Board of Directors

Mike Grey, Mirum Pharmeceuticals

Executive Chairman

Mike Grey has served as Executive Chairman of the Spruce Biosciences Board since the company’s founding in 2016. He also serves as venture partner at Pappas Ventures.  Previously he founded and was president and chief executive officer at Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company developing treatments for pediatric and adult orphan diseases, until its acquisition by Shire plc. Mike has 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and has held senior positions at a number of companies, including president and chief executive officer of Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., president and chief executive officer of SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008, president and chief executive officer of Trega Biosciences, Inc., which was acquired by Lion Bioscience in 2001, and president of BioChem Therapeutic Inc. For approximately 20 years, Mike served in various roles with Glaxo, Inc. and Glaxo Holdings plc, culminating in his position as vice president, corporate development and head of international licensing. Mike serves on the board of directors of Balance Therapeutics, Inc., Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., Biothera Pharmaceutical, Inc., Horizon Pharma plc, and Mirati Therapeutics, Inc.

Tiba Aynechi, PhD

Partner, Novo Ventures

Dr. Aynechi has served as a director on the Spruce Biosciences board since the company’s founding in 2016.  Dr Aynechi is a partner at Novo Ventures (US) Inc, joining the company in 2010.  Her experience span research, banking, and venture investing in life sciences across various therapeutic areas and technology platforms. Dr. Aynechi serves on the boards of Mirum Pharmaceuticals, Avalyn Biosciences, Nkarta Therapeutics, Arcellx Inc, MDLive, and Aristea Therapeutics. She previously served as board member for AnaptysBio (IPO 2017), iRhtyhm Technologies (IPO 2016), and Cianna Medical (acquired 2018). Prior to joining Novo A/S, Dr. Aynechi was a Director with Burrill & Company where she completed regional and cross-border M&A, licensing, and financing transactions for biotech and large pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Aynechi is also a published author of scientific articles and book chapters in the area of rational drug design. Dr. Aynechi received her PhD in biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco where her research involved developing computational methods for drug discovery. She has an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of California, Irvine.

Alexis Howerton, PhD


Dr. Howerton is the founder of Spruce Biosciences. Prior to founding Spruce, Dr. Howerton was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, where she worked in clinical biomarker development to drive patient-centric targeted therapeutics.

Dr. Howerton received her PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she received additional training in clinical research, epidemiology, and biostatistics. She earned her undergraduate degree in neurobiology from Macalester College, where she graduated with honors.

Niall O’Donnell, PhD

Partner, RiverVest

Niall O’Donnell has served as a director of the Spruce Biosciences board since the company’s founding in 2016.  Dr. O’Donnell is a partner at RiverVest Venture Partners, where he has served as managing director since 2014, joining as a Kauffman Fellow in 2006.  Dr. O’Donnell is a board member of Mirum Pharmaceuticals, Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Curzion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Avalyn Pharma, and a co-founder and CEO of Reneo Pharmaceuticals.  Dr. O’Donnell was previously a board member or adviser to Lumena Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Shire) , Excaliard Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer) and Ziarco Group Limited (acquired by Novartis).  Prior to joining RiverVest, Dr. O’Donnell was in drug development at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development. Dr. O’Donnell earned his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Dundee, and an MA in natural sciences from Pembroke College, Oxford. He also gained an MBA from the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego.

Camilla V. Simpson


Camilla V. Simpson has served as a director of the Spruce Biosciences board since 2017.  Most recently, Camilla was SVP and Head of Product Portfolio Development at BioMarin, where she was responsible for Corporate and R&D Governance, Program Leadership, Project Management, Competitive Intelligence, Portfolio Strategy and Business Analytics.  Prior to leading Product Portfolio Development, Camilla led BioMarin’s Global Regulatory Affairs group for 3 years. Camilla has 24+ years in industry and prior to BioMarin spent 12 years at Shire Pharmaceuticals where after multiple roles of increasing responsibility held the position of Vice President Regulatory Affairs; Early Development and Business Development. Before joining Shire, Camilla spent 7 years at Abbott Laboratories. Camilla has significant experience in global drug development and registration, due diligence and M&A plus leadership of globally based teams, talent and change management.  She is currently Managing Member and President of Rare Strategic, LLC where she provides strategic advice to private rare disease and gene therapy companies. Camilla holds a BSc from University College Galway, Ireland, BSc Hons from Kingston University, UK and an MSc with distinction from the University of London.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Clinical Trials 2019

Spruce also has ongoing collaborations with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for longer duration study of the safety and efficacy of tildacerfont in adults 18+.
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If you are age 12+ and diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, we invite you to join our Natural History Study and Registry.

The CAH Natural History Study's mission is to learn more about CAH so researchers can work to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with CAH, and to provide hope through the promise of new treatments.

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Spruce Biosciences is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapies to better serve patients with rare endocrine disorders. Our team has extensive experience with managing patients with rare endocrine diseases as well as developing novel therapeutics to treat patients with unmet needs. As a team, we are committed to transforming the quality of life for patients who have been underserved by scientific innovation.