Management Team Biographies
Steven J. Mento, Ph.D.
Dr. Mento is President, CEO, and Co-founder of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. He has held these positions since July of 2005.
Dr. Mento has over twenty five years of combined experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. From 1997 to 2005, Dr. Mento was President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Mento guided Idun during its transition from a discovery focused organization to a drug development company with multiple products in or near human clinical testing. In April 2005, Idun was sold to Pfizer.
Prior to joining Idun in 1997, Dr. Mento served as President of Chiron Viagene, Inc. Dr. Mento was a key member of the management team responsible for the sale of Viagene in 1995 to Chiron. Dr. Mento joined Viagene, a gene therapy company, in 1992 where he was Vice President of Research and Development. From 1982 to 1992, Dr. Mento held various positions of increasing responsibility at American Cyanamid Company. His final position was Director of Viral Vaccine Research and Development at Lederle-Praxis Biologicals, a business unit of American Cyanamid. From 1980 to 1982, Dr. Mento was Research Assistant Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he carried out research in animal models of virus-induced diabetes.
Dr. Mento holds Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology with an emphasis in virology from Rutgers University. He conducted post-doctoral research in somatic cell genetics at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Mento currently serves on the Boards of BIOCOM, BIO Emerging Company Section Governing Body, BIO Health Section Governing Body, Sangamo Biosciences, Inc., and selected academic and charitable organizations.top
Alfred P. Spada, Ph.D.
Alfred P. Spada, Ph.D. - Senior Vice President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. Dr. Spada has over twenty-five years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. He has co-authored more than 50 scientific publications and is an inventor on more than 70 patents. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Spada was Vice President of Pharmaceutical and Preclinical Development at Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was responsible for managing internal research and development activities, and Idun's external partnerships, including the collaboration with Abbott.
Prior to joining Idun, Dr. Spada was a Department Director at Rhone-Poulenc and Aventis Pharmaceuticals (currently Sanofi) where he was responsible for medicinal and analytical chemistry teams in the US. From 1990 to 2000, his teams worked on a wide variety of enzyme-based and GCPR targets, resulting in the identification of clinical candidates for treatment of acute myocardial infarction and thrombotic disorders, including the direct acting factor Xa inhibitor, otamixaban. Dr. Spada also conducted programs developing PDGF- receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors for coronary restenosis and cancer and selective adenosine receptor agonists for lipid lowering and diabetes.
From 1985 to 1990 Dr. Spada led medicinal chemistry teams developing phosphodiestertase inhibitors for the treatment of congestive heart failure (prinoxodan) and adenosine receptor agonists for the treatment of myocardial infarction (AMP-579).
Dr. Spada received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted post-doctoral research at Yale University.top
Dr. Gary Burgess M.B., ChB MMed(Int)(Stell) MFPM
Dr. Gary Burgess M.B., ChB MMed(Int)(Stell) MFPM - Senior Vice President, Clinical Research and Chief Medical Officer since November 2011. Dr. Burgess has 12 years' experience in the pharmaceutical industry. From 1999 to October 2011, Dr. Burgess held positions of increasing seniority at Pfizer Ltd in Sandwich in the UK, most recently as Senior Director and Clinical Portfolio Lead for Asia Research. In this position, he had clinical oversight of all aspects of the Pfizer liver fibrosis program including clinical program design, development and execution, regulatory and key opinion leader interactions, and evaluation and establishment of external collaborations for fibrotic disease biomarker development. During the period following the acquisition of Idun Pharmaceuticals by Pfizer, Dr. Burgess' responsibilities included data integration, clinical oversight of ongoing Phase II studies, development of clinical plans and registration strategies for the Idun caspase inhibitor, IDN-6556, which was later assigned the USAN name emricasan. Dr. Burgess has also previously held the position of Medical Development Team Leader for Thelin in the Pfizer Specialty Care Business Unit and from 2001 to 2004 was the clinician responsible for the studies with sildenafil in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension which lead to the successful registration of Revatio in 2005.
Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Burgess held the position of Principal Consultant and Head of the Intensive Care Unit and Casualty Department at II Military Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa (as well as holding honorary consultant posts in the Gastroenterology Departments at both Tygerberg and Groote Schuur Hospitals) in addition to conducting a limited Private Practice as a General Physician in Cape Town.top
Charles J. Cashion
Mr. Cashion is SVP Finance, CFO, Secretary and Co-founder of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. He has held these positions since July of 2005.
Mr. Cashion has held several senior level management positions in both private and public healthcare companies with responsibilities for securing and executing various types of financings including initial public offerings, secondary offerings, corporate partnerships, and debt. He has also been involved with the strategic planning, acquisition and integration of several technology companies.
Mr. Cashion joined Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2001 as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary. In addition to managing the financial and administrative functions of the company, Mr. Cashion participated in raising $93 million in new financing with premier venture capital investors.
Previously, Mr. Cashion held the position of Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Quidel Corporation, a publicly owned medical diagnostics company. For the prior nine years, Mr. Cashion was Senior Vice President, Finance, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Treasurer of The Immune Response Corporation, a publicly owned biopharmaceutical company.
During the period from 1980 to 1989, Mr. Cashion was Executive Vice President and Secretary of Smith Laboratories, Inc., a publicly owned pharmaceutical company and during 1987 through 1989 was also President and Chief Executive Officer of Sutter Corporation, an orthopedic products subsidiary of Smith Laboratories. Mr. Cashion also held positions at Baxter International, Inc. and Motorola, Inc. Mr. Cashion received his M.B.A and B.S. degrees from Northern Illinois University. Mr. Cashion currently serves on the Boards of NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ridge Diagnostics, Inc., La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, and iDiverse, Inc.top
Daniel Ripley, MBA
Daniel Ripley, MBA - Senior Director, Head of Corporate Development, since July 2012. Mr. Ripley has 15 years of integrated business development experience in the initiation and execution of strategic business transactions in emerging growth life science companies.
He has led licensing, commercial analysis, partnering initiatives, and intellectual property enforcement to drive business development of early-to-late stage products in a wide variety of therapeutic areas and technologies. Mr. Ripley previously headed business development at Kalypsys, Inc. and led business development initiatives at Isis Pharmaceuticals, Immune Response Corp., and Apricus Biosciences. He executed multiple licensing and drug discovery collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that included Pfizer, Oncogenex, Alnylam, Amgen, GSK, Sanofi, and Alcon.
Mr. Ripley earned his M.B.A. with an emphasis in Finance and a B.S. in Microbiology both from San Diego State University.top