John P. McKearn

Managing Director at RiverVest Venture Management LLC

John P. McKearn

John P. McKearn

Managing Director at RiverVest Venture Management LLC

Career Highlights

Kalypsys, Inc.

RelSci Relationships


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Venture Partner at Pappas Capital LLC

President & Chief Executive Officer at Allakos, Inc.

Chairman at Satiogen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Managing Director at RiverVest Venture Management LLC

Managing Director at RiverVest Venture Management LLC

Scientific Founder at Arch Oncology, Inc.

Co-Founder at Allakos, Inc.

Co-Founder at ZS Pharma, Inc.

Co-Founder at ZS Pharma, Inc.

General Partner at Cultivation Capital LLC

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John P. McKearn
Managing Director at RiverVest Venture Management LLC
Ph.D. in Immunology

The University of Chicago's Office of Investments (COI) is responsible for managing the University's investment assets, which includes overseeing the endowment to ensure that it benefits both current and future generations of the University of Chicago. COI oversees the broad investment strategy and provides input to the development of the strategic and tactical investment policies of the University & UCMC endowments, pension plans and self-insurance trust assets. Their strategy combines qualitative and quantitative analysis, seeking to achieve superior investment performance on a risk-adjusted basis. COI's approach seeks to evaluate the investment strategy as an integrated part of the operating plans of the University rather than in isolation and focuses the the University's overall success, not investment returns. The endowment is well-diversified across a variety of asset classes, including global stocks and bonds, real estate, natural resources, private equity, absolute return strategies and protection (tail-hedging strategies). Asset class exposure is achieved primarily by selecting and engaging external managers. COI manages the global macro and the overlay portfolio to ensure that the portfolio’s overall positioning is compliance with the endowment's investment guidelines. COI's strategies for investing in the public markets include: Absolute Return, Private Debt, Fixed Income and Credit. and Global Equities. COI's real assets team invests globally in real estate and natural resources using outside managers. The real estate portfolio invests globally in value-added and opportunistic strategies using both private partnerships and public vehicles. The natural resources portfolio invests globally in strategies that include, but are not limited to: oil and gas exploration & production; power generation; infrastructure; timber; mining and minerals; and agriculture.

B.S. Biology

Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University first opened its doors in 1899 as the Northern Illinois State Normal School solely to prepare college-educated teachers. The university has since grown into a world-class university that attracts students from around the globe while still serving the northern Illinois region. We remain deeply committed to preparing teachers and providing an excellent and affordable higher education to Illinois families.

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Career History
Managing Director
2008 - Current

RiverVest Venture Management focuses on investments in early-stage life sciences companies with emphasis on the medical device and biopharmaceutical industries. To diversify risk and maximize portfolio returns, the firm may occasionally invest in select later-stage life science companies. RiverVest takes a hands-on investment approach and prefers to be represented on the boards of their portfolio companies.

President & Chief Executive Officer
2003 - 2006

Kalypsys, Inc. discovered and developed novel, first-in-class therapeutic agents to address unmet medical needs in respiratory and inflammatory diseases. The firm advanced its proprietary lead program, a novel, non-corticosteroid small molecule formulated for intranasal delivery, into clinical proof of concept studies. The company was founded by Pratik Shah, Jeremy S. Caldwell, Randall W. King, Kevin D. Lustig, Peter G. Schultz and Robert Downs in 2001 and was headquartered in Solana Beach, CA.

Head-Discovery Research
1987 - 2003

Pharmacia Corp. developed, manufactured and marketed pharmaceutical products. Prescription pharmaceuticals included general therapeutics, ophthalmology and hospital products including oncology and diversified therapeutics. It also operated in consumer health care, animal health, diagnostics and contract manufacturing and bulk pharmaceutical chemicals. The customers of the group were pharmacies, hospitals, chain warehouses, governments, physicians, wholesalers and other distributors. It was headquartered in Peapack, NJ.

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Boards & Committees
Member, Board of Directors

Adarza BioSystems, Inc. develops and manufacturers a multiplex immunoassay technology that can identify proteins and genetic markers in medical specimens. The firm operates as a medical diagnostics company which also develops a rapid and label-free biological assay platform for measuring clinical and point-of-care samples and also its technology allows hundreds of tests to be run simultaneously on a single chip. Its technology has several applications, including cancer diagnostics, environmental exposure, allergy testing, and drug development. The company’s proprietary chip-based platform, Arrayed Imaging Reflectometry, detects intensity changes in images of antireflective chips functionalized with specific detection molecules. The company was founded by Benjamin L. Miller, Randolph R. Henke, Terry Gronwall and Christopher C. Striemer in 2008 and is headquartered in West Henrietta, NY.


Arch Oncology, Inc. develops drugs for life-threatening disorders. Its products include anti-CD47 monoclonal antibody, CD47 antisense oligonucleotide, and a small molecule CD47 inhibitor. The company was founded by William A. Frazier and Jeffrey S. Isenberg in 2006 and is headquartered in St. Louis, MO.


Allakos, Inc. develops antibody therapeutics for allergic and inflammatory diseases. It treats diseases in which dysregulation of the T-helper type 2 (Th2) immune responses plays a key role in pathology, including allergic disease, inflammation and diseases characterized by excess production of inflammatory cells. The firm has generated a preclinical pipeline of novel antibodies targeting cell types implicated in allergic and inflammatory responses, which it intends to advance to clinical proof-of-concept. The company was founded by Christopher Bebbington, Nenad Tomasevic and Bruce S. Bochner in 2012 and is headquartered in San Carlos, CA.

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Member, Investment Advisory Committee

BioGenerator focuses on facilitating the formation of life science companies arising from university-based research in St. Louis, Missouri. They identify promising life science research projects with commercialization potential and advise research faculty and entrepreneurs about the commercialization process. The firm provides finacing in the form of seed, grants and pre-seed capital. They manage support during a company's initial formation and assist in attracting side-by-side follow-on funding. They seeks to bridge the funding gap between university-related research grants and venture capital.

Member, Board of Directors
Prior - 2017


Tenure Unconfirmed


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Shire Plc purchases Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from Alta Partners Management Corp., Adage Capital Management LP, RA Capital Management LLC, NEA Management Co. LLC, RiverVest Venture Management LLC