Board of Directors

Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D.

Samsara BioCapital

Dr. Akkaraju founded Samsara BioCapital in 2017, and has more than [18] years of investment and operational experience in the Life Sciences sector. Most recently, he was a General Partner at Sofinnova Ventures and concentrated on biopharmaceutical investments. Previously, he was Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners, a co-founder and Managing Director at Panorama Capital, and served as Partner of J.P. Morgan Partners. He held business and corporate development positions at Genentech. Dr. Akkaraju also serves as a director of aTyr Pharma, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Seattle Genetics and Versartis. Dr. Akkaraju received B.A. degrees in biochemistry and computer science from Rice University and an M.D. and Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Martin Babler

Chief Executive Officer, Principia Biopharma

Prior to joining Principia, Mr. Babler was President and Chief Executive Officer of Talima Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Genentech, Inc., most recently as Vice President, Immunology Sales and Marketing. He began his pharmaceutical industry career at Eli Lilly and Company focused on sales, sales management, global marketing and business development. He also serves on the Emerging Companies Section and Health Section Governing Board boards of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and was a board member of ZS Pharma until its sale to AstraZeneca Inc. He holds a Swiss Federal Diploma in Pharmacy from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Mr. Babler also graduated from the Executive Development Program at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Dan Becker, M.D., Ph.D.

principal, New Leaf Venture Partners

Dr. Becker joined New Leaf in early 2015, and currently drives New Leaf’s biopharma investment activities on the West Coast.  Prior to New Leaf, Dr. Becker was a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group where he was a core member of their Health Care practice and led projects across the health care sector with an emphasis on biopharma R&D.  Prior to BCG, Dr. Becker trained clinically in internal medicine and nephrology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. He obtained both his M.D. and Ph.D. (Cellular and Molecular Biology) degrees from the University of Michigan, and received his B.S. in Physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Alan B. Colowick M.D., M.P.H., Executive Chairman


Dr. Colowick is a private equity partner at Sofinnova. He has held executive management positions at numerous companies in the biotechnology sector. Most recently he was Executive Vice President at Celgene Corporation, and prior to that held positions of President for Celgene’s Europe, Mid-East, and Africa regions as well as Senior Vice President of Global Medical Affairs. Previously, Dr. Colowick was the Chief Executive Officer at Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  until its acquisition by Celgene in 2010. Before becoming CEO at Gloucester Pharmaceuticals he was President, Oncology for Geron Corporation and was Chief Medical Office of Threshold Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, Dr. Colowick held numerous positions of increasing responsibility at Amgen Inc. In addition to his board position with Principia, he currently serves on the boards of Achaogen, Inc., Dimension Therapeutics, Inc., and Human Longevity, Inc.  Dr. Colowick completed specialty training in Hematology-Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Colowick received a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Colorado, an M.D. from Stanford University and an M.P.H from Harvard University. 

Simeon George, M.D., M.B.A.

Partner, SR One

Dr. George joined SR One in 2007 and leads SR One’s investment activities on the West Coast. Prior to joining SR One, Dr. George was a consultant at Bain & Company and an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. In addition to Principia Biopharma, Dr. George is currently a director of Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), eFFECTOR Therapeutics, TP Therapeutics, Progyny, and Birdrock. Dr. George was previously a director of Genocea (GNCA), HTG Molecular (HTGM) and Semprus Biosciences (acquired by Teleflex). Dr. George received his B.A. in neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his M.B.A. (Mayer Scholar) from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

David Kabakoff, Ph.D.

Executive Partner, Sofinnova Ventures

Dr. Kabakoff joined Sofinnova in 2007 as an Executive Partner. In addition to his board position with Principia, he represents Sofinnova as the Chairman of NextCure, and as Director of Antiva Biosciences, and Dauntless Pharmaceuticals. He also serves as Chairman of Lineagen and as a Director of bioTheranostics. Prior to Sofinnova, Dr. Kabakoff spent almost 30 years in industry leading technology and product development programs in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and drug delivery fields. He co-founded Salmedix, a developer of cancer drug treatments, and served as the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In June 2005, he negotiated the acquisition of Salmedix by Cephalon. Dr. Kabakoff also held the positions of Executive Vice President of Dura and President and Chief Executive Officer of Spiros while at Dura Pharmaceuticals, a specialty respiratory pharmaceutical and pulmonary drug delivery company. Earlier, Dr. Kabakoff was also employed as Chief Executive Officer of Corvas International and held senior executive positions with Hybritech.  Dr. Kabakoff received his Ph.D. from Yale University and his B.A. from Case Western Reserve University.

Lewis J. Shuster

Chief Executive Officer, Shuster Capital

Mr. Shuster founded Shuster Capital in 2002, and is a strategic and operating advisor to life science companies.  He has over 30 years of life science company experience.   Mr. Shuster has held executive management roles at several privately held and publicly traded life science organizations including:  CEO of Kemia, Inc., President of the Genomics division of Invitrogen Corporation, EVP Corporate Development and CFO of Pharmacopeia, Inc., and EVP Operations and Finance at Human Genome Sciences, Inc.  Mr. Shuster has served as director of over a dozen life sciences companies, including chairing audit committees of public companies.  In addition to Principia Biopharma, Mr. Shuster’s current board memberships include Active Motif, Cleave Biosciences, HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Mast Therapeutics, Response Biomedical and TissueNetix.  Mr. Shuster received his B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and his M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Peter Thompson, M.D.

private equity PARTNER, ORBIMED

Dr. Thompson is currently a Private Equity Partner with OrbiMed who brings over 20 years of industry experience. He was co-founder and CEO of Trubion Pharmaceuticals, co-founder of Cleave BioSciences, an executive of Chiron Corporation and Becton Dickinson. He also serves as a Director on several public and private company boards.  Dr. Thompson is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awardee, an Affiliate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington, an inventor on numerous patents, and a board-certified internist and oncologist. He was on staff at the National Cancer Institute following his internal medicine training at Yale University. Dr. Thompson received Sc.B. and M.D. degrees from Brown University.

Nassim Usman, Ph.D.

Venture Partner, Morgenthaler Ventures

Dr. Usman joined Morgenthaler Ventures as Entrepreneur-in-Residence in 2005 and is now a Venture Partner. He is also Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Catalyst Biosciences. Prior to joining Morgenthaler, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Sirna Therapeutics Inc., which was acquired by Merck in 2006. He held various R&D positions at  Sirna and Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, including Vice President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer. In addition to Principia Biopharma, Dr. Usman also serves on the Board of Mosaic Biosciences and is a past director of Archemix Corporation, atugen AG (now Silence Therapeutics) and Osprey Pharmaceuticals. He served on the scientific advisory boards of RXi Pharmaceuticals and Noxxon Pharma AG. He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from McGill University and was a post-doctoral Fellow and Staff Scientist at M.I.T.

Board Observer

Jack Taunton, Ph.D.

Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Taunton, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF, is a founder of Principia. Dr. Taunton developed a unique reversible covalent technology to study RSK kinases, a protein family that plays important roles in cell growth and differentiation. Recognizing the tremendous potential of this reversible covalent technology in enabling a wholly new approach to designing targeted therapies across a multitude of kinase and non-kinase targets, Dr. Taunton licensed it to Principia Biopharma. Dr. Taunton has been named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a Searle Scholar, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.