The Seasoned and Agile Hand of Executive Talent

Assembly Biosciences Expands Senior Leadership Team

January 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Assembly Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASMB), a biotechnology company developing curative treatments for infectious diseases including hepatitis B virus (HBV) andC. difficile (CDI) infections, today announced several new senior level hires across the organization. The added team members include Richard Colonno, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer; Thomas Rollins as Chief Development Officer and Head of the Microbiome Program; Elizabeth Haber Lacy as General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Operations.

“The exceptional quality of these incoming senior managers adds significant depth and experience to the innovative science and technical approaches we are pursuing at Assembly to cure HBV and leverage the microbiome to treat infectious diseases,” said Assembly Chief Executive Officer Derek Small. “With our team largely complete and cash reserves on hand projected to fund our progress for two years, we anticipate initiating clinical trials in the second half of 2016 with our microbiome therapy for recurrent CDI and our lead CpAM antiviral compound for the treatment of HBV.”

Chief Development Officer and Head of the Microbiome Program Thomas Rollins joins Assembly from anti-infective drug developer Cubist Pharmaceuticals, where he was Senior Vice President and Global Head, Program and Portfolio Management, chairing the team overseeing global product development. During his tenure, Mr. Rollins oversaw the global development and commercialization of the anti-bacterial drugs Sivestro®and Zerbaxa®, and helped transform Cubist into a multi-program, multi-product company. Previously, Mr. Rollins was Senior Vice President, Program Management at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. At Sepracor, as Senior Vice President of Development, Mr. Rollins established an efficient and productive semi-virtual drug development organization that advanced Lunesta® from IND through NDA submission in just 42 months. Earlier in his career, Mr. Rollins served as a researcher before moving to Project Management at Merck, where he was co-team leader for a number of major global products, including Crixivan®, the first HIV protease inhibitor, and the pioneering osteoporosis drug Fosamax®. Mr. Rollins received an MBA from Rutgers University and BS and MS degrees from Michigan State University.

About Assembly Biosciences

Assembly Biosciences, Inc. is a public biotechnology company developing novel oral therapies for the cure of intractable infectious diseases, currently focusing on hepatitis B virus (HBV) and C. difficile infections (CDI). Assembly’s HBV-Cure research team is discovering and developing multiple drug candidates that address both upstream and downstream targets in the HBV lifecycle for possible use in combination therapy. The goal is to eradicate, rather than just treat, HBV infection with an orally-administered regimen. Assembly has built a senior scientific team that has over 30 years of combined experience working on HBV. The company’s CDI program is focused on the targeted delivery of microbiome-based therapies in a novel oral formulation to treat recurrent CDI patients. Assembly has a proprietary delivery system, GemicelTM, which allows for targeted delivery of selected GMP-manufactured bacteria to the lower gastrointestinal tract, and it has built a team of world-class microbiome scientists from academia and industry to help advance this innovative program. For more information visit

NantKwest hires Dr. Stephen Farrand as Senior Vice President, Global Manufacturing

September 2015

Stephen Farrand, Ph.D., former Merck executive appointed Senior Vice President, Global Manufacturing

NantKwest, Inc. (Nasdaq: NK), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the power of the innate immune system by using natural killer cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases, today announced the appointment of Stephen Farrand, Ph. D., as senior vice president of global manufacturing.

“Dr. Farrand is an experienced executive, with an impressive track record of achievement in chemistry, manufacturing and control (CMC) development,” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of NantKwest. “He brings expertise in all aspects of biologics development and manufacturing, as well as a full understanding of cGMP compliance requirements and the regulatory environment. With our recent acquisition of two production sites in Southern California, including a 45,000 square foot facility in Torrey Pines, Dr. Farrand fills a key function as we expand in-house production capacity for our aNK, haNK and taNK products.”

Prior to joining NantKwest, Dr. Farrand was vice president bioprocess development for Merck Research Laboratories, where his leadership was instrumental to the successful development and commercialization of Merck’s PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, Keytruda. Previously, he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility with Schering Plough, most recently as vice president global biologics & sterile product development. Before that, Dr. Farrand served in senior level development & manufacturing positions with Delta Biotechnology, Sigma Chemical and G. D. Searle. Dr. Farrand has a PhD in Microbial Physiology from the University of Leicester, UK, and a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Bath, UK.

