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Leadership Team


Yishai Zohar

Yishai Zohar - CEO & Founder

Mr. Zohar is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gelesis Inc., a Boston-based biotechnology company developing first-in-class treatments for obesity and glycemic control.

A seasoned entrepreneur, Mr. Zohar has over 25 years experience in the launch and development of industry innovating companies. Prior to founding Gelesis, Mr. Zohar was a Co-Founder and Partner of PureTech Ventures, a Boston-based venture creation company focused on the translation of academic breakthroughs into commercially viable companies. In his role at PureTech he founded several companies and led the obesity initiative which engaged leading obesity experts to look at a broad landscape of technologies and approaches. This obesity initiative led to the formation of Gelesis. Prior to co-founding PureTech, Mr. Zohar co-founded and was the CEO of Zeta Ltd, a market leader in the Israeli edible oil market. Zohar was a pilot ranked Captain in the Israeli Defense Forces.

David Pass

David Pass, Pharm.D - COO

Dr. Pass joins Gelesis with more than 20 years of commercial expertise across multiple therapeutic areas with a focus on diabetes and metabolics.

Dr. Pass gained a broad range of commercial experience from his time with Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Most recently, Dr. Pass served as Vice President of Marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) for Diabetes, where he built a billion-dollar franchise. In this role, Dr. Pass also led the BI alliance with Eli Lilly & Company to develop and commercialize a portfolio of diabetes compounds in mid- and late-stage development. David received both his B.S. Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. He resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut. He enjoys many interests outside work including cycling, snowboarding, golf and woodworking.

Eyal Ron

Eyal Ron, PhD - CTO

Dr. Eyal S. Ron has over 20 years of experience in the development of devices, biomaterials, drugs and drug delivery systems.

He has in-depth understanding of total development process including project management, clinical trials, regulatory, formulation, drug delivery, QC and manufacturing scale-up. He has contributed to the formation of Argolyn Biosciences, Cerebrotec, Combinent Biomedical Systems, eNOS Pharmaceuticals, Focal, GelMed/Gel Sciences, InfiMed and Palmetto Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Ron holds a PhD in chemistry from Brandeis and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT in the lab of Dr. Robert Langer. Currently he is an Adjunct Faculty at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health and Sciences and Technology.

Hassan Heshmati

Hassan Heshmati, MD - CMO

Hassan M. Heshmati, M.D., has over 37 years of experience in clinical research in pharmaceutical companies (Essentialis, Carlsbad, CA and Sanofi-Aventis, Malvern, PA) and in academia (Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN and university-affiliated hospitals, Paris, France).

His research activity has been related to pituitary tumor, gonadal function, dyslipidemia, hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, and diabetes. Dr. Heshmati received his M.D. Degree from the University of Paris VI, Paris, France. He is Board Certified in Endocrinology.

Alessandro Sannino

Alessandro Sannino, PhD - Chief Project Scientist

Alessandro Sannino is a co-inventor of the Gelesis100 technology, is Professor of Polymer Science and Technology and the director of the Bioslabs at the University of Salento.

Dr. Sannino is responsible for the Life Science division of the Puglia District of Technology and adjunct faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is also an advisor to the National Institute of Health, of the Italian Ministry of Health (Italian equivalent to the FDA). Dr. Sannino’s research activity is focused on macromolecular hydrogels, polymer microstructure modifications, tissue engineering constructs and cell-material interactions, has published over 100 scientific papers on these topics. He received his PhD at University of Naples and University of Washington on polymer technology, and did a post-doctoral fellowship at MIT.