David J. Bearss, Ph.D., Co-Founder, and CEO of Salt Lake City-based Halia Therapeutics, for his limitless and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit, mentorship, and achievements that are transforming therapeutics, spawning discovery, seeding startups, and strengthening Utah’s life sciences community.
Dr. Bearss is a passionate and experienced entrepreneur with a successful track record of drug development that spans the last 25 years in both academic and pharmaceutical industry settings. He has discovered 16 compounds that have moved forward in clinical development and started many biotechnology companies, including Tolero Pharmaceuticals in Lehi, Utah. Under Dr. Bearss’s leadership, Tolero was acquired by Sumitomo Dianippon for nearly $1 billion, a state life sciences record. Before founding Tolero, Dr. Bearss helped establish the research arm of Huntsman Cancer Institute.
He is deeply involved in academic and industrial endeavors. In addition to his leadership at Halia Therapeutics to develop new medicines targeting chronic inflammation, Dr. Bearss serves on the board of Xenter, Biolexis Therapeutics, Canary Speech, and Galvan Health. He also helped start the U2TAH Therapeutics Accelerator at the University of Utah, which works to help investigators at the University move their programs toward clinical investigations and licensing opportunities.