The Gelesis team includes proven entrepreneurs and leaders in obesity & metabolism, healthcare and commercialization


Yishai Zohar

Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Gelesis

A seasoned entrepreneur, Mr. Zohar has over 25 years’ experience in the development of industry innovating companies. Mr. Zohar is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and a Board of Directors member of Gelesis Inc., a Boston-based biotechnology company developing a proprietary hydrogel platform designed to leverage mechanobiology along the GI tract to potentially alter the course of chronic diseases including obesity, NAFLD/NASH and inflammatory bowel disease. Zohar led the company from formation and initial discovery as a co-inventor and shepherded the company and product through clinical studies and a landmark FDA clearance of lead product PLENITY™ as an aid for weight management. PLENITY is the first and only FDA-regulated aid for weight management cleared for use by all adults with excess weight (BMI between 25-40 kg/m2) with or without the presence of comorbidities, in conjunction with diet and exercise. Prior to founding Gelesis, Mr. Zohar was a Co-Founder of PureTech Health (PRTC.L), a biopharma company developing groundbreaking therapeutics that target the Brain-Immune-Gut axis. In his role at PureTech he led the obesity/GI initiative which engaged leading experts to look at a broad landscape of technologies and approaches. This initiative led to the formation of Gelesis. Zohar has a degree in Business Administration from the College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) in Tel Aviv and was an air force pilot ranked Captain in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Paul Fonteyne

Retired Chairman of Boehringer Ingelheim USA

Paul Fonteyne is the retired Chairman and of Boehringer-Ingelheim USA. He was with Boehringer-Ingelheim for 15 years in leadership roles both in the US and globally. Since November of 2011, he was President and CEO of Boehringer-Ingelheim USA, and subsequently its Chairman (retired 1/1/19). During this time, he led teams that grew BI’s sales and earnings several fold in the USA and participated in acquisitions and divestitures that led to a significantly greater focus of BI’s portfolio of companies in the US in two main segments of Animal Health and Human Pharmaceuticals. He served as President of its Human Pharmaceutical business during a critical period of consolidation of the customer landscape, and important launches for Boehringer-Ingelheim. He served as President of the Animal Health Business in the US during the critical period of integration following the acquisition of Merial. During his 30+ years in the pharmaceutical industry Paul also held commercial leadership roles at Merck and Co. Inc. for 9 years, and Abbott Laboratories for 8 years.

He has served on the board of PhRMA, chaired the National Pharmaceutical Council, Served as Chair of an American cancer Society initiative for New England (CEOs against Cancer), and is on the board of a specialty pharmaceutical company: AMAG, as well as several clinical stage biotechnology companies including Gelesis, DalCor (Chairman), Apellis, and ResTorbio inc. (Chair of compensation Committee), and a device company, Ypsomed AG (Switzerland). In addition, Paul serves as an Executive in Residence to Canaan Partners, a Venture Capital Fund dedicated to Health Care and Technology early stage venture investing. He advises several companies in the Canaan Portfolio.

Paul holds dual citizenship in the USA and Belgium. He holds a MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Brussels and an MBA for Carnegie Mellon University. He resides in Westport CT with his wife Nathalie. They have three grown children Jaclyn, Louise and Luke; who are all gainfully employed.

Jane Wildman

Global Marketing Executive and Procter & Gamble Alumna

Jane Wildman is an accomplished global business leader, board member, president, and chief marketing officer across Fortune 25, mid-sized, and start-up consumer health and wellness companies.

Jane successfully positions companies and brands for growth ahead of the market as a recognized leader in strategy, digital, and holistic marketing with a strong focus in user experience and omni-channel sales.

As president and board member of Combe Incorporated, a personal-care consumer products company, Ms. Wildman successfully led the company to record sales and profit growth ahead of peers. Prior to Combe, Ms. Wildman was a partner and consultant with The Partnering Group, where she specialized in corporate strategy, omni-channel marketing, transforming the user experience, and multi-cultural marketing. Clients included Fortune 50 and digital start-ups, including Walmart, P&G, and Nestle. Ms. Wildman spent over 25 years at Procter & Gamble, where she worked in beauty, health, baby, feminine care, and food both in the U.S. and internationally. She served as global Vice President and and led the global marketing organization for Pampers, P&G’s largest brand. She led the repositioning of a declining Pampers brand and during her tenure, Pampers doubled from $4 to $8 billion in sales with over half of the sales in international.

Jane serves on the board for the Association of National Advertisers Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing as well as the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication Advancement Council. She has won numerous industry awards in marketing, including a Cannes Gold Lion. Jane is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a BS in Journalism where she is inducted into their Hall of Achievement and holds a Cornell Digital Marketing certification.

Ali Bauerlein

Co-Founder and CFO of Sight Sciences

Ms. Bauerlein brings extensive experience in SEC reporting, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, investor communications, strategic planning, business development, and corporate governance in high-growth direct-to-consumer, insurance rentals, and business-to-business revenue-generating companies.

She is Chief Financial Officer at Sight Sciences (NASDAQ: SGHT), an eyecare technology company focused on creating innovative solutions intended to transform care and improve patients’ lives in the glaucoma and dry eye space. Previously, she was a co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of Inogen (NASDAQ: INGN), a global medical technology company offering innovative respiratory products for use in the homecare setting, and led it from start-up through initial public offering and commercialization with $300M+ in annual revenue.

Clayton Christopher

Founder of Deep Eddy Vodka and Sweet Leaf Tea

Mr. Christopher is the co-founder and an advisor to CAVU Venture Partners, an investment firm focused on best in class, better-for-you, food and beverage brands. Prior to CAVU, Mr. Christopher was the co-founder and CEO of Deep Eddy Vodka, which became one of the fastest growing spirits brands in the United States before being purchased by Heaven Hill Distilleries in August of 2015.

He started his entrepreneurial journey at Sweet Leaf Tea, a company he started in 1998 with $12,000 in savings and a recipe from his grandmother. Sweet Leaf grew to a nationally recognized brand and was acquired by Nestle in 2011. Mr. Christopher is also the co-founder and Chairman of Waterloo Sparkling Water. He has also served on or currently serves on the board of directors of Nulo Pet Foods, Kite Hill, Rhythm Super Foods, REBBL, Kettle & Fire, Austin Eastciders, Good Culture, Bridge Equipment Leasing and SKU, a consumer products accelerator.

In 2006, Mr. Christopher was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year for Central Texas and is a recipient of Austin Under 40 Austinite of the Year Award. Mr. Christopher has also served on a number of non-profit boards over the years, including Mission Capital, Naturally Austin, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the University of Texas President’s Innovation Board.

Kathryn Cavanaugh

Founder and Managing Partner of Capstar Ventures, Former Partner at Grace Beauty Capital

Kathryn Cavanaugh is the Founder and Managing Partner of Capstar Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm that invests in the next generation of innovative consumer companies.

She has been investing in and advising in early stage companies across healthcare, technology and consumer for the last seventeen years with roles at leading venture capital and private equity firms. Prior to founding Capstar Ventures, Kathryn was a Partner at Grace Beauty Capital, a family office in New York City, where she invested in early stage consumer companies including Rothy’s, Parachute, Primary, MM.LaFleur, Supergoop!, ThirdLove, Vengo and Pixlee. From 2011-2014, she worked for Mainsail Partners, a $750M growth equity firm in San Francisco, as their VP of Talent and a Board Director for The Bar Method, Inc., a Mainsail portfolio company.

Kathryn also served as an interim Senior Executive at The Bar Method, Inc. where she led franchise strategy, operations and sales. From 2005-2010, Kathryn worked for De Novo Ventures, a top quartile $650 million healthcare fund in Palo Alto, where she evaluated, executed, and supported over $350 million of equity investments in early to late stage healthcare companies.

Kathryn began her career as a Senior Process Engineer with Merck & Co., Inc., working in the US, Europe and Asia from 1997-2003. Kathryn has dual B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Bravo Sierra, Eterneva, St. Frank, Museum of Ice Cream and FlowerBX. Kathryn also sits on the Advisory Board for Capital Creek Partners, a multi-family office based in Austin, TX.

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