Our Leadership

We're a diverse leadership team with proven success in both science and business, driven by one common goal: enhancing and improving the lives of the patients we serve.

  • Nancy Stagliano, PhD

    CEO, Board Chair

    Nancy is fascinated by how the brain works. “Of all parts of the body, to me it is the most interesting and the most complex,” she explains. “I think the brain is the final frontier.”

    Nancy has always been driven by her love of science and medicine, receiving a PhD in neuroscience, and degrees in both biomedical and electrical engineering, followed by a postdoc at Harvard Medical School. She holds numerous patents and published works in respected journals.

    During her career, Nancy has been CEO of three successful companies—True North Therapeutics, iPierian, and CytomX Therapeutics. Nancy is passionate about building high performing teams dedicated to finding new therapies that make a difference for patients. “Success to me is defined by getting a therapeutic to patients,” she says. “I think my crowning career achievement to-date is the work I did with True North.” True North’s drug, Enjaymo (Sutimlimab), now in the hands of Sanofi, recently won FDA approval for the treatment of cold agglutinin disease, a rare condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own red blood cells.

    As the CEO and chair at Neuron23, Nancy takes a hands-on approach to building the company, following the science, and mentoring the team. In addition to her commitment to Neuron23, Nancy serves as chair of the board of a number of biotechnology companies, including Star Therapeutics, Electra Therapeutics and Latigo Biosciences. Nancy is active in philanthropy and is a board member of the not-for-profit organization PanCAN, having lost her mother and uncle to pancreatic cancer.

    Nancy was previously involved as an advisor to Westlake Village BioPartners and New Leaf Venture Partners.

  • Sam Jackson, MD, MBA

    Chief Medical Officer

    Sam Jackson joined Neuron23 in 2022. A strategic leader and clinical development expert, Sam is a board-certified emergency physician with fellowship training in medical toxicology. He has a long history of successful leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.

    Before joining Neuron23, Sam served as Senior Vice President of Clinical Development at Alector, where he oversaw clinical development and operations while leading programs in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. Sam led the clinical due-diligence discussions that resulted in a transformational alliance with GlaxoSmithKline in one of the largest deals in the neurodegeneration space. He also served as interim Chief Medical Officer of Alector for seven months.

    Prior to Alector, Sam held roles of increasing responsibility at Amgen, Genentech, Dynavax and Alkahest. At Dynavax, Sam ran a pivotal Phase 3 trial and was part of the small team that filed the BLA resulting in approval of a novel vaccine for Hepatitis B. At Alkahest, he served as Chief Medical Officer, where he helped build the clinical organization and designed and initiated four phase 2 trials in neurologic and ophthalmologic diseases.

    Sam graduated from Stanford University and received his MD and MBA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Andrew Yost, MBA

    Chief Business Officer

    Andrew Yost joined Neuron23 in 2023 as the company’s Chief Business Officer (CBO). Prior to joining Neuron23, Andrew served as CBO at TenSixteen Bio, where he oversaw the business development, finance, legal and operations functions. He also served as the Senior Vice President of corporate development at REGENXBIO, where he led all business development, strategic transactions, alliance management and long-range planning, as well as playing a significant role in the company’s IPO.

    Earlier in his career, Andrew served on the healthcare investment banking team at JP Morgan where he advised on over $25 billion in M&A and equity/equity-linked transactions and was a management consultant in the healthcare group at PRTM (now Strategy&, a part of PwC). Andrew holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS in biological engineering from Cornell University.

  • Steve Wood

    EVP Drug Discovery

    Steve Wood is a pharmaceutical industry veteran with over 30 years of drug discovery experience. He currently serves as EVP of Drug Discovery at Neuron23 where he oversees the preclinical portfolio from target discovery and validation through to development candidate nomination. Prior to joining Neuron23, Steve spent over 20 years at Amgen in the Neuroscience department where he led Amgen’s neurodegeneration discovery research efforts with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS. Early in his career, Steve worked at SmithKline Beecham where he and colleagues helped elucidate the mechanisms of abnormal protein aggregation, a common pathology across numerous neurodegenerative disorders.

  • Arash Rassoulpour, PhD

    SVP Research Operations

    Arash Rassoulpour serves as Vice President of Research Operations Prior to Neuron23. In this role he is responsible for multiple aspects of the business and has contributed to the company’s expansion and to the growth of the pipeline. Arash is an experienced drug developer and operational leader with over 15 year’s industry experience. Prior to Neuron23 he served as Executive Director and General Manager at Charles River Laboratories (CRL) where he served as the South San Francisco Site Head, was responsible for the companies CNS strategy, and served as a member of the Discovery leadership team.

