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Board of Directors

George Kemble, PhD

Executive Chairman of the Board

Dr. Kemble joined Sagimet Biosciences in August 2011 as its chief scientific officer and served as chief executive officer from October 2015 until October 2022, when he transitioned to the role of executive chairman. As CSO, Dr. Kemble directed the medicinal chemistry, research, translational and CMC groups, and worked on several programs including the lead product candidate, denifanstat, for oncology. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Kemble served as the senior vice president of R&D and head of research at MedImmune, Inc., a subsidiary of Astra-Zeneca PLC. During his tenure, he was responsible for a large group of scientists dedicated to the research and development of programs across a number of therapeutic areas, including the launch of FluMist®, the first innovation in influenza vaccines in over 60 years. Dr. Kemble received a BS from the University of Santa Clara and a PhD from Stanford University and did his post-doctoral training at UCSF, where he worked on a number of different human viruses.

Elizabeth Grammer, Esq.

Ms. Grammer joined our board of directors in April 2021. She currently serves as the chief legal and administrative officer for Ardelyx, Inc., which she joined in 2012. Ms. Grammer brings over 25 years of experience advising privately held and publicly traded life sciences companies at all stages of corporate development, and she is respected as a credible voice in strategic decision making and establishing governance boundaries. Prior to joining Ardelyx, Ms. Grammer served as vice president and general counsel of Trine Pharmaceuticals and as an independent general counsel of GelTex Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Genzyme Corporation. Liz started her career in the law firms of Ware & Freidenrich in Palo Alto, Calif., and Palmer & Dodge in Boston, Mass., in both cases, focusing her work on emerging life sciences companies. Ms. Grammer received her JD from Stanford Law School and her BA from Boston University. Ms. Grammer is also a member of the board of directors of the California Life Sciences Association.

David Happel

Chief Executive Officer

David Happel joined Sagimet as chief executive officer in October 2022, bringing extensive industry experience, and a strong track record of developing and executing corporate business strategies, raising private and public capital, negotiating M&A transactions, scaling operations and commercializing products. He was most recently president and chief executive officer of Cognoa, a pediatric behavioral health company developing AI-based technologies for developmental and behavioral health conditions, including the first FDA-authorized diagnostic aid, Canvas Dx, for autism. Mr. Happel was previously CEO of Chrono Therapeutics and has held several executive and commercial positions at Horizon Therapeutics, Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Dynavax Technologies and Chiron. Mr. Happel has a BA in chemistry from Indiana University and an MBA from Indiana State University.

Paul Hoelscher

Mr. Hoelscher served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Horizon Therapeutics from 2014 to 2022, prior to the company’s acquisition by Amgen. Prior to joining Horizon, Mr. Hoelscher held multiple financial executive roles in various consumer products, retail and business services companies, as well as working in the audit practice of KPMG LLP. Mr. Hoelscher currently serves on the board and is audit committee chair of Reneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RPHM). From 2007-2022 he served on the board of trustees of the Illinois Region of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, including two terms as board chair. Mr. Hoelscher earned a B.S. in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a certified public accountant.

Beth Seidenberg, MD

Founding Managing Director, Westlake Village BioPartners

Dr. Seidenberg joined the Sagimet board of directors in April 2007. From standing on a stool as a child watching her father conducting heart surgery, to her groundbreaking work developing new treatments for diseases as diverse as AIDS and arthritis, Dr. Seidenberg has applied her medical expertise to the venture capital world to help entrepreneurs translate their scientific breakthroughs into new medicines.

A longtime life sciences investor, founding managing director of Westlake Village BioPartners, and a general partner at Kleiner Perkins, Dr. Seidenberg has incubated and invested in more than 20 healthcare companies, including but not limited to ARMO, Arresto, Arsenal Biosciences, Atara Biotherapeutics, Cell Design Labs, Epizyme, Flexus, iPerian, Kyverna Therapeutics, TESARO, RAPT, True North, Livongo, and Progyny.

Dr. Seidenberg believes the pace and quality of innovation has hit an inflection point, providing the opportunity to turn the next big technologies into products and companies that benefit human health. She has a demonstrated ability to identify and accelerate meaningful molecules through development. Her expertise is grounded in her significant senior-level industry experience with leadership roles at Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck Research Laboratories.

Prior to life science investing, Dr. Seidenberg’s career focused on developing new treatments for AIDS, arthritis, asthma, cancer and psoriasis, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and renal disorders for over 20 years. During that time, she introduced 10 innovative products to market.

Dr. Seidenberg holds a bachelor of science degree in biology and anthropology from Barnard College and attended medical school at the University of Miami School of Medicine. She completed her medical residency at Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University, and Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.

Merdad Parsey, MD, PhD

Dr. Parsey joined Sagimet Biosciences as president, chief executive officer and board director in September 2010. Dr. Parsey held positions of increasing responsibility at Genentech, Inc., a member of the Roche Group, most recently as senior group medical director in Genentech Research and Early Development, overseeing early clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to Dr. Parsey’s tenure with Genentech, he was with Sepracor, Regeneron and Merck, Inc. He has worked on multiple development and post-marketing programs from initial human trials to NDA/BLA submissions in respiratory, inflammation, virology, neurology, ophthalmology and gastrointestinal diseases. In addition to his work in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, Dr. Parsey was the director of critical care medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. He completed his MD and PhD at the University of Maryland, his residency in internal medicine at Stanford University and his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Colorado.

Richard Rodgers

In addition to his board seat with Sagimet Biosciences, which he joined in March 2015, Mr. Rodgers currently serves on the board of directors of Ardelyx, Inc, Ocuphire Pharma, Novavax and Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Previously, he was the executive vice president, chief financial officer, secretary and treasurer of TESARO, an oncology focused biopharmaceutical company which he co-founded in March 2010. Mr. Rogers served as the chief financial officer from June 2009 to February 2010 of Abraxis BioScience, which was subsequently acquired by Celgene. Prior to that, Mr. Rodgers served as senior vice president, controller and chief accounting officer of MGI PHARMA from 2004 until its acquisition by Eisai in January 2008. He has held finance and accounting positions at several private and public companies, including Arthur Anderson. Mr. Rodgers received a BS in financial accounting from St. Cloud State University and his MBA in finance from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business.

Tim Walbert

Mr. Walbert has nearly 30 years of biotechnology and industry experience. He joins Sagimet’s board following a 15-year tenure as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board at Horizon Therapeutics, which he built from inception to a leading rare disease company.  In 2023, Amgen acquired Horizon for $28 billion, and Mr. Walbert currently serves as a senior advisor to Amgen. Before joining Horizon, he was president, chief executive officer and director of IDM Pharma Inc., a public biotechnology company, which was acquired by Takeda America Holdings Inc. in June 2009. Before IDM, Mr. Walbert served as executive vice president, commercial operations at NeoPharm Inc., a public biotechnology company. From 2001 to 2005, he was divisional vice president and general manager, immunology, at Abbott, now AbbVie, leading the global development and launch of the multi-indication biologic HUMIRA, and served as divisional vice president, global cardiovascular strategy. From 1998 to 2001, Mr. Walbert served as director, CELEBREX North America, and arthritis team leader, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada, at G.D. Searle & Company. From 1991 to 1998, he also held sales and marketing roles with increasing responsibility at G.D. Searle, Merck & Co. Inc. and Wyeth. Mr. Walbert currently serves on the boards of Mirum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MIRM) and Century Therapeutics (NASDAQ: IPSC). Previously, he served on the board of directors for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AUPH), Exicure (NASDAQ: XCUR), Assertio (NASDAQ: ASRT), Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp., which was acquired by Horizon Therapeutics in 2016, XOMA Corporation (NASDAQ: XOMA), and Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was acquired by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in 2018

Jinzi J. Wu PhD

Dr. Wu has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2019. He is founder, chairman and CEO of Ascletis, an innovative R&D-driven biotech with two commercial products that was founded in April 2013. Led by Dr. Wu, Ascletis (1672.HK) became the first pre-revenue biotech listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in August 2018 and raised US$400M. Under his leadership, Ascletis has developed a fully integrated platform covering the entire value chain from discovery and development to manufacturing and commercialization. Also under his leadership, Ganovo® (Danoprevir), Ascletis’ first direct-acting antiviral agent (DAA) for hepatitis C, was successfully launched in June 2018 and is now commercialized by the Company’s 150+ member commercial team. Dr. Wu and his team filed an NDA in August 2018 for Ravidasvir, Ascletis’ second DAA for hepatitis C with best-in-class characteristics. Ascletis has built an innovative R&D pipeline focusing on viral, cancer and fatty liver diseases and consisting of antibody-based immunotherapy, first/best-in-class small molecules and siRNA at various clinical development stages.

Dr. Wu has more than 20 years of experience covering R&D, GMP manufacturing and commercialization in big pharma and biotech. Prior to founding Ascletis, he was the vice president at GSK R&D in the U.S. He has also held various R&D positions from Sr. Scientist to Vice President at Novartis, Immunex/Amgen and Ambrilia in USA and Canada. Dr. Wu obtained his PhD in Cancer Biology from University of Arizona.