Fellows Directory

Zhizhong (Joel) Yao

Sofinnova Partners

Zhizhong is a Senior Associate at Sofinnova Partners, a life-science venture firm based in Paris and focused on early-stage biotech startups developing innovative therapeutics and platform technologies. In this role, he performs diligence on new Seed and Series A investment opportunities, and supports portfolio companies as a board observer.

Currently, Zhizhong serves as a board observer for Nodthera Limited, which develops small molecule inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome for the treatment of inflammatory and neuroinflammatory diseases. He is also an observer at Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals, which develops injectable glycopolymers to selectively eliminate the pathological autoantibodies in autoimmune disorders.

Education, Personal, and Fellowship

Zhizhong received his BSc in Chemistry and Molecular Engineering from Beijing University before earning a PhD in chemistry and chemical biology from Harvard University; he completed his doctoral work at the Department of Systems Biology and Systems Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School. Afterward, he was a Human Frontier Science Program Cross-Disciplinary Fellow at the French National Institute of Agricultural Research.

A member of Class 24, Zhizhong is completing his fellowship at Sofinnova Partners in Paris under the mentorship of Managing Partner Henrijette Richter, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners.