Board of Directors


President, Co-Founder, CEO

Dr. Ezekowitz currently serves as President and CEO of Abide Therapeutics, a company he co-founded in 2011 with Professors Dale Boger and Ben Cravatt from the Scripps Research Institute. Prior to creating Abide, Dr. Ezekowitz was Senior Vice President and Franchise Head, Bone, Respiratory, Immunology, Respiratory, Bone and Muscle, Dermatology and Urology at Merck Research Laboratories, where he was responsible for the drug discovery and development process from target identification through proof of concept. He worked closely with his commercial General Manager to develop the life cycle strategy for approved drugs in those areas. He co-chaired the Joint Venture with Jansen to oversee the development of Remicade and Simponi in the EU.

Prior to Merck, Dr. Ezekowitz was the Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School and served as the Chief of Pediatric Services at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Partners Healthcare System. He has served on multiple boards and committees, including the chair position of the Executive Committee on Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Board of Directors of the Partners Healthcare system and the MassGeneral Physicians Organization. He has also served on the Boards of Anika Therapeutics and Natimmune, a biotech company that he founded. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Oxagen and Abide Therapeutics.

He served on many committees at the Harvard Medical School and chaired the committee that led to the establishment of the Academy at HMS and served as a Scholar and Founding Member. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and a Fellow of AAAS. He has also been a part of multiple Subcommittees for the NIH. In 2008, he was honored with the establishment of the R. Alan Ezekowitz Professorship in Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School.

He also directed the Laboratory of Developmental Immunology. He is a pioneer in the field of innate immunity and has over 150 publications. His group played a major role in defining the structure function of pattern recognition molecules like the mannose binding lectin and the macrophage mannose receptor. He was the Principal Investigator of an NIH Program Grant that included Jules Hoffmann (Nobel Laurette 2011 for the discovery of Toll receptors). His group’s contribution was the description of primordial phagocytic receptors. The work was published in Nature, Cell and Science. Furthermore, his work on phagocyte biology translated the effects of interferon gamma in vitro to create an FDA approved treatment for patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease, a rare phagocytic disorder in humans.

Dr. Ezekowitz received his medical training at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship. At Children’s Hospital in Boston, he completed a second postdoctoral fellowship in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and his clinical training in pediatrics.


Managing Partner. Princeton, NJ Office

John Clarke has a 30 year record of early-stage venture capital investment success. John co-founded Cardinal Partners in 1997 and currently serves as a Managing Partner of the firm. John leads Cardinal’s life sciences investment efforts and has had an extraordinary record of success.

John led the firm’s investment in Cubist Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:CBST – 3x return/6 mos.), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:MNTA – 8x return/4 yrs.), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ALNY – 4x return/4 yrs.) and Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:SIRT – acquired by GSK – 6x return/4 yrs.). John also spearheaded Cardinal’s investment in and served as a director for: TechRx Corporation (acquired by NDCHealth/4x return) and Visicu (Nasdaq:EICU – acquired by Phillips Electronics/11x return). John currently serves on the Board of Directors for Cardinal portfolio companies Abide Therapeutics, aTyr Pharma, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals (observer) and Verastem, as well as Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Momenta Pharmaceuticals.John entered the venture industry in 1982 with DSV Partners, a pioneer venture capital fund formed in 1968. John led DSV’s health care and life sciences efforts, and was a co-founder and served as interim CEO of numerous successful companies including Alkermes (Nasdaq:ALKS), Arris Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ARRS), DNX (Nasdaq:DNXX) and Cubist Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:CBST). As managing partner at DSV in that firm’s latter years, John led the firm’s evolution into Cardinal Partners.

John has served on the National Venture Capital Association’s Board of Directors where he was Chairman of its Regulatory Committee and Membership Committee. John was a founding director of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group as well as its past President and Chairman. John is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Board of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation Penn Venture Group. He has served as a member of the University of Pennsylvania Advisory Panel on Technology Transfer. John is also a Trustee of Hands Together, a non-profit organization that provides health care and education support to the needy in Haiti. Prior to his venture capital career, John worked for the General Electric Company in various sales and marketing positions.

John received his B.A. in Economics and Biology from Harvard University and his M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor
at The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
at The Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Schimmel earned his Ph.D. in biology at MIT in 1966 and was formerly the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Department of Biology at MIT.

Schimmel is author or co-author of more than 450 scientific papers and of a widely used three volume textbook on biophysical chemistry. Schimmel has been honored as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Institute of Medicine. Having a longstanding interest in the applications of basic biomedical research to human health, Schimmel holds numerous patents and is a cofounder or founding director of several biotechnology companies, of which six have become publicly traded.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Physiology
at The Scripps Research Institute

Dr. Cravatt’s research group is interested in understanding the roles that enzymes play in physiological and pathological processes, especially as pertains to the nervous system and cancer. To address this challenge, they develop and apply an array of biochemical, chemical, and genetic technologies.

The Cravatt group has obtained fundamental insights into the chemical, biochemical, and physiological workings of several important mammalian serine hydrolases, including enzymes involved in the neurobiology of pain and in proteases associated with tumor progression. Dr. Cravatt obtained his undergraduate education at Stanford University, receiving a B.S. in the Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History. He then trained with Drs. Dale Boger and Richard Lerner and received a Ph.D. in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996. Professor Cravatt joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997 as a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and the departments of Cell Biology and Chemistry. His honors include a Searle Scholar Award (1998-2001), the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (2004), a Cope Scholar Award (2005), the Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award (2007) and the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry (2008).


Senior Level Life Sciences Executive

Nancy A. Thornberry was formerly Senior Vice President and Franchise Head, Diabetes and Endocrinology, for Merck & Co. Inc. In this role, she led discovery and clinical research in diabetes, osteoporosis, fertility and contraception.

Her research at Merck focused largely on the role of enzymes in disease and the identification of therapeutic approaches to enzyme targets, and included work on the caspase family of cysteine proteases, and the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) project, which resulted in the discovery of JANUVIA® for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.


Richard N. Kender provides consulting services to biotechnology companies in the areas of partnerships and licensing and mergers and acquisitions. He was previously Senior Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Licensing at Merck & Co., Inc. During his career at Merck, Kender was actively involved in more than 100 transactions, including a number that greatly influenced the course of the company. Kender also held positions with Merck in corporate finance, as well as in financial support of the domestic and international commercial and manufacturing divisions.
Kender was part of the analysis team at Merck that worked with the company’s board of directors to select, negotiate and announce the $41 billion acquisition of Schering Plough. He also led on transactions including creation of the Joint Venture Merial Animal Health with Sanofi-Aventis and the later divestiture of Merck’s holdings in Merial back to Sanofi Aventis, allowing the Merck/Schering transaction to close. Richard oversaw additional deals including divestiture of Kelco and Calgon Labs, acquisition of the 49% public share of Banyu Pharmaceuticals in Japan, and the spin-off of Medco into a public company.
Kender currently serves on the boards of INC Research (INCR), a leading global contract research organization; Seres Therapeutics, developing microbiome-based therapeutics; and POXEL SA, developing drugs to treat type 2 diabetes. Kender obtained his B.S. in accounting from Villanova University and his MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.