Laurent Arthaud, BPI France

Laurent Arthaud started his career in 1986 at the French Ministry of Finance. From 1993 to 1995, he became an Advisor to the Minister of Labor, and then, an Advisor in charge of the labor to the Prime Minister, Alain Juppé. In 1997, Laurent Arthaud joined Rhône-Poulenc as General Secretary of the Corporate Research. In 1999, he founded Aventis Capital, the venture arm of Aventis, with a corporate venture fund Genavent.

In November 2006, he joined CDC Entreprises as Deputy CEO, and in 2012, became General Manager for Life Sciences, Ecotechnology and French Tech Acceleration of Bpifrance Investissement.

He is member of the Boards of Director of Adocia, Aledia, Calyxt, Cellectis, Enyo, Ribogenics, SparingVision and member of the Supervisory Board of Kurma LifeSciences Partners. Laurent Arthaud graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and from French National School of Statistics and Economic Administration (ENSAE).

Stéphane Boissel, SparingVision

Stéphane was appointed Chief Executive Officer of SparingVision concurrently to the first closing of the series A financing in August 2020.

He was previously Chairman of the Board of the Company. Prior to joining SparingVision as CEO, Stéphane served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy of Sangamo Therapeutics, based in San Francisco (USA). He joined Sangamo Therapeutics in 2018 on the back of the acquisition by the latter of TxCell SA, a CAR-Treg company he was the CEO of. Stéphane is an experienced biotech professional who brings over 25 years of leadership experience across corporate finance, strategy and business development. Prior to his appointment as CEO of TxCell in 2015, he served as CEO of Genclis, a molecular diagnostics company. From 2002 to 2010, he served as CFO then Deputy-CEO of Innate Pharma SA, and from 2010 to 2014 he served as Deputy-CEO of Trangene SA. Earlier in his career, Stéphane worked in investment banking for Lazard, where he focused on principal investment in France, Singapore and Hong Kong. He also served as board member or Chairman of the board in different companies in the tech and biotech spaces across different countries.

Mr. Boissel completed his undergraduate work in management and finance at the University of Lyon and Paris-Dauphine in France and received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Stéphane is based on both sides of the ocean.

Jeanne Cunicelli, UPMC Enterprises

Jeanne Cunicelli is Executive Vice President at UPMC Enterprises. Leveraging the multifaceted resources of $21 billion world-renowned health care provider and insurer UPMC, Jeanne leads its Translational Sciences team that invests in, and supports the development and commercialization of, cutting-edge therapeutics, diagnostics, and integrated health care solutions.

They collaborate closely with scientist-entrepreneurs to invest in creation of new companies, as well as in building companies at all stages that are developing innovative products to fundamentally improve health care.

Since joining UPMC in 2017 and with the formation of the Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC), Jeanne has built a world-class team of highly-skilled investment and scientific experts, enabling the group to form five companies, invest over $200 million in life sciences, and support more than 40 research projects generated by the University of Pittsburgh. Jeanne leads UPMC’s effort to deploy $1 billion in life sciences innovations over the next five years, including continuing to strengthen the Translational Sciences portfolio. She is responsible for overseeing the review and due diligence of nearly 60 investment opportunities in the pipeline today. She currently serves on the boards of two portfolio companies, BlueSphere Bio and Generian, and is a member of the executive committee of the UPMC Genome Center.

Jeanne has more than two decades of experience as a life science venture capital investor and advisor. Prior to joining UPMC, she was a Managing Director and Investment Partner at Bay City Capital, where she lead and/or served on the Boards of Directors of IDev Technologies, Protez Pharmaceuticals, NuPathe, Inc., Calypso Medical, Oculex Pharmaceuticals, MAP Pharmaceuticals and Syntonix Therapeutics. Jeanne is a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, serving on the executive committee of the board, as the chairman of the compensation committee and as a member of the finance and audit committees. She received an MBA in Finance from the University of San Francisco and holds a B.A. degree in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Sabine Dandiguian, Jeito Capital

Sabine Dandiguian is managing partner at Jeito Capital and has over 30 years of experience in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device industry with a proven track record in commercialization, new business models and management. She spent more than 20 years in growing business leadership positions at Johnson&Johnson, in particular as President of Janssen France in 2005 where she managed to transform the business model of a company founded on general medicine into a company focused on highly specialized domains (oncology, virology, psychiatry). After 5 years, she was appointed Managing Director of European emerging countries, in charge of a cluster covering Russia, Turkey, Middle East and Africa, and 3 years after was promoted Company group Chairman, President Europe in the Medical Sector of Johnson&Johnson leading a business of $3,5Md and 4500 people.

