Charles Cooney, Ph.D. | Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT

Charles Cooney is the Robert T. Haslam (1911) Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Emeritus in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. His degrees include a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Pennsylvania and Master’s and Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from MIT. He serves as a consultant to a number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and sits on the Boards of Directors of Just Biotherapeutics, Mitra RxDx, GreenLight Bioscience, Pronutria, Inc., Boyd Technologies, Levitronix Technologies, and Innovent Biologics (China). He was previously on the Boards of Genzyme, Cuno, Inc., Pall Corp., Biocon (India), Polypore International and Astra AB. He chaired the FDA Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science from 2004-2006. HIs research interests include manufacturing in the pharmaceutical, biotech and bioprocess industries, as well as bioprocess design, operation and control, and processing of pharmaceutical powders and technological innovation strategy.

Victor P. Fung, MBA | Chief Operating Officer & Founding Partner

As founding partner and COO of Just, Victor brings over 30 years of biotechnology industry experience that includes executive level accountability for biopharmaceutical process development, manufacturing and operations.

During his tenure at Amgen, Victor was site head for Process and Analytical Sciences in Seattle, Washington and global leader for Pilot Plant Operations and Cellular Resources across three locations. He managed diverse scientific disciplines such as cell culture process development, purification process development, analytical sciences, pilot plant operations, cell banking, nucleic acid chemistry, bioassay, biosafety and critical reagents. 

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Victor worked at Genentech Inc., Immunex Corporation and Targeted Genetics and has contributed to the commercialization of biopharmaceuticals such as Activase®, Pulmozyme®, Enbrel® and Vectibix®. In his most recent position, Victor was accountable for the development and commercialization of Amgen’s biosimilars portfolio. Victor was called upon to lead technology and business initiatives that transformed how molecules were designed and manufactured. He helped to create process development capabilities for the newly formed Biosimilars business unit within Amgen. These responsibilities reinforced the importance of developing strong strategic partnerships both internally and externally. Partnerships will be critical and foundational to success.

Steven Gillis, Ph.D. | Managing Director at ARCH Venture Partners

Steven Gillis has been a managing director at ARCH Venture Partners since 2005. Dr. Gillis was a founder and director of Corixa Corporation and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer since inception and as its chairman since January of 1999. GlaxoSmithKline acquired Corixa Corporation in July of 2005. Prior to starting Corixa, Dr. Gillis was a founder and director of Immunex Corporation. From 1981 until his departure in 1994, Dr. Gillis served as Immunex’s Director of Research and Development, Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Executive Officer of Immunex’s Research and Development subsidiary. Dr. Gillis was interim Chief Executive officer of Immunex Corporation following its majority purchase by American Cyanamid Company. Dr. Gillis remained on the Board of Directors of Immunex until 1997. Immunex was acquired by Amgen in 2002. 

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Dr. Gillis is an immunologist by training with over 300 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of molecular and tumor immunology. He is credited as being a pioneer in the field of cytokines and cytokine receptors, directing the development of multiple marketed products including Leukine, (GM-CSF), Prokine (IL-2) and Enbrel (soluble TNF receptor-Fc fusion protein) as well as the regulatory approval of Bexxar (radiolabeled anti-CD20) and the novel vaccine adjuvant, MPL. Dr. Gillis received his B.A. from Williams College in 1975 and his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1978. He currently serves as a director or Chairman of multiple private and public biotechnology companies in the United States.

Dr. Jimmy Zhang | Partner at Lilly Asia Ventures

Dr. Jimmy Zhang is a venture partner at Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV).  Jimmy was Vice President, Transactions, at Johnson & Johnson and led the transactional and partnership management activities and strategy in Asia Pacific region in pharmaceuticals, medical devices & diagnostics and consumer products, as well as fund relationship and partnership.  Jimmy was the Managing Director, MSD Early Investments – Greater China at Merck & Co., and a member of Merck Research Lab (China) Senior Leadership Team.  He was also a Board Director of BeiGene Co, Ltd. and an Advisor Board member of Cenova Ventures.  Jimmy was previously SVP at Synergenics, acting CEO of ReLIA Diagnostic System, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a registered patent agent in the Palo Alto office of Morrison & Foerster, and a project manager at Chiron Corporation (now part of Novartis).

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Jimmy is a founding member and former Chairman of BayHelix Group.  He is an adjunct professor and master degree mentor at Yeehong Business School at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University.  Jimmy published in Cell, Nature, Neuron, and JBC, and holds multiple patents.  He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, a PhD in biomedical sciences from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he worked closely with three Nobel Laureates, and a BS in biochemistry from Nanjing University.

James N. Thomas, Ph.D. | CEO & Founding Partner

Jim is leveraging his extensive experience in biotechnology and scientific leadership to deliver the mission of Just. Over the course of his career, Jim’s passion has been to provide vital medicines to patients, and his vision for Just expands this to include patients worldwide.
Previously, Jim served as vice president of Process and Product Development within the Translational Sciences R&D organization at Amgen. In this role, he led the development and application of all process, analytical and formulation technologies used to manufacture both clinical and commercial large molecule products. He retired from Amgen in May of 2014 to found Just.

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Jim was first exposed to biotechnology as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT almost 35 years ago, then worked as a scientist and leader at Genentech, Immunex and Amgen. Over the course of his career, he has contributed to the advancement of many important therapeutics including Activase®, Vectibix®, Enbrel®, Prolia®/Xgeva® and Repatha™. Jim has built teams, departments and functions passionate about creating and using innovative technologies to deliver to the needs of patients, and he and his team at Just are continuing this important mission.