William Link, Ph.D
Chairman of the Board of Directors
William J. Link, Ph.D., is a leader in the healthcare industry. He is a Managing Director of Versant Ventures, a leading venture capital firm focused in healthcare. At Versant, Bill has specialized in early stage investing in medical devices. Prior to co-founding Versant Ventures in 1999, Bill was a general partner at Brentwood Venture Capital. With more than two decades of operations experience in the healthcare industry, he has a proven record of building and managing large, successful medical product companies. Prior to entering venture capital, Bill founded two companies which still today are leaders in the field of surgical ophthalmology. In 1987 Bill founded, and served as chairman and CEO of Chiron Vision, a subsidiary of Chiron Corporation specializing in ophthalmic surgical products which was sold to Bausch and Lomb in 1997. Prior to Chiron Vision, Bill founded and served as President of American Medical Optics (AMO), a division of American Hospital Supply Corporation, which was sold to Allergan in 1986. Later Bill served on the Board of AMO’s successor company, Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) which was acquired by Abbott in 2009. Bill serves on the Board of several private companies and is on the Board of three public companies, Glaukos (GKOS), Second Sight (EYES) and Edwards Life Sciences (EW). Before entering the healthcare industry, Bill was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Bill received his BS, MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.
Vanaja Ragavan, M.D.
President and CEO
Dr. Ragavan is a board certified endocrinologist who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, first as a Medical Officer at the FDA, then in large multinational pharmaceutical companies with increasing responsibilities. For the past six years, she has worked in the entrepreneurial area as an inventor, company founder, angel investor and in management roles. Dr. Ragavan is uniquely qualified to lead this company, having spent her entire career in developing drugs, devices, and now diagnostics, and has managed multi-disciplinary teams ranging from global companies to startup ventures. Dr. Ragavan founded Aviana Molecular Technologies in 2008 to fulfill unmet clinical need in diagnosis of infections and currently provides corporate, clinical, and marketing strategy. During the last two and a half years, Dr. Ragavan has located a home for the Company at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research and has sustained and grown a vibrant and creative team that has advanced its products to an early prototype. Dr. Ragavan graduated with an A.B. from Harvard University and an M.D. from NYU Medical School.
Edward Peterson
Global General Manager
Mr. Peterson founded AcuFocus, an ophthalmic medical device company focused on developing an intracorneal inlay to increase the depth of focus in people with presbyopia. Serving as the company’s President and CEO for over a decade, Mr. Peterson was instrumental in helping AcuFocus raise over $133 million and growing the company from a promising start-up to a global commercial enterprise. Boasting over three decades of ophthalmic industry experience, Mr. Peterson began his career at industry icons CooperVision and Alcon. Prior to joining AcuFocus, he served as Vice President of Business Development for the Innovation Factory, an incubator company for new and emerging technologies. Mr. Peterson has developed significant international business relationships over the last decade. Currently, Mr. Peterson is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Visiometrics, as well as Chairman to Accelerated Vision Business Group. Mr. Peterson is also a member of AAO Corporate Advisory Council. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Mr. Peterson holds a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Iowa.
John M. Starcher, Jr.
Board Member
John Starcher, Esq, is an experienced health care executive with more than 25 years of service in academic medicine, for-profit healthcare, private equity, venture capital and non-profit, faith-based healthcare. Mr. Starcher is currently the President and CEO of Mercy Health, the largest integrated health system in Ohio which consists of 23 hospitals, 35,000 associates, 1400 employed physician and more than 450 clinic locations. Mercy’s mission and Mr. Starcher’s passion is to improve the health of the communities they serve with an emphasis on those that are poor and underserved. Prior to that, he was the President and CEO of Health Management Associates, the fourth largest publicly traded health system in the nation with 71 hospitals across 15 states. Mr. Starcher brings a wealth of experience in health care delivery to Aviana’s Board, along with a successful track record in investments and corporate creation. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the University of Toledo. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio and has actively served as a director on more than 16 boards.
Steven Waite, M.B.A.
Board Member
Steve Waite brings 20 years of significant operating experience in the healthcare industry. Mr. Waite is CEO of OneFocus Vision, Inc., a venture funded medtech company. He currently serves on the boards of AqueSys, Inc., Oculeve Inc. and OneFocus Vision, Inc. Mr. Waite was a founder and Managing Director of Accuitive Medical Ventures, a medical device venture capital firm. AMV manages $230 million in assets comprised of a diversified portfolio of companies. Mr. Waite’s ophthalmic AMV investments include AcuFocus, AqueSys and WaveTec (Sold). Mr. Waite co-founded The Innovation Factory (TIF), one of the world’s leading medical device incubators. As CEO of TIF, Mr. Waite founded and managed 10 medical device companies while in the incubator, including AcuFocus (private-Commercial/FDA study), LipoSonix (Sold), NeuroNetics (private-commercial), AqueSys (private-FDA study), Halscion (Private) and Sabacia (Private). Prior to forming TIF, he co-founded PrimeVision Health, Inc. (sold), HealthTech (sold) and SafeWaste (sold) between 1992 thru 1999. Mr. Waite holds a B.A. in Biology and an M.B.A in Finance, both from Wake Forest University.