Drug Development, Immunology, and Operational Experience
Our management team possesses diverse experience across academic, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and venture capital industries.
Dr. Ryser has held senior management positions of increasing responsibility at F. Hoffmann-La Roche,
ending as Chief of Staff for the President of Global Research and Development, Dr. Juergen Drews,
operating out of both Nutley, NJ and Basel, Switzerland. While at Roche, he led initiatives to assess
the impact of emerging technologies on pharmaceutical research and development, and assisted in establishment
and management of strategic research and development alliances. He was a member of the joint steering committee
with Millennium Pharmaceuticals and a liaison for new research projects with Genentech. In 1998, he founded
International Biomedicine Partners with Juergen Drews, a biotech fund whose IPO successes led to him becoming
managing partner in 2000 of Bear Stearns Health Innoventures, a $212 million private equity fund.
Dr. Ryser has served on numerous boards of directors in both public and private biotechnology companies, including Arena Pharmaceuticals, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Entelos, Raven Biotechnologies, Tolerx, and Telik, as well as in the R. Geigy Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel. Prior to joining Trellis Bioscience, Dr. Ryser was CEO at A-Cube (now part of Trellis), a biotech company focused on identifying B-cell epitopes. Prior to A-Cube he was SVP for corporate strategy at Telik, and VP of Business Development at Aridis Pharmaceuticals, a leading infectious disease company. Dr. Ryser earned his undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry and his Ph.D. in immunology at the University of Basel’s Institute for Immunology.
Jeff Blake, BA, MBA. Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Blake earned his BA from Univ. Virginia, and an MBA from MIT.
He worked in Corporate Development for Hand Innovations (Miami, FL) which was acquired by Depuy Orthopaedics, Inc in 2006 for $250 million.
He then worked in Finance and Development roles for additional portfolio companies of WFD Ventures (New York) until 2015. Since then, he has had an independent
financial and operational consulting firm working with startups, healthcare practices, family offices, and established companies in the areas of financial
planning and commercial strategy, including M&A and capital raising.
Mr. Ellsworth has spent his career bringing high technology systems solutions
to the life science industry. He joined Trellis in 2003 where he led the reduction to practice of the company's
CellSpot platform. He served as the Company’s CEO from 2008 to 2012.
Prior to Trellis, Mr. Ellsworth was the VP R&D and Chief Operating Officer at First Medical, a point-of-care cardiac diagnostic company acquired by Sigma in 2000. This was preceded by a role as Vice President of Engineering at Becton Dickinson where he was responsible for developing through commercial release numerous flow cytometry products, which now dominate that market. He holds a degree in bioscience technology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a BA from Dartmouth in engineering and mathematics, and an MS in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Dr. Kauvar is an entrepreneur and scientist who founded Trellis and was previously
the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Telik, a small molecule drug company focused on oncology. He holds
60 US patents for methods, tools and drug compounds and is one of the inventors of CellSpot, Trellis's core technology.
Dr. Kauvar holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Harvard, and a Ph.D. from Yale in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He conducted postdoctoral research at Caltech and University of California San Francisco before founding Telik. He is also a co-founder of Promedior, Inc. and of Shimojani, LLC.
Dr. Gishizky is an entrepreneur and scientist who co-founded Sugen,
where he served for 18 years in various positions including VP of Research and Target Discovery.
He worked through the acquisitions of Sugen by Pharmacia and Pfizer.
He then served as CSO of Entelos, a leading in silico pathway analysis company. Dr. Gishizky received a BA from UC Berkeley, holds a PhD in endocrinology from the University of California, San Francisco, and did postdoctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Leighton is an infectious disease doctor who has held clinical development and
leadership roles at Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), Roche (US Head Infectious Diseases and Inflammation), and Chiron.
He has since established his own consulting company and supported a number of early phase antibiotics and biologics,
during which he was involved in the selection of lead candidates, development of regulatory strategy, interaction with
regulatory authorities, and setup and conduct of ICU-based clinical studies regarding serious infections and sepsis.
He currently is a consultant to several biotech companies in the San Francisco Bay area. His clinical experience includes the following IV antibiotics: iclaprim, dalbavancin, doripenem and eravacycline. His experience with biologics includes a TNF receptor fusion protein and tifacogin. Dr. Leighton has a medical degree from the University of Mainz, certification in internal medicine from university-affiliated hospitals in Germany, a degree in pharmaceutical medicine from the University of Basel, Switzerland, and a Healthcare Executive MBA from the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Tenorio has worked in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical sector for more than
17 years as a Research Scientist, Associate Director Preclinical Development, and most recently as a Nonclinical
Pharmacology/Toxicology/Bioanalytical consultant. Dr. Tenorio has worked on developing biologics (peptides, proteins,
and monoclonal antibodies) and small molecules in a variety of therapeutic areas (vaccines, inflammation, pain,
autoimmune diseases, oncology, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s, and Cystic Fibrosis).
For the last 8 years he has been responsible for taking lead therapeutic candidates from preclinical to first in man (Phase 1) and follow-up clinical trials (Phase 2 and 3). He has worked at Neurex, Elan, Pepgen and KaloBios. Dr. Tenorio holds a BS in biomedical science from Texas A&M University, a DVM from the National University of Mexico, and a Masters in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Tenorio was an NIH post-doctoral fellow in comparative pathology and immunology at the University of California, Davis.
Ms. Whitney has held executive leadership positions of increasing responsibility in healthcare
operations for the last 12 years, preceded by a successful career in the engineering field. For the past four years she was
an Executive Director of AccentCare, a Dallas-headquartered private company that cares for 210,000 patients nationwide at 260
locations in 31 states and employs more than 30,000 people. Ms. Whitney was previously Executive Director of Kindred Healthcare
and Director of Business Development for Vitas Healthcare. Ms. Whitney has extensive experience in government healthcare regulations and reimbursement.
Prior to the move to healthcare, Ms. Whitney’s career was focused on technical engineering services. Ms. Whitney holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from MS State University and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Ms. Kisch-Hancock joined Trellis in 2020 to manage clinical operations. Prior to Trellis, she worked as a project manager on the neuroscience team for Bioclinica, a medical imaging company. Before joining Bioclinica, she served as the primary clinical research coordinator for the Boston Center for Memory where she managed clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. She holds a degree in Psychology with a Neuroscience concentration from Carleton College.
Dr. Estellés is currently leading the CellSpot team at Trellis. She holds a B.S. in Pharmacy
from the University of Valencia, and a Ph.D in Medicine from the University of Alicante, both in Spain. She did post-graduate
work in cell and molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, Stanford University and College de France in Paris.
She has 16 years of experience in various aspects of antibody development from antibody discovery to generating commercial cell lines for antibody production. She has worked in small start-up companies, such as Reconstructive Technologies, Anosys, Genitope and SeaLane Biotechnologies, as well as at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.