About NantKwest Inc. NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) is a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. NK cells are the body’s first line of defense due to the innate ability of NK cells to rapidly identify and destroy cells under stress, such as cancer or virally-infected cells.

Ultragenyx Appoints John Pinion as
Chief Quality Operations Officer and
Senior Vice President, Analytical Sciences and Research

July, 2015

Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:RARE), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel products for rare and ultra-rare diseases, today announced it has appointed John Pinion as Chief Quality Operations Officer and Senior Vice President, Analytical Sciences and Research, effective July 13, 2015. In this newly created role, Mr. Pinion will be responsible for the overall quality operations and analytical sciences, including Quality management of all GxP, Compliance, Validation, QC GMP, QC Clinical and QC Research. Mr. Pinion will also participate in translational research, business development, and strategic planning activities as a key member of Ultragenyx’s executive leadership team. He will report to Emil D. Kakkis, M.D., Ph.D., Ultragenyx’s CEO.

Mr. Pinion has over 25 years of global experience providing executive leadership and expertise in quality and manufacturing management of biologic, pharmaceutical, and device operations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. He joined Genentech in 2005 as the Vice President of External Quality and held roles with increasing responsibilities including his most recent position as the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Quality and Compliance for Roche/Genentech Pharma Technical Operations. He was responsible for all Biotech and Pharmaceutical Quality and GMP compliance activities across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Prior to joining Genentech, Mr. Pinion held several executive positions for Baxter International both domestically and abroad, in global quality and manufacturing environments including Vice President, Quality, Renal, Cellular Therapies, Baxter Japan and Vice President, Quality North American Operations, Baxter BioScience.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of West Virginia.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Executive Leadership Team, I would like to welcome John to Ultragenyx,” said Dr. Kakkis. “As an industry veteran, John’s strong strategic leadership and proven track record in leading biotechnology organizations will be an important asset for Ultragenyx as the company prepares for potential commercial-stage products.”
“I am excited to join Emil and the Ultragenyx team at a critical time in the company’s growth,” commented Mr. Pinion. “The company’s long-term vision and overall commitment to developing treatment for patients with rare diseases is aligned with my personal and professional values.”

About Ultragenyx

Ultragenyx is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing to market novel products for the treatment of rare and ultra-rare diseases, with a focus on serious, debilitating genetic diseases. Founded in 2010, the company has rapidly built a diverse portfolio of product candidates with the potential to address diseases for which the unmet medical need is high, the biology for treatment is clear, and for which there are no approved therapies.

The company is led by a management team experienced in the development and commercialization of rare disease therapeutics. Ultragenyx’s strategy is predicated upon time and cost-efficient drug development, with the goal of delivering safe and effective therapies to patients with the utmost urgency.

Ultragenyx Appoints Dennis Huang as
Chief Technical Operations Officer and
Senior Vice President

June 2015

Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq:RARE), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel products for rare and ultra-rare diseases, today announced it has appointed Dennis Huang as its Chief Technical Operations Officer. In this role, Mr. Huang will be responsible for developing and implementing manufacturing and supply chain strategies for all Ultragenyx products from inception to commercialization.  He will be responsible for managing all aspects of clinical and commercial manufacturing operations and provide leadership and direction to the technical operations team. He will report to Emil D. Kakkis, M.D., Ph.D., Ultragenyx’s CEO, and will serve on the Executive Leadership Team.

Most recently, Mr. Huang was the Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain for InterMune, Inc., where he led the global manufacturing organization and supply chain activities for the company. This includes development of the supply chain strategy, rationalization of the manufacturing network and management of the distribution channels.  Prior to InterMune, he served as the Vice-President of Biologics Manufacturing and Development for Allergan, Inc.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Huang held several positions at Novartis AG (formerly Chiron, Inc.), at Genentech, Inc. and Synergen (currently Amgen Inc.), where he worked in a number of increasing management roles including manufacturing, quality and process development.  He holds a BA in Chemistry from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Executive team, I am pleased to welcome Dennis to Ultragenyx. Dennis’ expertise and experience in global manufacturing of biologics and small molecule products will be extremely beneficial to Ultragenyx as we progress our clinical program and prepare for commercialization in the next few years,” said Dr. Kakkis. “I look forward to working with Dennis as he continues to develop our manufacturing operations and contract manufacturing relationships that will allow the company to deliver treatments to rare disease patients who need it most.”

