David F. Hale
Chairman of the Board
David F. Hale has served as a member of our board of directors since October 2006 and chairman of the board since December 2012. Since May 2006, Mr. Hale has served as Chairman & CEO of Hale BioPharma Ventures, LLC. He is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the formation and development of a number of biotechnology, specialty pharma, medical device and diagnostic companies. He was previously President and CEO of CancerVax Corporation which merged with Micromet, Inc., a cancer therapeutic company, from October 2000 through May 2006, when he became Chairman until the sale of the company to Amgen Inc in 2012. After joining Hybritech, Inc., in 1982, the first biotech company in San Diego, he was President & Chief Operating Officer and became CEO in 1986, when Hybritech was acquired by Eli Lilly and Co. From 1987 to 1997 he was Chairman, President and CEO of Gensia, Inc., which merged with SICOR to become Gensia Sicor, Inc., which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals. He was a co-founder and Chairman of Viagene, Inc. from 1987 to 1995, when Viagene was acquired by Chiron, Inc. He was President and CEO of Women First HealthCare, Inc. from late 1997 to June 2000. Prior to joining Hybritech, Mr. Hale was Vice President and General Manager of BBL Microbiology Systems, a division of Becton, Dickinson & Co. and from 1971 to 1980, held various marketing and sales management positions with Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc. Mr. Hale also serves as Chairman of Biocept, Inc. Mr. Hale previously served as Chairman of Santarus, Inc., until its acquisition by Salix, Inc. in January 2014, as Chairman of Somaxon, Inc., until its acquisition by Pernix, Inc. in 2013 and as Chairman of SkinMedica, Inc., until its acquisition by Allergan in 2012. He also serves as Chairman of a number of privately held companies, including Neurelis, Inc., MDR Aesthetics Inc., Recros Medica, Inc., Clarify Medical, Inc., Neurana Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Adigica Health, Inc. Mr. Hale also is a co-founder and serves on the Board of Directors of BIOCOM, is a former member of the Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, or BIO, and the Biotechnology Institute. Mr. Hale also serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Economic Development Corporation, and as a Board Trustee of Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego and as Chairman of the Board of Rady Children’s Institute of Pediatric Genomics and a director of the Salk Institute. He is a co-founder of the CONNECT Program in Technology and Entrepreneurship. Mr. Hale holds a B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Jacksonville State University. We believe Mr. Hale is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his extensive knowledge of our business and history, experience as a board member of multiple publicly-traded and privately-held companies, and expertise in developing, financing and providing strong executive leadership to numerous biopharmaceutical companies.
Daniel L. Kisner, M.D.
Member of the Board
Daniel L. Kisner, M.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2014. He currently serves as an independent consultant in the life science industry. He was a partner at Aberdare Ventures from 2003 to 2011. Dr. Kisner served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caliper Life Sciences from 2002 to 2008, and as President and CEO of its predecessor company, Caliper Technologies, from 1999 to 2002. He held positions of increasing responsibility at Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from 1991 to 1999, most recently as President and COO. Dr. Kisner previously served in pharmaceutical research and development executive positions at Abbott Laboratories from 1988 to 1991 and at SmithKline Beckman Laboratories from 1985 to 1988. He held a tenured faculty position in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Texas, San Antonio School of Medicine until 1985 after a five-year advancement through the Cancer Treatment Evaluation Program of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Kisner is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. Dr. Kisner holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and an M.D. from Georgetown University. Dr. Kisner currently serves as a director at Zynerba Pharmaceuticals and Dynavax Technologies Corporation, and has extensive prior private and public company board experience, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. We believe Dr. Kisner is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his extensive leadership experience in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries and as a venture capital investor.
Preston S. Klassen, M.D., M.H.S.
Member of the Board
Preston S. Klassen, M.D., M.H.S., has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2014. Dr. Klassen has served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since 2017. He served as Chief Medical Officer at Laboratoris Sanifit S.L. from 2016 to 2017. He served as Executive Vice President, Global Development from 2015 to 2016 and as Senior Vice President, Global Development from 2009 to 2015 at Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. He advanced from 2002 to 2009 through several medical director positions at Amgen, Inc., most recently as Therapeutic Area Head for Nephrology and Executive Medical Director. His experience at Amgen included global regulatory filings, design and conduct of large clinical trials, clinical commercialization of multiple products, and active leadership in regulatory agency interactions. Dr. Klassen was a faculty member in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University Medical Center from 1997 to 2002. He received his M.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and completed his residency in Internal Medicine, fellowship in Nephrology, and M.H.S. degree at Duke University. We believe Dr. Klassen is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his broad operational experience in relevant therapeutic areas and leadership experience in the biotechnology industry.
