The Members of the BioNJ Board of Trustees are thoughtful, engaged, and committed to the work of BioNJ and we are deeply indebted for their passion for Patients and for inspiring our work each day.
Chairman: Stuart W. Peltz, Ph.D.
PTC Therapeutics, Inc., Chief Executive Officer
Stuart W. Peltz, Ph.D. is a co-founder of PTC and has served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors since the company’s inception in 1998. Prior to founding PTC, Dr. Peltz was a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University. Dr. Peltz has published over 80 publications in the area of post-transcriptional control processes and has received a number of scientific awards, including being elected as a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Peltz received a Ph.D. from the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin. He was the 2014 recipient of the BioNJ Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership.
Immediate Past Chair: Francois Nader, M.D., MBA
Chairman, Acceleron Pharma
Francois Nader, MD, is currently the chairman of Acceleron Pharma and a leading value builder in the biopharma industry. He was President, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of NPS Pharma from 2008 to 2015, when the company was acquired by Shire for $5.2B. During his tenure as CEO Dr. Nader transformed NPS Pharma into a leading global biotechnology company focused on delivering innovative therapies to patients with rare diseases. In 2013, he was recognized as the Ernst and Young National Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year® as well as named by BioNJ as the Dr. Sol J. Barer Honoree for Vision, Innovation and Leadership, the top award granted by BioNJ. Dr. Nader currently serves as chairman of the board of directors of Acceleron Pharma (NASDAQ: XLRN) and board director of Advanced Accelerator Applications (NASDAQ: AAAP), Clementia Pharmaceuticals and ArRETT Neurosciences.
Before NPS, Dr. Nader was a venture partner at Care Capital. Prior, he served on the North America Leadership Team of Aventis and its predecessor companies holding a number of executive positions including senior vice-president, integrated healthcare markets and North America medical and regulatory affairs. Previously, he led the global commercial operations at the Pasteur Vaccines division of Rhone-Poulenc.
Dr. Nader is a recognized leader in industry and philanthropic organizations. He is the President of the Jesra Foundation, a trustee of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Advisory Board of the Open Future Institute. He is the immediate past chairman of BioNJ, New Jersey’s biotechnology trade organization and has served on the board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the national industry body, NPS Pharma (NASDAQ: NSPS), Baxalta (NYSE: BXLT), Trevena (NASDAQ: TRVN) and Noven (NASDAQ: NOVN).
Dr. Nader earned his French Doctorate in Medicine from St. Joseph University in Lebanon and his Physician Executive MBA from the University of Tennessee.
President and CEO: Debbie Hart, MS, CAE, APR
BioNJ, President and CEO
Debbie Hart, founding President and CEO of BioNJ, is dedicated to the mission and work of BioNJ. She worked alongside New Jersey’s biotechnology industry leaders to establish BioNJ in 1994 and has been dedicated to the organization since then. Debbie has been active on the boards and committees of numerous government and academic institutions.
She was appointed by Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno to the NJ Council on Innovation. She was recently named to the Advisory Boards of the New Jersey Innovation Institute and the Institute for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship at Kean University. She is a member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Technology Advisory Board and a former member and Chair of EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT). Debbie served on the transition teams of two former New Jersey governors and was appointed by two Governors to the New Jersey Israel Commission for her work in economic development.
Past government support activities include the Prosperity New Jersey Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Cluster Study commissioned by a former Governor and conducted by Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, the Jobs Growth and Economic Development Commission established by a former Governor and chaired by Dr. Roy Vagelos as well as the Task Force on Higher Education Quality and Competitiveness of the State. She also served on the Business Task Force established by the New Jersey State Legislature in 2011.
Debbie is a founding Board Member and Officer of OpportunityNJ, a non profit organization working toward a strong and sustaining State economy.
