89bio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of liver and cardio-metabolic diseases. The company’s lead product candidate, pegozafermin (BIO89-100), is a specifically engineered glycoPEGylated analog of FGF21. Pegozafermin is being developed for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and severe hypertriglyceridemia (SHTG). 89bio is headquartered in San Francisco with operations in Herzliya, Israel.
Rohan Palekar is a seasoned C-suite executive with over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Rohan was the president and CEO of Avanir Pharmaceuticals (2015-2017) after serving as its EVP-Chief Operations Officer (2015). Rohan joined Avanir in 2012 as SVP-Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and as part of the senior leadership team led the organization through a dynamic growth phase. Avanir was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals in 2015. Prior to Avanir, Rohan served as the CCO of Medivation (2008-2011), where he oversaw commercial, medical affairs, CMC & manufacturing, and public relations. Earlier in his career, Rohan spent 16 years at Johnson & Johnson in various senior commercial and strategic management roles, including worldwide VP of immunology and VP of sales and marketing at Centocor.
Rohan holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and a BA/BS in law and accounting from the University of Bombay.
Dr. Hank Mansbach is chief medical officer of 89bio. Dr. Mansbach has more than 20 years of clinical, regulatory, and medical affairs experience working across all stages of product development in a wide range of disease states. Most recently, Dr. Mansbach was head of metabolic and neurology global clinical development at Ultragenyx. There, he led clinical development for several programs on rare inborn errors of metabolism. Before Ultragenyx, Dr. Mansbach served as VP of medical affairs at Medivation, where he played a key role in the development and commercialization of enzalutamide for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Earlier in his career, Dr. Mansbach served as SVP of global drug development at Valeant Pharmaceuticals and chief medical officer at Cortex Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Mansbach began his industry career at Glaxo Wellcome after clinical practice and research in neurology. He earned a medical degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.
Quoc Le-Nguyen is the chief technical operations officer and head of quality of 89bio. He has over 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical operations from large pharma and small startup and has the rare experience of both starting a manufacturing operation and closing a manufacturing plant. Quoc is a seasoned executive with extensive knowledge in technical operations and product supply, including building out facilities, organization, and systems as well as advancing programs through various stages of clinical development to licensure. His most recent position was SVP, global head of technical operations & quality for Aduro BioTech, where he was responsible for clinical supply including analytical/process development, manufacturing, supply chain, and quality for all three platforms: Cell Therapy, Small Molecule, and Antibody. Prior to that, Quoc was the VP of manufacturing operations for Bayer Healthcare, responsible for the Betaferon/Betaseron franchise. Quoc also played a critical role in the startup of BioMarin, in the development and approval of their first product, Adurazyme, in 2001.
Quoc holds a BS in biochemistry from the University of California at Davis.
Ryan Martins is chief financial officer (CFO) of 89bio. He brings almost 20 years of biotech experience to the company, including having completed strategic financings and acquisitions with an aggregate transaction value in excess of $1 billion. Ryan was most recently CFO at privately held Revolution Medicines, prior to which he was vice president, head of corporate strategy and investor relations at Ultragenyx. Prior to Ultragenyx, Ryan spent nearly 10 years as a biotechnology analyst at Jefferies, Lazard, and Barclays/Lehman Brothers, where he conducted in-depth analysis of profitable, public, and private biotech companies. Ryan began his career at Chiron Corp., where he held operating roles in commercial, business development, and legal until its acquisition by Novartis for approximately $5 billion.
Ryan earned his BS in Life Sciences from St. Xavier’s College, an MS degree in Biology from Virginia Tech, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.
Melissa Abel is SVP, Commercial Strategy & Communications at 89bio with responsibility for commercial, medical affairs and corporate communications. She has more than 25 years of broad commercial experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. From 2016-2020, she worked as VP, Commercial Strategy at Concentric Analgesics and Five Prime Therapeutics, both companies in the pre-commercialization phase. Prior to that, she led the launch and commercialization of XTANDI® (enzalutamide), one of the most successful prostate cancer medicines ever developed, for Medivation (2009-2014). Prior to Medivation, she worked at a several pre-commercial and commercial companies including Anesiva, Telik, Alza and Chiron. She began her career in Sales and Marketing at SmithKline Beecham (1995-1999).
Melissa holds an MBA from Emory University Goizueta Business School and a BA in statistics from the University of Chicago.
