Delivering impact

Meet our team

Millions of people live with diseases attributed to chronic inflammation. Led by an expert team of scientists, industry leaders and clinicians who truly believe in and are committed to unlocking the potential of targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome, NodThera is shaping a world in which these illnesses with limited or inadequate treatment options are finally addressed with viable, targeted medicines.

leadership

Alan P. Watt, Ph.D., MBA

Chief Executive Officer
Alan has over 35 years of experience in drug discovery and development in both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. His previous roles include serving as Acting CSO at Bicycle Therapeutics, as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of R&D at Trident Pharmaceuticals, and as Chief Executive Officer of Xenovium Limited. Alan formerly led preclinical development for Neurology at GSK before relocating to Philadelphia as VP and Discovery Performance Unit Head at GSK where he established and led inflammation drug discovery. He also previously served as Head of Drug Metabolism and in vivo Pharmacology at Merck & Co’s Neuroscience Research Centre. Alan holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Southampton, a Ph.D. in drug metabolism from the University of Hertfordshire and an M.B.A. from the Open Business School. He has over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Alison Strutt, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer
Alison is a seasoned healthcare finance executive with extensive transactional and operational experience. She formerly held a number of senior finance roles at GlaxoSmithKline, including as Chief of Staff to the Chief Finance Officer, where she was responsible for transforming GSK’s reporting processes as well as leading local completions globally of Novartis transaction. Alison also served as CFO of GSK’s drug discovery group, where she established the Tres Cantos Open Lab and Catalyst Science Park at GSK’s UK R&D site. Prior to working for GSK, Alison led the UK M&A life sciences sector group at Deloitte London. Alison holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and physical chemistry from the University of Wales, Cardiff.

Nick Clarke, Ph.D.

Chief Development Officer
Nick is leading the development of NodThera’s drug candidates through pre-IND testing. Prior to joining NodThera, he spent over 21 years at Pfizer in the UK and US, where he led successful drug development projects across a variety of therapeutic areas, including allergy, respiratory, inflammation and rare disease. Under his leadership, these projects progressed through early preclinical experimentation and candidate selection to initial clinical studies in volunteers and Phase 2a and Phase 2b studies in patients. Nick received his Bachelor of Science in pharmacology from the University of Portsmouth and his Ph.D. in anatomical neuropharmacology from the University of Oxford.
thomas jaecklin

Thomas Jaecklin, M.D., M.Sc., FMH

Chief Medical Officer
Thomas has more than 24 years of experience in both academic medicine and global roles in large pharmaceutical companies and biotech. His most recent roles were Vice President – Global Project Lead at Galapagos, leading the Jyseleca project with a team of >100 people, the JAK inhibitor Article 20 procedure and the asset transition to the new owner Alfasigma and Senior Vice President – Head of Clinical Development at Mirum Pharmaceuticals playing a pivotal role on the executive team in the creation, build-up and IPO of the company as well as the approval of Livmarli in rare liver disease and the development of the follow-up compound volixibat. Before that he held roles of increasing responsibilities in late-stage Development and Business Development at Shire and Novartis. Thomas is triple-board certified in Intensive care medicine, Neonatology and Pediatrics, has trained and worked at the Geneva University Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and holds an MD of the University of Geneva and a Master of Medical Sciences of the University of Toronto, based on his basic research in the field of acute lung injury.

Chris Gabel, Ph.D.

VP, Biology
Chris began his research career as an assistant professor in cell biology at Columbia University studying lysosomal enzyme trafficking. He subsequently transitioned to drug discovery research and spent over 20 combined years seeking to identify novel therapeutics as part of the inflammation drug discovery units at Pfizer and Amgen. While at Pfizer, Chris and his research team pioneered studies aimed at understanding cellular processes involved in regulating posttranslational processing of newly synthesized IL-1β. The lead compound that emerged from this effort was later demonstrated by others to be a selective inhibitor of NLRP3 activation, establishing the druggability of this target. Chris later spent several years working as an independent consultant, during which time he helped to launch NodThera. Chris received his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Washington. He has over 70-peer reviewed publications.

Valérie Reader, M.Sc.

VP, Scientific Operations
Valérie has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, originally as a medicinal chemist in SmithKline Beecham (US) before joining a small entrepreneurial provider of high-throughput chemistry services in Cambridge, UK. She has since worked in a number of companies, large and small, with increasing responsibility for outsourcing a wide variety of services across all activities of drug discovery, development and clinical. Valérie joined NodThera in 2016 and has led the set up and management of the company’s network of external collaborations. Valérie holds a Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies and a Masters in organic chemistry from the University Paris XI (Orsay).

board

Don Nicholson, Ph.D.

Executive Chair of the Board
Don most recently served as CEO at Nimbus Therapeutics. He previously spent 25 years at Merck, where he held strategic, leadership and operational roles across diverse therapeutic areas including inflammation, immunology and neurosciences. Don began his career at Merck Frosst in Montreal as a senior research biologist and held positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president and site head of the Merck Neurosciences Research site in San Diego, vice president of immunology and infectious diseases, and vice president and worldwide discovery head for bone, respiratory, immunology and endocrine disorders. Don has co-authored more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals and is internationally recognized for his contributions. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario and trained as a Medical Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the University of Munich in Germany. He is the recipient of multiple academic and professional honors. Don is also a member of the board of directors of Kymera Therapeutics (Nasdaq: KYMR) and Generation Bio (Nasdaq: GBIO), and serves as board chair for Jnana Therapeutics, Disc Medicine and Muna Therapeutics.

Henrijette Richter, Ph.D.

