Board of Directors
Ali Behbahani, M.D. – General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
Ali Behbahani, M.D., joined New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in 2007 and is currently a General Partner on the healthcare team. He specializes in investments in the biopharmaceutical, medical device, specialty pharmaceutical, and healthcare services sectors. Prior to joining NEA, Ali worked as a consultant in business development at The Medicines Company, a specialty pharmaceutical company developing acute care cardiovascular products. He previously held positions as a Venture Associate at Morgan Stanley Venture Partners and as a Healthcare Investment Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers. He conducted basic science research in the fields of viral fusion inhibition and structural proteomics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and at Duke University. Ali received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with Honors and was a Palmer Scholar, and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Chemistry from Duke University.
Brad Bolzon, Ph.D. - Chairman and Managing Director, Versant Ventures
Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., is Chairman and Managing Director at Versant. Brad combines 13 years of global pharmaceutical industry experience and a similar tenure as a venture capitalist. His track record consists of successive outlier returns including Amira (sale), Okairos (sale), Speedel (sale), Quanticel (sale), Novira (sale), Flexion (2014 IPO), Crispr (2016 IPO), BioTie (sale), Jecure (sale), Inception (multiple sales), and Blue Rock (sale), he continues to manage several other promising investments. Prior to joining Versant, Brad served as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Business Development, Licensing & Alliances at Roche. Under his leadership, Roche established alliances with more than 75 venture-backed biotech companies worldwide and transformed its R&D pipeline into an industry leader. Prior to that, Brad held executive roles at Eli Lilly in drug discovery, clinical research, regulatory affairs and business development. He earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto and conducted post-doctoral work at the University of Ottawa Health Institute.
David M. Epstein, Ph.D. - Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer
David M. Epstein, Ph.D., is a biopharmaceutical leader and executive who has successfully led large and small R&D teams in academic, start-up, mid-size, and global large-pharmaceutical settings. His teams have progressed multiple novel agents through development in oncology, cardiovascular disease, and retinal degeneration.
Before his appointment as Black Diamond’s President and CEO, David was Vice Dean, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Associate Professor in Cancer & Stem Cell Biology, at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, where he founded and built Duke-NUS’s Centre for Technology & Development, which has developed a pipeline of innovation projects. Previously, he was Chief Scientific Officer at OSI Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Astellas Pharma, and founder of Archemix Corporation, where he led the advancement of multiple product candidates into the clinical in multiple therapeutic areas.
David earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Brandeis University and completed a joint post-doctoral fellowship, leading a collaboration in protein structure, function, and NMR dynamics between the labs of Steven Benkovic (Penn State) and Peter Wright at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He received a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Lewis & Clark College.
Samarth (Sam) Kulkarni, Ph.D. – CEO, CRISPR Therapeutics AG
An industry leader with expertise in strategy and operations in biotech and a wide range of pioneering therapeutic technologies, Samarth (Sam) Kulkarni, Ph.D. currently serves as CEO of CRISPR Therapeutics AG. He joined CRISPR in 2015 in the early stages of the company as Chief Business Officer (CBO), and then served as President and CBO before being named its CEO in 2017. Prior to CRISPR, Sam was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he had a leading role in the Pharmaceutical and Medical products practice. While at McKinsey, he co-led the biotechnology practice and focused on topics ranging from strategy to operations and led initiatives in areas such as personalized medicine and immunotherapy. Sam also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Casebia Therapeutics, a joint subsidiary formed by CRISPR and Bayer. He received a Ph.D. in Bioengineering and Nanotechnology from the University of Washington and a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology. While at the University of Washington, Sam conducted research on the delivery of biological drugs and in the field of molecular diagnostics. He has authored several publications in leading scientific and business journals.
Alexander Mayweg, Ph.D. – Versant Ventures
Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since March 2017 and, from March 2017 to September 2019, served as our interim Chief Scientific Officer. Alex has served as a Partner at Versant Ventures, a healthcare investment firm, since January 2018, and previously served as a Venture Partner at Versant Ventures from January 2017 to December 2017. Additionally, since April 2017, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Ridgeline Therapeutics, a Versant Ventures Discovery Engine that creates and operates Versant-financed biotechnology companies in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to joining Versant, from 2013 to 2016, Alex served as Vice President and Global Head of Medicinal Chemistry at F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, a multinational healthcare company, and held various leadership positions at Roche in pharmaceutical drug discovery and medicinal chemistry across Europe, the U.S., and Asia. Alex earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Oxford University, followed by post-doctorate training at Stanford University.
Garry E. Menzel, Ph.D. - President and CEO of TCR2 Therapeutics
Garry Menzel was a founding angel investor in Black Diamond and joined the board at its inception in 2014. Garry is a Director and Chief Executive Officer of TCR2 Therapeutics. He has more than 25 years of experience in building healthcare businesses and leading high-performing teams of professionals. His versatile career has included operational roles covering drug development, manufacturing, financing, licensing, and M&A. Prior to TCR2, Garry was the Chief Strategy Officer at Axcella Health, Chief Financial Officer at DaVita Healthcare, and Chief Operating Officer at Regulus Therapeutics. He also had global leadership roles in running the biotechnology practices at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. In addition, he was a consultant with Bain & Company. Garry earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where he studied the regulation of oncogenes in immune cells. He also has an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Rajeev Shah – Managing Partner, RA Capital Management
Rajeev (Raj) Shah is Managing Partner at RA Capital Management, LLC, a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in healthcare and life sciences, including companies developing novel drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics. Raj is active in both public and private investments in companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools. He is also active in the firm’s outreach efforts, speaking frequently both at industry events and in classrooms. Raj previously worked as a Senior Project Leader at Altus Pharmaceuticals, a spin-off company of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he assessed business processes and implemented system solutions across all areas of science. He is also an active member of the Big Brothers of Massachusetts Bay program. Raj holds a B.A. from Cornell University, where he majored in Chemistry.