A strong advocate for advancing education, Debbie has served as a board member of the Rutgers University Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management at Rutgers University Business School, the Advisory Board of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair University, the Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business and the Science Advisory Board at Rider University as well as the advisory boards for the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) Biomedical Engineering Program, Monmouth University’s School of Science, Technology and Engineering and as a Director of the Liberty Science Center’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Debbie served on the advisory board that guided the establishment of the nationally recognized Monmouth County Biotechnology High School and as a member of the New Jersey Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Advisory Board. In 2005, she delivered the Commencement Address at Raritan Valley Community College’s graduation ceremonies.
As an advocate for the industry, Debbie has testified before State and federal legislative committees. She is also a frequent speaker at industry events, including serving as the Keynote speaker at the Russian Pharmaceutical Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Knowledge for Growth Conference in Ghent, Belgium; the Women’s Clinical Leadership Forum at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in Orlando, Florida; and the Shanghai Bio Conference in Shanghai.
Debbie was honored by the Women’s Fund of New Jersey as a Woman Advancing Science, and she and BioNJ were recognized by NJIT with a New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Award.
Debbie is an NJBIZ New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business honoree. In March 2014 in commemoration of Women’s History Month, she was nominated by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt and honored by the New Jersey General Assembly as a Woman Advancing Science. In May 2014, Debbie was named as one of 50 people to PolitickerNJ’s Health Care Power List of 2014.
Most recently, Debbie was named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Biotechnology by Scientific American Worldview; as one of HudsonMod Magazine’s 2015 list of Women in Power along with Diane Von Furstenberg, Ivanka Trump, Sandra E. Peterson, Sheri McCoy and Nina Mitchell Wells; one of New Jersey’s top CEOs by COMMERCE Magazine; one of New Jersey’s 2015 Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners by Leading Women Entrepreneurs and for the fourth time in 2016 to the NJBIZ Power 100, a listing of the 100 most influential people in New Jersey business.
Debbie holds an M.S. from the S. I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University where she graduated cum laude and a B.A. from Trenton State College, now The College of New Jersey, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Vice Chairman: Donna Tempel, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Drais Pharmaceuticals Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Tempel is President, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Drais Pharmaceuticals Inc. Drais is a venture-capital supported clinical drug development company, based in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The company specializes in early phase clinical development and seeks to establish close partnerships with larger pharmaceutical companies in order to build its pipeline and accelerate promising candidates to proof of concept.
Prior to founding Drais, Dr. Tempel was co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of AkaRx, Inc., also a venture-backed development company. AkaRx was spun out of the merger of Yamanouchi and Fujisawa in 2005 with a focus in hematology/oncology. AkaRx was acquired by Eisai Inc. in January of 2010. Prior to the founding of AkaRx Inc., Dr. Tempel was Vice President of Project Management at Yamanouchi, responsible for oversight of all clinical development programs for the company in the US and EU including the now-marketed products, Vesicare™ and Vaprisol™. Prior to joining Yamanouchi in 1998, Dr. Tempel held various positions in Research and Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson, Inc.
Dr. Tempel currently serves as the Secretary of BioNJ. She received her B.S. in Psychology and Mathematics from Hunter College/CUNY, a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from CUNY/Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an MBA in Finance from Farleigh Dickinson University.
Secretary: Christian Kopfli, Esq.
Chromocell Corporation, Chief Executive Officer
Christian co-founded Chromocell in 2002, serving initially as General Counsel before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2005.
Prior to joining Chromocell, he was an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, working in its New York City, Tokyo and Frankfurt offices.
At Davis Polk, Christian worked extensively in Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets and Private Equity Transactions.
He received a doctoral degree in law (magna cum laude) from the University of Zurich in 2000 and earned his LL.M. from Columbia Law School in New York City in 1998. Christian is a Board Member of BioNJ and admitted to the Bar in New York and Switzerland.
Treasurer: Elizabeth Posillico, Ph.D.
Elusys Therapeutics, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth has 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has held senior positions in general management, business development, marketing and operations. She joined Elusys in 2002 as Vice President of Business Development and since then was promoted to Sr. Vice President of Operations and then President and CEO in January, 2005.
Prior to joining Elusys, she was Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Physiome Sciences, Sr. Vice President of Business Development at Apoptogen, Inc., a Canadian biotech company developing novel therapies for the treatment of apoptosis-related diseases. She also served on the management committee of the Canadian Medical Discovery Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund. Elizabeth spent eight years at Genzyme Corporation in several positions including Director of Sales and Marketing for ImmunoBiological Products and ultimately as General Manager and Sr. Vice President in the Diagnostics Division.
She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Alliance for Biosecurity and as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of BioNJ. Elizabeth received a BA degree from the State University of New York at Potsdam and a PhD from Duke University.
Agile Therapeutics, President and Chief Executive Officer
Al Altomari is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Agile Therapeutics and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. Prior to being named President and CEO, Mr. Altomari served as Agile’s Executive Chairman in which capacity he closed a $45 million venture round in May 2010. Mr. Altomari has more than 28 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with more than 20 years focused on the development and marketing of specialty pharmaceutical products. Currently Mr. Altomari is leading Agile through the final stages of development and commercialization of contraceptive products using the Company’s proprietary transdermal technology.
Prior to joining Agile Therapeutics, Mr. Altomari served as Chief Executive Officer of Barrier Therapeutics and as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. In 2008, Mr. Altomari completed the successful sale of the Company (NASDAQ: BTRX) to GSK/Stiefel Laboratories for a 73% premium. His initial role with the Company had been as Chief Commercial Officer, beginning in August 2003, and he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in February 2006. During his tenure at Barrier, Mr. Altomari set up Barrier’s commercial infrastructure, all sales and marketing activities for Barrier’s product portfolio and oversaw management of all worldwide business development initiatives.
Prior to joining Barrier, Mr. Altomari functioned in numerous executive roles in general management, commercial operations, business development, product launch preparation and finance within Johnson & Johnson from 1982 to 2003. He completed his tenure with Johnson & Johnson as General Manager of Ortho Neutrogena, where he successfully led the integration of Ortho Dermatological and Neutrogena Professional. Mr. Altomari also served as Vice President/Franchise Head of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical’s Women’s Health Care Franchise where he introduced several life cycle and new product development initiatives, including launching Ortho Evra®, a contraceptive patch. Sales of the Women’s Health Care Franchise were well in excess of $1 billion.
Mr. Altomari currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of DUSA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: DUSA) and NB Therapeutics. In July 2007, Mr. Altomari was recognized by PharmaVOICE Magazine as one of the Top 100 Most Inspirational and Influential Leaders in the Life Sciences Industry. He received a Master’s in Business Administration from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and his Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a dual major in finance and accounting. Mr. Altomari currently serves on the Le Bow College (Drexel’s Business School) advisory board.
Photocure, Inc., President and Head of Cancer Commercial Operations
Ambaw Bellete is the President and Head of Cancer Commercial Operations for Photocure Inc. He has nearly 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical and medical device industry. Mr. Bellete has held senior executive positions across multiple therapeutic areas in business development, commercial operations, managed care, marketing and sales at companies such as Pharmacia and Sanofi. Prior to joining Photocure, he was most recently President of Medical Compression Systems.
Bradley L. Campbell
Amicus Therapeutics, President and Chief Operating Officer
Bradley L. Campbell brings over 15 years of experience in the Orphan Drug industry. He serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of Amicus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FOLD), a biotechnology company based in Cranbury, New Jersey, focused on developing next‐generation medicines to treat a range of rare and orphan diseases. In his current capacity, Mr. Campbell leads the strategy, design and execution of global commercial operations to support the launch of GalafoldTM, a small molecule personalized medicine approach in development for the treatment of Fabry Disease. In addition, he oversees the Business Development, Patient Advocacy and Program Management functions. Bradley joined Amicus in 2006 as Sr. Director of Business Development and subsequently took on various roles of increasing responsibility including leadership of the Commercial Planning, Technical Operations and Science organizations among others.
Prior to joining Amicus, Mr. Campbell was with Genzyme, serving first as Sr. Product Manager for Myozyme®, Genzyme’s ERT for Pompe disease, and later as Business Director of their cardiac gene therapy programs, responsible for business development and commercial planning. He has also worked in sales & marketing and strategy & operations for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and as a strategy consultant for Marakon Associates.
Mr. Campbell has been active in various philanthropic organizations. He is a past President of the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association Board of Directors, and he currently sits on their Corporate Advisory Council. Bradley received a B.A. in Public Policy from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Pamela M. Demain, MBA, CLP
Merck & Co., Inc., Executive Director, Transactions Business Development and Licensing
Pamela Demain is Executive Director, Transactions, Business Development and Licensing, Merck & Co., Inc. She has been at Merck for over 30 years. For the past 19 years, she has been responsible for negotiating transactions with companies, universities and institutions worldwide, including arrangements for compounds, research collaborations, patents, formulations and research platform technologies.
Pam also heads up the relationship development area, which includes responsibility for Merck’s partnering outreach program, initiating new business development opportunities and building relationships with companies and universities worldwide. Since 2000, she has been instrumental in the strategic transformation of Merck from an inward-looking to an outward-facing company focused on partnerships with companies and universities worldwide.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Demain was in charge of the Business Information & Research Department in the Worldwide Human Health Marketing area of Merck, providing global strategic decision support for all of Merck’s new and in-line products.
Previous positions at Merck include 13 years in Corporate Planning, Marketing Communications and Product Management, where she was responsible for the worldwide launch of PRIMAXIN/TIENAM. She joined Merck in 1981 as part of the MBA management training program.
Pamela’s pharmaceutical career began in the natural products laboratory of Gruppo Lepetit, an Italian pharmaceutical company, which was then a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company. Ms. Demain is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and holds a M.B.A. in International Business from The American University in Washington, D.C. and is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP).
Pam has been on the Board of Trustees for the Licensing Executive Society (USA & Canada) since 2006 and is currently President-Elect. Her previous positions on the Board have been VP for Communications, Regional VP for the US, and Trustee for Partnering. Her most recent accomplishments include the Life Science Sector Strategic Initiative and establishing the LES Insights weekly e-newsletter. She has been a member of the LES Life Sciences Committee since 2003. In 2012, she was honored by LES with the Frank Barnes Mentoring Award. In September 2013, Pam joined the Board of BioNJ.
Paul G. Howes
ThromboGenics, Inc., Executive Chairman
Mr. Howes currently serves as Executive Chairman of ThromboGenics, Inc., the US operating subsidiary of Belgian biotech company ThromboGenics, NV. He also serves as a Director on the parent company’s Board. Prior to ThromboGenics, Mr. Howes was the President & CEO of Inotek Pharmaceuticals, a NASDAQ-listed junior biotech company active in ophthalmic drug development. Mr. Howes has over 25 years of commercial strategy, product development and sales and marketing experience in pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
Prior to joining Inotek, Mr. Howes was President of the Americas Region for Bausch & Lomb with leadership responsibility for the United States, Canada, Latin America and South America across Bausch & Lomb’s Vision Care, Surgical and Pharmaceuticals business segments. Prior to joining Bausch & Lomb in 2003, Mr. Howes spent the previous 16 years in various senior management roles at Merck & Co. Inc. This experience included roles as Executive Director of Hospital Marketing, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Specialty Products, President & CEO of the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company and President of Merck Frosst Canada, Inc. Prior to Merck, Mr. Howes spent 11 years at Price Waterhouse Canada.
Mr. Howes is a graduate of Harvard College and earned his MBA from York University in Toronto, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Prevent Blindness.
Vicus Therapeutics, President and Chief Executive Officer
John Maki previously served as Managing Director of Technology Directors, Inc., as Managing Director of Audax Group and as Principal, Bain Capital, as well as consultant, Bain & Company.
Mr. Maki holds an AB degree from Harvard University. Mr. Maki has over 25 years of industry experience and has been founding investor and/or board member of eleven life science companies. In addition, four of Mr. Maki’s portfolio companies had successful IPOs and grew to a combined market capitalization exceeding $2.5 billion dollars. Mr. Maki currently serves on the boards of 3DMatrix, a wound healing device company and Vicus Therapeutics. Mr. Maki also serves on the Board of Trustees of BioNJ.
Anthony Marucci, MBA
Celldex Therapeutics, Inc., Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Mr. Marucci is a Founder of Celldex and served as its Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary since inception and prior to his appointments to Executive Vice President in March 2008, President and Chief Executive Officer in October 2008, and the Board of Directors in December 2008. Celldex, founded in 2004 as a subsidiary of Medarex (Medarex is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol Myers Squibb), was initially spun out as an independent private company in October 2005 with the asset acquisition of CDX-110 from Alteris Therapeutics, Inc. and the acquisition of Lorantis Limited (Cambridge, UK). In addition to these acquisitions, Mr. Marucci is also responsible for the AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc. and Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. merger completed during the first quarter of 2008 and the acquisition of CuraGen Corporation completed in the third quarter of 2009. He was Treasurer of Medarex from December 1998 to March 2004, where he held a series of senior financial positions since December 1998. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of BioNJ and also served as its Treasurer through 2010. Mr. Marucci received his B.S. in Accounting from Kean University and his M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Geneviève Ménard, Pharm D., M.B.A.
Celgene Corporation, Senior Vice President, Organizational Excellence.
Ms. Ménard has a diverse background in the pharmaceutical industry, where she has served for 30 years in various disciplines including manufacturing, strategic and operational marketing and R&D. Ms. Ménard has been the head of the Project Leadership department at Celgene since September 2010 where she has transformed the Global Project Leadership function. Under her leadership, the department has optimized the operational excellence of drug development projects, and created a portfolio structure that has allowed Project Leadership to become a strong partner to all line functions and Celgene’s corporate strategy group. Ms. Ménard was recently promoted to Senior Vice President to lead the newly created position of Organizational Excellence.
Daniel J. O’Connor
Advaxis, Inc., President, Chief Executive Officer and Director.
Mr. O’Connor was appointed Advaxis’ President and Chief Executive Officer in August 2013 at a time when the company was a “penny stock,” had no cash and was burdened with significant debt. Undeterred, he executed a turnaround strategy rooted in an understanding of the potential of Advaxis’ Lm Technology™ platform. From leading Advaxis’ uplisting to Nasdaq, to assembling the company’s executive team, to securing high-profile collaboration agreements with Merck and MedImmune and overseeing the initiation of clinical trials in HPV-associated cancers, HER2 expressing tumors and prostate cancer, Mr. O’Connor has successfully transformed Advaxis financially, clinically and operationally, providing a strong balance sheet that has enabled the company to advance one of the most diverse and active immunotherapy pipelines in the industry.
Mohamed Ragab, M.D.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Vice President, Search & Evaluation, Oncology, Business Development.
Dr. Mohamed H. Ragab is the Vice President of Oncology, Search & Evaluation, Business Development. He received his Master Degree, Radiation Oncology and his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Cairo University School of Medicine. During his 28 year career, Dr. Ragab accepted positions at: National Cancer Institute in Egypt, Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals in the Middle East, Ortho Biotech Products of New Jersey, Pfizer Inc. of New York, Hoffman La Roche Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc., President & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Rombotis joined Cyclacel as its first CEO in 1997 and has 30 years of experience with biopharmaceutical companies. He was previously Vice President, International Operations and Business Development; Managing Director, Europe; and Representative Director, Japanese joint venture, at The Liposome Company, subsequently acquired by Elan. He held various executive roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, most recently as Vice President, Pharmaceuticals Central and Eastern Europe. He was Head of European Marketing and Sales, Head of Corporate Development and one of the first employees of Centocor, subsequently acquired by Johnson & Johnson, and worked in Business Development at Novartis AG.
He holds a BA from Williams College and an MBA and Master’s degree in Hospital Management with honors, from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, where he serves on the Kellogg Biotech Advisory Board. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of BioNJ.
Alan L. Rubino
Emisphere Technologies, Inc., President & Chief Executive Officer
Alan L. Rubino joined Emisphere in 2012 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Upon joining, he was also appointed as Class II Director of the Company. Mr. Rubino’s career spans over 30 years at every level of the biopharmaceutical industry.
Previously, he was President and CEO of New American Therapeutics Inc., a private specialty pharmaceutical company that acquired, marketed and developed therapeutic products and achieved major success through the acquisition, marketing, and eventual sale of its herpes labialis drug, Denavir® where the team tripled sales in 18 months and sold the asset for a multiple of three times sales. Mr. Rubino served before New American Therapeutics, Inc. as the CEO and President of Akrimax Pharmaceuticals, where he and team acquired Tirosint® and NitroMist®, two key NDA approved launch products. Rounding out his background, he had also been President and COO of another publicly-held entity, Pharmos Corporation, where he led the transformation of the company through the acquisition of Vela Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Rubino also spent four years in senior leadership positions on the strategic services side of the healthcare sector with two other public companies, Cardinal Health and PDI Inc.
A major portion of Mr. Rubino’s highly successful career includes his 24 years at Hoffmann-La Roche, now Genentech (a subsidiary of Roche) which remains one of the world’s top 10 biopharmaceutical companies. At Roche, he was a corporate officer and member of the U.S. Executive Committee. He held a variety of key senior executive positions that encompassed business operations, business strategy, human resources, marketing, sales, corporate development and strategic planning.
Mr. Rubino currently serves on the Corporate Boards of Aastrom Biosciences, Genisphere, Inc. and Sanuwave Health, Inc. For the past 17 years, he has served on the Board of Rutgers University School of Business and the Lerner Center for Pharmaceutical Studies. Mr. Rubino holds a B.A. in economics from Rutgers University along with a full minor in biology and chemistry.
James Sapirstein, R.Ph., MBA
ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Chief Executive Officer
James Sapirstein, R.Ph., brings over thirty years of pharmaceutical industry experience to ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. After beginning his career in 1984 as a sales representative with Eli Lilly, he accepted a position at Hoffmann-LaRoche in 1987, where he served for almost a decade as part of its sales and marketing teams. He held a number of positions at Hoffmann-LaRoche, including Product Director and International Operations Manager, and was actively involved with numerous product launches including several antivirals. In 1996, he became the Director of International Marketing of the Infectious Disease Division at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS). Mr. Sapirstein directed the international HIV product marketing strategy at BMS and was an integral part of the international development and launch of a number of infectious disease products while at BMS.
More recently, Mr. Sapirstein has become known in the industry as a start-up and turnaround specialist, mainly for his work at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD), Serono Laboratories, Inc., Tobira Therapeutics, Inc. and Alliqua, Inc. (ALQA). Mr. Sapirstein served in the Global Marketing group at Gilead, beginning in 2000 where he led and developed the global marketing strategy for its flagship HIV drug, Viread. He played a key role in the development of the drug combination strategy that resulted in Gilead’s acquisition of Triangle’s nucleoside portfolio. That acquisition ultimately led to the launch of Truvada, Gilead’s multi-billion dollar combination HIV drug. In 2002, he accepted the position of Executive Vice President for Serono Laboratories where he led a team of over 100 professionals to rebuild a struggling HIV and pediatric growth hormone business. As CEO of privately held Tobira Therapeutics, a New Jersey based biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel HIV and infectious disease compounds, he was instrumental in helping to raise over $60 million in venture capital and research funding to enable Tobira to further its scientific development. As a result of those efforts, he was named one of New Jersey’s top 50 most influential people in healthcare in 2010 by NJBiz.com. Most recently, Mr. Sapirstein was CEO of Alliqua Therapeutics at Alliqua, Inc., where he helped lead the transformation of transdermal wound care and drug delivery technology into a premier wound care organization. Mr. Sapirstein developed the growth strategies for the organization and was responsible for several key licensing opportunities which lead to an increased return on investment for all of the shareholders.
Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D.
Soligenix, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer
Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D. has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Dr. Schaber has been Soligenix’s President and Chief Executive Officer and a director since August 2006.
He also serves on the board of directors for the Alliance for BioSecurity and as vice chair of BioNJ. He is a member of the corporate councils for both the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT).
Prior to joining the company, Dr. Schaber served from 1998 to 2006 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Discovery Laboratories, Inc., where he was responsible for overall pipeline development and key areas of commercial operations, including regulatory affairs, quality control and assurance, manufacturing and distribution, preclinical and clinical research, and medical affairs, as well as coordination of commercial launch preparation activities. From 1996 to 1998, he was a co-founder of Acute Therapeutics, Inc., and served as its Vice President of Regulatory Compliance and Drug Development. From 1994 to 1996, he was employed by Ohmeda PPD, Inc., as Worldwide Director of Regulatory Affairs and Operations. From 1989 to 1994, Dr. Schaber held a variety of regulatory, development and operations positions with The Liposome Company, Inc., and Elkins-Sinn Inc., a division of Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories.
Dr. Schaber received his BA from Western Maryland College, his MS in Pharmaceutics from Temple University School of Pharmacy and his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the Union Graduate School. During his career, Dr. Schaber has played a significant role in raising in excess of $200 million through both public offerings and private placements.
Marco Taglietti, M.D.
SCYNEXIS, Inc., President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Taglietti joined Scynexis’ Board of Directors in 2014 as an independent Director becoming Scynexis’ CEO and President in April 2015. He served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer of Forest Laboratories, Inc. and also as President of the Forest Research Institute until its purchase by Actavis in 2014. During his career at Forest, Stiefel and Schering-Plough, Dr. Taglietti has brought to market more than 35 different products in the U.S. and internationally through a variety of regulatory strategies including NDA 505(b)1 and 505(b)2, 510k medical device, ANDA for generics and EMA MAA in many different therapeutic areas, including anti-infectives, oncology, psychiatry, neurology, cardiovascular, respiratory, dermatology, metabolism and internal medicine.
Janssen Biotech, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, President, Oncology
Scott began his career with Johnson & Johnson 24 years ago in R&D developing high-throughput screening assays for Drug Discovery followed by several years in Clinical Research and Development. He has enjoyed a broad and diverse career holding various discovery, clinical development, sales, marketing, and managed markets positions across the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.
In his current position, Scott is responsible for leading Janssen’s Oncology business unit which is responsible for the commercialization of Janssen’s oncology portfolio in the United States.
Most recently, Scott served as the Vice President for Johnson & Johnson Health Care System’s Strategic Customer Group and served on the Janssen North America Pharmaceuticals Leadership Team as the market access leader. He also served, and continues to serve, as a Governance Committee member for the Experienced Commercial Leadership Development Program.
Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Immunology Marketing responsible for Janssen Biotech’s Immunology portfolio of Remicade, Stelara, and Simponi. He also led the Janssen Marketing Leadership Committee addressing marketing interests and needs across various Janssen business units.
Scott also currently serves on the National Pharmaceutical Council board of directors as J&J’s representative.
Scott holds a BA degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey where he double-majored in molecular biology and philosophy. He also received his MBA from University of Phoenix.
Ji Zhang, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Head of R&D Operations, Sanofi
As head of R&D Operations, Dr. Zhang’s teams integrate interdisciplinary scientific and clinical operations across the scientific platforms in preclinical, CMC development and clinical development areas, to provide expertise and high caliber support to R&D projects, delivering new medicines with high quality, reduced cycle time and well controlled cost. Prior to joining Sanofi in 2003, Dr. Zhang worked at Merck Research Laboratories. Dr. Zhang has been extensively published in clinical development research areas. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in mathematics, probability and statistics from Peking University, China and earned a Ph.D. in statistics from North Carolina State University.