President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board
Gerald T. Proehl became a director and our President and Chief Executive Officer in 2014 and became our Chairman in 2021. Mr. Proehl has more than 30 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry. From 2002 until 2014, Mr. Proehl was President and CEO of Santarus, Inc., where he led the sale of Santarus, Inc. to Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for $2.6 billion. Prior to Santarus, Inc., Mr. Proehl worked for Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc. for 14 years, where he served in various capacities, including VP of Global Marketing. While at Hoechst, he was responsible for marketing products in multiple therapeutic areas, including cardiology, allergy/respiratory, immunology, and neurology. Mr. Proehl holds a B.S. in Education from State University of New York at Cortland, an M.A. in Exercise Physiology from Wake Forest University, and an M.B.A. from Rockhurst University. Mr. Proehl currently serves on the board of one public company, Tenax Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE: TENX). Mr. Proehl was selected as an officer and director due to his leadership experience at other companies and his history of founding and operating specialty pharmaceutical companies.
David Hale is our co-founder and has served as a member of our board of directors since 2014, and as Lead Director since 2021. Mr. Hale is Chairman and CEO of Hale BioPharma Ventures, LLC a private company focused on the formation and development of biotechnology, specialty pharma, diagnostic and medical device companies. Mr. Hale is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the formation and development of a number of successful biomedical companies. He served as the Chairman of Santarus, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company, since 2004 and a member of Santarus’ board since 2000, prior to its acquisition by Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. in 2014, and as Chairman of SkinMedica, Inc., prior to its sale to Allergan in 2012, Micromet, Inc., prior to its sale to Amgen Inc. in 2012, Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., prior to its sale to Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. in 2013, Crisi Medical Systems, Inc., prior to its sale to Becton Dickinson & Company in 2015, and Agility Clinical, Inc. prior to its sale to Precision Medicine Inc. in 2017.
Mr. Hale currently sits on the board of directors of two public companies, including Oncternal Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ONCT), since 2019, and BIOCEPT, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOC), since 2011.
Mr. Hale is a co-founder and Chairman of Adigica Health, Inc., Zerigo Health, Inc., Oncternal Therapeutics, Inc., Neurana Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is also co-founder and Director of Neurelis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Recros Medica, Inc., a co-founder of Cadence Inc., Evoke Pharma Inc., Elevation Pharmaceutical Inc. and Zogenix Inc.
Mr. Hale is a co-founder and serves on the Board of Directors of BIOCOM and CONNECT and is a former member of the Board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and the Biotechnology Institute. He has served on the Board of Rady Children’s Hospital since 1986, including Chairman of the Board from 2011 to 2015, and is founder and Chairman of the Rady Children’s Institute of Genomic Medicine. He is a member of the UCSD Rady School of Management Dean’s Advisory Council and a Director of the San Diego Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Hale was selected as a director due to his industry and executive business experience.
Wendell Wierenga Ph.D.
Wendell Wierenga, Ph.D. became a director in 2016. From 2011 to 2014, Dr. Wierenga served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development at Santarus, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company that was acquired by Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2014. From 2004 to 2011, Dr. Wierenga served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development at Ambit Biosciences Corporation and Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX). Prior to Neurocrine, from 1999 to 2004 he served as the Chief Executive Officer for Syrrx, Inc. where he built an early stage biotech company which was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited in 2005. From 1990 to 2000, Dr. He also was Sr. VP of Research at Parke Davis/Warner Lambert, when it was acquired by Pfizer Inc. and prior to that held various positions in research at Upjohn Pharmaceuticals from 1974-1990. Dr. Wierenga earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University and his B.A. from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He is currently the chair of the Board of Directors of Crinetics (NASDAQ: CRNX) and is also a member of the Board of Directors of Cytokinetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYTK). Most recently was on the Board of Directors for Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. and XenoPort, Inc. prior to their sales to Pfizer Inc. and Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC, respectively. Dr. Wierenga was selected as a director due to his industry and executive business experience.
Kathleen Scott is currently the Chief Financial Officer of ARS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public biotech company. Prior to ARS, Ms. Scott was the Chief Financial Officer of Neurana Pharmaceuticals from 2017-2022, Recros Medica from 2014 to 2021, Adigica Health from 2016 to 2021, Clarify Medical from 2014 to 2016, Oncternal Therapeutics from 2016 to 2016, MDRejuvena from 2014 to 2016, and BioSurplus from 2010 to 2014. Prior to BioSurplus, Ms. Scott was a Partner at RA Capital Advisors, a San Diego private investment bank providing financial advisory services. Ms. Scott spent over 15 years with RA Capital Advisors, from 1994 to 2010, completing billions of dollars of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and restructurings for a broad range of corporate clients. Ms. Scott started her career as an auditor in Arthur Andersen’s San Diego office, focusing on both public and private clients. Ms. Scott is board chair of the YMCA of San Diego County and is a CPA and CFA charter holder. Ms. Scott graduated magna cum laude from UCLA with a B.S. in economics/ business. Ms. Scott was selected as a director due to her extensive industry and financial experience.
