Healthcare Tech Incubator MATTER Adds National Healthcare and Business Leaders to Board

MATTER, the new healthcare technology incubator for next-generation health IT, medical device, diagnostics and biopharma companies, today announced the election of 10 national healthcare and business leaders to its governing board.

The recently elected board members are:

  • Laura Ferris Anderson, chief of staff, office of the Midwest chairman for JPMorgan Chase & Co.

  • Thomas DeRosa, CEO of Health Care REIT Inc.

  • James Madara, M.D., executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association

  • Peter McNerney, founder and senior advisor of Thomas, McNerney & Partners

  • James O’Connor Jr., managing director and global head of venture capital at William Blair & Company

  • David Ormesher, founder and CEO of closerlook inc.

  • Sheli Rosenberg, consultant to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and principal of Roselin Investments

  • Ellen Rudnick, clinical professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and executive director for the Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship

  • Rishi Shah, CEO of ContextMedia

  • Rajeev Venkayya, president of global vaccine business unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals

“The caliber of individuals joining the board signals the momentum that continues to build from our opening just a few weeks ago,” said Steven Collens, CEO of MATTER. “These first-class leaders will help us accelerate our mission and foster the collaboration that is critical to launching new businesses that matter.”

“MATTER is pleased to welcome new board members that will help us shape the future of healthcare,” said Jeff Aronin, co-chair of MATTER and CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals. “These individuals come from diverse backgrounds but share a common vision for supporting entrepreneurship to create better health outcomes for patients.”

“This announcement is a big win for Chicago’s healthcare community,” said Timothy Walbert, co-chair of MATTER and chairman, president and CEO of Horizon Pharma. “We’re honored to have these top healthcare leaders joining the board at MATTER.”

MATTER, which opened in February 2015, accelerates innovation by connecting major healthcare institutions with entrepreneurs at the forefront of health technology innovation. MATTER is already home to more than 80 health technology startups and has partnered with 30 industry leaders, 3 world-class research institutions and 7 healthcare systems, and has raised more than $8 million to support its work.

The new board members will offer strategic leadership to guide MATTER as it works to accelerate the formation and growth of new businesses to revolutionize healthcare.

MATTER, a not-for-profit organization, was developed by a team of entrepreneurs and industry leaders with support from the state of Illinois. MATTER began as a project of ChicagoNEXT, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s council on technology and innovation, part of World Business Chicago.

Biographies of MATTER’s new board members:

Laura Ferris Anderson serves as chief of staff, office of the Midwest chairman for JPMorgan Chase & Co., where she manages strategic planning and initiative implementation for the region’s senior leadership. She has also held leadership positions in private banking, electronic trading and payment systems development and corporate strategy.

Thomas J. DeRosa is the chief executive officer of Health Care REIT Inc (HCN)., a leading partner to the most innovative senior housing operators and health systems in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. HCN works with its partners to develop the next generation of health care settings and solutions for a dynamic aging population. Prior to joining HCN, DeRosa was vice chairman and chief financial officer of The Rouse Company and held various positions at Deutsche Bank and Alex. Brown & Sons, including co-head of global health care investment banking.

James L. Madara, M.D., is executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician organization. Prior to joining the AMA, Madara served sequentially as professor of pathology and director of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center, Timmie Professor and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, and the Thompson Distinguished Service Professorship and dean at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. During his deanship at Chicago, which also extended to the university’s renowned Biological Sciences Division, Madara also served as CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center, bringing together the university’s biomedical research, teaching and clinical activities.

Peter H. McNerney is founder and senior advisor of Thomas, McNerney & Partners, a healthcare venture firm that invests in life science and medical technology companies at all stages of development. He has more than 30 years of healthcare operating and venture capital experience. In addition to co-founding Thomas, McNerney & Partners, in 1992 he co-founded Coral Ventures, where he was responsible for healthcare investing.

James O’Connor Jr. is managing director and global head of venture capital at William Blair & Company, where he focuses on extending the company’s advisory services among venture capital firms, corporate venture groups and entrepreneurial hubs in domestic and international markets. He previously served as senior managing director of MVC Capital Inc., and before that led Motorola’s Technology Acceleration Program. He also was co-founder of Motorola Ventures. O’Connor is founding chairman of 1871 and the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center.

David Ormesher is founder and chief executive officer of closerlook inc., a digital marketing agency serving the pharmaceutical industry. In his leadership role, Ormesher has turned closerlook from a media boutique into a recognized leader in creating innovative marketing solutions that help pharmaceutical brands build and maintain meaningful relationships with healthcare professionals.

Sheli Z. Rosenberg is consultant to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and principal of Roselin Investments. Her extensive, board-level corporate experience includes roles as the former president, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Equity Group Investments LLC. She is also co-founder and previous president of the Center for Executive Women at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she continues to serve on the center’s steering committee.

Ellen A. Rudnick is a clinical professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and executive director for the Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. Before joining the university, she spent 25 years in business management and entrepreneurial activities, primarily in the healthcare and information services industries. During this time, she was president and CEO of Healthcare Knowledge Resources, president of HCIA, chairman of Pacific Biometrics, and corporate vice president of Baxter Healthcare Corporation.

Rishi Shah is chief executive officer of ContextMedia, a network of place-based and mobile media, which he founded in 2006 to serve health information to chronic disease patients. He also co-founded a personal venture investment firm, Jumpstart Ventures, through which he has made more than 40 investments in fast-growing, early- to late-stage startups.

Rajeev Venkayya is the president of the global vaccine business unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He has served as special assistant to former U.S. president George W. Bush and senior director for biodefense at the White House, and subsequently the director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is trained as a pulmonary and critical care physician.


MATTER is a community of healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders working together in a shared space to individually and collectively fuel the future of healthcare innovation. MATTER’s mission is to proactively connect and promote collaboration among entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians and industry partners to bring next-generation products and services to market that improve quality of care and save lives. For more information, visit and follow @MATTERhealth.

Press Contact:

Melissa Lederer, MATTER

(312) 543-9537