Robert J. Palay, JD, MBA
Mr. Palay has been a founder or early stage investor in genomics and stem cell-based companies for over a decade. He was a founder and chairman of NimbleGen Systems, Inc., a molecular biology tools company, serving as its CEO prior to its sale to Roche for $272.5 million in August 2007. Mr. Palay is a founder and principal of Tactics II Ventures, LP and Tactics II Stem Cell Ventures, LP. Since 1991, Mr. Palay has served as the Chairman of Tactics II Group, a merchant banking and investment partnership with significant investment activity in next-generation biotechnology companies. From 1986 until 1991, Mr. Palay was Vice President, Acquisitions for Sam Zell’s Equity Group, where his focus was on acquiring distressed assets. Prior to joining Mr. Zell’s organization, Mr. Palay practiced law at Rudnick & Wolfe in Chicago. Mr. Palay earned a JD from Northwestern University and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Thomas M. Palay, JD, PhD
Dr. Palay has been a founder or early stage investor in genomics and stem cell-based companies for over a decade. He was a founder and vice-chairman of NimbleGen Systems, Inc., a molecular biology tools company, serving as its COO prior to its sale to Roche for $272.5 million in 2007. Dr. Palay is a founder and principal in Tactics II Ventures, LP and Tactics II Stem Cell Ventures, LP. Dr. Palay is a principal of Tactics II Group, a merchant banking and investment partnership with significant investment activity in next-generation biotechnology companies. In addition, he is currently the Foley and Lardner-Bascom Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has been on the faculty since 1980. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin faculty, he was a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Dr. Palay earned a PhD and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University with a BA.
James A. Thomson, VMD, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
In 1998, Dr. Thomson’s isolation of human embryonic stem cells created a new field of study and changed how people think of treating diseases. In addition to his roles at CDI, Dr. Thomson is the Director of Regenerative Biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research and the John D. MacArthur Professor of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is a member of The National Academy of Sciences. His seminal work on stem cell isolation received many awards, including Science Magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year” in 1999, and he was the cover feature in TIME Magazine’s “America’s Best in Science and Medicine” in 2001. In November 2007, Dr. Thomson published another groundbreaking paper describing how differentiated cells can be reprogrammed into a pluripotent state. This isolation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells was listed among the most significant scientific advances of 2007 in Science, Nature, TIME, NBC News, USA Today, The Independent, and Wired Magazine, and Dr. Thomson was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” this same year. Dr. Thomson has published over 100 scientific, peer-reviewed papers and been an inventor on 11 issued patents. Dr. Thomson received his VMD and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.