Leadership | Mellitus


Jose A. Halperin, M.D.
Co-Founder & Board Member

Jose Halperin, M.D. is a physician and researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he serves as Director of the Laboratory for Translational Research in the Division of Hematology, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a pioneer in the understanding of the role of the complement system and the complement regulator CD59 in the pathogenesis of diabetes complications. Dr. Halperin holds over 40 awarded or filed patents, several of which have been licensed by Harvard University to companies working on bringing his inventions to the marketplace. Previously, Dr. Halperin founded and was a board member of Best Doctors, Inc. Dr. Halperin is also a founder and board member of Bioambar, SPA.

Dr. Halperin earned his M.D. degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine.

Michael Chorev, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Board Member

Michael Chorev, Ph.D. is an Associate-in-Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an Associate Professor of Medicine (Biochemistry) at the Harvard Medical School and a faculty member of the Laboratory for Translational Research at the Department of Medicine of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He led the development of the key reagents used in the diagnosis of glycated CD59. He has co-authored over 200 scientific articles and reviews in journals, chapters in monographs and books, and over 40 awarded and filed patents. He serves as an Editor for Journal of Peptide Science and is the recipient of the 2013 Vincent du Vigneaud Award from the American Peptide Society. Prof. Chorev is co-inventor of ladostigil and rivastigmine (Exelon®). Previously, Prof. Chorev held the Drs. Margaret and Henry Zentner Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Chair at Hebrew University.

Prof. Chorev received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University and completed his post-doctoral training at University of California, San Diego.

Christopher de Souza, Ph.D.
Board Member

Christopher de Souza is a Director at Broadview Ventures in Boston. He started his pharmaceutical career at Novartis as senior scientist in the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases group and then Director of Strategic Alliances. After Novartis, Christopher was VP of Business Development at SkyePharma US and also founded a business development consulting practice.

Dr. de Souza received an MBA from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in physiology from Louisiana State University. He completed his post-doctoral training at “The Upjohn Company” and the Joslin Diabetes Center/Harvard Medical School.

Ellie McGuire
Board Member

Ellie McGuire is a Partner of the LS Polaris Innovation Fund. She has held leadership and consulting positions in business development, operations, and strategy in multiple life science companies including Arsia Therapeutics, XTuit Pharmaceuticals, and Lyndra.  In addition to serving on the Mellitus Board, Ms. McGuire is a Board observer to Gauss Surgical and Suono Bio. Ms. McGuire is an Expert in Residence for the Harvard Office of Technology Development and is on the Fred Hutch Evergreen Fund Advisory Committee.  Prior to co-founding the LS Polaris Innovation Fund, McGuire was the Head of Business Development at Lyndra, where she was also a member of the founding team. She was recently awarded the Up and Coming Woman of the Future Award by WEST.

Ms. McGuire studied neuropsychology at Colby College prior to attending Tuck School of Management Business Bridge Program.

Xing Zhao, M.D. Ph.D.
Board Member

Dr. Xing Zhao serves as the Founding Partner of Orient Life Capital Partner, and the President of Orient Life Investment Holding Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to founding Orient Life, Dr. Zhao was the Instructor of Orthopedic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and then later served as the R&D Director and Chair of Research Steering Committee for Vericel Corporation. In addition to serving on the Mellitus Board, Dr. Zhao also serves on the Board of SQZ Biotechnologies and SMOC Therapeutics. 

Dr. Zhao obtained his M.D. from Xiangya Medical School and Central South University, China, with residency training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from Zhongshan Hospital and Fudan University, Shanghai, China.  He received his Ph.D. in Regenerative Medicine from Utrecht University, the Netherlands and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Zhao also received a certificate of executive education in Leadership and Management from Sloan Management School, MIT.

Joyce Lonergan
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Board Member

Joyce Lonergan has over 25 years of experience in industry, venture capital and Wall Street with emerging healthcare companies. Ms. Lonergan began her career in research at Tufts Medical Center and later served as a Biotechnology Equity Research Analyst at Cowen and Company.  She has held investment and business development roles at Vector Fund Management and Repligen Corporation in addition to serving as Vice President of Corporate Development and Corporate Communications and Investor Relations at Chiron Corporation.  Ms. Lonergan also co-founded and served as Managing Director of Caxton Healthcare Venture Management, LLC and was a Managing Partner at SR One.

Ms. Lonergan holds a B.S. in biology from Emmanuel College and an MBA from the Simmons College Graduate School of Management.  She is also a Springboard Enterprises, Health Innovation Hub alum, class of 2017.

Jerry Casey
Head of Commercial

Jerry Casey is a commercially focused leader with over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Previously, Mr. Casey was President and Chief Operating Officer of Sekisui Diagnostics, where he was responsible for leading and directing their worldwide business. Prior to that, he spent a number of years at Genzyme Corporation running global sales and marketing for Genzyme Diagnostics. As Senior Vice President, he led the commercialization and growth of a diversified diagnostic product portfolio across the worldwide market. Earlier in his career, Mr. Casey served as Assistant Vice President of Fixed Income at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods. He began his career as a Diagnostic Sales Specialist at Abbott Laboratories.

Mr. Casey received his B.A. in political science and MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut. In addition to his work with Mellitus, he has been actively involved in several life sciences ventures, both as an advisor and an investor, while serving on multiple Boards.

Les DeLuca
Head of Product Operations

Les DeLuca is an operations focused leader with over 36 years’ experience in biotechnology and clinical diagnostics manufacturing.  Mr. DeLuca began his career as a research scientist and product development expert for Genzyme and Sekisui Diagnostics bringing many new products through FDA clearance and release to market. Mr. DeLuca also worked as plant manager for the business unit of Sekisui Diagnostic’s Specialty Coagulation products’ manufacturing plant.  He later served as VP of Operations and Supply Chain for BioMedica Diagnostics where he was responsible for the production and release of over 100 products from raw material procurement through product release to market. 

Mr. DeLuca holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Worcester State College and also studied for his MBA at Clark University.

Laura MacLean
Head of Clinical Operations

Laura MacLean has over 18 years of experience overseeing Phase I through IV clinical trials in both highly prevalent and orphan diseases, including those pertaining to Type 2 diabetes and complications of diabetes. Ms. MacLean has held various positions at Boston-area pharmaceutical companies, including at Indevus Pharmaceuticals, where she oversaw the clinical management of pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials, resulting in successful product approvals in the US for Sanctura ® and Sanctura XR® for overactive bladder. Ms. MacLean came to Mellitus from Vertex, where she served as a clinical Phase 1 Subject Manager Expert. 

Ms. MacLean obtained a M.S. in Clinical Investigation from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, which also entailed clinical research coordinator positions at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and her B.S. in biology from Virginia Tech.

Bruce Phelps, Ph.D.
Head of Development

Bruce Phelps, Ph.D. has over 36 years of combined technical management, operational and research & development experience in biotechnology, medical devices, and diagnostics. Over the course of his career in diagnostic assay and systems development, he has been responsible for developing over 60 biomarker assays that have been implemented on manual systems, bench top analyzers, and high-throughput automated systems. Earlier in his career, he served as Chief Technology Officer of a start-up company called Aviir, was Divisional Vice President, Blood Testing at Chiron Corporation and held several technical and management positions at Abbott Laboratories.

Dr. Phelps received his B.S. in chemistry from Clarkson University and earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Rick Saul, Ph.D.
Head of Product Development

Dr. Saul spent the first 14 years of his career in the clinical diagnostics arena that included management positions at Clinical Assays, Polaroid-Behring Diagnostics, Baxter Diagnostics, Igen International, and as Vice President of Development at Celsis International. During this time he was responsible for the research and development of more than 25 diagnostic products. In 1999, Dr. Saul co-founded Axo Diagnostics, LLC whose services included assisting companies in the areas of technology assessment, contract development of diagnostic assays, development of automated detection technologies, and scientific multimedia production, including video production. Dr. Saul later served as the Clinical Project Manager and then Director at Leidos Biomedical Research in the Antibody Characterization Lab.

Dr. Saul obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Hampden-Sydney College, a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia, and spent two years in post-doctoral training in the Biochemistry department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Kathy Welch, CPA
Head of Finance

Kathy Welch comes to Mellitus from Danforth Advisors and has over 20 years’ experience at the Controller and CFO level.  Ms. Welch is an accomplished accounting professional with extensive experience assisting companies as they meet the challenges of growth, transition and automation, while continually improving accounting control and financial reporting.

Ms. Welch is a Certified Public Accountant and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. and B.A. from Bryant University.

Thomas Musci, M.D.
Clinical Advisor

Thomas J. Musci, MD served from 2012 to 2016 as Chief Medical Officer at Ariosa Diagnostics, which was acquired by Roche Diagnostics.  Dr. Musci held past positions in the maternal-fetal medicine program at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, as Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California School of Medicine, and as Director of Clinical Affairs, Predictive Health at Novartis Diagnostics, Inc.  Dr. Musci served as the past chair of the Committee on Genetics for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and as a member of the Professional Practice Guidelines Committee for the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG).  Dr. Musci is on the editorial advisory board of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is an ad hoc peer reviewer of several professional publications. In addition, he has authored and co-authored many publications on topics including cell-free DNA technology, preeclampsia, fibroblast growth factor, FISH, gene expression, and prenatal screening.

Dr. Musci graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine and continued his medical training at the University of California by completing an internship and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology; fellowships in maternal-fetal medicine, cardiovascular research, and medical genetics; and postdoctoral research with Marc Kirschner, PhD, in the department of biochemistry and biophysics.  He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, and medical genetics.

Alissa Dangel, M.D.
OB/GYN, Medical Advisor

Alissa Dangel, M.D. is an obstetrician and gynecologist at an academic teaching hospital. She has been in practice for 8 years as an OB/GYN and has particular expertise in the management of gestational diabetes. Her clinical work also includes experience in the global health arena through volunteer work in a rural area of Nicaragua. Dr. Dangel received her B.S. in environmental science from the University of Rochester and completed her M.D. at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She completed her residency in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Dangel is a fellow of the American College of of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society. She is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.