Kevin B. Bacon, Ph.D.
PRESIDENT & CEO
Dr. Kevin Bacon is a seasoned Senior Executive and Board Member with more than 35 years of success across the pharmaceutical, drug/clinical development, and biotechnology industries. Prior to joining Sequoia Vaccines inc., he served as the CEO of Abcentra LLC (2020-2023), President and Chief Executive Officer of SMA Therapeutics Inc. (2017-2023), acting CEO of Raft Pharmaceuticals, LLC (2018-2020), Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research and Development, and Founder of Actimis Pharmaceuticals inc. (2004-2018), and the President of Axikin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2008-2017). Dr. Bacon was the VP Respiratory Diseases Research for Bayer Healthcare AG from 1999-2004. Prior to joining Bayer AG, Dr. Bacon held positions of increasing responsibility at Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc., in San Diego, was a Visiting Scientist at the DNAX Institute for Molecular Biology, and started his industry career at the Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology (latterly Merck-Serono) in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Bacon received his Bachelor of Science, with Honors, in Pharmacology from King’s College at the University of London and his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of London, is an author of over 100 original manuscripts, book chapters and reviews in the field of drug discovery and inflammation biology, and a co-author on numerous issued and filed patents.
James P. Bick, Jr.
James P. Bick Jr. is an attorney and recently became General Counsel for the Joseph C. Sansone Company which specializes in business tax solutions. Through 2019, Jim spent 29 years in private law practice, concentrating his practice in the representation of individuals and small- and medium-sized business. He’s handled a wide variety of civil and corporate litigation in state and federal courts as well as corporate transactional work including contracts, employment matters, asset acquisitions and dispositions, entity formation and maintenance, succession planning and trusts and estates. James is also an owner and serves as Chairman of Board of Bick Holdings, Inc. which is a data center and critical facilities company with offices in four states doing business throughout the US.
Joseph P. Conran
Joseph P. Conran is a litigation attorney at Husch Blackwell. Joe is a former executive board member and former co-chair of Husch Blackwell. Joe handles antitrust disputes, class-action litigation, consumer-fraud allegations, securities violations and other cases. Joe represented Monsanto (now Bayer) in a patent-infringement trial against DuPont over technology for herbicide-resistant soybeans. A jury in St. Louis, Missouri federal court returned a $1 billion verdict on behalf of Monsanto. Joe defeated class certification in litigation against Express Scripts, which consisted of more than 20 cases from jurisdictions across North America. Joe also won summary judgment on key issues, affirming the core business functions of Express Scripts.
Joe currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Saint Louis University and is a member of numerous other nonprofit boards. Joe was one of the organizers of the Trial Practice Institute, an annual three-day seminar that trains young lawyers in development of a comprehensive, well-organized approach to litigation. He also has lectured on trial advocacy at Saint Louis University School of Law and the University of Virginia School of Law. Before entering private practice, Joe was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, serving as a judge advocate. He was a chief prosecuting attorney for Travis Air Force Base in California, one of the busiest court-martial jurisdictions in the world.
Michael Holmes is the Chairman Emeritus and Founder of Rx Outreach, America’s largest non-profit pharmacy providing affordable medicine to people throughout the country. Michael negotiated and led the spin-off of the business from Express Scripts in 2010, converting the ownership into a non-profit organization to better serve the needs of individuals and families who otherwise might not be able to afford their medication. Prior to the spin-off, he was an Executive Vice President at Express Scripts with responsibility for Strategic Planning, all domestic Emerging Markets businesses, Research and Clinical Services, Human Resources and many of the corporate staff functions. Michael began his career in the Human Resources function working for Monsanto and Pepsi and then Automated Data Processing where he rose to the position of Chief Human Resources Officer. In 1995, Michael joined Edward Jones as a Partner and Chief Human Resources Officer with a focus on building the companies human capital infrastructure for growth while preserving the organizations core values. While there, the company tripled in size and became the “Best Company to Work For” in America for two consecutive years. Michael served on both the Management and Executive Committees overseeing the firm’s direction.
