Dr. Burns is Founder, President and CEO of Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in antibacterial and antiviral drug research and development. He has 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including various corporate and R&D leadership positions at Protez/Novartis, ViroPharma, and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi). Dr. Burns has appeared as co-author or co-inventor on more than 60 patents and publications and has served as Principal Investigator on more than ten awarded U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) grants. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from St. Joseph’s University, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under Nobel-laureate Professor K. Barry Sharpless. Dr. Burns currently serves on the Board of Directors at Life Sciences Pennsylvania (LSPA) and the Antimicrobials Working Group (AWG) and on the Advisory Board for Life Science Cares Philadelphia. Dr. Burns was named both Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s ‘CEO of the Year’ and an Ernst and Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2019.
Dr. Pevear is Founder and Senior Vice President of Biology and Grants Development at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals. He has over 25 years of experience in anti-infectives drug discovery and development, covering both anti-bacterials and anti-virals.
Prior to founding Venatorx, Dr. Pevear was the Director of Biology at Protez Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation) where he co-led the team who advanced a first-in-class beta-lactamase inhibitor into preclinical development. Prior to Protez, Dr. Pevear spent two years with Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, where he directed the billion dollar collaboration with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals on ground-breaking “RNA interference” technology. He has also worked with Progenics Pharmaceuticals (Tarrytown, NY) where he directed research efforts in both Human immunodeficiency virus and Hepatitis C virus. In 1994 Dr. Pevear was a scientific team founding member of ViroPharma Inc. (Exton, PA). As the Director of Biology at ViroPharma, Dr. Pevear led a team of over 30 scientists working on a variety of anti-infective targets. He also served on the team that advanced a first-in-class inhibitor for the common cold viruses through NDA filing. This compound was discovered by Dr. Pevear’s laboratory during his time with Sterling Winthrop Research Institute (1988–1994).
Dr. Pevear has been involved in the advancement of more than a dozen compounds from the lab bench into clinical development. He has published over 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has written more than a half dozen reviews. Dr. Pevear has served as the Principal Investigator and/or written 6 SBIR-Advanced Technology awards and contributed to several others. He also served as an NIH Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel Member for AIDS SBIR applications in 2005.
Dr. Pevear received his Ph.D. in Viral Immunology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the lab of Dr. Howard Lipton (Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL) from 1985–1988.
Dr. Xerri is Founder and Strategic Advisor at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Venatorx, he co-founded and was Chief Scientific Officer of Protez Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Novartis in 2008. Dr. Xerri was also Director of Antimicrobial Disease Strategy at GlaxoSmithKline where 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 or been part of 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.
Mr. Felker is Chief Operating Officer at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in antibacterial and antiviral drug research and development. Mr. Felker has more than 25 years' experience in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and diagnostics spanning business development, operations, and venture capital. Prior to joining Venatorx, Mr. Felker was Vice President, Operations at NuPathe where he was responsible for commercial manufacturing, technical operations, and new product planning. He assumed this position in May 2011 after acting as Vice President, Business Development since January 2006. Previously, Mr. Felker served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at BioAdvance, where he advised on investment opportunities and provided assistance to portfolio companies. Prior to that, Mr. Felker served as Associate Vice President, BTG Ventures at BTG International. Mr. Felker was the founding investor in Protez Pharmaceuticals, which was subsequently acquired by Novartis. Additionally, Mr. Felker has served in business roles at Icagen (RTP, NC) and Athersys (Cleveland, OH), and worked as a protein chemist at Hybritech and Biosite Diagnostics in San Diego, CA. Mr. Felker is an active participant in the entrepreneurial community in Philadelphia. He serves on the Investment Advisory Committee of Ben Franklin Technology Partners and advises several biotech and medical device companies in Philadelphia. Mr. Felker holds a BS from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve.
