Who is the Medicxi founding team?

The four partners who led the Index Ventures life sciences practice are the founding partners of medicxi and will constitute its executive management team: Francesco De Rubertis, David Grainger, Kevin Johnson and Michèle Ollier. But our core team goes deeper than that: an additional eight professionals that have been working together for many years.


Meet them below.

She is Irish, but has been living in Geneva for many years. Ursula Lucas joined the Geneva office of Index 10 years ago. She has become known for her leadership and the flawless organization of the Index Forum (now to be renamed “medicxi forum”), the industry event that we organize every year at the end of the summer in Italy. She has managed the last 10 of the 11 editions of the Forum. An integral part of the medicxi ops team, Ursula will also continue to manage the Forum, in addition to providing administrative support. 

Marie Beaucourt also works in the Geneva office, from where she manages the organization of the quarterly funds’ scientific advisory board meetings. Another member of the ops team, she focuses on the management of our events, as well as ensuring administrative support. 

Giovanni Mariggi (“Vanni”), has been with us since 2012. We were introduced to him by one of the partners at Index, Jan Hammer, who had been studying with his sister. Vanni completed his PhD program in molecular biology whilst also doing some consulting projects on the side. He is a great football player, not an irrelevant quality, given the yearly football tournament that we run at the Forum, and that he has been winning for the last four years running. Having grown up in Switzerland, he also loves skiing. Vanni is a Principal in the investment team.

Jonathan Edwards (“Jon”), is the last addition to the team, having joined the Index Geneva office in 2014. We met him through Ryan Snow, of the Index operations team, an old school friend of Jon’s. Ryan is asking for a finder’s fee. In addition to a deep scientific background from MIT and UNC, Jon has worked in consulting, so he loves weaving his findings and analysis into well shaped, structured presentations. His whiteboard in the Geneva office is covered with French words that Jem, Marie and the other French speakers are trying to teach him, as he takes baby steps toward mastering French… Jon is part of the investment team.

Jemila Houacine (“Jem”), comes from the EPFL in Lausanne. She joined us three years ago to tackle the formidable task of mapping life sciences IP across European academia. Soon after starting her work on that project, we decided to convince her to join us full time, which she did a few months later, in the Geneva office. The only problem is she is currently sharing an office space with the two young men introduced above, Jon and Vanni: only thanks to her strong character and sharply powerful conversational punch, she is capable of keeping that office in order, given the exuberant nature of the two young men. Jem is part of the investment team.

Finally, on the associate team, we are also lucky to have Alasdair Thong (“Ally”). He has a really tough job: helping David Grainger in all of his deals, dealings, decisions, and deliverables (which is many, every day!) This is probably why one of Ally’s interests is whiskey tasting… he needs it. He has legal training as well as business development experience in young start-ups. He is part of the investment team.

Giovanni (Gio) Pericolini, is not Italian, even though his name and his looks would totally suggest differently. He is a Kiwi and, obviously, loves rugby and sailing. And he doesn’t speak a single word of Italian. He is our Finance Director, having just joined us. He was at Index six years ago, for one year, a very young member of the finance team back then. Today he is stepping up to new responsibilities, after spending the last five years in other financial firms. We love the fact that he always arrives at the airport 2.5 hours (yes!) ahead of his scheduled flight: it makes us feel good about the timely payment of salary bills and of received invoices. He is part of the ops team.

Richard (Rich) Lee is our General Counsel, moving across from Index, where he was legal counsel for the last five years, mainly focused on designing and executing life sciences deals. Over the last two years, Rich has been able to make some key decisions in his life: after getting married to Amy in 2014, they have seen the arrival of their first child, «baby Grace» and he is now co-founding our new venture capital firm. Pretty intense… We hope he can relax a bit in 2016, or on second thoughts, maybe not, we hope he doesn’t. Rich is part of the ops team.


Francesco, David, Kevin and Michèle
Medicxi