Peter Van Vlasselaer, Ph.D. Chairman, Independent Director
Peter Van Vlasselaer has more than 20 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in biotechnology. He is executive chairman of Amphivena Therapeutics. Previously, he was founder, president and chief executive officer of ARMO Biosciences, acquired by Eli Lilly and Company shortly after its initial public offering. Before that, he was president and chief executive officer of iPierian (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb), Arresto Biosciences (acquired by Gilead Sciences), and Avidia (acquired by Amgen). Dr. Van Vlasselaer holds a Ph.D. in immunology from Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
Drs. Ben Machielse Independent Director
Ben Machielse has more than 25 years of experience in the biotech industry. Ben has been involved with the successful development of multiple drugs, including the first H1N1 vaccine available in the United States. Most recently, Ben served as CEO of Vtesse, a company developing treatments for Niemann-Pick disease, acquired by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Vtesse, Ben served as chief operating officer of Omthera Pharmaceuticals, acquired by AstraZeneca. Before that, Ben served as executive vice president of operations for MedImmune, leading development of therapeutic antibodies, small molecules and vaccines. Previously, Ben held executive roles at Xoma Corp. and Centocor BV. He has served on the boards of Xencor and Tetragenetics and is currently a member of the board of PolyNeuron Pharmaceuticals and Complexa. Ben holds a bachelor of science in medical biology and a master’s in biochemistry from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Henrijette Richter, Ph.D. Managing Partner, Sofinnova Partners
Henrijette Richter is managing partner at Sofinnova Partners. She joined as Partner in 2014 from Novo Seeds (part of Novo A/S) where she was involved in the establishment of the group in 2007. While at Novo Seeds, Henrijette was instrumental in the creation, financing and growth of companies including Cytoguide, Orphazyme, Avilex Pharma, EpiTherapeutics (acquired by Gilead Sciences) and Lysogene. In addition to Comet, Henrijette served on the boards of Asceneuron, Delinia (acquired by Celgene), iOmx, Nodthera and Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics. Henrijette holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Copenhagen. She conducted her post-doctorate fellowship at the MIT Center for Cancer Research.
Roel Bulthuis Managing Partner, Inkef Capital
Roel Bulthuis is a managing director and head of the health care investment team at INKEF. Roel combines more than 15 years of experience across venture capital, pharma business development and investment banking. Prior to joining INKEF he served as a senior vice president and managing director of M-Ventures which he founded and developed into a leading CVC fund. Prior to that, he served in senior positions in global business development at Merck Serono and in the investment banking team at Fortis Bank. Roel is a Kauffman Fellow and passionate about continuously challenging the status quo. Roel holds a Master of Science in biopharmaceutical sciences from Leiden University and an MBA in finance from the Helsinki School of Economics.
Colleen Cuffaro, Ph.D. Partner, Canaan
Colleen Cuffaro is a Principal on Canaan’s healthcare investment team. In addition to Comet, she currently serves on the boards of Arrakis Therapeutics and the New England Venture Capital Association. She is a board observer at RallyBio and AntivaBio. Previously she was a board observer at Spyryx Biosciences, NextCure (NXTC), Arvinas (ARVN), and Novira Therapeutics (acquired by Johnson & Johnson). Prior to joining Canaan in 2014, Colleen was a chemist at Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Research Services (PMRS, Inc.), where she worked with small and large pharmaceutical companies on drug product development, ranging from preclinical feasibility studies to commercial supply. She also served as a bioscience analyst for Entrepreneurship Lab NYC, an accelerator for healthcare startups. Colleen holds a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular physiology from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.
Anthony Walsh, Ph.D. Principal, BioInnovation Capital
Anthony Walsh, Ph.D., is a principal at BioInnovation Capital based in Cambridge, Mass. Anthony leads the diligence team in assessing new investment opportunities in the therapeutics, diagnostic and device spaces and is responsible for negotiating deal terms and helping to manage portfolio companies. Prior to joining BioInnovation, Anthony was an associate at RA Capital Management, a Boston-based healthcare hedge fund, where he conducted due diligence on biotechnology companies, with a particular interest in CNS, metabolic and autoimmune indications. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Trinity College, University of Dublin, and a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Oxford. He conducted his postdoctoral research at Boston University and Harvard University.
David de Graaf, Ph.D. President and CEO, Comet Therapeutics
David De Graaf, Ph.D., is an entrepreneur, scientist, executive and venture capitalist with a long record of success in biopharma. Prior to joining Comet Therapeutics in 2018, Dr. de Graaf was CEO of Syntimmune, where his work advancing multiple antibody drug candidates contributed to its sale to Alexion for $1.2 billion. He has served as a venture partner at Apple Tree Partners, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Flagship Pioneering and Partners Innovation Fund. He served as executive chairman and CEO of Selventa, which he relaunched and grew to more than $40 million in sales. Earlier, Dr. de Graaf served as vice president of biotherapeutics and integrative biology at Boehringer Ingelheim, and held leadership positions at Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Dr. de Graaf earned his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.