Marc Kozin | Chairman
Mr. Marc Kozin has joined our board in October 2020 as Vice Chairman and was appointed to Chairman in July 2021. 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 serves as Director and member of 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 (Ruti) Alon has joined our board in March 2010. Ms. Alon is the Founder and CEO of Medstrada, 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. 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 is also a board member of Moringa Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: MACA) and of several privately held companies, including Treos Bio, Phoska Biopharma and Blue Tree Technologies. She is the Chairperson of Brainsgate (privately held). Ms. Alon has a B.A. in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an M.B.A. from Boston University, and an M.Sc. from the Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons.
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.
Ms. Alison Finger joined our board in July 2021. Ms. Finger has nearly three decades of biotech and pharmaceutical leadership experience building and optimizing brands and portfolios in the areas of genetic medicine, cell therapy, oncology, neurology, virology and metabolics. She has commercialized products in the U.S., Europe, Asia and other geographies. Most recently, Ms. Finger was Chief Commercial Officer at bluebird bio (bluebird), where she built the commercial infrastructure for Europe and the U.S. in advance of bluebird’s first gene and cell therapy product launches. Prior to bluebird, Ms. Finger spent 21 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) leading the hematology/oncology, neurology, and virology franchises. In these roles, she led portfolio planning, brand and franchise commercial strategy, and supported Research and Development and Corporate Business Development decisions. Ms. Finger also served as Managing Director of BMS Australia/New Zealand and has managed country, regional, and global P&Ls. Previously, she was chair of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine Gene Therapy Section and served on the Executive Board of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine Foundation. She also was a member of the board for The Medicines Australia Industry Association, and a member of the Pharmaceutical Strategic Working Group for the Australia Senator for Industry and Innovation. Ms. Finger earned her B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
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.
Mr. 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.
Mr. Michael Rice joined our board in July 2021. Mr. Rice has deep experience in portfolio management, investment banking, and capital markets. He is a Founding Partner at LifeSci Partners. Prior to founding LifeSci, Michael was the co-head of Health Care Investment Banking at Canaccord Adams, where he was involved in debt and equity financing. Mr. Rice was also a Managing Director at Think Equity Partners, where he was responsible for managing Healthcare Capital Markets, which included structuring and executing numerous transactions. Prior to that, he served as a Managing Director at Bank of America serving large hedge funds and private equity healthcare funds while working closely with Investment Banking. Previously, he was a Managing Director at JP Morgan/Hambrecht & Quist. He graduated from the University of Maryland and currently sits on the board of 9 Meters Biopharma Inc.
Bennett M. Shapiro, M.D.
Dr. Shapiro, has served on our board of directors since September 2004 and has served as Chairman between 2007-2021. In addition to serving on our board of directors, between 2004-2020 Dr. Shapiro has served as senior partner, Director and as Chairman at PureTech Ventures, an innovation enterprise; he now continues as a member of PureTech’s (NASDAQ: PTRC) R&D Committee. 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.