Often referred to as the “father of agricultural biotechnology”, Dr. Jerry Caulder has an unparalleled record of success in the life sciences industry. Dr. Caulder’s career began at Monsanto. During his fifteen years with the company, he held numerous management positions. Dr. Caulder was responsible for overseeing Monsanto’s early venture investments and also the launch of new agricultural products globally.
In 1984 Dr. Caulder moved to San Diego, California, and became The Chairman and CEO of Mycogen, Inc., a start-up plant sciences company. Under Dr. Caulder’s direction, Mycogen, Inc. had a successful IPO and was ultimately acquired by Dow Agro Sciences in 1998. At the time of acquisition, Mycogen’s market capitalization exceeded US$1.2 billion.
Since the acquisition success of Mycogen, Dr. Jerry Caulder has held leadership positions in a number of successful and highly profiled life science companies including: Myelos Pharmaceuticals, a therapeutic drug discovery company focusing on the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, and Advanced Stent Technologies, Inc., which focused on the development of a dedicated coronary bifurcation stent.
Dr. Caulder’s most recent success was as the Chairman of Athenix, Inc., a venture backed plant sciences company located in Research Triangle Park, NC. Athenix’s acquisition by Bayer Crop Science in November 2009, for $400 million delivered a substantial return on investment to its shareholders.
Dr. Caulder has been involved in the formation of many local, state, and national biotech industry groups and initiatives; he was also the Chairman of what is now “BIO” (the major Biotechnology trade association). Dr. Caulder is internationally recognized and a frequent speaker at industry forums.
With 15 years of management experience in both established and start-up companies and seven years practicing law as an associate and partner at a large, mid-South law firm (Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère and Denègre) Jay has a unique and diverse background for the assessment and operation of emerging technologies and startups in the life sciences sector.
Prior to joining Finistere in July 2005, Jay was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Stent Technologies (“AST”), a medical device startup focused on developing and commercializing a proprietary stent system for the treatment of coronary artery bifurcation disease. Under his leadership, AST was sold to Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) in March 2005.
Prior to AST, Jay held several positions with a large US-based agri-chemical company. His last position was Vice President of Strategic Initiatives where he was responsible for identifying emerging technology investment and partnering opportunities in the agbio and agritech fields.
Jay is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Catharos Medical Systems, Inc. and serves on the Boards of Generic Medical Devices, Inc., Hotspur, Inc., nContact Surgical, Inc. and Luminous, Inc. Jay is also a board observer on Sadra Medical, Inc. and Transcend Medical, Inc.
Arama Kukutai joined Finistere in March 2005 as a Managing Director, from a successful career in agribusiness, investing and international trade. Prior to joining Finistere, he served as Regional Director - North America for the New Zealand government's Trade Development agency in North America establishing multiple pathways for New Zealand businesses to access this key market. Mr. Kukutai has had an active career in investment, both in commercial banking at Westpac Banking Corporation, and as a Director of PKW Incorporation, a successful $300M agribusiness and diversified investment entity involved in agriculture, aquaculture and property development with activities in New Zealand, Asia and Australia. He served as Chairman of PKW Farms, a large pastoral Dairy agribusiness in New Zealand. Mr. Kukutai serves on the boards of Hawaii BioEnergy, LLC. , Somark Innovations, Inc. and Dairy Solutions USA LLC. He is also Chairman of the Larta Institute’s advisory board for the USDA Commercialization program for SBIR grantee companies – see more at www.usdacap.larta.org. Mr. Kukutai is Chair of the Industry Advisory Committee for the Ag Innovation Showcase, the industry?s leading event for technology companies and thought leaders in the agricultural technology sector. (See www.agshowcase.com). He has lived and worked internationally for much of his career and brings a strong agricultural business focus to Finistere Venture's activities. Mr. Kukutai is responsible for agricultural technology and green energy portfolio investments and is a member of Finistere’s Investment Committee.
Ann Whitley brings 20 years of public and private accounting and business management experience to the team. Most recently, she led the accounting department at Hamilton & Assoc. CPA, Inc. managing budgets over 60 million. A wealth of Tax and Financial Reporting comes from her vast experience working with an extensive and diversified cliental. She also serves on the Board of Directors as CFO for two Non Profit Associations in San Diego, California. Ann earned her Bachelor's of Science from Southern Oregon University.
Dr. Selzer is a graduate of both UCLA School of Medicine and Harvard Business School. He has done advanced training and research, in the neurosciences, at both Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, and the UCSD School of Medicine in San Diego. He is board certified in both Pain Management and Neurology. He currently sits on the board of INC Research and is an emeritus board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association. In addition he is a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards at the Institute for Aging, and Photothera, as well as an active member of WPO. He has extensive expertise in the areas of developing CNS/Pain drugs and devices.
Dr. Selzer has twenty five years experience with healthcare service, biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical companies. His business experience has included senior management positions in both an entrepreneurial environment as well as in large companies such as Pharmacia-Pfizer. He was the founder, CEO of INC Research, where he successfully raised over $30 million dollars in Venture Capital money from four blue chip Venture funds. INC Research, now a global CRO, is focused on CNS/Pain clinical trials, in phase I to IV. INC Research, now a global CRO, is focused on pain/clinical trials, in phase I to IV. INC currently manages clinical trials in 40 countries, and has 2000 employees. INC was Dr. Selzer’s third company.
INC was acquired by Avista Capital Partners in August 2010 for $600M. see the press release at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-19/avista-ontario-teachers-said-to-buy-drug-researcher-inc-for-600-million.html
The first was IHS (Integrated Healthcare Services), a healthcare service corporation which owned and managed outpatient primary care centers. IHS was ultimately sold to a major Healthcare Company. The second company was NEUROPRACTICE, which sold monthly newsletters, written for physicians in the areas of neurology, neurosurgery and pain management fields. This company was sold to Wolters-Klower, a global publishing company. Dr. Selzer has had hands on experience with in-licensing drugs, development of marketing strategies and new product launches.
Paul Zorner brings a unique blend of corporate, entrepreneurial and scientific expertise to the Finistere Ventures team. Dr. Zorner now serves as the CEO and Director of Hawaii BioEnergy, LLC, one of Finistere?s portfolio companies. He has held scientific, development, operations and senior administrative positions with start-up and fortune 500 companies that include The Dow Chemical Company (Chief Scientist - Global Biotechnology Platform) , BASF Corporation (Manager - North American Crop Protection Discovery) , Mycogen (Vice-President, Product Development) and CellFor Corporation (Senior Vice President, Operations). Paul is a founder and current Director of several small biotechnology companies focused on alternative energy and production of recombinant proteins in agricultural crops. He also serves on the Biotechnolgy Business Advisory Council for the Queensland, Australia Government. Paul was named a Queensland Champion in 2006 for his career contributions and the first American citizen to be so honored. He is a member of the steering committee for California's Secure Transportation Energy Partnership (CalSTEP) and the National Resources Defense Council. Paul is a Fellow of the Weed Science Society of America. He is an inventor on over 30 issued US patents and serves on the board of two K-12 science education foundations. Paul also serves as Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at North Carolina State University and is a Senior Fellow at Clemson's Institute for Nutraceutical Research with a focus on military nutrition. Paul's undergraduate degree is from Lewis and Clark College and his Ph.D. from Colorado State University.