Modulating the Alternative Pathway of the Complement System to Treat Inflammatory Diseases


Abbie Celniker, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Celniker has more than 20 years of experience in building biologics-focused businesses. Prior to joining Taligen, Dr. Celniker was global head of Novartis Biologics at Novartis. In this role she built and managed the basic infrastructure and strategy for the late-stage discovery and development of protein therapeutics at Novartis. Previously, she held senior research and development position leadership roles with Millenium Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth BioPharma (Genetics Institute) and Genentech. Dr. Celniker holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Arizona and a B.A. in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

Woodruff Emlen, M.D., President and co-founder: Dr. Emlen has more than 10 years experience in the biotechnology industry. He has served as vice president of exploratory medicine at Connetics and vice president of scientific affairs at InterMune Pharmaceuticals. While with InterMune, Dr. Emlen was one of the members of senior management team from the company’s founding through its IPO. Prior to this, Dr. Emlen was a professor of medicine and immunology at the University of Colorado, where his research focused on inflammation and autoimmune diseases. He also served on the faculty at the University of Washington. Dr. Emlen received his M.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and a B.S in biology from Stanford University.

Jeff Walsh, MBA, Chief Business Officer: Mr. Walsh has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for over 20 years, holding executive level business management positions in several private and public life sciences companies. His experience includes strategic partnerships, mergers & acquisitions transactions and private equity financings worth over $1.5 billion. Mr. Walsh led the development and growth of business development, corporate and strategic planning, and financial management functions for both large pharma as well as biotech companies including leadership positions at SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline), PathoGenesis Corporation (now Chiron/Novartis Corporation), EXACT Sciences Corporation and Inotek Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Walsh holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Michael Holers, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder:  Dr. Holers is one of the world’s leading experts in complement biology and has published more than 200 articles in the area. His research has focused on the role of complement in initiating inflammation and on the development of novel approaches to controlling complement activation in vivo. Dr. Holers is the Smyth professor and head of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He has served as a founding member of the International Complement Society and as chair of the Committee on Research, chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee and as a member of the Boards of Directors of the American College of Rheumatology and its Research and Education Foundation. Dr. Holers received his M.D. and completed post-doctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was an associate professor before he joined the faculty at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University.

Board of Directors

Tim Mills, Ph.D., Sanderling Ventures, Chairman   Dr. Mills, Taligen’s chairman, is a managing director of Sanderling Ventures. He has served as the vice president of business development and chief scientific officer of Target Therapeutics, a medical device company that was acquired by Boston Scientific for $1.2 billion in 1997. He also served as a director for Prograft Medical, a Target Therapeutics affiliate. Prior to joining Target Therapeutics, Dr. Mills served as director of business development and advanced research & development in the Interventional Cardiology Division of Baxter Healthcare. Dr. Mills received his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco School of Medicine, his M.S. in electrical engineering and computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Ed Hurwitz, Alta Partners: Ed is a director in Alta’s BioPharma III and Alta Partners VIII funds. Prior to joining the firm, he served as senior vice president and CFO of Affymetrix. Before this, Ed was a biotechnology research analyst for Robertson Stephens & Co. and Smith Barney Shearson. He has also practiced commercial law with Cooley Godward LLP. Ed earned a J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law and Haas School of Business, respectively. He holds a B.A. in molecular biology from Cornell University.

Nick Galakatos, Ph.D., Clarus Ventures: Dr. Galakatos is a co-founder and managing director of Clarus Ventures. He has more than 21 years of industry and investment experience in the healthcare sector, including work in his role as a former general partner of MPM Capital. In addition, Dr. Galakatos has served as vice president of new business with Millennium Pharmaceuticals and in leadership positions with Venrock Associates and Novartis (formerly Ciba), where he was head of molecular biology research. Dr. Galakatos was a co-founder of Millennium Predictive Medicine and TransForm Pharmaceuticals, where he was also chairman. He holds a Ph.D. organic chemistry from MIT, completed postdoctoral studies in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School.

Abbie Celniker, Ph.D.


© 2008 Taligen Therapeutics, Inc.