Robert J. Wills, Ph.D.
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 served in a variety of executive roles for Johnson & Johnson, or J&J, a medical device, pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturing company, from December 1989 to February 2015 and recently served as Vice President, Alliance Manager where he was responsible for managing strategic alliances for J&J’s Pharmaceutical Group worldwide since 2002. Prior to this, Dr. Wills spent 22 years in pharmaceutical drug development, 12 of which were at J&J and 10 of which were at Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. Before assuming his role as Vice President, Alliance Manager at J&J, Dr. Wills served as Senior Vice President Global Development at J&J where he was responsible for its late-stage development pipeline and was a member of several internal commercial and research and development operating boards. Dr. Wills currently serves on the board of directors of Oncternal Therapeutics, Inc., Parion Sciences, Inc., Feldan Therapeutics, Milestone Pharmaceuticals and Go Therapeutics, Inc. 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.
Janet Dorling has been a member of our Board of Directors since April 2021. Ms. Dorling has been the Senior Vice President, Intercontinental Region and Global Patient Solutions at Gilead Sciences, Inc. Since July 2023. Previously, Ms. Dorling was Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Product Strategy at Gilead Sciences Inc. from May 2020 to July 2023. She was the Chief Commercial Officer at CymaBay Therapeutics, Inc. from August 2019 to December 2019 and the Chief Commercial Officer at Achaogen from 2017 to 2019. Previously she served as Vice President, Breast Cancer Franchise, Global Product Strategy from 2015 to 2017 at Roche and from 2007 through 2015 served in various marketing and commercial roles at Genentech. Ms. Dorling received a M.S. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Éric Lefebvre, M.D.
Éric Lefebvre, M.D. has been a member of our Board since March 2022. Dr. Lefebvre has served as Chief Medical Officer of Pliant Therapeutics, Inc., since May 2018. Prior to joining Pliant, Dr. Lefebvre served as the Vice President of Research and Development of Allergan plc, from November 2016 until April 2018. Prior to Allergan, Dr. Lefebvre served as Chief Medical Officer of Tobira Therapeutics, Inc, from January 2012 until November 2016. Dr. Lefebvre also led global clinical development and global medical affairs at Janssen Pharmaceuticals for 10 years prior to starting his pharmaceutical career at GlaxoSmithKline Canada. This was preceded by 15 years of providing primary care at Clinique Medicale L’Actuel in Montreal, Canada. He holds a B.S. in Health Sciences from Edouard-Montpetit College and an M.D. from the University of Montreal.
Caroline Loewy has been a member of our Board of Directors since December 2016. Ms. Loewy is a biopharmaceutical and financial executive with over 25 years of experience in the field. She is a consultant providing strategic advisory services for biopharmaceutical companies, primarily in the role of board member. Ms. Loewy is a board member of Phoenix Biotech Acquisition Corp. since 2021 and PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since 2018. She was previously a member of the board of directors at Zogenix, Inc., Locust Walk Acquisition Corp., and Aptose Biosciences Inc. She was a Co-Founder and served as the Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Achieve Life Sciences (acquired by OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2017) from 2015 to 2017. Ms. Loewy has previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer of both public and private biopharmaceutical companies including Tobira Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan Inc. in 2016) from 2012 to 2014, Corcept Therapeutics from 2008 to 2011, and Poniard Pharmaceuticals from 2006 to 2008. Prior to her roles in company management, Ms. Loewy spent 11 years as a senior biotechnology equity research analyst at Morgan Stanley and Prudential Securities. Ms. Loewy 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. Ms. Loewy is also a founding board member of the KCNQ2 Cure Alliance, promoting education and research into the rare disorder affecting her son. Ms. Loewy holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MBA/MS from Carnegie Mellon University.
Mr. Shah has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer since March 2017. Previously, he served as our Chief Financial Officer since December of 2013. Prior to that he served as a consultant and acting Chief Financial Officer for us from June 2012 to December 2013. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Shah served as Director, Health Care Investment Banking for Citigroup Inc., where he was responsible for managing client relationships and executing strategic and financing related transactions for clients focused in life sciences. From 2004 to 2010 Mr. Shah was employed with Credit-Suisse, last serving in the capacity as Vice President, Health Care Investment Banking Group. Mr. Shah currently serves on the Board of Tvardi Therapeutics. Mr. Shah received a M.B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.
Kurt von Emster, CFA
Kurt von Emster, CFA has been a member of our Board of Directors since April 2009 and brings over 25 years of experience in life science investment. Mr. von Emster is a Managing Partner at Abingworth LLP, a venture capital firm, since January 2015 and as Managing Partner since July 2015. Prior to joining Abingworth, Mr. von Emster was a co-founder and Partner of venBio LLC, a venture capital firm, from May 2009 until January 2015. In 2001, Mr. von Emster became a General Partner at MPM Capital, a biotechnology private equity firm, and launched the MPM BioEquities Fund, a crossover public and private biotechnology hedge fund. He was the portfolio manager of this fund from inception in 2001 until his departure in 2009. Mr. von Emster’s investment career started in 1989 at Franklin Templeton Investments where he founded and managed several health and biotechnology funds in the 1990s. Mr. von Emster currently serves on the board of directors of Tizona Therapeutics, Inc., Orbus Therapeutics, Inc., Jasper Therapeutics, Inc., SFJ Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Launch Therapeutics, Inc., and previously served on the board of directors of Trishula Therapeutics, Inc., Vera Therapeutics, Inc., Vaxcyte, Inc., and CRISPR Therapeutics AG. Mr. von Emster holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Thomas G. Wiggans
Thomas G. Wiggans has been a member of our Board of Directors since April 2021. Mr. Wiggans has been the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Pardes Biosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, since March 2022. Mr. Wiggans co-founded Dermira, Inc. in 2010 and served as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman from August 2011 until its acquisition by Eli Lilly in February 2020. Prior to founding Dermira, Mr. Wiggans served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Peplin, Inc. until Peplin’s acquisition by LEO Pharma A/S in 2009. Previously, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Connetics Corporation from 1994 until Connetics was acquired by Stiefel Laboratories, Inc. in 2006. Prior to Connetics, Mr. Wiggans served as President and Chief Operating Officer of CytoTherapeutics Inc. and in various management positions at Ares-Serono S.A., including President of its U.S. pharmaceutical operations and Managing Director of its U.K. pharmaceutical operations. Mr. Wiggans began his career with Eli Lilly and Company. He is a director of Annexon, Inc. and Jasper Therapeutics, Inc., and a member of the board of trustees of the University of Kansas Endowment Association. He received a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University.