Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Christopher J. Burns, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Burns is Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of VenatoRx. He brings over 25 years of corporate and R&D experience within both major (RPR/Aventis) and specialty (ViroPharma,...

Dr. Burns is Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of VenatoRx. He brings over 25 years of corporate and R&D experience within both major (RPR/Aventis) and specialty (ViroPharma, Protez Pharmaceuticals) pharmaceutical environments. At VenatoRx, Dr. Burns developed a comprehensive U.S. Government/NGO financing strategy that enabled the Company to build out a world-class antibacterials portfolio. Prior to VenatoRx, Dr. Burns served as a member of the Executive Management Team and as Vice President of Research at Protez Pharmaceuticals through its acquisition by Novartis in 2008. Prior to Protez/Novartis he served as Director of Chemistry at ViroPharma, producing clinical candidates for Hepatitis C (HCV-796) and smallpox infections (Tecovirimat, licensed to and developed by Siga Technologies). Prior to this, Dr. Burns served as a core member of the Global Lead Optimization Counsel at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer/Aventis. During his 12 years at RPR/Aventis, Dr. Burns led multidisciplinary teams in bone metabolism, cardiovascular disease (in the U.S.), and oncology (in France). Dr. Burns has appeared as co-author or co-inventor on more than 60 patents and publications and has served as Principal Investigator on more than 10 awarded U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) grants. He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under Nobel-laureate Professor K. Barry Sharpless. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Life Sciences Pennsylvania.

Michael Diem, M.D.
Senior Vice President, Amicus Therapeutics

Dr. Michael Diem joined Amicus Therapeutics in September 2017 as Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Development. He brings many years of global experience in the pharmaceutical and...

Dr. Michael Diem joined Amicus Therapeutics in September 2017 as Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Development. He brings many years of global experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries as well academic and clinical medicine. Prior to joining Amicus, Dr. Diem was Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at Aevi Genomic Medicine, where he led all business development and licensing activities. Previously, Dr. Diem was the Global Head of Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development for AstraZeneca, where he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, externalization opportunities and divestitures, global opportunities in new areas of business and the company’s strategic investment activities (including MedImmune Ventures). Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Dr. Diem was the Head of Business Development for GSK Rare Diseases where he led the partnerships, licensing and mergers and acquisitions activities that formed the Company’s rare disease portfolio. Earlier he was a partner in GSK’s corporate venture capital firm, SR One, Limited and served on the boards of numerous companies. Prior to GSK, Mike was an associate at Frantz Medical Ventures and practiced medicine for six years.

Dr. Diem holds a BA in biological sciences from Rutgers University, an MD from the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He completed his medical training at Duke University Medical Center and is an alumnus of the Kauffman Fellows Program. Mike is currently a board director at VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals and is a member of the board of governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia.

Vincent Milano
Chief Executive Officer, Idera Pharmaceuticals

Vincent Milano joined Idera as Chief Executive Officer in December 2014. Mr. Milano most recently served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of ViroPharma, which was acquired by Shire...

Vincent Milano joined Idera as Chief Executive Officer in December 2014. Mr. Milano most recently served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of ViroPharma, which was acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals in January 2014. Under his stewardship, ViroPharma became a leading developer of innovative therapies for rare diseases, with the approval and commercialization of its lead product, Cinryze, for the treatment of hereditary angioedema in the United States and Europe. Mr. Milano joined ViroPharma in 1996 and served as Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer from 1997 to 2006 before becoming Chief Executive Officer. He was instrumental in building the company, including leading efforts to raise nearly $900 million in capital, as well as acquisitions of Lev Pharmaceuticals and the drug Vancocin from Eli Lilly. In addition, he played critical roles in business development and investor relations activities for ViroPharma, and contributed significantly to establishing the strategic focus of the company. Prior to joining ViroPharma, he served as a senior manager at KPMG LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm.

Mr. Milano currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Venatorx Pharmaceuticals and Aclaris Therapeutics and is the Chairman of the Board for Life Science Cares Philadelphia. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Rider College.

Carlo Rizzuto, Ph.D.
Partner, Versant Ventures

Carlo Rizzuto is a Partner with Versant Ventures and focuses on biotech investing and company building. Carlo joined Versant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals where he led global product development...

Carlo Rizzuto is a Partner with Versant Ventures and focuses on biotech investing and company building. Carlo joined Versant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals where he led global product development teams in the advancement of innovative pipeline products. He previously held the position of Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company advising US and European clients in the pharmaceutical, payor and provider sectors. Prior to joining McKinsey, Carlo helped found engeneOS, a Boston-based biotech startup. Carlo received a PhD in Virology from Harvard University and a BA in Biology from the University of Virginia.

Shelley Chu, M.D, Ph.D.
Partner, Abingworth

Shelley joined Abingworth in 2015 and invests across a broad range of therapeutic areas and stages of development, from start-ups to late-stage. She serves on the Board of Directors for Tizona...

Shelley joined Abingworth in 2015 and invests across a broad range of therapeutic areas and stages of development, from start-ups to late-stage. She serves on the Board of Directors for Tizona Therapeutics, SFJ Pharmaceuticals, and VenatoRx, and co-led Abingworth's investment in IFM Therapeutics (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb). Shelley has over 15 years of operating and investment experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including most recently Gilead where she led R&D Strategy and Business Development in Oncology, Immunotherapy and Hepatitis B. Previously she worked with antibiotic companies Cerexa (acquired by Forest) and Calixa (acquired by Cubist), and invested in Kalidex as well as Rempex (acquired by The Medicines Company). Shelley holds an MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco and a BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.

Tony Wiemelt, Ph.D. (Board Observer)
Director, Foresite Capital

Tony has worked in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry for more than 15 years as a project and portfolio management leader. At Foresite Capital, he is a member of the investment team and focuses...

Tony has worked in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry for more than 15 years as a project and portfolio management leader. At Foresite Capital, he is a member of the investment team and focuses on company research and due diligence.

He joined Foresite Capital from University of Pennsylvania Health System, where he was the Chief Administrative Officer for Precision Medicine. While at Penn, Tony developed and implemented detailed business plans for strategic, programmatic, and operational aspects of Penn Medicine’s Precision Medicine program across multiple clinical areas, including Oncology, Cardiovascular, Ob/Gyn, and Neurology.

Prior to Penn, Tony worked at Merck Research Laboratories across multiple therapeutic areas and was the project/portfolio manager for development projects across all phases of development. Within Global Project Management, Tony held positions as Director, Infectious Disease Portfolio as well as the Director, Oncology Portfolio, two of Merck’s key franchises. In addition, Tony was responsible for coordinating project management of the scientific due diligence for all potential licensing candidates for Merck Research Laboratories.

Tony received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focused on the role of second messenger systems (cyclic AMP) in the regulation of development of neural supportive tissues (oligodendrocytes). He completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania, where he explored zebrafish neural development and the role of bone morphogenetic proteins in the specification of neural tissues and mechanisms of gene action in early neural patterning.