About Us
  • Founder
  • Affiliates
  • Rivka Sherman-Gold, Ph.D., M.B.A.
    Palo Alto, California
    Emails inquiries can be sent to Rivka@YodanVentures.com

    Dr. Rivka Sherman-Gold is the founder and managing
    director of YODAN Ventures, and co-founder of Calisra Biotech www.CalisraBiotech.com.

    Rivka's 25 years of experience in the biotech/life-science industry includes:

    R&D, business development, executive-level management

    board of directors and advisory board

    financing strategy and raising capital for early-stage companies

    advisor to management and investors in business and financing strategy, business development, raising capital, and various operational areas

    investor in seed-stage and early-stage companies and member of angel investment organizations

    Career Highlights:

    Investing and Raising Capital: Rivka is a seed- and early-stage investor in technology companies and an advisor to emerging companies in the areas of business development and raising capital. Rivka is co-founder of Calisra Biotech, LLC, which is dedicated to creating, building, and financing life-science companies that develop and commercialize scientific discoveries and novel technologies - see www.CalisraBiotech.com.

    Business Development: Rivka has lead and executed multi-million dollar transactions (in-licensing, out-licensing, co-development, R&D and commercial collaborations, alliances) of technology platforms and therapeutic products, involving U.S. and European pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies ranging from seed-stage start-ups to Fortune 100 and multi-national large pharma. Her experience includes also industry-academia collaborations/licenses and M&A transactions.

    Since 2002 Rivka has invested in early-stage companies and served as board member and advisor to U.S., European, and Israeli companies in the areas of business, financing, and investing strategy, business development, and raising capital. A partial list includes Neurion Pharmaceuticals (board of directors), Convergent Ventures (venture advisor), Immutep (corporate development advisory board), Aerielle (advisory board), Reconstructive Technologies (financing strategy advisor), Ablynx (business development strategy advisor), CellGate (business strategy advisor), and Medison Pharma (business advisor).

    Chief Business Officer (2002-2004) of Diatos, a young venture-funded European biopharmaceutical company with peptide-based technologies and cancer-focused product pipeline. Rivka spearheaded the successful evolution of Diatos from its early-stage technology-based company into an therapeutic product-development company with a pipeline of two clinical-stage products in oncology. Rivka lead the in-licensing of DTS-201(Super-Leu-Dox) from Medarex in 2003 and DTS-301 (paclitaxel/ReGel) from MacroMed in 2004.

    CEO (2001-2002) and member of the Board of Directors (2000-2002) of Alydar Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli seed-stage biotech company with novel small-molecule compounds for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

    Director of Business Development (1996-2001) at Abgenix, a San Francisco Bay Area company that was acquired by Amgen in 2006 for over $2 billion. Abgenix was one of the most successful biotech companies and a leader in the commercialization of its human antibody technology as treatment of cancer and other diseases. The company had its IPO in 1998, two years after it was founded as a spin out with a fully-human antibody technology. Rivka was instrumental to the growth of Abgenix from its start-up stage to a successful publicly traded multi-billion-dollar market-cap company with multiple large-pharma and biotech partnerships, which created several antibody-based therapeutics now in clinical trials for treatment cancer, bone loss, and other diseases by companies such as Pfizer, Amgen, and Chiron. These transactions generated multi-million dollar revenues and still have the potential to generate further hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing fees, milestone payments, and royalties on sales of new antibody-based medicines.

    Rivka initiated and led all aspects of sourcing, negotiating, and closing of licensing and collaboration agreements, and managed the transactions and relationships with more than 15 leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, including Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Amgen, Chiron (Novartis), SmithKline Beecham (GlaxoSmithKline), Elan, BASF (Abbott), Centocor, Johnson & Johnson, Millennium BioTherapeutics (Millennium Pharmaceuticals), AVI Biopharma, Gliatech, Immunogen, Diabetogen, Progenics and other companies.

    Associate Director of Business Development (1993-1996) at Athena Neuroscience, a neurology-focused U.S. public company that was acquired in 1996 by
    Elan Pharmaceuticals. Rivka initiated the strategic alliance between Athena and Elan (which led to the acquisition of Athena by Elan), in-licensed Zelapar (treatment of Parkinson's Disease), and initiated/lead several projects aimed to develop new therapeutic modalities.

    Director of Marketing and Scientific Applications (1989-1993) at Axon Instruments, a leading electrophysiology instrumentation company that was acquired by Molecular Devices in 2004.

    Senior Scientist at BioGrowth (1987-1988) and Senior Chemist at Syva (Syntex Diagnostic Division)


    B.Sc. with Distinction in chemistry from the Technion (Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel)

    M.Sc. in biophysics and physiology from the Technion (Israeli Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel)

    Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel)

    Postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, California)

    M.B.A. from California State University (SUSJ) (San Jose, California)

    Professional and Non-Profit Activities:

    Member of angel investing groups in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Invited speaker at industry conferences and events, including Windhover conference, SMi conference, BioScience Forum, BioE2E, and AWIS. Speaker at donor events of the American Committee of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

    Founder of AWIS Palo Alto (the Palo Alto chapter of the Association of Women in Science) and first president of AWIS PA. Its rapid growth resulted in establishing two additional chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rivka was awarded the 1986 Syntex Community Service Award for her contributions to the Bay Area scientific community.

    Board of Directors of the North Pacific Region of the
    American Technion Society (ATS)

    Board of Directors of Meira Academy

    Mentor to scientists at early stages in their career and during career transitions.

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