founder, managing director
Nearly 20 years ago, Anthony met a doctor looking for investors to help launch a promising cancer therapy. That experience woke him to the immense challenge facing the mission to eliminate cancer: not funding for research, but investors willing to take significant financial risks, and possibly benefit from the rewards of supporting cancer innovations. It took losing his father to cancer, and starting his own family, to motivate Anthony to launch CANCER FUND, wanting more options and better outcomes for his own kids should they be diagnosed with cancer someday.
Anthony is the Founder of CANCER FUND and Managing Director of CANCER FUND I. He has 20+ years of experience building early-stage ventures, taking several from concept through exit. His advisory, consulting, and executive experience includes work with medical device, pharmaceutical, bioinformatics, wellness, and healthcare IT/ IoT companies. Anthony earned his BS in Business Management & Entrepreneurship from DePaul University adding non-degree undergraduate and graduate studies in design, engineering, and business from ASU, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Northwestern University.
co-founder, The Lowdown on Cancer host
Ann is a serial entrepreneur, author, and cancer advocate. After her own cancer diagnosis in 2014, Ann, who spent several decades as a surgical assistant to a glaucoma specialist, recognized how little she knew about the cancer journey, even with her vast medical background. This raised a question in her mind, “If I found the experience difficult, what must it be like to have no medical background and receive a cancer diagnosis?” This question was the impetus for her to pen, Holy Crap I Have Cancer! Now What? What to Expect When You Weren’t Expecting, a book that assists patients, who are newly diagnosed with cancer through their treatment and into survivorship.
Prior to joining the CANCER FUND, Ann spent nearly a decade as the Executive Director of a Phoenix based non-profit, Hearts of Stone, whose mission is “to develop entrepreneurism in at-risk children and to transform the organizations that support them.” Ann was drawn to the CANCER FUND’s mission to invest in only early stage cancer innovations and hopes to join forces with like-minded individuals driven to have a real impact on cancer. Besides her advocacy, Ann is a mom, wife, and caregiver to her elderly parents, and likes to dabble in several different mediums of art.
DR. AJAY BHATNAGAR, MD, MBA
chief medical officer, advisor
Ajay is a practicing board certified Radiation Oncologist. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania in bio-engineering, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He then went on to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and stayed at UPMC for his residency in Radiation Oncology. He also attained an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. Given this background, Dr. Bhatnagar has a strong interest in healthcare technologies and has extensive research experience with developing new technologies in radiation oncology, such as electronic brachytherapy and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). Dr. Bhatnagar is the Founder of the Prostate Cancer Institute of Arizona now focusing his clinical career on exclusively providing Low Dose Rate (LDR) prostate brachytherapy services in the greater Phoenix metro region
Dr. Bhatnagar also has strong entrepreneurial interests and has been involved with several healthcare start-up companies. He was a shareholder of Cancer Treatment Services International, a start-up company developing modern cancer treatment centers in the developing world, which was recently acquired by a public traded company, Varian. He also served as the CMO for start-up company DermEbx, which provided electronic brachytherapy services for providers to treat patients with non-melanoma skin cancer, which was acquired by a public traded company called Icad, the leading developer of an electronic brachytherapy system. He remains involved in various other health care related business ventures.
JEFF REA, MBA
co-founder, stakeholder engagement
Jeff’s personal interest in cancer took root during college when his father fell to lung cancer and this interest was rekindled while developing and launching Athena bottled water benefiting women’s cancer research. Jeff and his wife relocated to Phoenix in 2017 after fledging their youngest child and he became involved in the area’s medical technology scene leading a new start-up, which eventually led him to CANCER FUND. As a CANCER FUND co-founder, Jeff wears multiple hats but professes a particular interest in engaging our stakeholders – our community, investors, and innovators.
Professionally, Jeff is a Fortune 50 executive turned entrepreneur with a passion for early-stage ventures. After 15 years holding domestic and international responsibility for some of the world’s largest and most trusted consumer brands, Jeff helped launch a variety of start-ups in sectors ranging from entertainment to media to consumer products. Jeff has his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and a BBA from Washington State University.
co-founder, venture studio
Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, Jake watched as his grandmother battled recurrence after recurrence of cancer, always refusing chemotherapy and other non-naturopathic treatments. She passed peacefully with her family in 2020, but continues to be a source of inspiration to him.
