BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania, has appointed Sam Katz, one of its co-founders and aninvestor in the region, as board chairman and named two new directors to its board.
Katz takes over from Philip Gerbino,president of the University of the Sciences, who will continue to serve on the board.
Katz is a partner and CEO of Wellspring BioCapital Partners, a financial services firm he co-founded in 2004 that develops disease-centric investment products.
“Sam Katz has long been a champion of the Philadelphia region and brings to the role of chair of BioAdvance both passion and a unique perspective about the broader public and private community that is critical to the future vitality of the life sciences sector,’ said Barbara S. Schilberg, CEO of BioAdvance.
Prior to Wellspring, Katz was the president of Wynnefield Capital Advisors, a manager of two private equity co-investment funds. The company has been an investor in early-stage biotechnology companies in the region.
Katz was one of the co-founders of the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania and served as its interim CEO during the startup phase in 2002.
BioAdvance was started as part of a statewide initiative to allocate a portion of the money from the state’s share of the tobacco settlement for life science investments. It received a $33.8 million award that was divided in two parts — $8.5 million for operating expenses and $25.3 million for investment activities, with $20 million allocated to the Greenhouse Fund for pre-seed and seed investments in life science startups.
Additionally, Dr. J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, joined the board, replacing board member Arthur H. Rubenstein, who has resigned.
Also joining the board is Lauren Lenfest, managing director of alternative investments, for the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System. She replaces Mark Schweiker, a former Pennsylvania governor, who also resigned. Lenfest has served as the executive director of the Tobacco Settlement Investment Board, where she provided oversight and administration for the Tobacco Settlement Fund, the Health Endowment Account and the Health Venture Account.