Board of Directors
Alan B. Colowick M.D., M.P.H., Chair
PARTNER, SOFINNOVA VENTURES
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 Human Longevity, Inc. and InCarda Therapeutics. 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.
Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D.
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.
President and 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.
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.
Shao-Lee Lin, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, head of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer. Horizon Pharma plc.
Dr. Lin is an accomplished pharmaceutical executive, physician and scientist with more than 20 years of academic and clinical research experience. Prior to her current role at Horizon Pharma, Dr. Lin was Vice President, Therapeutic Areas, Development Excellence and International Development at AbbVie. In that role, she led immunology, virology, neuroscience and general medicine across commercial products and pipeline candidates as well as international development across all therapeutic areas. Prior to AbbVie, Dr. Lin was Vice President, Inflammation and Respiratory Development at Gilead Sciences. She also held leadership positions in immunology and other therapeutic areas while at Amgen.Dr. Lin received her medical degree and doctorate at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed fellowships and post-doctoral work in rheumatology, allergy and immunology at the University of California San Diego and The Scripps Clinic and Research Institute. She received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and chemical engineering from Rice University. Dr. Lin has also been faculty as a Clinical Scholar at The Rockefeller University, and adjunct faculty at Cornell, UCLA, Stanford and Northwestern medical schools.
John W. Smither
Former Chief Financial Officer, Sienna Biopharmaceuticals
Mr. Smither brings several years of experience as a member of biopharmaceutical boards of directors. He also brings approximately 20 years of industry and financial experience. Mr. Smither has been CFO, or interim CFO, at four different biopharmaceutical companies, including most recently at Sienna Biopharmaceuticals from April 2018 until April 2019. Previously, Mr. Smither was CFO of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. from 2007 until it was acquired by Allergan plc in 2015 for $2.1 billion. Mr. Smither was also CFO at Unity Biotechnology, Inc. and interim CFO at Kite Pharma, Inc. From 1998 to 2007, Mr. Smither held various positions at Amgen Inc. in multiple finance roles including: corporate accounting, commercial business analysis, Amgen Europe finance, research finance, and internal audit. Prior to joining Amgen Inc., Mr. Smither served as Audit Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, a public accounting firm. Mr. Smither has a B.S. in accounting from California State University, Los Angeles. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and Financial Executives International.
In Memoriam: Lewis J. Shuster
Chief Executive Officer, Shuster Capital
Mr. Shuster founded Shuster Capital in 2002, as a strategic and operating advisor to life science companies. He had over 30 years of life science company experience. Mr. Shuster held executive management roles at several privately held and publicly traded life science organizations including: CEO of Kemia, President of the Genomics division of Invitrogen, EVP Corporate Development and CFO of Pharmacopeia, and EVP Operations and Finance at Human Genome Sciences. Throughout his career, Mr. Shuster 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 recent board memberships included Active Motif, Cleave Biosciences, TissueNetix and Turning Point Therapeutics. Mr. Shuster received his B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and his M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.