Board of Directors
Frank P. Grassler, J.D., Vice President for Technology Development, UT Southwestern / Board Chair
Frank P. Grassler, J.D., is an intellectual property, corporate, start-up, and regulatory attorney, and licensing executive, with over 30 years of biopharma industry experience in law and business, covering preparation, prosecution, licensing, technology transfer, start-ups, acquisitions, divestitures portfolio management, and people management, as well as patent litigation, for IP and technology transfer departments. His technical areas have included chemical, biological, genetic, and mechanical inventions, including pharmaceuticals, biologicals, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, clinical trial outcomes, novel materials, and mechanical & electromechanical devices. His regulatory work has covered university & hospital research, development, and clinical programs and compliance with FDA, HIPAA, and FCPA. His affiliations include Gates Corporation, G. D. Searle, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead Sciences, Genentech/Roche and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Dave Carlson / Treasurer
Dave Carlson has over 20 years of finance and accounting experience in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Working at various private and public companies, his experience includes start-ups, public offerings, mergers, product and company acquisitions, along with divestitures and liquidation. Dave is currently the VP of Finance & Chief Accounting Officer at NCHS Holdings, a specialty pharmacy focusing on hemophilia care. Prior to joining NCHS, he was Chief Accounting Officer at Caris Life Sciences, an innovative biotechnology company focused on precision medicine helping patients with cancer. Dave previously held other senior finance roles for MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals and Adams Respiratory Therapeutics after starting his career at RxAmerica. Dave earned his B.S. in Finance from the University of Utah and his M.B.A. with honors from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Art Clapp, CEO, NUVOTHERA
Art Clapp is the CEO and founder of two North Texas life science companies and a past corporate executive with over 30 years of professional US and international pharmaceutical experience in licensing, M&A, strategy, technology assessment, product development, commercialization and global marketing. After his VP role at Galderma, a global leader in dermatology, he is now focusing on building life science start-up companies aimed at developing novel therapeutics and devices for dermatology and inflammatory conditions. Art earned his MBA from TCU MJ Neely School of Business and he has a Bachelors Degree in Biology and Biochemistry from The University of South Florida.
Duane B. Dimos, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, The University of Texas at Arlington
Duane B. Dimos, PhD., joined The University of Texas at Arlington in April 2015 as Vice President for Research. Before joining UT Arlington, Dr. Dimos served at Sandia National Laboratories in a wide variety of leadership and management positions, including as acting vice president of the Science and Technology Division, Director of the Engineering Sciences Center, a large multi-disciplinary research and development organization, at Sandia in Albuquerque, NM, and Director of Sandia’s Materials Science and Engineering Center. Dr. Dimos received his Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University. Over the years, his work has spanned the range from fundamental understanding of materials properties to process integration and compatibility to advanced device technologies. He has published over 140 technical papers, edited four proceedings volumes and holds 11 patents. He has been actively involved in nanotechnologies, leading programs in materials aging and reliability, developing new energy programs in materials, and in a range of national security R&D efforts. Dr. Dimos is a fellow of the Materials Research Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Ceramic Society.
David Foster, Ph.D., J.D., Co-Founder
David C. Foster, Ph.D., J.D. is co-founder of two biotechnology companies as well a founding partner at the law firm Roberts Foster LLP, which focuses on emerging technology companies Following a 12-year career in the San Francisco Bay Area working with biotechnology companies of all sizes, he returned to Texas with a desire to make a difference in the DFW and Texas biotechnology communities. Since then he has co-founded and serves as President & CEO of Tuevol Therapeutics, which is developing next generation cancer therapies. Prior to his work at Tuevol Therapeutics, he co-founded FPRT Bio, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of debilitating neurological diseases. David earned is BS in Biology from the University of North Texas, his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and his J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. David is a resident of Colleyville, where he lives with his wife, Jennifer, and two children.
Terry L. Foster, Ph.D.
Terry L. Foster, Ph.D., is retired from a history of education, research, entrepreneurship, clinical trials, and improvement of patient care. During these endeavors, he has always promoted the wealth of medical and scientific talent in Texas. While a biology professor at Hardin-Simmons University, he co-founded the HSU Science Research Center based upon his research with NASA’s Planetary Quarantine Program in addition to research funded by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. This research led to his co-founding a microbiological and immunological diagnostic company in Abilene, TX. The remainder of Terry’s career was spent in the development, testing, and market-introduction of numerous pharmaceutical drugs. He retired as a Medical Science Liaison with Amgen, supporting nephrology and cardiology in North Texas. Terry earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from North Texas State University and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Texas A&M. Terry and his wife, Vickey, a retired Petroleum Landman, live in North Richland Hills where they enjoy traveling as well as spending time with their two sons and their families.
Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Kathleen Gibson has over thirty years in financial services, holding a number of leadership positions within Citibank and Bank of America, has been involved in community activities in Dallas and Texas serving as the Past Chair of the Board of The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University, and Strategy Chair on the Board of the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations. She serves on the Boards of the SMU Tate Lecture Series, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, and Charter 100. She is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance at UT Dallas and the DFW Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program. Kathleen is a member of the International Women’s Forum – Dallas, Dallas Woman’s Club, Marianne Scruggs Garden Club, and the Junior League of Dallas.
She has been recognized in the Dallas Business Journal as a ‘Top 25 Industry Leader in Women in Business’, and by the Profiles in Diversity Journal in the 10th Annual Women Worth Watching edition. Kathleen is a recipient of Texas A&M’s Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry Award, Women’s Legacy Award, and was honored to be selected as a 2014 Fish Camp Namesake. She serves on the Advisory Council for the Center for International Business Studies at Texas A&M and the Mays Business School Development Council. Her prior involvement in civic activities includes serving on the Dallas Regional Chamber Board and Executive Committee, Chairing the Dallas March for Babies Walk, and serving on the Boards of Children’s Medical Center, Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, The Dallas Opera, The Lamplighter School, Dallas Citizens Council, The City Club, and the Dallas 2012 Olympic Bid Committee.
Born in Texas, Ms. Gibson lived several early years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University, and attended school at SMU in Oxford and SMU in Russia. Kathleen and her husband, Robert, have two daughters, Catherine and Sarah.
Deborah Jenkins Hutchinson / Co-Chair
Ms. Hutchinson has over 30 years of senior management experience with a track record in successfully taking early and mid-stage healthcare, biotech and technology companies from concept, through product development and sales. She brings extensive international experience to the Company with past experience in Europe, China, the Americas and Asia. She serves on the Board of Directors for Private Access, Inc.
Melissa Krauth / Board Secretary
Melissa Krauth is a life science industry veteran with over 20 years of biopharmaceutical experience including her most recent position as Principal, Life Science Investments at 2M Companies. Prior to 2M, she spent eight years as a senior executive with Reata Pharmaceuticals with responsibility for company and product-level strategies and operations. During her tenure, the company grew from seven to 200 employees, and from nominal to $3 billion in value. Prior to that, Melissa spent over ten years as a strategy consultant to executives at top pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
Melissa is an honors graduate from Rice University with a degree in Biochemistry. She received her MBA in Health Care Management and Strategic Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Maxwell Lea, Vice President, Corporate Development and Finance, DFB Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Maxwell Lea is Vice President, Corporate Development and Corporate Finance at DFB Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas based organization that invests in and operates a portfolio of healthcare businesses. He is responsible for DFB’s acquisition, licensing, and financing activities. He also leads the Business Development activities (strategic partnerships, new technology assessment) and International operations (sales & marketing in Canada, Europe & Latin America) for Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, one of DFB’s operating businesses that is an industry leader in the field of wound healing and soft tissue repair.
Prior to joining DFB, Maxwell was an investment banker with Bank of America Securities, where he was responsible for the origination, structuring and execution of capital raising and M&A transactions in a variety of industries. He has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Kristin Lonergan, Executive Vice President, American National Bank of Texas
Kristin Lonergan is an Executive Vice President at American National Bank of Texas. She has 30 years of experience and is a second-generation insurance agent. She specializes in risk mitigation and risk management for domestic and foreign based companies of all types, including those in the Life Science segment, therapeutics, drug development, Human Clinical Trials, bio-engineering firms, pharmaceutical manufacturing & development, medical device manufacturers, cancer research facilities, vaccine facilities, business incubators, cosmeceutical manufacturers, startups, biotherapeutics, physicians, clean room & GMP compliance professionals, nutraceuticals, orthopedic distributors, drug reagent manufacturers, implantable & neuro-stimulating devices, chemical manufacturers, oil & gas related businesses, law firms, contract manufacturers, non-profit facilities, software developers & manufacturers, technology companies and contractors.
Kristin is a member of Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas and the National Society of Insurance Counselors. She supports many North Texas biotech non-profits through pro-bono work. She is a member of the Saint Patrick’s Catholic School board, and she supports a variety of community groups including Rotary International, Salvation Army, St. Jude’s, Hendrick Academy, St. Vincent DePaul Society and Meals on Wheels.
Kristin is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and is ISO9000 certified for quality assurance.
Jorge Varela, CEO, BioNorthTX
Jorge’s passion is launching and growing companies, and helping others do the same. He is a serial entrepreneur, startup evangelist, speaker, and business startup coach. Jorge’s primary focus is taking companies to scale. He has started and/or been a part of, the executive team, at numerous companies most notably in telecommunications, software, and information technology, with financially successful exits in each market segment. Jorge was formerly Director of TECH Fort Worth, a non-profit organization focused on helping entrepreneurs launch and grow emerging technology companies. Efforts of TECH Fort Worth are largely recognized through programs such as Cowtown Angels, an angel investors network in Fort Worth previously managed by Jorge Varela. During his almost 5 years at TECH Forth Worth he and his team contributed to the financial success of clients totaling over $4 Billion. From 2012 to 2017 he was Associate Director of Entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. In addition, he serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation on Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR and STTR) grants. He serves on the boards of the International Business Innovation Association, and the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks.
Jaime Walkowiak, J.D., Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Research, Baylor Scott & White Health Research
As the senior vice president of research and chief operating officer, Jaime oversees the research infrastructure of Baylor Scott & White Health Research by integrating research into all levels of the health care system, facilitating growth of new and existing research programs, and expanding collaborations. Jaime will also oversee the development of industry and business relations for research through partnerships, business ventures, licensing and other related opportunities. She joined Baylor in 2007 as assistant general counsel after several years of experience in legal and research settings, both in Dallas and her native Boston. Her prior life science experience includes clinical research and project management in leading health care institutions such as Massachusetts General, Harvard Medical School and Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. Jaime has a Bachelor of Science degree from Suffolk University and a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.
Jason A. Wietjes, Shareholder, Polsinelli
Jason Wietjes has represented a broad range of clients in patent litigation across the country through case strategy and evaluation, Markman proceedings, trial, and appeal. Jason is active in the regional startup community, serving as a mentor at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Addison TreeHouse. He works with entrepreneurs, startup companies and their investors to evaluate and protect valuable intellectual property, assess risk, and identify barriers to entry.
Prior to law school, Jason worked as a Research Assistant in the University of Nebraska Biological Process Development Facility, a leading research center in the field of biopharmaceuticals. His work focused on developing and manufacturing vaccines and bio therapeutics derived from recombinant proteins, including vaccines for biological warfare agents.
Distinctions include being selected for inclusion in Thomson Reuters, Texas Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2013, and Honorable Barbara M.G. Lynn American Inn of Court, Barrister, 2014-2016.