Our Board
Ernest Mario, PhD

Dr. Mario joined our board of directors in August 2007 and served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until February 2014 when he was named Chairman. From April 2003 to August 2007, Dr. Mario served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Reliant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company that was acquired by GSK for approximately $1.6 billion in 2007. Dr. Mario served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of ALZA Corporation, a research-based pharmaceutical company, from November 1997 to December 2001, when ALZA was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for approximately $12 billion. Previously he served as Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of ALZA from August 1993 to November 1997. From January 1992 until March 1993, Dr. Mario served as Deputy Chairman of Glaxo Holdings plc., a pharmaceutical company, and as Chief Executive from May 1989 to March 1993. Dr. Mario has current and past service on a number of corporate boards including Boston Scientific Corporation, Celgene Inc., Chimerix, Inc., Kindred Biosciences Inc., Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. and XenoPort Inc. Dr. Mario is active in numerous educational and healthcare organizations. He is Chairman of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, a Director of the Gladstone Foundation, and past Chairman of the Duke University Health System. Dr. Mario earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in physical sciences at the University of Rhode Island and a B.S. in pharmacy at Rutgers. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Rhode Island and Rutgers University. In 2007 he was awarded the Remington Medal by the American Pharmacists’ Association, pharmacy’s highest honor.

Anish Bhatnagar, MD
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Bhatnagar was appointed as our Chief Executive Officer in February 2014. He joined us in 2006, and has held positions of increasing responsibility since then, most recently as President and Chief Operating Officer.  Dr. Bhatnagar is a physician with over 15 years of experience in the medical device and biopharmaceutical industries. His experience spans development of biologics, drugs, drug-device combinations and diagnostic as well as therapeutic medical devices. His prior experience includes working at Coulter Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from 1998 to 2000 and Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from 2000 to 2006. He is the author of several peer-reviewed publications, abstracts and book chapters. He obtained his medical degree at SMS Medical College in Jaipur, India and completed his Residency and Fellowship training in the U.S. at various institutions, including Georgetown University Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania.

Edgar G. Engleman, MD

Dr. Engleman has been a member of our board of directors since June 2001. He is a founding member of Vivo Ventures, LLC (formerly BioAsia Investments) and since 1990 has served as Professor of Pathology and Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he oversees the Stanford Blood Center as well as his own immunology research group. An editor of numerous scientific journals and the inventor of multiple patented technologies, Dr. Engleman has authored more than 250 publications in medical and scientific journals and has trained more than 200 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Engleman has co-founded a number of biopharmaceutical companies including Cetus Immune Corporation (acquired by Chiron Corporation), Genelabs Technologies, Inc., (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline plc), National Medical Audit, and Dendreon Corporation. He is the lead inventor of the technology underlying Provenge, Dendreon’s cancer vaccine, which was approved in 2010 to treat asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Dr. Engleman currently serves on the boards of several private biotechnology companies, including Gryphon Therapeutics, Inc., Naryx Pharma, Inc., Eiger BioPharma, Inc., Nuveta, Inc. and Semnur Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He received his M.D. from Columbia University School of Medicine and his B.A. from Harvard University.

Steinar Engelsen, MD, MSc, CEFA

Dr. Engelsen has been a member of our board of directors since April 2004. Since November 1996, Dr. Engelsen has been a partner of Teknoinvest AS, a venture capital firm based in Norway. From June 1989 until October 1996, Dr. Engelsen held various management positions within Hafslund Nycomed AS, a pharmaceutical company based in Europe, and affiliated companies. He was responsible for therapeutic research and development, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Nycomed Pharma AS from January 1994 until October 1996. He currently serves on the board of directors of Insmed, Inc. In addition, from January to November 2000, Dr. Engelsen was acting Chief Executive Officer of Centaur Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. Dr. Engelsen also served as Chairman of the board of directors of Centaur. Dr. Engelsen received his M.Sc. in Nuclear Chemistry and his M.D. from the University of Oslo, and is a Certified European Financial Analyst from The Norwegian School of Economics.

Stephen Kirnon, EdD

Dr. Kirnon has been a member of our board of directors since July 2002. He has over 20 years of operational experience in biomedical organizations. Since January 2009, he has served as the Co-founder and CEO of PharmaPlan LLC. From January 2012 until July 2013 he served as Vice President, Co-Lead Life Science Practice at Witt/Kieffer, Ford, Hadelman, Lloyd Corp. Prior to that, Dr Kirnon was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pepgen Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company based in Alameda, California, specializing in autoimmune diseases. He was formerly the President and CEO of Target Protein Technologies, Inc., a pharmaceutical company based in San Diego and specializing in the development of pharmaceutical compounds targeted to specific tissues and organs of the human body. Prior to TPT, he was the President and COO and a member of the Board of Yamanouchi Pharma Technologies, Inc., which is responsible for developing and commercializing Yamanouchi’s proprietary drug delivery technologies as well as the U.S. development and manufacture of Yamanouchi’s pharmaceuticals. Previously, Dr. Kirnon was the President of the Drug Delivery Division of Cygnus, Inc., successfully leading that Division into profitability and subsequently through sale of its business. Dr. Kirnon has also held various business development, sales, and marketing positions at Cygnus, Biogenex Laboratories, Inc., and GlaxoSmithKline plc. Dr. Kirnon received his doctorate in organization change and transformational leadership from as well as his M.B.A. from Pepperdine University, where he is an Adjunct Professor. He received a B.A. degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University. He is also a trustee of the New England College of Optometry.

William James "Jim" Alexander, MD, MPH, FACP

Dr. Alexander has been a member of our board of directors since June 2008. Since June 2008, he has worked as an independent consultant to the pharmaceutical industry. He also serves as Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Chiesi USA, Inc. He has held senior clinical development and regulatory positions at a number of companies, including Beecham, SmithKline The Beecham Group plc, GlaxoSmithKline plc, and Glaxo Wellcome plc. He has contributed to successful NDAs for products in multiple therapeutic areas, including antibacterials, antivirals (herpes, hepatitis, and HIV), asthma and COPD, as well as migraine. Dr. Alexander was a public health medical officer and clinical investigator in Birmingham, Alabama, and collaborated with the CDC in investigating the epidemiology of hepatitis C and HIV. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has been a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America since 2010. Dr. Alexander received his M.D. from the University of Missouri and his M.P.H. from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He received his B.S. in science from Mississippi State University.

William G. Harris

Mr. Harris has been a member of our board of directors since June 2014. He has been the senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Xenoport since 2001. From 1996 to 2001, he held several positions with Coulter Pharmaceutical, Inc., a biotechnology company engaged in the development of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, the most recent of which was senior vice president and chief financial officer. Corixa Corp., a developer of immunotherapeutic products, acquired Coulter Pharmaceutical in 2000. Prior to Coulter Pharmaceutical, from 1990 to 1996, Mr. Harris held several positions at Gilead Sciences, Inc., the most recent of which was director of finance. Mr. Harris received a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business and Administration.

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