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Board of Directors


Robert J. Wills, Ph.D. – Chairman

Robert J. Wills, Ph.D. has been a member of our Board of Directors since March 2015 and has been Chairman of the Board since October 2015. Dr. Wills spent over 25 years at Johnson & Johnson, most recently as Vice President, Alliance Management, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, before his retirement from the Company. He was responsible for managing strategic alliances for the Pharmaceutical Group worldwide, which included an active role in the negotiations of these alliances. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President Global Development, where he was responsible for the R&D pipeline and a member of the R&D Board of Directors. In addition he served on several of the commercial Operating Company Boards and key pharmaceutical group decision-making committees. Dr. Wills began his career at Hoffmann-LaRoche where he spent 10 years in several roles of scientific responsibility. Dr. Wills holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and an M.S. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Texas.

Caroline Loewy – Director

Caroline Loewy has been a member of our Board since December 2016. Ms. Loewy is a biopharmaceutical and financial executive with over 25 years of experience in the field. She is a consultant providing strategic advisory services for biopharmaceutical companies. Ms. Loewy is a board member of PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Aptose Biosciences Inc. She was a Co-Founder and served as the Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Achieve Life Sciences (acquired by OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2017) from 2015 to 2017. Ms. Loewy has previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer of both public and private biopharmaceutical companies including Tobira Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan Inc. in 2016) from 2012 to 2014, Corcept Therapeutics from 2008 to 2011, and Poniard Pharmaceuticals from 2006 to 2008. Prior to her roles in company management, Ms. Loewy spent 11 years as a senior biotechnology equity research analyst at Morgan Stanley and Prudential Securities. Ms. Loewy has leveraged her experience in the medical arena and financial expertise to benefit those affected by rare disease. She is a founding board member of the Global Genes Project, one of the leading rare disease patient advocacy organizations in the world and is a member of the National Advisory Council of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) Center for Rare Childhood Disorders. Ms. Loewy is also a founding board member of the KCNQ2 Cure Alliance, promoting education and research into the rare disorder affecting her son. Ms. Loewy holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MBA/MS from Carnegie Mellon University.

Sujal Shah – Director

Mr. Shah has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer since March 2017. Previously, he served as our Chief Financial Officer since December of 2013. Prior to that he served as a consultant and acting Chief Financial Officer for us from June 2012 to December 2013. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Shah served as Director, Health Care Investment Banking for Citigroup Inc., where he was responsible for managing client relationships and executing strategic and financing related transactions for clients focused in life sciences. From 2004 to 2010 Mr. Shah was employed with Credit-Suisse, last serving in the capacity as Vice President, Health Care Investment Banking Group. Mr. Shah currently serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute at Northwestern University. Mr. Shah received a M.B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.

Paul F. Truex – Director

Paul F. Truex has been a member of our Board since April 2016. Mr. Truex is Executive Chairman of the Board of Anthera Pharmaceuticals. He served as Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anthera, from 2004 to 2016. Prior to founding Anthera, Mr. Truex served as a founder, Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from the commencement of its operations in October 2001 until December 2005 after which Peninsula was acquired in a series of transactions by Johnson and Johnson and Forest Laboratories. Prior to Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Truex was Vice President of Commercial Development for Versicor, Inc. (acquired by Pfizer) from April 2000 to September 2001. From July 1997 to April 2000, Mr. Truex worked at Eli Lilly and Company where he served in various marketing and sales roles. Mr. Truex obtained his M.B.A. in marketing and finance from Indiana University and a B.A. in economics from the University of Waterloo. Mr. Truex is also the Chairman and a director of Milestone Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and previously served as a director of Trius Therapeutics, Inc. from June 2008 until September 2013.

Kurt von Emster, CFA – Director

Kurt von Emster, CFA has been a member of our Board of Directors since April 2009. Mr. von Emster is a Managing Partner at Abingworth, a leading life sciences investment firm, where he invests globally in private and public companies. Prior to Abingworth, he co-founded venBio and was most recently a Partner from 2009 through 2014. From 2001 - 2009, Mr. von Emster was a General Partner at MPM Capital where he launched the MPM BioEquities Fund, a cross over public and private biotechnology hedge fund. From 1989 until 2001, Mr. von Emster was a Vice President at Franklin Templeton where he founded and managed the Franklin Biotechnology Discovery Fund and several other leading health care funds. He has been an institutional biotechnology and health care analyst and portfolio manager for over 25 years. He is also a member of the board of directors of CRISPR Therapeutics, SutroVax and Kesios. Mr. von Emster is located in California.