Sabine Dandiguian has been recognised as Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur and is a member of the « Assemblée des 100 » of Institut Pasteur.

She is also member, since the inception, of W.I.T.H association (Women Innovating Together in Healthcare)

Geoffroy de Ribains, Advent France Biotechnology

Geoffroy de Ribains is Partner at Advent France Biotechnology. Geoffroy has a diverse range of expertise including financing, company building and management, strategic and business planning, and product development in European and US Biotech, Medtech and Diagnostics.  

Before joining Advent France Biotechnology, Geoffroy was CEO of Step Pharma, a Paris-based start-up active in immunology and cancer where he led the discovery of a new class of small molecule enzymatic inhibitors from target to preclinical candidate stage and raised €16M from investors including Kurma Partners, Sygnature Discovery, BPIfrance, Inserm Transfert Initiative and Israel-based Pontifax.

Prior to founding Step Pharma he was an Investment Director at Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (now Andera Partners), a leading European private equity firm. While at Atlas Venture and then at Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Geoffroy has been directly involved in a total of 20 new investments, 6 M&A transactions, 3 company closures and in the boards of 8 companies.

Prior to being a venture capitalist, Geoffroy was research scientist in Pavonis Inc., a biotech, VC-backed start-up company based in the Boston area, and a consultant for Bioserve Ltd., a consulting firm specialized in biotech.

Geoffroy earned a MSc. in Molecular Biology from University of Paris.

Owen Smith, 4BIO Capital

Owen is an Investment Director at 4BIO Capital with significant experience working with early-stage biotechnology companies.

Owen is currently a Director at Locki Therapeutics, and while at Arix Bioscience, previously acted as an Observer on the boards of LogicBio and Depixus.

Owen holds a Masters of Science in Experimental and Translational Therapeutics from the University of Oxford in and is also qualified as an accountant, having spent several years working in assurance and advisory roles at Grant Thornton with public and private clients.

Karen Wagner, Ysios Capital

Dr. Karen Wagner is Managing Partner at Ysios Capital, a leading life sciences venture capital investor, where she focuses on therapeutic investments and coordinates the identification and evaluation of investment opportunities. She serves on the board of Galecto, Vivet Therapeutics, AELIX Therapeutics and Minoryx Therapeutics and is an observer at the board of Xeltis. Formerly, she was board member at Cardoz and Kala Pharmaceuticals.

Prior to joining Ysios in 2008, Karen had over 10 years of experience in business development in various biotech and pharma companies. At GLYCART in Zurich, Switzerland, she worked together with Ysios colleague Joël Jean-Mairet. After the sale of GLYCART to F. Hoffmann-La Roche in 2005, she was responsible for business development and alliance management for Roche in the areas of drug discovery technologies, preclinical oncology and viral diseases. After leaving Roche, she managed a consultancy firm providing advice and hands-on support to various biotechnology companies in business development and strategy.

Karen holds a master’s degree in Molecular Biology and a PhD in Cell Biology, both from the University of Konstanz, Germany.

Benjamin Yerxa, PhD, Foundation Fighting Blindness

As its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Yerxa is responsible for the overall management of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the world’s leading private funder of research on potential treatments and cures for inherited retinal degenerative diseases including age-related macular degeneration. He also serves as CEO of the Retinal Degeneration Fund, a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary focused on making venture philanthropy investments to further the Foundation’s mission.

Dr. Yerxa has more than 25 years’ experience in biotechnology, drug development, and in translating promising research discoveries into clinical milestones and treatments. His experience, from drug discovery through product launches and in leadership positions, is in the pulmonary, oral health, cardiovascular, HIV, and ophthalmology fields.

Just before joining the Foundation, Dr. Yerxa was president and co-founder of Envisia Therapeutics, a company focused on developing novel ocular sustained delivery therapies for the front and back of the eye.

Dr. Yerxa holds 60 U.S. patents. An inventor of DIQUAS™, an innovative treatment for dry eye approved in Japan, he has been involved in the discovery and development of investigational new drugs, Phase 3 clinical programs, new drug applications, and drug approvals.

Dr. Yerxa earned his PhD in organic chemistry from University of California, Irvine, and BA in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego.