Dr. Carlo Rizzuto, CEO

Carlo Rizzuto is a  Partner with Versant Ventures and focuses on biotech investing and company building.

Carlo joined Versant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals where he led global product development teams in the advancement of innovative pipeline products.  He previously held the position of Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company advising US and European clients in the pharmaceutical, payor and provider sectors. Prior to joining McKinsey, Carlo helped found engeneOS, a Boston-based biotech startup.

Carlo received a PhD in Virology from Harvard University and a BA in Biology from the University of Virginia.



Maria Cartier                                 mcartier@versantventures.com                                    (646) 357-1286

Dr. Jerel davis, Director

Jerel Davis is a Partner with Versant Ventures.

Jerel joined Versant from McKinsey & Company where he was an Associate Principal.  During his six years with McKinsey, he advised healthcare corporations in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical device, and molecular diagnostics.  He has worked in a number of healthcare markets globally including the US, Europe, China, Russia, and India.  Jerel was a post doctoral researcher at Stanford University until 2005 and a researcher at Amgen from 1999-2000. 

In addition to his role at Highline, Jerel is also currently holds board positions at Inception, Blueline Bioscience and Northern Biologics. Jerel received a PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University where he studied Genomics and Population Genetics.

Dr. Brad Bolzon, Director

Brad Bolzon is a Managing Director with Versant Ventures.

Brad brings more than thirteen years of global pharmaceutical industry experience to Versant’s biotech investment team. He specializes in early-stage biotech investing with a particular emphasis on new company start-ups.

Prior to joining Versant, Brad served as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Business Development, Licensing & Alliances with F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Under his leadership, Roche established alliances with over 75 biotech companies worldwide and significantly strengthened its product pipeline. Previously, Brad held executive roles at Eli Lilly in drug discovery, clinical research, regulatory affairs, and business development.




Paul Sekhri joined Lycera as President and CEO in February 2015. Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President, Integrated Care for Sanofi from April 2014 through January 2015. Previously, he served as Group Executive Vice President, Global Business Development and Chief Strategy Officer for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. Prior to joining, Teva he spent five years as Operating Partner and Head of the Biotechnology Operating Group at TPG Biotech, the life sciences venture capital arm of TPG Capital. From 2004-2009, Mr. Sekhri was Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Cerimon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to founding Cerimon, Mr. Sekhri was President and Chief Business Officer of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

 Previously, Mr. Sekhri spent four years at Novartis, as Senior Vice President, and Head of Global Search and Evaluation, Business Development and Licensing for Novartis Pharma AG. Mr. Sekhri also developed the Disease Area Strategy for Novartis, identifying those specific therapeutic areas upon which the company would focus. His first role at Novartis was as Global Head, Early Commercial Development - a department he established to ensure the differential competitive advantage of Novartis' pipeline. 

Mr. Sekhri completed graduate work in Neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he also received his BS in Zoology.

Mr. Sekhri has been a Director on more than 16 private and public company Boards, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Veeva Systems Inc., Pharming N.V., Enumeral Biomedical Holdings, Inc., and Nivalis Therapeutics, Inc.

Additionally, he serves on several non-profit Boards including the Cancer Research Institute, the BioExec Institute, Inc., the TB Alliance, Young Concert Artists, Inc., and the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. Mr. Sekhri also served as a Member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall from 2010-2012, where he is now an active member of their Patrons Council.

DR. Joseph P. Vacca, CSO

Dr. Joseph P. Vacca is currently the CSO of Highline Therapeutics which is a drug incubator for early stage programs identified by Highline Therapeutics.  Dr. Vacca has an extensive background in the drug discovery industry.  He earned his BS in chemistry in 1977 from St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, and obtained his PhD degree in Organic Chemistry under Professor Peter T. Lansbury Sr. at the State University of New York at Buffalo (New York).  He joined Merck Research Laboratories in 1981 and made major contributions to many approved drugs including the HIV protease inhibitor CRIXIVAN™ (indinavir sulfate), the HIV integrase inhibitor Isentress™ (raltegravir); the first generation HCV protease Inhibitor vaniprevir (VanihepTM, Japan only) and the combination product ZepatierTM (grazoprevir/elbasvir), the second generation HCV protease Inhibitor/NS5A protein Inhibitor combination that was recently approved by the FDA.  Dr. Vacca retired from Merck in 2011 and took a role as Senior Vice President of Early Success Sharing Partnerships at WuXi AppTec Limited in early 2012.  He recently left WuXi in Sept. 2015 and to begun his consulting practice and helped establish the first Highline portfolio company Kyras Therapeutics where he serves as interim CSO as part of his role with Highline Therapeutics.

Dr. Vacca has over 100 publications and patents and is the holder of many awards including a Merck Directors Award (1998); PhRMA Discoverers Award (1999); Intellectual Property Owners "National Inventor of the year Award" (1997); European Inventor of the Year (non-EU nation) (2007); ACS "Award for Creative Invention" (1999); and was a named a Merck Research Laboratories Presidential Fellow in 2008.  He was recently named to the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame (Aug. 2012) and was also named a “Hero of Chemistry” (along with the research team) for his role in the discovery and development of the HIV integrase inhibitor IsentressTM.

DR. CAMERON L.W. PITT, Associate

Cameron recently completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of California – San Francisco.  Under biotech research pioneer Frank McCormick, his research focused on functional differences in oncogenic mutations in KRAS, the most common driver oncogene in human cancer.  His work had a translational component aimed toward direct inhibition of KRAS proteins once thought to be undruggable.  While working on his Ph.D., he also collaborated on a breast cancer drug development program at Genentech.  Cameron was a UCSF Moritz-Heyman Discovery Fellow and a NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Cameron earned his B.S. in Biology from Stanford University, where he was awarded research training fellowships at the NIH – NICHD.


Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Maria brings over 15 years experience in office management and executive support roles.  She has worked with a number of start-ups and emerging companies, wearing many hats as required in such dynamic environments. Maria received a Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, in Organizational Management from Felician University.