Noubar B. Afeyan, Ph.D., Chairman, Ensemble Therapeutics – Managing Partner and CEO, Flagship
Noubar Afeyan is Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, a firm he co-founded in 2000. He is also a Senior Lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management where he has taught the MBA program’s primary entrepreneurship course since 2000. Dr. Afeyan has authored numerous scientific publications and patents since earning his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from MIT in 1987.
A technologist, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Dr. Afeyan has co-founded and helped build over 20 successful life science and technology startups during the past two decades. He was founder and CEO of PerSeptive Biosystems (Nasdaq: PBIO), a leader in the bio-instrumentation field. After PerSeptive's acquisition by Applera Corporation (NYSE: ABI), he was Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Applera, where he initiated and oversaw the creation of Celera Genomics (Nasdaq: CRA).
Currently Dr. Afeyan serves on a number of public and private company boards. He is a director and co-founder of Flagship portfolio companies Affinnova, BG Medicine, Ensemble Therapeutics, Helicos BioSciences (NASDAQ:HLCS), Joule Unlimited and LS9, and is on the board of Eleven Biotherapeutics. Previously he was a member of the founding team, director and investor in several successful ventures including Chemgenics Pharmaceuticals, Color Kinetics, Antigenics, EXACT Sciences and Adnexus Therapeutics.
Dr. Afeyan is a member of several advisory boards including the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, the Whitehead Institute at MIT, the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), the SKOLKOVO School of Management in Moscow and the Board of Overseers of Boston University. He is also a member of the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Afeyan is co-founder and board member of Armenia 2020 and the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia, two international economic development projects focusing on the former Soviet Republic of Armenia. In 2008 he received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award granted to outstanding Americans who have distinguished themselves as U.S. citizens and who have enabled their ancestry groups to maintain their identities while becoming integral parts of American life.
Douglas G. Cole, M.D. – General Partner, Flagship Ventures
Doug joined Flagship in 2001 where he focuses on Life Science investments. He came to Flagship with significant industrial experience and a strong academic background. He obtained post-graduate training in medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and in neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. In 1992, Doug was appointed Instructor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School and an Assistant in Neurology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He established a research program investigating the mechanistic basis of neuronal signaling events and plasticity in neuro-psychiatric disorders with the support of the NIH and several non-profit research foundations. Doug holds an AB magna cum laude with High Distinction in English from Dartmouth College, where he was a Senior Fellow and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha.
In 1996, Doug joined Cytotherapeutics, in Providence, RI. As Medical Director he oversaw various research and clinical activities related to the company’s cell-based therapeutic technologies. In 1997, he was appointed Program Executive at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in Cambridge, MA, where he led a multidisciplinary program that conducted preclinical development through Phase II studies in tissue protection and repair, oversaw an international research collaboration, and was responsible for identifying strategic market and technology opportunities in multiple arenas.
At Flagship, Doug has led investments in CombinatoRx (NASDAQ: CRXX), Tetraphase, Alvine Pharmaceuticals, Concert Pharmaceuticals, Quanterix, Receptos, Agios Pharmaceuticals and Avedro. He co-founded Ensemble Therapeutics with Noubar Afeyan and Professor David Liu of Harvard University, and he served as CEO of the company in its initial stages. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Ensemble Therapeutics, Tetraphase, Concert Pharmaceuticals, Quanterix, Receptos, Agios, Selecta Biosciences, Avedro, Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals and AVEO Pharmaceuticals, and is an Observer on the Board of Directors of Alvine. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of CombinatoRx and Morphotek.
Doug is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation, the Genetics Advisory Council of the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Birch Rock Camp in Waterford, ME.
Robert T. Nelsen – Co-founder and Managing Director, ARCH
Robert Nelsen is a co-founder and a Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. He joined ARCH at its founding and played a significant role in the early sourcing, financing and development of more than thirty companies, including twelve which have reached valuations exceeding $1 billion. His seed and early-stage investments include Illumina (ILMN); Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY); Juno Therapeutics; Agios Pharmaceuticals (AGIO); Sage Therapeutics (SAGE); Ikaria (acquired by Madison Dearborn); Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (KYTH), Aviron (AVIR, acquired by Medimmune-MEDI); Sapphire Energy; NetBot (acquired by Excite-ATHM); R2 Technology (acquired by Hologic-HOLX); XenoPort (XNPT); Caliper Life Sciences (CALP, acquired by PerkinElmer); Bluebird Bio (BLUE); Trubion Pharmaceuticals (TRBN, acquired by Emergent BioSolutions-EBS); Adolor (ADLR, acquired by Cubist-CBST); deCODE Genetics (acquired by Amgen-AMGN); Array BioPharma (ARRY); Nanosys; GenVec (GNVC); IDUN Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer-PFE); Genomica (GNOM, acquired by Exelixis-EXEL); Classmates.com (acquired by United Online-UNTD); Nura (acquired by Omeros-OMER); Receptos (RCPT); Kilimanjaro Energy; Hua Medicine; VLST; Ensemble Therapeutics; Accelerator; Theraclone Sciences; Fate Therapeutics (FATE); NextCODE Health; Bellerophon Therapeutics; Syros Pharmaceuticals, and Everyday Learning Corporation (acquired by Tribune Corp.-TRIB.)
Mr. Nelsen is a director of Agios Pharmaceuticals, Juno Therapeutics, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Sapphire Energy, Sage Therapeutics, Ensemble Therapeutics, Syros Pharmaceuticals, NextCODE Health, and serves as Chairman of Hua Medicine. He previously served as a Trustee of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, the Institute for Systems Biology, and as a director of the National Venture Capital Association. Mr. Nelsen holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.S. from the University of Puget Sound with majors in Economics and Biology.
John Ripple — CEO
Prior to joining Ensemble in 2013, John served as CEO at Virdante Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Momenta Pharmaceuticals in 2011), and CEO of Syntonix Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biogen Idec in 2006). Concurrent with his role as CEO of Ensemble, John continues in his role as CEO of Permeon Biologics in Cambridge, a company that, like Ensemble, is included in the portfolio of Flagship Ventures and ARCH Ventures and is also based on technology from the laboratory of Harvard University’s Prof. David Liu. Mr. Ripple has held positions in business development at Syntonix, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and Genetics Institute. His other business experiences include medical device marketing and management consulting. John started his career as an aerospace engineer at NASA. Mr. Ripple also serves on the Board of Overseers at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA). He is an advisor to the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and the MIT Venture Mentoring Service. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.