Jake is a native of Phoenix, Arizona and a graduate of the Biomedical Engineering program at Arizona State University. Growing up, he was passionate about capital markets and often spent time learning the principles of investing from his father. He realized early in his career as an orthopedic engineer that to create the impact he wanted to see in health innovation, he needed to take a risk. BIG risks. He gave his two week notice and moved from Indiana back home to the Valley, where he soon met the CANCER FUND team and immediately put his skills and experience to work supporting the back office operations of the fund and managing the CANCER FUND Venture Studios program. When not helping to build start-ups, he enjoys reading about history and exciting new technologies, as well as training for triathlons.
SHARAD MISHRA, MD, MBA
Sharad lives by the adage “if it isn’t really difficult, is it even worth pursuing?” He is a 20+ year healthcare veteran, having been in diverse roles as a physician, an entrepreneur, an investor, and in venture development for large corporations, bringing a global perspective through his life and work experiences in Asia, the Middle East, the UK, and the US. Most recently at UnitedHealth Group’s R&D Ventures team he was involved with multiple investments in and around oncology and care delivery, and saw first-hand the immense need for new therapies and delivery models, while at the same time getting a deeper understanding of challenges early-stage startups face in making these possible and accessible.
Sharad got his degree in Medicine from the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences in India and an MBA from Darden at UVA. He joined CANCER FUND due to the fund’s focus on impact more than just returns, and to help its founders navigate the very complex and daunting systems of healthcare, both in the US and globally. Besides oncology, his interests include robotics, longevity, space-tech, and crowdfunding, and he is always on the hunt for better tacos.
EDWARD CHO, PhD
Ed has spent the past 20+ years as a cancer researcher, life sciences leader, and entrepreneur. He devoted his career to building personalized medicine technologies because each cancer is as unique as the person whose life it disrupts.
Ed is the Head of Biologics Development at Detect, Inc., a molecular diagnostics startup delivering at-home lab-quality tests. He is also Co-Founder/Chief Scientific Officer at Spin Bio, a life sciences startup building a novel single cell analysis platform. He previously co-founded several other life sciences startups. Ed consults for, advises, and mentors other life sciences startups and volunteers as a Board Member for STEM education focused nonprofits. Ed is excited to join the motivated team at CANCER FUND and looks forward to helping the team invest in innovative companies at the forefront of fighting cancer.
Ed received his Bachelors in Public Health and Masters in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, his PhD in Molecular Medicine/Cancer Biology from the University of Maryland Baltimore, and did his Postdoctoral Fellowship at Scripps Research. As an entrepreneur, he has first-hand experience of the problem that Cancer Fund is solving: progressing high-risk, breakthrough cancer diagnostic and treatment innovations BEYOND RESEARCH due to lack of funding.
Transformed by a personal tragedy in which she lost loved ones to cancer, Jennifer has dedicated two decades to guiding companies in turning cutting-edge science into life-saving treatments. As a part of CANCER FUND, she contributes her expertise to their unique mission of improving patient outcomes, expanding healthcare access, and reducing care costs.
With a strong track record of expediting breakthrough therapies, Jennifer has contributed to the FDA approvals of seven novel therapies, generating $20 billion in value. Her work has facilitated millions in savings, global approvals, licensing deals, and business exits.
An investor and STEM advocate, she focuses her investments on companies advancing science and technology for global impact. Jennifer is also dedicated to reducing digital data waste.
Jennifer serves on multiple private and non-profit boards and is a published author in esteemed medical and scientific journals and industry blogs. A respected speaker, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois and a master’s in Regulatory Compliance from Northwestern University.
Nearly a decade ago, John lost a dear friend to breast cancer who was unaware she had it until it was ‘too late’, due to a lack of access to proper prevention and treatment care, something that happens all too often. It is one of the reasons he supports organizations like the Connie Dwyer Breast Center, which provides free breast care to uninsured and underserved women, and what drew him to the impact-oriented nature of Cancer Fund.
John comes from an economics and finance background, starting his career in retail real estate strategy and alternative investments before moving into venture capital. He has ten years of venture experience investing in companies from seed to D stages and advising portfolio companies post-investment. He has worked on deals throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa across a variety of business verticals. John is a native of New Jersey, but his home away from home is Italy. In addition to living in Italy several times throughout his life, John also received his MBA from Sda Bocconi in Milan. John is a former collegiate tennis player and still loves to play tennis whenever he has the time, as well as go skiing, though he is better known for his après ski abilities.
