board of directors
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 the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Immusoft, a biotech start-up firm that is developing a breakthrough technology that will turn a patient’s B cells into miniature drug factories. Longer term, this technology has the potential to transform the landscape of biomedicine.
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 has 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.