Hatteras Discovery

With HVP’s fourth fund, HVP IV, Hatteras has established a dedicated effort to foster seed-stage biopharmaceutical investments and drive innovation. Up to 20% of the committed capital in HVP IV is allocated to Hatteras Discovery investments in seed and early stage companies and projects.

Deal flow for Hatteras Discovery primarily comes from universities and existing companies that have innovative projects but are deficient of adequate funding and management. When successful projects in Hatteras Discovery reach critical inflection points, they can be funded by HVP IV as portfolio companies, be licensed to major pharmaceutical companies — some of which may be strategic limited partners in HVP IV — or be partnered with one or more project-based financing vehicles.

The growing Hatteras Discovery pipeline is reviewed twice a year by a world-class Portfolio Review Committee. Strategic planning for Hatteras Discovery portfolio companies efficiently advances the development of innovative products and proprietary deal flow for HVP IV.

The Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery is Christy Shaffer, PhD, a successful entrepreneur and pharmaceutical veteran who was, most recently, CEO of Inspire Pharmaceuticals. Under Dr. Shaffer’s direction, Hatteras Discovery has created a dedicated process to vet and nurture investment candidates.

Key Therapeutic Areas of Interest:

  • Opthalmology
  • Cardiovascular
  • Pulmonary
  • Anti-Infectives
  • Oncology
  • Immunology
  • Orphan Diseases
  • Tao Yu, PhD

    Hatteras Discovery Fellow

    Tao joined Hatteras in January, 2015 as a Hatteras Discovery Fellow to assist the investment opportunities for Hatteras Discovery. Prior to working in Hatteras, Tao pursued his PhD at Dr. Justin Hanes’ lab in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, developing innovative drug delivery solutions to treat mucosae-related diseases such as cervical cancer. The technology developed by Tao led to a joint patent between Johns Hopkins and Kala Pharmaceuticals, and has been used in the company’s lead products currently in Phase II-III clinical trials. During his PhD, Tao worked as an intern in BioHealth Innovation to assist due diligence on healthcare technologies and start-ups in the bio hub of the Greater DC region. He also served as Director of Communications in the Hopkins Graduate Student Consulting Club.

    Tao received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, and his Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Economics from Peking University. He is originally from Guangzhou, China, and expects to join McKinsey Shanghai as a Junior Associate in summer, 2015.

  • Adrian Randall

    Hatteras Discovery Fellow


    Adrian joined Hatteras as an intern in August, 2015 to assist with deal flow and company due diligence, and was named a Hatteras Discovery Fellow in November, 2015 to further assist in these efforts as well as help identify investment opportunities for the firm. Adrian is currently a third-year medical student at Duke University School of Medicine, where he is involved in computational research to understand outcomes in dialysis patients as well as medication adherence for patients with diabetes. While a medical student, he co-founded and lead software development for a company called Trial Find to help patients find clinical trials. Prior to medical school, Adrian worked as a researcher in Duke’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP) developing software to analyze cancer sequence and expression data. In addition, as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he studied how cancers adapt and evolve to targeted kinase therapy with a goal to develop novel combinations to enhance existing drugs.

    He has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry (Biochemistry Track) with Distinction from the University of North Carolina and a Master’s degree in Computational and Systems Biology from MIT. Outside of school and work he enjoys playing water polo on Duke University Men’s Water Polo Club.

  • Jason Melehani

    Hatteras Discovery Fellow

    Jason Melehani joined Hatteras in July 2017 as a Hatteras Discovery Fellow. Prior to joining Hatteras, Jason completed his Ph.D. in Dr. Alex Duncan’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Jason’s work focused on studying the molecular pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus infections and the mechanisms by which the innate immune system detects the bacterium. Jason is also currently finishing his final year in the Medical Scientist Training Program (“MD/Ph.D. Program”) at UNC. He is applying for research-track Internal Medicine residency and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine fellowship programs. He is interested in studying signaling that promotes healing and regeneration in the lung and why it fails in diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis. Jason completed his Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. His undergraduate research thesis identified a novel protein critical for regulating motility of the Trypanosoma bruceiflagellum.


Description:  Awarded to exceptional individuals with a MBA and/or Ph.D. who have a proven track-record for innovative ‘thinking’ and a desire to make a difference in the lives of patients and the community at large.  Expertise in the life science area required.

Selection Committee:  Christy Shaffer and Clay Thorp

Length:  3 months; renewable for an additional 3 months on mutual agreement


  • Invitation to all Hatteras Deal Flow meetings
  • Provided opportunities to coordinate specific deal/due diligence processes and prepare presentations to the partners
  • Multiple networking opportunities with Hatteras team
  • Travel costs provided by Hatteras Discovery for at least one key scientific and/or business conference; travel costs to at least one Hatteras event (e.g.:  Annual Meeting, SAB Meeting, PRC Meeting, etc.).  Paid registrations for local conferences (e.g. NC Biotech Conference, Southeast Venture Philanthropy conference, CED events, etc.).
  • Office space provided; flexible work schedule
  • Letter(s) of recommendation by Hatteras upon completion of the fellowship; key connections to future job opportunities