PANEL 1  •  9:30-10:20am

The Rise of Impact Investing

How Disease Foundations are Translating Science Into Cures

Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith, PhD, JD, Partner, Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati

Deborah Smith is a partner in the San Diego office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. She assists with the preparation and prosecution of patent applications in the fields of chemistry, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Prior to joining the firm, Deborah was a medicinal chemist at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development in San Diego. In this role, she focused on the design and synthesis of organic compounds that modulate the inflammatory and immune response. Deborah received her PhD from the University of California, Irvine, where she developed new synthetic methodologies. Deborah has co-authored several scientific publications and book chapters, and is a co-inventor on three U.S. patent applications.

Rusty Kelley, PhD, MBA, SVP Investments & Alliances, Foundation Fighting Blindness

Rusty Kelley, PhD, MBA, Managing Director, Retinal Degeneration Fund (Foundation Fighting Blindness)

Rusty Kelley is the Managing Director of the Retinal Degeneration Fund (RD Fund), the venture arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  Kelley is responsible for external investment opportunities that strategically aligns with the Foundation’s therapeutic mission. Prior to FFB, Kelley directed several translational programs at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and prior to BWF was the head of preclinical at Tengion, a tissue engineering biotech out of Boston Children’s Hospital and Wake Forest University.  Earlier in his career Kelley served in clinical development at PPD, and in the pharmaceutics and analytical chemistry divisions for AAIPharma. Kelley received a BA in Chemistry from UNC Chapel Hill, and a PhD in Pharmacology at LSU’s Health Sciences Center.  Kelley was then awarded an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship at the School of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill, and recently earned an MBA from Duke University.  Kelley currently serves as a co-founding Director of Opus Genetics, a Director at SparingVision and Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, and a Board Observer for Atsena Therapeutics and Amber Bio.

Dirk Landgraf

Dirk Landgraf, PhD, Vice President at Dementia Discovery Fund / SV Health Investors

Dirk joined SV in 2020 and is a Vice President in the DDF team. He helps form and fund companies developing transformational new medicines for dementia. He carries out due diligence of new deals, and provides strategic, BD, and operational support to existing companies in the DDF portfolio supporting them in bringing drugs from discovery to market.Prior to joining SV/DDF, Dirk was an Associate Director in the External Innovation group at Biogen in Cambridge, MA, where he led the evaluation and scientific due diligence for Business Development opportunities.

Teri Wiley

Teri Willey, MBA, Managing Director, Pathway to Cures (National Hemophilia Foundation)

Teri recently joined the team at the National Hemophilia Foundation to launch, lead and manage the new Pathway to Cures (P2C) Venture Philanthropy Fund focused on equity investments in companies developing therapies for inheritable blood diseases.  Teri has been in the business of commercializing early-stage research results for over 35 years and most recently as the founding managing director of IU Ventures’ Indiana Philanthropic Venture Fund. Teri served as a senior executive for business development for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC, was the founding chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise Ltd in Cambridge England and a co-founder of ARCH Development Partners, an early-stage Midwest venture fund.

Russell Wyborski

Russell Wyborski, PhD, Director, IBD Ventures Investments (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation)

Dr. Wyborski is currently the Director of IBD Ventures Investments at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation where he oversees a growing portfolio of therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, and digital health applications focused on improving IBD patients’ lives. He began his drug development career at Pfizer where he conducted preclinical research in the therapeutic areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular, and inflammation. He led discovery programs in neurotrophic factors, nuclear receptors, and kinases. After his time at Pfizer, he led a research group in the consumer product field by developing products for skin care. Prior to coming to the Foundation, Russ was a Director of Technical Operations at BioMotiv, a start-up company which functioned as a Drug Development Accelerator in Cleveland, OH.