H. Lee Herron, DVM
Vice President, Venture Development
Dr. Lee Herron joined the Georgia Research Alliance in 2008 to direct its venture development program, which has launched 180 companies and attracted more than $1 billion in equity investment.
GRA supports universities in forming new companies around their discoveries, providing seed funds and access to experienced mentoring and expert consulting. As vice president of venture development, Lee does everything from reviewing business proposals to meeting with faculty scientists. He often walks university halls and drops by labs, gaining an insider’s perspective on the newest innovations that could lead to a new company.
Lee helps GRA portfolio companies prepare a strong pitch to investors. Drawing on his own 17 years of entrepreneurial experience, he ensures that companies adopt a sound business strategy and operational plans. As Lee explains, it’s not enough to just have a brilliant idea. “Successful entrepreneurs must be comprehensive in their understanding of what questions to ask.” Lee guides faculty and entrepreneurs in figuring out the right questions, a role that has earned him the nickname “Start-up Sherpa.”
Previously, Lee managed the biosciences division of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), advising early stage life science companies. In his earlier career, he founded SeaLite Sciences, Inc., a company that developed and commercialized diagnostic products and molecular biology reagents derived from a light-emitting protein found in jellyfish. He was also a founding team member of three other bioscience companies: Biopool International, Inc., CytRx Corporation, and Theragenics Corporation. Lee also worked with German biotech company BRAHMS AG to establish its North American operations.
Today, Lee serves on the boards of Georgia BIO and Southeast Bio, and is a special advisor to the Executive Committee of Georgia’s Bio/Med Investor Network. Lee serves on numerous advisory committees, and he was Chairman of the 2017 Georgia BIO Life Science Summit.
Lee holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The University of Georgia. He also studied experimental pathology at Emory University.