Jeff Aronin (born December 8, 1967) is an American investor, entrepreneur, and biopharmaceutical executive. He is chairman and CEO of Paragon Biosciences, LLC, an innovation-based life sciences company that develops, accelerates and finances new companies that create major biotechnology advancements to improve patient care. Paragon Biosciences’ companies focus on patients suffering from debilitating diseases with no effective treatment. The Paragon Biosciences team has succeeded in getting 13 Novel Drug Approvals through the FDA. Aronin is also chairman, CEO and founder of Paragon Pharmaceutical Capital, LLC, an investment firm that backs healthcare companies.
Early life and education
Aronin discovered his passion for pharmaceutical development while shadowing a physician who was treating an epileptic pediatric patient with regular seizures. Confronted with limited options to stop the seizures other than to remove a portion of the young patient’s brain, the doctor pursued an alternative treatment with a dosage of medication that successfully curbed the child’s seizures, preventing the life-altering surgery and setting Aronin on his course to become an entrepreneur in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Aronin holds an M.B.A. from DePaul University and earned a B.S. from Northern Illinois University. He also lectures on entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, where he completed post-graduate coursework. In 2010, he was named an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow.
Aronin has been chairman of several Paragon portfolio companies including Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals, Harmony Biosciences, and previously Marathon Pharmaceuticals, a research based prescription biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Paragon, Aronin founded Ovation Pharmaceuticals LLC in 2000 and served as its chairman and CEO for nine years. On February 9, 2009, it was announced that H. Lundbeck A/S, a Danish pharmaceutical company, had purchased Ovation for $900 million. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Aronin to the board of directors of World Business Chicago and co-chair of ChicagoNEXT. Aronin is also co-chair MATTER, a start-up center in Chicago for next-generation healthcare technology companies that opened in February 2015. He also serves on the board of trustees of Discover Financial Services. He previously served on the board of trustees of the Museum of Science and Industry.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Aronin to the board of directors of World Business Chicago (WBC), public-private partnership between the city and Chicago’s business community to spur economic and job growth, and co-chair of ChicagoNEXT, WBC's council of technology leaders dedicated to driving opportunity in innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. Aronin is also chair of ChicagoNEXT’s bioscience committee, where he spearheaded development of the health technology startup center MATTER. He also serves on the board of trustees of Discover Financial Services and previously served on the board of trustees of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Aronin and his wife Lisa, thru the Aronin Family Foundation, support patient advocacy and research at organizations such as the American Porphyria Foundation, Huntington’s Disease Society of America and the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation. In November 2017 the Weizmann Institute of Science awarded Aronin the Weizmann Leadership Award.
Aronin is founder and co-chairman of MATTER, an incubator community of healthcare innovators dedicated to improving patients’ lives and solving complex problems confronting the healthcare industry launched in 2014. Aronin was recognized in 2015 by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) for his leadership and contributions to establishing MATTER, awarding Aronin its Entrepreneurial Champion Award.