Board of Directors

Sheila Mikhail, JD, MBA

CEO, President, Co-Founder

Sheila Mikhail co-founded and was the initial CEO of AskBio from 2002 through 2007. Ms. Mikhail left the company to become CEO of NanoCor Therapeutics, Inc., an AskBio SPE. Most recently, Ms. Mikhail co-founded and was CEO of Bamboo Therapeutics, Inc., which in 20 months raised $50 million, advanced a therapeutic for GAN into the clinic, completed Pre-IND studies for the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy therapeutic, and built a GMP manufacturing facility. Bamboo was acquired by Pfizer in August 2016.

Trained as a lawyer, Ms. Mikhail practiced law for over 15 years, including a law firm that she founded, Life Sciences Law, which serviced clients such as Bayer, Gilead, GSK, Sanofi, and Aventis. Ms. Mikhail also practiced with Ropes and Gray in Boston. Ms. Mikhail earned a JD, with honors, from Northwestern University; a finance MBA, with honors, from the University of Chicago; and a BS, with highest honors, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Richard Jude Samulski, PhD


Dr. Samulski received his PhD in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Florida. Dr. Samulski’s graduate work (1978-82) demonstrated the first use of AAV as a viral vector and culminated in the first US patent involving non-AAV genes inserted into AAV. After completing post-doctoral training at Princeton, Dr. Samulski was hired to provide his expertise in AAV biology as a member of the scientific advisory board of Avigen, a new AAV research company. Later, in 1993, Dr. Samulski co-founded an AAV-based gene therapy company called Merlin. This research group was headed by Dr. Xiao and was the first group to demonstrate AAV-mediated long-term gene transduction in muscle (J. Virology, 1996). This finding precipitated a merger of Merlin with Somatix, Inc., which then merged in 1995 with Cell Genesys. In total, Dr. Samulski has worked with AAV for 40 years, and for 25 years, was director of the University of North Carolina Gene Therapy Center. Dr. Samulski was the scientific founder of Bamboo Therapeutics, Inc. and served as the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Chairman of the company until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2016. Upon its acquisition, Dr. Samulski joined Pfizer, as VP Gene Therapy, to ensure the successful transition of Bamboo’s Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy therapeutic. Dr. Samulski is a former member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), a committee tasked with assisting the FDA with approving or disapproving gene therapy clinical trials in the United States. Dr. Samulski also frequently serves as a gene therapy consultant to the FDA. In 2008, Dr. Samulski was recognized by the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy with the Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for his work. Dr. Samulski has been invited by Pope Francis to attend the Vatican as recognition for his work in the treatment of Canavans. Dr. Samulski has advanced into human clinical trials therapeutics for hemophilia, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Giant Axonal Neuropathy, and heart failure. Dr. Samulski is the inventor of over 200 patents related to AAV technology.

William A Hawkins III (Bill)

Former CEO of Medtronic

Mr. Hawkins is the Former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic and is currently advising Private Equity and Venture Capital groups as well as serving on multiple for-profit and not-for-profit boards. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering and is an AIMBE Fellow.

Mr. Hawkins served as Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, one of the worlds’ largest and most innovative medical technology companies until his retirement in 2011. Mr. Hawkins assumed the role of CEO in 2007 and became Chairman of the Board in 2008. Mr. Hawkins joined Medtronic in 2002 as SVP and President of Medtronic Vascular. Mr. Hawkins served in that role until 2004. From 2004 until 2007, Mr. Hawkins was President and Chief Operating Officer of Medtronic. Following Medtronic, Mr. Hawkins joined TPG a large Private Equity group and subsequently became the President and CEO of one of their portfolio companies, Immucor a leader in the field of transfusion and Transplant diagnostics. In 2015, Mr. Hawkins moved into the position of lead director and stepped down from the CEO position to pursue multiple board positions.

Prior to Medtronic, Mr. Hawkins served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Novoste Corp. Nasdaq (NOVT) and held senior leadership positions at American Home Products, Johnson & Johnson, Guidant Corp., and Eli Lilly & Co. Mr. Hawkins began his medical technology career with Carolina Medical Electronics in 1977.

