Executive Committee

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.

Frank Grassler, JD, Vice Chair

Mr. Grassler comes to UT Southwestern after working as a consultant for Genentech Inc. From 2008 to 2011, he was Vice President for Intellectual Property at Gilead Sciences. Prior to that, he was Vice President of U.S. Intellectual Property for GlaxoSmithKline for 12 years. Earlier in his career, he was in private practice as an attorney and worked in patent law for Merck.

At GlaxoSmithKline, Mr. Grassler conceived the intellectual property structure of The SNP Consortium, originally comprising 10 pharmaceutical companies, a British philanthropic organization, and four academic research centers. Members of the consortium consented to share data and intellectual property rights for DNA sequence variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms, an agreement that lifted institutional and legal barriers and unleashed important work in drug discovery. He earned degrees in pharmacy and law from the University of Colorado, and did additional coursework in mechanical engineering, materials science, and immunology at the University of Colorado, Denver.

Paul Herchman, Secretary

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.

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.

Terry L. Foster, Ph.D., Executive In Residence

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.

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.

Staff

Terry L. Foster, Ph.D., Executive In Residence, Interim CEO

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.

Miriam D’Souza, Administrator

Miriam D’Souza, a Chicago area native, comes to bionorthTX with 10 years of non-profit management experience, and over 10 years of combined experiences in customer relations and project management. Miriam enjoys working on a team that fosters ideas to spur innovation and collaboration. She currently resides in Flower Mound and spends her time exploring the DFW Metroplex and surrounding areas.