    Before becoming part of CRL Arash served as Head of US operations/Partner of Brains On-Line where he was responsible for the expansion and eventual acquisition by CRL. Arash started his industry career as Senior Scientist in Neuroscience group at Amgen where led several neuroscience programs in psychiatry including a program that eventually entered clinical trials. Arash holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland.

  • Zhonghua Pei, PhD

    SVP Chemistry and DMPK

    Zhonghua Pei serves as VP of Chemistry at Neuron23. Zhonghua has rich and extensive drug discovery experience in oncology, inflammatory diseases, metabolic disease (diabetes & obesity) and now neuroinflammatory diseases. Zhonghua started his industrial career at Abbott Laboratories, then joined Genentech in 2007 and later Ideaya Biosciences in 2017. He has made significant impact and contributions to the discovery of multiple drug development candidates at Abbott, Genentech and Ideaya, either as an individual contributor or as a team leader. He has authored or co-authored more than 45 peer-reviewed papers, reviews and book chapters and over 40 patents.

    Zhonghua obtained his BS degree from University of Science and Technology in China (USTC), MS degree from Rensselaer Polytech Institute (RPI) and his Ph D. in chemistry from MIT.

  • Luc Desnoyers, PhD

    VP Translational R&D

    Luc Desnoyers serves as the Vice President of Translational Research and Discovery at Neuron23. His focus is on leading the biomarker and diagnostics efforts to move programs from the late-stage research through to clinical proof of concept. He is passionate about innovation and the development of novel strategies to define the right dose and identify the right patients.

    Dr. Desnoyers has spent more than two decades in the biopharmaceutical industry, with a proven track record in platforms innovation, fundamental research and therapeutics development with companion diagnostics.

    Prior to joining Neuron23, Dr. Desnoyers spent 9 years at CytomX Therapeutics, where he held roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently, Dr. Desnoyers served as Vice-President of Translational Sciences, during which he established and led the biomarker group accountable for biomarker and diagnostics strategies for all clinical programs. Dr. Desnoyers was instrumental in the development of the Probody and drug conjugate platforms, the initiation of multiple discovery initiatives and their transition into clinical programs. He has 1669 patents and 21 top-tier publications to his name.

    Before joining CytomX, Dr. Desnoyers spent 14 years at Genentech working in multiple therapeutic areas and occupying different roles from early discovery to oncology biomarker for clinical development. Dr. Desnoyers completed his post-doctoral fellow at UT Southwestern Medical Center with Drs Brown and Goldstein and holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Montreal.

  • Suresh Dheerendra

    VP Clinical Operations

    Suresh Dheerendra serves as the Vice President of Clinical Operations at Neuron23. Suresh is a seasoned clinical operations leader with over 20 years of global clinical development experience across several established biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including: Genentech, Lundbeck, Takeda, and Abbott/AbbVie. He has led programs across a variety of therapeutic areas in all phases of development.

    Prior to joining Neuron23, Suresh was a Clinical Program Director at Genentech leading multiple programs from entry into the clinic to late stage development. Suresh holds a BS degree in Biology, (Plant Genetics), from Northern Illinois University and a MS degree in Health Care Administration from DePaul University.

  • Karen Lam

    SVP Finance & Corporate Controller

    Karen joined Neuron23 in March 2021, bringing over 20 years of financial and leadership experience, from privately held and publicly held companies within the healthcare sector. Most recently, she served as Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer of RAPT Therapeutics, Inc., where she managed finance, IT and facilities and played a key role in transforming RAPT from a private, preclinical company to a publicly-held clinical stage biotech company.

    Previously, she served as Senior Director, Controller of True North Therapeutics, Inc and Director, Controller at iPierian Inc., a development stage biotechnology company where she played a critical role in building both company’s financial operations. She started her career at Ernst & Young LLP and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. Ms. Lam is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

  • Ryan Dixon

    Senior Director, Human Resources

    Ryan serves as the Senior Director, Human Resources at Neuron23. He is passionate about innovation in HR practices and developing ways to expand access and equity to growth and development opportunities at work. Ryan has spent two decades in the field of HR with a proven track record of designing and scaling a wide range of HR programs.

    Prior to joining Neuron23, Ryan led Global Talent Management at Moderna. Ryan started in biotech leading the Talent Management, Organization Effectiveness, and Culture function at Biogen. Ryan worked as a management consultant for 15 years serving a wide range of organizations around the world. He played a key role in developing methodologies and tools in organization design, performance management, and talent management. He began his career consulting on employee pay and executive compensation. Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Providence College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

  • Anna Bakardjiev, MD

    VP Clinical Development

    Anna Bakardjiev, MD is a physician-scientist with a passion to develop new therapies to improve the lives of patients and their families. Anna has over 20 years of research experience across basic, translational, and clinical research domains in industry and academia.

    Prior to joining Neuron23 in May 2024, she worked at Denali Therapeutics on first-in-class molecules for the treatment of ALS, and on biotherapeutics for rare genetic neurodegenerative disorders from pre-IND/CTA through late-stage clinical trials. Preceding Denali, she worked on programs for off-the-shelf, multi-virus specific T-cell therapies, and programs for chronic hepatitis B (RNAi therapeutics, vaccinal antibodies, and combination therapies) from pre-CTA through Phase 2.

    Before her transition to industry, Anna was an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Health at UCSF and an NIH-funded investigator. Her research lab at UCSF focused on the pathogenesis of infections during pregnancy and made key discoveries in how pathogens cross the placental barrier.

     

Our Board of Directors

  • Nancy Stagliano

    CEO

    Nancy is fascinated by how the brain works. “Of all parts of the body, to me it is the most interesting and the most complex,” she explains. “I think the brain is the final frontier.”

    Nancy has always been driven by her love of science and medicine, receiving a PhD in neuroscience, and degrees in both biomedical and electrical engineering, followed by a postdoc at Harvard Medical School. She holds numerous patents and published works in respected journals.

    During her career, Nancy has been CEO of three successful companies—True North Therapeutics, iPierian, and CytomX Therapeutics. Nancy is passionate about building high performing teams dedicated to finding new therapies that make a difference for patients. “Success to me is defined by getting a therapeutic to patients,” she says. “I think my crowning career achievement to-date is the work I did with True North.” True North’s drug, Enjaymo (Sutimlimab), now in the hands of Sanofi, recently won FDA approval for the treatment of cold agglutinin disease, a rare condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys its own red blood cells.

    As the CEO and chair at Neuron23, Nancy takes a hands-on approach to building the company, following the science, and mentoring the team. In addition to her commitment to Neuron23, Nancy serves as chair of the board of a number of biotechnology companies, including Star Therapeutics, Electra Therapeutics and Latigo Biosciences. Nancy is active in philanthropy and is a board member of the not-for-profit organization PanCAN, having lost her mother and uncle to pancreatic cancer.

    Nancy was previously involved as an advisor to Westlake Village BioPartners and New Leaf Venture Partners.

  • Beth Seidenberg, MD

    Board of Directors & Founding Investor

    One of Beth’s most vivid childhood memories is standing on a stool as a child watching her father conducting heart surgery. Today, she applies her medical expertise to the venture capital world, helping entrepreneurs translate their scientific breakthroughs into new medicines to help patients. Along the way, she has built 15 successful biotech companies.

    As a founding managing director of Westlake Village BioPartners, Beth believes this is the golden age of Biotech. “The pace and quality of innovation has hit an inflection point,” she explains. “With Westlake Village BioPartners we have the freedom and expertise to turn the next big technologies into products and companies that benefit human health.”

    For Beth it’s not just about bringing new medicines to patients. That is her core mission, but these new companies also provide jobs and shareholder value that benefit society more broadly. A longtime life sciences investor, and a general partner at Kleiner Perkins, Beth has incubated and invested in 15 biotech ventures since January 2006, including ARMO, Arresto, Atara, Cell Design Labs, iPierian, Epizyme, Flexus, TESARO, and True North.

    Beth has a demonstrated ability to identify and accelerate meaningful molecules through development. Her expertise is grounded in her significant senior-level industry experience with leadership roles at Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck Research Laboratories. Most recently, at Amgen, Beth was chief medical officer and head of global development.

    Prior to life science investing, Beth’s career focused on developing new treatments for AIDS, arthritis, asthma, cancer and psoriasis, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and renal disorders for over 20 years. During that time, she introduced 10 innovative products to market.

  • Amrit Nagpal

    Board of Directors

    Amrit Nagpal is a Partner and Managing Director at Redmile Group, LLC, a health care-focused investment firm based in San Francisco and New York. Prior to Redmile Group, he worked as an analyst and portfolio manager at Weintraub Capital Management, and before that at Robertson Stephens, a San Francisco-based investment bank. Amrit holds a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

  • Kevin Raidy

    Board of Directors

    Kevin Raidy is the Managing Partner of Cowen Healthcare Investments. Mr. Raidy is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Neuron23, Inc., Escient Pharmaceuticals, NodThera Ltd., and is currently a Board Observer for Evox Therapeutics and Oncorus, Inc. Mr. Raidy previously served as a Board Member or Observer of Semma Therapeutics, Repare Therapeutics, Pliant Therapeutics and Orchard Therapeutics.

    Prior to his role at Cowen Healthcare Investments, Mr. Raidy was Cowen’s Head of Investment Banking and prior to that he served as co-head of Cowen’s equity capital markets group, which is responsible for the origination and execution of all equity capital-raising transactions. Before that, Mr. Raidy was a managing director at Cowen Investment Management (formerly known as Ramius LLC), where he was portfolio manager for direct investments and convertible bonds. Mr. Raidy also was the founder of H4 Capital Management LLC.

    Mr. Raidy’s sell-side experience includes ten years at Shipley Raidy Capital Partners LP, a boutique investment banking firm that he co-founded, where he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and structuring numerous debt and equity financings and performed M&A advisory services.

    Prior to founding Shipley Raidy, Mr. Raidy was an associate at Philadelphia First Group. He started his career at Cantor Fitzgerald before moving to Merrill Lynch as an analsyt in the municipal finance group.

    Mr. Raidy holds a BS in Economics with a concentration in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Jim Scopa, JD, MBA

    Board Member

    Jim Scopa, J.D., M.B.A. joined the board of Neuron23 in Feburary 2021. He brings over 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry, investing in companies and advising public and private boards on strategic and financial transactions. He most recently was a managing director and member of the investment committee of MPM Capital, a global life sciences venture capital firm.

    Prior to MPM, Mr. Scopa spent 18 years advising growth companies in biopharmaceuticals and medical devices principally at Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown and Thomas Weisel Partners. Mr. Scopa currently serves on the boards of Adverum Biotechnologies (ADVM:Nasdaq) as well as on the Investment Committee of One Ventures. He previously served on the boards of Semma Therapeutics (sold to Vertex), True North Therapeutics (sold to BioVerativ), iPierian (sold to Bristol Myers Squibb) and DICE Therapeutics (sold to Pfizer). In 2017 he was appointed a Fellow in the Distinguished Careers Institute at Stanford. Mr. Scopa received an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

  • Vali Barsan, MD

    Board Member

    Valentin (Vali) Barsan, M.D. has served as Consultant at SoftBank Group since 2017 where he has led several investments in private and public biotechnology and life science companies including Invitae and Pacific Biosciences. Dr. Barsan is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Umoja Biopharma and InterVenn as well as a board observer for Tessera Therapeutics. His biotechnology experience spans across numerous molecular diagnostics companies including Illumina, Guardant, Karius, and Navio on developing sample workflows and helping design clinical trials for personalized and precision medicine.

    Dr. Barsan completed his residency in Pediatrics at UC San Diego. He holds a B.S. in Bioengineering at University of California, San Diego and worked as a next generation sequencing engineer at Illumina prior to earning his M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Barsan is currently an Instructor and Attending Physician in the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine where he completed clinical fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation. At Stanford, he continues to focus on expanding the utility of immunotherapies in pediatric and adult cancers using molecular monitoring and genome engineering techniques.

  • Kathy Dong

    PHARMD, MBA

    Kathy is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Star Therapeutics. Kathy has a long track record of leading successful preclinical and clinical development programs and multiple product launches.

    In her current role at Star Therapeutics, Kathy oversees a broad range of responsibilities, including corporate and commercial development, portfolio management, and technical operations. Previously, she served as vice president of commercial development at True North Therapeutics where she advanced numerous programs through preclinical and clinical development, and supported their integration upon acquisition by Bioverativ and then Sanofi. Earlier in her career, Dr. Dong spent nine years at Gilead Sciences where she led the commercial launches of numerous treatments for hepatitis B and C – including SOVALDI® (sofosbuvir) and HARVONI® (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir).

    Kathy earned her PharmD and MBA at the University of New Mexico and completed a postdoctoral fellowship through Rutgers University.

Our Scientific Advisors

  • Mike Nalls, PhD

    Project Director - Data Science, The Center For Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (CARD) @ NIH, Founding Partner - Data Tecnica International LLC

    Mike Nalls founded Data Tecnica in early 2017 after over a decade of experience in large dataset analytics and methods research in healthcare and other scientific fields. He currently consults for CARD, growing their data science portfolio, supporting ongoing efforts in the investigation of neurodegeneration, as well as trying to build a stronger open science community in the neurodegenerative disease space. He has over 400+ peer-reviewed publications in the field of applied statistics in large datasets, brain diseases, and genomics. He is a strong advocate of open science, collaboration, and transparency in science. One of his main interests is leveraging genomics and machine learning to build better potential therapeutics and more efficient clinical trials. Connect with him on twitter and google scholar or linkedin.

    Disclosure: Advisor for Clover Health and Neuron23 Inc.

Our Capital Partners

Be in the Room When History is Made

We're looking for team members with an insatiable hunger for creating change and the talent to make it happen — those ready to meet us where we are and excited to help take us where we want to go.

Current Opportunities