“Ultragenyx is at an exciting stage and I am thrilled about joining a team that is dedicated and committed to developing novel therapies for these patients who have no approved treatments,” commented Mr. Huang. “I look forward to working with the leadership team to support the continued progress towards commercialization and growth of the company’s product pipeline.”

ArmaGen, Inc. - Calabasas and San Diego, California
Global Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance
Douglas Hunt

May 2015

ArmaGen, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company focused on developing novel therapies to treat severe neurological disorders, announced that Douglas Hunt has joined ArmaGen as Global Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. ArmaGen based in Southern California is lead by Chief Executive Officer James E. Callaway, Ph.D. and the investor group is led by the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH, and includes Shire plc, Takeda Ventures, Inc. and Mitsui Corporation Venture Partnership Technology Fund I, LLC.

Mr. Hunt was previously Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Baxter Biosciences and held Executive Director positions with Amgen and Quintiles, Inc. Doug received his Bachelor of Applied Science degree from University of Portmouth, UK.

CytomX Therapeutics, Inc. -- South San Francisco, California
Vice President, Process Sciences & Manufacturing Operations
Sridhar Viswanathan, Ph.D.

January 2015

Sridhar Viswanathan, Ph.D., joined CytomX in January 2015 as Vice President of Process Sciences and Manufacturing Operations. Dr. Viswanathan joins CytomX from Perseid Therapeutics, a joint venture between Maxygen and Astellas that was subsequently acquired by Astellas, where he served as Vice President of Process Development and Manufacturing Operations. In this capacity, he was responsible for all internal process development and external manufacturing operations at contract manufacturing organizations for advancing CTLA4-Ig Fc fusion products for autoimmune disease and organ transplant rejection. Before joining Perseid, Dr. Viswanathan spent several years at Maxygen directing process development and clinical manufacturing for next generation biologics programs, including PEGylated interferon alpha, PEG-G-CSF and FVIIa. Prior to this, he held positions at Coulter Pharmaceutical, Bayer Corporation, and Genentech. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and completed his postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University and Stanford University.

JHL Biotech, Inc. -- Taiwan, ROC
Head, Quality Affairs
Sohail Qureshi

January 2015

JHL Biotech (“JHL”) is a start-up company founded in 2012 with a vision of making biopharmaceuticals affordable and accessible to all patients through manufacturing innovation, announced Sohail Qureshi has joined the company as Head of Quality Affairs, Taiwan. JHL is led by an experienced team of Genentech and Amgen veterans, and funded by top-tier venture capital firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Sequoia Capital, Biomark Capital and CDIB, JHL is uniquely positioned to deliver manufacturing solutions to its worldwide partners.

Sohail brings 18 years of experience in the biotech industry, with at least 10 years of increasing management responsibility, with significant experience in Quality functions. Prior to joining JHL Mr. Qureshi workd at Genentech, ImClone Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly, and Monsanto.

JHL Biotech, Inc. -- Taiwan, ROC
Head, Regulatory Affairs
Peter Pang, Ph.D.

October 2014

JHL Biotech, a start-up company founded in 2012 with a vision of making biopharmaceuticals affordable and accessible to all patients through manufacturing innovation announced Peter Pang has joined the company as Head of Regulatory Affairs, Taiwan. JHL is led by an experienced team of Genentech and Amgen veterans, and funded by top-tier venture capital firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Sequoia Capital, Biomark Capital and CDIB JHL is uniquely positioned to deliver manufacturing solutions to its worldwide partners.

Prior to joining JHL Peter worked in a management roles for 159 Anti-Aging Center, LTD., New A Innovation Limited and Cardiome Pharma Corporation. Dr. Pang received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and his BA Sc. in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of British Coloumbia.

