Board of Directors
Patrick W. Gray, PhD, CEO and President, Member of the Board
Dr. Gray has spent 35 years in the biotechnology industry, focusing on drug discovery for critical diseases. He has a passion for working in small companies with aggressive timelines—Genentech, ICOS, Macrogenics, Nura and Accelerator were all less than 60 employees when he joined. Dr. Gray’s career accomplishments include the first cloning and characterization of Hepatitis B surface antigen, Interferon-gamma, multiple Interferon-alpha genes, Lymphotoxin (TNF-beta), Bactericidal Permeability Increasing Protein, LPS-Binding Protein, Platelet Activating Factor Acetylhydrolase, CCR5 (subsequently shown to be the HIV co- receptor), Macrophage Derived Chemokine, and PI3K p110-delta. These discoveries led to numerous clinical trials, several approved human pharmaceuticals, and characterization of targets for therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and small molecules. In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Dr. Gray previously held senior scientific management positions, including Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, and CEO. Dr. Gray received his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Colorado and his BS in Biology from the University of Oregon. He is currently an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. Dr. Gray is also Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company.
Karoly Nikolich, PhD, Chairman of the Board
Dr. Nikolich is a renowned biotechnology expert with an extensive track record within this industry. Highlights include: former head of the Neuroscience Program at Genentech Inc.; Adjunct Professor, Neuroscience, USC, Los Angeles, CA; Vice President, Research, Lynx Therapeutics, Inc. Hayward, CA and Director (Supervisory Board) BASF- LYNX Bioscience AG, Heidelberg; former CEO, Amnestix, Inc., and Neurofluidics, Inc., Burlingame, CA; Executive Director, Neuroscience Institute at Stanford (NIS), Stanford University Medical School; Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Director (Board member) AGY Therapeutics, Inc., South San Francisco, CA; and currently Dr. Nikolich is Founder and President of Circuit Therapeutics, Inc., and a consulting Professor at Stanford University Medical School. Along with an extensive professional history, Dr. Nikolich has been an author on over 120 scientific and review publications.
Terry Pearson, PhD, Member of the Board
Dr. Pearson is a retired professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Victoria. He obtained his BSc in Microbiology and PhD in Immunology from the University of British Columbia. After postdoctoral work at the Medical Research Council Laboratory in Cambridge, England, Dr. Pearson worked as a staff scientist in its Division of Cell Biology. Over the past decade, his research has focused on translation of basic research discoveries into application to clinical diagnostic medicine in both the developed and developing world. He currently serves on the boards of several private and public biotechnology companies.
Jens Biertumpel, Member of the Board
Mr. Biertumpel is managing director and co-founder of Mont Blanc Capital Management AG, a FINMA regulated asset management firm in Zurich, Switzerland. Over the past 8 years, he grew the asset management business from Europe into Asia and created the Lipper award winning Mont Blanc China Opportunity Fund. He is also a director with Bight Petroleum, a privately held offshore exploration company. Previously, he was a director with Astrum Capital, a Hong Kong and Cayman-based hedge fund advisor. Prior to that, Mr. Biertumpel operated his own capital company and held positions with different TSXV listed companies. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University.
Tom Gadek, PhD, Member of the Board
Dr. Gadek has had an illustrious career in the biotechnology industry spanning 33 years. He discovered and developed several novel first in class molecules addressing emerging protein therapeutic targets. These efforts have been chronicled with Dr. Gadek as an author on 54 peer reviewed publications and as an inventor on 64 issued and 76 pending United States patents. Dr. Gadek initially gained experience and expertise at larger companies, 5 years at Syntex and 15 years at Genentech. He founded the venture backed startup SARcode, where he was CEO. Dr. Gadek engineered the target identification, lead discovery, and clinical proof of concept for the development of Lifitegrast, a treatment for dry eye. This resulted in the acquisition of SARcode by Shire, and the approval of Lifitegrast by the FDA in 2016. His expertise covers the realm of immunology and inflammation, particularly in the fields of ophthalmology and dermatology. Dr. Gadek obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley following a Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado and a Masters degree from MIT.
Graeme I. Bell, PhD, Member of the Board
Dr. Bell received his BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Calgary and his PhD from the University of California, San Francisco. He is currently the Kovler Family Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine, and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Bell is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For his pioneering work on the genetics of diabetes, he was awarded the 2013 Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement Award, the highest scientific honor from the American Diabetes Association. This prize is awarded annually in memory of the Canadian medical scientist Sir Frederick Banting, Nobel laureate who was one of the key investigators that discovered insulin. Dr. Bell gained recognition early in his career for the cloning of the human insulin gene, a landmark achievement that paved the way for the production of recombinant insulin. Demonstrating his entrepreneurial spirit, he became a founding scientist at Chiron, a leading biotechnology company that was later acquired by Novartis. He has also been a founder and advisor for other biotech startups.
Julie M. Eastland, Member of the Board
Ms. Eastland served as Chief Business and Financial Officer of Cascadian Therapeutics, formerly Oncothyreon Inc., (Nasdaq:CASC and ONTY) from September 2010 to March 2018. From 2006 to 2010, Ms. Eastland was the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Operations of VLST Corporation, a privately-held biotechnology company. Prior to VLST, Ms. Eastland held various financial and strategic management positions at publicly-traded biotechnology companies including Dendreon and Amgen. Ms. Eastland received an M.B.A. from Edinburgh University Management School and a B.S. in finance from Colorado State University.