Team

Having successfully developed hotspot regulatory binders at other biotechnology companies, our co-founders recognized the opportunity to advance this modality by designing a purposeful and systematic approach to finding and targeting regulatory hotspots. We’ve assembled an incredible team of scientists and industry experts with a strong track record of bringing new thinking to complex drug discovery challenges.

Management

Jonathan Montagu Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Biography
Geraldine Harriman Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Biography
Christian Fritz Executive Vice President, Translational Biology Biography
R. Aldrin Denny Vice President, Head of Computational Sciences Biography
Kenneth Carson Executive Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences Biography
Michael Tota Vice President, Biology Biography
Jonathan Montagu
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

A trained chemist, biotech entrepreneur and specialist in startup operations and business development, Jonathan’s unique perspective aligns business and science interests. Inspired by the ability to translate lab-bench innovation into meaningful therapies for patients, Jonathan is driven to lead HotSpot to solve problems that the industry has grappled with for decades.

Prior to co-founding HotSpot, Jonathan served as Chief Business Officer at Nimbus Therapeutics, where he helped establish the company’s drug discovery platform and pipeline. He also served as Vice President, Business Development at Concert Pharmaceuticals (CNCE), and was instrumental in securing a $1B multi-product transaction for the company with GSK. Jonathan is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atlas Venture.

Jonathan trained as a chemist at Oxford University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The Scripps Research Institute, and Cancer Research UK.

Geraldine Harriman
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Working for more than 20 years in drug discovery & early development, Gerry’s strong experience allows her to move seamlessly from one area of science to another, guiding cross-disciplinary problem solving. Drawn to medicine at an early age, she was fascinated to learn how the body works at its most basic level. This, together with her love of innovation, chemistry and biology culminated into a desire to discover new medicines.

Prior to co-founding HotSpot, Gerry served as Vice President and Head of ACC Program at Nimbus Therapeutics, where she led the effort to discover a leading drug for NASH. She also served as Vice President at Galenea, co-led the Inflammation Therapeutic Area at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and was a founding member of the scientific team at LeukoSite.

Gerry received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Rhode Island and completed her post-doc fellowship at The University of Kansas.

Christian Fritz
Executive Vice President, Translational Biology

Inspired by the science of medicine, Christian has worked on small molecule drug discovery for nearly 20 years. He has led various drug discovery projects from inception through Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 trials. He brings to HotSpot his past experiences in target validation through biochemical screening, cellular assays, animal pharmacology, PD, and predictive marker development to accelerate compound development into the clinic. Exploring the innovative concept of allosteric inhibition in the pharmaceutical industry, Christian is leading HotSpot in ways to mimic how the cell controls protein activity, avoiding off target toxicity, thereby increasing the therapeutic index.

Prior to joining HotSpot, Christian was the Head of Biology at Syros Pharmaceuticals where he built a biology group to channel groundbreaking discoveries of scientific founders into productive drug discovery programs.

Christian received his Ph.D. from the University of Cologne in Germany in Genetics and Molecular Biology.

R. Aldrin Denny
Vice President, Head of Computational Sciences

Intrigued by the intersection of molecular modeling and cheminformatics, R. Aldrin Denny (“Denny”) has nearly two decades of experience in computational chemistry applied in the context of active drug discovery programs. Denny is a team-orientated leader and is excited to bring his creative approach for regulatory pocket identification to HotSpot’s platform and programs.

Prior to joining HotSpot, Denny held roles of increasing responsibility at Pfizer, most recently as Associate Research Fellow in Inflammation and Immunology Chemistry and Chair of the Computational Chemistry network group. He also headed up multiple external scientific innovation collaborations with various academic scientists.

Previously, he worked as a Senior Principal Scientist at Wyeth where he had responsibilities to hire and manage computational chemistry partner organizations including GVK Bio and Strand Life Biosciences involved in scientific application development. He also served on the systems integration team that consolidated the Pfizer-Wyeth research infrastructure, for which he received an Award of Excellence.

Denny received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and completed his post-doc at Harvard University. Denny is lead author on more than 48 publications and manuscripts.

Kenneth Carson
Executive Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences

Trained as a medicinal chemist, Ken has spent a 25-year career in biotech drug discovery, spanning the range from early discovery all the way into the clinic.  His past drug-discovery programs have progressed multiple candidates into clinical trials, in several different therapeutic areas.

Prior to their merger with HotSpot, Ken was the founder and CEO of Macroceutics, Inc., a biotechnology company that harnessed DNA-Encoded Libraries to make new innovative drugs for high-value targets.    Before that, Ken served in leadership roles at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Millennium, and LeukoSite.

Ken earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Michael Tota
Vice President, Biology

An experienced microbiologist, Michael has extensive experience in assay development, biochemistry, and small molecule drug discovery.  Prior to the merger with HotSpot, Michael was Vice President of Biology at Macroceutics, Inc., where he was responsible for molecular biology, DEL selection development, and DEL analysis.  Previously, he spent more than 20 years at Merck Research Laboratories.

Michael earned his B. S. from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in chemistry and he obtained his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

 

 

Board of Directors

Bruce Booth Chairman Biography
Graziano Seghezzi Director Biography
Samantha Truex Director Biography
Victoria Richon Director Biography
Jonathan Montagu Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Biography
Bruce Booth
Chairman

Bruce Booth is Chairman of HotSpot’s board of directors and a partner at Atlas Venture.  He focuses on novel biopharmaceutical products, therapeutic platforms, and innovative biomedical technologies.

