Brian Ellerman

Founding Director

Brian Ellerman

Founding Director

With over 25 years of medical and health technology experience, Brian worked from 2002 to 2017 for Paris-based biopharmaceutical Sanofi, where he held numerous roles from site head overseeing the technical construction aspects of the Oro Valley R&D facility to high performance computing and big data. In 2013, he created the global technology scouting and partnering group, and traveled the world to connect the top incubators, accelerators, startups, and venture firms to critical business problems and corporate venture. Building on that success, in 2016 Brian was part of a corporate digital health strategy team, leading a successful global program to optimize the $4 billion clinical research operations through decentralized trials, telemedicine, and other technology-enhanced aspects of trial participant recruitment, enrollment, and retention.

After leaving Sanofi at the end of 2017, Brian began to plan the renovation of the historic Roy Place Building in 2018 and founded Arizona FORGE in August of 2019. As a unit of Research, Innovation and Impact, FORGE has three missions: developing an entrepreneurial mindset in all students, advancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in every community where the University of Arizona operates, and driving the scale and launch of promising startups.

Brian made his first investment in 1985 in Applied Biosystems. When it was acquired by Perkin-Elmer in 1993, he caught the ‘investor bug.’ Over the past decade alone, Brian was an early investor in Doorbot (Ring, acquired by Amazon), SoundBetter (acquired by Spotify), Trusted (acquired by Care.com), ALAViDA (acquired by LifeSpeak), Echo Labs (acquired by CELLINK), Loom.ai (acquired by Roblox), Medumo (acquired by Philips), Intabio (acquired by SCIEX), Apprente (acquired by McDonalds, then IBM), June (acquired by Weber), Fantasmo.io (acquired by TIER), Science 37 (SPAC), Caribou Biosciences (IPO), and Inkbox (acquired by BIC). He is an LP/investor in HemisphereBiovergeJenny Rooke/Genoa, and Zach Coelius.

Brian has been active in the Southern Arizona startup community, founding several companies as well as serving on the board of the Desert Angels (the 7th most active group in the US). He is a strong advocate for expanding access to expertise and capital for early-stage entrepreneurs, especially those from underrepresented and non-traditional backgrounds.

Brian studied biology, chemistry, and mathematics at Wabash College; earned a Bachelor of Science Cum Laude in Medical Technology (clinical pathology) at Marist College; Master of Science in Management Information Systems at UA Eller College of Management; and Master of Legal Studies Summa Cum Laude with IP Concentration and Health Law Certificate at UA Rogers College of Law.

FORGE Team