Three High-Profile Executives join U.Va. Licensing & Ventures Group Board of Directors

By Chiara Canzi

The University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) is pleased to announce the addition of three high-profile
executives and two additional high-level University administrators to its board of directors. Ron Newbold, Peter Barris, Michael Lenox, Phillip A. Parrish and Richard P. Shannon will join six other directors from a variety of industries as well as academia to assist LVG in long-range and strategic planning and to support LVG’s efforts to commercialize innovation assets.

“U.Va. LVG is tremendously excited to welcome Peter, Ron, and Mike to our board,” said Michael P. Straightiff, LVG’s executive director. “Our ability to attract board members of this high caliber is a testament not only to the progress we’ve made in advancing U.Va.’s technology commercialization enterprise to date but, perhaps more importantly, to our exciting vision for continued growth.”

Elected as an at-large member, Ron Newbold, Ph.D., is the vice president of External R&D Innovation at Pfizer and in this position,
he has supported the Worldwide Research & Development initiative created to strengthen the company’s access to innovative and groundbreaking science and technology. He leads Pfizer’s efforts to partner with universities and biotechnology companies globally, supporting their therapeutic research interests.

Newbold also leads the Pfizer Seed Fund, geared towards supporting early-stage start-up companies. The Fund’s first investment hit close to home: Neoantigenics, a University of Virginia start-up based on technology developed by John Herr, Ph.D., professor of cell biology, biomedical engineering, urology and obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine, entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with Pfizer in 2011 and received seed money from its Fund.

Prior to joining Pfizer in 2010, Newbold spent 14 years at Merck, where he founded the company’s Strategic Research Initiatives group. Newbold has extensive experience with biotech companies and has worked with three early-stage start-ups before joining Pfizer: Sentigen Biosciences, Celldex Therapeutics and Auspex Pharmaceuticals. Newbold graduated from Union College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry; he earned a master’s degree in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Rochester, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University and earned an M.B.A. in management and finance from Columbia
University Business School.

“I am very pleased to join the LVG Board and look forward to helping U.Va. set a new standard in the U.S. for innovation across the
scientific and medical disciplines, and to contributing to the translation of novel discoveries that may lead to the formation of new
companies in Virginia,” said Newbold. “There is a sense of excitement in Charlottesville and I am honored to be a part of it.”

U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan appointed Peter Barris of New Enterprise Associates and Michael Lenox of the Darden School of Business to the LVG board.

Peter Barris, M.B.A., is the managing general partner of New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the nation’s top venture firms. Barris joined NEA in 1992 and under his leadership, the firm successfully invested in several innovative technology companies such as CareerBuilder,, Groupon,, TiVo and more. He has received many accolades during his years in the business: he has been named to the Forbes Midas List of Top Investors in Technologies, Washington Tech Council’s Hall of Fame and to the Washington Business Hall of Fame.

In March 2014, with Barris at the lead, NEA made a strategic investment in PsiKick, a U.Va. spin-out company focused on the
development of ultra-low-power wireless sensing devices based on the research and technology of designs for ultra-energy efficient circuits by Benton H. Calhoun, Ph.D.,  assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at U.Va., David Wentzloff, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan and Brian Otis, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington.

Before joining NEA, Barris served as an executive in companies that were acquired for record-breaking valuations and spent about 10 years working at General Electric Company (GE) in a variety of management positions. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

“I recently served on the College Foundation Board while one of my daughters attended U.Va. Through that experience, I got broad exposure to some of the exciting research being conducted at the university as well as the blossoming entrepreneurial environment,” said Barris.  “I look forward to helping to fuel both through my involvement with the U.Va. Licensing and Ventures Group.”

Michael Lenox, Ph.D., Samuel L. Slover Professor of Business at the Darden School of Business, and the associate dean for innovation programs and academic director of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, isa leader in business strategy and a nationally renowned thought leader on entrepreneurship. His work has appeared in more than 25 academic publications and in prestigious periodicals and magazines such as The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Economist, and the Dow Jones Newswire, among others.

Before joining the faculty ranks at Darden in 2008, Lenox was a professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. He was the areacoordinator for the business school’s strategy area and served as the faculty director and founder of Duke’s Corporate Sustainability Initiative. Lenox also taught at New York University’s Stern School of Business and was a visiting professor at Harvard and Oxford universitiesand the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland.

Lenox received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in systems engineeringfrom the University of Virginia and a doctoral degree in technology management and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“U.Va. LVG has been a catalyst for growing the University and broader regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve on their board and to support their work to commercialize technologies coming out of the University and to build a robust innovation ecosystem,” said Lenox.

U.Va. Interim Vice President for Research (VPR), Philip A. Parrish, Ph.D., and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Richard P. Shannon, M.D., also joined the board as appointed University representatives.

As Interim VPR, Parrish is responsible for the advancement of research activities and initiatives across Grounds, among them the
acquisition of research funding, research commercialization and recruiting corporate partners. The VPR Office also leads pan-university growth initiatives that span multiple disciplines in environmental sustainability, innovation, energy systems, and biosciences. Parrish is in charge the VPR’s initiatives in Energy Systems, Prototyping, Research, Innovation and Translation (ESPRIT), including the U.Va.-Max Planck joint laboratory initiative in New Energy Processes.  He is the University representative with the Department of Energy National Laboratories, and serves on the UT-Battelle, LLC Board of Governors. 

Parrish received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in metallurgical engineering and a doctorate in material science and
engineering from the University of Florida.

In his position of Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Dr. Shannon is responsible for managing all elements at the Health System with a set goal of becoming a top academic medical center. Prior to joining U.Va., Dr. Shannon was the Frank Wister Thomas Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is a member of the Board of Directors ofthe American Board of Internal Medicine and of the Boards of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

Dr. Shannon received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and M.D. from the University of Connecticut School of

Newbold, Barris, Lenox, Parrish and Shannon join current board members Erik L. Hewlett, Bobbie G. Kilberg, John S. Lazo, Helga L. Leftwich, Brian A. Pollok and Charles F. Stamm.

About U.Va. Licensing & Ventures Group

U.Va. Licensing & Ventures Group’s mission is to support the U.Va.
Cornerstone Plan by maximizing the impact of U.Va.’s innovation assets
via commercialization, while providing high levels of customer service,
value-added business development activity and an intent focus on driving
quality transactions.