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.

  • Adam Knight, PhD

    Founder & CBO

    Adam has always been fascinated by genetics—and when his grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) during his freshman year of college, he sharpened his focus. “From then on, I basically lived in the research lab,” he explains.

    Adam received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Alabama, and his PhD from the University of Cambridge as part of the NIH-Oxford/Cambridge Scholars Program.

    For ten years, his research focused on the genetic basis of neurodegenerative disease, including PD. He has published a dozen papers on the topic in high impact scientific journals, including multiple Cell papers.

    After completing his PhD, Adam joined IQVIA where he worked on projects ranging from development and commercial strategy for Top 5 pharma companies to helping small biotech companies raise funding. After IQVIA, Adam joined Lentigen, where he received hands-on experience in both R&D and business development.

    In September 2017, Adam joined Kleiner Perkins to create a biotech company with Beth Seidenberg, which became Neuron23, a firm committed to leveraging recent innovations in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and genetics to develop therapies for genetic disorders. In 2018, Adam and Beth launched Neuron23 in partnership with Origenis, a German biotech company with a portfolio of five small molecule therapies. Origenis had created a state-of-the-art AI-based drug discovery platform, and their lead program targeted LRRK2.

    Over the next ten years, Adam has ambitious plans to build Neuron23 into a powerhouse biotechnology company.

  • 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.

  • Steve Wood

    SVP Drug Discovery

    Steve Wood is a pharmaceutical industry veteran with over 30 years of drug discovery experience. He currently serves as SVP 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

    VP 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

    VP Chemistry

    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

    VP 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).

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 DICE’s board in November 2020. 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), Blade Therapeutics 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) and iPierian (sold to Bristol Myers Squibb). 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.

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.

  • Peter Heutink, PhD

    Speaker of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)-Tübingen, Genetics and Functional Genomics

    Peter Heutink is a geneticist by training with over 3 decades of experience and 400+ peer reviewed publications. He and his team identified mutations for several diseases including Frontotemporal Dementia, Amyothropic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinsons Disease.

    He has made important contributions to a series of Genome Wide Association (GWA) and large scale sequencing studies as a member of the International Parkinson’s Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC), the International Frontotemporal Dementia Genomics Consortium (IFGC) and the International FTLD-TDP WGS consortium and the Global Parkinsons Genetics Program (https://parkinsonsroadmap.org/gp2/).

    With his background in genetics Peter Heutink developed a strong interest in the “translation” of genetic findings into function. Although much progress has been made in understanding monogenic disorders a major bottleneck exists in understanding and modeling the genetic riskfactors for multifactorial disorders. His research has therefore focused on genomic approaches in iPS based models to understand the more common and multifactorial forms of neurodegenerative diseases. The availability of human derived iPS models has opened new avenues to investigate the joined effects of multiple risk factor in a biologically relevant cell model for neurodegenerative diseases. His group has developed fully automated high throughput cellular screening methodologies to investigate the large numbers of newly identified genetic risk factors in their cellular context, such as in the recently funded FOUNDIN-PD consortium (https://www.foundinpd.org/wp/). Peter Heutink’s career is characterized by strong long lasting collaborations with clinical scientists and international consortia. He is committed to improve the diversity in research and worked successfully with researchers from underrepresented populations in science. He is committed to Open Science and firmly believes the field can only truly progress when joining forces with excellent researchers around the world.

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