Leadership / Board of Directors
Armen Shanafelt, Ph.D., is a General Partner at Lilly Ventures. Prior to joining Lilly Ventures in 2009, he had over 24 years of experience in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostics businesses. Dr. Shanafelt also serves as a director on the boards of Aeglea Biotherapeutics (AGLE; Chairman), Aileron Therapeutics, Protagonist Therapeutics (PTGX), Sutro Biopharma and Surface Oncology and sits on the Advisory Council for the University of Texas System Horizon Fund. Dr. Shanafelt received his B.S. in Chemistry and Physics from Pacific Lutheran University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted postdoctoral work at the DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology. In addition, Dr. Shanafelt is a Kauffman Fellow (Class of 2014).
Ms. Yanni was most recently vice president and Chief Licensing Officer at Merck & Co. She led Merck’s Corporate Licensing group for 12 years, successfully structuring and negotiating agreements to acquire rights to over one hundred compounds, programs, and technologies to enhance Merck’s pipeline. Prior to this, Ms. Yanni served in various roles at Merck including in corporate development, financial evaluation, and tax. Ms. Yanni has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and an A.B. from Wellesley College. She also holds a Masters of Law in Taxation from New York University.
Mr. Horne has over 12 years of experience in the life science industry as an executive, entrepreneur and investor. He joined Symic Bio as CEO in April 2014. Previously, he was a founding member of TauTona Group, an early stage life science venture capital fund. At TauTona, Mr. Horne founded Aline Aesthetics, a novel biomaterial company, where he led the company as General Manager until its acquisition by Allergan (AGN) in 2014. He also served as Vice President of Business Development for TauTona portfolio companies, which included acquisitions by LifeCell and Novadaq (NVDQ). Mr. Horne has a BS and MS degree from Stanford University in mechanical engineering. He serves on the board of the Bay Area Discovery Museum (non-profit), and is also a Kauffman Fellow.
Mr. Morrison has 35 years of financial experience helping life sciences companies progress through the stages of development. He served as U.S. Life Sciences Leader with Ernst & Young LLC from 2002 until his retirement in 2015. He has been involved with hundreds of public and private financings, including over 40 IPOs and 100 follow-on offerings. Mr. Morrison currently serves on the boards of Audentes Therapeutics, Corvus Pharmaceuticals and Global Blood Therapeutics. He has served on the boards of several nonprofit and industry organizations, including the California Life Sciences Foundation, the Bay Area Biosciences Association (BayBio), the Emerging Companies section of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Biotechnology Institute.
Mr. Newell has over 15 years of senior management experience in the biotechnology industry. He joined Sutro Biopharma as CEO in January 2009. Previously, he served as the President of Aerovance, Inc., a company developing clinical assets for respiratory diseases. Mr. Newell also was Chief Business Officer and Senior Vice President at QLT, Inc. and served in several senior management positions at Axys Pharmaceuticals, Inc, where he ultimately served as Senior Vice President, Corporate and Business Development prior to Celera Genomics’s acquisition of Axys. For the 15 years prior to joining Axys, Mr. Newell practiced law at the law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP.