Our Capabilities & Team

Hibiscus BioVentures provides the Technology Capital People necessary to build transformative biotechnology companies.

Formed in 2019 with a core focus of moving patient care forward through the development of commercially viable technologies. These technologies must aim to address serious unmet medical needs for patients.

Hibiscus has the capabilities to build and develop patient-focused companies by bringing all the necessary resourcing in-house. We leverage a differentiated venture studio model to build Studio Companies in combination with Hibiscus Capital Management, our venture capital investment arm.

The Hibiscus team has decades of investment and operational experience taking scientific discoveries from the lab bench to patients’ bedsides.

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Venture studio focused on building companies from the ground up around innovative technologies.

Hibiscus Capital Management Logo

Patient-focused venture capital arm investing in transformative biotechnology companies.

Chris Jeffers
Managing Director

Chris Jeffers, PhD, JD

Chris is a 25+ year veteran of healthcare and biotech. Beginning his career Chris ran clinical laboratories...

Chris is a 25+ year veteran of healthcare and biotech. Beginning his career Chris ran clinical laboratories for the U.S. Air Force and civilian hospitals in the early 90’s. Since then, he has held various roles including CEO, General Counsel, Vice President of Drug Discovery, Managing Director and has served as outside counsel to hundreds of life science companies ranging from big pharma to individual inventors. Before co-founding Hibiscus Chris was a partner in the Washington, DC office of Mintz Levin, where he led a multidisciplinary team specializing in representing biotech and pharma companies in complex corporate, financing and commercial transactions as well as general business advising.

Chris received his Ph.D. training in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Rice University and the University of Houston, where he was a National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellow. Following his Ph.D. training Chris was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he studied the structure of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Receptor (CFTR). In addition, Chris obtained his law degree from Georgetown University. Bringing years of startup experience to Hibiscus Chris was the founder of FirstStage Bioventures, Seguro Surgical, EncephRx and Camden Pharmaceuticals, and was the General Counsel and V.P. of Drug Discovery at Alba Therapeutics. In addition to serving as outside General Counsel to numerous biotech companies including Viela Bio and NexImmune, Chris holds adjunct faculty appointments in the School of Business and Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

*Note that Dr. Jeffers is not acting as a lawyer in any capacity in his role as Managing Director of Hibiscus BioVentures. As such, no conversations with Dr. Jeffers are privileged, and Dr. Jeffers will not give legal advice through any interaction with Hibiscus BioVentures or any affiliated company.

Josh Barer, Managing Director of Hibiscus BioVentures
Managing Director

Josh Barer

Josh Barer is Managing Director of Hibiscus BioVentures, as well as Barer & Son Capital, LLC which forms...

Josh Barer is Managing Director of Hibiscus BioVentures, as well as Barer & Son Capital, LLC which forms, restructures and funds early-stage cutting edge biotechnology companies.

Prior to HB and B&S, Josh has spent his career at several boutique investment banks and consultancies, including Trout Capital and the Maxim Group, and has a passion for early-stage drug development to serve patients with unmet medical needs. He is also a Venture Advisor at the Israel Biotech Fund (IBF).

Josh is on the boards of Asclepix, Inc. and NexImmune, Inc. (board observer). He is also on the Boards of several-not for-profit organizations focused on education and economic development, including Trickle Up, Family Promise, and Getting Out and Staying Out (Action Board).

Josh received a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers College and studied Conflict Management at Drew University.

Sia Anagnostou
Partner

Sia Anaganostou, M.S., M.B.A.

Sia Anagnostou, Venture Partner, also serves as Head of Corporate Development at Immunomic Therapeutics...

Sia Anagnostou, Venture Partner, also serves as Head of Corporate Development at Immunomic Therapeutics. In this role, she is responsible for several core areas including alliance development, product pipeline, external communications, and government relations.In collaboration with R&D, she has been responsible for the Company’s overall corporate strategy and portfolio started in immune-oncology. She has sourced, transacted and advanced in-licensing opportunities. Further, she has raised awareness about Immunomic with important stakeholders in the science, government and investment communities through directing ITI branding initiatives, messaging, external communications and government relations. Mrs. Anagnostou previously founded and sold her company in the retail and international import space, spent two years in corporate development at Theranostics Health, where she focused on cancer proteomic molecular diagnostics, and spent two years at a consultancy starting and raising seed capital for companies. She earned her executive M.B.A. from Duke University, her M.S. in Molecular Biology from Georgetown University and her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Warren Martin
Partner

Warren Martin

Warren has a very diversified professional background having been a senior partner with PwC where...

