About CymaBay

Home /About / Board of Directors

Robert J. Wills, Ph.D. - Chairman of the Board

Robert J. Wills, Ph.D. has been a member of our Board of Directors since March 2015 and has been Chairman of the Board since October 2015. Dr. Wills spent over 25 years at Johnson & Johnson, most recently as Vice President, Alliance Management, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, before his retirement from the Company. He was responsible for managing strategic alliances for the Pharmaceutical Group worldwide, which included an active role in the negotiations of these alliances. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President Global Development, where he was responsible for the R&D pipeline and a member of the R&D Board of Directors. In addition he served on several of the commercial Operating Company Boards and key pharmaceutical group decision-making committees. Dr. Wills began his career at Hoffmann-LaRoche where he spent 10 years in several roles of scientific responsibility. Dr. Wills holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and an M.S. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Texas.

Robert Booth, Ph.D. - Director

Robert Booth, Ph.D. has been a member of our Board of Directors since December 2016. Dr. Booth is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Virobay, Inc. He served concurrently as an Operating Partner and Senior Advisor at TPG Biotech. Dr. Booth is also the Executive Chairman and co-founder of Ab Initio Biotherapeutics and of CuraSen Therapeutics. Dr. Booth was appointed to the position of Consulting Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University in 2016. From 2002 to 2006, Dr. Booth was the Chief Scientific Officer at Celera Genomics, where he was responsible for leading all discovery and development activities. Dr. Booth served on the board of directors of Pharmacyclics until its acquisition by Abbvie. Dr. Booth was at Roche from 1989 to 2002, in positions of increasing responsibility and was the Senior Vice President and Business Unit Leader for Roche in Palo Alto, California. Dr. Booth was a member of the Global Research Management Team and a member of the Business Development Committee, which oversaw licensing opportunities for Roche. Dr. Booth currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Glialogix, Inc., CuraSen Therapeutics and Ab Initio Biotherapeutics and Virobay, Inc.

Carl Goldfischer, M.D. - Director

Carl Goldfischer, M.D. has been a member of our Board of Directors since August 2003. Dr. Goldfischer is an investment partner and managing director of Bay City Capital, serving as a member of the board of directors and executive committee, and has been with the firm since December 2000. His background includes extensive public and private investment and transaction work, as well as clinical trial development knowledge. Prior to joining Bay City Capital, Dr. Goldfischer was chief financial officer of ImClone Systems. Previously, he was a research analyst with the Reliance Insurance Company, helping to establish its portfolio and presence in the health care investment community. Dr. Goldfischer is a member of the board of directors for BrainCells, EnteroMedics and Epizyme. Dr. Goldfischer received an M.D. with honors in scientific research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

Caroline Loewy - Director

Caroline Loewy has been a member of our Board of Directors since December 2016. Ms. Lowey is a biopharmaceutical and financial executive with over 25 years of experience in the field. She is a Co-Founder and the Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Achieve Life Sciences, as well as a consultant providing strategic advisory services for biopharmaceutical companies. Caroline has previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer of both public and private biopharmaceutical companies Tobira Therapeutics, Corcept Therapeutics, and Poniard Pharmaceuticals. Prior to her roles in company management, Caroline spent 11 years as a senior biotechnology equity research analyst at Morgan Stanley and Prudential Securities. Caroline has leveraged her experience in the medical arena and financial expertise to benefit those affected by rare disease. She is a founding board member of the Global Genes Project, one of the leading rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the world, and is a member of the National Advisory Council of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) Center for Rare Childhood Disorders. Caroline is also a founding board member of the KCNQ2 Cure Alliance, promoting education and research into the rare disorder affecting her son.

