William J. Rutter, CEO
Bill Rutter is Chairman and founder of Synergenics, LLC, which owns/controls a portfolio of biotechnology companies at various stages of development. Synergenics provides financing and senior executive, legal, business development, scientific and operational resources to its portfolio companies. The companies benefit from a collaborative environment, shared access to laboratories and other physical resources, and cross-licensing of technologies. R&D is carried out by a combination of in-house, and external services. The programs are monitored by “Science Partners”, a group of individuals with distinguished careers in science, biotechnology, and Pharma, who participate directly in all phases of development. Synergenics provides a novel business model for commercialization of innovative technologies/products from the concept stage to commercial reality, which is usually achieved via licensing or partnerships.
Bill, with two colleagues, founded Chiron Corporation in 1981, a pioneering biotech firm that developed the first recombinant vaccine (for Hepatitis B), the first sequencing of the HIV genome in 1984, and the discovery, cloning, and sequencing of the Hepatitis C virus (1987). Chiron also developed quantitative diagnostic tests for determination of “viral load,” a new concept that opened the way for development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines against these viruses. In 1995, the Swiss Pharma company Ciba-Geigy acquired 49% of Chiron in a transformative transaction. Subsequently, Sandoz merged with Ciba-Geigy to form Novartis. Rutter joined the Novartis Board of Directors, and remained with Chiron until 1998. Novartis purchased the remaining portion of Chiron in 2005.
Bill played a key role in developing UCSF into a major scientific institution. He joined UCSF as head of its new department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in 1968 , and helped build the science enterprise during the period of major developments in recombinant DNA technology, based on discoveries of colleague Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen of Stanford. After the formation of Chiron, Bill became director of UCSF’s Hormone Research Institute, a post retained until 1989, when he joined Chiron full time. Bill has published more than 380 scientific articles and holds over 25 patents. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received numerous awards for his contributions to science and the biotechnology industry.
Stephen Halasz, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Mr. Halasz has over twenty years’ experience in complex business transactions. He is responsible for legal matters pertaining to all Synergenics portfolio companies. Previously, he practiced law with a large Denver law firm from 1984 until 1999, where he handled numerous joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, securities offerings, licensing transactions, and international commercial transactions. He has experience in many industries, including the life sciences, telecommunications, computer software and hardware, and cable television. In 2000, Mr. Halasz joined a private investment group as general counsel and partner to pursue opportunities in telecommunications and media. Mr. Halasz also co-founded a manufacturer of consumer opto/electronic devices, and served as CEO of that entity while it was successfully reorganized in 2003 - 2005. Mr. Halasz received his J.D. degree from Yale Law School.
Larry Bardoff , Senior Vice President Finance and CFO
Mr. Bardoff is responsible for financial, tax and administrative matters related to the consortium of biotech companies managed by Synergenics LLC. Mr. Bardoff has over 30 year’s professional experience and before joining Synergenics was head of the tax department at Charles Schwab & Co. (where he was employed for over 10 years). He also worked in the tax department of Pacific Gas & Electric Company and before joining the private sector spent nearly 17 years in public accounting (mostly with Big 4 public accounting firms) working in the San Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Bardoff is a CPA and, by examination, a Member of the Tax Court Bar (this exam has an historical pass rate of between 5% and 17%). Mr. Bardoff has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and holds three business related Masters Degrees (in International Business, Accounting and Tax). Mr. Bardoff has published articles on tax matters in professional tax journals.
Jimmy Zhang, Senior Vice President, Business Development
Dr. Zhang is responsible for the business development of Synergenics, LLC and its portfolio companies. Before joining Synergenics, Dr. Zhang was a consultant at McKinsey & Company traveling and working in China, US and Germany. He was a registered patent agent in the Palo Alto office of Morrison & Foerster, and a project manager of Prostate Cancer Genomics program at Chiron Corporation. Dr. Zhang received his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he worked closely with two Nobel Laureates; and MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was elected as the treasurer of MIT Graduate Student Council. Dr. Zhang published in Cell, Nature, Neuron, and Journal of Biological Chemistry, and holds multiple patents.
Jeremy T. Blitzer, Vice President, Business Development
Dr. Blitzer has a number of responsibilities at Synergenics, LLC and its portfolio companies. Currently, he is responsible for business development activities for Synamem Corporation, and assists in the business development of Picobella, LLC and strategic planning of Pathologica, LLC. Before joining Synergenics, LLC, Dr. Blitzer was the Acting Associate Director of Biology and Business Development for Synamem Corporation. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and an A.B. in Chemistry at Duke University.
Gábor Bartha, Director, Information Sciences
Dr. Bartha has been the Director of Information Sciences at Synergenics, LLC since 2004 with responsibility for the information systems and providing bioinformatics consulting services to the affiliated start-up companies. He also successfully implemented major computing and telecommunications infrastructure improvement projects. Prior to Synergenics, Dr. Bartha worked for 7 years at Incyte Genomics in a wide range of scientific and management roles. His projects included gene expression data analysis, microarray database production, and the development of a state-of-the-art basecaller and gene information software product. Dr. Bartha received his Ph.D. in computational biology from the University of Southern California and an A.B. in physics from Harvard University.