Warren has a very diversified professional background having been a senior partner with PwC where, among other roles, he was the market managing partner for their technology practice and led financial due diligence teams for a significant number of M&A transactions. He also co-founded a registered investment bank and was the COO of an AM LAW 25 global law firm. His career has included national and international public and privately owned clients where he participated in capital raising efforts through numerous IPOs, private equity and venture backed rounds of financing. He advised on a large array of M&A transactions including buy and sell side transactions and carve-outs. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of a global software company and has held numerous other Board of Directors roles. Warren is a graduate of Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.
Michael King
Partner

Michael King

Michael is the former CFO and CBO of PDS Biotechnology, serving from 2014 through its reverse merger...

Michael is the former CFO and CBO of PDS Biotechnology, serving from 2014 through its reverse merger with Edge Therapeutics in March 2019, then continuing as a senior advisor since that time. He has been a senior advisor at Akari Therapeutics since 2014, when he played a key role in the public-private merger and concurrent $75 million PIPE that formed the company in 2015. Michael was CFO and CBO of Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, where he raised more than $70 million in private financing, and CBO of Atrin Pharmaceuticals. He was a member of the US Executive Committee for Sandoz GmbH, the $10 billion subsidiary of Novartis AG.

A former management consultant with McKinsey & Company in its Pharmaceutical and Medical Products practice, Michael also has a background in corporate finance and sell-side analyst research, with deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical/biotech industry. Mr. King holds an M.B.A. with Honors from the Columbia Graduate School of Business.

Jim Bennethum
Principal

Jim Bennethum

Jim Bennethum is Principal of Hibiscus BioVentures and a seasoned Venture Capital and Family Office leader...

Jim Bennethum is Principal of Hibiscus BioVentures and a seasoned Venture Capital and Family Office leader. Jim has served as a trusted advisor to ultra-high net worth individuals with investments in the life science, automotive, retail, and venture capital sectors.

An accomplished senior executive with an exceptional track record in profitable growth for global automotive and technology companies (global P&L > $3B per annum). Transformative operations leader with extensive international cross-cultural expertise in strategic planning, sales, business development, operations, M&A, restructuring, talent and emerging market development. Jim was honored by Johnson Controls as The Chairman’s Award Winner for leading his team to be the first in the company’s 135+ year history to book more than $1B of new business in one fiscal year. Expert in risk management, crisis preparedness and business continuity planning.

Philanthropic leadership roles as Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Karmanos Cancer Institute and as Chairman of the Board of the Karmanos Cancer Foundation as well as a member of the Board of the Karmanos Cancer Center.

A United States Coast Guard volunteer pilot and accomplished private aviator with broad experience in corporate aviation fleet operations.

Elizabeth Parsons
General Counsel

Elizabeth Parsons

Elizabeth's principal areas of concentration are technology transactions and licensing in the Life Sciences...

Elizabeth’s principal areas of concentration are technology transactions and licensing in the Life Sciences. Experienced in evaluating intellectual property assets and counseling on structuring and negotiating acquisitions, licensing and other technology-related agreements. With a strong background in intellectual property law, including patent prosecution helping to protect and extract value from IP assets.
Rebecca Simamora
VP, Clinical Operations

Rebecca Simamora

Rebecca brings over 20 years’ experience in clinical which spans both pharmaceutical and biotech companies...

