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.

Elon Boms

Managing Director & Founder, LaunchCapital

With a passion for working with industry disruptors and teams that have a strong business development focus, Elon has been involved in over 150 deals across a wide range of industries and geographies. His portfolio performance includes the sale of 20 companies since 2010 with an IRR that places LaunchCapital in the top 10% of venture funds worldwide. He holds an MBA from Yale School of Management and a BA in Economics from the George Washington University.

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.

Raju Kucherlapati, Ph.D.

Paul C. Cabot Professor of Genetics and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Raju was a founder and formerly a Board member of Abgenix (acquired by Amgen), and Millennium Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Takeda), and is currently the Paul C. Cabot Professor of Genetics and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and was the first Scientific Director of the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Kucherlapati’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School is involved in cloning and characterization of human disease genes with a focus on human syndromes with a significant cardiovascular involvement, use of genetic/genomic approaches to understand the biology of cancer and the generation and characterization of genetically modified mouse models for cancer and other human disorders. He served on the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine and was Editor in Chief of the journal Genomics.

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