Kurt von Emster, CFA
Kurt joined Abingworth in January 2015 bringing over 25 years of experience in life science investment. He began his career as a biotechnology and healthcare analyst in 1990, and then was promoted to Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Franklin Templeton. Kurt then became a General Partner at MPM Capital in 2000. In 2009, he co-founded venBio, a US healthcare investment firm and most recently was a Partner in the San Francisco office. He holds board positions at CymaBay, Jasper Therapeutics, Orbus Therapeutics, SFJ Pharmaceuticals, Tizona Therapeutics, Trishula Therapeutics, Vaxcyte and Vera Therapeutics. He was formerly on boards at Aurinia, CRISPR Therapeutics, Cytos, Kesios, Facet and Somaxon. Kurt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Peter Hirth, Ph.D.
Former Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Plexxikon, Inc.
Dr. Hirth co-founded and led Plexxikon, Inc. as its CEO as it built a novel, structure-guided drug discovery platform that advanced several new chemical entities into the clinic, including Zelboraf, which was FDA approved and led to the company’s 2011 acquisition by Daiichi Sankyo for $935 million. Prior to Plexxikon, Dr. Hirth was President of SUGEN, Inc., where he was instrumental in building the company from its inception as well as advancing several kinase inhibitors through clinical trials, including Sutent, which was FDA approved and led to the company’s 1999 acquisition by Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc. for $728 million. Prior to SUGEN, Dr. Hirth was Vice President of Research at Boehringer Mannheim where he successfully led the company’s erythropoietin program to approval in 1989, which was sold under the name Recormon. Before moving into industry, Dr. Hirth was a research scientist with the Max Planck Institute following his post-doctoral work at University of California, San Diego and obtaining his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Heidelberg University, Germany.
Heath Lukatch, Ph.D.
Founder and Managing Partner, Red Tree Venture Capital
Dr. Lukatch is Founder and Managing Partner of Red Tree Venture Capital, a life sciences venture capital firm. From 2015 to 2020, Dr. Lukatch worked at TPG where he was Partner, Managing Director and Life Sciences Investment Team Leader in TPG’s Biotech, Growth and RISE platforms. In 2006, Dr. Lukatch co-founded Novo Ventures’ San Francisco office, where he was a Partner through 2015. Prior to joining Novo Ventures, Dr. Lukatch was a Managing Director responsible for biotechnology venture investments at Piper Jaffray Ventures and SightLine Partners. Dr. Lukatch currently serves as Chairman of Engage Therapeutics, Inogen (INGN) and Satsuma Pharmaceuticals (STSA), and is a board member at Ceribell, Flexion (FLXN), Halo Neuroscience, Vaxcyte, ViaCyte and ViewPoint Therapeutics. Previously Dr. Lukatch was Chairman of Cianna Medical (acquired by Merit Medical) and Spinifex (acquired by Novartis), and served on multiple life sciences company boards, including: Amira (acquired by BMS), AnaptysBio (ANAB), Elevation Pharma (acquired by Sunovion), FoldRx (acquired by Pfizer), InSound Medical (acquired by Sonova) and Synosia Therapeutics (acquired by BioTie). Dr. Lukatch was also a board observer at Alios BioPharma (acquired by J&J), Dynavax (DVAX), Fluidigm (FLDM) and SI-Bone (SIBN). Prior to becoming an investor, Dr. Lukatch worked as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company and was co‐founder and CEO of AutoMate Scientific, a biotechnology instrumentation company. In addition, he was a bench scientist at Chiron, Roche Bioscience and Cetus, doing molecular biology, electrophysiology and protein chemistry, respectively. Dr. Lukatch received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University where he was a DOD USAF Fellow, and his B.A. with high honors in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.
Halley Gilbert, J.D.
Chief Legal Officer, NeoGenomics, Inc.
Ms. Gilbert is currently the Chief Legal Officer of NeoGenomics, Inc., a premier cancer diagnostic, pharma services and informatics company. She brings to the role over 20 years of biotechnology industry management and operations expertise. Most recently, Ms. Gilbert served as Chief Operating Officer of Adagio Therapeutics, Inc., a company focused on developing broadly neutralizing antibodies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and future coronavirus outbreaks. In just over one year as an operating company, her contributions supported the seamless transition of Adagio to public company status, significant financings, advancing the pipeline and building the team. Previously, Ms. Gilbert spent 12 years in various roles of increasing scope and responsibility at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc., including Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Administrative Officer with oversight of corporate and business development, legal, compliance and government affairs. Additionally, Ms. Gilbert served as Ironwood’s Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Ironwood, she was Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Ms. Gilbert also served as a corporate counsel at Genzyme Corp., prior to its acquisition by Sanofi. She began her career at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she specialized in mergers and acquisitions and securities law. Ms. Gilbert currently serves on the boards of directors of Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Inc., CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. and Vaxcyte, Inc. Previous board roles included Dermira, Inc., prior to its acquisition by Eli Lilly and Company, and Achaogen, Inc. Ms. Gilbert holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.
Chief People Officer, Toast
Ms. Drapeau is the Chief People Officer at Toast, the end-to-end platform built for restaurants. With over 25 years of human resources, strategy and finance experience, she was previously the Chief People Officer at Moderna, helping to scale the business as it expanded into multiple clinical-stage programs across a range of modalities. Ms. Drapeau also served as an Operating Partner at Bain Capital, helping to drive talent strategies across the private equity portfolio. Additionally, she served as Chief People Officer at Iron Mountain, VistaPrint and Digitas, and started her career in finance roles at JP Morgan and PepsiCo.
Ms. Drapeau has written about leadership and building trust in organizations, including co-authoring the book The Trusted Leader. Ms. Drapeau has a B.A. from Bucknell University, where she serves on the Board of Trustees, and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Posse Foundation.
Chief Financial Officer, SQZ Biotechnologies
Ms. Loxam is an accomplished professional with a diverse background in investor relations, strategy, communications and finance. As SQZ Biotechnologies’ Chief Financial Officer, she oversees the company’s financial operations including financial strategy, accounting, financial planning and analysis, risk management, tax and treasury as well as overseeing the investor relations and communications/public relations functions. Since joining SQZ Biotechnologies in August 2019, Ms. Loxam has helped raise over $200 million for the company, including their initial public offering (IPO) in November 2020.
Before joining SQZ Biotechnologies, Ms. Loxam served as Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Global Communications at Merck. In this role, she led internal and external communications efforts globally, which included Merck’s portfolio of therapeutics and vaccines. Previously, she was Vice President, Investor Relations for IMAX Corporation, where she helped lead the company’s IPO on the Hong Kong Exchange. Ms. Loxam also spent over a decade at Bristol-Myers Squibb in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility across strategy, treasury and investor relations.
Ms. Loxam started her career as a marine biologist and worked at Sea World of San Diego for several years before making a transition into business. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Victoria, B.C. Canada and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine.