board of directors
Sean Ainsworth is Immusoft’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He has 20 years’ experience in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Previously, he founded and led RetroSense Therapeutics, a gene therapy company he advanced into human clinical trials and sold to Allergan in 2016 in a deal valued at up to $555 million.
Earlier, he was deeply involved in the launch of Compendia Bioscience, Inc., and GeneVivo, LLC. At both he assisted in developing business models, licensing technologies, building management teams, and securing capital and first customers. Life Technologies acquired Compendia BioScience in 2012.
Sean founded Ainsworth BioConsulting in 2004 to provide licensing, as well as strategic and business planning services to the life science and entrepreneurial community. His clients included large pharma, small biotechs, universities, CROs, and venture investment funds. He has worked with clients at all stages of development.
His other professional experience includes research at Medical Biology Institute (now Avanir Pharmaceuticals, developers of Abreva, the leading cold sore medication) in San Diego, Calif., intellectual property at Koyama and Associates in Tokyo, and international corporate development consulting at The Mattson Jack Group in St. Louis, Mo.
Sean earned an M.B.A. in strategy and finance from Washington University in St. Louis. He holds a B.S. in Microbiology from University of California, San Diego.
Mark Ahn, Ph.D. is Principal at Pukana Partners, Ltd. that provides strategic consulting to life science companies; and Professor (adjunct) at Portland State University and Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Ahn’s 20 year career has spanned small and large biopharmaceutical companies and academia. Most recently, he served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Galena Biopharma. Previously, he served as Chair, Science & Technology Management at Victoria University at Wellington, New Zealand. Dr. Ahn was also founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Hana Biosciences. He also served as Vice President, Hematology and corporate officer at Genentech, Inc., as well as held positions of increasing responsibility at Amgen and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; and served in the US Army.
Dr. Ahn also serves on public and venture capital-backed Board of Directors for private and public companies. Dr. Ahn is the author of over 50 peer reviewed journal articles and books. Dr. Ahn received a BA and MBA from Chaminade University; and MA from Victoria University. He was a graduate fellow in Economics at Essex University, and obtained a Ph.D. from the University of South Australia. Dr. Ahn is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Matthew Scholz is Immusoft’s founder and Chief Technology Officer. He is a member of the board of directors and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer from 2009 through 2017.
With a background in computer security, Matthew’s initial concept for Immusoft’s core technology was based on using high speed cryptographic hardware to develop novel proteins to fight pathogens. In 2008, Matthew began conducting independent research in immunology and gene therapy and seeking input from some of the world’s top scientists. By 2009, he dramatically evolved the initial concept after conceiving how a research system developed by Nobel Laureate and former President of Caltech, David Baltimore, could be modified for a practical application: programming resting B cells to secrete therapeutic proteins. Matthew negotiated an exclusive license to the system, then developed and patented a way to improve its efficiency nearly seven-fold, thus making it clinically viable. This modified system is the core of Immusoft’s technology platform.
Along the way, Matthew recruited a world-class team of scientists and biotech business experts to build Immusoft’s core technology and shape and drive the company. Immusoft’s extensive list of advisors includes experts in immunology, cell therapy, gene therapy, preclinical and clinical development, and CEOs of successful biotech companies. Matthew has also led Immusoft’s highly successful fundraising efforts. In March 2012, Immusoft was among the first to be awarded the Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs grant. The start-up has also received a grant from the National Institutes of Health and funds from private investors. In addition, Matthew has secured several valuable collaborations, including nearly $100k of work at no charge from academic labs during the company’s proof of concept stage.
With Immusoft as his third venture, Matthew has 13 years of experience connecting real-world needs with cutting-edge technical solutions. Prior projects include mobile application development and GPS-based fleet logistics (a start-up that he sold in 2009). He holds a degree in computer science from the University of Washington and is a frequent speaker at the University of Washington School of Business. Matthew also serves as mentor for the Thiel Fellowship, a program that awards $100k grants to some of the brightest scientific minds in the world who are under age 20.
Tony Sun, a biotechnology industry consultant, has been involved in numerous life science company activities from company formation to fundraising to capital market exits to acquisitions.
He has spent the last 13 years on the investment side of the business, first at Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceutical Fund and then at Aisling Capital where he served as Partner. Previously, Tony was an Adjunct Instructor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Tony received his MD from Temple University School of Medicine with A.O.A. honors. He received his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. In addition, he has been Board Certified in Internal Medicine.
Wendell King is the CEO of King Consulting, a consulting company working primarily in the genomics and medical device field.
Earlier, he held various positions with Medtronic, Inc. Medtronic is a Fortune “200”, Minneapolis-based, medical device company. Mr. King served as Vice President and General Manager of the BioInterface Division, Medtronic’s second largest division, which manufactured and marketed temporary and permanent pacing leads, diagnostic catheters, physiologic sensors and angioplasty catheters. Prior to becoming Vice President and General Manager, he was Director of Research and Development at Medtronic where he was responsible for developing numerous commercially successful new products.
After leaving Medtronic, Mr. King co-founded and served as CEO and Chairman of Angeion Corporation, a developer of medical device products. Mr. King raised more than $50 million in private financing to fund the development of Angeion and successfully took the company public. Angeion today is a NASDAQ traded company, traded under the MGCD symbol.
After Angeion, Mr. King co-founded Gateway Alliance, LLC. Gateway was an early-stage business incubator. Gateway Alliance founded several successful companies including: Vascular Solutions, Rave Sports, and WorldKnit.com.
Vascular Solutions, Inc., successfully completed an IPO and is a publicly traded medical device company and trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Mr. King has numerous publications and has been granted more than 40 patents. He earned a B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology. Mr. King has completed the Executive Business Administration Program at Dartmouth, Amos Tuck School of Business, and course work toward a Ph.D. in polymer physics at the University of Akron, Polymer Institute.
In addition to Immusoft, Mr. King currently serves on the following Boards: Recombinetics and Cardiology Prevention.