Keith McCullagh (Non-Executive Chairman)
Keith McCullagh is chairman of Ario Pharma’s Board of Directors. Dr McCullagh is an experienced bioscience entrepreneur. He is also chairman of Xention Ltd. From 2003 to 2008 he was Chief Executive of Santaris Pharma A/S, an RNA medicines company, and from 2000 to 2003 executive chairman of OnMedica Group plc. From 1986 to 1998 Dr McCullagh was Chief Executive of British Biotech plc, a company he built into one of Europe’s leading biopharmaceutical businesses. Prior to founding British Biotech, he was UK Research Director for GD Searle & Co, Inc, now part of Pfizer. Dr McCullagh is also chairman of Torpedo Factory Group Ltd and a director of Taconic Farms Inc. and Pharmacy 2u Ltd. He holds a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Bristol and a PhD in pathology from the University of Cambridge.
John Ford, PhD (CEO)
John Ford is co-founder of Xention and ario pharma with more than 15 years drug discovery and drug development experience. He currently shares his time between ario pharma (CEO), Xention (VP, Development) and Dezima (VP, Preclinical). At Xention he was responsible for the atrial fibrillation project which was recently partnered with Servier. Previously he was Team Leader for Receptors and Channel Drug Discovery at BioFocus plc in Cambridge, UK. He obtained his PhD at the University of Leeds where he worked on the structure and function of TRP channels.
Geert-Jan Mulder MD, co-founded Forbion in 2006 and currently serve on the boards of several Forbion portfolio companies. In addition Geert-Jan led the firm’s successful investments in bluebirdbio (NASDAQ: BLUE), which went public in 2013 where he supported the company in its clinical development and served as the chairman for several years. Other investments include Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR), which went public in 2006 where he was part of the AMPYRA® (dalfampridine) board panel to evaluate a new clinical endpoint in Multiple Sclerosis; PanGenetics B.V. sold to Abbott, where he led the Series B financing round; and Transave, where supported the company’s clinical development for ARIKAYCE® (liposomal amikacin for inhalation) partly as interim CMO, he also severed on the Board of Directors till the merger with Insmed (NASDAQ:INSM) in 2010.
Prior to joining ABN AMRO Capital Life Sciences (Forbion’s predecessor) in 2001, Geert-Jan received his Medical Degree from the University of Utrecht (NL) and spent two years as a clinician in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMC). He then joined Searle (now Pfizer) working in the field of Arthritis & Pain, involved in clinical development as well as in the European Advocacy Development for the pre-launch of Celebrex®. After transitioning to Byk Gulden (now Takeda) he became Clinical Research Manager, where his department was responsible for the design and execution of numerous early and late stage clinical trials that formed the basis for two global product registrations, i.e. Daxas® and Alvesco® in the field of Respiratory Medicine (asthma and COPD). He was a member of the Global Medical Marketing group of their Respiratory Franchise and was involved in the line extension program for Pantozol®.
Sander Slootweg co-founded Forbion in 2006. He currently serves on the boards of Forbion’s portfolio companies uniQure, Dezima Pharma (Chair), Xention, Ario Pharma, Pulmagen Therapeutics and Oxyrane. In addition, Sander was responsible for two of Forbion’s more recent exits, i.e. Biovex, Inc., sold to Amgen in March of 2011 for up to USD 1 billion and Fovea Pharmaceutics SA was sold to sanofi-aventis for up to EUR 390 million in 2009. In recent years Sander has served on the boards of Argenta Discovery Ltd (sold to Galapagos in 2010), Alantos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (sold to Amgen in 2007), Impella Cardiosystems AG (sold to Abiomed, Inc. in 2005), Glycart AG (sold to Roche in 2005), Cambridge Drug Discovery Ltd (sold to Biofocus Plc in 2001), Pieris AG and has acted as the Chairman of the Board of AMT N.V. before its 2007 IPO. Before co-founding Forbion Capital Partners, he was an Investment Director at ABN AMRO Capital Life Sciences. Sander holds degrees in Business and Financial Economics from the Free University of Amsterdam and Business Administration from Nijenrode University, The Netherlands.
Somu Subramaniam is the co-founder and Managing Partner of New Science Ventures. Somu serves on the Board of Directors of Achronix Semiconductor Corporation, Silicon Space Technologies, Dali Wireless, Oxyrane, Juventas Therapeutics, Resolve Therapeutics, Dezima Pharma, Vaultive, TigerText and iCAD. Somu has also served on the Boards of Ception (sold to Cephalon), BioVex (sold to Amgen), Lightwire (sold to Cisco) and K2M (sold to Welsh Carson). Prior to founding NSV, Somu was a Director of McKinsey & Co. and at various times led their Strategy practice, Technology practice and HealthCare practice. He was also a member of McKinsey’s Investment Committee. Somu received his undergraduate degree (B.Tech.) from the Indian Institute of Technology and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Alan O’Connell is a Partner at Seroba Kernel. He has a background in product and business development in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Alan currently sits on the boards of Veryan Medical, Crescent Diagnostics Biosensia, Opsona, Alimentary Health and Xention. Prior to joining the firm in 2003, Alan worked in a variety of product and business development roles at Elan Corporation (Dublin), American Biogenetic Sciences, Inc. (New York), and he also spent time in the Pharmacovigilance section at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (London). His previous venture capital experience was gained at Estée Lauder Investments (New York) and he still sits on the scientific advisory board of the Lauder funded Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. Alan graduated with a Ph.D. (neurophamacology) from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 1994 and has a Master’s degree in pharmacology from the University of London (1990). He carried out post-doctoral neuroscience research at University College, Dublin and has published in several scientific journals.