Board of Directors

Board of Directors


David C. U’Prichard, Ph.D., Chair
Dr. David C. U’Prichard’s 35-year professional career spans academic research, senior R&D leadership at two global pharmaceutical companies, biotech company leadership, venture capital, and extensive experience on the boards of public and private US, UK and European companies.

In the last decade, Dr. U’Prichard has been a Venture Partner at Red Abbey Venture Partners, Apax Partners, BioMotiv and Arix Biosciences. From 1999 to 2003, he was CEO of 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, which he took public in 2000 and sold to Johnson & Johnson. From 1997 to 1999, he served as Chairman of Research and Development at SmithKline Beecham. He worked for ICI/Zeneca from 1986 to 1997 as Executive Vice President and International Research Director from 1994 to 1997. While at Zeneca and SmithKline Beecham, Dr. U’Prichard oversaw the discovery and development of a number of successful drugs including Seroquel®, Accolate®, Avandia®, and Iressa®. Dr. U’Prichard has served on the boards of several recently successful biotech companies including Life Technologies (formerly Invitrogen) from 2004 until the sale to Thermo Fisher in 2014 for $13.6 Billion, as well as Naurex which was acquired by Allergan in 2015 for $560 Million upfront plus milestones. He is currently President of Druid Consulting LLC, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology-consulting firm. Dr. U’Prichard is also part-time Chief Scientific Officer and board member of BioMotiv, LLC which is the for profit operating company arm of The Harrington Discovery and Development Project, a national initiative to accelerate new drug development inspired by physician-scientists.

Following post-doctoral research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. U’Prichard was a tenured Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Neurobiology at Northwestern University Medical School. He has held academic appointments at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania, and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow.

Dr. U’Prichard received his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Kansas, and his BS in Pharmacology from the University of Glasgow. He has authored more than 100 primary and review publications, was a founding co-editor of Molecular Neurobiology, and has served as a member of numerous editorial boards.

John A. Chickosky
John Chickosky joined Vala Science’s Board in April 2018. Previously, Mr. Chickosky served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Natrix Separations, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of innovative chromatography technology for biopharmaceutic purification, from 2011 until December 2017. He also served on Natrix’s board of directors from 2010 until December 2017.  Before Natrix, Mr. Chickosky held the position of Chief Commercial Officer and President of the BioSystems Division of Xcellerex, Inc., where he was instrumental in developing and executing the company’s commercial strategy until its acquisition by GE Healthcare.  Prior to Xcellerex, he held senior positions at Kendro Laboratory Products (now part of ThermoFisher), where he was Vice President, Global Bioprocessing and Drug Discovery Sales and at CARR Separations, where he was Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Prior to CARR, he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AquaAir, Inc. and at Sepracor, Inc as Vice President, Marketing and Vice President, Business Development. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Santa Clara University and an MBA from St. Mary’s College (California).

Elaine J. Heron, Ph.D.
Elaine J. Heron, Ph.D., joined Vala Science’s Board in April 2018. Dr. Heron served as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage drug development company from February 2009 until October 2015, and she continues to serve as member of that company’s board. She is also a member of the boards of directors of BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN), a therapeutics company with annual sales over $1 billion and  Palvella Therapeutics,Inc.,  a private early stage therapeutics company. From July 2001 to October 2008, Dr. Heron was Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Labcyte Inc., a private biotechnology tools company. Before joining Labcyte Inc., she spent six years in positions of increasing responsibility at the Applied Biosystems Group of Applera Corporation, a biotechnology tools company, including the positions of General Manager and Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Dr. Heron earned a B.S. in chemistry with highest distinction, a Ph.D. in analytical biochemistry from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.

Mark McWilliams, MSME
Mark currently serves as CEO of Medipacs, an early stage medical device firm bringing to market a series of miniature, disposable infusion pumps. Prior to Medipacs, Mark was Director of Cell Imaging and Analysis at Beckman Coulter after the sale of Q3DM to Beckman in December 2003. He was Chief Executive Officer and Director of Q3DM, a life -sciences startup that brought to market a high-speed imaging and analysis system for life science research and diagnostics. Prior to Q3DM, Mark was founder and COO of Medication Delivery Devices (MDD), an alternate care infusion systems company that was acquired by Baxter Healthcare in 1996. Mr. McWilliams served as a VP of Research and Development at Baxter Healthcare for three years following the sale of MDD. Prior to MDD, he served as Product Development Manager at the founding of Block Medical where he was responsible for bringing the company's first two FDA approved products rapidly to market. Block was sold to Hillenbrand Industries in 1991. Mark serves on the board of directors of Spectra Science, a cancer diagnostic instrument company. He earned his MSME from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his BSME from Northeastern University and holds eight utility patents.

Jeffrey H. Price, MD, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Price is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vala Sciences.  Dr. Price received his MD from Loma Linda University and his PhD in bioengineering from UC San Diego. He began his career in high throughput microscopy research in 1987, which led him to found his first company, Q3DM Inc in 1999. Q3DM was sold to Beckman Coulter Inc in 2003. Dr. Price is also an Associate Professor at The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute where he trains graduate students from Bioengineering at UC San Diego.

John K. Westwick, Ph.D.
Dr. Westwick is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence with Mercury Fund, a seed and early-stage venture capital firm with over $200 million under management. Mercury invests in compelling and novel software and science-based startup opportunities, where he is actively seeking out new therapeutics and technologies.  Dr. Westwick’s scientific and biotech career spans over 30 years, with a constant focus on defining cellular mechanisms of cancer, inflammatory and metabolic diseases and translating this knowledge into improved therapeutics.  Dr. Westwick has contributed to multiple drug development programs that are currently marketed or in human clinical trials.  Recent work also involves the development of novel technologies for systems biology and stem cell analysis. He is internationally recognized in the field of cellular signaling and drug discovery technology development, with over 200 podium presentations at international scientific conferences, pharmaceutical and biotech companies and over 60 published scientific articles and patents.  The ultimate goal of these efforts is the creation of novel technologies for biopharma companies and new therapies for patients.

Previously, Dr. Westwick was President & CEO of Odyssey Thera, a privately-held therapeutic company with expertise in cell systems biology.  Prior to Odyssey Thera, Dr. Westwick held executive positions at Celgene Corp. and Signal Pharmaceuticals.  Dr. Westwick holds a B.A. degree in Biology from UC-San Diego, a Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology from the UC-San Diego School of Medicine, and completed post-doctoral studies in Medicine and Pharmacology at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, where he was subsequently named the Lineberger Fellow at the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Center.