Our Strategic Advisory Council
We are grateful to the following executives for serving on our Advisory Council. Their experience will help guide the organization toward our mission of improving time to diagnosis and accelerating therapies in pulmonary fibrosis.
Paul Bleicher, MD, PhD
Dr. Paul Bleicher is Principal at Evident Health Strategies, where he serves as an advisor and board member to investors, foundations, and startup companies in healthcare and life sciences. Previously, he was CEO of OptumLabs, a collaborative research and innovation center co-founded by Optum and the Mayo Clinic. He joined the company after its acquisition of Humedica where he served on the Board of Directors and as the Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Bleicher also co-founded and was founding CEO at Phase Forward, which helped transform pharmaceutical clinical trials from paper to the web. Dr. Bleicher holds a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an MD and PhD from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He trained in internal medicine and dermatology and was a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the recipient of several national awards and has held leadership positions in national and state leadership organizations.
Sally Okun, RN MMHS
Sally Okun served as the Vice President of Policy & Ethics at PatientsLikeMe, the world’s largest personalized health network that helps people find new treatments, connect with others, and take action to improve their health outcomes. There, she was responsible for patient advocacy initiatives, contributed to health policy discussions at the national and global level, and was the company’s liaison with government and regulatory agencies. Ms. Okun was the principal investigator for the PatientsLikeMe/Food and Drug Administration Research Collaboration Agreement and the National Institute of Health AllofUs Research Program subaward from Scripps Translational Research Institute. Sally serves on numerous advisory boards and committees including the National Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Consortium on Value and Science Driven Healthcare; the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy Real World Evidence Collaborative Advisory Board; the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s Innovation in Medicine Development; and Surveillance Steering Committee. Sally completed her graduate studies at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
John Ripple serves as owner and Principal Consultant of Ripple Biotech, LCC, advising organizations on strategy, business development, and capital fundraising activities. He previously served as CEO of several venture-backed biotech companies including Exonics Therapeutics (acquired by Vertex); Virdante Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Momenta); and Syntonix Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biogen). Mr. Ripple also held positions in business development, medical device marketing, management consulting, and served as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Mr. Ripple received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Cara Williams, PhD
Cara Williams is a senior drug discovery scientific and R&D leader committed to identifying and developing next generation breakthrough therapies for IPF. Her preclinical drug discovery and development experience focuses on delivering both small molecule and large molecule drug candidates into clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas including respiratory diseases such as IPF, COPD, CF and asthma, immunological indications inflammatory disease, gastrointestinal diseases, dermatology and pain.