Rebecca brings over 20 years’ experience in clinical operations which spans both pharmaceutical and biotech companies, developing operations expertise in most modalities in the clinic (small/large molecule, device, gene therapy) across several indications, both adult and pediatric, as well as rare disease experience. Rebecca has extensive experience building teams from the ground up, and also restructuring organizational teams to align with corporate objectives. She brings a deep understanding of both tactical and strategic clinical knowledge. As the CVMD Clinical Operations Head at MedImmune, Rebecca built the clinical operations division to execute on the early stage cardiovascular/metabolic portfolio, and was an executive sponsor in the rebuild of a new outsourcing & governance model focused on maximizing the benefits of successful MedImmune partnerships.
Rebecca has held senior leadership positions at Fujirebio, MedImmmune/Astra Zeneca, and Regenxbio. Prior to that she held roles of increasing responsibility in clinical at Shering-Plough, Wyeth, and Shire.
Gabe Gutierrez
VP, Research & Development

Gabriel Gutierrez

Dr. Gabriel Gutierrez (Gabe) is the VP, Research and Development at Hibiscus BioVentures...

Dr. Gabriel Gutierrez (Gabe) is the VP, Research and Development at Hibiscus BioVentures.  At Hibiscus, he manages the staff and diligence process for both the fund and studio, while also focusing on operationalizing the studio biotech building efforts.  Prior to joining the Hibiscus Team, Gabe worked at Leidos as the Scientific Director of government sponsored R&D contracts.  Specifically, he was Principal Investigator on two malaria vaccine development contracts (~$100M) with the NIH and USAID from which five malaria vaccines were successfully entered into Phase 1 clinical trials.  He also co-founded a biotech division within Leidos where he helped invented a platform (MicroTideTM) to interrogate the microbiome for immunomodulatory peptides for use in cancer, infectious diseases, and CNS. Gabe has authored many scientific publications and named on seven patent applications.  Gabe received his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Connecticut and did his post-doctoral work in cancer cell cycle at Harvard Medical School.

Outside of the office, Gabe is a review editor for several scientific journals and is on the scientific advisory board of the non-profit advocacy group, Why We Vax.  He also enjoys coaching little league baseball for his son’s team.

Amy Noe, Hibiscus BioVentures Director of Research & Development
Director of Research & Deveopment

Amy Noe, Ph.D, M.B.A

Dr. Amy Noe brings more than 20 years of experience in program and operations management for biomedical...

Dr. Amy Noe brings more than 20 years of experience in program and operations management for biomedical product research and development efforts, from proof of concept through clinical trials.  She has extensive experience in establishing and managing scientific collaborations with a wide variety of organizations including biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic and government laboratories, and non-profit institutions.  Amy has authored numerous scientific publications and holds two patents for her work in vaccine development.  Her educational background is in the infectious disease and immunology fields.  Amy completed her Ph.D. in biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame and holds an M.B.A in management from San Diego State University.
Shane Neibart
Senior Associate

Shane Neibart

Shane serves as the Director of Research at Hibiscus BioVentures. He leads due diligence for preclinical...

Shane serves as the Director of Research at Hibiscus BioVentures. He leads due diligence for preclinical and clinical therapeutics and diagnostics. He has conducted preclinical research at Duke University and NYU Langone Medical Center in the fields of mechanobiology and regenerative medicine. He holds a B.S.E in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, where he graduated with distinction as a National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholar and Pratt Research Fellow. Shane is also currently enrolled as a medical student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he is pursuing a joint MD/MS in Clinical and Translational Science.
Clay Wiske
Senior Associate

Clay Wiske, M.D., M.B.A.

Clay serves as senior analyst at Hibiscus BioVentures. He brings both clinical and industry experience...

Clay serves as senior analyst at Hibiscus BioVentures. He brings both clinical and industry experience, and he has trained as a vascular surgeon at NYU Langone Medical Center. He has been published in a variety of peer reviewed publications including JAMA; Journal of Vascular Surgery; and Health Management, Policy, and Innovation. His industry experience includes co-founding a venture-backed biotech, Mifcor, that developed therapeutics for ischemia-reperfusion industry and supporting the execution of a Phase II clinical trial in Lewy Body Dementia at Axovant. He has also worked for the Boston Consulting Group as a consultant in their life sciences practice. Clay holds a B.A. in Physics from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Micro- and Nanotechology from the University of Cambridge, an M.D. from Brown University, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Yan Su
Associate

Yan Su, Ph.D.

