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Board of Directors

Santo J. Costa, J.D., Chairman of the Board

Mr. Costa is currently Of Counsel to the law firm Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, LLP. He was the president and COO of Quintiles from 1994 through 1999, where he was responsible for all operating divisions and worldwide business development. Prior to joining Quintiles, Mr. Costa spent 23 years in the pharmaceutical industry, including Glaxo, Inc., where he held several positions including senior vice president of administration and general counsel. He also served on the company's board of directors and executive committee. Mr. Costa presently serves as a director of Cytokinetics, Inc. and is the chairman of the board at Alchemia Ltd. He serves on the Duke Brain Tumor Advisory Committee, the Duke University Medical Center Board of Visitors, the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program Board of Advisors, and the Duke Cancer Institute Board of Overseers. Mr. Costa received both his B.S. in pharmacy and Juris Doctor degrees from St. John’s University. He is licensed to practice law in the states of New York, Ohio and North Carolina.

Thomas Caskey, M.D., FACP

Dr. Caskey is a professor of molecular genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to joining Baylor, he was the director and COO of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine and executive vice president of molecular medicine and genetics at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston. During that time, he held positions with the NIH, NHLBI and the Baylor College of Medicine. Previously, Dr. Caskey was founder and CEO of Cogene Biotech Ventures and Cogene Ventures, which invested in early-stage biotech and life sciences companies that use genome technology for drug discovery, following his tenure at Merck Research Laboratories as senior vice president of research and president of the Merck Genome Research Institute. Dr. Caskey serves on the boards of several corporations, as well as serving as a member of the Science Review Panel for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Dr. Caskey is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of Canada. He holds a B.A. from the University of South Carolina and an M.D. from Duke University.

Jeff Clark, M.B.A.

Mr. Clark is a managing general partner at The Aurora Funds, a venture capital firm he co-founded in 1994. Working primarily with Aurora's life sciences portfolio, he leads Aurora's healthcare team to identify new investment opportunities and support approximately 30 healthcare portfolio companies. He currently serves as a director of Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals,  Hyperbranch Medical Technology, Regado Biosciences and Neotropix, Inc. Prior to forming Aurora, Mr. Clark spent 13 years working in development and external affairs for Duke University (including Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duke Medical Center and the School of Engineering). He serves on the board of overseers of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and board of advisors of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business. Mr. Clark also supports the entrepreneurial efforts of the greater RTP community by having served as chairman of North Carolina's Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) and co-founding the North Carolina Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NCIIE). He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and M.B.A. from Duke University.

John Fletcher, M.B.A.

Mr. Fletcher is Managing Partner of Fletcher Spaght Ventures, a venture capital fund. He is also founder and CEO of Fletcher Spaght, Inc., a consulting firm that provides growth-focused strategy assistance to client companies. He has more than 30 years’ experience providing strategy and financing assistance to companies seeking to maximize the value of their innovation. Prior to launching FSI in 1983, Mr. Fletcher was a senior manager at The Boston Consulting Group. Previously, he was a Ph.D. candidate and instructor in international business at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Wharton, he was a Captain and jet pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Mr. Fletcher is a current or past board member for many companies, including Spectranetics, Axcelis, AutoImmune, GlycoFi, NMT Medical, Quick Study Radiology, Alimed, Fischer Imaging and Panacos Pharmaceuticals. He also is, or has been, a board member of many non-profit organizations including  Board of Overseers of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, The Cardiology Council, Board of Overseers of Children's Hospital of Boston, the Board of Advisors of the Boston University Photonics Center, the Whitehead Institute at MIT, the Masters in Engineering Management of the Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and the School of Government and Business at George Washington University. He holds an M.B.A. from Southern Illinois University and a B.B.A. from George Washington University.

Rudy Howard, C.P.A.

Mr. Howard is the Chief Financial Officer of vTv Therapeutics, a publicly held, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. Prior to joining vTv, he was CFO at SciQuest, Inc., an international spend-management software company. He has also served as CFO for a number of other public and private multi-national companies in the life sciences and software industries, including MDS Pharma Services and Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD). Mr. Howard spent the first half of his career in public accounting, where he became an assurance partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He served clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, high technology and financial services industries. Among his areas of expertise were public company disclosure compliance, including guiding a number of clients through the IPO process, and merger and acquisition consulting. Mr. Howard is a certified public accountant and received his B.A. in accounting from North Carolina State University.

Christopher Kersey, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Kersey, a managing member of Camden Partners, focuses on private equity investments in the healthcare and life sciences industries. He serves as a director of Community Education Centers, Inc., Essence Group Holdings, Essia Health, Inc., Implantable Provider Group, Inc., Lumeris Corporation, PatientSafe Solutions, Inc., and Santa Rosa Consulting. Dr. Kersey is also the chairman of the board of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, the global development arm of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and serves on the boards of trustees of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also serves on the board of directors of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Endowment Fund, and he is a member of the Johns Hopkins Medicine compensation and patient safety and quality committees. Dr. Kersey earned his B.A. from Stanford University, his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, and his M.D. from the Emory University School of Medicine.

John Oxaal, M.B.A.

Mr. Oxaal is a general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, where he focuses in the areas of imaging, computing, photonics, RF communications, and semiconductors. Before joining Sevin Rosen Funds in 1999, he co-founded and was CEO of Volumetrics Medical Imaging, Inc., a developer of three-dimensional ultrasound technology, and was on the founding team of the digital signal processing division of Analog Devices, Inc. Mr. Oxaal holds several patents in the field of real-time volumetric ultrasound imaging. In addition to continuing as the chairman of Volumetrics' board, he serves on the boards of Airwavz Solutions, Inc., Ethertronics, Inc., Luxtera, Inc., and Scintera Networks, Inc. He holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Mr. Oxaal is on the board of visitors at the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago.

David Pierson, M.B.A.

Mr. Pierson is managing director for Syngenta Ventures, the corporate venture capital unit of Syngenta AG. Syngenta makes venture investments in companies with a broad range of technologies applicable to agriculture. Before joining Syngenta in 2012, he was a partner at Intersouth Partners, a life science and technology venture capital firm with $800 million in capital under management. Prior to that, Mr. Pierson held numerous senior management positions in marketing, sales and new product commercialization at Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and NPS Pharmaceuticals. He has served as a director or observer for 16 venture-backed companies including Novamin Technologies (acquired by GSK), Athenix Biosciences (acquired by Bayer Crop Science), Proteon Therapeutics (Nasdaq PRTO), and Argos Therapeutics (Nasdaq ARGS). He holds a B.S. in engineering with a concentration in international relations from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Following graduation from West Point, he served as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, NC, and with the 2nd Infantry Division deployed along the demilitarized zone in the Republic of Korea.

John Ryals, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Ryals has served as president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors at Metabolon since April 2002. Prior to founding Metabolon, he was CEO, president and founder of Paradigm Genetics, Inc., a publicly traded agriculture biotechnology company focused on industrializing the process of gene function discovery. Dr. Ryals has 30 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, including senior research positions at Novartis and Ciba-Geigy. He currently serves on the board of directors of AgBiome, a provider of early-stage R&D for agriculture, and the advisory board of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. He earned a B.A. in biology and chemistry from the University of North Texas and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas.