Peggy Harbison, V.M.D.
Bijan Almassian, Ph.D., Founder & Chairman
Dr. Almassian has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry across multiple disciplines including Research & Development, Strategic Planning, Business Development and Operations Management. He is currently a co-founder and CEO of CaroGen Corporation, an immunotherapy company with initial focus on infectious diseases. Prior to Aria, he served as President and CEO of ExSAR Corporation from 2005 to 2010 and set about transforming the company from a platform based drug discovery service provider to a drug development enterprise. During his tenure at ExSAR, he established relationships with academic laboratories and licensed and built a drug pipeline of small drug molecules for potential treatment of genetic diseases and neurological disorders. Prior to joining ExSAR, Dr. Almassian was the Chief Operating Officer at Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately owned company focused on discovery and development of drugs for treatment of cancer and neurological disorders. Before joining Panacea, he held several senior executive positions at Vion Pharmaceuticals, a spin off from Yale University. As Vice President of Drug Development and an officer of the company, he built the drug development operations, which led the IND filing and development of five drugs and biologics through all phases of development. Before Vion, he was with Genelabs Technologies in California, where he was responsible for pharmaceutical development of three drugs for the treatment of cancer, HIV and lupus. Dr. Almassian received his M.S. in Medicinal Chemistry from Northeastern University in Boston. After receiving his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, he was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at Boston University Medical Center, where he performed cardiovascular and cancer research.
Mark A. Findeis, Ph.D., Corporate Research Advisor
Dr. Findeis has over 20 years of research and development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and is a well recognized investigator in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. He is the founder of Satori Pharmaceuticals, a company developing novel drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. There, Dr. Findeis was instrumental in the raising of seed capital and syndicated venture funding in addition to his responsibility of day to day operations for four years. Previously he was Director of Chemistry at PRAECIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he led AD research resulting in a clinical stage compound. Dr. Findeis is a graduate of M.I.T., received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University.
Dr. Harbison has had 20 years experience in drug and companion diagnostics development at Roche with particular expertise in project leadership, clinical and regulatory strategies, and preclinical drug development. Most recently, she was Vice President at Roche Molecular Diagnostics where she was responsible for a development portfolio of molecular biomarker and companion diagnostics in the Genomics and Oncology business area. Prior to that, Dr. Harbison held global project leadership positions in the Pharma division; she led cross-functional lifecycle teams for drugs in development, both small molecules and biologics, in a variety of therapeutic areas. Her tenure included a 4-year ex-pat assignment in the Basel, Switzerland headquarters and the position of Global Head of Project Management. Dr. Harbison spent her initial years at Roche in preclinical drug development in the Department of Toxicology and Pathology. She is a board-certified veterinary pathologist and holds a B.A. and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (V.M.D) from the University of Pennsylvania. Her pathology training was carried out at Harvard Medical School under an National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellowship.
Marc A. Silver, Vice-President of Business Operations
Mr. Silver has over twenty five years of business development experience in the biotechnology industry. Mr. Silver has previously held senior business management positions at BioWa, Inc., a division of Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Praecis Pharmaceuticals, Ardais Corp. and the American Type Culture Collection. In those capacities he has been responsible for corporate partnership development, licensing, alliance management, intellectual property, and business operations. He has an extensive “deal sheet” covering a wide variety of transactions. Through his positions with Harvard Management and Johnston Associates, Mr. Silver has also been instrumental in the founding, financing and initial development of a number of life science companies including Aspect Medical Corp., Arris Pharmaceuticals, TargeTech Inc. and Envirogen Corp. He received an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and his Master's in Business from MIT's Sloan School of Management.
Kevin Lin, Ph.D., Director, Chemistry, Manufacturing and Quality Control
Dr. Lin has over 16 years of experience in medicinal chemistry, process development, and scale-up for preclinical and clinical studies. He worked at Vion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from 1997 to 2010, most recently as Director of Chemistry and Clinical Manufacturing. In this capacity, he had overall responsibility forVion’s NCE design, synthesis strategies, route scouting, process research, and development of scale-up chemistry for clinical and commercial production. Dr. Lin has extensive experience in preparation of CMC sections of INDs and NDAs. Dr. Lin has links to an extensive network of CMOs in China and can provide guidance in the selection of China-based partners for chemical manufacture. Dr. Lin holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Catalysis Chemistry from Xiamen University in China and a Ph.D. degree in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry from University of Memphis.
Harry H. Penner, Jr.
Mr. Penner is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nascent BioScience, LLC, a firm engaged in the creation and development of new biotechnology companies which he founded in September 2001. Mr. Penner is a Founder of New Haven Pharmaceuticals, Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Affinimark Technologies, Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, RxGen, MAK Scientific, Rhei Pharmaceuticals, and Marinus Pharmaceuticals. He was President, Chief Executive Officer, and Vice Chairman of Neurogen Corporation from 1993 to 2001. From 1985 to 1993 he was an Executive Vice President of Novo Nordisk A/S, serving from 1988 to 1993 as Executive Vice President for North America and President, Novo Nordisk of North America, and from 1985 to 1988 as the company's Executive Vice President and General Counsel in Denmark. He has served as BioScience Advisor to the Governor and the State of Connecticut, as Co-Chair of Connecticut United for Research Excellence, and as Chair of the Connecticut Board of Governors of Higher Education. He currently serves on the Boards of Celldex Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CLDX), Rib-X, New Haven Pharmaceuticals, Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Rib-X, Marinus, and Affinimark. Mr. Penner holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from Fordham University, and an L.L.M. in International Law from New York University.
F. Raymond Salemme, PhD.
Dr. Salemme brings more than 30 years of experience in biotechnology and drug discovery to Aria. He is founder and President of Imiplex LLC, a company developing protein-based nanotechnology for biomedical applications. Formerly he held the post of CEO at Redpoint Bio, a biotechnology company using advanced technology to discover new products allowing the reduction of sugar and salt in food products. Prior to Redpoint, Dr. Salemme founded and built 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals (3DP), a company integrating structure-based design, cheminformatics and high-throughput screening for pharmaceutical discovery. 3DP ultimately grew to over 200 employees, went public with a market capitalization of $330 million in 2000, and was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003. Prior to 3DP, Dr. Salemme held scientific and management roles at Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals, DuPont Merck Pharmaceuticals and Genex Corporation. He also served as a professor of biochemistry at the University of Arizona. Dr. Salemme has served on numerous Federal and other advisory boards, including the NIST Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, the NIH National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Penn State University Nanotechnology Center. He also served on the Boards of ExSAR Corp and Via Science. Dr. Salemme holds 33 patents in the areas of cheminformatics, computer-directed drug discovery, and high-throughput thermodynamic screening technology, and has published more than 90 scientific papers. He received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.C. San Diego and B.A. in Molecular Biophysics from Yale University.
George Perry, Ph.D. is Dean of the College of Sciences and Professor of Biology at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Perry is recognized in the field of Alzheimer's disease research, particularly for his work on oxidative stress. Dr. Perry received his Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology with high honors from University of California, Santa Barbara. After graduation, he headed to Scripps Institute of Oceanography and obtained his Ph.D. in marine biology under David Epel in 1979. He then received a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cell Biology in the laboratories of Drs. Bill Brinkley and Joseph Bryan at Baylor College of Medicine where he laid the foundation for his observations of abnormalities in cell structures. In 1982, Dr. Perry joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University, where he currently holds an adjunct appointment. He is distinguished as one of the leading Alzheimer’s disease researchers with over 800 publications and the 6th most cited, one of the top 100 most-cited scientists in neuroscience and behavior and one of the top 25 scientists in free radical research.
Dr. Perry has been cited over 47,000 times and is recognized as an ISI Highly Cited researcher. Dr. Perry is editor for numerous journals and is editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Microscopy Society of America, Royal Society of Medicine, Royal Society of Chemistry, Society of Biology and the Linnean Society and past-President of the American Association of Neuropathologists. He has been elected member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, Mexican Academy of Sciences and Lisbon Academy of Sciences; Iberoamerican Molecular Biology Organization, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and won the Distinguished Professional Mentor Award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and the National Honor Plaque of Panama for exceptional contributions to Neuroscience.
Dr. Perry's research is primarily focused on how Alzheimer disease develops from a biological perspective and the physiological consequences of the disease at a cellular level. He is currently working to determine the sequence of mitochondrial events leading to metabolic failure.
Michael H. Hecht, Ph.D.
Dr. Hecht is a Professor at Princeton University, where he is affiliated with the Chemistry Department, the Molecular Biology Department, and the Genomics Institute. In recent years, he has served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and as the Associate Chair of the Department of Chemistry. Prof. Hecht’s research is at the interface of chemistry and biology, with current work focused in two areas: the first deals with the molecular determinants of Alzheimer’s disease and the search for anti-Alzheimer’s therapeutics; and the second area of research focuses on Synthetic Biology, and includes projects ranging from the design of novel proteins to the construction of artificial genomes. Prof. Hecht received his B.A. summa cum laude in Chemistry from Cornell University, where he worked with Prof. Harold Scheraga. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology at MIT, where he worked with Prof. Robert Sauer on protein structure and DNA binding. He then did post-doctoral research with Profs. David and Jane Richardson in the Biochemistry Department at Duke University Medical School, where he worked on one of the first examples of a protein designed de novo. Prof. Hecht has published numerous papers in a range of scientific journals, and is frequently invited to present his work at national and international conferences. He is on the editorial board of several scientific journals, and was recognized with the Kaiser Award from the Protein Society for “significant, original, and creative contributions to our understanding of protein structure and design.”
Dr. Doyle has over 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has served on multiple scientific advisory boards. He began his career at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in 1967 and worked there for 27 years, ending his career at BMS as an Executive Director with responsibilities for anti-tumor chemistry, natural products chemistry and computational chemistry. He helped found Vion Pharmaceuticals as Vice President of Research and Development in 1993 and served as Chief Scientific Officer from 2004-2006. He recently served on the scientific advisory boards of GeminX Biotechnologies Inc. and Chlorion Pharmaceuticals. He has served on numerous study sections at National Institutes of Health since 1984. He is the holder of 52 U.S. patents for anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agents and an author of over 175 published research articles, review articles and abstracts related to cancer chemotherapy. Dr. Doyle was educated in chemistry at Loyola College (B.Sc.) and the University of Notre Dame (Ph.D.).