Driven by the limitless possibilities of gene editing technology and a mission to build a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables, our founders bring decades of combined expertise in biotechnology, genetic science, and product commercialization to Pairwise.
Tom Adams, PhD
Co-Founder & chief executive officer
Dr. Tom Adams co-founded Pairwise and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Tom has over 25 years of leadership experience heading up biotechnology for global companies, serving most recently as Vice President of Global Biotechnology at Monsanto where he led the team developing a broad range of innovative products. Tom wanted to realize the possibilities of CRISPR and gene editing in plants, and co-founded Pairwise to realize this potential in a mission-based environment. Formerly a faculty member at Texas A&M University, Tom holds a PhD in microbiology and plant science from Michigan State University and a BS in botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University. Tom is a long-time distance runner and often competes in local events.
Haven Baker, PhD
co-founder & chief business officer
Dr. Haven Baker co-founded Pairwise and serves as Chief Business Officer. Haven is the former Senior Vice President / General Manager of Simplot Plant Sciences, where he led the team that launched the innovative, non-browning Innate® potato. He holds a PhD in chemistry from Northeastern University, an MBA from Harvard University, and a BS in biomedical engineering from Yale University. Hailing from central Washington state, Baker describes himself as an “an over-educated farm kid.” A lover of the outdoors, Haven enjoys hunting, fishing, and hiking in his native Pacific Northwest.
David R. Liu, PhD
David R. Liu is the Richard Merkin Professor and director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare, vice-chair of the faculty at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Liu’s research integrates chemistry and evolution to illuminate biology and enable next-generation therapeutics. His major research interests include the engineering, evolution, and in vivo delivery of genome editing proteins such as base editors and prime editors to study and treat genetic diseases; the evolution of proteins with novel therapeutic potential using phage-assisted continuous evolution (PACE); and the discovery of bioactive synthetic small molecules and synthetic polymers using DNA-templated organic synthesis and DNA-encoded libraries. Base editing—the first general method to perform precision gene editing without double-stranded breaks, and a Science 2017 Breakthrough of the Year finalist—as well as prime editing, PACE, and DNA-templated synthesis are four examples of technologies pioneered in his laboratory. These technologies are used by thousands of labs around the world and have enabled the study and potential treatment of many genetic diseases.
Feng Zhang, PhD
Dr. Feng Zhang is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, as well as the James and Patricia Poitras Professor in Neuroscience at MIT, and a professor at MIT, with joint appointments in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering. Zhang is also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Zhang developed the CRISPR-Cas9 system for gene editing in eukaryotic cells and continues to identify and adapt gene-editing tools including CRISPR-Cas12s (Cpf1), CRISPR-Cas13s, and CRISPR-associated transposases. He is a founder of Sherlock Biosciences and the public companies Editas Medicine, and BEAM Therapeutics.
J. Keith Joung, PhD
J. Keith Joung is a leading innovator in the fields of gene and epigenetic editing. He is currently a Lead Translator at Arena BioWorks and was formerly the Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology and a Pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He is also a Professor of Pathology (on leave, 2023-2024) at Harvard Medical School. Joung has been a pioneer in the development of important technologies for targeted gene editing and epigenetic editing of human cells. He has received numerous awards including the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) Outstanding Achievement award in 2023, the 2022 Samsung Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Project R01 Award, the MGH Research Scholar Award, an NIH R35 MIRA (Maximizing Investigators Research Award), election into the American Association of University Pathologists and designation as a “Highly Cited Researcher” for eight consecutive years (2016-2023) by Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics. Joung has co-founded and advises multiple biotechnology companies, including Beam Therapeutics, Chroma Medicine, Editas Medicine, Nvelop Therapeutics, Pairwise Plants, SeQure Dx, and Verve Therapeutics. He holds a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Our Board of Directors
Guided by their executive level experience across a diverse array of companies and sectors, Pairwise's Board of Directors is comprised of experts from the fields of Agricultural Technology, Healthy Snacks, Retail, and Healthcare.
Ben Belldegrun has more than 16 years of successful agriculture investing experience. Prior to Aliment Capital, Ben was Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Lodgestone, a $100M Natural Resources Fund focusing on agriculture. Ben was also a portfolio manager at Brevan Howard Asset Management, in the $300M Natural Resources Fund. Ben holds a BA in Economics from Columbia University and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Derek Norman, PhD
Derek Norman is Vice President, Venture Investments, for Leaps by Bayer, with a focus on agriculture and food. Derek has been investing in agriculture for over a decade, and has served on the boards of companies in areas spanning synthetic biology, biologicals, chemistry, new crops, and digital farming technologies. He has been the founding investor for several companies. Derek is passionate about translating frontier areas of biology and technology into products that can be scaled with a positive impact. He received a PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard and did his undergraduate studies at Stanford University.
Michelle Gloeckler has formidable experience from both retail and CPG sectors. Her 10+ years at retail included executive leadership at Walmart serving most recently as EVP Consumables, Health & Wellness and US Manufacturing Lead. During her 21 years at The Hershey Company, she held a variety of sales and customer marketing leadership roles, including Vice President, Strategic Customers and Vice President, Customer Marketing. Gloeckler also serves on the boards of companies such as The Duckhorn Portfolio, Inc., Holley Inc., and BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Psychology from the University of Michigan and currently serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. She was also named 38 on Fortune Most Powerful Women list.
Harry Overly currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Flagstone Foods. In addition to his role at Flagstone Foods, Overly serves as the Executive Chairman of the Board at Sun-Maid Growers of California where he served as President & Chief Executive Officer for five years. He is best known throughout his 20-year career as a visionary, leading new product innovation for the category-leading food brands for which he has worked, with significant executive-level experience in marketing, sales, and strategy. He holds a BS in Food Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Our Board of Advisors
Consisting of executive leaders in produce, retail, and consumer packaged goods industries, Pairwise's Advisory Board brings with them more than two decades of combined experience seeing consumer products to market.
Pamela Kohn is a global corporate leader who has transformed multi-billion-dollar corporations. She is the former Chief Merchandising Officer of Sally Beauty Holdings and has more than 25 years of merchandising, supply chain, logistics and operations expertise in the food and retail industries. Prior to joining Sally Beauty in 2019, Ms. Kohn served as Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer of the Family Dollar division of Dollar Tree and Chief Merchandising Officer of The Fresh Market. Previously, Ms. Kohn spent 13 years in a variety of leadership positions with Walmart, including Senior Vice President, Merchandising, Senior Vice President, Global Food Sourcing, Executive Vice President, Merchandise Services and President of Walmart US Realty. Prior to her time at Walmart, Ms. Kohn served as Senior Vice President of Merchandising with Stop & Shop and spent eight years as Senior Vice President of Merchandising with Food Lion.
Brian McLaughlin has 45 years of combined experience in corporate finance, and perishable natural fresh food and ag-tech segments as an executive, advisor and board member. Brian joined Landec Corp, in 2015 as CFO of its fresh food group and rose to CFO of the parent, Landec, a public company. Prior to Landec, he served as CFO of organicgirl, Eurofresh Farms, Driscoll’s and Fresh Express. While at these companies, Brian was responsible for all finance, accounting, and IT functions, and participated heavily in strategic and growth planning, operational processes, and the assessment and execution of strategic options. Prior to that, Brian spent many years at Wells Fargo / First Interstate Bank focusing on corporate and middle market banking, large real estate construction financing, and restructurings / workouts.
After almost 30 years as President and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association, Tom achieved a longtime goal for the fresh produce industry by helping launch the International Fresh Produce Association. He served as Co-CEO of IFPA through March 2022, before forming his own consulting business The Stenzel Group LLC. Tom led United’s work in shaping legislative and regulatory policies; providing scientific and technical leadership in food safety and nutrition; and developing educational programs for its members. Under his leadership, the association was widely respected for its work in government affairs, agricultural policy, food safety and nutrition, leadership development, and industry education. He launched the United Fresh Start Foundation, a philanthropic arm committed to increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and was a founding partner of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign. The campaign has donated salad bars to more than 6,000 schools across the country.
Steve Clement currently serves as the CEO of Sage Fruit Company, a multi-generation Washington state-based company providing apples, pears, and stone fruits to retailers around the world. Prior to Sage, he worked as a manager at Moss Adams, LLP helping privately held organizations with mergers/acquisitions, strategic planning, and ownership succession planning.