Board of Directors

  • Florent GrosChairman
    Dr. Florent Gros is a Managing Director of the Novartis Venture Funds in Basel, Switzerland. He held various senior positions in the intellectual property at Nestlé, Pasteur Mérieux Connaught and Novartis. Since 2006 Florent joined the Novartis Venture Funds. Florent currently serves on the boards of Adicet (US), Anokion (CH), Atlas Genetics (UK), Kanyos (US), Inflazome (IE), Vivet Therapeutics (FR) and Opsona (IE). His prior investments resulted to the following successful acquisition and IPO listings: Altimmune, Evolva, Gensight, Merus, Neovacs, Okairos and Tigenix. Florent is a Kaufmann Fellow (class 12), he holds a Biotechnology Engineering Master Degree in France. He also holds European and French patent lawyer degrees, and a Master Degree in Private Law.
  • Arni BlondalDirector
    Arni Blöndal is a founding partner at Brunnur Ventures, the General Partner of Brunnur VC Fund, based in Iceland. Arni has 25 years of experience in the private sector; as a start-up co-founder, VC fund manager and as an investment banker. He has served as a board director in numerous start-ups in the fields of healthcare and IT. He holds a C.Sc. degree in engineering from the University of Iceland and a M.Sc. degree in information technology from Denmark's Technical University.

  • Lionel CarnotDirector
    Lionel Carnot is a Managing Director of Bay City Capital, joining the firm in 2005 after having been extensively involved in the firm’s activities as part of The Pritzker Organization since 2000. Mr Carnot is based in Bay City Capital’s office in Basel, Switzerland, where he manages the firm’s European activities. Prior to The Pritzker Organization, Mr Carnot was a Principal at Oracle Partners, a healthcare hedge fund. He also held several positions in the pharmaceutical industry, including Product Manager for Prozac at Eli Lilly and several sales and marketing positions at Sanofi-Aventis. Mr Carnot was also a strategy and management consultant to the biopharmaceutical industry while at Booz Allen & Hamilton, and Accenture Strategic Services. Mr Carnot holds an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD and an MSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Geneva.

    Mr. Carnot currently serves on the Board of Directors of Merus N.V. and iQone Healthcare. He is a former member of the board of several companies, including Madrigal Pharmaceuticals and Reliant Pharmaceuticals; which was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2007 marking the single largest all-cash transaction for a venture-backed biotech company at that time.
  • Rob Hopfner, RPh, PhD, MBADirector
    ob Hopfner, RPh, PhD, MBA, is a Managing Partner at Pivotal bioVentures. Rob focuses on drug discovery and development investments.

    Rob joined Pivotal in Fall 2017, and brings a long track record of working successfully with entrepreneurs to get novel, important medicines through development and onto the market. He was formerly either a board member or board observer on Aciex Therapeutics (sold to Nicox S.A.), Civitas Therapeutics (sold to Acorda Therapeutics), Cydan, Dermira (NASDAQ: DERM), Hyperion Therapeutics (sold to Horizon Pharma), Imara Pharmaceuticals, NextWave Pharmaceuticals (sold to Pfizer), Pharmakea Therapeutics, and Vtesse (sold to Sucampo Pharmaceuticals). Other past investments where Rob played a key role included Iterum Therapeutics, Kezar Life Sciences, Madrigal Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MDGL), Menlo Therapeutics, Merus BV (NASDAQ: MRUS) and Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TTPH).

    Prior to joining Pivotal Rob was at Bay City Capital, a life sciences focused venture capital firm where he was a Managing Director. Earlier in his career he worked in DuPont Pharmaceuticals' Business Development & Strategic Planning group and at Ag-West Biotech, a Western Canadian seed-stage biotech venture capital firm. Rob holds a PhD in Pharmacology and a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Saskatchewan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He completed his post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School. Rob won numerous awards during his research career, including the Governor General of Canada Gold Medal Award in 2000, and he published several articles in top medical journals based on his work.
  • Thorsteinn Loftsson, MSc. MPharm, Ph.D. Director, co-founder
    Thorsteinn Loftsson co-founded Oculis in 2003 and has since then been on the Company’s Board of Directors.

    Dr. Loftsson is a leading scientist in the field of cyclodextrin based drug delivery. He has served as an advisor to many of the global pharmaceutical companies on drug formulations and IP rights. He co-founded and served as CEO of the biotechnology company Cyclops ehf. from 1994 until it was acquired by DeCode Genetics in 2000. At that time, Dr. Loftsson took on the role of a scientific advisor at Decode Genetics (until 2004).

    Dr. Loftsson received an MS degree in Pharmacy from the University of Copenhagen, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a MS and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Kansas, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He has served as Assistant, Associated and full Professor on the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Iceland for the past 36 years. In 1980 to 1996, he served as an Adjunct Associate Professor and later Adjunct Professor at the College of Pharmacy, University of Florida.

    Dr. Loftsson has authored and co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed papers in addition to couple of books and number of book chapters. He is a fellow of the AAPS and is on the editorial boards of Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Journal of Pharmaceuticals, Journal of drug Delivery Science and Technology, Die Pharmazie and Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. In 2014, he was recognised as one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters.
  • Riad Sherif, MDDirector, CEO
    Dr. Riad Sherif has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Sherif joined Oculis from Novartis where he served as Entrepreneur in Residence at Novartis Venture Fund during 2017. Prior to this, Dr. Sherif held senior positions in global business development both at Alcon, where he was Region President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where he served as President of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Canada.
    Dr. Sherif joined Novartis in 2002 and has also held senior operational and management roles as Head of Transplant and Infectious Disease for Latin America, and Head of the Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Division for Latin America. Prior to Novartis, Dr. Sherif worked for several pharmaceutical companies, holding positions of increasing seniority, mainly in marketing and general management with international scope. Dr. Sherif is a medical doctor by training. He also has an MBA and a Specialized Master’s degree in Medical Management.
  • Stefan Jokull SveinssonDirector
    Stefan Jokull Sveinsson works currently as an independent consultant for various pharmaceutical and life science companies as well as for private equity companies. Stefan acts as board director in several companies in Iceland including Akthelia, KeyNatura and SagaMedica. He is also a scientific advisory board member for Enzymatica AB in Sweden.

    Stefan has over 23 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry. From 1993 to 2014 he worked at Actavis in Iceland and in Switzerland, holding various technical and executive positions including Executive Vice President for the Global R&D operations and Senior Vice President for Specialty Pharmaceutical Development. Stefan served as a member of the Executive Board and Executive Team of Actavis. He also held Board of Director positions for Actavis in various companies in India, Denmark and Iceland. Prior to his industrial carrier, Stefan held an assistant professor position at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Iceland and he has published over thirty scientific papers. Stefan received his education MSc in Pharmaceutics at the University of Iceland and Dalhousie University Canada.