Hemaka Rajapakse, PhD

Senior Director

Hemaka has worked in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry for more than 14 years as a research scientist and a project management leader. At Foresite Capital, he is a member of the investment team and focuses on company research and due diligence.

He joined Foresite Capital from Ophthotech Corporation, where he served as Director of Project Management, spearheading work enabling the delivery of topline data for the three Phase 3 studies, as well as supporting IND submission activities for new assets for the company.

Prior to Ophthotech, Hemaka worked at the Critical Path Institute and Merck Research Laboratories. At C-Path, he was the project manager for the Coalition Against Major Diseases consortium, where he led efforts to qualify biomarkers and clinical outcome assessment tools for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease trials. At Merck, Hemaka served various roles within Medicinal Chemistry and Project Management, discovering small molecule clinical candidates or managing drug development teams in the ophthalmology, neuroscience, oncology, immunology and cardiovascular therapeutic areas.

Hemaka earned his PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University, where his research focused on the total synthesis of natural products and the application of new synthetic methods.


  • Managed Ophthotech clinical study portfolio, enabling delivery of topline data from three Phase 3 studies
  • Supported preclinical development and IND submission activities for new assets at Ophthotech and Merck
  • Managed consortium based teams from pharma, academia and advocacy groups towards the qualification of clinical trial enrichment biomarkers and endpoints for AD and PD at C-Path