Sofinnova Partners
Henrijette is a Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners and an active member of the Capital Funds team, the firm’s flagship fund dedicated to early-stage biotechs and medtechs. In addition to being an active member of Nodthera’s Board of Directors, her investments and other board roles include Mozart Therapeutics, Muna Therapeutics, Nitrase Therapeutics, Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics, Asceneuron, Delinia (sold to Celgene), and iOmx Therapeutics. Prior to joining Sofinnova in 2014, Henrijette was part of the team that founded Novo Seeds in 2007, and as an Investment Director, she was instrumental in the creation, financing and building of companies such as Orphazyme (ORPHA.CO; ORPH), Avilex Pharma, EpiTherapeutics (sold to Gilead), and Lysogene (LYS, Euronext Paris). Henrijette holds a combined Ph.D. and Industrial Scientist degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Copenhagen and Novo Nordisk A/S. She did her postdoctoral fellowship at the MIT Center for Cancer Research in Massachusetts.

Scott Rocklage, Ph.D.

5AM Ventures
Scott joined 5AM Ventures in 2003 as a Venture Partner, became a Managing Partner in 2004 and transitioned to Founding Partner in 2017. Scott has over three decades of healthcare management experience with strategic leadership responsibilities that led to FDA approval of three U.S. New Drug Applications (Omniscan™, Teslascan® and Cubicin®). He has served as Chairman and CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, President and CEO of Nycomed Salutar and has also held R&D positions at Salutar and Catalytica. Scott formerly served as Board Chairman of Relypsa (acquired by Vifor Pharma), Novira (acquired by J&J), Aprea (NASDAQ: APRE), Cidara (NASDAQ: CDTX), Albamunity and Halio. He currently serves as Board Chairman of Expansion and is a Board member at NodThera and Nouscom. He was formerly Executive Chairman of Ilypsa (acquired by Amgen), Miikana (acquired by EntreMed) and Semprus (acquired by Teleflex). Scott received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from MIT where he conducted research in the laboratory of Richard R. Schrock (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005). He is an inventor or co-inventor of over 35 U.S. patents and has produced more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Liz Roper, Ph.D.

Epidarex Capital
Liz is a partner at Epidarex Capital. She has more than 15 years of experience in venture capital fund management and industry, executing transactions both as a direct investor and as a business development executive. Prior to joining Epidarex in 2013, Liz was the head of business development at Chroma Therapeutics, an Oxford-based venture-backed drug discovery and development company focused on inflammatory disorders and oncology. She was involved in all key company strategic decisions and successfully established a number of major company-building alliances. She is a former executive with the life science venture capital team at the Investments Division of The Wellcome Trust, where she provided direct, early-stage equity financing to private companies in the U.S. and Europe. She is also a former member of the life science team at Atlas Venture in London. Liz currently serves on the board of directors of Caldan Therapeutics, EM Imaging and Enterprise Therapeutics. She holds a B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University College Cork and a Ph.D. from the Imperial Cancer Research.
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Jim Trenkle, Ph.D.

Novo Ventures
Jim Trenkle joined Novo Ventures (US) Inc. as a Partner in May 2022. Jim brings a background in R&D, commercialization, and early stage biotech investing and transactions. Prior to joining Novo, Jim was Head of Investments at Sanofi Ventures in Cambridge, MA, where he was responsible for a team making investments into private US-based therapeutics life science companies. Prior to Sanofi, Jim was Vice President of Investments with Pivotal bioVenture Partners in San Francisco. Jim began his career with Gilead Sciences where he held positions of increasing responsibility in medicinal chemistry, project and portfolio management, and commercial strategy, largely focused on hepatitis C and other liver diseases. Jim completed a B.S. in Honors Chemistry at University of Michigan, a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an M.B.A. from University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

Alex Pasteur, Ph.D.

F-Prime Capital
Alex is a Partner with F-Prime Capital. With over 20 years investing experience, Alex’s investments span therapeutics and healthcare IT, including Nodthera Inc., Tenpoint Therapeutics Ltd, Oviva AG, Owkin Inc., Genomics PLC, Castor (Ciwit BV), Pulmocide Ltd, Orchard Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ORTX), Acacia Pharma (BRU: ACPH) and Adaptimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ADAP).  Prior to joining F-Prime in 2012, Alex worked at MVM Life Science Partners LLP in the USA and Europe.  Alex earned a M.A. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Cambridge University.

Kevin Raidy

Cowen Healthcare Investments
Kevin is the Managing Partner of Cowen Healthcare Investments. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of NodThera, Escient Pharmaceuticals, Neuron 23, ARO Biotherapeutics, Personal Genome Diagnostics and is currently a Board Observer for Evox Therapeutics. Kevin previously served as a Board Member or Board Observer of Semma Therapeutics, Repare Therapeutics, Pliant Therapeutics, Oncorus and Orchard Therapeutics. Prior to his role at Cowen Healthcare Investments, Kevin was Cowen’s Head of Investment Banking and prior to that, he served as co-head of Cowen’s equity capital markets group, which is responsible for the origination and execution of all equity capital-raising transactions. Before that, he was a managing director at Cowen Investment Management (formerly known as Ramius LLC), where he was portfolio manager for direct investments and convertible bonds. Kevin also was the founder of H4 Capital Management LL. His sell-side experience includes ten years at Shipley Raidy Capital Partners LP, a boutique investment banking firm that he co-founded, where he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and structuring numerous debt and equity financings and performed M&A advisory services. Prior to founding Shipley Raidy, Kevin was an associate at Philadelphia First Group. He started his career at Cantor Fitzgerald before moving to Merrill Lynch as an analyst in the municipal finance group. Kevin holds a BS in economics with a concentration in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Investors

Funded by leading biotech investors