Bennett M. Shapiro, M.D. | Chairman
Dr. Shapiro, has served on our board of directors since September 2004 and has served as Chairman since 2007. In addition to serving on our board of directors, Dr. Shapiro has served as a senior partner at Puretech Ventures, an innovation enterprise, since 2004, and as chairman from 2009-2015; he now continues as a Non-Executive Director of PureTech HealthPLC-PRTC. Prior to this, he was Executive Vice President, Merck Research Laboratories (NASDAQ: MRK). He joined Merck in 1990 as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Basic Research, where he was responsible for all the basic and preclinical research activities at Merck; in 1999 he became Executive Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and External Research, where he directed all of Merck’s research relationships with the academic and industrial biomedical research community, and retired from Merck in 2003.
Previously, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington. He is the author of more than 120 papers on the molecular regulation of cellular behavior and the biochemical events that integrate the cascade of cellular activations at fertilization.
Dr. Shapiro received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Dickinson College and his doctorate degree in medicine from Jefferson Medical College. Following an Internship in Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, he was a Research Associate at the NIH, then a Visiting Scientist at the Institute Pasteur in Paris and returned to the NIH as Chief – Section on Cellular Differentiation in the Laboratory of Biochemistry, prior to joining the University of Washington. Dr. Shapiro has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and a Visiting Professor at the University of Nice. He has served on many institutional advisory boards and scientific review panels. Dr. Shapiro also currently serves as an external director on the board of directors of various private companies and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, an independent, non-profit development partnership. Dr. Shapiro previously served on the board of directors of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and on the board of directors of Celera Corporation prior to its acquisition by Quest Diagnostics Inc.
Marc Kozin | Vice Chairman
Marc Kozin has three decades of industry expertise advising biopharmaceutical, life sciences and medtech companies. He is currently the Chairman of the Strategy Advisory Board of HealthCare Royalty Partners (HCR), a leading investment firm in healthcare, providing royalty monetization and senior debt.
Previously, Mr. Kozin was a career strategy consultant, having served as President of L.E.K. Consulting’s North American practice from 1997 to 2012. He began his career at L.E.K. in 1987 by helping establish the Boston office and led the development of L.E.K.’s industry leading life science strategic planning practice.
Mr. Kozin has served on over a dozen Boards in a variety of roles and on all committees. He is currently the Lead Independent Director and serves on the Compensation Committee of UFP Technologies (Nasdaq: UFPT). He serves as Director and Chairman of the Compensation Committee for Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: DRNA). Previously, he served on the board of Endocyte (NASDAQ: ECYT), helping the company negotiate a $2.1 billion M&A deal with Novartis. He was also a board member of Dyax (NASDAQ: DYAX) which was acquired by Shire in 2015 for $6.5 billion.
Mr. Kozin has served as Director of The Greenlight Fund, a non-profit focused on improving the lives of inner city children in families, since 2017. He was also on the Board of Governors at New England Medical Center and the Board of DukeEngage for several years. He received a BS in Economics from Duke University in 1983 and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School in 1987
Ms. Ruth Alon is the Founder and CEO of Medstrada, Israel’s new venture capital fund investing in the Food Tech sector. Since 1997 until 2016, Ms. Alon has served as a General Partner in Pitango Venture Capital, where she headed the Life Sciences activities and has led several of its portfolio companies to successful acquisitions, among them Disc-O-Tech, Colbar, Ventor and Optonol. Ms. Alon previously worked on Wall Street where she held senior positions with Montgomery Securities and Kidder Peabody & Co., as a senior medical device analyst. She also managed her own independent consulting business in San Francisco, providing broad-based services to early-stage companies and venture capitalists in the medical devices industry.
Ms. Alon is the force behind the establishment in 2005 of ILSI, Israel Life Science Industry, a not-for-profit organization representing the mutual goals of approximately 1000 Israeli life science companies. She is the Co-founder of IATI, an umbrella organization established in 2012, representing Israel’s High Tech and Life Sciences industries. Ms. Alon has a B.A. in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an M.B.A. from Boston University, and an M.S. from the Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons.
Prof. Ruth Arnon, Ph.D.
Prof. Ruth Arnon is an immunologist with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and currently serves as the President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanity. Formerly vice-president of the Weizmann Institute of Science from 1988 to 1997, Prof. Arnon has made significant contributions to the fields of vaccine development, cancer research and to the study of parasitic diseases. She co-developed Copaxone®, a drug for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis presently marketed in the USA, Canada, the EU, Israel, Australia and many other countries worldwide.
Prof. Arnon earned her M.Sc. in Chemistry from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, and her Ph.D. from the Hebrew University. Prof. Arnon joined the staff of the Weizmann Institute in 1960. Prior to her appointment as vice-president, she served as Head of the Department of Chemical Immunology, and as Dean of the Faculty of Biology. From 1985 to 1994, she was the director of the Institute’s MacArthur Center for Molecular Biology of Tropical Diseases. She is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences, and served as its president from 2010 to 2015. Prof Arnon is also an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). She has served as president of the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS), and as secretary-general of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS).
Over the years she served as a member of the Board of Trustees of many organizations including the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul (IVI). Her awards and honours include the Robert Koch Prize in Medical Sciences, Spain’s Jimenez Diaz Memorial Award, France’s Legion of Honour, the Hadassah World Organization’s Women of Distinction Award, the Wolf Prize for Medicine, the Rothschild Prize for Biology, and the Israel Prize. At the Weizmann Institute, Prof. Arnon is the incumbent of the Paul Ehrlich Professorial Chair in Immunochemistry
Shmuel (Muli) Ben Zvi, Ph.D.
Dr. Shmuel (Muli) Ben Zvi joined our board in September 2018. Dr. Ben Zvi is currently a board member at Bank Leumi , the second largest bank in Israel, and a member of its audit, risk management, technology and strategy committees. Dr. Ben Zvi is also a board member of SOL-GEL Technologies (NASDAQ SLGL) and a member of the audit and compensation committees. From 2004 to 2014, Dr. Ben Zvi held various managerial positions at Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., dual listed on Nasdaq and the TASE, including VP Finance and VP Strategy. From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Ben Zvi was the financial advisor to the Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and head of the Defense Ministry budget department. Dr. Ben Zvi holds a Ph.D. in economics from Tel-Aviv University, Israel and participated in the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program (AMP).
Ron Cohen, M.D.
Dr. Ron Cohen, M.D. joined our board in February 2015. In addition to serving on our board of directors, Dr. Cohen has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., since 1995. Previously he was a principal in the startup and an officer of Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc., a biotechnology company engaged in the growth of human organ tissues for transplantation, from 1986 to 1992. Dr. Cohen received his B.A. with honors in Psychology from Princeton University, and his M.D. from the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Cohen is Chair of the Board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). He previously served as Director and Chair of the New York Biotechnology Association. He is a recipient of the NY CEO Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the New York Metropolitan Region, and has been recognized by PharmaVOICE Magazine as one of the 100 Most Inspirational People in the Biopharmaceutical Industry.
Prof. Dror Harats, M.D. | Chief Executive Officer
Prof. Harats founded VBL in 2000 based on more than 15 years of research in atherosclerosis, vascular biology and lipid metabolism. He is the Chairman of the Bert W Strassburger Lipid Center at Chaim Sheba Medical Center – Tel Hashomer and Chairman of its Institute Review Board and has consulted to major pharmaceutical companies. Prof Harats is an M.D. graduate of the Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel, and has carried out post-doctoral work at University of California, San Francisco. He is also a Professor of Medicine in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine of Tel Aviv University.
David Hastings joined our board in January 2018. Mr. Hastings has more than 20 years of finance, accounting and operations experience in the bio-pharmaceutical industry. He was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of Unilife Corporation. He was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Incyte from October 2003 until 2014. From February 2000 to September 2003 Mr. Hastings served as Vice President Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of ArQule Inc. Prior to his employment with ArQule, Mr. Hastings was Vice President and Corporate Controller at Genzyme Inc., and Director of Finance at Sepracor. David Hastings received his B.A. in Economics at the University of Vermont. He is a member of the Board Director of SCYNEXIS, Inc. and serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee.