Driven by passion
Our team believes in taking a collaborative approach and seeks to be a valuable partner to all stakeholders along the journey. We embrace cutting edge innovation and fresh perspectives. At Vida Ventures, we foster entrepreneurship and diverse thinking in the recognition that people make ideas come to life.
- 30+ year career in science, medicine, company formation, management, and VC. Leader in developing novel cancer treatments
- Allogene Therapeutics – Executive Chairman and Co-Founder
- Kite Pharmaceuticals Founder – CEO & Chairman (acquired by Gilead)
- Cougar Biotechnology – Founder and Vice-Chairman (acquired by J&J)
- Agensys – Founder and Chairman (acquired by Astellas Pharma)
- Roy and Carol Doumani Professor of Urology at UCLA
- 30+ year career in science, medicine, entrepreneurship and VC
- TPG Biotechnology – Founding Partner and Managing Director (retired)
- Professor of Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, Medicine, Biochemistry & Biophysics at UCSF Chief of Endocrinology & Metabolism (emeritus)
- Cell Design Labs – Co-Founder and Executive Chairman (acquired by Gilead)
- Sweetwater Spectrum – Co-Founder
- Fellow of National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American College of Physicians, Rhodes Scholar, Searle Scholar
- 10+ year career in clinical medicine, research, company formation and VC
- 5AM Ventures – Principal
- Homology Medicines – Founding team
- Pear Therapeutics – VP, Business Development
- Foresight Pharmaceuticals – Co-Founder and CEO
- 30+ year career in corporate / M&A law, PE investing and fund management
- Wildcat Capital Management – President and Chief Investment Officer
- Infinity Q Capital Management – Chief Executive Officer
- Soros Funds Management – Managing Director and Co-Head, Private Equity
- Director of Hilton Grand Vacations, Solar Capital, GSV Capital, Auto Europe Car Rental, Neurovision, and several other private biotechs
- 10+ year career in life sciences research, investing, new company formation, and operations
- Third Rock Ventures – Principal
- Decibel Therapeutics – Founding team
- TPG Capital – Associate
- Credit Suisse – Analyst, Healthcare Investment Banking
- 30+ year career in medicine, company formation and management, and academia
- Allogene Therapeutics – Co-Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer
- Kite Pharmaceuticals – Executive Vice President, Research & Development, and Chief Medical Officer
- Amgen – Vice President of Global Development and Head of Hematology-Oncology
- Associate Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
- 25+ year career in leadership roles in biotechnology
- The Column Group – Partner
- Kite Pharma – Executive Vice President
- NGM Biopharma – Strategic Advisor and former Chief Business Officer
- Kosan – Chief Executive Officer and President
- Affymax – Chief Business Officer
- Onyx – Senior Vice President of Corporate Development
- Chiron – Vice President of Global Strategic Marketing
- Board of Directors: Peloton Therapeutics, Assembly Biosciences, Applied Molecular Transport, and Exicure
- 25+ year career in corporate communications in the life sciences industry
- Kite Pharma – Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & Investor Relations (acquired by Gilead)
- W2O Group – Head of Healthcare
- Hill + Knowlton Strategies – Senior Vice President & Co-Director, Healthcare
- Senior Communications roles at Amgen, Allergan and Abraxis BioScience
- 18 years+ career in company formation and life sciences investing
- Allogene Therapeutics – Co-Founder and Director
- Kite Pharma – Co-Founder and Director (acquired by Gilead)
- Two River – Founder and Partner
- Director of Hubble Contacts, Second Science Nutrition
- 20 years+ life science investment experience
- Allogene Therapeutics – Co-Founder and Officer
- Kite Pharma – Co-Founder and General Counsel (acquired by Gilead)
- Two River – Founder and Partner
- 20+ years career in science, medicine, and academia
- Kite Pharma – VP of Clinical Development
- Amgen – Global Development Lead
- Attending Physician at UCLA Harbor Medical Center
Meet the team
Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS
Co-Founder and Sr. Managing Director
Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, is a Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director of Vida Ventures. A visionary entrepreneur, Arie is co-founding and leading the creation of Allogene Therapeutics, a biotechnology company with a mission to catalyze the next revolution in cancer treatment through the development of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapy directed at blood cancers and solid tumors. Arie founded Kite Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of innovative cancer immunotherapies where he served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer until the acquisition of Kite by Gilead Sciences in October 2017. He remains as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for FosunKite, a joint venture formed between Fosun Pharma and Kite, a Gilead company, for the development of cell therapy in China. Arie has had a distinguished tenure in the life sciences, having been closely involved with the founding and advancement of several successful biopharmaceutical companies including Cougar Biotechnology and Agensys. Abiraterone, developed by Cougar, is a mainstay of therapy for patients with metastatic prostate cancer. He currently serves as Chairman of Two River Group and UroGen Pharma, (NASDAQ: URGN), and previously served as a Board Member of Cell Design Labs until its acquisition by Gilead in December 2017.
Arie is a Professor of Urology, holds the Roy and Carol Doumani Chair in Urologic Oncology, and is Director of the UCLA Institute of Urologic Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is currently a member of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Strategic Advisory Group.
Prior to joining UCLA, Arie was at the National Cancer Institute/NIH as a research fellow in surgical oncology and immunotherapy under Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg. He completed his M.D. at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, his post-graduate studies in Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and his residency in Urologic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He has authored several books in oncology and more than 500 scientific and medical papers related to urological cancers, immunotherapy, gene therapy, and cancer vaccines. He is certified by the American Board of Urology, and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons.
Fred Cohen, M.D., D.Phil
Co-Founder and Sr. Managing Director
Fred Cohen, M.D., D.Phil is a Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director at Vida Ventures. Prior to Vida, Fred was a Partner and founder of TPG Biotechnology, a life science focused investment effort from 2001-2016.
From 1980 through 2014, Fred was at UCSF where he held various clinical responsibilities as a research scientist, an internist for hospitalized patients, a consulting endocrinologist, and as the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. His research interests included structure based drug design, prion diseases, computational biology and heteropolymer chemistry. Fred has published over 200 peer reviewed articles, participated as a co-inventor on over 10 patents and has served as an editor or editorial board member of several international scientific journals.
Fred received his B.S. degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, his D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, his M.D. from Stanford and his postdoctoral training and postgraduate medical training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at UCSF. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Medical Informatics and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians. Fred has received several awards for his work including a Searle Scholarship, Young Investigator awards from the Endocrine Society and the Western Society for Clinical Investigation, and the LVMH Science pour l’art prize (shared with Stanley Prusiner). Fred was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.
Fred currently serves on the Board of Directors of several biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations including Biocryst (NASDAQ: BCRX), CareDx (NASDAQ: CDNA), Genomic Health (NASDAQ: GHDX), Progyny, Tandem Diabetes (NASDAQ: TNDM), and Veracyte (NASDAQ: VCYT), and UroGen (NASDAQ: URGN). Fred was Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Cell Design Labs and a former Director of Quintiles (NYSE: Q), Aptalis Pharma, Rapid Micro Biosystems and Roka (NASDAQ: ROKA), and Five Prime Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FPRX).
Fred and his wife, Dr. Carolyn Klebanoff, were founders of Sweetwater Spectrum, a non-profit organization that creates and runs planned communities for adults with autism. Dr. Klebanoff currently serves as the Board Chair and Fred is a member of the Advisory Board.
Arjun Goyal, M.D., M.Phil, M.B.A
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Arjun Goyal is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Vida Ventures.
From 2014 through 2017, Arjun was an investment professional at 5AM Ventures, a life science focused venture firm. Arjun was a Board Observer at Aprea AB, Spyryx, Pear Therapeutics, Portal Instruments, Entrada, and Homology Medicines (NASDAQ: FIXX). At 5AM Ventures, Arjun was part of the founding team of Homology Medicines, a genetic medicines company and he also served as Acting VP of Business Development at Pear Therapeutics. Prior to joining 5AM Ventures, Arjun was Co-Founder and CEO, Foresight Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company developing hormonal treatments for infectious diseases.
Arjun received his B.S. in Medical Science, Diploma in French and his M.D. degree from the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford. He completed his postgraduate medical training in Internal Medicine at the University of Sydney. He received his M.Phil. in Bioscience Enterprise from Cambridge on a Commonwealth Scholarship and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Arjun has received several awards for his work including the American Australian Association Education Fellowship, Robert Kaplan Life Science Fellowship, Oxford Clarendon Scholarship, Gates Cambridge Scholarship and Reg Waite Award for Young Australians. He is a co-inventor on one patent and has served on the editorial board of an international scientific journal.
Arjun is a Board Observer at Pionyr Immunotherapeutics and serves on the Committee for the American Australian Association Education Fellowship and LifeTech Advisory Board of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, and was on the 2016 NCI Review Committee for SBIR grants.
Len Potter, J.D.
Len Potter is a Co-Founder of Vida Ventures, and both founded and has served as the President and Chief Investment Officer of Wildcat Capital Management, LLC. In addition, Len has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Infinity Q Capital Management, a registered investment advisor that provides innovative hedge fund strategies to institutional and retail investors.
From 2002 through 2009, Len was a Managing Director – Private Equity at Soros Fund Management LLC (“SFM”) where, from 2005 through 2009, he served as co-head of the Private Equity group and a member of the Private Equity Investment Committee. From 2009 until founding Wildcat, Len served as a consultant to SFM and as the Chief Investment Officer of Salt Creek Hospitality, a private acquirer and owner of hospitality related assets that was backed by SFM.
From September 1998 until joining SFM, Len was a Managing Director of Alpine Consolidated LLC, a private merchant bank, and from 1996 through 1998, Len founded and served as a Managing Director of Capstone Partners LLC, a private merchant bank.
Prior to founding Capstone Partners, Len was an attorney specializing in mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Len has served and continues to serve on a number of boards of public and private companies, including Hilton Grand Vacations, where he serves as Chairman of the Board, Solar Capital Ltd (SLRC), Solar Senior Capital Ltd. (SUNS), and GSV Capital Corporation (GSVC). Len also served for several years as a Trustee of Brandeis University and as a member of the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees. Len has a B.A. from Brandeis University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.
Len and his wife, Shari Potter, were co-founders of the Basser Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania, a translational research and treatment center focused on BRCA related cancers.
Stefan Vitorovic, M.S., M.B.A.
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Stefan Vitorovic is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Vida Ventures.
From 2014 to 2017, Stefan was an investment professional at Third Rock Ventures, an early stage life sciences venture capital firm. At Third Rock, Stefan was part of the founding team of Decibel Therapeutics, a hearing-focused drug discovery and development platform company, where he led the seed and Series A investment and early company build.
From 2010 to 2012, Stefan was an Associate at TPG Capital, where he focused primarily on majority, control stakes in mature healthcare companies. Stefan participated in a variety of equity and debt financings, including those for two portfolio companies – Aptalis and Biomet. Prior to TPG, Stefan was an analyst at Credit Suisse’s healthcare investment banking group in San Francisco. There he primarily focused on M&A and financing for development-stage life sciences companies.
Stefan received his B.S. with Honors in Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He completed his M.S. in Biology at Stanford. His research in the lab of Dr. Helen Blau at Stanford Medical School was focused on transcriptional profiling of hematopoietic stem cells, for which he received the university’s top research award, The Firestone Medal. Stefan also received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Stefan serves as a Director at Praxis Precision Medicines.
David Chang M.D., Ph.D.
David D. Chang, M.D., Ph.D. is a Venture Partner at Vida Ventures. He is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Allogene Therapeutics, a biotechnology company with a mission to catalyze the next revolution in cancer treatment through the development of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapy directed at blood cancers and solid tumors. David previously served as Executive Vice President, Research & Development, and Chief Medical Officer of Kite, a Gilead Company. He has an industry-leading track record of innovation in the field of oncology drug development, including the development for Yescarta™ (axicabtagene ciloleucel), the first CAR T therapy approved for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. From 2002 to 2014, he held senior leadership roles at Amgen, including Vice President of Global Development and Head of Hematology-Oncology. During this time, David spearheaded personalized therapy strategies that underlied the success of Vectibix® (panitumumab). He also provided therapeutic area leadership to pivotal programs for Blincyto® (blinatumomab) a bispecific T cell engager antibody in acute lymphocytic leukemia and for IMLYGIC™ (talimogene laherparepvec) a first-of-its-kind oncolytic immunotherapy, in melanoma.
Prior to joining Amgen, David held dual appointments as Associate Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. David completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow. David serves as a Director at A2 Biotherapeutics, and Peloton Biotherapeutics and is a member of the scientific advisory board to Kronos Bio.
Helen S. Kim, MBA
Helen S. Kim is a Managing Director of Vida Ventures.
Ms. Kim has over 27 years of experience in leadership roles in biotechnology. Most recently, Ms. Kim was a Partner at The Column Group. Prior, Ms. Kim served as Executive Vice President of Business Development at Kite Pharma, Inc. where she led all business and corporate development initiatives successfully selling Kite Pharma to Gilead in 2017.
Previously, Ms. Kim served as Strategic Advisor of NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. from January 2012 through November 2014. Ms. Kim served as the Chief Business Officer at NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. from August 2009 to January 2012. Prior to NGM, she was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Kosan Biosciences where she restructured and repositioned the company prior to successfully selling the company to Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2008. Ms. Kim’s additional industry experience includes executive positions at Affymax, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Chiron Corporation. Ms. Kim received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Ms. Kim currently serves on the Board of Directors for Peloton Therapeutics, Assembly Biosciences, Applied Molecular Transport and Exicure.
