Chordoma Foundation

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is comprised of leaders in nonprofit management, medicine, business, finance, and law who provide strategic oversight and guide the pursuit of our mission.

David Sandak – Chair

David Sandak, Vice President of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), works in the early stages of the discovery and development pipeline to speed progress of innovative new cancer treatments to the clinic. As the manager of ABC2’s seed investment fund, David has pioneered novel approaches to investing in academic and commercial research, launching startup scientific and social enterprises aimed at advancing genomic analysis for cancer patients.

As a spinout from ABC2, David founded Allele, a social enterprise startup that provides robust genomic profiling to cancer patients in order to guide clinical care and power large-scale data research. He also actively works with the Rare Cancer Research Foundation (RCRF), a nonprofit dedicated to curing rare cancers through strategic investments and collaborations that catalyze effective research. With David’s help, RCRF recently launched, a flexible platform bridging gaps between cancer patients and scientists. With a diverse background that spans corporate, government and non-profit management, David is adept at forging collaborative research partnerships between all the players in the medical research ecosystem.

Ingemar Lanevi – Treasurer

Ingemar Lanevi is an experienced finance executive with more than 25 years of corporate work at brand name, high-tech companies including NetApp, SGI, and HP, focused in the treasury and financing areas. Most recently, he has been involved with high-tech startup ventures TransCirrus and ReveMed Technologies, as the CFO and finance advisor. He is on the Board of Directors of Lease Accelerator Inc., a software company in the leasing industry, where he also serves as chair of the Audit Committee. He has been a member of the Chordoma Foundation’s Finance Committee since 2012. Ingemar has a master’s degree in finance from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Flagler College in St Augustine, FL.

Paul Feldman

Paul Feldman, PhD

Paul Feldman is Head of Discovery and Translational Medicine for Intarcia Therapeutics, a biotechnology company working on novel drug-device combinations to treat and prevent chronic diseases. Paul joined Intarcia following the acquisition of Phoundry Pharmaceuticals, a peptide therapeutic discovery company, where he was a co-founder and CEO. Prior to his work at Phoundry, Paul worked for GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company, ultimately as a senior vice president, and some of his accomplishments included: contributing to the discovery and development of multiple medicines, leading national and international multi-disciplinary discovery and early development teams, managing several key multi-national business collaborations, and serving as the head for GlaxoSmithKline’s Research Triangle Park site. Paul has more than 100 scientific disclosures (patents, scientific articles, book chapters, and invited lectures), and has been an adjunct Professor of Chemistry for Duke and North Carolina State Universities.  He has and continues to serve on external Boards and scientific advisory committees.  Paul received a BS in chemistry from Duke University and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Steven Golick

Steven Golick

Steven is a retired partner of Osler Hoskin & Harcourt and former chair of the insolvency and restructuring group. While in practice, Steven authored several books, contributed to many publications, and chaired numerous conferences. Steven’s former roles include VP International and director at the American Bankruptcy Institute, director at the INSOL International, chair at the Ontario Bar Association Insolvency Section, managing editor at, member at the Insolvency Institute of Canada, and fellow at the American College of Bankruptcy. Steven was founding Co-Chair of the Odette Cancer Centre Patient and Family Advisory Council, and is a member of the Quality Committee of the board of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Steven received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award for contributions to the community, including as a co-founder, director and secretary of Kids Help Phone, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Kids Help Phone, and the Human Touch Award from Cancer Care Ontario. Prior to his career in law, Steven was a professional musician. Steven was diagnosed with skull base chordoma in 2012.

Chris Heery, MD

Christopher Heery, MD

Dr. Heery is the Chief Medical Officer for Precision BioSciences, Inc. Dr. Heery was previously the Chief Medical Officer for Bavarian Nordic where he oversaw preclinical and clinical development of the company’s infectious disease and immuno-oncology portfolio. Prior to that he was the Director of the Clinical Trials Group of the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the National Cancer Institute. His clinical research was focused on the use of novel agents capable of inducing the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells, including chordoma. Dr. Heery is a graduate of Duke University and received his MD from East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. He is board-certified in Medical Oncology and Internal Medicine.

Alicia Jeffreys

Alicia has spent her entire career in brand and marketing strategy. She is heading into her 20th year with Pistons Sports & Entertainment and currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. She is charged with creating communication and marketing strategies to improve brand performance and support several revenue-generating departments. Alicia is a chordoma survivor who had sacral, lumbar, and clival chordomas. After her recovery in 2012, she now balances her time as a Pistons executive with also being the proud mother of four daughters.

Sue Mahony

Sue Mahony, PhD, MBA

Sue is a pharmaceutical and life sciences executive with three decades of experience leading global organizations. Prior to her retirement in 2018, as senior vice president and president of Lilly oncology, Sue led the development and commercialization of Lilly’s oncology portfolio globally, launching new products to treat breast, lung, colorectal, and stomach cancers. Prior to this, Sue held senior leadership roles in product development, human resources, general management, and sales and marketing for Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, and Schering-Plough. Sue is currently an independent board director for Assembly Biosciences, Zymeworks, Horizon Therapeutics, Vifor Pharma, Cereius, and Altis Biosystems. Sue earned her BSc in Pharmacy and a PhD in Oncology from the University of Aston in the UK. She also received her MBA from the London School of Business.

Steve Mandel

Steven Mandel

Steven resides in San Francisco, working as a Partner in TPG’s global impact investing platform, TPG Rise where he focuses on climate related investments. Prior to joining TPG, Steven was a Director at Denham Capital, a leading energy focussed private equity firm, and worked in the investment banking division of Citi. Steven earned a Masters in Finance at the London Business School, a Bachelor of Science from Lehigh University, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Steven is a chordoma survivor, and since his recovery in 2012, has led an annual half marathon fundraiser for the Chordoma Foundation, raising over $250,000 to date. For his efforts, Steven was highlighted as one of our Featured Champions.

Shreyas Patel, MD

Dr. Patel is the Robert R. Herring Distinguished Professor of Clinical Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Medical Director of the MD Anderson Sarcoma Center and the Deputy Chairman of the Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology. Additionally, he is president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, and a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Clinical Research Committee for the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration.

Christy Shaffer, PhD

Christy Shaffer, PhD is a seasoned entrepreneur and biotech executive with more than 25 years of experience in the life science industry, including as President and CEO of Inspire Pharmaceuticals for more than a decade. Under her leadership, Inspire was named “Best Place to Work for Scientists” by The Scientist magazine, and “Best Place to Work in North Carolina,” prior to being acquired by Merck in 2011. Christy is currently a General Partner at Hatteras Venture Partners in Durham, NC, where she serves on seven portfolio company boards, three of which she chairs. She also serves on nonprofit boards, including the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, the NC School of Science and Mathematics, and the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Board of Advisors. Christy also served on the board of trustees of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and chaired the board of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics (CFFT), Inc., the CF Foundation’s nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate.

Josh Sommer

Josh Sommer is Executive Director of the Chordoma Foundation, which he co-founded to speed the pace of chordoma research after he was diagnosed with a skull-base chordoma in 2006. Following his diagnosis, Josh spent two years studying chordoma in the lab of Dr. Michael Kelley at Duke University. In 2008, Josh left the lab to lead the Chordoma Foundation after receiving an Echoing Green Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. To complement his work with the Foundation, from 2008 to 2011 he served as a Fellow in Strategic Philanthropy and Health in Duke’s Program on Global Health and Technology Access, where he studied models for sharing of scientific data and biological materials. He currently serves a member of the National Cancer Institute Director’s Consumer Liaison Group, the Moffitt Cancer Center Total Cancer Care External Advisory Board, and the Board of Advisors of the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation. For his efforts to advance chordoma research, Josh was honored by ABC News as a Person of the Year in 2008.

Julie Song

Julie Song – Secretary

Julie Song is the Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Advance Auto Parts. Before joining Advanced Auto Parts, she served as the Chief Compliance Counsel at IQVIA (formerly Quintiles), the world’s largest biopharmaceutical services provider. Julie has a deep understanding of the compliance and regulatory issues affecting the life sciences sector and previously served on the securities enforcement defense group at WilmerHale LLP in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in North Carolina, she graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She has been closely connected to the Chordoma Foundation since her father was diagnosed with chordoma in 2012.

John Therien

John Therien

John Therien is a partner at the law firm Smith Anderson and co-leads the firm’s AgTech practice group.  He advises a broad range of clients in commercial transactions involving intellectual property, including domestic and international corporate partnering, patent and technology licensing, research and development collaborations, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, supply chain, distribution, and co-promotion arrangements, and other strategic commercial transactions. He has extensive experience advising companies in the agricultural biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and also frequently counsels clients in the diagnostics, medical device, software, video game, and technology sectors on transactional matters. John previously served on the Foundation’s board from 2009-2015.


Meet our Board Committees »

Board committees provide ongoing oversight and strategic planning for the Foundation’s key functional areas. They include both Chordoma Foundation directors and external advisers who provide expertise and perspective in subjects relevant to the business of the committee.

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