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.


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