Mr. Hawkins received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and biomedical engineering from Duke in 1976, where he also conducted medical research in pathology. Mr. Hawkins then went on to earn an M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, in 1982.

Mr. Hawkins is a Senior Advisor to EW Healthcare Partner a growth equity investor focused exclusively in the life sciences. Mr. Hawkins serves as a Director of Halyard Health NYSE:HYH and Chairman of the Board of Bioventus and 4-Tech, a cardiology startup in Ireland. Mr. Hawkins is Lead Director at Immucor and serves on the board of Trice Medical, Keratin Biosciences, Virtue Labs, and Baebies. Mr. Hawkins is the Past Chairman and co-founder of the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (“MDIC”), and past-president of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (“AMIBE”). Mr. Hawkins recently joined the board of the Focused Ultrasound Society.

Mr. Hawkins also serves as a Member of the Advisory Boards at Arboretum Ventures, HealthQuest Ventures, Hatteras Ventures, A*STAR SERC Cluster Advisory Board in Singapore, and the Biomedical Research Council of Singapore.

Mr. Hawkins was elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees in 2011 and currently serves on the Executive Committee as the Vice Chair of the Board. Mr. Hawkins is on the Audit and Compliance Committee and the Advancing Duke Science and Technology Task Force. Mr. Hawkins is also Chair of the Board of the Duke University Health System.

Jon Salveson

Vice Chairman, Investment Banking; Chairman, Healthcare Investment Banking Group

Jon Salveson is the vice chairman of Piper Jaffray investment banking. Prior to his current position, Mr. Salveson was the global head of investment banking for seven years. Mr. Salveson is involved in a full range of investment banking activities, including public and private equity and debt financings, M&A advisories and financial advisory services. Prior to leading the investment banking effort, Mr. Salveson spent his career at Piper Jaffray building a leading healthcare underwriting and M&A advisory practice. In 1996, Mr. Salveson opened the Piper Jaffray office in Menlo Park, Calif., where he was instrumental in establishing a large technology and healthcare presence in Silicon Valley, including over 100 investment banking and research professionals.

Prior to joining Piper Jaffray, Mr. Salveson was a product manager at a biotechnology firm.

Mr. Salveson graduated from St. Olaf College and received a Master of Management degree from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Mr. Salveson serves on the boards of CryoLife, Inc. (NYSE: CRY) and CHF Solutions (NASDAQ: CHFS), and board of regents at St. Olaf College, and is a former member of the executive committee board of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Javier Garcia

Managing Director at Columbus Venture Partners

Javier García has spent almost 30 years working in healthcare and the biopharmaceutical industry. Since 2009, he has focused on life science venture capital investing, with an eye towards private company investments in the biopharmaceutical, life science and medical technology sectors. 

Mr. García spent 25 years at Eli Lilly and Company. There he held senior management roles in Information Technology and Business Development. Mr. Garcia became head of Business Development activities for the BioMedicines business unit in the USA, Europe and Japan (including all therapeutic areas except oncology and diabetes). During Mr. Garcia’s time in business development (2009 to 2012), five deals were accomplished (license agreement of Incyte Autoimmune portfolio, including Axiron estosterone license, Alnara acquisition, Cymbalta buy back from Boeringher Ingleheim, and Amyvid acquisition. Mr. Garcia led the Lilly team to the first closing of the 140 million fund with TVM, where Lilly was a strategic limited partner. 

Mr. García currently serves on the board of several biotech companies, including: Artax Biopharma (based in Boston, MA), Bioncotech (based in Valencia, Spain) and Inveready Biotech II (a Spanish Venture Fund based in Barcelona, Spain). He is a founding investor and board member of Aura Biosciences (Boston. MA), and also serves on the board of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the Healthy Americas Foundation.

Mr. García received a Bachelor in Mathematics (Statistics and Operations Research) from Universidad Complutense of Madrid and an MBA from ICADE (Spain). He is fluent in English and Spanish.