Investment Team
Steve Hochberg, Managing Partner
Geoffrey W. Smith, Managing Partner

Avi Kometz, M.D., Partner

Lawrence S. Atinsky, Partner and General Counsel

Jeffrey M. Sauerhoff, Partner and Chief Financial Officer

Jon Edelson, M.D., Venture Partner

Lucy Kappel, Ph.D., Associate

Matthew Johnston, Ph.D., Associate

Barry Kurokawa, Managing Director (ABPV)

Selected Scientific Advisors
Gunnar Andersson, M.D., Ph.D.

Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D.

Alejandro Berenstein, M.D.

Elazer Edelman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.C.

Bruce D. Leuchter, M.D.
Hansen A. Yuan, M.D.



Investment Team

Steve Hochberg, Managing Partner
Steve has been an active founder and investor in early-stage medical technology companies since 1992. Companies co-founded by Steve include Biomerix Corporation, Eminent Research Systems Inc. (acquired by PPD, Inc. in 2003), Clinsights, Inc. (acquired by PPD, Inc. in 2003), Med-E-Systems/AHT Corporation (initial public offering in 1996), and Physicians' Online (acquired by Mediconsult in 1999).
Steve currently serves on the Board of Directors of Biomerix Corporation, Synecor, LLC, Crosstrees Medical, Inc., Ouroboros, SpineView, Solar Capital, and Solar Senior Capital.  Steve is member of the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences.  Steve is also Chairman of the Board of Continuum Health Partners, one of the largest non-profit hospital systems in New York City.

Earlier in his career, Steve was an investment banker with Alex. Brown & Sons and a strategy consultant with Bain & Company in the technology and healthcare areas.

Steve holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Harvard Business School.



Geoffrey W. Smith, Managing Partner

Geoff has been an active founder, manager, and investor in healthcare and technology companies since 1995.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Azevan Pharmaceuticals, Anterios, BackBeat Medical, Biomerix, Caliber Therapeutics, TargAnox, Inc., and Vivasure Medical and is a Board Observer for Cara Therapeutics. 

Geoff is a Visiting Scholar at Rockefeller University where he founded and directs the Science & Economics Program and is an adjunct faculty member at the Center for Clinical and Translation Science.  He is also a member of the Leadership Council of the Biomedical Research Institute at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.  At the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Geoff is a member of the External Advisory Committee for the Mount Sinai Institutes of Clinical & Translational Sciences and a member of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences Oversight Committee.

Earlier in his career, Geoff was a corporate attorney in New York City.  Prior to receiving his law degree, he served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School.

Geoff received a B.A. (with honors) from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

 

Avi Kometz, M.D. , Partner

Avi has more than 18 years experience in the healthcare industry, several of which have been focused in private and public investing. Prior to joining Ascent Biomedical Ventures, Avi was the head of corporate development at a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on pediatrics. In this role Avi successfully closed several partnerships with large pharmaceutical companies, supported the head of marketing and sales with commercial analyses, and as part of the executive management team developed the business strategy.

Prior to this, Avi spent several years in the Healthcare Practice at McKinsey & Company in New York. Avi worked for several multinational pharmaceutical companies on projects including developing a nutraceutical strategy, assessing technical, clinical and regulatory development risks for pharmaceutical products, augmenting pipeline product valuation methodologies, and organizational change and cost-cutting efforts. Avi began his career as a clinician in South Africa and went on to found and build a group of clinics in South Africa.

Avi received his medical doctorate from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, South Africa.

 

Lawrence S. Atinsky, Partner and General Counsel

Lawrence has more than 11 years experience in private equity financing and mergers and acquisitions. A part of ABV since inception, Lawrence has primarily focused on the execution of ABV's investments, including, the structuring and valuation of potential investments, performing due diligence analysis and monitoring of portfolio activities.

Prior to joining ABV, Lawrence was a Mergers & Acquisition attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York, where he was involved in structuring and negotiating numerous private and public transactions. He has also been the General Counsel of several private companies in the healthcare industry.

Lawrence holds a B.A. (with honors) from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

 

Jeffrey M. Sauerhoff, Partner and Chief Financial Officer

Jeff has more than 35 years experience in financial management working with early-stage medical technology and services companies.   Jeff has been involved with a number of companies co-founded by Ascent partners including Biomerix Corporation, Eminent Research Systems, Inc., Clinsights, Inc., and Med-E-Systems/AHT Corporation.  A part of ABV since inception, Jeff has responsibility for the fund's accounting and financial functions as well as providing financial oversight of portfolio activities.

Prior to joining ABV and its predecessor companies, Jeff was Chief Financial Officer of Erisco, Inc., a subsidiary of the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation.

Jeff holds a BS in Accounting from the C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University.

 

Jon Edelson, MD, Venture Partner
Jon has been an active founder and chief executive officer of private and public medical technology companies since 1989. Jon was co-founder and chief executive officer for Aureon Laboratories (private company founded in 2001); Med-E-Systems/AHT Corporation (initial public offering 1996); Physicians' Online, Inc. (acquired by Mediconsult in 1999): and Medical Decision Resources, Inc. (acquired by Value Health in 1990). Jon has been a co-inventor of diverse molecular and information technologies and is a patent-holder.

Previously, Jon was an internist and conducted clinical research at Harvard's Brigham & Women's Hospital. Jon's research has been published in several of the world's leading medical journals.

Jon holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Yale University and a M.D. (with honors) from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

 

Lucy Kappel , Ph.D., Associate

Prior to joining ABV, Lucy was a graduate student at Cornell University’s Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences and performed her thesis work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  As a graduate student she studied immunology and tumor biology, specifically focusing on the role of T cells in tumor eradication following a murine bone marrow transplant.  In addition to her immunology expertise, Lucy has experience working with human embryonic stem cells for therapeutic applications.  Prior to graduate school, Lucy worked as a research assistant in the department of medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. 

Lucy received a B.A. in Biology from NYU and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Cornell University.

 

Matthew L. Johnston, Ph.D., Associate
Matt did his graduate work at Columbia University, where his research in the Bioelectronic Systems Lab focused on IC-enabled sensor platforms for chemical and biological detection. Here he developed a gravimetric sensor array incorporating high-frequency piezoelectric resonators on an integrated circuit substrate. He has expertise in biosensors and CMOS electronics, as well as research experience in MEMS devices, microfluidics, molecular diagnostics, and assay development.

Matt was a co-founder of Helixis, Inc. (acquired by Illumina in 2010), an early-stage company developing novel instrumentation for real-time PCR. He has also previously worked with Cavium Networks and the Aerospace Corporation. 

Matt holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Caltech and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University.

 

Barry Kurokawa, Managing Director, Ascent Biomedical Public Ventures (ABPV)

Barry has followed the healthcare industry since 1984, first with the Bank of California and then with Trust Company of the West (TCW) as their healthcare analyst. In 1992 Barry joined and eventually managed INVESCO Fund Group’s healthcare portfolios (a $1.0 billion open end fund and a $500 million closed end fund which traded on the NYSE) with assets of about $1.5 billion, including over $100 million in private venture companies. 

 

In 1996, Barry left INVESCO to start ProMed Management, a crossover (private and public) long/short healthcare hedge fund. It was at ProMed where Barry leveraged his venture capital investment knowledge and experience in the public markets to focus on the micro and small cap segment of the market. 

  

Barry holds a BS from California State University and a MBA from Loyola Marymount University.

 

Selected Scientific Advisors

Gunnar Andersson, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman, Department of Orthopedic Surgery
Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center

Stephen J. Benkovic, Ph.D.

Member, National Academy of Sciences

Evan Pugh Professor and Eberly Chair of Chemistry

The Pennsylvania State University

Alejandro Berenstein, M.D.

Chief, Interventional Radiology

Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center


Elazer Edelman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.C.

Director, Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, MIT

Bruce D. Leuchter, M.D.

Director, Clinical Neuropsychiatry and Somatic Therapies,

Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital

Hansen A. Yuan, M.D.

Professor of Orthopaedic and Neurological Surgery
State University of New York Upstate Medical University

President, Spine Arthroplasty Society