Michael serves on the BJC HealthCare board of directors, the National Council for the Brown School at Washington University, the Rx Outreach board and the Enterprise Financial Services board of directors. Michael is also the past Chairman of the board of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and past Chairman of the board of Mary Institute Country Day School in St. Louis. Michael and his wife Gail have also Co-Chaired the Charmaine Chapman Society for the United Way. Michael graduated from Washington university in 1979. Michael completed the Coro Fellows program in 1980 and then a Master’s in Business from Webster University.
Michael J. Mertz
Michael J. Mertz is the Co-President, Partner Solutions at First Data Corporation. This is a $2.8 billion revenue segment of First Data. First Data was acquired in July, 2019, by Fiserv for $22 billion. Michael has been actively involved in the business of financial technology and payment solutions sinve 2003 when he founded MertzCo. Michael sold his company, MertzCo, to CardConnect in 2017 and he became one of the largest individual shareholders of CardConnect. CardConnect was acquired by First Data for $750 million. Michael was instrumental in this sale to First Data. Michael is an active commercial real estate developer and investor. He is currently invested in early stage companies Bluestone Lane, RhinoDox, Honeybrains and Top Ya! Michael was one of Sequoia Sciences’ first investors, and he has invested in the majority of its financing rounds. Michael is a current member of the Chicago Board of Trade where he traded the 30-year bond futures from 1993-2003.
Stephen M. Notestine, Sr.
Stephen Notestine was in the commercial real estate and development business for 30 years. He is the founding partner of Quadrant Properties, a development company active in Denver and Dallas. He has been a board member on numerous not-for-profit organizations and a founding board member of the Roman Catholic Foundation. He has invested in over a dozen start-up and technology businesses in recent years. He has been a strong proponent and active fundraiser for Sequoia since its inception in 1999.
William C. Rusnack
Bill Rusnack earned his BS at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1966, and MBA at the University of Chicago in 1970. Bill joined Premcor Inc. in April 1998, and served as President and Chief Executive Officer until April 2002. Prior to Premcor, Bill was President of ARCO Products Company, the Refining and Marketing division of Atlantic Richfield Company. During his 31-year career at ARCO, Bill was also President of ARCO Transportation Company and Chair of the Owners Committee of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline Company.
Bill is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and a board member of the Los Angeles Urban League. He serves on as a member of the Board of Sempra Energy in San Diego, California where he is a Chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee and Executive Committee. He previously was the Non-Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Floserve Corporation in Irving, Texas, as well as a board member of Peabody Energy and Solutia Corporation in Saint Louis and Lyondell Petrochemical Company in Houston, Texas.
Brian R. Salmo
Brian Salmo is the Managing Director at Hermann Companies, where he focuses on sourcing, underwriting, and supporting the firm’s private equity and venture capital investments. Before joining Hermann, Brian was an executive at LMI Aerospace in a variety of roles, including General Counsel, VP of Human Resources, and Business Unit leader over a multi-site P&L. Prior to LMI, Brian was a corporate attorney at the national law firm of Polsinelli PC, focusing on M&A, venture capital, and other complex transactions.
Brian serves on several for-profit and non-for-profit Boards. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and Juris Doctorate from Southern Illinois University.
Brian L. Clevinger, PhD
Brian L. Clevinger, PhD is a co-founder and managing director of Prolog Ventures. He has been involved in the commercialization of bioscience for more than 25 years. Prior to co-founding Prolog, Brian was the CEO of vaccine developer Megan Health. He led that company from its founding in 1993 to its acquisition in 2000 by AVANT Immunotherapeutics. Prior to that, Brian was tapped by Alafi Capital to head its medical technology commercialization partnership with Washington University, A/W Company. Brian began his professional career at Washington University, where he held a tenured position, headed a research laboratory, and created a monoclonal antibody core facility. He holds a doctorate in immunology from Indiana University and was awarded an NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University.