Yun Bai is Vice President, Head of CMC at 89bio and is responsible for CMC, including Analytical & Process Development, Manufacturing, and Supply Chain. Yun has 20+ years of industrial experience in biological drug development targeting oncology, immunology, metabolic, cardiovascular and infectious diseases from early R&D to late-stage development. Prior to joining 89Bio, Yun served as Senior Director of CMC and Regulatory Affairs at Mapp Biopharmaceutical from 2019-2021. Prior to Mapp, Yun had held various positions with increasing responsibilities in CMC, CMO/CRO management and regulatory affairs at Ambrx from 2007 to 2018. Yun also held multiple critical technical roles at Eli Lilly and Epicyte/Berlex earlier in her career.
Yun earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from East China University of Science and Technology, and Ph.D degree in Chemical Engineering from Iowa State University.
Michael Baldwin is VP, Quality Assurance at 98bio. Michael has more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology including Quality Assurance (in-house and CMO/CDMO manufactured products), Global Operations, Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Operations, Tech Transfer, Manufacturing, product launch, medical devices, and establishment of quality systems. Prior to joining our company, Michael was the Director of Quality Assurance at Bayer Healthcare responsible for all aspects of quality assurance for Bayer’s Hematology products manufacturing from 2016 to 2019. He served as Bayer’s Head of Contract Manufacturing Biotech QA in Berlin from 2014 to 2016, responsible for oversight of contracted biotech products and establishment of quality teams in Berlin and Basel. He has held multiple quality roles at Bayer, Novartis and Chiron in addition to managing manufacturing and facility startup operations earlier in his career.
Michael earned his B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Toni Bransford is VP, Clinical Development at 89bio. She has over 16 years of clinical development experience in the pharmaceutical industry throughout all phases of development with a focus on late phase clinical development. She has developed products in a broad range of disease states including rare and autoimmune diseases but with a focus on cardiometabolic and renal therapeutic areas. Most recently, Dr. Bransford was Vice President of Clinical Development at Imara Biotherapeutics where she led development of a phosphodiesterase-9 (PDE9) inhibitor treating preserved ejection fraction heart failure. Earlier in her career she was the clinical lead at Novartis for mid-late phase product development in the sacubitril/ valsartan program also for preserved ejection fraction heart failure. She has consulted throughout her career for numerous biotechs with novel platforms such as RNA interference technology, gene therapy, and gut microbiome targeted therapy.
Dr. Bransford began her career as a cardiologist in a university practice for a decade prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry at Schering-Plough in the cardiometabolic therapeutic area as the clinical lead for the simvastatin/ ezetimibe and the vorapaxar programs.
Dr. Bransford holds a BA in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MD from the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio.
Amanda joined 89bio in 2021 as Vice President, People & Culture. Prior to that, she served in various roles of increasing responsibility including Vice President, Human Resources at Catalyst Biosciences. At Catalyst, she was the defacto chief of staff to the CEO, responsible for strategic alignment with the business, leadership & organizational development, DE&I, culture & values and employee experience. Amanda's career began in the biotechnology industry at Exelixis in 1999 where she saw the Company through its start-up phase, initial public offering and exponential growth. She is uniquely skilled at building mindful, inclusive company cultures that attract, optimize and retain top talent.
Amanda holds Bachelors of Arts degrees in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from Mills College and serves as a Global Advisor for How Women Lead's Women Leaders for the World.
Shiva Natarajan is SVP Finance & Principal Accounting Officer. Shiva has over 25 years of extensive accounting and financial management experience in both public and private companies. Most recently he served as CFO of SiFive, Inc., from 2017 to 2019. Before SiFive, between 2015 and 2017, he was vice president finance at A10 Networks. Prior to A10 Networks, Shiva was vice president and chief accounting officer at Fluidigm Corporation and held several roles at Applied Micro Corporation, including vice president, chief accounting officer and interim chief financial officer. Earlier in his career he held positions of increasing responsibility at various high technology companies and worked as senior manager at Ernst & Young LLP in their Assurance and Business Advisory practice.
Shiva is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Calcutta.
Paul Shin is Senior Vice President, Head of R&D Operations at 89bio and is responsible for Clinical Operations, Program Management, Medical Writing and Regulatory Affairs. Paul has 25+ years of experience in positions of increasing responsibility at biopharmaceutical companies and CROs including leadership roles in clinical research & operations, program management, biometrics, medical writing and other functional areas within R&D. Prior to joining 89bio, Paul served as Vice President, Global Clinical Operations at Intercept Pharmaceuticals from December 2018 to August 2020, where he was responsible for management and execution of all clinical programs globally. Before Intercept, Paul was Sr. Vice President, Global R&D Operations at Nestle Health Sciences from 2016 to 2018, and prior to that, he served as Vice President, R&D Operations at Avanir Pharmaceuticals from 2011 to 2016. Prior to Avanir Pharmaceuticals from 2005 to 2011, Paul held leadership roles within R&D at Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Spectrum Pharmaceuticals and Prometheus Therapeutics. He has a broad background in drug development with strong organizational leadership experience in building and managing high performing, global R&D teams as well as broad therapeutic experience in CNS, Endocrinology, Cardiovascular, GI, Liver and Oncology.
Paul earned his B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, Riverside and completed a post-graduate program in Neurosciences at University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Altschuler is the managing director of Healthcare Ventures at Ziff Capital Partners, where he co-leads the firm’s efforts towards investing in and facilitating the startup and development of companies with potentially transformative technologies that emphasize cellular and molecular approaches to human disease. Dr. Altschuler developed this expertise while cofounding Spark Therapeutics to develop and commercialize the preclinical and clinical gene therapy programs advanced at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and other institutions. Dr. Altschuler served as Spark’s board chair from its founding through its acquisition by Roche in 2019. His tenure included leading the company through a successful transition to a public company and the launch of an approved commercial product. This was the first gene therapy for an inherited disease approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency.
Dr. Altschuler is the former executive vice president for Health Affairs at the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System. He also served as CEO for CHOP from 2000 to 2015.
Dr. Altschuler completed a pediatric internship and residency at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston and completed a fellowship in gastroenterology and nutrition at CHOP. He also served as a faculty member and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania prior to becoming CEO of CHOP.
Dr. Altschuler is a member of the board of directors of WW (formally Weight Watchers International), Orchard Therapeutics, AsclepiX Therapeutics, ImVaX inc. and Platelet Biogenesis. He is also an independent trustee of the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization at Mass General Brigham.
Dr. Altschuler holds a BA in mathematics and an MD from Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Atkinson is Senior Vice President, Head of Commercial Manufacturing and Supply Chain of Vertex Pharmaceuticals with over 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical development, launch, manufacturing and supply chain. Prior to his role at Vertex, Dr. Atkinson served in a number of roles at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), including most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing Operations, where he helped lead the manufacturing and cell therapy integration team for BMS’s $74 billion merger with Celgene. Prior to BMS, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Cook Pharmica (now Catalent) and Head of Biologics Development & Manufacturing Sciences at Eli Lilly, where he specialized in biologics, manufacturing and development. Throughout his career, he has participated in the development, commercialization and manufacturing of multiple commercial products at Eli Lilly, BMS and Vertex. He has also been instrumental in spearheading the building and qualification of R&D and commercial manufacturing facilities across the United States and Europe.
Dr. Atkinson holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Biological Sciences and a B.S. from Indiana University in Biology.
Dr. Grunberg is a managing director at Longitude Capital. Prior to joining Longitude Capital in 2012, Dr. Grunberg was at Rho Ventures and McKinsey & Company. Dr. Grunberg is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine and completed his residency at Cornell's New York Presbyterian Hospital. He has maintained a limited clinical practice in Internal Medicine and affiliations with the University of California, San Francisco, and Kaiser Permanente.
Dr. Grunberg currently serves on the boards of Kala Pharmaceuticals (KALA), 89bio, and WelbeHealth, and he is a board observer at Sydnexis. Dr. Grunberg previously served on the board of California Cryobank (acquired by GI Partners) and led Longitude’s investment in Practice Fusion (acquired by Allscripts). While at Rho Ventures, he served on the board of AqueSys (acquired by Allergan) and was a board observer at both SARCode Bioscience (acquired by Shire) and PHT (acquired by ERT).
Dr. Grunberg holds an MD and MBA from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar, and an AB in Economics and English from Amherst College.
Derek DiRocco is a partner on the Investment Team at RA Capital Management, LLC, a multi-stage investment manager dedicated to evidence-based investing in healthcare and life sciences, including companies developing novel drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics. Derek works on both public and private investments and serves as a board director for 89Bio, Inc. Previously, Derek covered solid tumor oncology landscapes. Derek holds a BA in Biology from Holy Cross College and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Washington. He conducted his postdoctoral research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where he researched the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in mouse models of kidney disease and was part of a team that discovered a stem cell subtype responsible for solid organ fibrosis.
Dr. Hayden was the president of global R&D and CSO at Teva from 2012 until the end of 2017. During this time, approximately 35 new products were approved in major markets, with many for diseases of the CNS such as migraine. He led the development of the first deuterated drug to be approved by the FDA and the second drug ever to be approved for Huntington disease (HD).
In 2015, Teva R&D was recognized as one of the 10 most exciting innovators in Pharma by IDEA Pharma, and in 2017 ranked top of the industry for CNS development and clinical trial success rate by Pharma Intelligence.
Dr. Hayden was recently named one of the 50 Canadians born in the 20th century who have changed the world. Dr. Hayden is the co-founder of six biotechnology companies and currently sits on different private and public boards in the biotech industry.
Author of over 860 peer-reviewed publications and invited submissions, Dr. Hayden has focused his research primarily on translational medicine, including genetics of diabetes, lipoprotein disorders, HD, and predictive and personalized medicine. Dr. Hayden and his research group have identified 10 disease-causing genes, which includes the identification of the major gene underlying high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in humans. Dr. Hayden also identified the first mutations underlying Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) Deficiency and developed gene therapy approaches to treat this condition, the first approved gene therapy in the western world. Dr. Hayden is the most cited author in the world for ABCA1 and HD.
He is also a Killam professor at the University of British Columbia and the director of the Translational Laboratory in Genetic Medicine at the National University of Singapore and Astar.
Dr. Hayden is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2017. He was named one of PharmaVoice’s “100 of the Most Inspiring People” (2015). He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Gottingen (2014); the Luminary Award by the Personalized Medicine World Conference (2014); the Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), on behalf of HRH Queen Elisabeth II, in recognition of his significant contributions and achievements; the Margolese National Brain Disorder Prize (2011), awarded to Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the treatment, amelioration, or cure of brain diseases; the Killam Prize by the Canada Council of the Arts (2011), in recognition of his outstanding career achievements; and the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award (2011), recognizing him as a physician-scientist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. Dr. Hayden has also been awarded the Order of Canada (2011) and the Order of British Columbia (2010). He was named Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (NIH of Canada) in 2008, and he received the Prix Galien in 2007, which recognizes the outstanding contribution of a researcher to Canadian pharmaceutical research.
Dr. Hayden is committed to empowering others. In addition to mentoring over 100 graduate students and postdocs, he is also a TED mentor.
Kathy LaPorte brings over 30 years of experience in executive leadership and venture investing within the biotech industry. Ms. LaPorte previously served as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Nodality Inc. Ms. LaPorte was a Founding Partner of New Leaf Venture Partners, which was a spin-out from the Sprout Group, where she served as a General Partner. She has extensive Board experience and currently serves on the Boards of Bolt Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: BOLT), Precipio Inc., (NASDAQ: PRPO), and Phoenix Biotech Acquisition Corporation (NASDAQ: PBAXU). Additionally, Ms. LaPorte has served on multiple public boards including Onyx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ONXX), Affymax (NASDAQ: AFFY), and ISTA Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISTA). Ms. LaPorte received her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her B.S. in Biology from Yale University.
Ms. Zoth has served as a member of our Board of Directors since August 2020. Ms. Zoth is a Certified Public Accountant and has served as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller for various publicly traded companies, including MedImmune, Inc. and PSINet, Inc., and as a financial executive in various roles and Sodexho Maririott, Marriott International, Pesi-Cola International and PepsiCo. Ms. Zoth began her career as an auditor with Ernst & Young. Ms. Zoth currently serves on the boards of Zymeworks, Inc., (Chairman, Board member and Audit Committee Chair), Lumos Pharma, Inc. (Board Member and Audit Committee Chair, Compensation Committee Member) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Board Member, Audit Committee Member and Compensation Committee Member and Audit Committee Chair). Previously, Ms. Zoth served on the boards of six other biopharmaceutical companies (Aeras, Circassia Pharmaceuticals, plc., Hyperion Therapeutics, Inc., Ikaria, Inc., Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc., and Spark Therapeutics. Inc.). Ms. Zoth received a BBA in accounting, summa cum laude, from Texas Tech University.
Rohan Palekar is a seasoned C-suite executive with over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Rohan was the president and CEO of Avanir Pharmaceuticals (2015-2017) after serving as its EVP-Chief Operations Officer (2015). Rohan joined Avanir in 2012 as SVP-Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and as part of the senior leadership team led the organization through a dynamic growth phase. Avanir was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals in 2015. Prior to Avanir, Rohan served as the CCO of Medivation (2008-2011) where he oversaw commercial, medical affairs, CMC & manufacturing, and public relations. Earlier in his career, Rohan spent 16 years at Johnson & Johnson in various senior commercial and strategic management roles, including worldwide VP of immunology and VP of sales and marketing at Centocor.
Rohan holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College and a BA/BS in law and accounting from the University of Bombay.