New Cohort of Board Members Brings New Insights from Bay Area Business Sectors
Five new members have joined the Gladstone Foundation Board, increasing the breadth of expertise and bringing the size of the board to 19. The new cohort consists of current and former founders, executives, counsels, managers, and partners of Bay Area companies.
The new members include Linda S. Grais, Gary J. Morgenthaler, Stephen A. Richardson, Gary T. Steele, and James B. Tananbaum. All five began their term this fall. Together they bring a rich array of expertise from biotech, venture capital, asset management, and real estate industries.
“We are thrilled to welcome this talented group of leaders to the Foundation Board,” said Gladstone President Deepak Srivastava. “I look forward to working with the board on several key efforts related to operationalizing our new strategic plan, including developing additional partnerships with industry and advancing Gladstone’s discoveries to clinical applications.”
The Gladstone Foundation was established in 2011 as a nonprofit organization under the guidance of former Gladstone President R. Sanders Williams. Each board member is recruited for a 3-year term, and often serves two terms.
The Foundation Board provides guidance on strategic decisions, the implementation of business development plans, and building philanthropic and strategic partnerships.
“The advice and range of perspectives we get from our board members is absolutely critical,” explained Robert Wicks, vice president of philanthropy and CEO of the Foundation Board. “Their collective wisdom is amazing, and they are always ready to roll up their sleeves and help.”
By bringing together individuals with differing expertise, the board has become a valuable source of outside perspective. Board members also act as liaisons to potential industry partners and help Gladstone increase its ties to the tech and biotech industries.
Gladstone aims to double the size of the Foundation Board in the upcoming years. To this end, Gladstone looks for dedicated leaders who understand that the search for cures must begin with in-depth biological knowledge learned through discovery science.
“We all share a strong belief in the potential for science to overcome disease,” said Vice Chair Stasia Obremskey. “We know it can take a while for discovery science to lead to treatments or cures. But Gladstone’s commitment to driving a new era of discovery, and their history of making bold decisions and foundational discoveries has set them on a trajectory to greatly accelerate the pace at which basic research translates to clinical applications.”
This shared ethos is crucial to the board members’ mission as passionate ambassadors and advocates for Gladstone.
Board members help attract philanthropic support, which is used to fund early-stage research. These funds allow Gladstone scientists to pursue truly innovative and sometimes risky projects that traditional funding organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, do not typically support.
“I have seen first-hand how our funding can make an impact on the science, specifically in speeding up the progress being made and allowing the scientists to delve into new and bold areas,” said Board Chair William (Bill) H. Younger, Jr.
And now, the skills and expertise of Gladstone’s board members will benefit more than just leadership.
This fall, Gladstone launched a new program for trainees, Beyond Gladstone. Beyond Gladstone brings in board members to share with young scientists their knowledge and personal experience from working in the industry, finance, and business side of science. This program aims to provide early-career scientists with mentoring, networking opportunities, and exposure to alternative career paths in science.
“The generosity of our board members is remarkable,” noted Srivastava. “We are in a golden age of scientific discovery, and having their support is key if we are going to find cures in the next decades."
About the New Board Members
Linda S. Grais, Former President and CEO of Ocera Therapeutics
Linda Grais has extensive experience in the health care field as a physician, biotechnology entrepreneur, and investor. She has been president, CEO, and member of the board of directors of Ocera Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for gastrointestinal and liver diseases. And she is the founder and executive VP of SGX Pharmaceuticals, which pioneered the integration of genomics with high-throughput protein structure determination to accelerate drug discovery. She has experience in venture financing, public offerings, and strategic partnerships for various healthcare companies and medical technology companies. She holds an MD from Yale Medical School, a JD from Stanford Law School, and was an assistant clinical professor of Internal Medicine and Critical Care at UCSF.
Gary J. Morgenthaler, Partner at Morgenthaler Ventures
Gary Morgenthaler has a national reputation as a successful executive and venture capitalist in the software industry, and currently emphasizes investments in information technology. He joined Morgenthaler Ventures in 1989 and currently serves on the boards of the firm’s portfolio companies, including Big Switch Networks, Nominum, and NuoDB. Morgenthaler was a past director of Siri, Inc., which was acquired by Apple in 2010, and BlueArc Corp., which was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in 2011. He was also a co-founder and past CEO of Illustra Information Technologies Inc., where he served as a chairman of the Board until its acquisition by Informix in 1996. He also served as director of Catena Networks (acquired by Ciena), Nuance Communications, and Premisys Communications, and led the firm’s investments in Force10 Networks and QuickLogic. From 1980 until 1989, he co-founded and served as CEO and chairman of Ingres Corp., a leading relational database software company. Previously, he was with McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant, with Tymshare in software development and management, and with Stanford University in software research and development. He holds a BA in international studies from Harvard University.
Stephen A. Richardson, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Alexandria Real Estate Equities
Stephen Richardson has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate investment industry. He joined Alexandria Real Estate Equities, the largest real estate investment trust uniquely focused on collaborative science and technology campuses in urban innovation clusters, in 2000, as VP of portfolio services. He held positions of increasing responsibility as regional market director of San Francisco, leading the management and growth of all aspects of its San Francisco asset base and operations, before becoming co-CEO in April 2018. Before Alexandria, he served as director of CellNet Data Systems Inc., a wireless data networking company, and director of marketing and leasing at Paragon Real Estate Group, a national real estate development company. He holds a BA in economics and literature from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from Santa Clara University.
Gary T. Steele, Retired Chairman, President, and CEO of Landec
Gary Steele brings more than 37 years of experience in the biotechnology, instrumentation, and material science fields. He was chairman, president, and CEO of Landec, a publicly traded developer and supplier of plant-based healthy food, from 1991 to 2015. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Molecular Devices, a bioanalytical instrumentation company, and VP of product development and business development at Genentech, where he was employee number 77. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and is a former president of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Alumni Association.
James B. Tananbaum, Founder, CEO, and Managing Director of Foresite Capital Management
James Tananbaum is the founder and current CEO and managing director of Foresite Capital Management LLC, a health care and life sciences investment firm with $1.8 billion of assets under management. Companies he previously helped found or lead include Prospect Venture Partners II and III, a health care venture capital group, Theravance Inc., a healthcare-focused asset management company, and GelTex Pharmaceuticals Inc., a therapeutic polymer company. A former member of the board of directors of the Burning Man Project, he currently serves on the board of directors of DNAnexus Inc. and Fulcrum Therapeutics Inc. He holds a BS and a BSEE in applied math and computer science from Yale University, an MS in information theory from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MD from Harvard Medical School, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
About the Gladstone Institutes
To ensure our work does the greatest good, the Gladstone Institutes focuses on conditions with profound medical, economic, and social impact—unsolved diseases. Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization that uses visionary science and technology to overcome disease. It has an academic affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco.
Direct line: 415.734.2019