Yan Su currently serves as a BD Advisor and Consultant at Hibiscus BioVentures and Immunomic Therapeutics...

Yan Su currently serves as a BD Advisor and Consultant at Hibiscus BioVentures and Immunomic Therapeutics, with a particular focus on China BD. He has over 13+ year’s research and development experience in the US and China. Yan previously served as VP of R&D for Bio-Tao Therapeutics (Beijing, China). In this position, Yan led a team in developing a tumor stem cell targeted immunotherapy. Yan is an expert in the nucleic acid and cell therapy platform technology and immunology. He previously worked with the Immunomic Therapeutics R&D team as a senior scientist for five years. He significantly contributed to the MoA and optimization of the UNITE platform. He is also a key contributor in applying the UNITE platform in different diseases, particularly the Japanese red cedar induced allergy and HPV derived cancers. Additionally, he served as a technology transfer committee member between Immunomic Therapeutics and Astellas Pharma. Prior to joining Immunomic Therapeutics, Yan was a staff scientist at the Uniformed Service University for Health Sciences. Yan has published more than 25 articles. Yan received his Ph.D. in Immunology from the George Washington University.
Skylar Bennethum
Project Manager

Skylar Bennethum

Levi Kinzer
Analyst

Levi Kinzer

Zach Zarubin
Analyst

Zach Zarubin

Octavia Farquharson
Associate Counsel

Octavia Farquharson

Mica Gilbert
Office Manager

Mica Gilbert

Amanda Kuehn
Director of Clinical Operations

Amanda Kuehn

Amanda is an experienced clinical operations lead with a history of delivering clinical programs across various therapeutic areas

Amanda Kuehn serves as the Director of Clinical Operations at Hibiscus BioVentures. Amanda is an experienced clinical operations lead with a history of delivering clinical programs across various therapeutic areas, including infectious disease, vaccines, cardiovascular, and gene therapy, both adult and pediatric, as well as rare disease. She provides operational expertise in design and execution of clinical development strategies, driving cross-functional teams in the delivery of complex global clinical trials, and utilizing new and innovative methodologies for clinical trial delivery. Amanda has held positions in clinical operations at MedImmune/AstraZeneca and most recently at REGENXBIO.
Sol Barer
Chairman

Sol Barer, Ph.D.

Founder of Celgene Corp. and Centrexion Therapeutics Corp., Sol J. Barer is a businessperson who has...

Founder of Celgene Corp. and Centrexion Therapeutics Corp., Sol J. Barer is a businessperson who has been at the helm of 14 different companies and is currently the Chairman of the Boards of NexImmune, Inc., Centrexion Therapeutics Corp., Aevi Genomic Medicine, Inc., Medgenics Medical Israel Ltd and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Dr. Barer received a doctorate from Rutgers State University of New Jersey and an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College.
Bing Yao
Advisor

Bing Yao, Ph.D.

Bing is currently the CEO of Viela Bio, which was spun-out of AstraZeneca in order to develop MedImmune/AZ’s...

Bing is currently the CEO of Viela Bio, which was spun-out of AstraZeneca in order to develop MedImmune/AZ’s autoimmune pipeline. Bing was previously Senior VP, Head of Respiratory, Inflammation, Autoimmune iMED, MedImmune, AstraZeneca. During his tenure at MedImmune, he played key leadership roles in the development and approval of three novel biologics. Bing previously served as Senior VP, Head of Immuno-Oncology Franchise, AstraZeneca, as well as CEO for WuXi-MedImmune Joint Venture. Bing joined MedImmune in 2010 from Genentech, where he was the Head of PTL for Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, and Metabolic Disease, and was Vice President and Head of Research for Tanox. Bing received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Iowa, followed by postdoctoral work at Immunex.
Scott Carmer
Advisor

Scott Carmer

Mr. Carmer is currently the CEO of NexImmune, Inc. Mr. Carmer brings 25 years of leadership experience...

Mr. Carmer is currently the CEO of NexImmune, Inc. Mr. Carmer brings 25 years of leadership experience with top-tier companies including AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Genentech, Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline. At AstraZeneca, he led the US Specialty Care Division of AstraZeneca with responsibility for the company’s portfolio of specialty care biopharmaceutical products. Prior to AstraZeneca, Mr. Carmer served as Executive VP, Commercial Operations of MedImmune. Mr. Carmer was also VP, Rheumatology Sales & Marketing for Genentech, where he was responsible for the US launches of Rituxan and ACTEMRA. Prior to Genentech, Mr. Carmer held several leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Amgen, most recently as Executive Director of Global Marketing.
Robert Spiegel
Advisor

Robert Spiegel, M.D.

Dr. Spiegel was an Assistant Professor and Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at New York...

Dr. Spiegel was an Assistant Professor and Director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at New York University Medical Center and then spent 25 years at Schering-Plough (subsequently acquired by Merck & Co.), where he joined as the first Director for Oncology Clinical Research. He subsequently held a series of senior executive positions, including Senior Vice President for Worldwide Clinical Research and Chief Medical Officer. During his time at Schering-Plough he led teams that took numerous drug candidates through clinical development and was involved with over 30 New Drug Application approvals by the U.S. FDA. For the last seven years, he has been a consultant to the biotech industry and has served on the Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Directors of multiple biotech companies.
Bahija Jallal
Advisor

Bahija Jallal, Ph.D.

Dr. Jallal has been the CEO of Immunocore since January 2019. Previously, Dr. Jallal served as Executive VP...

Dr. Jallal has been the CEO of Immunocore since January 2019. Previously, Dr. Jallal served as Executive VP of AstraZeneca and President of MedImmune. She joined MedImmune in 2006 from Chiron Corporation where she served as VP of Drug Assessment and Development. Dr. Jallal has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and holds more than 15 patents. She is a member of the boards of directors of Immunocore and Anthem, Inc.. Additionally, she is a member of the of the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Jallal received her Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Pierre & Marie Curie in Paris, France and M.S. in Biology from the Universite de Paris VII in France. She conducted her postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany.
Mitchell Chab
Advisor

Mitchell Chan, M.Sc., M.B.A.

Mitch has more than 15 years of finance experience in the life sciences industry and currently serves as...

Mitch has more than 15 years of finance experience in the life sciences industry and currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Viela Bio. He joined Viela in 2018 as Vice President, Head of Finance & Corporate Strategy, and was instrumental in supporting the Company through capital raises with leading healthcare investors. Previously, Mitch served as the Director of Investor Relations for AstraZeneca, North America and prior to that held several roles of increasing responsibility at Genentech-Roche including in BioOncology Commercial Finance, R&D Finance, and Mergers & Acquisitions. Mitch is the recipient of Executive Certifications from Stanford University, University of California (Haas), and University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) and earned his BSc, MSc and MBA (Rotman School of Management) from the University of Toronto.
Sapna Srivastava, PhD
Advisor

Sapna Srivastava, Ph.D.

Dr. Srivastava is the Chief Financial Officer at eGenesis and is a seasoned industry executive with extensive...

Dr. Srivastava is the Chief Financial Officer at eGenesis and is a seasoned industry executive with extensive experience leading finance activities and guiding corporate strategy. Most recently, Dr. Srivastava served as the chief financial and strategy officer at Abide Therapeutics (acquired by Lundbeck), prior to which she held a similar role at Intellia Therapeutics. In these roles, she has played a key role in equity financings including a successful initial public offering, strategic alliances including M&A, as well as in shaping the strategic direction of the company. She also has experience as a board member for public and private biotechnology companies. Before Intellia, Dr. Srivastava spent more than a decade on Wall Street as a senior biotechnology analyst for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and ThinkEquity Partners, LLC. She began her career as a research associate at J.P. Morgan.

Dr. Srivastava earned her B.S. in Biology from St. Xavier’s College at the University of Mumbai and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the New York University School of Medicine.

The recommendations of the Advisory Board shall be advisory only. No Managing Partner may be a member of the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will meet from time to time as determined by the Partnership.  The processes of the Advisory Board will be subject to its charter.