Robert DeBenedetto, CPA has over 25 years of global pharmaceutical / life sciences experience. Robert founded SFJ in January of 2009 on a premise that there was a better way to fund and conduct clinical trials globally. This premise is now a reality with SFJ as the premier global funding partner for many of the world’s largest pharma companies, with SFJ now having a proven track record of drug approvals with many more drugs with trials successfully completed and in regulatory submission. Prior to joining SFJ, Robert was Vice President of Global Business Development at Quintiles Transnational’s, pharmaceuticals investment unit. Preceding that Robert was Executive Committee Member, CFO, V.P. of Corporate Development, and V.P. of Corporate Marketing for Boston Scientific’s Japan subsidiary with 800 employees and sales exceeding $600 million. Robert spent the first 9 years of his professional career as a CPA with E&Y, advising some of the world’s largest companies. To date Robert has been involved in approximately 100 acquisitions, mergers, licensing and partnering arrangements valued at over $10 billion. Robert has a Master’s Degree from Bentley University.
Ken Haas, a partner in Abingworth’s Menlo Park office, has spent 25 years in the management of both early-stage and public high technology and biotechnology companies.
Dennis Henner, Ph.D., has been Managing Director at Clarus Ventures since the firm’s inception in 2005. Prior to Clarus, Dr. Henner was a General Partner at MPM Capital, a healthcare venture capital firm. He has over 30 years of direct industry and investment experience within the healthcare sector. From 1981 to 2001, Dr. Henner was an executive at Genentech where he held various positions including Senior Vice President of Research, and was a member of Genentech’s Executive Committee. Dr. Henner received his Ph.D. from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Virginia and did postgraduate training at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation.
Currently Dr. Henner is on the Board of Directors at Cleave Biosciences, CoMentis, Inc., Forty Seven Sciences and Imago BioSciences. Dr. Henner is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Reed College. Past Board seats include Aerie Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AERI), Cellerant, Ceregene, Inc. (acquired by Sangamo BioSciences), Ferrokin Biosciences (acquired by Shire), KaloBios, Pelikan Technologies, Rinat (acquired by Pfizer), Rigel (NASDAQ:RIGL), SARcode (acquired by Shire). Synergia, and Tercica (acquired by Ipsen)
Shelley Chu, a Partner at Abingworth, has more than 15 years of operating and investment experience in the biopharmaceuticals industry. Formerly at Gilead, she led R&D Strategy and Business Development in Oncology, Immunotherapy and Hepatitis B. Previously Shelley invested and co-founded biotechnology companies at Frazier Healthcare Ventures. Earlier in her career she was an investment professional at Flagship Ventures and a management consultant to healthcare and biotech companies at McKinsey.
Shelley holds an MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from UCSF, and received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. She is a first author of publications in Science and other prominent journals and a Co-Chair of the Princeton Alumni School Committee.
Dr. Cunningham, currently a Partner, joined Clarus in 2006 with more than 20 years of experience in the biomedical and biopharmaceutical sectors. Prior to joining Clarus, Dr. Cunningham was the Senior Vice President, Medical Strategy at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EYET), where he helped build and lead the team that developed and commercialized Macugen, a first-in-class product for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Prior to Eyetech, Dr. Cunningham was at Pfizer, Inc (NYSE: PFE), where he was responsible for the clinical development of early phase central nervous system compounds and the in-licensing of early and late-stage therapeutic candidates in ophthalmology.
Dr. Cunningham is an internationally recognized specialist in infectious and inflammatory eye disease with over 300 publications. He is Adjunct Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine, was Clinical Professor and Director of the Uveitis service at NYU from 2002 to 2005, and was Director of both the Uveitis Service and the Kimura Ocular Immunology Laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) from 1995 to 2001. Dr. Cunningham received an MD and MPH in epidemiology and statistics from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) for work done at The Salk Institute. He completed both a residency in ophthalmology and fellowship training in Corneal Disease and Uveitis at UCSF and The Francis I. Proctor Foundation, a medical retina and uveitis fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, and a fellowship in public health ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore.
Dr. Cunningham founded and is the Chairman of the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit, a well-attended symposium held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. The OIS brings together leading companies, clinicians, academics and investors in the ophthalmology space.
Dr. Cunningham represents Clarus on the Board of Directors of Annexon Biosciences, Graybug Vision, Restoration Robotics; and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Aerie Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AERI).
Previous Directorships include Neomend (acquired by Bard) and SARcode Biosciences (acquired by Shire). Additionally, he was Board Observer for Ferrokin (acquired by Shire), Ophthotech (NASDAQ: OPHT), Pearl Therapeutics (acquired by AstraZeneca), and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for ESBATech (acquired by Alcon).
David graduated with an Honors Degree in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of London in the UK, David joined Johnson & Johnson as a medical sales representative and over the subsequent seven years held a number of marketing and sales positions with that company.
Jorge has had an extensive career in many areas of the pharmaceutical industry since joining 25 years ago. He served most recently as President of the Asia and Canada regions for Pfizer’s oncology unit and was simultaneously the head of Oncology Clinical Development for China. Given his unique research and regulatory expertise, Jorge achieved many “firsts” including approvals of Pfizer’s key oncology agents in record time in both Japan and China, leading to a 500% increase in revenues in the region during his tenure.