Board of Directors
Faheem Hasnain, Chairman
Mr. Hasnain has served as Chairman of Vital Therapies’ Board of Directors since September 2017 and on our board of directors since August 2016. Mr. Hasnain is currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gossamer Bio, Inc., a newly-formed company focused on the discovery and development of novel and differentiated therapeutic products to address unmet need amongst various targeted patient populations. Previously, Mr. Hasnain served as the Chief Executive Officer, President, and a director at Receptos, Inc. from November 2010 to August 2015. Prior to joining Receptos, Inc., Mr. Hasnain was the President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of Facet Biotech Corporation, a biology-driven antibody company with a focus in multiple sclerosis and oncology. He held that position from December 2008 until the company’s acquisition by Abbott Laboratories in April 2010. Previously, Mr. Hasnain was President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of PDL BioPharma, Inc. from October 2008 until Facet Biotech was spun off from PDL BioPharma in December 2008. From October 2004 to September 2008, Mr. Hasnain was at Biogen Inc., most recently as Executive Vice President in charge of the oncology/rheumatology strategic business unit. Prior to Biogen, Mr. Hasnain held roles with Bristol Myers Squibb, where he was President of the Oncology Therapeutics Network, and for 14 years at GlaxoSmithKline and its predecessor organizations. He has been Chairman of the Board of Sente, Inc. since 2008 and of Tocagen Inc. since November 2014, and has served as a member of the board of directors of Kura Oncology, Inc. since April 2015. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of Ambit Biosciences Corporation, Seragon Pharmaceuticals, Tercica, Inc., Aragon Pharmaceuticals and Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Hasnain received a B.H.K. and B.Ed. from the University of Windsor Ontario in Canada.
Jean-Jacques Bienaimé, M.B.A, Member
Mr. Bienaimé has served on our board of directors since September 2013. Since May 2005, Mr. Bienaimé has served as the chief executive officer and as a director of BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., a publicly-traded company that develops and commercializes innovative pharmaceuticals for serious diseases and medical conditions and, since June 2015, he has served as chairman of its board. From November 2002 to April 2005, Mr. Bienaimé served as chairman, chief executive officer and president of Genencor, a biotechnology company focused on industrial bioproducts and targeted cancer biotherapeutics. Prior to joining Genencor, Mr. Bienaimé was chairman, president and chief executive officer of SangStat Medical Corporation, another biotechnology company. He became president of SangStat Medical Corporation, a global pharmaceutical company, in 1998 and chief executive officer in 1999. Prior to joining SangStat Medical Corporation, Mr. Bienaimé held various management positions from 1992 to 1998 with Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals (now known as Sanofi-Aventis), including Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Business Development, and Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Therapeutic and Oncology division. Mr. Bienaimé has served on the board of BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. since May 2005, and the board of Incyte Corporation, a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company, since January 2015. In addition, he serves on the board of the Biotech Industry Organization and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Mr. Bienaimé served on the boards of Intermune, Inc., a publicly-traded biotechnology company, from March 2012 until its acquisition by Roche Holdings, Inc. in September 2014, and Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company, from September 2010 through June 2014. Mr. Bienaimé earned an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in economics from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris.
Cheryl Cohen, Member
Ms. Cohen has served on our board of directors since July 2015. Ms. Cohen served as chief commercial officer of Medivation, Inc., a publicly-traded bio-pharmaceutical company, from September 2011 until July 2014. Ms. Cohen currently serves as president of CLC Consulting, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology consulting firm specializing in new product start-up and commercialization, where she also served as president from September 2008 until September 2011. From November 2007 to September 2008, she served as the vice president, strategic commercial group, of Health Care Systems, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, and from October 1998 to November 2007, she worked at Janssen Biotech, Inc. (formerly Centocor Biotech, Inc.), a Johnson & Johnson company, in a variety of senior sales roles including vice president, rheumatology franchise. Ms. Cohen has served on the board of Novus Therapeutics, Inc. (reverse merger of Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,) a publicly-traded pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development, and commercialization of ear, nose, and throat products. Ms. Cohen served on the board of Protein Sciences Corporation, a privately held bio-pharmaceutical company specializing in vaccine development from October 2014 to August 2017, and she served on the board of Cytrx Corporation, a publicly traded bio-pharmaceutical company specializing in oncology, from June 2015 through October 2016. Ms. Cohen began her career at Solvay Pharmaceuticals in a variety of sales positions. Ms. Cohen received her B.A. from Saint Joseph College.
