Our Board
Ernest Mario, PhD
Executive Chairman

Dr. Ernest Mario is the Executive Chairman of Capnia. After working as a drugstore pharmacist and then beginning his pharmaceutical industry career as a researcher in 1966, Dr. Mario served in management at a number of drug companies before being named in 1989 chief executive of Glaxo, then the second-largest drug company in the world. During Dr. Mario’s tenure, Glaxo brought five major new products to market and saw sales and profits increase by 15% annually. Later Dr. Mario led pioneering drug delivery technology company ALZA until selling it to Johnson & Johnson in 2001 in what was then one of the largest pharmaceutical industry mergers in history. Most recently he served as chairman and chief executive of Reliant Pharmaceuticals, where he led the commercialization of Omacor/Lovaza, the first and only prescription omega-3 medication clinically proven to dramatically reduce very high triglycerides.

Dr. Mario earned a BS in pharmacy at Rutgers and his MS and PhD in physical sciences at the University of Rhode Island. He holds honorary doctorates from URI and Rutgers, the latter of which in 2001 renamed its pharmacy school the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. In 2007 he was awarded the Remington Medal by the American Pharmacists’ Association, pharmacy’s highest honor.

In addition to his current and past service on a number of corporate boards, Dr. Mario is active in numerous educational and healthcare organizations, including Duke, where he is a former university trustee and chairman of the health system.

Anish Bhatnagar, MD
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Anish Bhatnagar is a physician with over 16 years of experience in the medical device and biopharmaceutical industry. His experience spans development of biologics, drugs, drug-device combinations and diagnostic as well as therapeutic medical devices. He has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry in all aspects of drug and device development and has a track record of the approval of multiple products (CoSense, Bexxar and Serenz). Anish has implemented clinical trials in several therapeutic areas all over the world.  He has been the lead in regulatory interactions with several divisions at the FDA and international regulatory authorities (UK, France, Australia and Sweden).

Anish has been at Capnia since 2006 where he has been responsible for raising over $25 million in equity and non-dilutive financing. His prior experience includes working at Coulter and Titan Pharmaceuticals. He is the author of several peer-reviewed publications, abstracts and book chapters. He obtained his medical degree in Jaipur, India and completed his Residency and Fellowship training at Georgetown University Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania.

Edgar G. Engleman, MD

Dr. Engleman is a founding member of Vivo Ventures, LLC (formerly BioAsia Investments).

Dr. Engleman is Professor of Pathology and Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he oversees the Stanford Blood Center and 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.

He has co-founded a number of biopharmaceutical companies including Cetus Immune, Genelabs, National Medical Audit and Dendreon. He is the lead inventor of the technology underlying Provenge, Dendreon's cancer vaccine, which was shown to extend life for patients with metastatic prostate cancer with remarkably few side effects. Provenge is the first active immunotherapeutic agent to be approved by the FDA (in 2010).

Dr. Engleman currently serves on the boards of several private biotechnology companies. He received his BA from Harvard University and his MD from Columbia University School of Medicine.

Dr. Engleman has been a member of Capnia’s Board of Directors since 2001.

Steinar Engelsen, MD, MSc

Dr. Engelsen has been a member of Capnia's Board since 2003.

Since November 1996, Dr. Engelsen has been a partner of Teknoinvest AS, a venture capital firm based in Norway.  From 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 is currently on the Board of Directors of Insmed, Inc (NASDAQ:INSM).  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 MSc in Nuclear Chemistry and his MD from the University of Oslo, and is a Certified European Financial Analyst

Stephen Kirnon, EdD

Dr. Kirnon has been a member of Capnia’s Board of Directors since 2002.

Dr. Kirnon has over 20 years of operational experience in biomedical organizations. Dr Kirnon was previously 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 US development and manufacture of Yamanouchi’s pharmaceuticals. Previously, he was the President of the Drug Delivery Division of Cygnus, Inc., successfully leading the 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, and SmithKline Beecham.

In addition to a BA degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University and an MBA from Pepperdine University, Dr. Kirnon received his doctorate in organization change and transformational leadership from Pepperdine University where he is an Adjunct Professor. He is also a trustee of the New England College of Optometry.

Jim Alexander, MD

W. James Alexander, MD, MPH, FACP, an independent consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, became a member of Capnia’s Board of Directors in 2008. Following clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases, Jim 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.  Since 1987, he has held senior clinical development and regulatory positions at a number of companies, including Beecham, SmithKline Beecham, Glaxo, and Glaxo Wellcome.  Jim has contributed to successful NDAs for products in the therapeutic areas of antibacterials, antivirals (herpes, hepatitis, and HIV), asthma and COPD, as well as migraine.

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