Jennifer Cochran, Ph.D.

Jennifer Cochran, Ph.D.

Position: Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Advisor

Dr. Cochran co-founded Red Tree Venture Capital and serves as the firm’s chief scientific advisor.

She is a professor and the chair of the department of bioengineering at Stanford University, where she also is a professor (by courtesy) of chemical engineering and a member of the cancer biology, biophysics and immunology training programs. Dr. Cochran serves as the director of the Stanford/NIH biotechnology pre-doctoral training program, and is also the faculty director of protein therapeutics at the Stanford Innovative Medicines Accelerator (IMA). Her research and translational interests span protein-based drug discovery and development for applications in oncology and regenerative medicine, and development of new technologies for high-throughput protein analysis and engineering.

Dr. Cochran brings extensive company formation experience, having founded multiple start-ups in the fields of oncology and regenerative medicine, and has held various roles in these and other organizations. From 2015 to 2020 she served as Chief Scientist of Lagunita Biosciences, a healthcare investment company and incubator, and was co-founder and Director of xCella Biosciences, where she also served as President from 2015 to 2017 while on leave of absence from Stanford. She currently serves on the board of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND), Revel Pharmaceuticals, and Virsti Therapeutics, is a board observer of Acrigen and Excellergy, and a founding advisor to Switch Bioworks.

Dr. Cochran has published over 100 research papers in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. A prolific innovator, she is a named inventor on over 50 issued and pending patents. A number of molecules invented by Dr. Cochran and her collaborative teams are under pre-clinical or clinical development, including batiraxcept (formerly AVB-500), which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for ovarian cancer, novel protein-based cancer therapeutics that modulate innate/adaptive immunity in the tumor microenvironment, and engineered growth factors being developed for regenerative medicine applications. Her team at xCella Biosciences developed xPloration, a high-throughput screening platform that enables massively parallel, quantitative biochemical measurements to be performed on millions of B cell-producing antibodies, which was acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND). Dr. Cochran also co-founded ophthalmology drug company Combangio, acquired by Kala Pharmaceuticals (KALA), and along with immuno-oncology luminary Ron Levy and Nobel laureate Carolyn Bertozzi, co-founded Virsti Therapeutics, to advance a novel, differentiated approach for tumor-targeted immunotherapy.

Dr. Cochran received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of biological engineering. She has been recognized with numerous awards including the NIH/National Cancer Institute Howard Temin Award and was inducted as a fellow to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).