Russell J. Cox, Chief Executive Officer and Member
Mr. Cox has served as a member of our board of directors and as our Chief Executive Officer since January 2018. Between May 2014 and December 2017, he served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Jazz Pharmaceutical plc, or Jazz, with responsibility for U.S., EU and rest-of-world commercial activities, research and development, manufacturing and technical operations, new product planning and global molecule leadership. Prior to that, Mr. Cox served as Jazz’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer from March 2012 until May 2014. Earlier, he served in a variety of senior management roles at Jazz, which he joined in 2010. Previously, Mr. Cox served as Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Ipsen Group, a pharmaceutical company, from January 2009 to January 2010. From 2007 until December 2008, he was Vice President of Marketing at Tercica, Inc. prior to its acquisition by Ipsen Group. From 2003 to 2007, he served as Vice President, Marketing with Scios Inc., which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003. Before 2003, Mr. Cox spent 12 years with Genentech, Inc. where he was a Product Team Leader responsible for the Growth Hormone franchise and led numerous product launches as a Group Product Manager. Mr. Cox has served on the board of directors of Aeglea BioTherapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company, since 2015. Mr. Cox received a B.S. in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University.
Douglas E. Godshall, M.B.A., Member
Mr. Godshall has served on our board of directors since May 2013. Mr Godshall is currently Chief Executive Officer of Shockwave Medical Inc., a private company that develops and commercializes interventional devices utilizing lithotripsy technology for the treatment of complex vascular calcification. Previously, he was the Chief Executive Officer of HeartWare International, Inc., a developer of a range of implantable mechanical circulatory assist devices, starting in September 2006 and a director since October 2006, until the company was acquired by Medtronic in August 2016. Prior to joining HeartWare, Mr. Godshall served in various executive and managerial positions at Boston Scientific Corporation, a manufacturer and a developer of medical supplies and medical devices in a variety of fields, including as a member of Boston Scientific’s Operating Committee and President, Vascular Surgery. Previously, Mr. Godshall had spent five years as Vice President, Business Development, at Boston Scientific, where he was focused on acquisition strategies for the cardiology, electrophysiology, neuroradiology and vascular surgery divisions. In March 2012, Mr. Godshall was appointed a director of pSivida Corp., a developer of drug delivery products for treatment of back-of-the-eye diseases. Mr. Godshall earned a B.A. in business from Lafayette College and an M.B.A from Northeastern University.
Errol R. Halperin, J.D., L.L.M., Member
Mr. Halperin has served on our board of directors since December 2012. Mr. Halperin was a senior partner of DLA Piper from January 1979 until December 2013. At the present time, Mr. Halperin is a senior strategic advisor to DLA Piper (U.S.). In his practice, Mr. Halperin provided general business advice to clients in a broad range of sectors, including the manufacturing, real estate industry and the real estate investment trust industry. Mr. Halperin’s practice was concentrated in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, international transactions, real estate law and federal income tax law. Mr. Halperin has also served on the board of Equity Residential, a public REIT, and private company boards. Currently, he is a director of Elkay Manufacturing Company, a privately held corporation, and Pangea Properties, a private real estate investment and management company. He also currently serves as a director of other late stage private venture companies, including LINQ3, LLC and Restorsea, LLC. Before joining DLA Piper, from June 1972 to January 1979 he was legislation counsel of the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress; and was an assistant branch chief of the Legislation and Regulations Division of the Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service from June 1968 to June 1972. Mr. Halperin earned a B.S. and a J.D. from DePaul University and an L.L.M. in taxation from New York University.
