Three San Diego executives elected to La Jolla Institute board of directors

Tina Nova, Sergio Jinich, and Timothy Wollaeger Join Institute Board

The new members are: Sergio Jinich, a distinguished real estate and construction executive in the U.S. and Mexico; Tina Nova, Ph.D., a scientist and successful co-founder of three San Diego biotechnology companies; and Timothy Wollaeger, a biotechnology industry veteran with extensive experience in corporate finance, management and venture capital, who co-founded numerous San Diego biotechnology companies.

“We are honored to attract these high-caliber individuals to our Board of Directors,” says Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute president & chief scientific officer. “Each brings a track record of extraordinary success, experience, and leadership that is a perfect complement to our existing Board of respected business and scientific leaders.”

The new trustees are:

Sergio Jinich is chairman of Paragon Management Company, a real estate investment firm established in 1998 after he and his family moved from Mexico to San Diego. Previously, Jinich served for 24 years as chairman of Grupo COIN in Mexico, a major construction and real estate firm that developed bridges, highways, and numerous other public infrastructure projects over 24 years. During this time, Jinich served in leadership roles at several industry groups, including as president of the Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry, and as vice president for Concamin, the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Commerce in Mexico.

Sergio Jinich

Jinich holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from the National University of Mexico. He also completed graduate studies at the National College of Hydraulic Agriculture in Paris, and received an Executive MBA from the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE) in Mexico City, one of the world’s top-ranked business schools.

Locally, Jinich has been involved with several community groups, including serving on the Executive Committee Policy Board for USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, and as chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in San Diego.

“The purpose of the Institute is fascinating, in particular their goal for everyone to live life healthy,” says Jinich, referring to the Institute’s motto of ‘life without disease.’ “I think they do excellent work for very good reasons. I’ve learned that the immune system either protects you or attacks you. They’re researching how to get the best of it.”

Tina Nova is co-founder of Genoptix, Inc., a laboratory diagnostics company specializing in blood cancers. The company works with community-based oncologists, hospitals, and research centers around the country, and was acquired by Novartis Pharmaceuticals in March 2011. Nova served as Genoptix president and CEO for 14 years, from its founding in 2000 through March 2014. Nova also co-founded Nanogen, Inc., a provider of molecular diagnostic tests, and was its COO and president from 1994 to 2000. Prior to that time, she served in leadership positions at several other San Diego-based biotechnology companies, including co-founding Selective Genetics in 1992, a biotech focused on eye diseases. She holds a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UC Riverside.

Dr. Tina Nova

Nova has been active in the community and currently serves on the board of Rady Children’s Hospital and was formerly on the board of the University of San Diego (USD). She also served as chair of BIOCOM, a major life science industry association, from 2001 to 2002. Nova has been honored with several awards over the years. These include the Business Leader of the Year Award from Cal State San Marcos in 2006, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in life sciences in 2007, and being named “One of the Top 10 Women in Biotechnology” in 2010 by FierceBiotech news. Nova also currently serves on the boards of Arena Pharmaceuticals and Adamis Pharmaceuticals.

“As a scientist, I have long admired the La Jolla Institute and the incredible work that they accomplish,” says Nova. “I also feel a kinship with their area of research. I’ve spent the majority of my career in oncology research. You can’t think about cancer without thinking of the immune system.”

Timothy Wollaeger has more than 30 years of experience in the medical products and biotechnology fields in both corporate finance, management and venture capital and helped launch many major San Diego biotechnology companies.

Wollaeger joined Sanderling Ventures, one of the oldest biomedical investment firms, as a Managing Director in 2002 to open the firm’s San Diego office. He currently serves on the board of directors for several Sanderling portfolio companies in San Diego, including CalciMedica, and Chimerix (now headquartered in North Carolina), and is chairman of the board of Sotera Wireless and Asteras.

Timothy Wollaeger

Prior to joining Sanderling, Wollaeger founded and served as general partner of Kingsbury Capital Partners, a venture capital firm in San Diego that played a key role in launching Aurora Biosciences, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and Althea Technologies, all of which were eventually acquired by major pharmaceutical companies. Wollaeger was named Ernst & Young San Diego’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995, Corporate Director of the Year in 2001, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Diego Corporate Directors Forum in 2013.

Before launching Kingsbury, Wollaeger helped found Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation in 1990, serving in a senior executive role for several years. Prior to that time, he was a founding general partner of Biovest, a San Diego-based venture capital firm, which helped start such companies as Pyxis, Biosite, Vical, Digirad, Senomyx, Sotera Wireless, and Chimerix. He was also vice president and CFO of Hybritech, San Diego’s first biotechnology company, which was acquired by Eli Lilly in 1986. Wollaeger holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Yale University, an M.B.A. from Stanford, and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for three years.

“Why not do something that’s interesting and positive?” says Wollaeger of joining the La Jolla Institute board. “The Institute is an excellent group. I hope that my background in drug development can serve as a resource as they continue to develop and license their discoveries.”

Founded in 1988, the La Jolla Institute for Immunology is a biomedical research nonprofit focused on improving human health through increased understanding of the immune system. Its scientists carry out research seeking new knowledge leading to the prevention of disease through vaccines and the treatment and cure of infectious diseases, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, Crohn’s disease and asthma. La Jolla Institute’s research staff includes more than 150 Ph.D.s and M.D.s. To learn more about the Institute’s work, visit