PRASHANTH KINI, PhD
Prashanth recently watched a close relative suffer through cancer, seemingly beating the disease with one of the most advanced therapies in the market, only to succumb to other conditions triggered by the disease. This experience reinforced for Prashanth that, despite the tremendous progress in the fight against cancer, there is much work to be done to better understand the complex disease and its nuances and to accelerate novel therapies. Prashanth was drawn to the CANCER FUND’s key mission to bridge the funding gap for early innovators while empowering individual investors to vote with and invest their funds for impact
Prashanth has spent the majority of his 25+ years career focused on healthcare and life sciences technology, holding product and business development executive leadership roles in fortune 50 companies and startups. Prashanth spent the last few years in private equity in investor/operating roles including working with portfolio companies focused on leveraging oncology Real World Data in clinical development through commercialization of therapies. Prashanth is an early stage investor across multiple funds and remains committed to providing his expertise toward advancing diagnostics, therapeutics, and care delivery technologies.
Prashanth earned his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Cincinnati with his dissertation focused on novel skin imaging approaches for the detection and assessment of skin cancer. He has lived and learned across three different continents and now delights in the endless natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, daughter and two furry 4-legged family members.
AVI DUKLER, PhD
Avi’s journey into the realm of cancer research and impact investment has been both recent and profound. While his parents’ survival stories from cancer were due to early diagnoses and effective treatments, the true impact of these experiences came to light over time.
For the past 25 years, Avi has been a dedicated professional in the healthtech industry, with a primary focus on inflammation and autoimmunity. In 2022, he ventured into new territory, advising two early-stage startups with a specific focus on oncology. His contributions ranged from market landscape analysis to shaping robust business and go-to-market strategies for these ventures. This experience not only exposed him to the remarkable technological advancements in cancer but also underscored the continuous need for innovations, new business models, and enhanced patient access.
However, it was a deeply personal turn of events in early 2023, when Avi became a caregiver for a close family member battling cancer, that ignited his sense of mission and purpose.
Avi is a seasoned entrepreneur, having founded biotech and clinical diagnostics companies. His executive roles within these organizations, coupled with his advisory roles in numerous early-stage companies, have equipped him with extensive expertise in fundraising across private and public markets, product development, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, reimbursement strategies, and commercialization.
Avi earned his Ph.D. in biotechnology from Tel-Aviv University and boasts an impressive portfolio of scientific publications and patents in the field of diagnostics.
SHOSHANA SIMONES, MA
social media manager
Shoshana spent 6 years with the Make-A-Wish foundation, granting wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses, many of them pediatric cancers. As a mother of three, she is determined to make a difference for the next generation of children to experience better cancer outcomes, which is why she believes so strongly in the revolutionary approach of the CANCER FUND.
Shoshana is an experienced writer and designer with over a decade of experience in the non-profit and healthcare sectors. With a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Design, and a master’s degree in Art Education, creativity is one of Shoshana’s driving forces. She harnesses this passion to promote brand identity and awareness, curate social media channels, and coordinate marketing efforts. Shoshana founded Simones Consulting in 2018 to help businesses expand their visual storytelling and social media presence. She has an extensive background in writing, fundraising, and program management. Shoshana holds a Social Marketing Certification and is a Project Management Professional (PMP)®.
Alex, a Boise, Idaho native, grew up around many families affected by cancer, including his own family, as his ‘favorite aunt’ had breast cancer. Alex believes investing can impact cancer and joined CANCER FUND to help advance innovations with the potential to help patients and families facing similar struggles.
Alex is a serial entrepreneur and lead five startups with one exit before transitioning into venture capital. He brings startup and private equity experience to CANCER FUND and has a deep interest in healthcare innovation.
Join Our Team
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Interested in joining CANCER FUND? We’re looking for passionate people to help grow our investor community, expand and evaluate our innovation pipeline, and help manage our portfolio. Click here to learn more about our Venture Partner role.
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Interested in joining CANCER FUND? We’re looking for cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and friends and family that share our passion to support cancer innovations. Click to learn more about our breast cancer ambassador and men’s cancer ambassador roles or contact us below to discuss other ambassador roles.
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ovarian cancer / prostate cancer advisors
We are seeking qualified advisors to help advise our team for our upcoming ovarian and prostate cancer investment cycles. Click here to learn more about this role.
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screening committee member
If you are passionate about cancer and innovation, we invite you to join our virtual screening committee to help us select our investments.
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investment committee member
If you’re an experienced early-stage investor, angel investor, proven founder, or executive in our space and want to have a real impact by helping guide our investment decisions, let’s talk.
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If you are passionate about cancer and interested in starting a career in venture capital, an internship at CANCER FUND might be right for you. Available opportunities include Venture Capital Associate Intern, Venture Analyst Intern, and Operations Analyst Intern. Click the links for more information on the positions.
Apply by clicking the button below.