Board of Directors
aTyr’s board of directors plays an important role in guiding the enormous potential of our science through the realities of running a biotech business. Each member has an accomplished track record in biologics and building biotechs from a strong, novel scientific foundation and in navigating and supporting meaningful partnerships and product opportunities.
John K. Clarke »Chairman
John K. Clarke has served as Chairman of our Board of Directors since September 2005. Mr. Clarke is Managing Partner of Cardinal Partners, a venture capital firm focused on healthcare investing. He co-founded Cardinal Partners in 1997 and has served as President of CHP Management, Inc. since that time. He currently serves as a director of Ivenix Corporation, a privately held biotechnology company,. He has also served as a director for several biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies including Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Verastem, Inc., Vividion Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Bayer AG) and Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline); healthcare information technology companies including TechRx Technology Services Corporation (acquired by NDCHealth) and Visicu, Inc. (acquired by Phillips Electronics); and a privately held biopharmaceutical company, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals Inc. Mr. Clarke holds an A.B. in economics and biology from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.Chairman of the Board
Timothy P. Coughlin »Director
Timothy P. Coughlin has served as a director since April 2017. Mr. Coughlin is the former Chief Financial Officer of Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Neurocrine), a biopharmaceutical company that has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for INGREZZA (valbenazine) and ORILISSA (elagolix), both of which were discovered and developed during his tenure at Neurocrine from 2002-2018. Prior to joining Neurocrine, he was with Catholic Health Initiatives, a nationwide integrated healthcare delivery system, where he served as Vice President, Financial Services. Mr. Coughlin also served as a Senior Manager in the Health Sciences practice of Ernst & Young LLP and its predecessors from 1989 to 1999. Mr. Coughlin serves on the board of directors of Travere Therapeutics, Inc. and Fate Therapeutics, Inc., both biotechnology companies. He also served on the board of directors for Peloton Therapeutics prior to its sale to Merck & Co in 2019. Mr. Coughlin holds a master’s degree in international business from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Temple University. Mr. Coughlin is a certified public accountant in both California and Pennsylvania.
Jane Gross, Ph.D. »Director
Dr. Jane Gross has served as a director since June 2019. Dr. Gross served as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Research and Development of Aptevo Therapeutics Inc. (Aptevo) from September 2016 to September 2021. She currently serves as a consultant to Aptevo (as of September 2021) holding the title of Chief Scientific Officer. At Aptevo, Dr. Gross led the discovery of novel protein therapeutics based on the ADAPTIR™ and ADAPTIR-FLEX™ platform technologies focusing on development of therapeutics based on immuno-oncology, leading research efforts in molecular biology and protein engineering, immunology, protein and cell sciences, pharmacology and translational research. Prior to joining Aptevo, Dr. Gross served as Vice President, Applied Research and Non-Clinical Development at Emergent BioSolutions Inc. and Vice President, Immunology Research at ZymoGenetics, Inc., where she led efforts in discovery and development of therapeutics from novel genes. Dr. Gross holds a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of California, Berkeley under Jim Allison (2018 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine) and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the University of Washington in immunology.
Svetlana Lucas, Ph.D. »Director
Dr. Svetlana Lucas has served as a director since June 2019. Dr. Lucas currently serves as a Chief Business Officer at Scribe Therapeutics, a private biotechnology company. Prior to her current role, she served as Senior Vice President, Business Development at Tizona Therapeutics, Inc. (Tizona), a clinical stage immunotherapy company, where she was responsible for the company’s business development strategy and transactions, including a global strategic collaboration with AbbVie Inc (AbbVie). Before joining Tizona, Dr. Lucas was Head of Oncology and Inflammation External R&D at Amgen Inc. (Amgen), where she oversaw business development activities, including Amgen’s strategic cancer immunotherapy research collaboration and licensing agreement with Kite Pharma, and collaborated with Amgen Ventures on several investments in oncology and inflammation. Dr. Lucas joined Amgen following the acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Onyx), where she spearheaded the company’s oncology partnering strategy and due diligence of new opportunities. Prior to Onyx, she held positions of increasing responsibility in strategy, business development and strategic marketing at Amgen, PDL BioPharma/Facet Biotech (acquired by AbbVie), and XOMA Corporation. She began her career as a strategy consultant in the Life Sciences practice of McKinsey & Company, Inc. Dr. Lucas received her Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry from California Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate degree in biology from Moscow State University.
Paul Schimmel Ph.D. »Director
Paul Schimmel, Ph.D. has served as a director since September 2005. Dr. Schimmel is currently a director of several private companies. He was a cofounder of Repligen Corporation, Alkermes, Inc., Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Sitris Pharmaceuticals, and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and a founding Director of Momenta, Inc. Dr. Schimmel is an Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor of Molecular Medicine and of Chemistry at Scripps Research. He was formerly the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Schimmel holds a B.A. in biochemistry and biophysics from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Sanjay S. Shukla M.D., M.S. »Director
Sanjay S. Shukla, M.D., M.S. has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer and as a director since November 2017. Dr. Shukla served as our Chief Medical Officer from March 2016 to November 2017. From April 2015 to March 2016, Dr. Shukla worked in an advisory capacity for a number of companies, including as a consultant to aTyr from January 2016 to March 2016. Prior to that, from October 2012 to April 2015, Dr. Shukla served as Vice President and Global Head of Integrated Medical Services for Novartis, a biopharmaceutical company, where he led global medical affairs operations, with oversight for all pharma general medicines therapies, both inline and in development. Dr. Shukla served as Chief Executive Officer of RXMD, a clinical development consultancy that assisted in advancing proof of concept for early stage drug candidates, from April 2009 to September 2012. Prior to that, Dr. Shukla served in a variety of clinical development, data analytics and drug safety roles at Vifor Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company, and Aspreva Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Vifor Pharma). Dr. Shukla received his M.D. from Howard University College of Medicine and his Bachelors of Science in microbiology and Master of Science in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Maryland.
Sara L. Zaknoen, M.D. »Director
Sara L. Zaknoen, M.D., has served as a director since May 2021. Since June 2014, through her company, Zed Strategic Consulting, Dr. Zaknoen has worked as a clinical drug development consultant with large pharma and biotech companies across multiple disease indications. Previously, Dr. Zaknoen held Chief Medical Officer positions at several biotechnology companies, including Ignyta, Inc., Polynoma LLC, Tragara Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Prior to that, Dr. Zaknoen served as Executive Director of Phase 2/3 Clinical Oncology Research at Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation, where she provided oversight for a number of important marketed therapies, such as Gleevec®, Tasigna® and Exiade®. This included supervising the execution of clinical studies, including registrational trials, and involvement with new drug applications and label expansion activities. As Director of Clinical Oncology Research at Schering-Plough (now Merck) she was the lead physician on the Temodar® program, supporting its approval and launch. Additional professional experience includes: Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center; Director of Experimental Therapeutics at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Western Pennsylvania Cancer Institute; and Medical Staff Fellow at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Zaknoen completed her residency, internship and fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Minnesota. She received her M.D. from Indiana University School of Medicine and her B.S. in chemistry and biology from Valparaiso University.