Cypher Genomics, Inc. -- San Diego, California
President / Chief Operating Officer
Adam Simpson, JD

August 2014

San Diego-based Cypher Genomics Inc. announced the promotion of Adam Simpson as President and Chief Operating Officer. The Domann Organization initially placed Adam as Chief Business Officer in January 2014.

Cypher executives said the appointment of Simpson as COO and President is a good match for the company’s needs. “Adam’s depth of transactional and emerging company expertise makes him ideally suited to help lead the company forward,” CEO Ashley Van Zeeland commented.

Prior to his appointment, Simpson was an executive adviser to life science investors and companies including Chief Business Officer for Cypher Genomics. Before that, he was Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Meritage Pharma from the company’s creation through an option agreement with ViroPharma for its sale. He was the general counsel at Verus Pharmaceuticals, where he led its sale to AstraZeneca and Shionogi. Before that he was a lawyer at Latham and Watkins. Simpson has been involved in more than $1 billion of San Diego life science financings across multiple therapeutics, diagnostics and tools companies and the creation of several companies that have either gone public or were acquired.

Swift Biosciences, Inc. -- Ann Arbor, Michigan
Executive Vice President, Product Development
Tim Harkins, Ph.D.

July 2014

Swift Biosciences, based in Ann Arbor, MI., a fast-moving company focused on developing enabling technologies and products for genomics and personalized medicine announced the hire of Tim Harkins Ph.D., as Executive Vice President, Product Development.

Tim has extensive experience in the DNA sciences and market, including the first to generate over $100M in next generation sequencing, launched a multi-million dollar reagent product with 98% gross margins, and over 50 peer reviewed publications with key opinion leaders representing a wide spectrum of applications along with establishing associated scientific networks. Dr. Harkins previously worked at Life Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Roche. He received his BA in English and Chemistry from Kenyon Collete and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Utah.

Celladon Corporation – Greater San Diego, California
Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs
Muriel Spooner

July 2014

Celladon a clinical-stage biotechnology company applying our leadership position in the field of gene therapy and calcium dysregulation to develop novel therapies for diseases with tremendous unmet medical needs announced the hire of Muriel Spooner as Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs.

Muriel previously worked at Trius Therapeutics, TargaGen and Alliance in leadership roles focused on Regulatory Submissions, Drug Development and Regulatory Affairs. She earned her B.A. Sc. in Zoology / Animal Biology at the University of Davis.

Scripps Advance, LLC - La Jolla, California and Juniper, Florida
Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
Neil Gibson, Ph.D.

June 2014

The Scripps Research Institute Announces ‘Scripps Advance,’ a New Drug Discovery Initiative — LA JOLLA, CA, AND JUPITER, FL — April 14, 2014 — The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) announced the formation of Scripps Advance, a new drug discovery initiative to translate early-stage biomedical research projects, both internal and external to TSRI, into clinical development candidates. Scripps Advance’s first collaborator in this new endeavor is the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California. They are pleased to announce Neil Gibson, Ph.D. has been hired as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board.

Neil is currently serving as Chief Scientific Officer at Regulus and previously worked at Pfizer, OSI, BAYER and the NIH before joining Scripps Advance. He attended school at the University of Strathclyde where he earned his Ph.D.

Arcturus Therapeutics, Inc. – Greater San Diego, California
Independent Board Members
Bob Baltera and Stuart Collinson, Ph.D.

May 2014

“We are very pleased to have Bob and Stuart join the Arcturus Board. Both are widely recognized as successful biotech executives with exceptional credentials in cultivating company and strong track records of execution,” said Joseph E. Payne, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “With the addition of Bob and Stuart, we are building a San Diego all-star team of advisors that will help propel Acturus toward becoming a substantial player in the life sciences sector.

Robert “Bob” Baltera is a seasoned pharmaceutical executive with vast business and product management experiences. Bob was the Chief Executive Officer at Amira Pharmaceutical, Inc. which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company for $325M upfront and $150M in future milestones. Before becoming Amira’s CEO, Bob worked for 17 years at Amgen, Inc. during which time he held a number of senior management positions, the last being vice president of corporate and contract manufacturing.

