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Decoding genetics to transform medicine

Learn More About Actio

Bringing Meaningful Therapies from One to Many
Leading The Field

New therapeutics, from one to many.

Actio was founded by leaders in genetics and drug development to push the boundaries of how we translate genetic insights into new medicines. Actio is more than a precision medicine company – we have a bold vision to take learnings in how we pinpoint targets and develop drugs for homogenous rare disease populations and leverage those learnings to identify underlying biology in heterogenous common disease populations. Through our unique approach, we aim to bring meaningful new therapeutics from one to many.

Our Team

David Goldstein, Ph.D.

CEO, Co-founder
David Goldstein headshot
Dr. Goldstein is a human geneticist whose scientific career has focused on genetic diversity, the genetics of disease and pharmacogenetics, leading to the co-founding of Actio Biosciences. He was previously director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine, and a professor of genetics and development at Columbia University, with the mission to integrate genetics and genomics into research, patient care and education. Previously, Dr. Goldstein directed Duke University’s Center for Human Genome Variation. He has discovered over 30 disease-causing genes and syndromes, in particular for neurological and infectious diseases. He has also served as an advisor to numerous pharmaceutical companies, including as AstraZeneca’s chief genomics adviser, where he led an initiative focused on the discovery of new targets and biomarkers linked to molecular mechanisms of disease across multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Goldstein is a scientific co-founder of Praxis Precision Medicines, a publicly traded clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company translating genetic insights into the development of therapies for patients affected by central nervous system disorders characterized by neuronal imbalance. Dr. Goldstein holds a B.S. in biology from University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

John McHutchison, M.D.

Co-founder
Dr. McHutchison is a veteran industry executive who has deep research and clinical development experience across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to co-founding Actio Biosciences, he was CEO & president of Assembly Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotechnology company. Prior to Assembly, he was the chief scientific officer and head of research and development of Gilead Sciences, Inc. He joined Gilead in 2010 and under his leadership, Gilead developed five medicines that have been used by more than three million people around the world for the curative treatment of chronic hepatitis C, and for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. He also oversaw the company’s internal and external expansion into other non-viral therapeutic areas including oncology, inflammation and auto-immunity, fibrosis and non-viral liver diseases, as well as the development of Gilead’s first cancer medicine, Zydelig® (idelalisib). In 2018, Dr. McHutchison was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his distinguished service to medical research in gastroenterology and hepatology. Prior to Gilead, Dr. McHutchison worked at Duke University Medical Center, where he served as associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He also held the positions of professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at Duke University Medical Center, associate director at Duke Clinical Research Institute, and co-director of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Award. Prior to his positions at Duke University, Dr. McHutchison spent nearly 10 years at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, including serving as medical director, liver transplantation. Dr. McHutchison holds a B.S. and M.D. in medicine and surgery from the University of Melbourne.

David Breckenridge, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer
Prior to joining Actio Biosciences, Dr. Breckenridge spent 15 years at Gilead Sciences, where he held several leadership roles within research. Most recently, he was vice president, external innovation, where he oversaw industry collaborations spanning target discovery through early clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas. Previously, Dr. Breckenridge was the head of fibrosis research. Under his leadership, Gilead’s fibrosis department developed a diverse research portfolio, advanced several therapies into clinical development and completed translational research that led to the clinical evaluation of numerous combination regimens for patients with NASH. Dr. Breckenridge was the project leader for selonsertib, a first-in-class inhibitor of ASK1, that progressed to clinical trials for NASH, pulmonary arterial hypertension and diabetic kidney disease. He was also project lead for alobresib, a BET bromodomain inhibitor that was evaluated in the clinic for cancer. Dr. Breckenridge holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from McGill University and conducted postdoctoral research in genetics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Samuel Collins, MBBS, Ph.D., MBA

Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Collins, a trained pediatric physician, joins Actio from Edgewise Therapeutics, where he served as vice president, clinical development, and was key to advancing their lead asset from Phase 1 to pivotal studies. He brings nearly 20 years of experience spanning academia and industry, with a focus in rare disease and pediatrics. Prior to Edgewise, Dr. Collins spent several years at Pfizer, most recently serving as senior director of clinical research within the company’s rare disease division. He served as medical director of Therachon AG, prior to its 2019 acquisition by Pfizer, and before that, was medical director at Premier Research. Before entering the industry, he held a number of clinical and academic positions in London, Southampton and Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Collins holds an MBBS from the University College, London, a Ph.D. from the University of Southampton and an MBA from Durham University. He is a published author on nearly 20 peer-reviewed publications.

Sunil Sahdeo, Ph.D.

Vice President, Head of Biology
Dr. Sahdeo brings broad experience across a range of small molecule targets and areas of disease biology including neurodegenerative, inflammatory and rare genetic diseases. He joined Actio Biosciences following over 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry working in novel target identification, target validation and drug discovery. Previously, Dr. Sahdeo was director and in vitro pharmacology group leader at Gossamer Bio. Prior to Gossamer, he was a scientific researcher in Emerging Sciences and Innovation at Janssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. He has authored more than 15 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Sahdeo began his career as a research scientist at Hoffmann-La Roche, Palo Alto. Dr. Sahdeo holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University California, Davis, and a B.S. in microbiology from the University of California, San Diego.

Anne Sandan

Vice President, HR and Finance Operations
Ms. Sandan joined Actio following 15 years leading finance and HR operations, as a member of the executive team of ViaCyte, a regenerative medicine company acquired in 2022 by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. She was actively involved in organizational planning, resource development, and played an instrumental role in successfully closing various financial transactions that fueled the company’s growth and its methodical transformation into clinical and manufacturing operations. Prior to ViaCyte, Ms. Sandan built and oversaw diverse teams and key functions within both private and public companies including Carl Zeiss Vision/Sola International, WFI/Kratos and Burnham Pacific. Her responsibilities spanned accounting, auditing, business planning, IPO readiness, SEC compliance, human resources, IT and risk management. Beyond her professional expertise, she also brings a profound commitment to cultivating the potential of employees, recognizing that they are the company’s most valuable asset. Ms. Sandan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting from University of San Diego, and is a certified public accountant in California.

Nick Stock, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Head of Chemistry
Dr. Stock brings significant drug discovery experience in numerous therapeutic areas and was a key contributor to a number of programs currently in clinical development. Prior to joining Actio Biosciences, Dr. Stock was head of chemistry at Genesis Therapeutics. Earlier in his career, Dr. Stock held various positions in biotech, including roles at Amira Pharmaceuticals and Inception Sciences. He began his career as a medicinal chemist at Merck Research Laboratories in San Diego. Dr. Stock has more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and 36 granted U.S. patents. Dr. Stock holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Imperial College, London and conducted postdoctoral research in the laboratory of professor Larry Overman at University California, Irvine.

Ali Torkamani, Ph.D.

Vice President, Bioinformatics/Genetics
Ali Torkamani headshot
Prior to joining Actio Biosciences, Dr. Torkamani was the director of genomics and genome informatics at the Scripps Research Translational Institute. As a professor at The Scripps Research Institute and as co-founder at Cyper Genomics, he has developed computational tools for genome interpretation for 15 years. Dr. Torkamani’s research centers on the use of genomic and informatic technologies to identify the genetic etiology and characterize the underlying mechanisms of human disease to define health risks and individualized interventions. Major focus areas for his research have included human genome interpretation, genomic discovery of novel rare diseases, and comprehensive, genetically-informed machine- and deep-learning prediction of disease risk and outcomes. He has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Torkamani holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of California San Diego and a B.S. in chemistry from Stanford University.

John Link, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor, Drug Discovery
John Link headshot
John O. Link received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from EJ Corey’s lab at Harvard University (Corey-Link Reaction). At Syntex/Roche he elucidated the inhibition mechanism of the immunosuppressant drug CellCept®, along with the enzymatic mechanism of its target IMP dehydrogenase. At Arris/Celera he was co-inventor of several covalent-reversable serine and cysteine protease inhibitors that entered clinical trials. As Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at Gilead Sciences, John is co-inventor of four approved drugs discovered in his research group: the curative hepatitis C drugs ledipasvir (NS5A inhibitor), velpatasvir (pan-genotypic NS5A inhibitor), and voxilaprevir (pan-genotypic NS3/4A protease inhibitor), components in Harvoni® Epclusa® and Vosevi®, and the first-in-class twice-yearly dosed HIV capsid inhibitor lenacapavir (Sunlenca®) which is the only approved drug that targets a viral capsid. John was project leader for the ledipasvir, velpatasvir and lenacapavir programs. John was awarded the American Chemical Society’s 2015 Heroes of Chemistry for his contributions to the discovery of Harvoni® and the 2017 inaugural Male Ally Award from the Women at Gilead employee resource group.

Board of Directors

George Golumbeski, Ph.D.

Partner, DROIA Ventures
Dr. Golumbeski is currently a partner at DROIA Ventures and serves on the boards of several life sciences companies. Prior to DROIA, he led business development at Celgene, where he was responsible for strategic collaborations and acquisitions, product in- and out-licensing, and relationship management. Previous to that, he was vice president of business development, licensing and strategy at Novartis, and held leadership positions at several biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including Elan Pharmaceuticals and Schwarz Pharma. Dr. Golumbeski holds a Ph.D. in genetics/molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a B.A. in biology from the University of Virginia.

Ben Cravatt, Ph.D.

Professor and Norton B. Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute
Ben Cravatt, Ph.D. is professor and Norton B. Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. His research group is interested in developing chemical proteomic technologies that enable protein and drug discovery on a global scale and applying these methods to characterize biochemical pathways that play important roles in human physiology and disease. In addition to his role at Scripps, Dr. Cravatt is a co-founder of Activx Biosciences (acquired by Kyorin Pharmaceuticals), Abide Therapeutics (acquired by Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals) and Vividion Therapeutics (acquired by Bayer AG). His honors include a Wolf Prize in Chemistry, a Searle Scholar Award, the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, a Cope Scholar Award, the ASBMB Merck Award, the Royal Society of Chemistry Jeremy Knowles Award, and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Cravatt obtained his undergraduate education at Stanford University, receiving a B.S. in biological sciences and a B.A. in history. He received a Ph.D. from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996 and joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997.

Jason Fuller, Ph.D.

Partner, Deerfield
Dr. Fuller is a partner on the therapeutics team at Deerfield, which he joined in 2021. Prior to Deerfield, he was an investor at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), where he co-managed several investments in therapeutics, as well as in tools and diagnostics. Previous to NEA, he served as head of corporate development at Jounce Therapeutics, one of several company formation projects he helped initiate in his role as principal at Third Rock Ventures before joining Jounce. Dr. Fuller holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University, an M.Phil. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he completed his degree in the lab of Robert Langer.

David Goldstein, Ph.D.

CEO, Co-founder, Actio
Dr. Goldstein is a human geneticist whose scientific career has focused on genetic diversity, the genetics of disease and pharmacogenetics, leading to the co-founding of Actio Biosciences. He was previously director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine, and a professor of genetics and development at Columbia University, with the mission to integrate genetics and genomics into research, patient care and education. Previously, Dr. Goldstein directed Duke University’s Center for Human Genome Variation. He has discovered over 30 disease-causing genes and syndromes, in particular for neurological and infectious diseases. He has also served as an advisor to numerous pharmaceutical companies, including as AstraZeneca’s chief genomics adviser, where he led an initiative focused on the discovery of new targets and biomarkers linked to molecular mechanisms of disease across multiple therapeutic areas. Dr. Goldstein is a scientific co-founder of Praxis Precision Medicines, a publicly traded clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company translating genetic insights into the development of therapies for patients affected by central nervous system disorders characterized by neuronal imbalance. Dr. Goldstein holds a B.S. in biology from University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

John McHutchison, M.D.

Co-founder, Actio
Dr. McHutchison is a veteran industry executive who has deep research and clinical development experience across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to co-founding Actio Biosciences, he was CEO & president of Assembly Biosciences, a clinical-stage biotechnology company. Prior to Assembly, he was the chief scientific officer and head of research and development of Gilead Sciences, Inc. He joined Gilead in 2010 and under his leadership, Gilead developed five medicines that have been used by more than three million people around the world for the curative treatment of chronic hepatitis C, and for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B. He also oversaw the company’s internal and external expansion into other non-viral therapeutic areas including oncology, inflammation and auto-immunity, fibrosis and non-viral liver diseases, as well as the development of Gilead’s first cancer medicine, Zydelig® (idelalisib). In 2018, Dr. McHutchison was appointed an officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of his distinguished service to medical research in gastroenterology and hepatology. Prior to Gilead, Dr. McHutchison worked at Duke University Medical Center, where he served as associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He also held the positions of professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at Duke University Medical Center, associate director at Duke Clinical Research Institute, and co-director of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Award. Prior to his positions at Duke University, Dr. McHutchison spent nearly 10 years at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, including serving as medical director, liver transplantation. Dr. McHutchison holds a B.S. and M.D. in medicine and surgery from the University of Melbourne.

Alex Tkachenko, Ph.D.

Executive in Residence, EcoR1
Dr. Tkachenko has more than 20 years of experience in research, drug development and venture creation. Before joining EcoR1 Capital as an executive-in-residence, he was CEO of Epiodyne, a venture-backed biotech developing new medicines to address the opioid crisis. Prior to Epiodyne, he served as CEO of BlackThorn Therapeutics, a biotech company developing targeted medicines for neurobehavioral disorders. Before BlackThorn, Dr. Tkachenko was president of Siluria Technologies, where he led the company through incubation, launch, team building and three rounds of financing. He started his industry career with Genentech. Dr. Tkachenko holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, where his graduate work led to the identification of one of the first transcription factors disrupted by chromosomal translocations in cancer. Earlier in his career, he served as a squad leader in the Soviet Army and completed a tour of combat duty in Afghanistan.

Nina Kjellson

General Partner, Canaan
Nina Kjellson is a general partner at Canaan, where she invests in early-stage biopharma and digital health companies that transform clinical outcomes and access to care for patients. In her eighteen years in venture capital, Nina has led more than a dozen investments and seen numerous exits via IPO or acquisition. Nina is a leader of Canaan’s Women of Venture program and a vocal advocate for women entrepreneurs and investors. She serves as a mentor to Springboard Life Sciences, an accelerator for health care companies led by women entrepreneurs. She is also an advisor to Oliver Wyman’s Health Innovation Center; serves on the board of Essential Access Health, a not-for-profit championing sexual and reproductive health access; and is a member of the California Leadership Council for the Nature Conservancy. Prior to Canaan, Nina was a general partner at InterWest Partners, an investment manager at Bay City Capital, and a research associate at Oracle Partners, a healthcare hedge fund. Current investments include Dauntless, Lycera, PACT Pharma, Tizona, Vineti, and WellTok, where she also serves on their boards. Her previous investments include Ocera (OCRX; acquired by Mallinckrodt), Labrys (acquired by Teva), Alt12 (acquired by Honest Company), Trius (TSRX; acquired by Cubist), CNS Therapeutics (acquired by Covidien), NovaCardia (acquired by Merck), and Aspreva (ASPV; acquired by Galenica). She received a BA in human biology from Stanford University. Nina was born in Scandinavia and grew up in the Northeast.

Matthias Van Woensel, Ph.D.

Observer
Partner, DROIA Ventures
Matthias Van Woensel (M Sc, Ph.D.), is a partner at Droia Ventures. Droia Ventures invests in early stage biotech companies that develop therapeutics for both oncology and genetic diseases. Matthias spends his time between those two areas of biology. In that capacity, he is also observer for Actio Biosciences. Prior to joining Droia, Matthias obtained his PhD in both biomedical sciences and pharmaceutical sciences at KULeuven and ULBrussels (both in Belgium).

Ezana Demissie

Observer
Healthcare Associate, Euclidean Capital

Veranika Razhkova

Observer
Principal, Deerfield
Veranika Razhkova is a Principal on the Therapeutics team and provides extensive research and analysis on early-stage investments. Prior to joining the Therapeutics team, Ms. Razhkova worked on patient forecasting in the Deerfield Institute. She joined the Firm in 2015 as a Fellow. Ms. Razhkova holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences from The City University of New York’s Baruch College and M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University.

Scientific Advisors

Ali Gharavi, M.D.
Columbia University
Ben Cravatt, Ph.D.
The Scripps Research Institute
Sheila Gujrathi, M.D.
ADARx
Matthew Nelson, Ph.D.
Deerfield Discovery and Development
Luisa Salter-Cid, Ph.D.
Pioneering Medicines
Nicholas Schork, Ph.D.
The Scripps Research Institute
Ed Scolnick, M.D.
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Investors