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October 30, 2012

The 10 Most Well-Connected People in Biotech

Meet the movers and shakers.

The 10 Most Well-Connected People in Biotech

These stars of biotech have been involved with the largest number of firms and institutions. [© violetkaipa - Fotolia.com]

  • It has been said that, in business, it's not what you know, it's who you know. The people with the most connections may very well be the most powerful people within an industry. You've already met the young guns of biopharma; now, GEN thinks it's time you got to know the most connected people in biotech. Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of 10 “well-connected” board members and executives with responsibilities at biopharma companies and/or medical research institutions, based on present and past activity. Dates for that activity are furnished where they are known.

  • David Baltimore, Ph.D.1

    74 years old (March 7, 1938)

    • Amgen, Board of Directors, 2012–present
    • California Institute of Technology, President Emeritus and Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology; President, 1997–2006
    • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1975, shared with Howard Temin (with Renato Dulbecco, for related research) for identifying the enzyme reverse transcriptase in the virus particles, thus providing strong evidence for a process of RNA to DNA conversion, the existence of which had been hypothesized some years earlier
    • Broad Institute, Board of Directors and Board of Scientific Counselors
    • Foundation for Biomedical Research, Board of Directors
    • Regulus Therapeutics, Board of Directors, 2008–present
    • Immune Design Corp. (formerly Vaccsys), co-founder and member, Board of Directors, 2008–present
    • Calimmune, co-founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, 2008–present
    • Human Genome Organization (HUGO), member

    Past Activity:

    • BB Biotech AG, Board of Directors, 2004–2011
    • Cellerant, Board of Directors, ending 2008
    • MedImmune, Board of Directors, 2003–2007
    • Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee, governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, 2005–2007
    • National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee, 1996
    • The Rockefeller University, President, 1990-91; faculty member, 1990–1994
    • Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, founding director, 1982–1990
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Associate Professor of Microbiology, 1968–1972; Professor of Biology, 1972-1990
    • National Academy of Sciences, committee on a National Strategy for AIDS, 1986
    • American Cancer Society, professor of microbiology and research professor, starting 1973


    • Swarthmore College, B.A. with high honors in Chemistry, 1960
    • Rockefeller University, Ph.D. received in 1964; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduate courses toward Ph.D., 1960–1961
  • Bruce L. Booth, D.Phil.2

    38 years old

    • Atlas Venture, Partner, Life Sciences group, 2005–present
    • UCB, Scientific Advisor
    • New York Academy of Medicine, Board of Trustees and treasurer
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Accelerating Bench to Bedside research initiative
    • Bicycle Therapeutics, Board of Directors, November 2010–present
    • LifeTech Boston, Finance Review Committee
    • miRagen Therapeutics, Co-Founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, July 2007–present
    • Nimbus Discovery, co-founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, May 2009–present
    • OnQity, Chairman, Board of Directors, December 2009–present
    • Protaffin, Board of Directors, September 2010–present
    • Zafgen, Board of Directors, August 2006–present

    Past Activity:

    • ARCA Biopharma
    • Archemix
    • Avila Therapeutics, Board of Directors, January 2007–2012; acquired by Celgene in 2012
    • Ivrea Pharmaceuticals
    • NxStage Medical, Board of Directors, 2005
    • Prestwick, Board of Directors; company acquired by Biovail, September 2008
    • Proprius, Board of Directors; company acquired by Cypress Biosciences, February 2008
    • Stromedix, Board of Directors; company acquired by Biogen Idec in March 2012.
    • Caxton Health Holdings LLC, principal focusing on firm’s private equity activities, 2004–2005
    • McKinsey & Company, associate principal, 1999–2004


    • Pennsylvania State University, B.S., summa cum laude in biochemistry, 1996
    • Oxford University, D.Phil. in molecular immunology, 1999; British Marshall Scholar
  • William Brody, M.D., Ph.D.3

    68 years old (Jan. 4, 1944)

    • Novartis, Board of Directors, 2009-present; member, compensation committee
    • Salk Institute for Biological Studies, President, March 2009–present
    • Stanford University, Board of Trustees, June 2009–present
    • Novamed Pharmaceuticals, Board of Directors
    • International Business Machines Corp., Board of Directors
    • Kool Smiles, Board of Directors
    • National Institutes of Health, Scientific Management Review Board

    Past Activity:

    • The Johns Hopkins University, president, 1996–2009; Martin Donner Professor and director of the Department of Radiology, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and professor of biomedical engineering; and radiologist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1987-1994
    • Resonex, president and CEO, 1984–1987
    • Stanford University, associate professor and professor for Radiology and Electrical Engineering, 1977–1986
    • Council on Competitiveness, executive commitee
    • Whitaker Foundation, governing committee
    • Baltimore Museum of Art
    • Greater Baltimore Committee
    • Medtronic, Board of Directors
    • University of Minnesota, provost of the Academic Health Center
    • Minnesota Orchestral Association, Board of Directors
    • Goldseker Foundation, selection committee
    • Food and Drug Administration, Science Board


