BioNJ Elects Board Chair, Officers and Trustees

From left: Dr. Chris Schaber, Gov. Phil Murphy, Debbie Hart and James Sapirstein

TRENTON, N.J. – (February 19, 2019) – BioNJ, New Jersey’s largest life sciences trade association, announced the election of its 2019 Officers and Board Members. The election preceded BioNJ’s 26th Annual Dinner Meeting and Innovation Celebration on February 7 at the Hilton East Brunswick where 700 industry leaders turned out to celebrate the industry and its accomplishments over dinner, networking and awards presentations.

Newly elected Officers include Chairman Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Soligenix, Inc.; Vice Chairman Daniel J. O’Connor, J.D., Chief Executive Officer, OncoSec Medical, Inc.; Treasurer Monika A. Vnuk, M.D., Vice President, R&D Business Development, Pfizer, Inc.; and Secretary Michele Korfin, Chief Commercial Officer, Tyme Technologies, Inc.

Dr. Schaber was elected Chairman, succeeding James Sapirstein, R.Ph., MBA, Executive Vice Chairman, RespireRX, who concluded a two-year term moving into the Immediate Past Chairman’s role.

“At BioNJ, we have been blessed with tremendous leadership which has enabled BioNJ’s growth and success over the years. Our new Board, led by Chris, will be no exception. With so many important opportunities and challenges facing the industry, we look forward to working with our new Chairman and all of our officers and Board members as we forge ahead ensuring that New Jersey remains a robust life sciences ecosystem and that innovation and Patient access are empowered,” said BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart.

“It is an honor to serve as the Chairman of BioNJ and to follow in the path of the strong leaders before me. I look forward to working with the Board, our Members and the Team in our efforts to protect medical innovation and make a difference for Patients around the world. From value frameworks to fostering emerging companies, BioNJ will continue to advocate on behalf of the industry, our Members and Patients,” said Dr. Schaber.

New Chairman:
Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Soligenix, Inc.

Dr. Schaber has served in his current role at Soligenix since 2006. In addition to his service on the Board of BioNJ, Dr. Schaber has served on the board of the Alliance for Biosecurity. He has been a member of the corporate councils for the National Organization for Rare Disorders and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Prior to joining Soligenix, Dr. Schaber served from 1998 to 2006 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Discovery Laboratories, Inc. 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.


BioNJ’s Newly Elected Officers:
Vice Chairman: Daniel J. O’Connor, J.D., Chief Executive Officer, OncoSec Medical, Inc.

Prior to joining OncoSec Medical, Mr. O’Connor served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Advaxis Immunotherapies. Raising more than $250 million in funding and transforming it into a patient-focused, leading cancer immunotherapy company, Mr. O’Connor successfully turned around the company. He was also instrumental in establishing major partnerships with companies that include Amgen Inc., Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb. In addition, under Mr. O’Connor’s leadership, the company advanced four new cancer immunotherapy drug candidates into clinical trials, as well as several PD-1 combination clinical studies with Keytruda® and Opdivo®. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for ImClone Systems and General Counsel at PharmaNet (inVentiv Health).

Treasurer: Monika A. Vnuk, M.D., Vice President, R&D Business Development, Pfizer, Inc.

In her current role, Dr. Vnuk leads an international team responsible for executing all pre-clinical business development transactions for Pfizer. Since joining Pfizer in 2008, Dr. Vnuk has been responsible for leading the evaluation, execution and negotiations of many business transactions, including licensing deals, collaborations, joint-ventures and mergers and acquisitions, in support of Pfizer’s Innovative Medicines and Established Medicines businesses across developed and emerging markets. Before joining Pfizer, Dr. Vnuk was a Vice President at Banc of America Securities. Prior to her position at Banc of America, Dr. Vnuk was a Principal at Oxford Bioscience Partners, a venture capital firm focused on early stage biotechnology investments. Prior to her role with Oxford Bioscience, Dr. Vnuk was a Fellow at the Health Care Entrepreneurship Program at Boston University.

Secretary: Michele Korfin, Chief Commercial Officer, Tyme Technologies, Inc. 

Ms. Korfin recently joined Tyme Technologies, Inc. as Chief Commercial Officer. Tyme is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing novel cancer therapeutics, intended to be safe and effective across a broad range of tumor types. Prior to joining Tyme, Ms. Korfin served as the Vice President, Market Access for Kite, a Gilead company. Her responsibilities at Kite included overseeing Government Affairs, Payer Relations, Reimbursement Support, Health Economics and Kite KonnectTM. Prior to joining Kite, Ms. Korfin spent over 11 years at Celgene in a number of different roles spanning Commercial and Project Leadership. These roles included the Global Project Leader for Lenalidomide in Lymphoma, Head of U.S. Market Access, Oncology Team National Sales Director and leadership roles in U.S. and Global Marketing.

