Fabrice Romano, D.V.M., CEO, Founder.

Chairman of the Board

Fabrice Romano trained as a D.V.M. (Doctor in Veterinary Medicine) and specialized in ophthalmology and microsurgery. He began his career in 1989, working in medical technology at Domilens Laboratories, a leader of intraocular implants in Europe (acquired by Bausch & Lomb). While there, Dr. Romano was responsible for new lines of implants and surgical equipment for cataract treatment.

Dr. Romano’s career took him to Biomatech (NAMSA), Multi Active (McCann Erickson HealthCare), Sofradim (COVIDIEN), and EDAP-TMS. His 20-plus years in the industry provided him with experience in a host of capacities, from R&D to Marketing to Business Development, finally leading him to found his first start-up – Medtech, EyeTechCare – in 2008. A well-known success story in France, that company has more than 40M€ in private funding and was able to launch a therapeutic breakthrough innovation in just four years with his EyeOP1 invention for the non-invasive treatment of glaucoma.

He founded KERANOVA after identifying the potential of an academic discovery and conceptualizing new ways to apply it to cataract and refractive surgery..


Valérie Calenda, PhD, partner at Mérieux Développement Investment Fund

Valérie Calenda started her career as research scientist in Hematology and Virology at the Institut National de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM). After collaborating at a French/US research program on HIV at Davis University in California, she joined Transgene, an affiliate of Institut Mérieux focusing on immunotherapy, in 1994 where she was in charge of several projects focusing on HIV and Cardiovascular areas until 2000. She then led a spin-off project in cardio-vascular therapeutic area before collaborating with a Paris based seed Venture Capital firm. Valérie also managed several biotech clinical-stage product developments within the infectious diseases and oncology disease areas, from pre-IND to Phase 2. This led her to manage both in-licensing and out-licensing activities, including global license agreement and alliance management with Hoffman La Roche,
acquisition of biotech assets in Europe and in the US.

Valérie joined Mérieux Développement as a Partner in January 2010. She currently serves as Board member of ImaginAb (USA), Valkee (Finland), and Ninox Medical (Israel) .

Valérie received her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Marseille. She holds a degree in Hematology and a B.Sc. in Biochemistry-Immunology from the University of Marseille.


Celia Hart, PhD, partner at Supernova Invest Fund

Celia has more than 20 years of experience in the chemical and biotechnology sector. She joined CEA Investissement (now Supernova Invest) in 2005 and has since carried out the investments in several companies operating mainly in life sciences. She serves (or has served) on the Boards of several companies including Algaia, Bioaxial, Diabeloop, Fermentalg, Keranova, Uromems and Theranexus.

Prior to that Celia mainly worked for Cambridge Antibody Technology one of the most successful UK biotechnology companies (now Medimmune following its acquisition by Astra Zenena) holding different managing and product development positions including Head of Lead Optimization. She was involved in the development of several therapeutic antibodies in including some in collaboration with international biotechnology or pharmaceutical partners.

Celia holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of Geneva (Switzerland), a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford (UK) and an MBA from Grenoble Ecole de Management (France).


Michel Therin, D.V.M., PhD, Vice President and General Manager General Surgery, Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, MEDTRONIC

Michel Therin As Vice President & General Manager for the General Surgery specialty, Michel Therin provides short to long-term specialty vision for General Surgery and strategies at global & regional level. He is in charge to develop and manage product/solutions aligned to the evolving needs of general surgeons and is responsible for the financial performance of the General Surgery portfolio.

Dr. Therin was formerly the leader for the new product development initiatives of the Hernia/Biosurgery Division of Medtronic’s Minimally Invasive Therapy Group. In this role, Dr. Therin was responsible for two research centers, one of them being the recently inaugurated center of excellence for soft tissue repair in Trévoux, France. He was also spearheading global strategy for new product offerings and deep customer insights.

Previously Dr. Therin held several positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President, Global Division Leader, Soft Tissue Implants, in the Surgical Solutions Division at Covidien; Head of Research and Technology Development in the Surgical Devices global business unit at Covidien, and General Manager at Sofradim which Dr. Therin co-founded prior to it being acquired by Covidien in 2005.

Dr. Therin has developed in his career all products belonging to the hernia mesh portfolio of Medtronic including Parietex™ & Parietex™ Composite mesh, ProGrip™, Symbotex™ Composite mesh etc…

Dr. Therin graduated from Maisons-Alfort with a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and from the University of Paris XIII with a doctorate in Biomaterials Science. He is also a board certified toxicological pathologist. He has published over 20 peer reviewed international publications, 38 patents and has given over 100 lectures in international congresses.