Board of Directors

Don is a medical scientist / entrepreneur with deep experience in both BioTech and large Pharma. Most recently he was the CEO of Nimbus Therapeutics, a computational sciences-based drug discovery BioTech focusing on immunology, metabolic diseases and oncology. Prior to that, he spent 25 years at Merck, culminating his career there as VP & Worldwide Discovery Head for multiple therapeutic areas (immunology, respiratory, endocrine, bone, muscle, urology & anemia). He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, and trained as an MRC post-doctoral fellow at the University of Munich. Don has co-authored more than 150 publications and is the recipient of multiple academic and professional honors. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Kymera, Generation Bio, Jnana and NodThera.

Kevin Bitterman focuses on creating and investing in companies that translate groundbreaking science into innovative medicines. Kevin serves on the boards of Akero Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKRO) and Navitor Pharmaceuticals. He is a co-founder and board member of Disc Therapeutics, and is chair of the board of Vedere Bio. He was the founding CEO of Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), Morphic Therapeutic and Visterra (acquired by Otsuka), and co-founded Genocea Biosciences (NASDAQ: GNCA). Prior to joining Atlas Venture in 2017, Kevin was a partner at Polaris Partners, where he had been a member of the healthcare team since 2004. Kevin received a BA in biology, summa cum laude, from Rutgers University before completing his PhD in genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Eric Snyder is a Principal at Novo Ventures. He joined Novo Ventures in 2018, bringing over 15 years of experience in strategic roles across consulting and industry. Eric was most recently a Managing Director at Navigant Consulting, a leading healthcare consulting firm, where he advised global companies, innovative venture-backed start-ups as well as investors on issues of clinical development, portfolio strategy and business development. Previously, he worked for McKinsey and Co. and Leerink Partners (now SVB Leerink). He earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Brown University and completed postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University in the lab of Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard. Eric serves on the board of several Novo portfolio companies based in the United States and Europe.

John is the CEO of Disc Medicine. Previously, John was Chief Business Officer at Acceleron Pharma, where he spent more than thirteen years helping to build the company from a privately-held startup to a public biotech (acquired by Merck & Co. for over $11 billion in 2021). At Acceleron, John served in various roles including General Counsel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and finally Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer. John led the in-licensing of sotatercept for pulmonary hypertension from Bristol-Myers Squibb and helped negotiate the collaboration agreement governing the development and commercialization of luspatercept (now marketed as Reblozyl®️). Prior to Acceleron, John worked at the law firms of Ropes & Gray and Foley Hoag. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, summa cum laude, MSc from Stanford University, PhD from MIT in Biological Sciences, and JD from Harvard Law School.

Liam Ratcliffe has served as Head of Biotechnology at Access Biotechnology since 2019. He was previously Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners, where he focused on investing in therapeutic and therapeutic platform companies for 10 years. Prior to joining New Leaf, Liam was Senior Vice President and Development Head for Neuroscience, as well as Worldwide Head of Clinical Research and Development at Pfizer, where he spent a total of 12 years. Liam received his medical degree and PhD in Immunology from the University of Cape Town and his MBA from the University of Michigan. He completed his internal medicine training and fellowship in Immunology at Groote Schuur Hospital and associated teaching hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa.

Bill White is the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Corporate Development at Akero Therapeutics. Prior to joining Akero, Bill spent 18 years as a life-science-focused investment banker. He was most recently Head of U.S. Life Sciences Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank, and previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Prior to his time on Wall Street, Bill was an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell and a Law Clerk to the Honorable Kimba M. Wood of the Southern District of New York. He holds an AB from Princeton, a MPP from Harvard, and a JD from Columbia.

Mona Ashiya is a Partner at OrbiMed Advisors LLC (“OrbiMed”) where she has been involved in a number of private and public company investments.  Prior to joining OrbiMed in 2010, Mona covered the biotechnology industry as a member of J.P. Morgan’s biotechnology equity research team.  Her previous experience includes positions at the Global Alliance for Tuberculosis Drug Development and the Harvard Business School. She earned a B.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Mark is an experienced venture capital investor, with significant experience as a board director of both private and public biotech companies in the US and Europe. Mark sourced and led Arix investments into key portfolio companies, including: VelosBio (acquired by Merck for $2.75bn), Amplyx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Aura Biosciences, Harpoon Therapeutics (Nasdaq IPO) and Imara (Nasdaq IPO). He is currently a Board Director of Harpoon Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: HARP), Imara Inc. (Nasdaq: IMRA) and Iterum Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq: ITRM). Mark was previously a principal at Longitude Capital, where he focused on investments in biotechnology and medical technology companies. Prior to Longitude, he was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, where he was responsible for strategy and corporate development projects for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Before BCG, he worked in corporate development at Gilead Sciences and market planning at Genentech. He has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Biotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego.

Dr. Backstrom joins the Disc Medicine Board with over 30 years of experience in research and development. He recently served as Executive Vice President, Head of Research and Development at Acceleron and was previously Chief Medical Officer (and Head of Regulatory Affairs) at Celgene, which he joined in 2008 as Vice President of Clinical Research and Development, with a focus in hematology and oncology. Prior to Celgene, he served as Vice President of Global Medical Affairs and Safety at Pharmion. Dr. Backstrom began his career at Marion Merrell Dow and continued as part of its successor companies including Hoechst Marion Roussel. Prior to his professional career in the biotech industry, Dr. Backstrom served as Staff Physician and Medical Director of the Samuel U. Rodgers Community Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Backstrom holds an M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine and received post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at Temple University Hospital. He also earned a Master’s in Public Health from Saint Louis University School of Public Health.