Bruce is currently chairman of AvroBio (NASDAQ: AVRO), Kymera Therapeutics, Unum Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UMRX), HotSpot Therapeutics, miRagen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MGEN), Nimbus Therapeutics, and Rodin Therapeutics, and also serves on the boards of Lysosomal Therapeutics, Magenta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MGTA), Unum Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UMRX). He previously served on the boards of past Atlas companies Avila (acquired by Celgene), Padlock (acquired by BMS), Prestwick (acquired by Biovail), Stromedix (acquired by Biogen), and a number of other ventures.

Bruce serves as an advisor in various capacities to UCB, Shire, Pfizer, Takeda, and the Gates Foundation. He also serves on the board of the National Venture Capital Association.

Bruce blogs about biotech and venture capital topics at LifeSciVC.com, which is syndicated on Forbes. He has published numerous scientific papers and has authored various biotech venture capital review articles, including several in Nature Biotechnology.

Prior to joining Atlas in 2005, Bruce was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, as well as an investor for Caxton Health Holdings. As a British Marshall Scholar, Bruce received a D.Phil. (PhD) in molecular immunology from Oxford University. His work focused on the study of HIV and tumor immune responses. He received a BS in biochemistry, summa cum laude, from The Pennsylvania State University.

Graziano Seghezzi
Director

Graziano Seghezzi is Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners which he joined in 2006. He seed funded and was on the Board of GlycoVaxyn which was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2015 and Omthera Pharmaceuticals which went public on Nasdaq in 2013, then was sold to AstraZeneca later that year. Graziano also seed funded and is on the Board of Mission Therapeutics (United Kingdom), Crescendo Biologics (United Kingdom) and Hookipa Biotech (Austria). He promoted and is on the Board of BiovelocITA, Italy’s firstbiotech accelerator. Graziano started his career in venture capital in 2001 at Sofinnova Partners and then joined Index Venture in 2003. Prior to that, Graziano spent five years working in academic research at New York University’s School of Medicine, studyingoncology and cardiovascular diseases. Graziano holds a degree in genetics and microbiology from the University of Pavia (Italy) and an MBA from RSM-Erasmus University (Netherlands).

Samantha Truex
Director

Samantha Truex is Chief Executive Officer of Quench Bio. Sam has more than 20 years of biotech experience, including as COO and Head of Corporate Development for Synlogic where Sam led the strategic process and transaction culminating in the recent reverse merger with Mirna. Prior to Synlogic, Sam was Chief Business Officer for Padlock Therapeutics where she was integral to Padlock’s operations and led the process in which Padlock was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Sam previously spent several years each at Biogen and Genzyme. At Biogen, Sam served as Vice President of Corporate Development, leading negotiations of multiple licensing, collaboration and acquisition transactions and serving as program executive of FAMPYRA® during its launch phase and of ELOCTATETM and ALPROLIXTM during the preclinical and early clinicalphases. At Genzyme, she handled licensing and M&A transactions across multiple business units, including for Genzyme Molecular Oncology and Genzyme Genetics. Earlier in her career, Sam worked for Chiron Diagnostics and Health Advances. Sam earned a BA in biology from Dartmouth College, a BE in biomedical engineering from the Thayer School at Dartmouth and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth. Sam serves as a member of the board of Thayer School of Engineering and on the scientific advisory board of non-profit Italian research institute Fondazione Telethon.

Victoria Richon
Director

Dr. Richon is a scientifically trained executive with decades of leadership experience in small biotechnology companies, global pharmaceutical companies and academia.  Before joining Ribon, Dr. Richon was the Vice President and Global Head of Oncology Research and Translational Medicine at Sanofi where she led the company’s early oncology efforts.  Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Richon was Vice President of Biological Sciences at Epizyme, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering therapeutics based upon epigenetics.  Earlier in her career, she was Founder and Executive Director of Aton Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Merck in 2004.  Aton was formed to develop HDAC inhibitors, including vorinostat, an HDAC inhibitor that Dr. Richon developed during her tenure at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and vorinostat was the first HDAC inhibitor approved by the FDA while she was at Merck.

Dr. Richon received her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a BA in Chemistry at the University of Vermont.

Jonathan Montagu
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

A trained chemist, biotech entrepreneur and specialist in startup operations and business development, Jonathan’s unique perspective aligns business and science interests. Inspired by the ability to translate lab-bench innovation into meaningful therapies for patients, Jonathan is driven to lead HotSpot to solve problems that the industry has grappled with for decades.

Prior to co-founding HotSpot, Jonathan served as Chief Business Officer at Nimbus Therapeutics, where he helped establish the company’s drug discovery platform and pipeline. He also served as Vice President, Business Development at Concert Pharmaceuticals (CNCE), and was instrumental in securing a $1B multi-product transaction for the company with GSK. Jonathan is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atlas Venture.

Jonathan trained as a chemist at Oxford University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The Scripps Research Institute, and Cancer Research UK.

Advisors

Karen Bernstein, PhD Chairman, BioCentury
Robert Copeland, PhD President & CSO, Accent Therapeutics
Lenny Dang, PhD VP, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Agios Pharmaceuticals
Dan Grau, M Phil CEO, Sojournix
Jim Harwood, PhD CEO, Delphi BioMedical Consultants
Tom Hughes, PhD CEO, Navitor Pharmaceuticals
Nicholas Keen, PhD CSO, Bicycle Therapeutics
Kevin Koch, PhD President & CEO of Edgewise Therapeutics
Robert Lewis, PhD Consulting Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
Jonathan Mason, PhD Senior Research Fellow, Heptares Therapeutics
John McCall, PhD Co-Founder, Reveragen
Jo Viney, PhD Co-Founder & CSO, Pandion Therapeutics
George Vlasuk, PhD President & CSO, Navitor Pharmaceuticals

Investors