Board of Directors

Ross P. Barrett

Director, Chairman

Mr. Barrett is the managing General Partner for BVM Capital and founder of the Company. He is a co-founder of VC Experts, Inc., a New York based publishing company. Mr. Barrett also serves on the Boards of Esperance Pharmaceuticals, Calosyn Pharma, MicroBiome Therapeutics, NuPotential, VC Experts, Inc., and K-94 Discoveries. Previously, Mr. Barrett worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide to senior U.S. Senator, J. Bennett Johnston, where he specialized in budget and appropriations, risk assessment and regulatory reform. He has been an adviser to, or investor in, more than twenty early-stage privately held companies. Mr. Barrett holds an LLM. Degree in Taxation from the New York University School of Law, a J.D. from Louisiana State University School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from Southern Methodist University.

John B. Beaird


Mr. Beaird manages diverse investments in real estate, private equity and other alternative assets for his family and their private foundation. Beaird Properties, one of the companies managed by his office and majority owned by the foundation, has an active mission related investment program targeted toward local minority firms. Mr. Beaird began his career in media and advertising (Dresher Advertising, JbCableAds) and has previously owned an Internet Services Provider (Softdisk).

His civic and philanthropic activity is centered on his membership on the Strategic Action Council of Northwest Louisiana (SAC), serving as its President for 2015/2016 and as a Board member of the Carolyn W. and Charles T. Beaird Family Foundation. In addition to Embera, he sits on the Board of other portfolio companies including Thornhill Securities, Inc. headquartered in Austin, TX, JWBP Broadcasting, LLC of Alexandria, LA and CyberReef Solutions, Inc. in Shreveport, LA.

Franz Hefti, Ph.D.


Dr. Hefti has fifteen years of experience in the biotech industry as executive, board member, co-founder, and scientific advisor of several early stage companies. He currently is Chief Development Officer at Prevail Therapeutics, a company developing drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. He was Chief Scientific Officer at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., a company that developed Amyvid for Alzheimer brain imaging and was acquired by Lilly, and Executive Vice President of Drug Development at Rinat Neuroscience, a company that carried out early development of tanezumab and fremanezumab for pain and migraine and was acquired by Pfizer. Before the biotech years, Dr. Hefti held senior management positions at Merck & Co. and Genentech, and in earlier in his career, he was Professor at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where he carried out discovery research on therapeutic approaches to neurodegenerative diseases. He published over 250 papers on neurotrophic factors and topics in neuropharmacology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich and did his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Robert B. Linke

President and Chief Executive Officer, Director

Mr. Linke joined Embera NeuroTherapeutics in 2009 as its CEO. Prior to joining Embera, he provided consulting services to a range of growing life science companies including Allscripts, a leading pharmaceutical e-marketing company, where he led their Physicians Interactive Division spinning out the division into an independent company. Mr. Linke’s prior entrepreneurial ventures included leading two development stage life science companies - Rapid Micro Biosystems and Periodontix. At Rapid Micro Biosystems he developed and executed the strategy to commercialize imaging-based rapid microbiology testing systems for pharma and biotech manufacturers that are now being sold to the industry. At Periodontix, Inc., a venture-backed biopharmaceutical company, he led the effort to develop a portfolio of antimicrobial products and sold the company after advancing the lead compound through Phase 2 studies. Mr. Linke also has an extensive business leadership background that includes senior sales, marketing and general management positions at leading healthcare companies that include Baxter International, Caremark International and Sunstar Inc. (Japan). Mr. Linke holds BA degrees in Economics and Mathematics from Albion College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Joseph F. Lovett


Mr. Lovett is a Managing Director of Louisiana Funds (LF I & II), two early stage venture capital funds based in Louisiana with offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. LF’s focus is on forming early stage companies primarily based on research at the major Louisiana research universities Mr. Lovett has over 34 years of venture capital and operations experience in the healthcare areas of biotechnology, medical devices and equipment, diagnostics, imaging and services. Operations experience included increasingly responsible positions in marketing and general management at CR Bard, Mallinckrodt and Damon Biotech. Venture capital experience includes three venture capital funds (1988-2003) as general partner in affiliation with Harvard University managing $70,000,000 which resulted in 13 IPOs, 6 sales of private companies, 3 private companies. Mr. Lovett has a BA in economics from the University of Vermont and an MBA from California State Polytechnic University (Pomona).