Steven J. Mento, Ph.D.
Steven J. Mento, Ph.D. serves as a director on the board of directors of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. since 2005, and from 2005 to 2012, Dr. Mento served as chairman of Conatus’ board of directors. Dr. Mento was a co-founder of Conatus and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer from 2005 until its merger with Histogen Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTO) in 2020. 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 2005, Idun was sold to Pfizer Inc. Previously, Dr. Mento served as President of Chiron Viagene, Inc. (subsequently Chiron Technologies, Center for Gene Therapy) from 1995 to 1997, and Vice President of Chiron Corporation from 1995 to 1997. Dr. Mento was Vice President of research and development at Viagene from 1992 to 1995. Prior to Viagene, Dr. Mento held various positions at American Cyanamid Company from 1982 to 1992, including as Director of Viral Vaccine Research and Development at Lederle-Praxis Biologicals, a business unit of American Cyanamid. Dr. Mento currently serves on the board of directors of Histogen, BIOCOM California and various academic and charitable organizations. He previously served on the boards of Biotechnology Innovation Organization, BIO Emerging Companies Section Governing Board, BIO Health Section Governing Board, and Sangamo Biosciences, Inc. Dr. Mento holds a Ph.D. and M.S., both in Microbiology, from Rutgers University, and a B.A. in Microbiology from Rutgers College. Dr. Mento was selected as a director due to his experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including executive leadership experience at several pharmaceutical companies.
Mary Fisher currently serves as Chief Executive Officer, Chair and a Director at Colorescience Inc., a science-based skincare company and former division of SkinMedica, Inc. While at SkinMedica, Ms. Fisher served as Chief Executive Officer from 2008 to 2012, where she led the successful sale of the company to Allergan, Inc. for $350 million. Prior to joining SkinMedica, from 2000 to 2007, Ms. Fisher served as the Chief Operating Officer of Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOR). She previously held management and leadership positions at Cephalon, Inc. from 1994 to 1999, Immunex Corp. from 1990 to 1994, and Boehringer Ingelheim from 1981 to 1990. She previously served on the Board of Directors at ZELTIQ Aesthetics, Inc. from 2012 to 2017, and Ovascience from 2013 to 2018. Ms. Fisher currently sits on the Board of Sientra since 2019. Ms. Fisher was selected as a director due to her extensive business and professional experience.
Andrew Sandler, M.D.
Andrew Sandler, M.D. currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Alpine Immune Sciences. Prior to joining Alpine Immune Sciences, he was Chief Medical Officer at Kiadis Pharma prior to its acquisition by Sanofi, providing strategic oversight of the company’s clinical development, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, medical affairs, safety/pharmacovigilance, scientific communication, and life -cycle management. Before that, he served as Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs at Medivation (Pfizer) where he provided strategic leadership direction in building and maintaining a Medical Affairs team for the development of their investigational agents in late-stage development while leading the life cycle management of their marketed products. Prior to Medivation, Dr. Sandler held various roles including Chief Medical Officer, Executive Vice President, R&D, Seattle Site Head and Senior Vice President, Clinical and Medial Affairs at Dendreon. Earlier in his career, Dr. Sandler was Chief Medical Officer at Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs for Oncology at Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, and held various positions at Berlex Oncology/Schering AG and Seattle Genetics, Inc.
Dr. Sandler holds a M.D. degree from Mount Sinai Medical Center and a B.S. degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester. Dr. Sandler completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Sandler also holds a Certificate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and was a Fellow in Hematology/Medical Oncology in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Brittany Bradrick has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Neurelis, Inc. since 2021. Prior to joining Neurelis, Ms. Bradrick was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at ViaCyte. She previously served in strategy and corporate development positions for 10 years at Insulet Corporation as Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development and at Abbott Diabetes Care as the Head of Corporate Development. Prior to these positions, Ms. Bradrick was an investment banker for the life science industry at Piper Jaffray, Credit Suisse, and Chase Securities for 10 years. Ms. Bradrick began her career as a Federal Reserve Bank Examiner. Ms. Bradrick holds an M.B.A. from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri.