Board of Directors
Christopher J. Burns, Ph.D.
President and Chief Scientific Officer, VenatoRx
Dr. Burns, is Co-Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He brings 25 years of international experience with financial and scientific responsibilities for multidisciplinary R&D teams within major pharmaceutical (Aventis, Novartis) and start-up (Protez Pharmaceuticals) environments. Prior to VenatoRx, Dr. Burns served from 2004–2010 as a member of the Executive Management Team and as Vice President of Research at Protez Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Novartis since 2008. Prior to Protez/Novartis he served as Director of Chemistry at ViroPharma, producing multiple clinical candidates for Hepatitis C infection, as well as clinical candidates for respiratory syncytial virus and smallpox infections (VP 14637, licensed to Teva, and Tecovirimat, licensed to Siga Technologies, respectively). Prior to this, Dr. Burns served as Chemistry Director and core member of the Global Lead Optimization Counsel at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer/Aventis. During his 12 years at RPR/Aventis, Dr. Burns led multidisciplinary teams in bone metabolism, cardiovascular disease (in the U.S.), and oncology (in France). Dr. Burns has appeared as co-author or co-inventor on more than 50 patents and publications.
Dr. Burns received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Nobel-laureate Professor K. Barry Sharpless.
Dr. Michael Diem
Senior Vice President, Aevi Genomic Medicine Inc
Dr. Diem is Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Development at Aevi Genomic Medicine, heading all business and corporate development activities for the company. Mike was recently with AstraZeneca as the Head of Corporate Strategy and Corporate Development, where he was responsible globally for corporate strategy, corporate development and MedImmune Ventures. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Mike was the Head of Business Development for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Rare Diseases where he was responsible for partnerships, licensing and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Earlier in his career at GSK, Mike was a partner in its corporate venture capital firm, SR One, Limited where he was responsible for many of the firm’s investments and served on the boards of numerous companies. Prior to GSK, Mike was an associate at Frantz Medical Ventures and practiced medicine for 6 years.
Dr. Diem holds a BA in biological sciences from Rutgers University, an MD from the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, completed his medical training at Duke University Medical Center and is an alumnus of the Kauffman Fellows Program.
Chief Executive Officer, Idera Pharmaceuticals
Mr. Milano received his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Rider College.
Luigi Xerri, Ph.D.
Chief Development Officer, VenatoRx
Dr. Xerri is Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer of VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He has been co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Protez Pharmaceuticals and was previously Director of Antimicrobial Disease Strategy at GlaxoSmithKline. He had responsibility for the appropriate risk assessment of the portfolio, aligning discovery with Business Development, and to fill gaps via in-licensing. During his 36 year career in antibacterials, he has led international teams for the pre-clinical and clinical development of cephalosporins (cefuroxime and ceftazidime), carbapenems (Sanfetrinem and Razupenem) and quinolones (ofloxacin, levofloxacin and grepafloxacin) and made key contributions to their commercialization strategies.
Dr. Xerri holds a Laurea in Biology and Microbiology from the University of Bologna, Italy.