Bob serves in senior roles in several organizations, including Board of Directors at Organovo Holdings, Inc. (ONVO), Xencor, Inc. (XNCR), Panmira Pharmaceuticals, LLC, and San Diego Venture Group. He is also a Trustee of the Keck Graduate Institute Business Advisory panel member of PBS Biotech, Inc. and Executive Chairman at Adheron, Inc. Bob has a M.B.A. from Anderson School at UCLA and earned his B.S. in microbiology and M.S. in genetics from the Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Stuart Collinson is a partner at Forward Ventures and also the Executive Chairman of Tioga Pharmaceuticals Inc. Previously he was Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Aurora Biosciences Corporation (acquired by Vertex Pharmaceutical, Inc.). Before Aurora Stuart was Chief Executive Officer of Andaris Limited (acquired by Quadrant and now part of Perrigo). He held senior management positions at GlaxoWellcome plc. (now GlaxoSmithKline plc.) and Baxter International was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Dr. Collinson was previously a Director of Affinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Debiopharma Group), Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals Corp. (acquired by Pharmion Corp., now part of Celgene Corp.), Conforma Therapeutics Corp. (acquired by BiogenIdec, Inc.), GeneOhm Sciences, Inc. (acquired by Becton, Dickinson and Company), NovaCardia, Inc. (acquired by Merck & Co, Inc.), and Proprius Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Cypress Bioscience, Inc.), and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. Dr. Collinson received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Oxford.

KemPharm, Inc., Coralville, Iowa
Independent Board Member
Richard Pascoe

January 2014

KemPharm, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of new, safer therapies to treat pain, announced today the appointment of Richard Pascoe, CEO of Apricus Biosciences to the company’s Board of Directors. The addition of Mr. Pascoe brings extensive public company and business development experience to KemPharm as the company prepares for multiple clinical and business milestones in 2014, including the expected submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) for KP201, KemPharm’s lead clinical candidate, in the third quarter of 2014.

Richard Pascoe is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Apricus Biosciences (NASDAQ: APRI), a position that he has held since March of 2013. Prior to Apricus, Mr. Pascoe was the Chief Executive Officer of Somaxon Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for the FDA approval and commercialization of its lead drug Silenor® prior to the merger of Somaxon with Pernix Therapeutics. Mr. Pascoe’s career is further highlighted by a series of senior management roles at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., King Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Medco Research, Inc. (which was acquired by King), COR Therapeutics, Inc., B. Braun Interventional and The BOC Group. Mr. Pascoe served as a Commissioned Officer with the U.S. Army 24th Infantry Division, following his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he received a B.S degree in Leadership.

Naurex, Inc.- Evanston, Illinois
Chief Executive Officer and Board Member
Norbert Reidel, Ph.D.

January 2014

Naurex, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel modulators of the NMDA receptor to treat challenging diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) announced the appointment of Dr. Norbert Riedel as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member. Dr. Riedel was formerly corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer at Baxter International. Earlier in his tenure at Baxter, Dr. Riedel was president and general manager of the recombinant proteins unit and vice president of research and development for Baxter’s Bioscience business. Previously, Dr. Riedel was head of worldwide biotechnology and core research functions at Hoechst Marion Roussel, now Sanofi. He also held a number of scientific management positions at Hoechst-Marion Roussel and Hoechst. Dr. Riedel serves on the boards of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Ariad Pharmaceuticals and the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization. Dr. Riedel is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn to serve on the Illinois Innovation Council. Dr. Riedel received a Diploma and Ph.D. from the University of Frankfurt and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cellectar, Inc.- Madison, Wisconsin
Chief Executive Officer and Board Member
Simon Pedder, Ph.D.

October 2013

Novelos Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCQX: NVLT) announced that the Board of Directors, on October 4, 2013, appointed Dr. Simon Pedder as Acting Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Pedder brings over 25 years of industry experience to the role, having served most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of Chelsea Therapeutics, a Charlotte-based public company which he founded. Prior to his time at Chelsea, Simon held senior leadership positions at Hoffmann La Roche, including serving as an Officer and Vice President of Pharma Business Oncology.

About Novelos Therapeutics, Inc.