Strategic Communications Advisor
Christine Cassiano is a Strategic Communications Advisor to Vida Ventures. She is a communications executive with wide experience in investor relations, financial communications, corporate communications, media relations, brand strategy and public affairs. Christine previously served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations for Kite Pharma until the acquisition of Kite by Gilead Sciences in 2017.
Christine’s career is distinguished through the development of integrated communications strategies for companies with novel therapies such as Yescarta™ (axicabtagene ciloleucel) and Botox®/Botox® Cosmetic (onabotulinumtoxinA). She has held executive management positions in international communications agencies, including roles as the Head of Healthcare for the W2O Group and Senior Vice President & Co-Director for Healthcare at Hill + Knowlton Strategies. Christine co-founded ARC2 Communications & Media, a boutique agency that developed groundbreaking platforms for some of the largest companies in healthcare. She has also held senior global communications roles in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, Allergan and Abraxis BioScience.
Some of Christine’s career achievements include a SABRE Silver Anvil award for the launch of Botox® Cosmetic (Allergan), an In2 SABRE Award for the Most Innovative Brand/Agency Collaboration (Pfizer/ARC2), and PR Week’s 40 Under 40. She holds a B.A. from California State University, Fullerton and Investor Relations Certification (IRC) from the University of California, Irvine.
Co-Founder and Director
Joshua is a Co-Founder and Director of Vida Ventures. He is also a Co-Founder and Partner of Two River, where he has served as Partner since its inception in 2004. Prior to founding Two River, he served as Managing Director of a life science focused venture capital firm.
Josh is a Co-Founder, officer and director of Allogene Therapeutics Inc. Josh was also a Co-Founder and Director of Kite Pharma where he served on the board until its acquisition by Gilead in 2017. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Capricor Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CAPR). Josh also serves as a director of several privately held companies including Second Science, and Hubble Contacts.
Josh is a Member of the Wharton School’s Undergraduate Executive Board and serves on the Board of Directors of the Desert Flower Foundation. Josh received his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
David Tanen, J.D.
David is an Advisor to Vida Ventures. David Tanen is a Co-Founder and Partner of Two River, which focuses on creating, operating and financing development stage life science companies. Prior to founding Two River, he served as General Counsel of a life science focused venture capital firm. David is also a Co-Founder of Kite Pharma, Inc., where he served as Corporate Secretary and General Counsel before its acquisition by Gilead Sciences in 2017. He is a Co-Founder and Corporate Secretary of Allogene Therapeutics, Inc. David received his B.A. from The George Washington University and his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, where he has served on the Dean’s Planning Council since 2009.
Rajul Jain, MD
Rajul K. Jain is a Director at Vida Ventures. Rajul currently serves as a consultant to Allogene.
Rajul is a physician-scientist by background. He was most recently leading the Development organization at Kite Pharma where he oversaw a team of approximately 200 people managing 19 clinical studies of 5 engineered cell therapy products in a variety of solid tumor and blood cancers. Rajul joined Kite in 2014 and was instrumental in the advancement of the company’s R&D pipeline, including ultimately global approvals of Yescarta®, the first engineered cell therapy approved to treat an adult malignancy. As part of his most recent role at Kite, Rajul served on the Cell Therapy Leadership Team, a team of CEO reports responsible for developing and executing the company’s corporate strategy.
Previously, Rajul was at Amgen since 2010 where his last role was Global Development Lead. At Amgen, Rajul oversaw the development of small molecules and biologics in the oncology and bone health therapeutic areas. In his roles, Rajul was instrumental in the approvals of Xgeva in giant cell tumor of the bone and hypercalcemia of malignancy, and in the regional approvals of Prolia in hormone therapy associated bone loss. While at Amgen, Rajul also pioneered the use of novel data visualization techniques to evaluate clinical trial data.
Rajul completed his BA in chemistry and biochemistry at Rice University, and MD and Internal Medicine internship and residency at UT Southwestern Medical school, where he also studied the relationship between protein structure and protein energetics as a Howard Hughes Fellow. Subsequently, Rajul completed his post-doctoral training in biophysics with Nobel Laureate Roderick MacKinnon at Rockefeller University, and fellowship training at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he was Chief Fellow and primary investigator on phase 1 clinical studies. Rajul has published primary literature in the fields of medicine and biophysics, and is co-inventor on patents in the engineered cell therapy space.
Rajul has active medical licenses in the states of California and Texas, and was providing care to cancer patients in an underserved community as a volunteer Attending Physician at UCLA Harbor Medical Center until 2014. He has also been a standing lecturer to graduate students at the UCLA Business of Science Center since 2016.