Adam Mendelsohn, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Since founding Vivani in 2009, Dr. Mendelsohn has served as its Chief Executive Officer and sets the strategic vision for the company. Dr. Mendelsohn received his Ph.D. in bioengineering at the UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering, Class of 2011, during which he was awarded an NSF fellowship to perform research at Kyoto University and published multiple peer-reviewed articles describing new treatment options for Type 1 diabetes through the immuno-isolated transplantation of insulin-producing cells under the direction of Professor Tejal A. Desai. While in graduate school, Dr. Mendelsohn served as the director for the Venture Innovation Program in Life Sciences and completed his certificate in Management of Technology with the Haas School of Business. Dr. Mendelsohn has served as a Technical Advisor to the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at USC, a fellow of the Startup Leadership Program, the President of UCSF’s Graduate Division Alumni Association and is currently a board member of the Maestro Foundation.
Truc Le, M.B.A.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Le brings over 35 years of manufacturing, quality, and overall operations experience with devices and complex drug-device combination products. Mr. Le has served as COO of Vivani since 2020. From 2011 to March 2020, Mr. Le was the Chief Technical Operations Officer for Dance Biopharm – a leader in aqueous respiratory therapy delivery with Drug and Device combination products. As the Chief Technical Operations Officer, he built operations, quality systems, manufacturing, supply chain, product development, formulation, and IT. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Le was the Chief Operating Officer for Avid Bio Services, Inc., a leading contract manufacturing organization that specializes in clinical trials and commercial distribution of monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins. From 2007 to 2009, Mr. Le served as the EVP Manufacturing and Quality for PrimaBiomed, a cell therapy company, and as a consultant for several drug/device companies. From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Le was Senior Vice President of Operations, Product Development, Quality, and Regulatory Affairs for Nektar Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, where he led the commercial formulation and device manufacturing for Exubera. From 1999 to 2001, he consulted for multiple large pharmaceutical and medical device companies, including Abbott, Medtronic, Baxter, and Dow Chemical, where he specialized in due-diligence, operation effectiveness, and PAI readiness. From 1981 to 1999, Mr. Le was employed for a division of Johnson & Johnson, a multinational company that develops medical devices, pharmaceutical products, and consumer packaged goods, as the Worldwide Vice-President of Regulatory Compliance and Quality Systems. His work at Johnson & Johnson included more than ten years in operations, regulatory affairs, product development, manufacturing, and quality for ophthalmic products such as cataract devices and implants and drug products for ophthalmic surgery procedures. Mr. Le has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a M.B.A. in Management. He completed numerous executive leadership training programs, including World Class Manufacturing at Duke University, Executive Management at Harvard University, and a QSR trainer at AA MI/FDA.
Brigid A. Makes, M.B.A.
Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Makes joined Vivani as CFO in 2022. From 2017 – 2022, she served as an independent consultant for primarily private medical device companies. Prior to that, Ms. Makes served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Miramar Labs from 2011 to 2017, a global medical device company dedicated to bringing innovative applications to the aesthetic marketplace, which was acquired by Sientra in July 2017. From 2006 to 2011, Ms. Makes served in the same roles for AGA Medical, a medical device company specializing in the treatment of cardiovascular defects, which was acquired by St. Jude Medical, another medical device company, in November 2010. Prior to AGA Medical, from 1999 to 2006, Ms. Makes served in a variety of executive positions, including as Chief Financial Officer, for Nektar Therapeutics (formerly Inhale Therapeutics), a biopharmaceutical company. Ms. Makes also served as Chief Financial Officer for Oravax, a biopharmaceutical company, from 1998 to 1999 and for Haemonetics Corp, a company specializing in the management of blood supplies, from 1995 to 1998. Since December 2019, Ms. Makes has also been a member of the board of directors of Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc., a publicly traded neuro-pharmaceutical company, where Ms. Makes serves on the Audit Committee as chair, and the Compensation and Nominating and Governance Committees. Since 2020, Ms. Makes also serves as a director of Aziyo Biologics (“Aziyo”), a commercial-stage regenerative medicine company. Ms. Makes chairs both the Audit and Nominating Corporate Governance committees for Aziyo. Since June 2021, Ms. Makes has served as a director and chair of the Audit Committee for Quantum-Si, Inc., a life science tools company focused on commercializing a unique protein sequencing platform. Ms. Makes holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance and International from McGill University and an M.B.A. from Bentley University.
Donald Dwyer, M.B.A.
Chief Business Officer
Mr. Dwyer formally joined Vivani as Chief Business Officer and secretary to Vivani’s Board of Directors in 2021. Prior to this, Mr. Dwyer served as a consultant to Vivani from 2019-2020 and as an observer to Vivani’s Board from 2016-2019 (while employed at AstraZeneca). He is a science-based business leader with over 35 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and a broad background in leadership across a wide range of technologies and disease areas. Mr. Dwyer has held director-level positions in quality assurance/control and regulatory affairs at Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi-Aventis) from 1986 to 1993 and Cephalon (now Teva Pharmaceuticals) from 1993 to 1995). Mr. Dwyer also held director-level positions in drug development, sales, and commercial and business development at (AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals from 1995 to 2019. In addition, he served as AstraZeneca’s observer on the Board of Directors for PhaseBio, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company from 2014 until 2018, when the company went public. At AstraZeneca (AZ), he was Executive Director of Business Development and Early Asset (pre-Phase 3) Commercial lead for Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Disease where he co-led the $2.7B acquisition of ZS Pharma (LOKELMA (hyperkalemia)) and the $1.2B licensing and co-commercialization deal for TC-5214 (major depressive disorder) with Targacept. On the divestment side, Don was also co-lead on multiple projects including the TOPROL-XL (heart failure, hypertension, angina); ATACAND (hypertension) and ZOLADEX implant (cancer). Earlier in his career, he was the US commercial head for key brands including TOPROL-XL, ATACAND; ONGLYZA (diabetes); FARXIGA (diabetes); SEROQUEL (bipolar disorder) and ABRAXANE (cancer). Mr. Dwyer is a graduate of the University of Central Connecticut (chemistry/biology) and the Temple University Fox School of Business (M.B.A.).
Lisa Porter, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Porter has over 20 years of experience in developing medicines for metabolic diseases with a focus on bringing innovative therapies to patients with high unmet need. Before joining Vivani as CMO in 2020, she served as CMO, Metabolic Diseases for Eiger Biopharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, where she led clinical development for the orphan diseases post-bariatric hypoglycemia and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome resulting in FDA breakthrough therapy designation for both programs. Dr. Porter worked at Eiger Biopharmaceuticals from 2017-2018. She served as CMO for Dance BioPharma (now Aerami Therapeutics), a company developing inhaled therapies for the treatment of severe respiratory and chronic diseases, from 2014 to 2017, and Vice President, Medical Development for Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company, from 2009 to 2013 where she led the R&D efforts for the Amylin-Lilly Alliance, culminating in the approval of the GLP-1 agonist Bydureon, the first once-weekly treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Prior to joining Amylin, Dr. Porter held progressively increasing leadership positions at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, a multinational pharmaceutical company, from 1999 to 2004 with responsibilities for the clinical strategy for Avandia and early obesity compounds. She was Associate Medical Director for Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, a multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, from 1997 to 1999. Dr. Porter is currently a board member of Viacyte, Inc. Dr. Porter earned a B.S. in Biology from the College of William & Mary, an M.D. from Duke University and completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Hypertension at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.