Team

While the Relay Therapeutics team brings a wealth of different experiences to the table, we are united in our mission to bring protein motion to the center of drug discovery. Our roles don’t dictate our daily activities – every employee is empowered to make an impact, seize opportunity and to develop skills and expertise.

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THE RELAY TEAM

  • Christian Klammt, Ph.D.

    Christian Klammt, Ph.D.
    Biophysics

    Christian Klammt, Ph.D.

    Since relocating from San Diego, Christian has lived by the motto ‘there’s no wrong weather, just wrong clothing.’ He continues to surf and mountain bike all year long.

  • Rausan Battle

    Rausan Battle
    Lab Facilities

    Rausan Battle

    Rausan coaches AAU basketball and has lead his team to 18 championships.

  • Lucian DiPietro

    Lucian DiPietro
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Lucian DiPietro

    Lucian once incurred a foosball injury requiring game stoppage and has a lifetime undefeated record as anchor for tug of war teams.

  • Brian Adams, J.D.

    Brian Adams, J.D.
    General Counsel

    Brian Adams, J.D.

    While still trying to maintain some of the discipline from his hockey playing days, Brian biggest downfall is an insatiable sweet tooth.

  • Nigel Waters, Ph.D., DABT

    Nigel Waters, Ph.D., DABT
    Non-Clinical Development

    Nigel Waters, Ph.D., DABT

    Nigel spent his first day in the US stranded in Harvard Square waiting out a Nor’easter. Despite this initial harrowing experience, Nigel decided to stay.

  • Songping Zhao

    Songping Zhao
    Biochemistry & Biophysics

    Songping Zhao

    Scuba diving ranks high on Songping’s bucket list.

  • Hongtao Zeng

    Hongtao Zeng
    Biochemistry & Biophysics

    Hongtao Zeng

    Hongtao learned to play erhu (a two-stringed bowed musical instrument) touring with an orchestra performing in several regional music festivals in his home county in elementary school.

  • Jon Weiss

    Jon Weiss
    Computation & Informatics

    Jon Weiss

    Jon earned the nickname “MacGyver”  in college when he successfully opened a wine bottle with a bobby pin.

  • Sanjiv K. Patel, M.A., M.D., MBA

    Sanjiv K. Patel, M.A., M.D., MBA
    President & Chief Executive Officer

    Sanjiv K. Patel, M.A., M.D., MBA

    Sanjiv confesses that he is a terrible driver, having failed driving tests in at least two countries.

  • Ravi Kurukulasuriya

    Ravi Kurukulasuriya
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Ravi Kurukulasuriya

    While cooking, Ravi unlocks his inner chef, unloading most of the refrigerator and adding exotic spices in a dish coined ‘All the troubles in One Lankat’.

  • Elizabeth Kelley, Ph.D.

    Elizabeth Kelley, Ph.D.
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Elizabeth Kelley, Ph.D.

    As a child, Beth won first place for her self-made Energizer Bunny Halloween costume. Other self-made favorites included: grapes and a sandwich.

  • Jim Watters, Ph.D.

    Jim Watters, Ph.D.
    Biology

    Jim Watters, Ph.D.

    In college, Jim played a pickup basketball game with a future #1 overall NBA draft pick.  At that time, it became abundantly clear that Jim should focus on science.

  • Randy Greenwood

    Randy Greenwood
    Executive Assistant

    Randy Greenwood

    Randy is a road-trip warrior. She once made a 21 hour trip through 3 states solo.

  • Dejan Maglic, Ph.D.

    Dejan Maglic, Ph.D.
    Biology

    Dejan Maglic, Ph.D.

    Growing up, Dejan and his childhood friends trained in table tennis. Some of his friends went on to compete at the World Cup Table Tennis championship. Dejan is always up for a pickup game.

  • Klaus Michelson, M. Sc.

    Klaus Michelson, M. Sc.
    Biochemistry & Biophysics

    Klaus Michelson, M. Sc.

    Living in Mexico for three years during his childhood, Klaus was the champion of a chili pepper eating contest with the neighborhood kids.

  • Tom McLean, J.D., Ph.D.

    Tom McLean, J.D., Ph.D.
    Intellectual Property

    Tom McLean, J.D., Ph.D.

    Despite not having any interest in either cars or soccer. Tom is currently obsessed with the car soccer video game Rocket League.

  • Don Bergstrom, M.D., Ph.D.

    Don Bergstrom, M.D., Ph.D.
    Research and Development

    Don Bergstrom, M.D., Ph.D.

    Don spent autumn weekends in graduate school making wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

  • Randy Kipp, Ph.D.

    Randy Kipp, Ph.D.
    Biochemistry

    Randy Kipp, Ph.D.

    Randy can recite Les Miserables in its entirety.

  • Chris Owen

    Chris Owen
    Biology

    Chris Owen

    Chris has been a practitioner of martial arts (Kung Fu and Jiu Jitsu) for twenty years. 

  • Vy Nguyen, Ph.D.

    Vy Nguyen, Ph.D.
    Biochemistry & Biophysics

    Vy Nguyen, Ph.D.

    When growing up, Vy enjoyed going on adventures with her best buddy Den, the pet pig.

  • Artemisa Bulku

    Artemisa Bulku
    Biochemistry & Biophysics

    Artemisa Bulku

    The first time moving to the States, Artemisa accidentally exited the airport without her luggage or any form of ID and was trapped in Zurich without any entry plan back into the airport.

  • Brandi Hudson, Ph.D.

    Brandi Hudson, Ph.D.
    Computational Chemistry

    Brandi Hudson, Ph.D.

    A huge Harry Potter fan, Brandi has visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter 4 times in the span of 6 years and even had the opportunity to meet Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) for an autograph!

  • Jeremy Wilbur, Ph.D.

    Jeremy Wilbur, Ph.D.
    Structural Biology

    Jeremy Wilbur, Ph.D.

    Jeremy once successfully battled a ring-tailed cat interested in snagging his food while on the side of a 1,000ft cliff in the middle of the night.

  • Ted Peters

    Ted Peters
    Compound Management

    Ted Peters

    A childhood interest in insects led Ted to consider a career as an entomologist.  Sadly, he’s now allergic to bees.

  • Olivia Orozco

    Olivia Orozco
    Biology

    Olivia Orozco

    In lieu of taking another semester of Calculus in college, Olivia learned how to play the harpsichord and joined a chamber music trio.

  • Annie Delgaudio

    Annie Delgaudio
    People Operations and Administration

    Annie Delgaudio

    Annie is an extreme sports fan. She’s white water rafted the Colorado River, ice climbed Mt. Washington, and has been skydiving twice.

  • David Lanzetta

    David Lanzetta
    Nonclinical Operations

    David Lanzetta

    David spent a semester at college in New Mexico taking classes in wilderness survival and caving.

  • Jessica B. Casaletto, Ph.D.

    Jessica B. Casaletto, Ph.D.
    Biology

    Jessica B. Casaletto, Ph.D.

    Jessica became a “Cameron Crazie” while in grad school at Duke, attending every home basketball game for 4 consecutive seasons (several of them with her face painted Duke blue!).

  • Demetri Moustakas, Ph.D.

    Demetri Moustakas, Ph.D.
    Computational Chemistry

    Demetri Moustakas, Ph.D.

    In 6th grade, Demetri built his first guitar amp using an old 8-track player, a soldering iron, and several subsequently burned fingers. The amp worked, and the music has only gotten louder since then.

  • Nastaran Gerami-Moayed

    Nastaran Gerami-Moayed
    Biology

    Nastaran Gerami-Moayed

    A practicing make up artist since the age of 14, Nat focuses on braving beauty in the face of cancer. She advises and teaches techniques to those affected by their cancer diagnosis.

  • Molly Schmidt, M.Eng.

    Molly Schmidt, M.Eng.
    Computation & Informatics

    Molly Schmidt, M.Eng.

    Molly once crowd surfed at a punk rock concert.

  • Heike Schoenherr, Ph.D.

    Heike Schoenherr, Ph.D.
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Heike Schoenherr, Ph.D.

    Heike spent twenty years on stage as a semi-professional dancer. These days, she’s more likely to be found in the lab.

  • Matt Zubrowski

    Matt Zubrowski
    Biology

    Matt Zubrowski

    Matt volunteered as an EMT while in college. On one overnight shift he helped deliver a baby in the back of an ambulance.

  • Levi Pierce, Ph.D.

    Levi Pierce, Ph.D.
    Computation & Informatics

    Levi Pierce, Ph.D.

