Russell J. Cox, Chief Executive Officer
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.
Duane Nash, M.D., J.D., M.B.A., President
Dr. Nash has served as our President since March 2016. Between March 2012 and March 2016, he served as our Chief Business Officer, and he served as our Executive Vice President between May 2013 and March 2016. Between March 2012 and May 2013, he also served as our Medical Director. Dr. Nash completed his internship in general surgery at the University of California at San Francisco during which he served as a member of the liver transplant team. Dr. Nash also practiced as an attorney from November 2002 to February 2008, most recently at the law firm of Davis Polk, where he focused on intellectual property litigation and corporate matters. Dr. Nash joined Vital Therapies from Wedbush PacGrow Life Sciences where he was employed from March 2009 to March 2012 serving most recently as a Vice President in Equity Research. Before that he was a research analyst at Pacific Growth Equities from April 2008 through March 2009, which was subsequently acquired by Wedbush Securities, Inc. Dr. Nash has served on the board of directors of Akebia Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly-traded biotech company focused on the treatment of anemia and vascular disease, since May 2013. He served on the board of directors of Aerpio Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing innovative therapies for vascular diseases, from September 2012 to March 2017. Dr. Nash earned a B.A. in biology from Williams College, an M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School, a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the University of Oxford.
Robert A. Ashley, M.A., Chief Technical Officer, Executive Vice President
Mr. Ashley has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer since September 2013. Between May 2008 and September 2013 he served as our Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Ashley’s career in the pharmaceutical industry extends more than 30 years. He was formerly Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AmpliMed Corporation, a privately-held cancer drug development company, from January 2004 to March 2007, and Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly-held pharmaceutical company, from September 1994 to December 2003. Prior to that he held positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb from January 1989 to September 1994, and with Amersham International from 1979 to 1989. He earned a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University. Mr. Ashley is the inventor of several issued and pending patents, as well as the author of several scientific papers. He serves on the Board of Directors of Rowpar Pharmaceuticals, a privately-held manufacturer of proprietary dental pharmaceuticals.
Michael V. Swanson, M.B.A., Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President
Mr. Swanson joined us in August 2013 as our Chief Financial Officer and has also served as our Executive Vice Present since March 2016. Mr. Swanson has over 20 years of experience in senior financial positions in both public and private life sciences companies. Mr. Swanson was Chief Financial Officer of Amira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and early development of drugs to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, from May 2008 until the company was acquired in September 2011, and of Panmira Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a spin out from Amira from September to December 2011. From January 2012 to October 2015, Mr. Swanson provided financial consulting services to development stage companies. From July 2000 to April 2008, Mr. Swanson served in senior finance positions including Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Prometheus Laboratories Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company marketing and selling pharmaceutical products and diagnostic testing services for gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. Previously, Mr. Swanson was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc., a publicly-traded biomedical company, where he served in senior financial positions for over ten years. Mr. Swanson also served as Director of Finance of the Fisher Scientific Group, Inc., a health and scientific technology company, and its parent, The Henley Group, Inc., a widely diversified holding company. Mr. Swanson began his career working approximately nine years with the public accounting firm of Deloitte Haskins & Sells, now Deloitte & Touche LLP. Mr. Swanson earned a B.S. in business administration from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
John Dunn, General Counsel
Mr. Dunn has served as our General Counsel since November 2014 and as our Secretary since February 2015. Mr. Dunn has over 25 years of national law firm and in-house general counsel experience. Mr. Dunn was Senior Vice President Legal and Compliance, General Counsel and Secretary of IDEC Pharmaceuticals from 2002 until its merger with Biogen in late 2003. From 2004 to 2012, Mr. Dunn served as an Executive Vice President at Biogen Idec where he was in charge of Biogen Idec’s internal corporate venture fund and Innovation Incubator. More recently, Mr. Dunn was providing legal and corporate development advisory services to emerging life science companies. Previously, Mr. Dunn was a partner for 16 years in the Corporate, Securities and Technology Group at the Pillsbury Winthrop law firm where his practice focused on the healthcare industry. Mr. Dunn earned a B.S. in finance and his J.D. from the University of Wyoming. He serves as an advisor to TVM Capital, a life science venture capital firm, and is a member of the board of directors of Acer Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly-traded specialty orphan pharmaceutical company.
Andrew Henry, Vice President of Clinical Operations
Mr. Henry has served as our Vice President of Clinical Operations since April 2013. Mr. Henry is responsible for the global implementation of our clinical program. Mr. Henry has over 25 years of experience managing clinical trials in life science companies with roles at Schering-Plough Oncology, Novartis Oncology and MedImmune. Between January 2009 and February 2013, Mr. Henry served as Senior Director of Clinical Trial Management and Senior Director of Global Clinical Operational Strategy of MedImmune, a biopharmaceutical company that is under AstraZeneca’s biologics division. At MedImmune, Mr. Henry oversaw operations of all clinical studies being performed by the company across all therapeutic areas. From November 1997 to August 2008, Mr. Henry held roles as Senior Clinical Research Scientist and Head Clinical Resources and Development Director at Novartis Oncology, an ethical pharmaceutical company, where he oversaw clinical studies and the Department of Clinical Research Scientists/Clinical Trial Heads. Mr. Henry earned a B.S. in biology and biopsychology from William Paterson University.
Richard Murawski, Vice President of Manufacturing
Mr. Murawski has served as our Vice President of Manufacturing since July 2013. Mr. Murawski has more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing facility design, construction, start-up, validation, and supply chain management, both domestically and internationally, including 17 major plant start-ups. From February 2013 to July 2013, Mr. Murawski was self-employed as a consultant. From June 2010 to February 2013, Mr. Murawski served as the Vice President/General Manager for Dendreon Corporation, a biotech manufacturing company, with responsibility for, among others, manufacturing, engineering, materials management, and facilities. Between June 2008 and July 2010, Mr. Murawski served as Chief Executive Officer of Murawski and
Associates, a biotech consulting company, where he consulted companies on managing operations and biopharmaceutical facilities. From June 2002 to July 2008, Mr. Murawski served as Senior Vice President of Operations and Corporate Officer of Favrille, Inc., a biotech manufacturing company, and was responsible for manufacturing, engineering, materials management, facilities, technical services, and environmental, health and safety functions. Mr. Murawski earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from the Newark College of Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Aron P. Stern, M.B.A., Chief Administration Officer
Mr. Stern has served as our Chief Administrative Officer since August 2013 and as our Secretary from October 2005 to February 2015. Between June 2003 and August 2013, Mr. Stern served as our Treasurer, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Stern has over 20 years of experience in capital formation, acquisitions, financial strategy and financial and operational management in growth-stage high technology and biotechnology companies. He previously was Chief Financial Officer at Protein Polymer Technologies, Inc., a developer of a protein-based technology, 4-D Neuroimaging, a medical equipment manufacturing company, and VitaGen, Inc., our predecessor company. Mr. Stern also held positions at Apple Computer and Isis Pharmaceuticals, a developer of antisense drugs. Mr. Stern earned a B.S. in economics and business administration and an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of California, Berkeley.
Albert Kildani, Vice President, Investor Relations and Business Development
Mr. Kildani joined us in September 2014 as our Vice President, Investor Relations and Business Development. From August 2012 to August 2014, Mr. Kildani was Senior Director, Investor Relations for Hologic, Inc., a global medical device company, following its acquisition of Gen-Probe Incorporated in 2012, where he served in the same role. Prior to entering the life sciences industry, Mr. Kildani spent over 12 years on Wall Street in investment banking, analyst and portfolio management roles, all with a focus on healthcare. From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Kildani was Managing Director at Global Hunter Securities where he led the healthcare investment banking effort. From 2004 to 2009, Mr. Kildani was a Director with SF Capital, a unit of Stark Investments, where he focused on investments in biotechnology, and medical device companies. Previously, Mr. Kildani spent seven years as a sell-side analyst with C.E. Unterberg, Towbin and Pacific Growth Equities covering a variety of industries within healthcare including biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, life science tools and specialty services. Mr. Kildani has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Boston College.