Board of Directors

Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Ph.D.

Chairman and CEO, Atea Pharmaceuticals

View Bio

Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Ph.D.

Chairman and CEO, Atea Pharmaceuticals

Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Ph.D., has served as a member of our Board of Directors since June 2015. Dr. Sommadossi has served as the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Atea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since December 2013. Prior to that, he co-founded Pharmasset, Inc. and held several roles at Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., including Principal Founder and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. Dr. Sommadossi serves as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Rafael Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held therapeutics company. He is also a member of the Harvard Medical School Discovery Counsel and a Senior Advisor to PureTech Ventures. Dr. Sommadossi received his Ph.D. and Pharm.D. degrees from the University of Marseilles in France.

Franklin Berger

Founder, FMB Research

View Bio

Franklin Berger

Founder, FMB Research

Franklin Berger has served as a member of our Board of Directors since January 2016. Mr. Berger worked at Sectoral Asset Management as a founder of the small-cap focused NEMO Fund from January 2007 through June 2008. Prior to that, he served at J.P. Morgan Securities, most recently as the Managing Director, Equity Research and Senior Biotechnology Analyst and served in similar capacities at Salomon Smith Barney and Josephthal & Co. Mr. Berger has served as a member of the board of directors of Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc. since October 2014, Tocagen Inc since October 2014, Bellus Health, Inc. since May 2010, ESSA Pharma, Inc. since March 2015, and Proteostasis Therapeutics, Inc. since February 2016. Mr. Berger previously served as a member of the board of directors BioTime, Inc., Seattle Genetics, Inc., and Immune Design Corp, each publicly held biotechnology companies. Mr. Berger received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and an M.A. degree in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.B.A. degree from the Harvard Business School.

Graham Cooper

Former CFO and COO, Assembly Biosciences

View Bio

Graham Cooper

Former CFO and COO, Assembly Biosciences

Graham Cooper has served as a member of our Board of Directors since October 2017. Mr. Cooper served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Assembly Biosciences, Inc. from March 2018 until April 2019. Mr. Cooper served as the Chief Financial Officer of Receptos, Inc. from February 2013 until its sale to Celgene in August 2015 and Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance and Business Development at Geron Corporation from January 2012 to December 2012. Prior to that, Mr. Cooper served as Chief Financial Officer of Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. and held several positions at Deutsche Bank Securities, including Director, Health Care Investment Banking. Mr. Cooper also worked as an accountant at Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he earned his title CPA. Mr. Cooper has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Unity Biotechnology since August 2017, Applied Molecular Therapeutics, Inc. since January 2020, and Beam Therapeutics, Inc. since October 2019.  Mr. Cooper previously served as a member of the board of Celladon Corporation. Mr. Cooper received a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Jason Dinges, Ph.D.

Investment Advisor, Morningside Technology Advisory LLC

View Bio

Jason Dinges, Ph.D.

Investment Advisor, Morningside Technology Advisory LLC

Jason R. Dinges, Ph.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since April 2018. Since February 2011, Dr. Dinges has served as an Investment Advisor at Morningside Technology Advisory LLC. Prior to that, Dr. Dinges was an associate attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP, practicing intellectual property law in the firm’s chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical practice group from March 2007 to February 2011. Dr. Dinges also serves on the board of directors of various privately-held biotechnology companies. Dr. Dinges received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Iowa State University and a J.D. degree from the University of Iowa College of Law.

John Fowler

Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder

View Bio

John Fowler

Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder

John Fowler is our Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the board of directors, bringing over 20 years of executive leadership experience to the company. Prior to co-founding Kezar, between 2009 and 2014 John co-founded and was CEO of HealthCPA, a provider of patient advocacy and insurance navigation services.  From 2003 to 2008 John served as CEO of specialty shipping company Aero Logistics, which he and a business partner acquired using a specialty investment company they founded in 2001. Prior to his CEO roles, John also worked with Idealab Silicon Valley and as a management consultant with William Kent International, advising clients on international acquisition opportunities and market entry strategies. He began his career on Capitol Hill and later in the Clinton Administration, as a Congressional Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Trade Representative. John received both his A.B. in International Relations and his M.B.A. from Stanford University, where during his undergraduate years he competed on the varsity track team.

Elizabeth Garner, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, ObsEva SA

View Bio

Elizabeth Garner, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, ObsEva SA

Dr. Garner has served as a member of our Board of Directors since December 2019.  Dr. Garner has over a decade of pharmaceutical development experience to Kezar’s board, holding roles of increasing strategic responsibility in large and small companies, including Merck, Abbott (AbbVie), Myriad Genetics and Agile Therapeutics. Dr. Garner has served as the Chief Medical Officer of ObsEva SA, a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing novel therapies to improve women’s reproductive health since July 2019. Dr. Garner was Chief Medical Officer of Agile Therapeutics, Inc., a public women’s healthcare company, and led the company’s clinical development, regulatory, and medical affairs strategies. Prior to her tenure at Agile, Dr. Garner was Vice President, Medical Affairs, Women’s Health/Preventive Care at Myriad Genetics from 2012 to 2014. Before that, she was Senior Director at Abbott Laboratories, where she oversaw all clinical aspects of the global Phase 3 endometriosis development program for Orilissa®. From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Garner was Associate Director and then Director, Clinical Research at Merck Research Laboratories.

Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D

Co-Founder and CEO, Karyopharm Therapeutics

View Bio

Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D

Co-Founder and CEO, Karyopharm Therapeutics

Michael Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., has served as a member of our Board of Directors since December 2016. Dr. Kauffman co-founded Karyopharm Therapeutics, Inc. in 2008 and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since January 2011 and as a member of its Board of Birectors since 2008. Dr. Kauffman also served as the President of Karyopharm Therapeutics, Inc. from January 2011 to December 2013 and as its Chief Medical Officer from December 2012 to December 2013. Prior to that, Dr. Kauffman served as the chief medical officer at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and as Chief Medical Officer of Proteolix, Inc. Dr. Kauffman also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of both Epix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Predix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and was an operating partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. Dr. Kauffman also held a number of senior positions at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Biogen Idec, Inc. Dr. Kauffman has served on the board of directors of Verastem Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, since November 2012, and Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, since 2017. Dr. Kauffman received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Amherst College and his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology degrees from Johns Hopkins Medical School. Dr. Kauffman completed his residency in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and was a fellow in Rheumatology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Christopher Kirk, Ph.D.

President and Chief Scientific Officer, Co-Founder

View Bio

Christopher Kirk, Ph.D.

President and Chief Scientific Officer, Co-Founder

Christopher Kirk, Ph.D. is our co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer and is an immunologist and tumor biologist by training. Prior to founding Kezar, he was the Vice President of Research at Onyx Pharmaceuticals where he played a key leadership role in the discovery and development of 2 proteasome inhibitors, including carfilzomib (KYPROLIS™), currently approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma.  Dr. Kirk has authored multiple publications in several select journals including Cell, Nature Medicine, and Nature Reviews and is listed as an inventor on over 40 patents. He sits on the scientific advisory board at C4 Therapeutics, Avidity Biosciences, Rain Therapeutics, the Institute of Applied Clinical Science at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as well as the leadership council of the Life Sciences Institute of the University of Michigan. 

Dr. Kirk received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.