Jay B. Lichter, Ph.D.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Jay B. Lichter serves as Avelas’ President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Lichter is an entrepreneur and seasoned investor in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical arena with over 25 years of expertise in management, scientific research, and business development. Dr. Lichter is an inventor on over 260 patents and patent applications. Dr. Lichter has been either directly responsible for, or participated in, licensing or merger and acquisition deals valued in excess of US$5 billion. Dr. Lichter currently serves as a member of the board of directors for eight companies, including Otonomy, Janux Therapeutics, Fortis Therapeutics, Enalza Therapeutics, and Cullinan Mica. Since 2007, Dr. Lichter has been a Managing Director at Avalon Ventures, LLC, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on information technology and life sciences, the Company’s largest stockholder. Dr. Lichter held postdoctoral positions in Human Genetics at Yale University and pharmacogenetics at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. He obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.S. from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jesus “Tito” Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Tito Gonzalez serves as Avelas’ Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Gonzalez joined Avelas as a founding member in 2009 as Vice President of Research and Development. He has led the discovery and development of the real-time intraoperative cancer visualization drug AVB-620 (pegloprastide) through IND, Phase Ib PoC, and Phase II/III pivotal clinical evaluation in breast cancer patients. A leader with a successful record of applying chemistry, biology, and instrumentation to develop leading technologies, products, and pharmaceuticals; Dr. Gonzalez has over 25 years of biotechnology, drug discovery, drug development, and management experience. Previously, Dr. Gonzalez held the position of Sr. Director, Biology at Vertex Pharmaceuticals where he led the ion channel program, drug discovery teams, and a biology function group to support projects targeting pain, cystic fibrosis, and multiple sclerosis. Prior to Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Gonzalez was the Director of Ion Channels at Aurora Biosciences, leading a multidisciplinary group that developed world-leading high-throughput ion channel drug screening technologies and provided assay development services to the pharmaceutical industry. He has played an integral role in the discovery, development and commercialization of a variety of technologies and products prior to Avelas. Some examples include voltage-sensitive FRET probes, Voltage/Ion Probe Reader (VIPRTM), and electrical stimulation coupled with optical detection (E-VIPRTM), that provide important biological and drug screening advantages. The ion channel program at Vertex Pharmaceuticals has generated several first-in-class drug candidates that modulate Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator (“CFTR”) and voltage-gated channels for CF and pain respectively. The most significant drugs being KalydecoTM, OrkambiTM, and SymdekoTM which are market leading, FDA approved CFTR potentiator and correctors/potentiator combinations. Dr. Gonzalez earned a B.A. in chemistry cum laude from Rice University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University. He also held a postdoctoral fellow position at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute working with Professor Roger Y. Tsien at University of California at San Diego.
Steven Chen, M.D., MBA
Chief Medical Officer
Steven Chen serves as Avelas’ Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Chen joined Avelas in 2014 as the Vice President, Clinical Affairs. Previously, Dr. Chen served as the Chief of breast surgery at UC Davis Medical Center, followed by a position as an Associate Professor of Surgery and as the associate program director of the surgical oncology training program at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. Dr. Chen is a past President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Dr. Chen serves on committees for a number of professional societies including the American Medical Association, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and the American College of Surgeons. He is also a practicing surgeon in San Diego, California and the Director of Surgical Oncology at OasisMD. Dr. Chen received his medical degree and completed general surgery and critical care residencies at the University of Michigan, followed by a surgical oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. Dr. Chen also obtained his MBA at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.