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
Eva Jack Chief Operating Officer Biography
Tim Reilly Chief Development Officer Biography
R. Aldrin Denny Senior Vice President, Head of Computational Sciences Biography
Kenneth Carson Executive Vice President, Head of Chemical Sciences Biography
Michael Tota Vice President, Biology Biography
Joe Wahle Vice President, Head of Immunology Biography
Fang Wang Vice President, Oncology Biography
W. Adam Hill Senior Vice President, Platform Integration Sciences Biography
Andrew Morton Vice President, Finance Biography
Evan Friedman Vice President, Development Operations 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.

Eva Jack
Chief Operating Officer

Ms. Jack, a proven leader in the biopharmaceutical industry, brings a broad scope of business and operational experience to HotSpot Therapeutics. She has a highly successful track record in leading financings, forming and negotiating strategic collaborations, facilitating strategy development, and building and leading business, finance and other administrative functions.

She joins the team from Mersana Therapeutics, where she was the Chief Business Officer and played a major role in transforming the company from an early-stage start-up to a publicly traded, clinical-stage organization. She has also consulted with biotech companies and investors on business and financing strategies. Previously, she served as the Chief Business Officer of Pulmatrix, and before that, she was with MedImmune (acquired by AstraZeneca). While at MedImmune Ms. Jack was Managing Director of MedImmune Ventures, where she was responsible for making and managing investments in private biotechnology companies. Prior to MedImmune Ventures, she was in MedImmune’s Business Development group, where she was responsible for in-licensing, out-licensing and research collaborations. Prior to joining MedImmune, Ms. Jack held a variety of positions at Intel Corporation, where she worked in venture investments, corporate strategy and public policy.

Ms. Jack holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in health sciences from The Johns Hopkins University.  Additionally, she is a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence®, a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs.

Tim Reilly
Chief Development Officer

Dr. Reilly has extensive expertise in drug development across a range of therapeutic modalities and disease areas, with a proven track record of success in pharmaceutical R&D. Currently, he leads HotSpot’s drug development efforts focused on the strategy and operational components of bringing our new molecules into clinical development.

He joins HotSpot from Bristol Myers Squibb, where he held positions of increasing leadership responsibility during his 18-year tenure. Most recently he was Senior Vice President, Early Development Program Leadership, where he oversaw the entire early development portfolio spanning multiple modalities and therapeutic areas and established the overall strategic and operational plans from development candidate identification through Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical development. He has made significant contributions to well over 150 clinical stage molecules during the course of his career.

Dr. Reilly is the industry representative to the Network Steering Committee of the Experimental Cancer Medicines Centres (ECMC) established by Cancer Research UK, is on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Melanoma Research Foundation and serves on the External Advisory Panel for the Purdue University Institute for Drug Discovery. In addition, he sits on the Translation Research Council for CureSMA and is co-founder and Chief Scientific Office of a non-profit organization, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Research Team (SMART). He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, received his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from Wayne State University and completed postdoctoral training in toxicology and cellular/molecular immunology at the National Institutes of Health under the mentorship of Dr. Lance Pohl. Tim was also previously a long-standing board-certified Diplomat of the American Board of Toxicology.

R. Aldrin Denny
Senior 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.

 

 

Joe Wahle
Vice President, Head of Immunology

Joe has over 15 years of immunologic experience with a focus on autoimmune and inflammatory disease. He has led and supported small and large molecule programs from discovery to the clinic. Joe brings a disease centric approach to drug discovery striving to bring complex cellular and translational systems into programs as early as possible. Prior to joining HotSpot Joe was the Head of Immunology at Verseau Therapeutics where he helped build an early stage pipeline across IO and inflammation. He has also held positions at Boehringer Ingelheim and Novo Nordisk. Joe received his PhD in Cancer Biology at Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida and completed his post-doctoral training at Washington University in St Louis.

Fang Wang
Vice President, Oncology

Trained as a biologist, Fang has nearly two decades of experience in cell biology and oncology drug discovery, spanning from early target validation through clinical development. Fang played a key role in progressing four molecules from early discovery into patients.  Of these, two molecules have been granted FDA approval.

Prior to joining HotSpot, Fang was Vice President, Biology at Fog Pharmaceutics, where she was responsible for building the biology organization from the ground up while focusing on developing stapled peptide as a new modality. Prior to Fog, Fang held roles of increasing responsibility at Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO). Fang was the lead biologist and pharmacologist for the first-in-class IDH1m and IDH2m programs to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Both enasidenib (Idhifa®) and ivosidenib (Tibsovo®) were granted full approval by FDA for relapsed and refractory AML. Fang was also the founding member and pipeline research leader for Agios’ immuno-oncology research hub. Prior to Agios, Fang was a Senior Scientist at Aveo Pharmaceuticals (AVEO), where she was part of the team that progressed the anti-human HER3 antibody from screening to IND.

Fang received her Master’s degree in Cell Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular Virology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Fang completed her post-doc training at The Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School.

W. Adam Hill
Senior Vice President, Platform Integration Sciences

Trained as a Chemist, with a Pharmacology minor, Adam has more than two decades of experience in early drug discovery: from cell and protein production; sample management; assay development; high throughput screening; molecular modeling, and preclinical safety pharmacology.
Adam has played pivotal roles in developing new assay formats, automation and acceleration of drug discovery as well as being involved in bringing novel therapeutics to the market.
Prior to joining HotSpot, Adam was VP and Head of Platform Technologies at Plexium, Head of Screening for NIBR in Cambridge and held Lead Finding roles in Millennium and Schering Plough. Adam has also worked with a small Venture Fund, investing in and mentoring several small companies with game changing platform technologies impacting human health.
Adam received his BA, MA and D. Phil. from Oxford University and post-doctoral training at Harvard / MGH and the University of Connecticut.

Andrew Morton
Vice President, Finance

Andrew Morton brings nearly 15 years of finance and accounting experience in the life sciences/healthcare/biotechnology sector. He joins the HotSpot from Gemini Therapeutics where he served as Vice President of Finance. Prior to joining Gemini, Andrew held leadership roles in the finance function at Ra Pharmaceuticals, pre-IPO through the Company’s acquisition by UCB, Inc in 2020. Prior to joining Ra Pharma, Andrew held positions of increasing responsibility at Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals.

Andrew obtained his B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Evan Friedman
Vice President, Development Operations

Evan joined HotSpot in July as our Vice President of Development Operations. In this role, he will work closely with our Chief Development Officer to bring our molecules into the clinic. Evan has nearly 20 years of pharmaceutical/biotech experience spanning the breadth of drug development in a variety of therapeutic areas including Infectious Disease, Oncology, Neuroscience, and Endocrinology. Prior to joining HotSpot, Evan was at PMV Pharma, a precision oncology company, where he supported early clinical development, project management, scientific communications, and business development. Before PMV, Evan worked at Abide Therapeutics, a serine hydrolase platform company, where he led the Clinical Operations activities for multiple rare disease projects. Evan spent the majority of his career at Merck where over 14 years he held a variety of roles across the Early Development/Translational Pharmacology organization including Clinical Operations, Clinical Director, and Project Leadership. At Merck, he was directly involved in the development of 3 drugs that received FDA approval including raltegravir, vorinostat, and letermovir. Evan began his career as a research biochemist at Aventis Pharmaceuticals.

Board of Directors

Fouad Azzam Director Biography
Bruce Booth Chairman Biography
Jill Carroll Director Biography
Ash Khanna Director Biography
Jonathan Montagu Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Biography
Daniel Omstead Director Biography
Victoria Richon Director Biography
Graziano Seghezzi Director Biography
Samantha Truex Director Biography
Fouad Azzam
Director

Fouad Azzam, PhD, MBA, joined LSP in 2007. He became a Partner of the firm in that same year. Fouad’s prime focus and responsibility within LSP is to invest in unlisted securities and manage the firm’s North American operations. Prior to joining LSP, Fouad was the Managing Director of Eastman Ventures, the investment arm of Eastman Chemical Company, where he built-up its Healthcare and Advanced Materials practices. In his role as Managing Director, he was responsible for numerous early- and late-stage investments across the US & Europe. Fouad brings a wealth of investment expertise to the LSP team. Prior to his role at Eastman Ventures, Fouad held senior leadership positions at Eastman Chemical including roles in Innovation, Corporate Strategy, Corporate Development (M&A) and New Business Development. His career also includes business, operating, and technology roles at Occidental Chemical and BFGoodrich.

Among others, Fouad is currently a Director at NKarta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTX), Xylocor Therapeutics, Endotronix, and Cardiac Dimensions. Fouad’s academic credentials include a Master’s degree and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron in Ohio. In addition, Fouad obtained an MBA in Finance & Strategy from the University at Buffalo in New York. Fouad lives in the greater Boston area with his wife and two children.

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.

Jill Carroll
Director

Jill Carroll is a Principal at SR One. Prior to joining SR One in 2011, Jill was a Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Corporate Development at Dynavax Technologies, where she was involved in multiple pharma partnering deals as well as substantial private and public financings. She previously was a health care at Clearview Projects and Mercer Management Consulting. Jill earned a BS in chemistry from Duke University and an MS in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University.

Ash Khanna
Director

Dr. Ash Khanna is a Venture Partner at Pivotal bioVenture Partners and brings significant experience in the venture capital, pharmaceutical and biotech arena. Most recently, he co-founded Vaxcyte (NASDAQ: PCVX), a Pivotal bioVenture Partners portfolio company, where he served as chief business officer. He also serves or has served on the Boards of Fountain Therapeutics, Evommune Inc and Vaxcyte. Previously he was president and chief business officer of Imagen Biotech, a VC-backed startup developing treatments for severe ophthalmic diseases. Prior to his operating roles, Dr. Khanna was a principal at SV Life Sciences (SVLS), a healthcare focused venture capital firm, where he led and managed investments in many biotech and diagnostic companies including, among others, Ophthotech, Sutro BioPharma, Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Good Start Genetics and Itero Biopharma.
He started his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he held various positions including Team Leader responsible for the clinical advancement of multiple diabetes programs including the currently marketed products, Onglyza® (Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor) and Farxiga® (SGLT2 inhibitor). Dr. Khanna is a co-inventor on the Onglyza® patent. Dr. Khanna holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the State University of New York at Buffalo, an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School, and a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Bombay.

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.

Daniel Omstead
Director

Dr. Omstead is President and Chief Executive Officer of Tekla Capital Management LLC (the “Adviser”), a registered investment adviser that serves as investment adviser to the Funds. Dr. Omstead is also President of the Funds and serves on their Valuation Committee. Dr. Omstead is portfolio manager for the public and restricted/venture portfolios within the Funds. Prior to joining the Adviser, Dr. Omstead was President and CEO of Reprogenesis, Inc., a private development stage biotech company which developed therapies in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Before joining  Reprogenesis, Dr. Omstead was Senior Vice President, Research and Development, at Cytotherapeutics, Inc, a public biotech company. Prior to entering the biotech industry, Dr. Omstead was employed for fourteen years in positions of increasing responsibility within the pharmaceutical industry at Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation and at the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, both divisions of Johnson & Johnson, and at Merck, Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories, a division of Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Omstead provides each Fund with insights into both pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Dr. Omstead holds PhD and Master’s Degrees in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from Columbia University and a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. He is an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of a non-profit agency that provides emergency shelter, housing and supportive services to homeless and low-income individuals and families in the Boston area. Dr. Omstead was also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Joslin Diabetes Center.

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.

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.

Scientific Experts

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, Avilar Therapeutics
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

Clinical Advisors

Jason Luke, MD, FACP University of Pittsburgh (UPMC) Hillman Cancer Center Background
Aurelien Marabelle, MD, PhD Institute Gustave Roussy (France) Background
Ignacio ’Nacho’ Melero, MD, PhD University of Navarro (Spain) Background
Robert Clark, MD University of Connecticut Health Center Background
Greg Beatty, MD, PhD University of Pennsylvania Background
Rachel Humphrey, MD Independent BioPharma executive Background

Investors (alphabetical order)