William R. LaRue
Member of the Board
William R. LaRue has served as a member of our board of directors since February 2017. Mr. LaRue currently serves as an independent board member for multiple companies in the life science industry. He served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, starting in June 2006, and expanded his role to serve as Assistant Secretary at Cadence in April 2007, serving in both capacities until the company’s acquisition by Mallinckrodt plc in March 2014. At Cadence, Mr. LaRue was a member of the Executive Committee with direct responsibility for the company’s financial leadership including corporate financing, investor relations, financial planning and reporting, SEC reporting, accounting, treasury, risk management, tax and information technology. During his tenure, Cadence raised over $375 million in public and private equity and senior debt, including an IPO in October 2006 as the company transitioned from a development stage to a commercial stage company. Prior to joining Cadence, Mr. LaRue served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CancerVax Corporation, a biotechnology company, from 2001 until its merger with Micromet, Inc. in May 2006. Mr. LaRue currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Tracon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, and as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of Audit Committee of Alastin Skincare Inc., a private, skincare product company, and as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of Audit Committee of Oncternal Therapeutics Inc., a private, oncology related company. He previously served on the boards of directors of Cadence Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Neurelis, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company. Mr. LaRue received a B.S. in business administration and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.
Steven J. Mento, Ph.D.
Member of the Board
Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., is one of our co-founders and has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our board of directors since July 2005. From July 2005 until December 2012, Dr. Mento also served as chairman of our board of directors. Dr. Mento has over 30 years of combined experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. 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 Inc. Previously, Dr. Mento served as President of Chiron Viagene, Inc. (subsequently Chiron Technologies, Center for Gene Therapy), and Vice President of Chiron Corporation from 1995 to 1997. Dr. Mento was Vice President of R&D at Viagene from 1992 to 1995. Prior to Viagene, Dr. Mento held various positions at American Cyanamid Company from 1982 to 1992. His last position was Director of Viral Vaccine Research and Development at Lederle-Praxis Biologicals, a business unit of American Cyanamid. Dr. Mento currently serves on the boards of directors of BIOCOM, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, BIO Emerging Company Section Governing Body, BIO Health Section Governing Body, Sangamo Biosciences, Inc. and various academic and charitable organizations. Dr. Mento holds a B.A. in Microbiology from Rutgers College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. both in Microbiology from Rutgers University. We believe Dr. Mento is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his extensive knowledge of our business, as well as his over 30 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including executive leadership in several pharmaceutical companies.
Harold Van Wart, Ph.D.
Member of the Board
Harold Van Wart, Ph.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since March 2007. Dr. Van Wart served as Chief Executive Officer of CymaBay Therapeutics Inc. (formerly Metabolex, Inc.) and as a member of its board of directors from 2003 to 2017, and as President from 2001 to his retirement in 2017. He served as Chief Operating Officer from December 2001 to January 2003 and Senior Vice President, Research and Development, from October 2000 to December 2002 at CymaBay Therapeutics Inc. From 1999 to 2000, Dr. Van Wart was vice president and therapy head for arthritis and fibrotic diseases at Roche Biosciences, a division of Syntex (U.S.A.) Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. From 1992 to 1999, he was vice president and director of the institute of biochemistry and cell biology at Syntex (U.S.A.) Inc., a biopharmaceutical company acquired by an affiliate of Roche Holding Ltd in 1994. From 1978 to 1992, Dr. Van Wart served on the faculty of Florida State University. Dr. Van Wart holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a B.A. from SUNY Binghamton. He currently serves on the Emerging Companies and Health Section Governing Boards of BIO, as well as on its board of directors. We believe Dr. Van Wart is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his extensive leadership experience in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries.
Paul J. Pockros, M.D.
Special Consultant to the Board of Directors
Paul J. Pockros, M.D. has been the Director of the Liver Disease Center of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA, since 1990, and the Director of Clinical Research of the Scripps Translational Science Institute since 2011. Since he joined Scripps Clinic in 1985, Dr. Pockros has held multiple leadership positions including Head of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (1996-2012), Medical Director of the Liver Transplantation Program (1990-1998), and Chief-of-Staff, Scripps Green Hospital (2009-2011). Dr. Pockros is also President of the SC Liver Research Consortium, a clinical research site network of 98 liver centers in the US and Canada which he founded in 1998. His academic appointments include research and clinical teaching positions at The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Clinic and the Naval Medical Center San Diego. In addition to his active practice in hepatology and clinical research duties as a principal investigator, Dr. Pockros has over 150 PubMed-verified published manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals coverings areas such as chronic viral hepatitis, liver transplantation, complications of cirrhosis, alcoholic, metabolic and fatty liver diseases, and diagnostic tests for liver disorders [H score=60]. He has delivered numerous lectures and presentations at universities as well as national and international conferences, and has served as an editorial board member and reviewer for several prestigious scientific journals. Dr. Pockros is Board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He received his medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, where he also completed his internship and residency in internal medicine. He completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA, followed by a second fellowship in hepatology at the USC Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center Liver Unit. He is a Fellow of the American Association for The Study of Liver Disease, the American Gastroenterological Association, the American College of Physicians and the American College of Gastroenterology.