Three New Members Joined the BioNJ Board of Trustees, Including:
Angela Bechan, Vice President, Head of North America Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Sanofi

Ms. Bechan is responsible for building and overseeing external and internal communication strategies and activities for the North America region, including messaging, media outreach, digital strategy, product communications and executive and internal communications. She is also responsible for the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Ms. Bechan also serves on Sanofi’s Global Communications Leadership Team, sits on the Board of Directors for the Sanofi Foundation and serves as the executive sponsor of both the Women Inspiring Sanofi Excellence employee resource group and the Sanofi Diversity & Inclusion Council. Prior to joining Sanofi, Ms. Bechan worked at Takeda Pharmaceuticals for 13 years, where she was most recently Vice President of Corporate Communications. Prior to Takeda, she held positions of increasing responsibility at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide and Andersen Consulting (Accenture).

Tom Cavanaugh, President, Janssen Oncology and a Member of the Janssen Americas Leadership Team

Mr. Cavanaugh joined Janssen in September 2017 after a successful career at Celgene where he led the U.S. Hematology/Oncology business. As Corporate Vice President and General Manager, his leadership was instrumental to exceeding business objectives through innovative approaches. Prior to this role, Mr. Cavanaugh was Vice President of U.S. Hematology Sales and Marketing, where he led the U.S. launch of REVLIMID® in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma and pre-launch activities for IDHIFA®. Over the course of 14 years at Celgene, Mr. Cavanaugh held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in marketing, general management, medical affairs and product development. His extensive global experience includes two roles in Europe. Mr. Cavanaugh joined Celgene from Pharmacia. He began his career as a chemist and pharmacy technician.

Greg Oakes, Corporate Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Inflammation & Immunology, Celgene Corporation

Mr. Oakes joined Celgene in July 2017. He is responsible for commercializing Celgene’s I&I portfolio in the U.S. Previously, Mr. Oakes served as Vice President & Head Biopharmaceuticals, North America, Sandoz Inc., a Novartis Division. He led the Sandoz biopharmaceuticals business and was responsible for the development and commercialization of the portfolio. Mr. Oakes has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience and serves as a member of the Sandoz U.S. Executive Committee. He also served as Vice President and Head of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporations U.S. Managed Markets, Market Access and Primary Care & Established Medicines Business Unit. Prior to joining Novartis, Mr. Oakes worked at Schering-Plough Pharmaceutical Corporation as General Manager, Czech Republic and Slovakia. He also held positions of increasing responsibility within sales and U.S. managed markets.

Board of Trustees 2019 (Click here for full bios for BioNJ’s Board Members.)
In addition to the newly elected Officers and Board Members, Members of the Board of Trustees are: Immediate Past Chair James Sapirstein, R.Ph., MBA, Executive Vice Chairman, RespireRX; Debbie Hart, President and CEO, BioNJ; Sol J. Barer, Ph.D., Former Chairman and Chief Executive Office, Celgene Corporation and Chairman of the Board, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries; Ambaw Bellete, President, Photocure, Inc.; Bradley Campbell, President and Chief Operating Officer, Amicus Therapeutics, Inc.; Paul G. Howes, Executive Vice President, Translatum Medicus, Inc.; Christian Kopfli, Esq., Chief Executive Officer, Chromocell Corporation; John Maki, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jade River Pharma; Anthony S. Marucci, M.B.A., Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.; Stuart W. Peltz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, PTC Therapeutics, Inc.; Matthew Roden, Ph.D., Head of Strategic Corporate Development and Global Business Development Assessment, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Spiro Rombotis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Alan Rubino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Emisphere Technologies, Inc.; and Marco Taglietti, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, SCYNEXIS, Inc.

Returning Board Advisors include: Daniel Barton, Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Healthcare Solutions, IQVIA; Rajeev Dadoo, Ph.D., Partner, SROne; Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., FACP, CPE, Chief Innovation Officer and President of Physician Enterprise, Hackensack Meridian Health; and Tony Torrington, CPA, Partner, EY, LLP.

About BioNJ
BioNJ is a trade association of nearly 400 Member companies representing research-based life sciences organizations 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 supports its Members in the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures that save and improve lives and lessen the burden of illness and disease to society by driving capital formation, 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
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
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