    In high school Levi launched countless flaming soccer balls from a 50′ trebuchet siege engine he constructed in his backyard.

  • Yong Tang, Ph.D.

    Yong Tang, Ph.D.
    Structural Biology

    Yong Tang, Ph.D.

    Yong owns a canoe that has trekked the Brandywine and Charles Rivers and has provided many mock runs for his kids and friends in the backyard.

  • Chris Lepre, Ph.D.

    Chris Lepre, Ph.D.
    Biochemistry & Biophysics

    Chris Lepre, Ph.D.

    Chris is a virtuoso with an 8-pound sledgehammer: he mastered the art of cinderblock wall demolition in his teenage years working with his father’s (de)construction company.

  • Dana Riley

    Dana Riley
    Administration

    Dana Riley

    Dana attended a sleep-away camp in Orson PA for 3 summers in a row where she trained and performed stationary and flying trapeze in the camp circus.

  • Dipali Patel, Ph.D.

    Dipali Patel, Ph.D.
    Structural Biology

    Dipali Patel, Ph.D.

    Dipali believes there’s nothing a cup of English breakfast tea (like how the Brits make) and a fabulous blow-dry can’t fix!

  • Kori Rahaim, MBA

    Kori Rahaim, MBA
    Life@Relay

    Kori Rahaim, MBA

    Kori is really good at meeting people through the internet, including her now-husband, and 4 random roommates who have become her best friends.

  • Kelley Shortsleeves

    Kelley Shortsleeves
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Kelley Shortsleeves

    Kelley spent her senior year of college trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. She can now bake them from memory.

  • Caitlin O’Brien

    Caitlin O’Brien
    Compound Management

    Caitlin O’Brien

    Caitlin was paid to play the bassoon in the pit band for a community production of Oklahoma! – the closest she’s ever come to being a professional musician.

  • Gaauri Naik, M. Sc.

    Gaauri Naik, M. Sc.
    Pharmaceutics

    Gaauri Naik, M. Sc.

    Gaauri has a family who doesn’t shy away from singing in the car. So next time you hear the song “The Fox (what does the fox say)” at a traffic light, its probably her kids singing in the car…herself included.

  • Tom Catinazzo

    Tom Catinazzo
    Vice President, Finance

    Tom Catinazzo

    Tom is the youngest of 3 siblings and was spoiled by his Nana (she lived on the first floor of his family’s triple decker), who washed and ironed his laundry, including his underwear, until the day he left for college.

  • Pascal Fortin, Ph.D.

    Pascal Fortin, Ph.D.
    Biochemistry Biophysics & Structural Biology

    Pascal Fortin, Ph.D.

    An avid climber, Pascal would like to climb the nose of Yosemite’s El Capitan in a single day.

  • Bret Williams, Ph.D.

    Bret Williams, Ph.D.
    Biology

    Bret Williams, Ph.D.

    Bret played basketball on one of the only carpeted high school gym floors in the United States.

  • Alex Taylor, Ph.D.

    Alex Taylor, Ph.D.
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Alex Taylor, Ph.D.

    During summers in high school, Alex worked in a factory making the partitions between the front and back seats of police cars, where he learned to operate a forklift.

  • Alessandro Boezio, Ph.D.

    Alessandro Boezio, Ph.D.
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Alessandro Boezio, Ph.D.

    Alessandro has tried, over the years, to shed his nickname, but he’s been known as BOZ since the age of 10.

  • Kamil Bruderek

    Kamil Bruderek
    Biology

    Kamil Bruderek

    Kamil has been to over 100 concerts in his life and is slowly crossing artists off his bucket list.

  • Roberto Valverde, Ph.D.

    Roberto Valverde, Ph.D.
    Structural Biology

    Roberto Valverde, Ph.D.

    Roberto once spent a week in Eastern Ukraine in hiding from ex-KGB officials.

  • Barry Toure, Ph.D.

    Barry Toure, Ph.D.
    Medicinal Chemistry

    Barry Toure, Ph.D.

    Barry hasn’t watched a baseball game since 1994 – the year his hometown Montreal Expos’ shot at a World Series championship was denied due to the baseball strike.

  • Pat Walters, Ph.D.

    Pat Walters, Ph.D.
    Computational Chemistry

    Pat Walters, Ph.D.

    Pat played bass in The Colours (1980s), The Ironworkers (1990s) and One Monkey Away (2000s).

