Management Team

Wesley D. Sterman, M.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Sterman is a healthcare executive and investor, who has founded, directed, managed, and funded numerous companies. Prior to Signature Therapeutics, he was a founding director and investor of Theravance, Inc., which went public in late 2004. Before Theravance, Dr. Sterman founded and acted as CEO of Heartport, Inc., a manufacturer of less invasive cardiac surgery products, which was taken public in 1996. Heartport was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2001. Previously, Dr. Sterman was founder and CEO of EndoVascular Technologies, Inc. Following its IPO, the company was acquired by Guidant, Inc., which is now a division of Boston Scientific, Inc. Prior to that, he led the healthcare investment efforts at Menlo Ventures. During his tenure there, Gilead Sciences, now a $30 billion public biotechnology company, was incubated internally at Menlo Ventures. Dr. Sterman holds a California medical license and earned both M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Stanford University. He currently serves as a voluntary instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Matt Ackerman, MBA


Mr. Ackerman has over 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley with a variety of start-up technology companies in both the hardware and software sectors ranging from domestic and international, private and public. Mr. Ackerman has held a variety of senior management positions at technology start-ups in the areas of automotive, gaming, online advertising, chips stacking and interconnect, loyalty marketing, and travel. Mr. Ackerman was the first financial executive at GetThere where he helped lead the growth of the company from $.5M in revenue to over $15M and a successful IPO. Mr. Ackerman was an early employee at Conner Peripherals where he helped manage the growth of the company’s revenue from $100M to $2.4B producing hardware storage solutions. He has been involved in raising equity, IPO’s, Strategic Investments and Mergers and Acquisitions. Mr. Ackerman earned a B.S. in accounting from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Cornell University.

Judy A. Magruder, MBA

Development and Operations

Ms. Magruder is a pharmaceutical executive and consultant with more than 25 years of pharmaceutical experience. Prior to Signature Therapeutics, she was President of VSI Development Company, where she consulted with numerous San Francisco Bay Area pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Before that, she was Senior Vice President of Development at Durect Corp. where she led development programs and supervised various functional areas, including Project and Portfolio Management, Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Operations, and Quality Assurance, with budgetary responsibilities in excess of $25 million. She has also worked for Vascular Therapeutics, and spent more than 15 years in a variety of positions at ALZA Corp. leading and contributing to a number of successful product development efforts and product approvals. Ms. Magruder is an inventor and holds 48 United States patents. She earned a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of California at Davis and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.

Bill Schmidt, Ph. D.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Schmidt is head of NorthStar Consulting, LLC, which specializes in providing advice on preclinical and clinical studies of novel analgesic drugs, and simultaneously part-time VP of Regulatory and Clinical for Centrexion Corporation (formerly Arcion Therapeutics), CapGenesis, and EicOsis, LLC. At NorthStar Consulting, Dr. Schmidt serves as an expert on pain medicine pharmaceutical development with pharmaceutical and biotech companies throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. He has over 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with a special emphasis on the discovery and development of novel analgesic and narcotic antagonist drugs. Dr. Schmidt received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of California, San Francisco.

Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D, Patent Agent

Intellectual Property

Dr. Verser has more than 20 years of experience managing and protecting intellectual property in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, both for industry and academia. She has been an IP strategy consultant for six years with Signature Therapeutics as well as with other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to 2007, Dr. Verser was executive vice president, intellectual property and business development at Heska Corporation, a publicly-traded companion animal health care biotechnology company in Loveland, Colo. Previously, Dr. Verser was a patent agent and technical specialist at Sheridan Ross, an intellectual property law firm in Denver. She also spent several years conducting and directing research in the biotechnology industry. Dr. Verser earned a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University. Dr. Verser also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.