Board of Directors


John Hoekman

Co-founder and interim-CEO

John has spent the last 10 years investigating intranasal drug delivery to the brain. He started this work at the Alzheimer’s Research Center in St. Paul, MN under Dr. William H. Frey II. John then attended graduate school at the University of Washington where he invented the POD technology and made contributions to understanding intranasal drug delivery to the brain. To further advance his work, John co-founded Impel in 2008 while still in graduate school. He holds a BS in Physics from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Washington.

H. Stewart Parker

Executive Chair

Stewart is an experienced Seattle biotech executive. She has served as CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and remains on their Board. Stewart founded Targeted Genetics Corporation (Nasdaq: TGEN) in 1992, a Seattle-based biotechnology company formed to develop gene-based treatments for acquired and inherited disease. She held the position of President and CEO from the company’s inception until November of 2008. Prior to founding Targeted Genetics, Stewart held various positions at Immunex Corp. from 1981-1992, ending her tenure there as VP of Corporate Development. Stewart currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for several for-profit and non-profit institutions, including the WBBA. Ms. Parker received her B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

James W. Young, PhD

James W. Young, Ph.D. joined 5AM Ventures in 2006 as a Venture Partner. Dr. Young has been involved with Sunesis since 2000, as Chief Executive Officer, Executive Chairman and currently as Chairman. Prior to Sunesis, Dr. Young was Senior Vice President, Research and Development and Group Vice President at ALZA Corporation. Before joining ALZA, Dr. Young was President of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Affymax, N.V., and Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Pharmaceuticals Division at Sepracor. Previously, Dr. Young was Vice President of Research at Zoecon/Sandoz Crop Protection Corporation. He is currently a Director of Chrono Therapeutics and Portal Instruments. Dr. Young served as Executive Chairman and then as a Director of Pearl until its acquisition by AstraZeneca. He was also a Director of Incline (acquired by The Medicines Company). Dr. Young earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Fordham University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cornell University. Dr. Young is based in the San Francisco, CA office.

Aaron Royston

Dr. Royston is a Principal at venBio, a life science venture capital firm with a focus on novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs. Dr. Royston joined venBio with experience in life science venture capital, healthcare strategy, and as an entrepreneur. Dr. Royston received his undergraduate degree from Duke University, his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and coordinated clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where his research has been published and presented in multiple medical journals and conferences. Dr. Royston has prior experience in life science venture capital with Vivo Capital, and previously worked at Bain & Company, where he advised healthcare companies on strategic issues such as business model innovation and therapeutic area strategies. Dr. Royston is a recipient of the Champion of Change Award in Technology and Innovation from the United States White House under the Obama Administration.

Mahendra G. Shah

Mahendra G. Shah, Ph.D. is a highly successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur and executive who has been at Vivo Capital since March 2010. He is also the founder and executive chairman of Semnur Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Shah currently serves as chairman of the board of Essentialis Therapeutics, board member of Biotie Therapies (NASDAQ: BITI), and a member of the board of trustees of St. John’s University. He is also a board member and charter member of EPPIC and a charter member of TIE.

From September 2005 to December 2009, he was the founder, chairman and CEO of NextWave Pharmaceuticals, a pediatric focused specialty pharmaceutical company, which was sold to Pfizer for a total of $700 million in upfront and milestone payments. From 1993 to May 2003 he was the chairman and CEO of First Horizon Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded specialty pharmaceutical company, where he raised over $200 million and built a highly profitable company before it was sold to Shionogi Pharmaceuticals for $1.4 billion. From 1991 to October 1999, he was vice president of E. J. Financial Enterprises, Inc., which manages a fund that invests in healthcare companies. He previously served on the boards of Unimed Pharmaceuticals (UMED), Introgen Therapeutics (INGN), Inpharmakon, Protomed, Structural Bioinformatics, and Zarix.

From 1987 to 1991 he was the senior director of new business development with Fujisawa USA (Astellas). Prior to that time he worked in various scientific and management positions with Schering-Plough and Bristol Myers-Squibb. Dr. Shah received his Ph.D. in industrial pharmacy from St. John’s University and his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Pharmacy from L.M. College of Pharmacy in Gujarat, India.


Timothy S. Nelson

Independent Director

Mr. Nelson served as MAP Pharmaceuticals’ President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of its Board of Directors from April 2005 until March 2013 when the company was acquired by Allergan for $960 million. From 1998 to 2005, Mr. Nelson served as Senior Vice President of Commercial and Business Development at DURECT Corporation. From 1992 to 1998, Mr. Nelson held various senior management positions with Medtronic, including Business Director of the Neurological Division for Europe, the Middle East and Africa from 1996 to 1998 and Manager of Drug Delivery Ventures from 1992-1996. Mr. Nelson has served on other Boards of Directors, including as Chairman of the Board of Civitas, a private biopharmaceutical company focused on treating undermet medical needs in neurological indications, from December 2013 to October 2014 when the company was acquired by Acorda Therapeutics for $525 million. Mr. Nelson also served on the Board of Directors of Surmodics, a public medical technology company, from February 2014 to March 2015. Mr. Nelson earned a Masters degree in Management with distinction from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.