  • Alex Tancredi

    Alex Tancredi
    Corporate Strategy

    Alex Tancredi

    Alex lived for a year in a rural Mexican village where he played romantic lead in his elementary school play, El Ratoncito (the little rat).

  • Bobby Pagos

    Bobby Pagos
    Finance

    Bobby Pagos

    Bobby and his brother once wore all the clothes in their carry-on’s allowing enough room to stuff other traveler’s bags into ours, averting an international vacation disaster.

  • Sarah O’Brien

    Sarah O’Brien
    Life@Relay

    Sarah O’Brien

    Sarah studied with a Pulitzer Prize poet and won her university’s top prize in poetry.

  • André Lescarbeau

    André Lescarbeau
    Medicinal Chemistry

    André Lescarbeau

    Caught in a sandstorm in the Thar desert (border of India and Pakistan) André was forced to spend the night sleeping between 2 camels to avoid being buried alive.

  • Brian Adams, J.D.

    General Counsel

    Brian Adams joins Relay Therapeutics as general counsel, bringing more than 15 years of legal and business management experience within the life sciences.  Mr. Adams joins the company from Keryx Biopharmaceuticals where he served as SVP, General Counsel & Secretary.   Prior to Keryx, Mr. Adams held roles in Algeta ASA, AVEO Oncology, and Genzyme Corporation. Before joining Genzyme, Mr. Adams practiced at Bingham McCutchen LLP, where he advised private equity sponsors, biotech and other emerging technology companies on a broad range of corporate matters and financing transactions.  Mr. Adams received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law.

    Fun Fact:

    While still trying to maintain some of the discipline from his hockey playing days, Brian biggest downfall is an insatiable sweet tooth.

  • Don Bergstrom, M.D., Ph.D.

    Executive Vice President, Head of Research and Development

    Don is overseeing the research and development efforts at Relay Therapeutics and shaping the portfolio of transformative medicines based on an understanding of protein motion.

    Prior to joining Relay, Dr. Bergstrom was Chief Medical Officer at Mersana Therapeutics, where he led the advancement of two products based on Mersana’s proprietary antibody-drug conjugate platform through non-clinical development and into Phase 1 clinical trials. Prior to Mersana, he was Global Head of Translational and Experimental Medicine at Sanofi Oncology.  Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Bergstrom held roles of increasing responsibility at Merck Research Laboratories, culminating in his role as Oncology Franchise Lead, Experimental Medicine.

    Dr. Bergstrom received an M.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle and a Ph.D. from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he also completed post-doctoral training. He was a resident in clinical pathology at the University of Washington.

    Fun Fact:

    Don spent autumn weekends in graduate school making wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

  • Tom Catinazzo

    Vice President, Finance

    Tom Catinazzo joins the Relay Therapeutics team from Foundation Medicine (FMI), where he was most recently Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis responsible for over-seeing all aspects of FMI’s business planning function.  Mr. Catinazzo brings over 12 years of extensive experience in the biotechnology field having worked at Aileron Therapeutics and Genzyme Corporation supporting both the Renal and Personalized Genetic Health Division.  Mr. Catinazzo received his B.S. from Boston College.

    Fun Fact:

    Tom is the youngest of 3 siblings and was spoiled by his Nana (she lived on the first floor of his family’s triple decker), who washed and ironed his laundry, including his underwear, until the day he left for college.

  • Pascal Fortin, Ph.D.

    Vice President, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology

    Pascal is Vice President, Head of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, overseeing and evolving the experimental drug discovery platform at Relay.

    Prior to Relay, Pascal served as the head of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry in Oncology at the Novartis institutes for Biomedical Research. He led a group working at the interface of biochemistry, biophysics and cellular biology, investing significant efforts towards the development of allosteric molecules modulating the function of hard-to-drug cancer targets.

    Before joining Novartis, Pascal completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, where he studied the biosynthetic logic behind natural product biosynthesis. His postdoctoral work led to the discovery of a transglutaminase homologue as a condensation catalyst in antibiotic assembly lines. It also led to a great appreciation of the many ways natural small molecules modulate protein function. Pascal obtained BS in biochemistry at Laval University and obtained a PhD at the University of British Columbia, studying the enzymology underlying aromatic compounds catabolism.

    Fun Fact:

    An avid climber, Pascal would like to climb the nose of Yosemite’s El Capitan in a single day.