    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.S. in electrical engineering, 1966; B.S. in electrical engineering, 1965
    • Stanford University, Ph.D. in electrical engineering, 1972; M.D. in electrical engineering, 1970
  • John K. Clarke 4

    58 years old

    • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Co-Founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, 2002–present
    • aTyr Pharma, Board of Directors
    • Cardinal Partners, Co-Founder and Managing General Partner, 1997–present
    • Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Board of Directors, April 2002–present
    • Verastem, Board of Directors, Chairman of Audit Committee, November 2010–present
    • Hands Together, Board of Trustees; nonprofit provider of health care and education support to the needy in Haiti

    Past Activity

    • Alkermes, co-founder and interim CEO, 1987–2003
    • Abide Therapeutics, Board of Directors
    • Arris Pharmaceuticals, Board of Directors
    • Axys Pharmaceuticals, CEO
    • Cubist Pharmaceuticals, founder, interim CEO, Board of Directors, member of Audit and Compensation Committees, 1992–2005
    • DNX Corp., interim CEO
    • DSV Partners (evolved into Cardinal Partners), General Partner, 1982–1997
    • General Electric, various sales and marketing positions
    • The Jackson Laboratory, Board of Trustees
    • Molecular Mining, Board of Directors
    • New Jersey Technology Council, Board of Directors
    • Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Board of Trustees
    • Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Board of Directors
    • Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Board of Directors, starting 2004; company acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2008
    • TechRx, Board of Directors; company acquired by NDCHealth
    • VISICU, Board of Directors, 1998–2008; Chairman of Compensation Committee; member of Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee; company acquired by Phillips Electronics in February 2008
    • National Venture Capital Association, Board of Directors; chairman of its Regulatory and Membership committees
    • Greater Philadelphia Venture Group, Founding director, President and Chairman
    • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors
    • Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation Penn Venture Group, Board of Directors
    • University of Pennsylvania Advisory Panel on Technology Transfer, member


    • Harvard College, B.A. in biology and economics
    • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, M.B.A.
  • Frances D. Fergusson, Ph.D.5

    67 years old (Oct. 3, 1944)

    • Pfizer, Board of Directors, 2009–present; Chairman, Regulatory & Compliance Committee; Member, Compensation and Science & Technology Committees
    • Mattel, Board of Directors, 2006–present; Chairman, Governance & Social Responsibility Committee; Member, Executive and Finance Committees
    • Vassar College, President Emeritus, 2006–present; President, 1986–2006
    • The J. Paul Getty Trust, Board of Trustees, 2007–present

    Past Activity:

    • Wyeth, Board of Directors, 2005–2009; Chairman, Nominating & Governance Committee; Member, Corporate Issues and Science & Technology Committees; company acquired by Pfizer in 2009
    • Mayo Clinic, Emeritus Public Trustee; Chairman, Board of Trustees 1998–2002; Board of Trustees, 1988–2002
    • New York Commission in Independent Colleges and Universities, Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, 2002–2005
    • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Board of Directors
    • Harvard University, President, Board of Overseers, 2007–2008; member, 2002–2008
    • HSBC Bank USA, Board of Directors, 2000–2008; Chairman, Human Resources & Compensation Committee; Member, Nominating & Governance and Executive Committees; Member, 1990–1995
    • Fort Dodge Animal Health, Board of Directors; company assets acquired by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim in 2009
    • The Ford Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1989–2001
    • CH Energy Group, Board of Directors, 1993–2002
    • Patriot League, Founding Chair, policy committee
    • Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Board of Directors
    • Isamu Noguchi Foundation, Board of Trustees
    • WNET/Thirteen, Board of Trustees
    • The School of American Ballet, Board of Trustees
    • Second Stage Theatre
    • National Humanities Council, Board of Trustees
    • Society of Architectural Historians of the United States
    • Foreign Policy Association, Board of Directors
    • Historic Hudson, 1990–1999
    • United Way of Dutchess County, Board of Directors
    • Bucknell University, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, 1982–1986; member, Bucknell University Press Editorial Board
    • University of Massachusetts, Assistant Chancellor, 1980–1982; Associate Professor of art at UMass Boston, 1975–1980
    • Newton College, Chairman, Art Department; assistant professor of art, 1969


    • Wellesley College, B.A. in art history, 1965
    • Harvard University, Ph.D. in art history, 1973; M.A. in art history, 1966