Jay Lichter, Ph.D.


Jay Lichter, Ph.D. is an entrepreneur and seasoned investor in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical arena with more than 25 years of expertise in management, scientific research, and business development. Dr. Lichter is the inventor on more than 260 patent and patent applications for six Avalon portfolio companies, including 78 issued patents. Dr. Lichter continues to be a powerful force in the pharmaceutical industry and has been involved in licensing or merger and acquisition deals valued in excess of $1 billion.  Dr. Lichter led Avalon investments in and serves on the board of directors of: Afraxis, Aratana Therapeutics, Carolus, Otonomy, and Sova Pharmaceuticals. He previously served on the board of RQx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Genentech) and Zacharon Pharmacueticals (acquired by BioMarin). He also serves as a board observer for Syndax. Prior to Avalon, Dr. Lichter held postdoctoral positions in pharmacogenetics at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. and human genetics at Yale University. Dr. Lichter received a B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Andrew Levin, M.D., Ph.D.


Andrew Levin is a managing director at RA Capital Management. He is active in both public and private investments in companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools. Prior to his current position at RA Capital, he was a vice president at H.I.G. BioVentures and the director of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Clinton Health Access Initiative. He holds a BSE in mechanical engineering from Princeton University, a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. His graduate thesis investigated specific and general binding in arterial drug delivery.

Floyd Romesberg, Ph.D.

Scientific Founder and Director

Floyd E. Romesberg, Ph.D. is the scientific founder and a member of the board of directors of Synthorx. Prior to Synthorx, he served as the scientific co-founder and a member of the board of directors of RQx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Genentech) and Achaogen, two biopharmaceutical companies focused on developing new antibiotics. Dr. Romesberg is also an associate professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His academic research laboratory uses a broad range of interdisciplinary techniques, including non-linear optical spectroscopy, organic chemistry, microbiology, and genetics, to study different aspects of evolution. This work has been described in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Office of Naval Research. Dr. Romesberg is best known for developing unnatural base pairs for the expansion of the genetic alphabet and is also working to develop novel antibiotics, as well as to understand how evolution tailors protein dynamics and how cellular stress and DNA damage induce cell-cycle checkpoint responses and mutations. Dr. Romesberg performed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Peter Schultz at the University of California, Berkeley.  He received a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Cornell University and a B.S. in chemistry from The Ohio State University.

Laura Shawver, Ph.D.

President, CEO, & Director

Laura Shawver Ph.D. is president, chief executive officer, and director of Synthorx. Prior to joining Synthorx, Dr. Shawver held the following positions: CEO and director of Cleave Biosciences, entrepreneur-in-residence for 5AM Ventures, CEO and director of Phenomix Corporation, and president of SUGEN Inc. (acquired by Pharmacia). Shawver has been involved with a number of clinical development programs including two FDA-approved therapies. Shawver is currently a director of Relay Therapeutics as well as an advisor to the industry. She is an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research serving on the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up to Cancer. Shawver knows firsthand what it is like to be a cancer patient. Having survived ovarian cancer, she turned that experience into the founding of The Clearity Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing access to molecular profiling for ovarian cancer patients to improve their treatment options. Shawver received her Ph.D. in pharmacology and a B.S. degree in microbiology both from the University of Iowa.