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 Curza and Distinguished Scientist and Executive Advisor at 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 M. Aryeh has served as a member of Ligand’s board of directors since September 2006. He is the founder and managing general partner of JALAA Equities, LP, a private hedge fund focused on the biotechnology and medical device sectors, and has served in such capacity since 1997. Mr. Aryeh serves as a director of Orchestra BioMed, Inc., a private company. Mr. Aryeh has served as a director of numerous public and private companies. 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. In selecting Mr. Aryeh to serve as a director, the board considered, among other things, his valuable capital markets experience, including his service as managing general partner of a hedge fund focused on the life sciences sector.

Sarah Boyce

Prior to joining Avidity Biosciences in October 2019, Ms. Boyce served as a Director and President of Akcea Therapeutics, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on serious and rare diseases. Previously Ms. Boyce served as Chief Business Officer at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for business development, alliance management, patient advocacy and investor relations. Prior to Ionis, she worked at Forest Labs, Alexion and Novartis in strategic planning and product commercialization for various products including Forest Laboratories’ Colobreathe®, Alexion’s Soliris® and Novartis’ Gleevec® and Tasigna®. Ms. Boyce also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Berkeley Lights Inc.

Ms. Boyce received a B.S. degree in microbiology from the University of Manchester, England.

Todd Davis

Todd C Davis is the Founder and Managing Partner of RoyaltyRx Capital, a special opportunities investment firm. From 2006 until 2018 Todd was a Founder & Managing Partner of Cowen/HealthCare Royalty Partners, a global healthcare investment firm. He has almost thirty years of experience in both operations and investing in the biopharmaceutical and life science industries. Mr. Davis has been involved in over $3 billion in healthcare financings including growth equity, public equity turnarounds, structured debt and royalty acquisitions.  He has also led, structured and closed over 40 additional intellectual property licenses, as well as hybrid royalty-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. Mr. Davis began his business career in sales at Abbott Laboratories where he held several commercial roles of increasing responsibility.  He subsequently held general management, business development, and licensing roles at Elan Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Davis is a navy veteran and holds a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He serves on the boards of Palvella Therapeutics Inc., BioDelivery Sciences, Vaxart, Inc., Benuvia Therapeutics Inc,  and Ligand Pharmaceuticals. 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.  Prior to BioCryst, Mr. Higgins was a member of the healthcare banking team of Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.  Currently, he is a Director on the Board of BioTechne Corporation and serves as chairperson of its Audit Committee and member of its Nominating and Governance Committee.  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

Stephen L. Sabba, M.D., has served as a member of Ligand’s board of directors since August 2008. Dr. Sabba has been a leading Health Care Analyst and Portfolio 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 Health Care 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 Hospital in North Tarrytown, New York. He received his M.D. 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 B.S. with honors at Cornell University. In selecting Dr. Sabba to serve as a director, the board considered, among other things, his capital markets and accounting expertise gained from his prior experience working in the hedge fund and investment fund industries. Ligand also benefits from his background as a medical doctor and from his understanding of medicine.