Scientific Founders

Seth Cohen, PhD

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of California San Diego

Dr. Cohen is a Professor, and former Chair, of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at U.C. San Diego. He attended Stanford University where he earned B.S. and B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Political Science, respectively. He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.C. Berkeley and was an N.I.H. postdoctoral fellow at M.I.T. In 2001, Dr. Cohen joined the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at U.C. San Diego. He has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).  His research and teaching accomplishments have been recognized with the Cottrell Scholar Award from the RCSA and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the ACS. He was also awarded the AAAS Roger Revelle Fellowship in Global Stewardship, with which he spent a year at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington D.C. He has developed an international reputation in the field of bioinorganic chemistry, with an emphasis on novel approaches to metalloprotease inhibition. For more information, visit

Raymond J. Deshaies, PhD

Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Deshaies is Professor and Executive Officer of Biology at the California Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His laboratory is focused on investigating the cellular machinery that mediates protein degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), and how this machinery contributes to cellular regulation. Dr. Deshaies is a leading figure in the ubiquitin field and has published over 140 papers and is an inventor on ten issued U.S. patents, many related to his work on the UPS. For more about his work, visit Dr. Deshaies has received numerous awards and scholarships, including Markey and Searle Scholar Awards and Burroughs-Wellcome and Beckman New Investigator Awards, in 1999 was selected as Young Investigator of the Year by the American Society for Cell Biology and in 2011 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to being a co-founder of Cleave Biosciences, Dr. Deshaies was the academic co-founder of Proteolix, which initiated clinical development (through phase 2) of the FDA-approved drug carfilzomib.

Larry Lasky, PhD

The Column Group

Dr. Lasky is an expert in biotechnology, a field that he has worked in commercially for over 34 years. In 1981, he was a founding scientist of Genetics Institute (acquired by Wyeth), one of the earliest biotechnology companies.

Prior to joining The Column Group, Dr. Lasky was a scientist at Genentech for 20 years where he worked in various disciplines including vaccinology, immunology, stem cell biology, cellular signaling mechanisms, and monoclonal antibody therapy of tumors. Two of the vaccines that he worked on, for herpes simplex virus and HIV infection, entered Phase III clinical trials. He is a coauthor on 138 publications and a co-inventor on 38 issued and pending patents, several of which generate significant (9 figure) licensing royalties for Genentech. He was a standing member of the Research Review Committee that directed research across all product development areas at Genentech. Dr. Lasky attained the company's highest scientific position, Genentech Fellow (there were only three research Genentech Fellows in the company’s history), before he retired in 2002.

Dr. Lasky has also served on numerous NCI and NIH scientific review panels and has reviewed hundreds of papers for many prestigious journals. As a general partner of Latterell Venture Partners from 2002 to 2007, Dr. Lasky was the founding investor of Proteolix (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals), OncoMed (NASDAQ: OMED) and was instrumental in the founding of Cellective Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Medimmune). Proteolix, the company that he started in 2003, received accelerated approval for their drug, Carfilzomib/Kyprolis, for the treatment of multiple myeloma in 2012. At USVP, he has been the founding investor of Cleave Biosciences and eFFector Pharmaceuticals and was an investor in Intellikine Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Millenium/Takeda). Dr. Lasky holds BA and PhD degrees in molecular biology from UCLA and completed his post-doctoral studies at The California Institute of Technology.

Francesco Parlati, PhD


In his capacity as Cleave Biosciences co-founder, Dr. Parlati discovered potent small molecule inhibitors of novel proteases in protein homeostasis pathways. He is currently the Senior Director of Biology at Calithera Bioscinences.  Previously, Dr. Parlati held various positions at Proteolix Inc. ranging from Scientist to Associate Director of Biology from January 2004 to October 2009. Proteolix Inc. focused on the discovery and development of next generation proteasome inhibitors, including carfilzomib, the orally-bioavailable proteasome inhibitor PR-047 and the immunoproteasome-selective analog PR-957. Dr. Parlati played pivotal roles at Proteolix Inc, including developing carfilzomib’s pre-clinical rationale and clinical PD assays as well as leading the immunoproteasome-selective inhibitor PR-957 discovery program. Proteolix Inc. was acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals in November 2009.  Prior to Proteolix, Dr. Parlati was a Scientist in the oncology drug discovery division at Rigel Pharmaceuticals from August 2001 to December 2003. Dr. Parlati received his Ph.D. from McGill University in 1996 and was a post-doctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1996 to 2001.

Peter Thompson, MD

Venture Partner
Orbimed Advisors

Peter Thompson, M.D., is currently a Private Equity Partner with OrbiMed who brings over 25 years of industry experience. Peter co-founded and was CEO of Trubion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TRBN), co-founded Cleave Biosciences and Corvus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CRVS) and was previously an executive of Chiron Corporation and Becton Dickinson. Dr. Thompson also serves as a Director on several public and private company Boards, is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awardee and an Affiliate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington. He is the inventor on numerous patents is a board-certified internist and oncologist and was on the staff at the National Cancer Institute following his internal medicine training at Yale University.