Steven J. Mento, Ph.D, President, CEO and Co-founder
Dr. Mento has over twenty years of combined experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, the last ten of which have been as President and CEO.
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 for approximately $300 million in cash.
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 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.
Dr. Mento holds Bachelor of Arts, Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology 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, Sangamo Biosciences, Inc., Grannus Biosciences, and selected academic and charitable organizations.
Alfred P. Spada, Ph.D., SVP Research and Development and Co-founder
Dr. Spada has over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. He has co-authored more than 50 scientific publications and is inventor on more than 70 patents. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Spada was Vice President of Pharmaceutical and Preclinical Development at Idun Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for managing internal research and development activities, and Idun’s external partnerships.
Prior to joining Idun, Dr. Spada was a Department Director at Aventis Pharmaceuticals (formerly Rhone-Poulenc Rorer) where he was responsible for medicinal and analytical chemistry. 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, thrombotic disorders, coronary restenosis, lipid lowering, diabetes and cancer.
From 1985 to 1990, Dr. Spada held a series of positions of increasing responsibility at Rorer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. His team focused on developing compounds for use in the treatment of congestive heart failure and myocardial ischemia.
Dr. Spada was awarded a B.S. degree in Chemistry with High Distinction from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also conducted post-doctoral research at Yale University.
Charles J. Cashion, SVP Finance, CFO and Co-founder
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.
Jennifer Giottonini Cayer, SVP Corporate Development and Co-founder
Ms. Cayer has over fifteen years of biotechnology and medical device experience. She joins Conatus from Idun Pharmaceuticals, where she served as Vice President, Corporate Development. Ms. Cayer played a key role in the negotiations leading to the sale of Idun to Pfizer.
Prior to Idun, Ms. Cayer spent five years at Isis Pharmaceuticals where she served most recently as Vice President, Business Development and was responsible for new business development including drug licensing, technology licensing, drug discovery and development collaborations, and the creation of spinout opportunities. She led and executed multiple alliances with pharmaceutical and biotech companies including three drug discovery collaborations totaling over $100 million and two drug development/licensing partnerships totaling over $200 million. In addition, Ms. Cayer played a key role in the spinout of a new company and it’s successful IPO.
Ms. Cayer previously held business development, marketing, engineering and operational management positions at Gensia, Inc. (Sicor), and Puritan Bennett (Tyco). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from University of California, San Diego.