Board of Directors

Christopher K. McLeod

Life Science Angel Investor

Throughout his career, Christopher McLeod has demonstrated expertise in growing companies through strategic collaborations, innovative marketing, and new product development.  Currently, Mr. McLeod is a managing partner at Elm Street Ventures, where he nurtures new ventures as an investor and advisor. He is a corporate director of three early stage life science companies.

In 2012, Mr. McLeod co-founded AxioMx, Inc., serving as President and CEO. AxioMx created technology to quickly develop custom antibodies for use in research and diagnostics. AxioMx was acquired by Abcam, plc in 2015.

Mr. McLeod served as President and Chief Executive Officer of 454 Life Sciences from February 2005 through September 2011, where he led the development, manufacturing and marketing of the company’s innovative DNA sequencing products, which are used in research laboratories worldwide. 454 Life Sciences was acquired by Roche Diagnostics in 2007. Previously, Mr. McLeod was Executive Vice President of CuraGen Corporation from November 1999, responsible for bioinformatics, strategic business development, and collaborative research, including the establishment of strategic partnerships with Abgenix, Bayer, Seattle Genetics and TopoTarget A/S.

Mr. McLeod earned his B.S. Magna Cum Laud with a dual major in economics and engineering and applied science from Yale University and his M.S. in management from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. McLeod serves as a trustee of Sacred Heart University, on the CT Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America Executive Board and the MIT Sloan School of Management Executive Board and has acted as a mentor with the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute

John Davidson, PhD

John is the Vice President, R&D and Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Tangen Biosciences. He received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University in 2000.  Since then John has spent the last 14 years working on assays and technologies involving DNA: Mutation detection in cancer, Gene synthesis, DNA sequencing instruments.  John joined Blue Heron Biotechnology in 2003, where he was instrumental in developing cell-free DNA error correction processes and automating gene synthesis.  John joined Ion Torrent in April 2008, before the company had demonstrated proof of concept and prior to acquisition by Life Technologies in 2010.  He was the Senior Director for Research and Development for the Proton DNA sequencer from Life Technologies and the Molecular Biology technical lead for developing and commercializing the One Touch automated sample prep instruments that support the sequencers.

Chris Benoit

Mr. Benoit is the co-founder, CEO, and board chairman of Alphazyme. Prior to starting Alphazyme, Chris co-founded Enzymatics, a global leader in the OEM supply of enzymes for genetic analysis that was ultimately acquired by QIAGEN in 2014, and Launchworks Manufacturing Lab, a contract manufacturer of biochemical reagent kits that was acquired by TCP Reliable in 2016. A highly entrepreneurial expert in building lean, commercially-focused life-science companies, Chris currently sits on the board of Tangen Biosciences, a point-of-care molecular diagnostics firm. He is also an active life-science and diagnostics investor, and in addition, mentors the founders of several life-science start-ups. Chris is a dedicated supporter of both internship programs and start-up incubators, having played a key advisory role in the development of the North Shore Genome Center at Endicott College.

Nathaniel C. Brinn, CFA

Nat Brinn has a successful track record of venture capital and other private investments, acquisitions and business management. He is a partner of both Vital Venture Capital and VC23. Nat has invested in 23 early-stage biotechnology and software companies including Gingko Bioworks, Quantalife (acquired by Bio-Rad), Twist Bioscience, 10X Genomics, AxioMx (acquired by Abcam), HealthTell (acquired by iCarbonX), CD Diagnostics (acquired by Zimmer), General Automation Lab Technologies, TOMA Biosciences and Tangen Biosciences.

Nat has served as a director of various portfolio companies. His previous experience includes roles at HSA Bank (CEO), Webster Bank (EVP) and other firms in corporate development and investment positions. He has an MBA from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar and his class graduation speaker. Nat did his undergraduate work in economics and mathematics at University of Delaware in the undergraduate honors program.

Rick Birkmeyer, PhD

Richard Birkmeyer is a seasoned executive and an accomplished entrepreneur with a proven track record. Rick joined CD Diagnostics, Inc. in 2012 as Chief Executive Officer. CD Diagnostics is a fully integrated diagnostics company with expertise in immunoassay development and commercialization headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. The detection of synovial fluid biomarkers using immunoassay technology is a powerful new concept that has earned numerous awards.

Prior to CD, Rick founded Strategic Diagnostics, Inc. a leading provider of biotechnology-based detection solutions for a broad range of food, water, agricultural, industrial, environmental and life science applications.   As its CEO until 2003, Rick grew revenues to $26 million and operated the business profitably for ten out of thirteen years.  Rick established and implemented highly successful strategic corporate partnerships with Fortune 100 companies, raised venture capital financing, and completed six acquisitions including utilizing a financial reverse merger in 1996 to create a publicly traded company NASDAQ: (SDIX) and liquidity for SDI’s venture capital investors.

From 2003 through 2012, Rick advised and consulted to numerous biotechnology companies and venture capital firms regarding technology assessment, mergers and acquisitions, financing growth and corporate partnering strategies. He was selected by then Governor Thomas Carper to join other senior business executives to develop the strategy and recruit the CEO of Delaware’s first seed capital firm. Rick was a member of the board of the Delaware Economic Venture Capital Board, which made investments in early stage technology companies headquartered in Delaware.  Prior to founding Strategic Diagnostics, Rick was employed by E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company, most recently as a Manufacturing Product Manager responsible for production of 26 immunoassays for the clinical diagnostics market. Before joining Dupont, Rick was the Director of Research and Development at Philadelphia Biologics, Inc., a biotechnology company involved in antibody development.

He received his B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and immunology from the State University of New York, Binghamton. Rick also completed post-doctoral research in immunogenetics at Iowa State University.

Dan Wagner

Dan is currently the Senior Managing Director of Investments for Connecticut Innovations. He is responsible for evaluating investment opportunities, structuring investments and monitoring portfolio companies through active board participation. Dan has led or assisted with CI’s investments in AxioMx (acquired by Abcam); Affomix (acquired by Illumina); CyVek (acquired by Bio-Techne); Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CARA); HistoRx (acquired by Genoptix); Melinta Therapeutics, formerly Rib-X (NASDAQ: MLNT); RemoteReality (acquired by RTI); Biohaven Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:  BHVN); and Arvinas (NASDAQ: ARVN).

With more than 10 years experience in the biotech industry, Dan was previously employed by CuraGen Corporation where he held a variety of scientific and operational management positions in R&D and technology assessment.

Paul McEwan

Paul McEwan is a serial entrepreneur in the life-science tools space founding three companies with a combined exit value of approximately $700M.

Paul was most recently Vice President, Lifecycle Leader at Roche Sequencing Solutions managing the sequencing sample prep business. Previously, Paul was a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Kapa Biosystems. At Kapa, he played a key role in developing the company’s strategic vision including implementing directed evolution enzyme engineering technologies used as the basis for development of differentiated products used in PCR and NGS applications.

Prior to Kapa, Paul co-founded both Agencourt Bioscience Corp. and Agencourt Personal Genomics (APG). Founded in 2000, Agencourt Bioscience commercialized the SPRI nucleic acid purification chemistry which is still widely used in NGS sample prep workflows today. At APG, he was responsible for in-licensing and development of technology from the George Church lab at Harvard which became the basis of the ABI SOLiD Sequencer.

Paul has been in the sequencing business for over 20 years including technology development for the Human Genome Project. At the Whitehead Institute in the late 90s, he was part of a small team responsible for developing and implementing factory style automation and associated chemistry used to sequence 1/3 of the human genome.