Ellen Smith, JD, PhD

Intellectual Property Counsel and Manager of Business Strategy

Ellen is a registered patent attorney who uses her scientific, legal, and business background to support company incubation and investment efforts in matters relating to diligence, patent procurement, and portfolio management as well as the development and licensing of new technologies.

Prior to joining Foresite Capital, Ellen was an intellectual property attorney at several of the top international law firms where she focused on patent prosecution and diligence matters for life science and healthcare companies at every stage of development—from startups to multimillion-dollar global corporations. She received her B.S. in neurobiology and anatomy from Purdue University, her Ph.D., from the University of California, Irvine, where she was a California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) fellow, her J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, and her M.B.A. from the University of California, San Diego Rady School of Management.


  • Ph.D. focused on the regulation of human embryonic stem cell self renewal and pluripotency
  • More than 10 years of experience in personalized/precision medicine, stem cells, genetics and genomics, and genetic engineering