Board of Directors

Meet our leadership team.

Laura Esserman, MD, MBA | Cofounder

Dr. Laura Esserman, an internationally recognized breast surgeon and breast oncology specialist, is the co-founder of Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative. She is a Professor of Surgery and Radiology at the University of San Francisco, Director of UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, led the creation of the Athena Breast Health Network and the Women Informed to Screen Depending On their Measures of risk (WISDOM) Study, and is the lead Principal Investigator of the I-SPY TRIAL program.

Dr. Esserman's breast cancer work spans the spectrum of basic science to public policy issues and the impact of both on the delivery of clinical care. She has led efforts to address the harms of screening such as over-diagnosis, and proposed tools including the development of molecular diagnostics to help reclassify tumors as IDLE or ultralow risk. Recognized as a visionary in personalized medicine, she is helping to reshape the healthcare system, changing it from a general population approach to a personalized and patient-centered care model-through the integration of clinical care and research, better use of data, developing trial platforms that are learning systems, and creating trial access and education for patients seeking clinical trial information.

Dr. Esserman developed the I-SPY TRIAL program, a ground-breaking national public-private collaboration among 20 cancer research centers, pharma and biotech companies, the FDA and NCI. It is a multi-site, neoadjuvant clinical trial designed to reduce the time and cost for drug development, and finding the right drug for the right patient earlier in the disease course when cure is possible. The I-SPY TRIAL has evolved into a model for translational research and innovation in clinical trial design. Due to its success, it is now being adopted by researchers and clinicians in their efforts to mitigate other chronic diseases.

Dr. Esserman also led the creation of the University of California-wide, and now national, Athena Breast Health Network-a learning system designed to integrate clinical care and research, from screening through the lifecycle of care. Through the Athena Network, she developed and executed the PCORI funded the WISDOM study, an ambitious study of 100,000 women recruited to participate in an effort to modernize our approach to screening and prevention, starting with risk assessment to personalize options, to determine if personalized screening has higher health care benefit and value than the standard of annual screening.

Dr. Esserman was recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2016, was the recipient of the 2016 Stanford Business School Ernest C. Arbuckle Award, and received the 2016 Personalized Medicine World Conference Pioneer and Luminary Award. She was recently recognized by OncLive® in the 2018 Class of Giants of Cancer Care®, as a 2018 Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and as a top 20 Most Influential Moms of 2018 by Family Circle magazine. In 2019, she was an honoree at the Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, Army of Women 10th Anniversary celebration for her accomplishments as a distinguished surgeon.

Dr. Esserman has published more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is regularly sought out by the prestigious scientific, business, and consumer media. She received her BA from Harvard University in History of Science, and her MD and MBA from Stanford University where she was also Chief Resident in General Surgery and completed a fellowship in oncology.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, PhD | Cofounder

Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of 15 books including his latest, "Dying for a Paycheck:  How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—And What We Can Do About It."

Dr. Pfeffer received his BS and MS degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and his PhD from Stanford. He began his career at the business school at the University of Illinois and then taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Pfeffer has been a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University, London Business School, Copenhagen Business School, and for the past 13 years a visitor at IESE in Barcelona. He has presented seminars in 40 countries throughout the world as well as doing consulting and providing executive education for numerous companies, associations, and universities in the United States. Dr. Pfeffer has written monthly columns for Business 2.0 and Capital magazines, and has also written for, BNET, the Washington Post,, BBC’s Capital, and is an Influencer on LinkedIn.

Dr. Pfeffer has won the Richard D. Irwin Award presented by the Academy of Management for scholarly contributions to management and numerous awards for his articles and books. He is in the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame and has been listed as one of the Most Influential HR International Thinkers by HR Magazine. In November 2011, he was presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Tilburg University in The Netherlands.

Dave Mandelkern, MS | Chairman of the Board

Mr. Dave Mandelkern is a retired Silicon Valley entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience in enterprise software and healthcare services companies, including building two publicly held companies with a combined market cap at one time over of $1.5 billion. He was a founder and CEO of Maverix Biomics, a genomic sequence big data analytics software company; founder and CEO of QuickHealth, a provider of primary care medical services recognized by the New York Times as one of the "ideas of the decade"; founder, EVP and CTO of Docent, a pioneer in online learning software; and CEO of Talarian, a real-time messaging middleware software company.

Mr. Mandelkern has served on the boards of both public and private corporations and charitable organizations including currently the California State Parks Foundation and Beyond Barriers Athletic Foundation. He is also an elected Trustee of the San Mateo County Community College District. Mr. Mandelkern earned his BS with Distinction and his MS from Stanford University in Electrical Engineering.

Anna Barker, PhD

Dr. Anna Barker is Co-Director of CAS-Biomedicine at ASU which designs and implements new research knowledge networks, projects and models to address major problems in biomedical research and biomedicine. She focuses on CAS science as applied to the discovery and systems development in areas such as biomarkers, next-generation clinical trials and the role of artificial intelligence in biomarker discovery.

Dr. Barker previously served as the Deputy Director and Deputy Director for Strategic Scientific Initiatives of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she developed and led several precision medicine directed trans-disciplinary programs including the Nanotechnology Alliance for Cancer; The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA); Clinical Proteomics Technologies Initiatives; and the Physical Sciences – Oncology Centers. She was founding co-chair of the NCI-FDA Interagency Task Force (IOTF), founding co-chair of the Cancer Steering Committee of the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium (FNIH-BC), and led the NCI’s international cancer research programs. She served as a senior executive at Battelle Memorial Institute for 18 years where she pioneered key initiatives in cancer research and biomedicine. Dr. Barker also co-founded and served as the CEO of a public biotechnology company focused on novel strategies to control reactive oxygen damage in inflammatory diseases and cancer. She serves as a trustee or director for a number of non-profit organizations, including: Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative; Sanford Burnham Prebys Discovery Institute; Friends of Cancer Research; Senior Fellow, Milken Institute, Faster Cures; Chair, Data Standards Committee, Biden Cancer Initiative; Founder and Chair, AACR Scientist Survivor Program; and serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Caris Life Science.

Dr. Barker has received numerous awards for her cancer research, policy and advocacy efforts. She received her MA and PhD at the Ohio State University, where she trained in immunology and microbiology.

Lucas de Breed, PhD, MBA

Dr. Lucas de Breed is the Founder and Managing Director of AUGC LLC focused on third-party financing of advanced therapies.

Dr. de Breed has over a decade of international experience in all phases of drug development and commercialization and a strong financial background. Previously as a Manager at Deallus, a global strategy consulting firm for Top 30 Pharma clients, he led the oncology business unit and founded the firm’s East Coast office. Consequently, as a Managing Director at Akero Health, he advised half a dozen early-stage therapeutics, Medtech and diagnostics companies in both New York and the Bay Area. As an Investment Director at INKEF Capital, a leading European VC firm, he invested $60 million in US and European therapeutics start-ups in the fields of oncology (Rainier Therapeutics, Scenic Immunology, InteRNA Technologies), audiology (Audion Therapeutics), fibrosis (Lanthio Pharma), neuromuscular disorders (NMD Pharma), metabolic diseases (Comet Therapeutics) and genetic diseases (Scenic Biotech), and served on the respective Boards. At INKEF, he was instrumental in setting the investment strategy, building out the investment team and the AUM expansion to $600 million.

Dr. de Breed holds a PhD from University College London and an MBA from Stanford University. He has also co-authored several scientific papers. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Phosplatin Therapeutics.

Susan Foley, CFA

Ms. Susan Foley is an investment professional with over 24 years of experience in the institutional investment management business. Previously a partner of the investment firm, Harris Bretall Sullivan and Smith, LLC (1989-2006) Harris Bretall was recently purchased by Federated Investors of Pennsylvania. Harris Bretall was a large capitalization growth stock manager with over $7 billion in assets under management of public and private institutions: corporations, endowments and foundations and individual investors. She led the portfolio management group, sat on the investment policy committee and was the lead portfolio manager on the Technology Communications & Entertainment Portfolio.

Ms. Foley is a Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Investment Counselor, and member of both the Security Analysts of San Francisco and of AIMR. In the past, she has been associated with the National Association of Business Economists. She has served on both private corporate boards and charitable organizations including the National Charity League, Menlo School, and the UCSF Breast Cancer Center.

Michele Markus

Michele Markus, Head of Global Health Accounts at Omnicom, is a healthcare communications professional with over 20 years of experience and currently oversees the largest health clients across the private, public, policy, genomics and technology sectors for Omnicom, a leading worldwide marketing and communications company. Michele has spent her career in health and immersed herself in the perspective of the ultimate recipient – the patient. Combining a deep customer understanding with her background in global commercial strategy and organizational performance management consulting, she has commercialized products and implemented programs in more than 80 markets worldwide. Her understanding of diseases and their impacts was derived from time spent in R&D, communications, strategic planning and lifecycle management across a range of categories, including specialty, infectious diseases, rare conditions, CV/metabolic, nutrition, consumer/OTC, surgical and devices. Moreover, her focus in oncology – both solid tumor and hematologic malignancies - over the past 15 years has sharpened her vision and beliefs around accelerating Innovation and Access.

Michele serves on the Board of Advisors for The Alliance for Aging Research in Washington DC and War on Cancer in Stockholm, Sweden. She is also the founder and creator of SHIFT:Health, the private invitation-based healthcare exchange event that focuses on the wider political, socioeconomic and policy shifts affecting the health industries and how to invoke actionable change. She is the creator and leading expert on Strategic Cartography, which helps biotech, diagnostic and pharma companies commercialize in these shifting markets – breaking down traditional global, regional and local mindsets. In addition, she has been a sought-after speaker for a number of industry events including, Annual Emerging Markets Commercial Excellence Forum, Brilliant Minds, and the Cannes Lions Health Festival.  

Michele is also passionate about talent development and diversity and inclusion. She currently sits on the governing body of Omniwomen, Omnicom’s global women’s initiative, where she focuses on international impact and expansion.

Robert Patterson, Esq

Mr. Robert E. Patterson earned a degree in Physics from UCLA in 1964 and then served as an officer in the U. S. Navy nuclear submarine force in the Atlantic fleet for five years, and then in the U.S. Naval Reserve, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He graduated from Stanford Law School in the 1972 class, and in due course, became a partner at the San Francisco office of the law firm of Squire, Patton & Boggs in 1978. After 36 years of experience providing legal counsel to high tech business clients, primarily foreign companies doing business in the US, he retired from the practice of law, started a venture capital firm and, in various professional capacities, focused on investment analysis as well as issues of corporate governance, ultimately serving on 75 boards of directors for a wide variety of companies over many years. His focus professionally as a lawyer, director, and venture capitalist, has been on the technology characteristic of Silicon Valley, including, in particular: life science, physics, and information science.

Mr. Patterson was a visiting scholar in 1986 at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College, where he was the Inaugural Fellow of the Tuck Center for Private Equity. He presently serves on the Board of Directors of the California State Parks Foundation, the Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, and the Advisory Board of Yewno. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Stanford Library.

Robyn Lawrie Rutledge, MBA

Ms. Robyn Rutledge was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and received a Bachelor of Commerce with First Class Honors from Queen’s University in Kingston. She subsequently earned an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar and interned in the wine industry. When not at her desk, you will find her outdoors, running or biking, creating healthy recipes for her family, or chasing her highly-energetic toddler.

Ms. Rutledge has been working in finance and investing for over 15 years with a focus on the food, beverage, and wellness industries. Searching out innovation in health, she is motivated to improve our society’s well-being through rapid consumer understanding and practical paths to adoption. Currently, she devotes significant time advising and directing businesses, both through her consulting practice and also as an Operating Partner at a leading strategic equity firm. Ms. Rutledge joined TSG Consumer Partners in 2007, a private equity firm focused exclusively on investing in consumer brands and subsequently was promoted to Managing Director and Partner. She has led teams across all facets of private equity including prospect selection, negotiation and structuring, and value creation through partnership. She is currently an active faculty member and Chairs the Advisory Council at the Food Business School (FBS), the graduate and executive education center of the Culinary Institute of America. She has always loved mentoring and is a passionate advocate for the principle of life-long learning. In addition to working directly with students, Ms. Rutledge has the privilege of engaging and activating leaders in the industry, working to shape FBS through bold innovation in curriculum and execution.

Previously Ms. Rutledge was a member of the investing team at Thomas Cressey where she focused on the consumer products and marketing services sectors. She began her career in finance in New York at Goldman Sachs, working in both Corporate Finance and Mergers and Acquisitions advising clients in the natural resources, technology, and consumer products sectors.

Gregory C. Simon

Greg Simon was recently the President of the Biden Cancer Initiative (BCI), an independent nonprofit organization devoted to doubling our rate of progress in preventing, detecting, diagnosing, treating and surviving cancer.  The Initiative’s work focused on building the cancer research and care system that most people think we already have.  Since it launched in 2017, BCI helped launch 57 partnerships that provided needed services to patients, in addition to its work to develop common cancer data terminology, common data standards and assays in immunotherapy, to promote better clinical trial design and matching programs, to increase HPV vaccine uptake, to promote patient navigation services and better access to care for all people.  

In 2016, Greg served as the Executive Director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, a position created by President Barack Obama and for which he was chosen by Vice President Joe Biden 2016. Over nine months, Greg and his team helped launch nearly eighty innovative collaborations. Greg returned to the White House after serving as Vice President Al Gore’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor between 1993 and 1997.

Previously, Greg was the CEO of Poliwogg, a financial services company creating unique capital market opportunities in healthcare and life sciences.  From 2009-2012, Greg was Senior Vice President for Worldwide Policy and Patient Engagement at Pfizer.  In 2003, he co-founded with Michael Milken, FasterCures/ The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions, and in 2007 with Leon and Debra Black he co-founded the Melanoma Research Alliance. As President of FasterCures, he built an organization valued and recognized for catalyzing systematic change in the process of discovery and development of new therapies for deadly and debilitating diseases.

Greg is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from NASA for his work on the development of the International Space Station; the “Art of Advocacy” award for his work for patients from the Genetic Alliance; the Public Service Award from the Arab American Institute; the Sharon Nelson Achievement Award from the Shidler Center for Law, Commerce and Technology at the University of Washington in Seattle. In October 2008, Nature Medicine named Greg one of 10 influential people to watch in biomedical policy and noted that he is among a “handful of influential people who quietly help keep the wheels of biomedical science turning.”

Mark Simon, MBA

Mr. Mark Simon has been researching and advising biotechnology, specialty, and large pharmaceutical companies for more than 30 years. He has worked on more than 175 transactions involving financing, business development, and mergers and acquisitions. Before co-founding Torreya Partners, a boutique advisory firm, in 2007, Mr. Simon was a Managing Director and the Head of Life Sciences Investment Banking at Citigroup, where he covered global pharmaceutical companies, with a focus on large-capitalization companies in the United States, Europe and Japan. Prior to his tenure at Citigroup, he served as a Managing Director at Robertson Stephens in San Francisco and New York. 
Before moving into investment banking in 1998, Mr. Simon was a Senior Biotech Research Analyst at Robertson Stephens, where he was named Wall Street All-Star Analyst for three years in a row. Mr. Simon holds a B.A. in History from Columbia College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a board member of multiple foundations in the oncology and aging areas, as well as several for-profit companies.

N. Marcus Thygeson, MD, MPH

Dr. Marcus Thygeson is the Clinical Lead at Bind On-Demand Health Insurance. Bind administers a novel health insurance product that delivers lower premiums, broad provider choice and the freedom to adjust coverage on-demand. Formerly Dr. Thygeson was the Senior Vice President and Chief Health Officer at Blue Shield of California. He led the Blue Shield of California (BSC) Healthcare Services team in support of its mission to ensure all Californians have access to high-quality affordable health care. Prior to joining BSC, Dr. Thygeson led the Center for Healthcare Innovation at Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he focused on promoting community health improvement, care delivery redesign, clinical and health services research, patient engagement, professional development and well-being, and the practical application of systems thinking to healthcare improvement. Before joining Allina, Dr. Thygeson served as the corporate medical director and vice president for consumer health solutions at HealthPartners, medical director for Definity Health, and chief medical officer of Mywayhealth. From 1996 to 2000 he was the medical director from Alta Bates Medical Group.

Dr. Thygeson co-chairs the National Committee for Quality Assurance Committee for Performance Measurement, serves as a Director for the Alta California Eye Foundation, and is on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER).

Dr. Thygeson received his BS summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis, an MD from Harvard Medical School, and an MPH from the University of Minnesota. He received his medical training at Virginia Mason Hospital, where he was chief medical resident, and at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Thygeson is Board-Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Lambert van der Walde, MBA

Mr. Lambert van der Walde has 20 years’ experience in health care finance and policy, presently leading government and policy research for UnitedHealth Group. Previously, Mr. van der Walde operated VAN DER WALDE & CO., an advisory firm serving hedge funds, mutual funds, lenders, and private equity firms as they deployed capital across health care.

In the Bush and Obama Administrations, Mr. van der Walde served as Capital Markets Advisor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), advising Administration and Congressional officials on financial and industry market consequences of the new and proposed regulation and legislation. In this capacity, he served as the CMS liaison to the investor community.

Prior to government service, Mr. van der Walde was an investment banker with Salomon Brothers, focused on equity, debt, and M&A transactions for the telecommunications industry. He has also worked in venture capital and as a fixed income portfolio analyst. Mr. van der Walde holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.