Evan A. Stein, M.D., Ph.D. - Director

Evan A. Stein, M.D., Ph.D. has been a member of our Board since April 2016. Dr. Stein was on the full-time faculty at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1977 to 1998 as tenured Professor of Pathology and Laboratory, and remained on faculty as Voluntary Professor until August 2015. In 1988 he founded Medical Research Laboratories, which was acquired in 2002 by Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC. Dr. Stein also founded the Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center in 1988, which was merged into Medpace, Inc. in 2008, where he served as Chief Scientific Officer and director until December 2012 and where he continues to serve as Director Emeritus. Dr. Stein was a member of the board of directors of Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. from 2006 to 2015. Dr. Stein has had a number of appointments to the National Institutes of Health since 1986, including the General Clinical Research Centers Advisory Committee, NCEP Lipid Standardization Committee, Data and Safety Advisory Board of the NHLBI Program on Genetics in Hypertension from 1999 to 2003. From 2006 to 2010 he served on the FDA Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Toxicology Advisory Panel. He has received a number of NIH grants including as Principal Investigator of central laboratory for the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial. Dr. Stein received his M.D. and Ph.D., from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Paul F. Truex - Director

Paul F. Truex has been a member of our Board since April 2016. Mr. Truex is Executive Chairman of the Board of Anthera Pharmaceuticals. He served as Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anthera, from 2004 to 2016. Prior to founding Anthera, Mr. Truex served as a founder, Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from the commencement of its operations in October 2001 until December 2005 after which Peninsula was acquired in a series of transactions by Johnson and Johnson and Forest Laboratories. Prior to Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Truex was Vice President of Commercial Development for Versicor, Inc. (acquired by Pfizer) from April 2000 to September 2001. From July 1997 to April 2000, Mr. Truex worked at Eli Lilly and Company where he served in various marketing and sales roles. Mr. Truex obtained his M.B.A. in marketing and finance from Indiana University and a B.A. in economics from the University of Waterloo. Mr. Truex is also the Chairman and a director of Milestone Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and previously served as a director of Trius Therapeutics, Inc. from June 2008 until September 2013.

Kurt von Emster, CFA - Director

Kurt von Emster, CFA has been a member of our Board of Directors since April 2009. Mr. von Emster is a Managing Partner at Abingworth, a leading life sciences investment firm, where he invests globally in private and public companies. Prior to Abingworth, he co-founded venBio and was most recently a Partner from 2009 through 2014. From 2001 - 2009, Mr. von Emster was a General Partner at MPM Capital where he launched the MPM BioEquities Fund, a cross over public and private biotechnology hedge fund. From 1989 until 2001, Mr. von Emster was a Vice President at Franklin Templeton where he founded and managed the Franklin Biotechnology Discovery Fund and several other leading health care funds. He has been an institutional biotechnology and health care analyst and portfolio manager for over 25 years. He is also a member of the board of directors of CRISPR Therapeutics, SutroVax and Kesios. Mr. von Emster is located in California.

Harold Van Wart, Ph.D. - President, Chief Executive Officer & Director

Dr. Van Wart has served as our Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors since January 2003, and President since April 2001. He served as Chief Operating Officer from December 2002 to January 2003 and Senior Vice President, Research and Development from October 2000 to December 2002. From 1999 to 2000, Dr. Van Wart was Vice President and Therapy Head for arthritis and fibrotic diseases at Roche Bioscience, a biopharmaceutical company. From 1992 to 1999, he was Vice President and Director of the institute of biochemistry and cell biology at Syntex Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company acquired by Roche Bioscience in 1994. From 1978 to 1992, Dr. Van Wart served on the faculty of Florida State University. He currently serves on the Emerging Companies and Health Section Governing Boards of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), as well as on its board of directors. He is also a Director of Conatus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is the Chairman of the California Life Sciences Association. Dr. Van Wart holds a Ph.D.

Robert J. Weiland - Director

Robert J. Weiland has been a member of our Board since April 2016. Mr. Weiland has served as Chief Commercial Officer of Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since April 2016. Mr. Weiland served in a variety of executive roles for Baxter International Inc., or Baxter, from 2009 to 2016, and was most recently Vice President, Strategy, where he led Baxter’s worldwide commercial strategy, including implementing Baxter’s continuous improvement platform. Prior to joining Baxter, from December 2005 to May 2008 Mr. Weiland was Vice President of Operations and Strategic Analytics for Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. From 2004 until 2006, Mr. Weiland headed the clinical, commercial and operational activities for the surgery business unit of The Medicines Company as its Vice-President and General Manager. Prior to The Medicines Company, Mr. Weiland served for more than 14 years in a variety of senior domestic and international positions at Abbott Laboratories, including Marketing, General Management and Business Development. Mr. Weiland earned a B.S. from DeSales University, Center Valley, Pennsylvania and a M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.