  • Sarah O’Brien

    Chief People Officer, Life@Relay

    Sarah is Vice President, Head of Human Resources, overseeing and evolving the strategies focused on people and culture at Relay.

    Prior to Relay, Sarah served as the Head of Human Resources for Sobi in North America where she led global initiatives connecting feedback, leadership and personal development as catalysts for driving the goals of the organization.  Sarah also spent seven year working in Human Resources leadership roles for Novartis in both Cambridge, MA and Emeryville, CA supporting Oncology, Immunotherapy and Translational Medicine.  She began her career in Human Resources after completing a management training program in Finance at Bank of New York Mellon where she became an HR Business Partner for Mellon Capital Management in San Francisco, CA.  Sarah graduated summa cum laude from the University of New Hampshire where she majored in English, Art History and Philosophy.

    Fun Fact:

    Sarah studied with a Pulitzer Prize poet and won her university’s top prize in poetry.

  • Sanjiv K. Patel, M.A., M.D., MBA

    President & Chief Executive Officer

    Dr. Sanjiv Patel brings to Relay over 20 years of life sciences industry experience. Prior to Relay, Sanjiv was at Allergan for over 10 years, and played a key part in Allergan’s sustained growth and value creation over that period. Sanjiv held roles of increased responsibility, including leading Global Strategic Marketing for all franchises and general management of Allergan’s fastest growth geographic region, the Emerging Markets.

    He was most recently part of Allergan’s Executive Team, as Chief Strategy Officer and at the center of some of the industry’s largest transactions. His work with the Senior Leadership Team of Allergan defined its long-term objectives and strategy, including divestment and integration planning activities.

    Prior to Allergan, Sanjiv was a Management Consultant at Boston Consulting Group in London and he started his career as a surgeon in the U.K.’s National Health Service. Sanjiv received his M.B.A. from INSEAD, MBBS from the University of London and has a M.A. in Neurosciences from Cambridge University.

    Fun Fact:

    Sanjiv confesses that he is a terrible driver, having failed driving tests in at least two countries.

  • Pat Walters, Ph.D.

    Vice President, Computation

    Pat Walters heads the Computation & Informatics group at Relay. This group focuses on novel applications of computational methods that integrate computer simulations and experimental data to provide insights that drive drug discovery programs. Prior to joining Relay, he spent more than 20 years at Vertex Pharmaceuticals where he was Global Head of Modeling & Informatics.  In this role, he served on the global research leadership team and was a part of the cystic fibrosis research steering group.

    Pat is a member of the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, and previously held similar roles with Molecular Informatics, and Letters in Drug Design & Discovery.   He continues to play an active role in the scientific community.  Pat was the Chair of the 2017 Gordon Conference on Computer-Aided Drug Design.  He has been instrumental in many community driven efforts to evaluate computational methods, including the NIH funded Drug Design Data Resource (D3R) and the American Chemical Society TDT initiative.

    Pat received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Arizona where he studied the application of artificial intelligence in conformational analysis. Prior to obtaining his Ph.D., he worked at Varian Instruments as both a chemist and a software developer. Pat received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Fun Fact:

    Pat played bass in The Colours (1980s), The Ironworkers (1990s) and One Monkey Away (2000s).

  • Jim Watters, Ph.D.

    Vice President, Biology

    Jim is Vice President of Biology, overseeing discovery and translational research activities required to advance Relay’s pipeline. Jim joined Relay from Third Rock Ventures, where he served as a Strategic Advisor in Biology.

    Prior to Relay, Jim joined Sanofi in 2010 and served as the head of Translational Medicine for Sanofi Oncology. In this capacity, Jim led a group implementing translational science across Sanofi’s Oncology portfolio. In 2004, Jim joined Merck Research Laboratories, becoming the head of molecular profiling for Merck Oncology, utilizing omics technologies and next-generation sequencing to tailor specific therapies to individual cancer patients based on their molecular profile.

    Jim holds a BS in Biology from Purdue University and a PhD in Genetics from Harvard University. Jim was a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University, performing research to elucidate the relationship between human genetic variation and response to cancer therapy.

    Fun Fact:

    In college, Jim played a pickup basketball game with a future #1 overall NBA draft pick.  At that time, it became abundantly clear that Jim should focus on science.

