Board of Directors


John Kozarich, Ph.D.


John Kozarich, PhD, has served as a director since March, 2003. Dr. Kozarich is also a member of the board of directors of ActivX Biosciences in La Jolla. From 1992 to 2001, he was vice president at Merck Research Laboratories and previously held professorships at the University of Maryland and Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Kozarich is also an adjunct professor of Chemical Physiology at the Scripps Research Institute and serves on boards, including QLT, Inc., Corium Intl. and the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences. He is also a recent recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award from the San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Kozarich earned his BS in chemistry, summa cum laude, from Boston College, his PhD in biological chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.

Jason Aryeh

Jason Aryeh has served as a member of Ligand's Board of Directors and as Chairman of its Nominating and Governance Committee since September 2006. Mr. Aryeh has more than twenty years of equity investment experience focused on the life sciences industry. He is the Founder and Managing General Partner of JALAA Equities, LP, a private investment fund focused on the biotechnology and medical device sectors. He has served in such capacity since 1997. Mr. Aryeh has also served as Chairman, been on the Board of Directors, Board of Governors or served as a consultant to many other public and private life sciences companies and charitable foundations, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Therapeutics Board.
Mr. Aryeh earned a B.A. in economics, with honors, from Colgate University, and is a member of the Omnicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society in economics.

Todd Davis

Todd Davis is a founder and former Managing Partner of HealthCare Royalty Partners, a global healthcare investment firm. He has thirty years of experience working in and investing in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Over the course of his career, Mr. Davis has been involved in over $2 billion in healthcare deals and nearly $1 billion in royalty financings. He has also led, structured and closed over 40 additional intellectual property licenses, as well as growth equity, and debt deals. Previously, Mr. Davis was a partner at Paul Capital Partners, where he co-managed that firm's royalty investments as a member of the royalty management committee. He also served as a partner responsible for biopharmaceutical growth equity investments at Apax Partners. Prior to beginning his principal investment career in 2001, Mr. Davis held various sales and product management roles at Abbott Laboratories and worked in business development, operations and licensing at Elan Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Davis holds a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He currently serves on the board of Palvella Therapeutics Inc., and he is also a board member of the Harvard Business School Healthcare Alumni Association.

Nancy Gray, Ph.D.

Dr. Gray currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Gordon Research Conferences, a not-for-profit organization that arranges conferences in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences worldwide. Prior to joining Gordon Research Conferences in 2003, for nine years Dr. Gray was with the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington, D.C., the world's largest scientific society, most recently as Director of Membership. She also was the liaison to the Board Committee on Grants and Awards and the Council Committee on Nominations and Elections, and was responsible for the ACS national election process. Prior to joining the ACS, Dr. Gray spent nine years as a Senior Research Scientist at Exxon/Mobil Research and Engineering (formerly Exxon Production Research) in Houston. Dr. Gray is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Gray received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in Fuel Chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University. She was a Research Fellow at the Foundation on Matter Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, and completed the Harvard Executive Education Finance for Senior Executives program. She also has authored or co-authored numerous scientific articles.

John Higgins

Chief Executive Officer

John Higgins is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Ligand. Prior to joining Ligand, Mr. Higgins served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration and Corporate Development, of Connetics Corporation, a specialty pharmaceutical company acquired by Stiefel Laboratories in 2006. Before joining Connetics, he was a member of the executive management team at BioCryst Pharmaceuticals. Currently, he is a Director on the Boards of BioTechne Corporation and CoMentis and serves as Chairperson of the BioTechne Audit Committee. Prior to BioCryst, Mr. Higgins was a member of the healthcare banking team of Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., an investment banking firm. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colgate University with an AB in economics.

John LaMattina, Ph.D.

Dr. LaMattina has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2011. He spent 30 years at Pfizer Inc. beginning as a medicinal chemist in 1977. During his career, he was appointed to various positions of increasing responsibility for Pfizer Central Research, including Vice President of U.S. Discovery Operations in 1993, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Discovery Operations in 1998 and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Development in 1999. Dr. LaMattina graduated with cum laude honors from Boston College with a B.S. in Chemistry. He received a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire in Organic Chemistry and subsequently was at Princeton University in the National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship program. Dr. LaMattina is currently a senior partner at PureTech, a venture capital firm focusing on biotech investments, and serves on several boards including two PureTech companies, Gelesis and Vedanta as well as Zafgen Inc. He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Trevena Pharmaceuticals and is a Strategic Advisor for Ziarco Pharmaceuticals. Dr. LaMattina is a respected commentator on the biopharmaceutical industry on as well as with his books, most recently Devalued & Distrusted - Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restore its Broken Image?

Sunil Patel

Mr. Patel has more than 18 years of senior management and R&D experience in the biotechnology industry and is currently Senior Vice President, Chief Business Officer for OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, a development-stage company focused on therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells. Mr. Patel has held senior management positions in corporate development, marketing, and strategy with BiPar Sciences, Allos Therapeutics, Connetics, Abgenix and Gilead Sciences. Mr. Patel also worked at McKinsey & Company serving biotech and pharmaceutical clients and has held scientific research positions at ZymoGenetics and ProCyte. Mr. Patel received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and master's degree in Molecular Bioengineering/Biotechnology at the University of Washington.

Stephen Sabba, MD

Dr. Sabba has been a leading Bio/Pharma Analyst and Fund Manager for Knott Partners, L.P., an investment fund company, since November 2006. Previously he was a Partner and Director of Research with Kilkenny Capital Management, a Chicago-based biomedical hedge fund. Prior to that, Dr. Sabba was Director of Research at Sturza's Medical Research, and previously was a gastroenterologist and internist in private practice at Phelps Memorial Hospital in North Tarrytown, New York. He received his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine, and completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in New York City. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors at Cornell University. Dr. Sabba has served as a member of the board of the directors for QLT, Inc., a leading Canadian biotech company, since June 2012.