Columbia University

Technology Ventures


Gad Berdugo

Explorium Capital, Diaccurate, Editas, EpiVax Oncology, Immune Pharmaceuticals
Year Served: 

Gad Berdugo, MSc. Eng., MBA

Mr. Berdugo is the Managing Partner of Explorium Capital LLC, a strategic and financial advisory firm focusing on the global biotechnology sector. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of clinical development stage precision oncology company, Diaccurate. Mr. Berdugo brings over 35 years of biotech corporate & business development, strategy, operational, financial, investment and general venture management experience. He served as CBO at CRISPR gene editing pioneer Editas (Nasdaq EDIT); Co-founder and CEO at personalized neoantigen cancer vaccine venture, EpiVax Oncology Inc.; CFO and EVP at Immune Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq IMNP); Managing Director and Head of Life Sciences at Tegris Advisors, a strategic and financial advisory boutique; Founder and Managing Partner of the Explorium Global Life Sciences Investment Fund; Director, Senior Equity Research Analyst and Life Sciences Sector Leader at Lazard, Asset Management Group. Prior to that, he served as a Director of Global Business Development within Baxter’s Biopharmaceuticals group and started his career at Abbott Labs. Mr. Berdugo received his B.Sc. with Honors in Biotechnology from Imperial College London, his M.Sc. in Biochemical Engineering from University College London and his M.B.A. from H.E.C. Paris. He serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of H.E.C. Inc. and Friends of U.C.L. Inc. Mr. Berdugo is bilingual in French and English and has dual US and French citizenships. He resides with his wife in New York City.

Jessica DesNoyer

Ostiio, J&J DePuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew, Abbott, and Becton Dickinson
Year Served: 

Dr. Jessica DesNoyer, PhD, MBA – Chief Executive Officer, Ostiio

Jessica is CEO of Ostiio, a seed-stage medical device startup focused on improving the lives of people with craniofacial abnormalities.  An accomplished healthcare and life sciences executive, Jessica brings a track record of building innovation centers and emerging businesses within several large corporates (J&J DePuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew, Abbott, and Becton Dickinson) to the Ostiio team.

Prior to joining Ostiio, Jessica enjoyed a successful and rewarding career that encompassed a diverse background across therapy spaces (interventional, cardiovascular, and orthopedics), technologies (devices, biologics/biomaterials, and combination therapies), and functional leadership roles (R&D, strategy & innovation, marketing, business development, and general management). Her education, experience, and passion uniquely position her to guide technology from concept through commercialization.  Throughout her career, she has enthusiastically led cross-functional teams to build and execute global operational plans that supported a diverse portfolio of product clearances/approvals and their subsequent commercialization.

Most recently, Jessica was Sr Director, Global Strategic Marketing of DePuy Synthes, a Johnson & Johnson Company, where she helped drive turnaround of the declining Spine business through leadership of Platform strategy, business development initiatives, and commercial execution of the global $250M Biomaterials portfolio.  Before that, she was VP, Marketing & Business Development of MicroMedicine, where she helped secure $35M in financing and developed a business plan for the novel microfluidic cell isolation technology startup.  Jessica also served as Head of Strategic Innovation for Becton Dickinson’s largest Division, Medication & Procedural Solutions, and established and led Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Healing Technologies franchise, an internal startup aimed at improving outcomes in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery through biologics and biomaterials solutions.

Jessica began her career at Guidant/Abbott Vascular where she helped develop and launch the world’s leading Drug Eluting Stent, the XIENCE/PROMUS system; spearheaded the company’s Vulnerable Plaque program for heart attack prevention; and built the Structural Heart market access strategy, culminating in the $320M acquisition of Evalve, Inc.

Jessica holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Melissa Fensterstock

Landsdowne Labs, Material Impact
Year Served: 

Melissa Fensterstock brings a unique mix of scientific and business acumen applicable at both the strategic and tactical levels. With an MBA from Harvard Business School, MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from Cambridge University, and a BA in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University she develops and commercializes early-stage scientific innovations.

Melissa is currently CEO of Landsdowne Labs, a spin out from MIT co-founded with Robert Langer. In her role as CEO Melissa transformed an academic concept to market-ready status that included executing a global partnership with one of the world’s largest metal and mining companies, received a NSF grant, raised venture capital investment, and was involved with developing legislation around child-safety. Previously, Melissa worked across the life science sector ranging from running corporate development for a small publicly traded biotechnology company, to consumer product CEO, to spinning out companies from Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University.

Melissa is also an EIR at Material Impact, a venture fund building deep tech companies powered by material science. Material Impact is a champion of the bravest ideas for the future, building companies from the ground up that turn material science and deep tech innovation into products that solve enduring, large-scale, real-world problems.

Melissa lives in Wilton, CT with her husband and two sons.

Shreefal Mehta

Pulmokine, USI Lugano, Severino Center at RPI
Year Served: 

Dr. Mehta is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully brought new technologies from lab prototypes to market 

in biotechnology and energy storage. He has raised millions of dollars from venture capital for his previous ventures, forged strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and driven multimillion$ value in licensing and sales revenues. Dr. Mehta has experience in managing and growing successful ventures in life sciences including drug discovery and development, medical devices/diagnostics and in the field of advanced materials and energy storage. He is currently executive chair at Pulmokine and consultant or advisor to several public and private biotech companies. 

He is the author of the industry leading biomedical technology commercialization text book and manual for bio-entrepreneurs (titled Commercializing Successful Biomedical Technologies, covering drugs and devices from concept to commercialization) that has been recognized as “the bible” and the “roadmap” for entrepreneurs and executives in the biotech industry, in addition to being used as a textbook in several universities. The book’s 2nd edition will be launched by Cambridge University Press in 2022. Dr. Mehta is guest lecturer and course moderator for the intensive annual BioBusiness course in Switzerland at USI Lugano and is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Severino Center at RPI and mentor at StartX (StanfordU).

Geoffrey W. Smith

Digitalis Ventures, GRO Biosciences, Terray Therapeutics, Digitalis Commons
Year Served: 

Geoffrey W. Smith is the Founder and Managing Partner of Digitalis Ventures, a venture capital firm that partners with founders and scientists across all stages of venture investing to back technology-driven solutions to complex problems in health. He currently represents Digitalis as a Director of GRO Biosciences and Terray Therapeutics.

Geoff serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Central European University. He also serves as a Trustee of The Jackson Laboratory where he is a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Finance Committee. He is also a founding member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Geoff sits as an Executive in Residence at Columbia University Technology Ventures. Geoff is also the Founder and a Director of the Digitalis Commons which supports the development of public-interest technologies for better health. Previously, he was the founding Director of the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology and a Professor in the Department of Population Health Science and Policy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Geoff received a B.A. (with honors) from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.