  • Alexis Borisy

    Executive Chairman

    Alexis Borisy is a partner at Third Rock Ventures and chairman of Relay Therapeutics’ board of directors. He is a successful biotechnology entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience building and operating innovative science-based organizations. Alexis joined Third Rock Ventures in 2009 to focus on the formation, development and strategy of new companies. He has played key roles in launching and building several of Third Rock’s portfolio companies. He was the chairman of the board, co-founder, and interim CEO of Foundation Medicine, interim CEO of Warp Drive and Blueprint Medicines, and currently serves as a board member of Foundation Medicine, Warp Drive Bio, Blueprint Medicines, Editas Medicine, Tango Therapeutics, and Revolution Medicine.

    Prior to joining Third Rock Ventures, Alexis founded CombinatoRx in 2000, serving as its chief executive officer and bringing the company public on the NASDAQ. He has raised billions in financing and business development deals, and has authored numerous scientific papers and patents. Trained in chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard where he was a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow, Alexis was honored as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review Innovator of the Year. He was also chosen as the New England Entrepreneur of the Year in Life Sciences and was honored as a Presidential Scholar.

    Alexis’ undergraduate degree in chemistry is from the University of Chicago, and he did his graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Stuart Schreiber at Harvard University. Alexis is a trustee of the Boston Museum of Science, is a co-founder and former chairman of FORMA Therapeutics, and serves on the board of the National Venture Capital Association.

    Fun Fact:

    Alexis’ first job was selling peanuts at Wisconsin Badger football games at age 14.

  • Linda A. Hill, Ph.D.

    Dr. Hill is the author of several leadership books and articles on leadership and innovation, including Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation. Her research focuses on building innovative organizations and ecosystems and the role of the board in governing innovation. She is a member of the board of directors of Harvard Business Publishing and the Global Citizens Initiative, Inc. Dr. Hill serves on the board of trustees of the Art College of Design and serves on the advisory board of Eight, Inc., the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and the American Repertory Theater. Dr. Hill co-founded Paradox Strategies, a leadership research and advisory firm, and consults in the areas of leadership development, talent management, leading change and innovation, and managing cross-organizational relationships. Organizations with which Dr. Hill has worked include General Electric, IBM, MasterCard, Salesforce.com and The World Economic Forum. Dr. Hill holds a Ph.D. in behavioral sciences and a M.A. in educational psychology from the University of Chicago. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship from Harvard Business School.

    Fun Fact:

    Linda flunked kindergarten (but she loved it).  Linda’s mother shared this news with her for the first time when she came to visit one of her MBA classes and they asked her for a fun fact.

  • Steven Kafka, Ph.D.

    Dr. Kafka was most recently president and chief operating officer and formerly chief business officer at Foundation Medicine, Inc., a company dedicated to transforming cancer care by identifying molecular alterations in each patient’s unique cancer and matching them with potential targeted therapies and immunotherapies. In these roles, Dr. Kafka was responsible for the biopharmaceutical and clinical businesses and had significant impacts on growing revenue and scaling operations for the core businesses, launching products, expanding the product to a global scale, driving key business development relationships and financing the company. Prior to joining Foundation Medicine, Dr. Kafka served in executive roles at oncology drug discovery and development companies including as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Aileron Therapeutics, and vice president of finance for Infinity Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Kafka earned a B.A. with distinction and honors in economics and political science from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard University.

    Fun Fact:

    Steve joined the Local Food Workers’ Union at age 16 as an employee in the produce department of the Rainbow Foods grocery store in his town, where he learned a failsafe method for judging the ripeness of melons.

  • Mark Murcko, Ph.D.

    Mark Murcko, Ph.D. has directly contributed to seven marketed drugs and several others currently in mid-stage clinical trials.

    Until November 2011, Mark was chief technology officer and chair of the scientific advisory board of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. In this role, he was responsible for the identification, validation and incorporation of disruptive technologies across global R&D. Mark is a co-inventor of the HCV protease inhibitor Incivek (telaprevir), as well as Agenerase (amprenavir) and Lexiva (fosamprenavir), Vertex’s two marketed drugs for the treatment of HIV. In addition, he guided the early efforts of the Vertex’s cystic fibrosis program that later produced the marketed drugs Kalydeco (ivacaftor) and Orkambi (lumacaftor / ivacaftor). He is also a co-inventor of eight other clinical candidates in the areas of cancer, inflammation/immunology and infectious disease, and was responsible for starting many of Vertex’s programs in these and other disease areas, notably leading to Vertex’s influenza drug VX-787 and cancer drug VX-970, both currently in mid-stage clinical trials.

