Board of Directors
Managing Partner and Founder, The Column Group
Peter Svennilson is a Managing Partner and Founder of The Column Group, a biotech venture capital firm based in San Francisco. He has 30 years of experience in corporate finance, investment banking, and venture capital. He was the founder and a partner of Three Crowns Capital, a leading backer of a new generation of US biotechnology companies. He helped found companies such as Rosetta, PTC, Tercica, and Somalogic. Over the past 12 years he has helped finance and develop biotech companies, including Tularik, Sunesis, Chemocentryx, Infinity, AVEO, Rinat, and FivePrime. He is currently a Board Director of NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Immune Design, and Gritstone and has served on the Boards of several other biotechnology companies, including Seragon Pharmaceuticals (Chairman), Aragon Pharmaceuticals (Chairman), Rosetta, Somalogic, and ChemoCentryx. Before founding Three Crowns Capital, he was the Associate Managing Director of European Investment Banking Origination at Nomura Securities in London. He is currently a trustee for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Ashraf Hanna, Ph.D., M.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Ashraf Hanna is a biopharmaceutical executive with over 20 years of industry experience. Dr. Hanna was previously the Vice President, Commercial and Medical Affairs Finance at Genentech, and CFO of the Genentech Foundation. He also held leadership roles as VP of Genentech’s Alliance Management and Portfolio Planning groups, and was a member of Genentech’s Commercial Leadership Committee (CLC).
Dr. Hanna previously headed strategy and business development at Tanox, where he successfully partnered their lead drug with Novartis and Genentech, and prior to that was at McKinsey and Company. He has a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University and an M.D. from the University of Massachusetts. He studied Physics and Economics at the University of Chicago as an undergraduate.
Richard Heyman, Ph.D.
Dr. Heyman is a biopharmaceutical executive with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Most recently he served as CEO of Seragon Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on the development of drugs targeting hormone dependent cancers that was acquired by the Roche group. He was also co-founder and CEO of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, which was purchased by Johnson & Johnson in 2013. Previously, he co-founded and served as Chief Scientific Officer of X-Ceptor Therapeutics, a company that developed compounds targeting nuclear receptors for the treatment of metabolic diseases, acquired by Exelixis in 2004. As Vice President of Research at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, he led the development of Panretin® and Targretin®, retinoids approved by the FDA for the treatment of cancer. He is the author or inventor on more than 120 publications and patents. Dr. Heyman serves on the Board of Directors for BIOCOM, Organovo Inc., The Jenna Druck Center, and is a member of the Therapeutic Advisory Board for aTyr Pharma. He was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute and received a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota. He completed his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Connecticut.
Laurence Lasky, Ph.D.
Partner, The Column Group
Dr. Lasky is a Partner in The Column Group who brings over 35 years of expertise in biotechnology, ranging from basic science and drug development to venture capital. He brings over 15 years of experience in venture capital where he has been instrumental in the founding of Proteolix (acquired by Onyx), Oncomed (Nasdaq: OMED), Cellective Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Medimmune), and Intellikine (acquired by Takeda), amongst others. He was a founding scientist of one of the earliest biotechnology companies, Genetics Institute (acquired by Wyeth), and a leading scientist at Genentech for 20 years. He is a co-author on over 135 publications and a co-inventor on 37 issued and pending patents. He was a standing member of the Research Review Committee that directed research across all product areas at Genentech and attained the company’s highest scientific position, Genentech Fellow, in 1995. Dr. Lasky currently serves on the Board of Directors for Oncomed and eFFECTOR. He did his post-doctoral studies at Caltech and received his Ph.D. and B.A. in molecular biology from UCLA.
Richard Scheller, Ph.D.
CSO and Head of Therapeutic Development, 23andMe
Dr. Scheller is the chief scientific officer and head of therapeutic development at 23andMe. Dr. Scheller was previously the chief scientific officer at Genentech, and following the company’s merger with Roche, executive vice president and head of Genentech research and early development on Roche’s corporate executive committee. Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Scheller was a professor at Stanford University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford University Medical Center. His work has been recognized by the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, and the 1997 US National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, among other honors, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He serves as a trustee of Caltech and on the board of Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. He completed his post-doctoral studies at Caltech and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Caltech and his B.S. from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Carl L. Gordon, Ph.D., CFA
Carl L. Gordon, Ph.D., CFA, is a founding Partner and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed. He was a senior biotechnology analyst at Mehta and Isaly from 1995 to 1997. He was at Fellow at The Rockefeller University from 1993 to 1995. Carl received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard College (1987). Carl was included on the Forbes Midas List of top venture capital investors in 2014.
Leo A. Guthart
Leo A. Guthart currently manages Topspin Biotech Fund, Topspin Partners, with principal focus on biotechnology, computer security and rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and Topspin Partners LBO, a buyout fund. The funds are investing approximately $700 million.
He served as a Director of Aragon Pharmaceuticals (sold to Johnson & Johnson) and Seragon Pharmaceuticals (sold to Roche-Genentech). He is presently a Director of Peloton Pharmaceuticals.
He is a graduate of Harvard College where he received a BA degree in Physics and of Harvard Business School where he was a George F. Baker Scholar and received both an MBA and a Doctorate in Business Administration with a specialty in Corporate Finance. Mr. Guthart served on the faculty of Harvard Business School and was a Ford Foundation Fellow performing research on corporate share repurchases. His articles on share repurchases have been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Financial Analysts Journal and the Journal of Finance.
He serves as Treasurer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and is a member of its Executive Committee, an Overseer of the Hofstra-NSLIJ Medical School and a Trustee Emeritus of the Stony Brook Foundation.
He was inducted into the Long Island Technology Hall of Fame. He was a Founding Director of the Long Island Research Institute.