Printing tool Download PDF

Thomas Chalberg

Thomas Chalberg - Former CEO of Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc.


Thomas “Tom" Chalberg is the Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc., a biotechnology developer based in Menlo Park, California. He led the company through all stages of its growth, from its inception through its successful initial public offering in 2014. Under the leadership of Thomas Chalberg and fellow members of the executive team, Avalanche developed the Ocular BioFactory technology for delivery of gene therapy into the eye. In recognition of its accomplishments in ophthalmology, Avalanche was recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Thomas Chalberg also earned acclaim from the Foundation Fighting Blindness for his role in advancing gene therapy for the treatment of retinal disease.

As a Director and Chief Executive at Avalanche Biotechnologies, Tom Chalberg grew the company to include 75 full-time employees and garnered more than $350 million from government grants, venture capital, angel investors, and the public markets. During its 2014 IPO, Avalanche raised more than $100 million, placing it among the most successful IPOs of the year and among the most successful biotech IPOs in history. Tom Chalberg also served as Principal Investigator on a National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research grant and co-investigator on an NIH Small Business Technology Transfer grant during his time with the company.

Before founding Avalanche, Thomas Chalberg spent five years as a group product manager with Genentech, Inc., in South San Francisco. During his time on the oncology and ophthalmology commercial teams, he oversaw the company’s long-term commercial and competitive strategies, as well as the Lucentis strategic plan. He also served for three years as a director with DigiSight Technologies, Inc., a private digital health company based in Northern California.

Thomas Chalberg holds a PhD in genetics from the Stanford University School of Medicine and an MBA with honors from the UC Berkeley Walter A. Haas School of Business.

Work experience

Jul 2006Jul 2015

Founder and CEO

Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc. 
Dec 2005Oct 2010

Marketing and Commercial Operations, Ophthalmology and Oncology

Jul 1999Jul 2003

Biotechnology Consultant

ZS Associates



MBA, Entrepreneurship, Biotechnology

University of California, Berkeley - Walter A. Haas School of Business

PhD, Cancer Biology, Genetics, Ophthalmology

Stanford University School of Medicine

A.B., Biochemical Sciences