Board of Directors
John B. Elstrott, Ph.D. – Chairman and Cofounder
Dr. Elstrott is a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and the founding Director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. He is an active entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical, natural foods and venture capital industries. Dr. Elstrott has been a Director of Whole Foods Market since 1995 and currently serves as its Chairman. Additionally, he serves as a Director for a number of other public, private and non-profit organizations. Earlier in his career, Dr. Elstrott was Chief Financial Officer for Celestial Seasonings. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Ross Barrett – Director
Mr. Barrett is the Managing General Partner of BVM Capital, which manages the venture funds Louisiana Ventures, LP and Themelios Ventures, LP. He is a co-founder and strategic adviser to VC Experts, Inc., and has been an adviser to, or investor in, over 20 early stage companies. Previously, Mr. Barrett worked in public service, serving as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, as a Commissioner of the Louisiana Airport Authority and as a member of Governor Jindal’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship transition team. He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Hope for New York, an umbrella organization of more than 30 charities. Mr. Barrett received a B.A. degree from Southern Methodist University, an L.L.M. degree in Taxation from the New York University School of Law and a J.D. degree from Louisiana State University School of Law.
Paul D. Cordes, Jr., J.D., LLM. – Director
Mr. Cordes is a Managing Member of Guarisco & Cordes, LLC, a tax and business law specialty firm in New Orleans, which he co-founded. Mr. Cordes is a board-certified Tax Attorney and is a member of the Tax Sections of the Louisiana and American Bar Associations and the Corporate and Business Law Section of the Louisiana Bar Association. Mr. Cordes obtained a B.B.A. degree from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. degree from Loyola School of Law (New Orleans). He was a member of the Loyola Law Review and continued his education by earning a Master of Laws in Taxation degree from New York University School of Law.
Donald R. Marvin, M.B.A. – Director
Independent Director Donald Marvin has over 25 years of leadership experience in the development and commercialization of novel diagnostic and research products. He is President and CEO of Cairn Associates, a life sciences strategy consulting and investment firm. Previously, Mr. Marvin was President and CEO of IdentiGEN, a leading provider of DNA-based solutions in the agriculture and food industries. He was a co-founder, CFO and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development of Orchid BioSciences, a pioneer in human DNA identity testing. Prior to Orchid, Mr. Marvin was President and CEO of Diatron Corp., a developer of fluorescence-based clinical diagnostic systems. Earlier in his career, he held positions in strategic planning, business development, operations and marketing at PepsiCo, Abbott Laboratories, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim. Mr. Marvin also serves as a Director of Melior Discovery. He received a B.S. degree from Ohio State University and an M.B.A. from Iona College.
Richard Montgomery, J.D. – Director
Mr. Montgomery is Director of New Market Tax Credit Programs for Enhanced Capital Partners and is also a member of the General Partner group of BVM Advisors, a venture capital firm. Previously, he was an attorney at Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrère & Denègre, where his practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, private equity and venture capital financing transactions, and entity formation. Mr. Montgomery earned a B.A. degree from the University of Georgia and a J.D. from the Louisiana State University School of Law, where he was an associate at the Louisiana Law Review and graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif, an academic honor society.
Dale R. Pfost, Ph.D. – Director and Cofounder
Dr. Pfost, currently a General Partner at Advent Ventures, has over 25 years of leadership experience in the biotechnology industry. He has served as chief executive of six biotechnology companies, most recently as founding CEO of MicroBiome Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Pfost was CEO of cancer drug company Receptor BioLogix, founding CEO and chairman of ophthalmic innovator Acuity Pharmaceuticals, CEO and Chairman of DNA testing company Orchid BioSciences, and President and CEO of Oxford GlycoSciences, a leader in proteomics and glycobiology. He began his career as founding President of Infinitek, the company that developed the Biomek laboratory robotic system acquired by SmithKline Beckman. Dr. Pfost received a B.S. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University.