Scott M. Rocklage, Ph.D., Founding Investor, Chairman
Dr. Rocklage joined 5AM Ventures in 2003 as a Venture Partner and became a Managing Partner in 2004. Dr. Rocklage has over three decades of healthcare management experience with strategic leadership responsibilities that led to FDA approval of three U.S. New Drug Applications (Omniscan™, Teslascan® and Cubicin®), and he has entered multiple drug candidates into clinical trials. Dr. Rocklage has served as Chairman and CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, President and CEO of Nycomed Salutar, and has also held various R&D positions at Salutar and Catalytica. Dr. Rocklage currently serves as Board Chairman of Rennovia, Kinestral and Cidara. Dr. Rocklage was formerly Executive Chairman of Ilypsa (acquired by Amgen), Miikana (acquired by EntreMed) and Semprus (acquired by Teleflex). Dr. Rocklage received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he conducted research in the laboratory of Richard R. Schrock (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005).
Matthew D. Disney, Ph.D., Scientific Founder
Dr. Disney is currently a full professor in the bi-coastal Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His laboratory is focused on understanding RNA-ligand interactions and exploiting this information to rationally design small molecules that modulate RNA function or toxicity from sequence. He has received numerous awards including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, Blavatnik Young Investigator Award in Chemistry National Finalist, The Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award, Camille & Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, The University at Buffalo Exceptional Scholar Young Investigator Award, the Eli Lily Award in Biological Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the David W. Robertson Award for Excellence in Medicinal Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, and the David Y. Gin New Investigator Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Disney received his early schooling in the Baltimore Catholic School System, his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Rochester. As a graduate student, under the guidance of Professor Douglas H. Turner, he studied catalysis of group I introns and developed approaches to determine RNA secondary structure in cells by using a combination of experiment and prediction. Dr. Disney completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH; Zürich, Switzerland) in Professor Peter H. Seeberger’s lab, he studied organic synthesis and glycobiology, developing the broadly used carbohydrate microarray platform.
Beth Seidenberg, M.D.
Dr. Seidenberg is a longtime life sciences investor, founding managing director of Westlake Village BioPartners, and a partner at Kleiner Perkins. Dr. Seidenberg has incubated and invested in more than 20 healthcare companies during her career, including but not limited to ARMO, Arresto, Arsenal Biosciences, Atara Biotherapeutics, Cell Design Labs, Epizyme, Flexus, iPerian, Kyverna Therapeutics, TESARO, RAPT, True North, Livongo, and Progyny. Dr. Seidenberg believes the pace and quality of innovation has hit an inflection point, providing the opportunity to turn the next big technologies into products and companies that benefit human health. She has a demonstrated ability to identify and accelerate meaningful molecules through development. Her expertise is grounded in her significant senior-level industry experience with leadership roles at Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck Research Laboratories. Prior to life science investing, Dr. Seidenberg’s career focused on developing new treatments for AIDS, arthritis, asthma, cancer and psoriasis, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and renal disorders for over 20 years. During that time, she introduced 10 innovative products to market. Dr. Seidenberg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and anthropology from Barnard College and attended medical school at the University of Miami School of Medicine. She completed her medical residency at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University, and Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
Jason P. Hafler, Ph.D.
Jason P. Hafler is the Managing Director of Sanofi Ventures. Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Hafler was the Director of Corporate Development at RaNA Therapeutics, LLC a company co-founded by his previous firm Atlas Venture. While at Atlas, Dr. Hafler was an Associate in the Life Sciences group. Previously, he was a Flagship Ventures Entrepreneurial Fellow, and consulted for the technology transfer company at the University of Cambridge while performing his doctoral research. Before his time at Cambridge, Dr. Hafler was an analyst at JSB Partners LP, an investment banking firm, focusing on advisory and business development activities in the life sciences space. Outside of Dr. Hafler’s Sanofi Venture boards, he serves on the Board of Trustees at the Buckingham Browne and Nichols school, the Board of Directors of The Magdalene College Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Beacon Hill Nursery School. Dr. Hafler graduated with honors from Bowdoin College, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.
Yujiro S. Hata, M.B.A., Independent Director
Mr. Hata serves as Chief Executive Officer at Ideaya, a 5AM portfolio company developing therapeutics for oncology. From 2014 to August 2015, Yujiro served as Chief Operating Officer at immuno-oncology companies Flexus Biosciences and its spinout FLX Bio. He joined Flexus as a startup and led the company through its acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb in April 2015. While at Flexus, Yujiro oversaw all business operations, corporate strategy and M&A and licensing. From 2010 through its acquisition in October 2013 by Amgen, Mr. Hata was Vice President, Corporate Development & Strategy at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, where he held various leadership roles including Head of Strategy and Strategic Asset Management and Head of M&A and Licensing. From 2002 to 2010, Mr. Hata served as Vice President, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer at Enanta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENTA). He earlier served in roles spanning business and R&D at McKinsey & Company, ImClone and Columbia Medical School. Mr. Hata obtained his MBA at Wharton, as a Henry J Kaiser recipient, and completed undergraduate studies in chemistry at Oxford University and Colorado College. He serves on the Board of Directors of Xencor (NASDAQ: XNCR) and the Board of Visitors of the Moores Cancer Center, at the University of California, San Diego. Mr. Hata is based in the San Francisco, CA office.
Laura Brass, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Dr. Brass is a Managing Director at the Novartis Venture Fund in Cambridge, MA, USA. Prior to joining NVF, Dr. Brass was a Managing Director at MPM Capital, and prior to that, she was a member of the founding management team and SVP of Business Development for TriNetX, a healthcare IT company focusing on big data analytics of live patient data for clinical research. Dr. Brass has also held roles in business development and IP strategy at Elixir Pharmaceuticals, and was CEO of Aferon, Inc., an early-stage antiviral start-up company. Dr. Brass holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Renato Skerlj, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President
Dr. Skerlj was most recently Chief Scientific Officer of X4 Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he also was one of the company’s scientific founders and co-inventor of its lead drug candidate, mavorixafor. Prior to joining X4, Dr. Skerlj held leadership roles in drug discovery and development at Lysosomal Therapeutics where he co-invented LTI-291, a CNS drug in clinical development for Parkinson’s disease. Previous to that, he was interim Head of Small Molecule Discovery at Genzyme and part of the executive team at AnorMED, a publicly traded company that was acquired by Genzyme in 2006. Dr. Skerlj is an accomplished drug developer with two approved drugs; plerixafor, a CXCR4-targeted stem cell mobilizer approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2008, and ertapenem, an anti-bacterial approved by the FDA in 2001. Dr. Skerlj received his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of British Columbia, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oxford and Ohio State University.