    Prior to Vertex, Mark worked at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, where he helped discover clinical candidates against infection and cardiovascular and ocular diseases, including inhibitors of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase for the treatment of glaucoma. One of Merck’s development candidates in this area, dorzolamide, was commercialized in two products, Trusopt and the combination medicine Cosopt (dorzolamide/ timolol).  Trusopt was the first marketed drug in pharmaceutical history to result from a structure-based drug design program.

    Mark is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT.  In addition, Mark is a member of numerous scientific advisory boards and corporate boards of directors for a diverse range of organizations.  He served as the chair of the 2013 Gordon Research Conference in Medicinal Chemistry and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the GRC.  He is a co-inventor on more than 50 issued and pending patents and has co-authored more than 85 scientific articles.  Mark holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University and a B.S., summa cum laude, in chemistry and applied mathematics from Fairfield University.

    Fun Fact:

    In college, Mark once played the arcade game “Battlezone” for 3.5 hours on a single quarter and won enough bar bets to last an entire semester.

  • Sanjiv K. Patel, M.A., M.D., MBA

    Dr. Sanjiv Patel brings to Relay over 20 years of life sciences industry experience. Prior to Relay, Sanjiv was at Allergan for over 10 years, and played a key part in Allergan’s sustained growth and value creation over that period. Sanjiv held roles of increased responsibility, including leading Global Strategic Marketing for all franchises and general management of Allergan’s fastest growth geographic region, the Emerging Markets.

    He was most recently part of Allergan’s Executive Team, as Chief Strategy Officer and at the center of some of the industry’s largest transactions. His work with the Senior Leadership Team of Allergan defined its long-term objectives and strategy, including divestment and integration planning activities.

    Prior to Allergan, Sanjiv was a Management Consultant at Boston Consulting Group in London and he started his career as a surgeon in the U.K.’s National Health Service. Sanjiv received his MBA from INSEAD, MBBS from the University of London and has a M.A. in Neurosciences from Cambridge University.

    Fun Fact:

    Sanjiv confesses that he is a terrible driver, having failed driving tests in at least two countries.

  • Kanishka Pothula

    Kanishka Pothula is Managing Director at BVF Partners L.P., a San Francisco-based investment firm focused on public and private life science companies. Mr. Pothula joined BVF in 2012. Prior to joining BVF, Mr. Pothula was an Associate at BroadOak Capital Partners, a life sciences focused investment bank. Prior to BroadOak, he worked as a Research Associate at the University of California, San Diego’s Medical School conducting primary research on apoptotic modeling on T-lymphoma cancer cells. Mr. Pothula holds an M.S. in Biotechnology from Georgetown University and a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego.

    Fun Fact:

    Kanishka has watched so much tennis, cricket, rugby and Formula 1 “on mute” in the middle of the night that he truly believes he may have a second act as a color commentator on an obscure sports network.

  • Laura Shawver, Ph.D.

    Laura Shawver sees cancer from the perspective of scientist, survivor and CEO. She is an experienced Biotech executive with more than 25 years of experience in the development of drugs for cancer and other serious diseases. Laura is President, CEO and Director of Synthorx, Inc, a company developing novel biologics using semi-synthetic organisms to incorporate non-natural amino acids.  She has been CEO and Director of Cleave Biosciences since 2011 and prior to Cleave she was Entrepreneur in Residence for 5AM Ventures. From 2002 – 2010, Laura was the CEO and Director of Phenomix Corporation and President of SUGEN, Inc. from 2000 – 2002 after holding various positions since 1992. Following her own diagnosis and treatment for ovarian cancer in 2006, she founded the non-profit organization, The Clearity Foundation, to help other women battling the disease access molecular profiling and improve treatment options. Laura has also served on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up To Cancer since 2008 and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Ideaya Biosciences. Laura received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and a B.S. degree in Microbiology, both from the University of Iowa.

    Fun Fact:

    Laura has loved science from an early age and came very close to blowing up her high school chemistry lab. Thankfully, it was rescued by the fire department.  When not engaged in an experiment, Laura surfs at various southern California beaches.