Prosetta's Board of Directors


Thomas Higgins

Chairman of the Board of Directors


Thomas Higgins was the founding chief executive and is a director at Prosetta Biosciences, Inc. He served as the president and CEO from 2003-2008. Prior to that, he was president and chief operating officer of Business for Social Responsibility. BSR is the leading global resource for businesses seeking to improve their performance in areas of corporate social responsibility.

Higgins served in the administration of President Carter, beginning as a senior executive at HEW, where he was Director of Region VII, and at HHS, as Associate Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. His service culminated as a presidential appointee on the White House Senior Staff, where he served as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet. He was elected to the Iowa General Assembly in 1972, where he served three terms and was chairman of the Human Resources Committee, before resigning to serve in the Carter administration. In the early 1980s he was the head of the Health and Social Services Department in Portland, Oregon.

In 1983, he began his private sector career as founding Publisher and President of The Business Journal in Portland, published by American Cities Business Journals. Subsequently, Higgins became the co-founder and editor-in-chief of HealthWeek, a national newspaper covering health business news in the United States, published by CMP Publications. In 1990, Higgins was recruited as a vice president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland. He was subsequently elected a Senior Vice President of the company, with broad responsibilities for operations and staff organizations.

Higgins was subsequently a senior vice president of Edison International and its subsidiary, Southern California Edison. Edison is a $15 billion power generation and electric distribution company. During his career with the company, Higgins served on the management committee and helped to set overall strategy for the company. He had responsibility for several staff functions and was president of Edison Enterprises, an unregulated subsidiary.

Higgins has a distinguished record of community service. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Scan Health Plan, a non-profit Medicare Advantage Plan serving California and Arizona residents; St. Ambrose University, where he graduated cum laude in 1967; The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care; and The SCAN Foundation. In addition, his corporate boards include Amber Kinetics, an energy storage company,  Akonni Biosystems, and IIC, an energy software company.



Vishwanath R. Lingappa, MD, PhD

Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Member of the Board of Directors

Vishwanath R. Lingappa is the Founder, Chief Technology Officer, and CEO of Prosetta Biosciences, Inc, in San Francisco. Since founding the company in 2003, he and his colleagues are responsible for bringing in over $35M through non-dilutive government contracts, while advancing several discovery programs into multi-year licensing and commercial development agreements with pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Elanco, and Takeda.  Dr. Lingappa oversees all research and discovery efforts. In recent years he has expanded Prosetta’s core technology beyond infectious disease, to central nervous system diseases, oncology, and other therapeutic areas. Dr. Lingappa received the B.A. degree with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 1975, the Ph.D. degree from The Rockefeller University in 1979, and the M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1980. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine before joining the faculty in the Departments of Physiology and Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1982, where he ran an NIH-funded basic research laboratory for over 22 years. It was during this time that the foundational discoveries on which Prosetta’s science is based were made. He has co-authored over 90 publications. He is now an Emeritus Professor of Physiology at UCSF. He is recipient of a Kaiser Award for excellence in teaching (1990) and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2004).


Joseph "Mike" McCune, MD, PhD

Member of the Board of Directors


Dr. McCune received the B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1975, M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1982, and Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in 1982, followed by residency in internal medicine at UCSF and post-doctoral research at Stanford.  At Stanford he pioneered the SCIDhu mouse as a small animal model of HIV disease and co-founded SyStemix, a biotechnology company based substantially on his intellectual property, where he served as President and CEO and later, Scientific Director. After the acquisition of SyStemix by Sandoz in 1991 he joined the faculty at UCSF where he is now Chief of the Division of Experimental Medicine and a member of the Board of Directors of the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  The current research focus of his laboratory is on understanding the correlates of protective immunity against HIV.  He has over 200 publications, and 20 patents issued or pending. He has been a practicing physician at the San Francisco General Hospital AIDS clinic for the past 24 years.

Dr. McCune’s studies have led to the publication of over 170 peer-reviewed articles and he is the holder of 20 patents and inventions. He is a member of many scientific and professional societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and the Henry Kunkel Society. He has served on the editorial boards of Virology and the Journal of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. On the basis of this work, he was awarded the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Scientist Award in 1996, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research in 2000, a MERIT Award from the NIH in 2001, the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2004, and a number of mentoring awards for his activities with junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.


Karl Manheim, BS, JD, LLM

Member of the Board of Directors

Karl Manheim is a Professor of Law at Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) where he teaches Constitutional Law, International Patent Law and various technology courses. In 2007 he was special counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. Between 1999 and 2006, Prof. Manheim was Co-Director of the Program for Law and Technology at the California Institute of Technology and Loyola Law School. He has taught at the University of Southern California, the University of International Business and Economics (Beijing) and the University of Bologna, and has guest lectured at Harvard College, CalTech and UCLA.

Prof. Manheim was admitted to the California Bar in 1974, the United States Patent Bar in 1980, and the United States Supreme Court in 1984. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Physics) from Bradley University, a Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University Law School, and a Masters of Law degree from Harvard Law School.
He is a co-founder of Prosetta Biosciences, Inc.


David N. Keys

Member of the Board of Directors

David serves as an Independent Financial and Operations Consultant. His current engagements include financial and operational oversight of a substantial real estate holdings and development company, commercial ranch and farming operations and a large investment portfolio consisting of a number of startup and early stage companies.

David began his career with Deloitte (one of the now Big 4 accounting firms) serving in the audit group in the Las Vegas and New York City executive offices. David was the Executive Vice President and CFO of American Pacific Corporation, a publicly traded chemical company for a number of years. Mr. Keys currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Audit Committee of RSI International Inc., a public company traded under the symbol RSY on the TSXV Exchange. He previously served on the Boards of Directors of two other publicly traded companies, AmFed Financial Inc.  and American Pacific Corporation. Mr. Keys was a member of the executive committee of the American Pacific Board of Directors. David was a member of the Boards of Directors of Norwest Bank of Nevada and Wells Fargo Bank of Nevada. Mr. Keys also previously served on the Advisory Board of Directors of FM Global, a leading provider of property and casualty insurance. David currently serves on the Boards of Directors of several privately held companies including, Akonni Biosystems Inc. (Audit Committee Chair), Walker Digital Table Systems, LLC, Hauls, Inc. (Chairman) and Coast Flight Training and Management Inc.

Mr. Keys is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) and Certified in Financial Management (CFM).David is a member of the National Roster of Neutrals (sometimes referred to as the Commercial Panel) of the American Arbitration Association and has served as the sole arbitrator and as a member of a panel of three arbitrators on several cases in the Western United States, principally involving contract and valuation disputes. He received a BS Accounting degree from Oklahoma State University in 1978.


CJ Sylvester

Member of the Board of Directors

Mr. Sylvester is a Vice President and Analyst covering the health care sector for Fred Alger Management, Inc.  Prior to joining Alger in 2014, Mr. Sylvester has worked as an analyst for Catapult, Lombard Odier Investment Management, Diamondback Capital Advisers LLC, UBS Wealth Management, Banc of America Securities, Schwab Soundview Capital Markets and UBS Investment Bank.  Mr. Sylvester has spent 18 years covering the healthcare industry and was consistently ranked as one of the top ranked sellside analysts prior to joining the buyside in 2005. Mr. Sylvester graduated from Bucknell University and holds an M.S. in Neurobiology and Neuroscience from the College of William and Mary. He currently resides in Wilton, Connecticut with his wife of 14 years and their 4 children.