Board of Directors
Jorge Varela, Board Chair
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.
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 Chief Accounting Officer at Caris Life Sciences, Ltd. an innovative biotechnology company focused on precision medicine helping patients with cancer. His responsibilities include worldwide tax and financial reporting as well as treasury functions. Prior to joining Caris, Dave was the V.P. of Finance and Treasurer for MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on anti-infective medications. He also spent seven years with Adams Respiratory Therapeutics starting as Finance Manager and eventually becoming the V.P. of Finance responsible for global supply chain finance. 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.
David Foster, Ph.D., J.D., Co-Founder / Board Secretary
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.
François Fournier, President North America Advanced Wound Care chez Smith & Nephew
With nearly 20 years spent in various countries, François Fournier has a wealth of worldwide experience in the pharmaceutical industry in a multi-business environment (Rx, Consumer, Aesthetics), including senior leadership, P&L, global marketing and growing markets in Europe, Middle East Africa, Asia and Latin America.
François started in the field of cardiology at Germany Hoechst Roussel in 1995 and then joined Laboratoires Fournier in 1996 for a four year tenure that led him to France, Indonesia and China.
In 2001, François joined Galderma, a joint venture of worldwide leaders Nestlé and L’Oréal, with a sole focus on dermatology. Galderma is the world’s premier investor in the field of dermatology and owns brands like Epiduo® or Oracea®, Restylane® and Texas-born Cetaphil®. François started as General Manager in Germany and then took on the Global Marketing Direction at the corporate office in 2003 before successfully leading Asia and Latin America, and then Europe, Middle East Africa, Asia and Australia Areas. In 2009, François was appointed President of Galderma in USA and Canada. In 2012, he took on the new role of Vice President, Prescription Global Business Unit, adding to his responsibilities in North America.
In April 2014, François joined Smith & Nephew as President North America Advanced Wound Care and is based in Fort Worth, Texas. Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business dedicated to helping healthcare professionals improve people’s lives. With leadership positions in Orthopaedic Reconstruction, Advanced Wound Management, Sports Medicine and Trauma & Extremities, Smith & Nephew.
As a Vice President of the French American Chamber of Commerce of Dallas Fort Worth, François is committed to promoting the French American business community in the DFW area and globally.
François holds advanced degrees as a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Masters in Business Administration. He speaks French, English and German.
Vipin Garg, CEO, Neos Therapeutics
Vipin Garg has over 25 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience building and managing both private and publicly traded companies in a wide range of therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Neos, Dr. Garg served as President and Chief Executive Officer and Board Director of Tranzyme Pharma, progressing it from a discovery-stage, emerging biotechnology company to a NASDAQ-listed drug development company. Dr. Garg has also served as Chief Operating Officer of Apex Bioscience, Inc., and held senior management positions at DNX Bio-Therapeutics, Inc., and Bio-Response Inc. Dr. Garg currently serves on the Executive Committee of CED (formerly the Council for Entrepreneurial Development) and is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 Award, Carolinas Region. Dr. Garg received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and his M.S. from New Delhi, India.
Frank Grassler, VP for Technology Development, UT Southwestern / Board Vice Chair
Frank Grassler 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.
Paul Herchman, CEO, Thermi, an Almirall Company
Paul’s latest venture, Thermi, marked the reuniting of Principals Paul Herchman and Kevin O’Brien who together in 1989 founded, developed and operated Medical Alliance, Inc., a nationwide pioneer in mobile surgical and aesthetic technology services.
Thermi- 2012- present
- In Q3 2012 Herchman and O’Brien formed ThermiGen, LLC. By 2013 Thermi had emerged as one of the fastest growing medical/aesthetic companies in the US.
- 2015 Thermi was recognized as-The 7th Fastest Private Growing at the Dallas 100™ Entrepreneurship Awards at the SMU Cox School of Business.
- 2016 Thermi was recognized as-The 10th Fastest Private Growing at the Dallas 100™ Entrepreneurship Awards at the SMU Cox School of Business.
- 2016 Almirall, a Barcelona-based pharmaceutical company, completed of the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of ThermiGen LLC for an enterprise value of $82 million.
- December 2016 -D CEO Magazine and D Healthcare Daily announced Thermi™’s CEO, Paul Herchman as winner in the Excellence in Healthcare Awards for the Outstanding Healthcare Deal.
MedSurge Advances, Inc. 2003-2007
MedSurge Advances, developed into the nation’s largest independent provider of aesthetic medicine products and services to physicians.
- 2007- Inc. 500 – was recognized as 387th of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
- Ranked among the 10 fastest-growing private companies in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Medical Alliance, Inc. 1989-2001
- 1989 Medical Alliance, Inc. was formed
- 1992 Medical Alliance, Inc. was designated as the 7th fastest growing private company by the Dallas 100 awards sponsored by the SMU Cox School of Business
- 1994 was named by Inc. magazine as the 317th fastest growing private company in the United States.
- 1996, MAI completed its IPO, was listed on NASDAQ as MAII,
- 2000 the company was sold to ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Mentor- Health Wildcatters 2013-present
Paul Herchman is an entrepreneurial executive offering years of experience in the conception, development and management of medical and aesthetic ventures. He has lead several well know and successful medical/aesthetic start-up companies and brings solid business insights with the ability to raise capital, analyze market needs, envision new program concepts and strategies. Paul excels in devising non-traditional solutions that exploit emerging technologies or trends.
Deborah Jenkins Hutchinson, President, Wound Management Technologies, Inc.
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, 2M Companies
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.
Harold Strong, President and CEO
Mr. Harold Strong served as Director of the University of North Discovery Park and Technology Transfer and was Executive Director at the Texas A&M University Research Park where he oversaw the design and development of strategies to stimulate and manage multidisciplinary research, education, and training that benefit students, faculty, researchers, and the business community. He worked to provide assistance to innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to launch new ventures, commercialize new technologies, and secure access to capital resources, while supporting regional economic development.
Harold is a nationally recognized leader in research park development with vast experience in developing partnerships between institutions of higher education and industries, defining and executing economic development plans, and developing and managing business incubators. He is a current Board member and past President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an organization whose missions is “Fostering innovation, commercialization and economic growth in a global economy through university, industry and government partnerships.”
Kay Tieman, Co-Founder
Kay Tieman is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at AmeriPac, Inc., a contract packaging, fulfillment, kitting and distribution company serving the pharmaceutical, dietary supplement, animal health, medical device and consumer goods industries. Kay is a career life sciences professional beginning with American Hospital Supply selling lab supplies and equipment to leading companies such as Genzyme, Genetics Institute and Biogen. Her career in sales for AHS/Baxter was followed by sales leadership in the home infusion therapy industry and then to the Massachusetts’s Biotechnology Council where she and the executive director grew the organization from 75 to over 300 companies in 3 years. At MassBio, Kay created the first ever Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) for the life sciences. Kay then joined the Biotechnology Innovation Organization in Washington, DC, where launched a national GPO for companies across the country. Upon her arrival in Texas in early 2002, Kay was a Senior Director of Technology Business Development and helped launch BioDFW with the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, and had roles in executive recruiting and commercial insurance prior to founding bionorthTX.
Jaime Walkowiak, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of 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.