We are a pharmaceutical company developing novel drugs for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Our cancer-targeted compounds are selectively taken up and retained in cancer cells, including cancer stem cells, versus normal cells. I-124-CLR1404 (LIGHT) is a small-molecule, broad-spectrum, cancer-targeted PET imaging agent. LIGHT Phase 1-2 clinical trials are ongoing across 11 solid tumor indications anywhere in the body in a novel, effective and highly selective way.

KemPharm, Inc., Coralville, Iowa
Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Rusty Johnson

July 2013

Kempharm, Inc, safer therapies to treat pain, announced today Gordon K. “Rusty” Johnson has joined KemPharm in the role of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer since July 2013. Prior to joining our company, Mr. Johnson was the president and chief operating officer of Citius Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a specialty pharmaceutical company, from November 2012 to July 2013. From July 2012 to October 2012, Mr. Johnson was the executive vice president and chief business officer of Direct Markets, Inc., a technology company. From June 2011 to July 2012, Mr. Johnson served as a managing director of Rodman & Renshaw, LLC. Prior to that, he was a managing director at Piper Jaffray & Co. from 2007 to March 2011. Mr. Johnson received his M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School and his B.A. degree from the University of Missouri.

COI Pharma, Inc.
Avalon Ventures and GSK JV
Chief Scientific Officer, Biologics
Marc Nasoff, Ph.D.

July 2013

Avalon Ventures Enters Strategic Collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline to Fund and Launch Up to Ten Life Science Companies

Avalon Ventures today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to fund and launch up to ten early-stage life science companies in San Diego. This first-of-its-kind collaboration combines Avalon Ventures’ successful approach of investing in early-stage life science innovation with GSK’s expertise and resources in drug discovery and development.

Avalon Ventures also announced that they have hired Marc Nasoff, Ph.D. as Chief Scientific Officer, Biologics. Dr. Nasoff will lead Avalon Ventures efforts to identify promising new technologies focusing on early-stage discovery across various therapy areas.

A joint management committee of Avalon and GSK will then approve the formation of new companies based upon these technologies. Together, Avalon and GSK will finance these newly-established companies. Avalon Ventures will provide funding of up to $30 million from its recently announced $200 million Fund X. GSK will provide company seed funding, research and development support and success-based preclinical and clinical milestones up to a total of $465 million for ten companies.

“The collaboration between GSK and Avalon Ventures represents a new paradigm for funding early-stage life science companies in which Avalon can continue to pursue its validated approach to company formation and value creation while capitalizing on the drug discovery and development infrastructure of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies,” said Jay Lichter, Managing Director of Avalon Ventures, who directs life science investing for the fund. “I believe that this partnership has the potential to drive the innovation ecosystem and economic growth in Southern California.”
“The initiative is modeled in part on GSK’s successful Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) program, which now has eight projects underway with universities in the US, Canada and the UK,” said Lon Cardon, Senior Vice President, Alternative Discovery & Development, GSK. “We are excited by this new way that pharma and venture capital are collaborating to nurture innovation and look forward to a successful relationship with Avalon Ventures.”

Nodality, Inc.- South San Francisco, CA
Vice President, Clinical- Head, Immunology
Barbara Mittleman, M.D.

April 2013

Nodality is a San Francisco Bay Area life sciences company on a mission to help drug developers deliver more effective drugs to more precisely targeted patient groups announced the hire of Barbara Mittleman, M.D. as Vice President, Clinical and Head of Immunology Prior to joining Nodality Dr. Mittleman worked at the National Institute of Health. At the NIH Barbara spearheaded the development of the Public-Private Partnership Program and served as its inaugural Director from 2005-12. She led the identification and development of promising partnership opportunities between NIH and academia; industries(pharmaceutical, biotechnology, IT, and others); USG agencies such as FDA, NIST, NASA, CMS and others; and advocacy organizations. Policy, negotiation, operations, project management, and consultation of >100 projects were under Dr. Mittleman’s oversight. Building bridges between industry, government, and academia though PPPs, presentations at conferences and scientific meetings, advising domestic and international bodies, and representing NIH at, e.g., the National Academies of Science Government-Industry-University Research Roundtable and University-Industry Demonstration Partnership have been among her activities. She also maintained clinical privileges at the NIH Clinical Center and precepted rheumatology fellows through the national Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Her research interests include health disparities in rheumatic disease, the structuring and assessment of PPPs, and biomarkers of rheumatic diseases. Dr. Mittleman attended the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine where she received her Doctorate of Medicine in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Nodality is lead by Laura Brege and the company’s technology is founded around a multiparametric flow cytometry platform – Single Cell Network Profiling (SCNP) – that provides robust, human cell-based translational models of disease, drug activity and patient responses. SCNP reveals complex biology at the single-cell level, creating competitive advantages in addressing many of the most pressing challenges in drug discovery and development.

Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. –
Independent Board Member
Rip Gerber

April 2013

Aratana is focused on delivering solutions for unmet and underserved medical needs in pets, announced the appointment of Robert B.“Rip” Gerber, Jr. as an Independent Board Member. Aratana Therapeutics is a pet therapeutics company focused on licensing, developing and commercializing innovative biopharmaceutical products for companion animals. Aratana believes that it can leverage the investment in the human biopharmaceutical industry to bring therapeutics to pets in a capital and time efficient manner.

Rip Gerber is the founder of “Location-as-a-Service” (LaaS) and built Locaid into world’s largest LaaS platform that now locates over 350 million wireless devices for the world’s biggest banks, mobile agencies, brands and application developers. Rip is a noted mobile industry visionary, entrepreneur, public company executive and international best-selling author. Prior to Locaid, Rip served in senior executive roles at various public and private companies. At Nokia, he served as General Manager and Chief Marketing Officer of Intellisync, where he’s recognized for transforming the company’s brand and products and orchestrating the $510M acquisition by Nokia. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President at Carlson, a $38 billion company and one of the largest family-held corporations in the United States. Rip was also on the founding executive team of Commtouch, where, as Chief Marketing Officer, he was a lead executive in taking the company public in 1999. Earlier in his career, Rip founded @once, an email marketing company that was later acquired by InfoUSA. He also served in engineering and management roles at Deloitte Consulting, American Express and Firestone Tire & Rubber. Rip holds several patents in location technologies, sits on the WIC Leadership Council of the CTIA and has spoken at many industry events, including the DMA, CTIA and CES. His thrillers have been published by Random House and Forge. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

CellAstra, Inc. –San Francisco, CA
Independent Board Member
Brian Lundstrom, M.Sc. MBA

January 2013

Cellastra, Inc., a pioneering cellular therapeutics and regenerative medicine company, today announced the appointment of Daniel Quintero to the Board of Directors as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Virginia Fennerty-Brooks to the Management Team as Vice President, Business Development. Cellastra focuses on the emergent commercial space around human regenerative medicines that stem from revolutionary discoveries of the ability of cells to regenerate and repair tissues or organs and novel pioneering techniques that are being developed in the world’s leading research institutions. Dr. Karl Mettinger, Co-founder, President and CEO, notes that “With the appointment of Brian Lundstrom we have a new member of our leadership that is an industry veteran with a long and successful track record in the Life Sciences.

Brian Lundstrom has more than 25 years’ experience as an executive in the life science industry. He started his career in Denmark with product development for Immuntech and clinical research for Novo Nordisk. In 1993, Novo Nordisk transferred him to Seattle, WA, where he became head of business development and member of the executive management team of the company’s US R&D unit. He was subsequently VP, Corporate Development, for Oxford GlycoSciences (now UCB) in Seattle, WA, and VP, Business Development, for SangStat in Fremont, CA. After leading the $600M sale of SangStat and integration into Genzyme, he joined Californian-Swedish neuroscience company ACADIA in San Diego, CA, as their SVP, Business Development. In 2009, Mr. Lundstrom became President of International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) in Carlsbad, CA with responsibility for public representation and financing and international collaborations until acquisition by a Russian entity. In early 2012, Mr. Lundstrom joined other ex-SangStat executives as CBO of Open Monoclonal Antibody (OMT) in Palo Alto, CA and, in parallel, is a founder of cancer company Abcida. Mr. Lundstrom holds a M.Sc. degree in Biochemical Engineering from Danish Technical University and an MBA-equivalent degree International Management from Copenhagen Business School, Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Seattle University.