Allysta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Henry Hsu, MD


Henry founded Allysta and serves as its CEO. He has extensive experience leading teams in all stages of drug development, from lead identification through Phase 3 NDA submissions, and has worked in multiple therapeutic areas, with a particular interest in ocular and liver diseases. He was a co-founder, CEO, and board member of Altheos, Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company with an ophthalmic. He has served as Chief Medical Officer at a number of companies, including Plexxikon, Inc., and was an early executive at CoMentis, and Molecular Therapeutics, where he had a key role in securing more than $250 million in partnerships and financings and lead the introduction of a number of new compounds in multiple INDs and across multiple indications. Previously, Henry lead drug development teams at CoTherix, InterMune, and Chiron. He received his MD from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed fellowship training at Stanford Medical Center, where he was a Howard Hughes Physician Research Fellow. 

Cris Larson

Chief Financial Officer

Cris Larson serves as CFO of Allysta. She was formerly CFO of Dynavax Technologies and PDL BioPharma, two public biotech companies, and has provided financial consulting services to numerous private biotech companies. While at PDL, she was involved with the Facet Biotech IPO and raised over $500 million in debt/equity for PDL. Ms. Larson also volunteers as a mentor to newly established biotech companies in coordination with the California Life Sciences Association. Previously, Ms. Larson worked at Bank of America for 15 years in capital markets, venture capital and investment banking where she led $1.5 billion in new financing transactions. Prior to Bank of America, Ms. Larson was an auditor at KPMG. Ms. Larson received her CPA in California, her BS from UC Berkeley and her MBA from CSU Hayward.

Melissa Black

Head, Program Management

Melissa Black is the head of Program Management and is responsible for the successful execution of Allysta's development programs.  Melissa brings a wealth of experience in Program Management, Strategic Planning and Partner Management. Most recently Melissa has led several early stage development programs at companies including Unity Biotechnology, Plexxikon, InterMune (now part of Roche), Altheos, and CoMentis. Earlier in her career she worked in Project Management at ALZA/Johnson and Johnson, where she managed multiple key projects and was a key part of the team responsible for the integration and streamlining of the ALZA project management function within Johnson and Johnson. Melissa received a Bachelor's degree in Physical Anthropology with minors in Molecular Genetics and French from The Ohio State University.

Ann Mead

Head, Corporate Administration

Ann Mead is a seasoned biotech operations manager with expertise in human resources, documentation, contract management and facilities. She served as the Director of Operations for CLSA (formerly BayBio) and as Sr. Director of Administration for Medivation.  As a consultant, she has developed the operational infrastructure for numerous Bay Area biotech startups.  Since 2013, Ms. Mead has also served as an advisor to entrepreneurs in CLSA’s “FAST” advisory program.  Before coming to biotech, Ms. Mead enjoyed a successful career in the financial sector.  At Bank of America she was a Vice President in Capital Markets, where she served as a key leader in a $1.5 billion debt restructuring for the Republic of Costa Rica, managed a $4 billion loan portfolio and oversaw contract negotiation teams in London and San Francisco.  Ms. Mead received an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a BA in Literature and Russian Language from UC Berkeley.

Kathryn Crawford

VP, Head Preclinical Development

Dr. Crawford has over 25 years of experience in early stage biotech and pharmaceutical development, particularly in eye diseases,‚Äč holding senior positions in both academia and industry.  Dr. Crawford has managed numerous preclinical development programs, with expertise in animal studies and disease models, with specific interest in ophthalmology. As principal investigator, she has been awarded multiple NIH Small Business Innovation Research grants, and has been selected numerous times to serve on NIH SBIR review committees as an expert panelist reviewer. Dr. Crawford has authored over 30 publications in high impact peer-reviewed journals, and has been invited to present her research at numerous national and international conferences.  Dr. Crawford holds a Bachelor's Degree in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, both from the University of Wisconsin, Madison