Iaso Board of Directors
Don Parfet, Chairman of the Board
Don is Managing Director of Apjohn Group LLC, a business development firm focused on commercializing breakthrough opportunities in the life sciences industries. He is also General Partner of Apjohn Ventures, a venture capital fund investing in emerging private life science companies. Prior to founding the Apjohn Group and Apjohn Ventures Fund, Don served as a senior executive at Pharmacia and its legacy companies, Pharmacia & Upjohn and The Upjohn Company. Don currently serves on three public company boards of directors, MASCO Corporation, Rockwell Automation, Inc., and Kelly Services, Inc. Don earned his BA degree in economics from the University of Arizona in 1975 and his M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Michigan in 1977.
Robert Forgey – President and CEO
Mr. Forgey is Iaso’s President and CEO. Mr. Forgey is an entrepreneurial scientist and businessman with expertise in the founding, managing, and financing of early-stage start-up companies. He has specific expertise in the areas of drug discovery, drug development, and life science startup companies.
Before joining the Iaso team, Mr. Forgey was ONL’s Vice President of Operations. This is his 4th life science startup. Previously, he was the co-founder and President of ProNAi Therapeutics, an oncology therapeutics company. ProNAi is now traded as Sierra Oncology on the NASDAQ.
Mr. Forgey received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and his Master of Science in Genetics from the University of North Dakota. Subsequently, he received his MBA from Olin’s School of Business at Washington University St. Louis. He has worked as a research scientist and scientific operations manager for Searle, Pharmacia, and Pfizer.
Xuefei Huang, Ph.D. – Founder of Iaso
Dr. Xuefei Huang is Iaso’s founder and CSO. He received his B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the University of Science & Technology of China in 1994. He earned his Ph.D. in 1999 from Columbia University, New York, and was a Postdoctoral associate at The Scripps Research Institute from 1999-2001 and at Columbia University from 2001-2002.
Dr. Huang is an MSU Foundation Professor at the Departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering, Michigan State University. His research interests are focused on cutting edge carbohydrate chemistry and biology. A major aim is to investigate novel approaches to boost immune responses for next generation vaccines. In addition, his group is developing new methodologies for synthesis of complex glycans and glyco-conjugates, and interfacing carbohydrate chemistry with nanotechnology for molecular imaging and targeted drug delivery. He is excited to translate the vaccine technologies from bench to bedside through Iaso.
The Huang group research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has won multiple awards, including the New Investigator Award, the Horace S. Isbell Award and the Melville L. Wolfrom Award from the American Chemical Society. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.
Jeff Wesley serves as the Executive Director of Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise. All these entities are subsidiaries of the Michigan State University Foundation (MSUF). Prior to joining MSUF, in 2018, Mr. Wesley was the CEO of Two Men and Truck International, the largest international franchise moving company. During his tenure he and the company received an A plus ranking by Franchise grade, 93 CEO Glassdoor rating, “Crain’s Detroit Business Coolest Places to Work”, Inc. 5000 award winner, recognized nationally as a leading franchise system, a leading innovation franchise system, Franchise Times Top 200 Franchise System and Mr. Wesley received national recognition as a top franchise executive. Mr. Wesley also has served as the President of Accu Bite Dental Supply, an Inc. 100 company, that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company. Mr. Wesley led this early startup to a recognized leading national full-service dental distributor. Mr. Wesley began his career as an Audit Manager at Deloitte. Mr. Wesley has had significant experience in leading and scaling private companies to record success. Mr. Wesley has contributed to several startups throughout the state providing mentorship, coaching, operational experience and startup capital. Mr. Wesley has also been an Angel Investor for over 15 years and was a member of the Capital Community Angels and the Michigan Angel Fund. Mr. Wesley is a prior Vice Chairman for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and has served on various economic and community boards. Mr. Wesley is currently an observer and Board Member of several boards including Greenmark BioMedical, AvidHrt, and AR Utility to name a few. Mr. Wesley is a frequent judge and speaker at events related to leadership, franchising and startups.
Steven Kuemmerle, Ph.D., is Executive VP of Operations for AirAnswers, Inc., a company devoted to diagnosing indoor air quality. Prior to joining AirAnswers, Steve was Associate VP for Innovation and Industry Relations at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and was focused on establishing RFUMS’ new Innovation and Research Park and Helix 51 Incubator, developing industry research collaborations, and commercializing RFU’s IP portfolio.
Steve came to RFUMS from the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where he was Senior Director, Industry Relations. He joined the University of Chicago in 2013 in a leadership role to manage technology licensing and commercialization.
Steve has over three decades of healthcare industry experience. As Head of Venture Investments, Abbott Biotech Ventures, Inc., he led the evaluation and execution of equity investments in emerging pharma companies. Before that, Steve served as a director in Abbott’s Global Pharma Licensing Group. Steve first joined Abbott in 1987, where he managed various diagnostic R&D units before moving to the Pharmaceutical Division in 1997.
Steve received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Northwestern University. He serves as an advisor and member on various healthcare non-profit and start-up company boards and is Past-Chair of the Life Sciences Executive Committee for the Licensing Executive Society. Steve is a licensed airplane pilot, and enjoys the arts, hiking, and sailing.