Investment Team

    Mark Kessel, Partner
Mr. Kessel co-founded Symphony in 2002 and is widely recognized as the leader in structuring product development investments for the biopharmaceutical industry.  Mr. Kessel was formerly the Managing Partner of Shearman & Sterling, with day-to-day operating responsibility for this large international law firm.  He received a B.A. with honors in Economics from the City College of New York and a J.D. magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law.  Mr. Kessel is a director of Dynavax Technologies Corporation, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, and Fondation Santé.  In addition, Mr. Kessel is a former director of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, OXiGENE, Inc. and Antigenics, Inc.  Mr. Kessel has written on financing for the biotech industry for Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Nature Biotechnology and other publications, and on issues related to governance and audit committees for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Deal and Euromoney.

Harri V. Taranto, Partner
Mr. Taranto co-founded Symphony in 2002 and has more than 25 years of experience advising investors and management teams of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and related healthcare companies.  Prior to joining Symphony, he was a Managing Director and co-founder of Wilkerson Partners, a healthcare and life sciences strategy consulting firm.  Previously, Mr. Taranto was a co-founder and partner, for 17 years, with The Wilkerson Group and its successor, TWG/IBM Healthcare Consulting, where he was head of the Global Pharmaceutical practice.  Throughout his TWG/IBM career, he was instrumental in shaping strategy and investment opportunities for leading biopharmaceutical companies and private equity investors.  His clients have included industry leaders and emerging growth-stage companies, as well as private equity investment firms.  Prior to joining TWG, Mr. Taranto was a consultant with McKinsey & Company from 1980 to 1983.  He earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Yale University.  Mr. Taranto is a director and Chairman of Symphony Evolution, Inc. a Symphony portfolio company.  In addition, Mr. Taranto serves on the Business Council of Solera Capital LLC, the Board of Directors of MIQS, Inc. and the Advisory Council of HealthRight International.


Alastair J.J. Wood, M.D., Partner
Dr. Wood has worked with Symphony since its inception, initially as Chairman of Symphony’s Clinical Advisory Council, and joined the firm full-time in September 2006 as a Managing Director after completing more than 30 years at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, most recently as Associate Dean of External Affairs, where he was also Attending Physician and Tenured Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology.  Dr. Wood is currently Professor of Medicine (courtesy appointment) and Professor of Pharmacology (courtesy appointment) at Weill Cornell Medical School, appointments served in an unpaid capacity.  Dr. Wood has written or co-authored more than 300 scientific papers and won numerous honors including election to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.  He was until 2006 the chairman of the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee, and recently chaired the FDA Advisory Committee on Cox-2 inhibitors.  He previously served as a member of the Cardiovascular and Renal Advisory Committee of the FDA, and the FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee.  Dr. Wood has been a member of and chaired National Institutes of Health study sections, served on the editorial boards of four major journals, and between 1992 and 2004 was the Drug Therapy Editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.  Most recently, he was named to the Board of the Critical Path Institute.  He earned his medical degree at the University of St. Andrews.  Dr. Wood is a director of Symphony Evolution, Inc. and OXiGENE, Inc., both Symphony portfolio companies.

  Andrew L. Busser, Partner
Mr. Busser co-founded Symphony in 2002 and has spent more than 15 years in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals as a manager, consultant and investor.  Prior to Symphony, he co-founded Wilkerson Partners with Mr. Taranto in 2000.  From 1997 to 2000, he was in management consulting with Mr. Taranto and others at The Wilkerson Group/IBM Healthcare Consulting, where he worked with major and emerging biotechnology companies.  From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Busser was in sales and marketing management at The DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co., focusing on cardiovascular and neurology markets.  Mr. Busser received an A.B. in History from Colgate University.  He is a director of Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Symphony portfolio company. In addition, Mr. Busser serves on the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Center Institute.
  Jeffrey S. Edelman, Partner
Mr. Edelman co-founded Symphony in 2002 and has more than 15 years of experience as a manager and strategic advisor to investors and management teams in the healthcare industry.  Prior to Symphony, Mr. Edelman was a Principal at Wilkerson Partners, after having served as Director of Corporate Strategy at SelfCare, and as a management consultant with L.E.K. Consulting and McKinsey & Company.  Mr. Edelman began his career as an investment banker in the healthcare group at Alex. Brown & Sons.  He received an M.B.A. in Healthcare and Strategic Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded a Kaiser Foundation Scholarship.  He received his B.A. in Economics with high honors from Dartmouth College, where he was awarded the Lewis H. Haney Prize for his honors thesis.  Mr. Edelman is a director of Symphony Evolution, Inc., a Symphony portfolio company.
  Zachary S. Sharon, M.D., Partner
Dr. Sharon joined Symphony at its inception in 2002.  Previously, he was an Associate at Wilkerson Partners where he worked with leading biopharmaceutical and medical device companies, as well as private equity investors.  Prior to Wilkerson Partners, Dr. Sharon was a surgery resident at Stanford University Medical Center.  Dr. Sharon earned his M.D. as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he graduated with Highest Distinction and he earned his B.S. in Biology with Highest Distinction from the University of Michigan, where he was a junior inductee to Phi Beta Kappa and a James B. Angell Scholar.



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