Board of Directors
Kenneth Widder, MD
Ken is an M.D. with over 30 years of experience working with biomedical companies. He has founded six companies and was Chairman/CEO of six of these. He was a General Partner at Latterell Venture Partners (LVP Life Science Ventures) and before that, was a General Partner at Windamere Venture Partners.
His last company, which he co-founded and was CEO and Chairman, Sytera Inc., merged with Sirion Therapeutics, an ophthalmology specialty pharmaceutical company. Prior to Sytera, Ken was a founder and CEO of NovaCardia, a company acquired by Merck. Prior to NovaCardia, Ken was a founder, Chairman, and CEO of Santarus (NASDAQ:SNTS), which was acquired by Salix. Additionally he was Chairman and CEO of Converge Medical, a medical device company developing a sutureless anastamosis system for vein grafts in coronary artery by-pass surgery.
Ken started his career as a founder, Chairman and CEO of Molecular Biosystems (NYSEMB), where he was responsible for the development and approval of Albunex and Optison, the first two ultrasound contrast agents to be approved in the U.S. He currently sits on the boards of Evoke Pharma, Quidel, and OrphoMed.
Ken holds an M.D. from Northwestern University and trained in pathology at Duke University. He is an inventor on over 30 patents and patent applications and has authored or co-authored over 25 publications.
Michael Martin, PhD
Global Head of Takeda Ventures, Inc.
Dr. Michael Martin is the global head of Takeda Ventures, Inc. (TVI) and he is based in San Diego, CA. His professional background includes venture capital, pharma business development and broad R&D experiences with an integral role in the discovery and development of 17 innovative investigational drugs and 2 commercial products. Prior to joining TVI, Dr. Martin was most recently a member of Global Licensing and Business Development at Takeda, heading efforts for sourcing and transacting technologies and early stage pipeline programs. Dr. Martin has held executive and scientific roles with Intellikine (acquired by Takeda), TargeGen (acquired by Sanofi-Aventis), Arena Pharmaceuticals and Monsanto Corporation.
Dr. Martin is currently a director at ArmaGen, Avidity Biosciences, BioMotiv, Bioniz, Cortexyme, FutuRx, OrphoMed, Univercells and an advisor to Arix Biosciences, Atlas Ventures and UK Dementia Discovery Fund.
Dr. Martin earned his doctorate in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Illinois and holds a M.S. degree in analytical chemistry and B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics.
Managing Partner, Pappas Capital
Art has over 30 years’ experience as a pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry executive and life science venture capital investor. He founded Pappas Capital in 1994 and since then has raised over $540 million. Prior to Pappas Capital, Art held senior leadership positions at Glaxo Holdings, Abbott International, Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and the Dow Chemical Company.
Art is currently a director for Arix Bioscience, Aura Biosciences and OrphoMed, and as a board observer for Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Balance Therapeutics, CuraSen Therapeutics and Real Endpoints. He also serves on several non-profit boards including the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and The Wistar Institute. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, having served as an officer in the US Army 101st Airborne Division and 2nd PSYOP Airborne Group JFK Special Warfare Center. Art received a BS in Biology from Ohio State University and an MBA in Finance from Xavier University.
Blake Wu joined NEA in 2014 and is a Principal on the healthcare team focused on investments in biopharmaceutical, healthcare IT, and healthcare services companies. He is actively involved with companies across the firm’s venture, growth equity and public investment practices, including AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Strongbridge Biopharma, XOC Pharmaceuticals, Bright Health, Radiology Partners, Collective Health, Paladina Health, etc. Prior to joining NEA, Blake was a member of the private equity group at Ares Management, focused on investments in healthcare and natural resources, as well as a member of the investment banking team at Moelis & Company, where he was focused on M&A transactions in healthcare and business services.
Blake graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S in economics with concentrations in Finance, Real Estate and Management.
Nikhilesh Singh, PhD
Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Nikhilesh Singh, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of OrphoMed, has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products, including OTC and prescription drugs. He is the primary inventor on several U.S. and international patents that cover a products ranging from OTC (Vicks® Formula 44), prescription (Intermezzo®) and new chemical entities, including OrphoMed’s novel dimer therapeutics. Dr. Singh founded OrphoMed in 2014 to develop drugs based on a proprietary dimer technology platform. Previously, Dr. Singh founded Transcept Pharmaceuticals to develop, launch, and commercialize Intermezzo®, a proprietary, novel sublingual tablet for the treatment of insomnia.
Dr. Singh is a Fellow of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology and earned a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Gary M. Phillips, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Gary M. Phillips, M.D. has served as OrphoMed’s President and Chief Executive Officer since April 2018. Dr. Phillips has over two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, leading commercial operations, clinical medicine, business strategy and development functions. Before joining OrphoMed, Dr. Phillips worked with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer since 2013. Previously, he was Head of Global Health & Healthcare Industries at the World Economic Forum. Earlier, he served as President of Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals North America (now Indivior), and he held dual roles as President, U.S. Surgical and Pharmaceuticals and Global Head of Pharmaceuticals at Bausch & Lomb. Additionally, he has served in executive roles at Merck Serono, Novartis, and Wyeth. From the University of Pennsylvania, he earned a B.A. in Biochemistry with Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions from the College of Arts and Sciences, an MBA from the Wharton School, and an M.D. with Alpha Omega Alpha distinction from the School of Medicine. Dr. Phillips maintains an active medical license and practiced as a general medicine clinician/officer in the U.S. Navy, from which he was honorably discharged as a lieutenant commander.