BioNJ Appoints Three New Board Members

TRENTON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BioNJ, The Gateway to Health, announced the recent appointment of three new Board Members. The addition of these prominent industry leaders to the Board of Trustees reinforces BioNJ’s Mission to propel New Jersey’s dynamic life sciences ecosystem forward where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed and Patients are Paramount.

The new Board Members elected on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, are James Sapirstein, Chief Executive Officer, ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ambaw Bellete, President and Head of Cancer Commercial Operations, Photocure, Inc.; and Paul G. Howes, Executive Chairman, Thrombogenics, Inc.

“We welcome our newest Members to the BioNJ Board of Trustees,” stated Stuart Peltz, Ph.D., BioNJ’s Chairman of the Board and President and CEO of PTC Therapeutics. “Given their leadership roles in the industry, Mr. Sapirstein, Mr. Bellete and Mr. Howes will help us advance our Mission of advancing New Jersey’s innovative ecosystem.”

“We are thrilled to have these accomplished leaders join our already talented Board of Trustees,” said BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart. “We are grateful for the unselfish service our Board provides in guiding our efforts to drive innovation and help stimulate the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures that save and improve lives. As BioNJ’s rallying cry states,Because Patients Can’t Wait.”

James Sapirstein, R.Ph., MBA, Chief Executive Officer, ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

A returning Board Member, Mr. Sapirstein has over 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience. Prior to joining ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, 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 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.

Ambaw Bellete, President and Head of Cancer Commercial Operations, Photocure, Inc.

Mr. Bellete 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.

Paul G. Howes, Executive Chairman, ThromboGenics, Inc.

Mr. Howes currently serves as Executive Chairman of ThromboGenics, Inc., the U.S. operating subsidiary of Belgian biotech company ThromboGenics, NV. Additionally, he serves as a Director on the parent company’s Board. Prior to ThromboGenics, Mr. Howes was the President and CEO of Inotek Pharmaceuticals, a NASDAQ-listed 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.

In addition to Dr. Peltz and Ms. Hart, officers of the Board of Trustees include: Immediate Past Chair, Francois Nader, M.D., M.B.A., Former President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, NPS Pharma; Vice Chairman, Donna Tempel, Ph.D., M.B.A., President and Chief Executive Officer, Drais Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Secretary, Christian Kopfli, Esq., Chief Executive Officer, Chromocell Corporation; and Treasurer, Elizabeth Posillico, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Elusys Therapeutics, Inc. They will join current Trustees, Al Altomari, President and CEO, Agile Therapeutics; John Crowley, Chairman and CEO, Amicus Therapeutics; Paul Chew, M.D., Senior Vice President, Group Chief Medical Officer and Head of North American R&D Hub, Sanofi; Pamela R. Demain, M.B.A., CLP, Executive Director, Corporate Licensing, Merck & Co., Inc.; George Golumbeski, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Business Development, Celgene Corporation; John Maki, President and CEO, Vicus Therapeutics; Anthony S. Marucci, M.B.A., Founder, President, CEO and Director, Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.; Mohamed Ragab, M.D., Vice President, Search & Evaluation, Oncology, Business Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Spiro Rombotis, President and CEO, Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Alan L. Rubino, President and CEO, Emisphere Technologies, Inc.; Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D., President and CEO, Soligenix, Inc.; and Scott White, President Oncology, Janssen Biotech, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company.

About BioNJ

BioNJ, The Gateway to Health, is a powerful network of 400 Member Investors representing research-based life sciences companies and stakeholders dedicated to propelling a vibrant ecosystem where Science is Supported, Companies are Created, Drugs are Developed and Patients are Paramount. Because Patients Can’t Wait, BioNJ is committed to the growth and prosperity of New Jersey’s life sciences ecosystem to help accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures that save and improve lives and lessen the burden of illness and disease to society. As the industry’s voice in New Jersey, we fulfill our mission to help companies help patients by driving capital formation and fostering entrepreneurship, advocating for public policies that advance medical innovation, providing access to talent and education and offering a cost-saving array of critical commercial resources. For more information about BioNJ, please visit


Randi Bromberg
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