Board Member of ApoGen Biotechnologies (an Accelerator Life Science Partners’ portfolio company), Dr. Santini served in C-suite positions in four healthcare startups: MicroCHIPS, On Demand Therapeutics, RadioRx, and IRISense, closing nearly $100M in equity, license, and strategic transactions so far during his career. Dr. Santini has published in top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Biotechnology, and Science Translational Medicine, has over 80 issued US and international patents, and his work resulted in a Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum (Davos, Switzerland) as well as a Gold Medal from the Edison Awards in the Science and Medical, Game Changers category.

Dr. Santini received his PhD in chemical engineering from MIT as a National Science Foundation Fellow and his BSE in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.


Wendy S. Johnson

Wendy S. Johnson

Ms. Wendy Johnson has over 30 years’ experience in drug development, venture capital, licensing, strategy, and corporate development in both private and public companies.  Ms. Johnson currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Reneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and serves on the Board of Directors of MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment; MDAX & TecDAX; NASDAQ: MOR  Ms. Johnson previously served on the Board of Directors of the Clearity Foundation, and University of California Moores Cancer Center. Ms. Johnson has also served as the President & CEO of Aires Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Mast Therapeutics). Ms. Johnson served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, at Salmedix Inc. (acquired by Cephalon/Teva). Ms. Johnson has additional experience with medical devices, diagnostics, drug discovery and development, and regulatory affairs. In the past Ms. Johnson served as Assistant Director with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Ms. Johnson received an M.B.A. from Loyola University, an M.S. in clinical microbiology from the Hahnemann Medical School and a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Maryland.


Francisco D. Salva

Francisco D. Salva

Mr. Francisco Salva has over 20 years of experience in biotechnology finance, venture capital and operating roles. He is a Founder of Acerta Pharma BV and served as its Vice President of Operations, until the sale of 55% control to AstraZeneca for $4 billion. There, he was responsible for growth oriented activities including corporate finance, business development, human capital, legal and project management. Prior to Acerta, he served as Senior Director of Corporate Finance at Pharmacyclics, where he participated in the strategic turnaround of the company that reprioritized focus and efforts on ibrutinib.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Salva spent almost a decade in life sciences venture capital, starting his investment career at Patricof & Co, Ventures (now Apax Partners) before moving to lead investments at Invesco and CIBC Capital Partners. Over this period of his career, he invested in over 20 companies, leading to 9 exits that generated over $5 billion in total equity value.

Mr. Salva completed his MSc. degree at the London School of Economics and graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with an A.B. in Business Economics and an A.B. in Philosophy.


Christopher Toombs, Ph.D.

Christopher Toombs, Ph.D.

Dr. Chris Toombs is a 20-year industry veteran and an experienced cardiovascular pharmacologist working in the preclinical stage of therapeutic product development. Currently, Dr. Toombs is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Proniras Corporation (an Accelerator Life Science Partners’ portfolio company).  Prior to this Dr. Toombs was a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Faraday Pharmaceuticals and served as Senior Director Preclinical Development at Ikaria. Before Ikaria, Dr. Toombs served in increasing roles and responsibilities in research and product development at Amgen for over ten years.

Dr. Toombs received a BS in Biology from Wheaton College and continued to earn a PhD in Physiology-Pharmacology from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. He completed a postdoctoral tenure at Upjohn Laboratories and is a current Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.


David L. Pompliano, Ph.D.

David L. Pompliano, Ph.D.

Dr. David Pompliano is a drug discovery scientist, entrepreneur and executive with 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.  Working with venture-capitalists and academicians, he creates scientifically precocious, game-changing new commercial enterprises based on exciting discoveries in academic science.  He co-founded, and served as CSO of, Lodo Therapeutics (an Accelerator Life Science Partners’ portfolio company) and Revolution Medicines (RVMD, a Third Rock company), was CEO of BioLeap, and raised over $70m in Series A financing.  He also serves on the Boards of Directors and Scientific Advisory Boards of several biotechnology companies, government agencies and philanthropies.  Earlier, as a senior executive at GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, he led drug discovery teams that produced pre-clinical credentials for >30 development candidates and four registered anti-infective (Altabax) and oncology (Tykerb, Votrient, Promacta) drugs. As Principal and Owner at Sanderling Consulting LLC, he assists investors, companies and philanthropies in setting drug discovery strategy, in executing the operations of preclinical discovery and development, and in evaluating pharmaceutical assets.

Dr. Pompliano earned the BS and Ph.D degrees in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and from Stanford University, respectively, and conducted research in enzymology and molecular biology as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow in Jeremy Knowles’ laboratory at Harvard University. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of infectious diseases and cancer drug discovery and mechanistic enzymology and has presented over 50 invited lectures internationally.