J. Michael Millis, M.D., Member
Dr. Millis has served on our board of directors since 2006. Dr. Millis is a Professor of Surgery and Vice Chair of Global Surgery, Director of Hepatobiliary Surgery at the University of Chicago. Dr. Millis currently serves on the medical staff at the University of Chicago Hospital. His current research explores the application of cellular technology on patient care, including how hepatocyte transplantation, extracorporeal assist technology and stem cells can assist in the care of patients with liver disease or liver tumors. Dr. Millis has been associated with the ELAD System since 1994, and was an investigator on the Phase 1 clinical trial. He has been the chairman of the Vital Therapies Clinical Advisory Board since 2003. Dr. Millis currently serves or has served in the past on a variety of committees, such as the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ Ethics Committee, the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation Scientific Advisory Board and Publication and Research Committee, and the ROBI Liver Intestinal Subcommittee, for which he is the former chairman. Dr. Millis is also a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the American Liver Foundation Illinois Chapter. He also serves on the board of directors of Gift of Hope (the organ procurement organization for Illinois) and the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Transplantation, Transplantation, and Liver Transplantation. He earned a B.A. in chemistry and political science from Emory University and an M.D. with high honors from the University of Tennessee. He completed his surgical residency, clinical and research fellowship in liver transplantation at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also received his M.B.A. from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2014.
Muneer A. Satter, J.D., M.B.A., Member
Mr. Satter served as Co-Chairman of Vital Therapies’ Board of Directors from 2012 to September 2017. Mr. Satter has been Founder and Managing Partner of Satter Medical Technology Partners, L.P. since 2016, Chairman of Satter Investment Management LLC since 2012, and he also manages the Satter Foundation. Previously, Mr. Satter was a partner at Goldman Sachs where he spent 24 years in various roles, most recently as the Global Head of the Mezzanine Group in the Merchant Banking Division, where he raised and managed over $30 billion of assets. Mr. Satter is chairman of the board of directors of Akebia Therapeutics, Aerpio Therapeutics and Restorsea Holdings, LLC and a director of Linq3 Technologies LLC and Annexon Biosciences. He also serves as vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and GS Gives, is a director of the Navy SEAL Foundation, a director of World Business Chicago, is on the Board of Advisors of the American Enterprise Institute and is on the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University where he is Chairman of the Finance Committee. Mr. Satter received a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Lowell E. Sears, M.B.A., Member
Mr. Sears has served on our board of directors since May 2013. Mr. Sears is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sears Capital Management, a venture investment and portfolio management firm specializing in life sciences. From February 2012 to January 2017, he served on the board of directors of Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the regulation of the hematopoietic, or blood-forming, system. From September 2005 to March 2017, Mr. Sears has also served on the board of directors of SymBio Pharmaceuticals, KK, Ltd., a biotechnology company that is engaged in identifying and developing therapeutics for the treatment of leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. He has served on the board of directors of SiteOne Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held company developing small molecular pain therapies, and has been Chairman of the Board since September 2014. He has also served on the board of directors of Halcyon Medical, a cardiovascular device company, since April 2014. From 1986 until 1994, Mr. Sears was a part of the senior management team of Amgen, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of therapeutics targeting cancers, kidney ailments, inflammatory disorders, and metabolic diseases, where he was Chief Financial Officer as well as the Senior Vice President responsible for the Asia Pacific Region. Prior to joining Amgen, Mr. Sears held senior planning and financial positions with Atlantic Richfield Company, an oil company from 1976 until 1986, including Chief Financial Officer for its Ventures Division. He earned a B.A. in economics from Claremont McKenna College and an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.