Dr. Henkel is Chief Medical Officer at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in antibacterial and antiviral drug research and development. He has spent 25 years in the biopharmaceutical industry developing antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, immunomodulatory and oncology drugs. He has successfully developed biologics, small molecules and natural products in the US and Europe. Prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Henkel was Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion). Dr. Henkel was also Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Ception Therapeutics (acquired by Cephalon), Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Vicuron Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), and Vice President of Worldwide Anti-Infective Clinical Development for SmithKline Beecham. Prior to joining SmithKline Beecham, Dr. Henkel was Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also earned his board certifications in both Internal Medicine and in Infectious Diseases. Dr. Henkel received his M.D. degree and a Ph.D. in immunology from Washington University in St. Louis, and his B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Rhodes College.
Dr. Meehan is Chief Business Officer at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in antibacterial and antiviral drug research and development. For more than 25 years, he has been working with large public and venture backed start-up pharmaceutical companies including Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and TransForm Pharmaceuticals. Immediately prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Meehan was Chief Operating Officer of TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals. Tony has played leadership roles across business development, corporate venture, finance, product development, and manufacturing. He has helped raise over $150MM in investment capital, and led teams responsible for the development of over 50 investigational molecules and 8 new product registrations, including GARDISIL®, RotaTeq®, and VIOXX®. Dr. Meehan holds an M.B.A from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S.E from the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Abey has nearly 25 years’ experience in pharmaceutical research, regulatory affairs and compliance. At Venatorx, Dr. Abey is responsible for developing and executing all regulatory strategies and tactics for Venatorx’s antibacterial and antiviral programs including interacting with health authorities and managing clinical trial applications worldwide.
Prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Abey was Executive Director of Merck Global Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Safety (GRACS) where he led the development of Merck’s pneumococcal vaccine strategy, and developed the regulatory strategies to support new drug development and licensures. During his tenure at Merck, Dr. Abey was a key contributor in the development of strategies for multiple anti-infectives including vaccines, antivirals and antifungals, as well as immune-oncology, representing every stage of drug development from pre-clinical concept to life cycle management of approved products. Dr. Abey has extensive experience in formulating late stage clinical and regulatory strategy to maximize value through optimal labeling indications and content, and in leading discussions with the FDA (CBER, CDER, & CDRH) and representing Merck in discussions with other key ex-US Agencies (EMA, Health Canada, PMDA, PEI, CFDA, etc.). In addition, Dr. Abey has extensive expertise in analytical and manufacturing aspects of vaccines and biologics, cGMPs, devices, content labeling, and manufacturing investigations.
Dr. Abey received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from UMBC in Baltimore, Maryland and his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. In addition, he was a member of the Research Faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Dr. Condon is Vice President, Chemistry at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals. He has been engaged in the discovery and development of bioactive compounds for over 25+ years. Prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Condon served in multiple roles at TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals where he led a team of scientists in the identification and evaluation of small molecule antagonists of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) family of proteins. Together with an international team of collaborators, scientists at TetraLogic uncovered the central role of the cellular IAP proteins in TNF signaling, inflammation, and tumor cell death that led to the discovery of birinapant, a first-in-class bivalent IAP antagonist. Prior to TetraLogic, Dr. Condon was Group Leader in Medicinal Chemistry at ViroPharma where his team invented the first HCV NS5B inhibitor to demonstrate efficacy in the humanized mouse model of HCV infection. Dr. Condon began his professional career at Rhône-Poulenc Rorer. His team at RPR determined the bioactive conformation of human parathyroid [1-34] and developed a number of anabolic peptides for the treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Dr. Condon received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania following his dissertation with Professor Amos B. Smith III on the total synthesis of rapamycin and demethoxyrapamycin.
Dr. Dorr is Vice President, Clinical Science at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, where she is responsible for planning and executing clinical development across Venatorx’s anti-infectives portfolio. Dr. Dorr has devoted her 30+ year career to drug development, designing and implementing Phase 1 to Phase 4 clinical trials primarily for anti-infective products at both big—and small—pharmaceutical companies.
Prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Dorr was Product Development Team Leader and Clinical Lead, Infectious Diseases at Merck where her primary responsibility was leading the clinical development for ZINPLAVA (bezlotoxumab), a monoclonal antibody that binds to and neutralizes C. difficile toxin B. She additionally led the development teams for DIFICID (fidaxomicin), a macrolide antibiotic for treatment of C. difficile, and CUBICIN (daptomycin), a lipopeptide antibiotic for serious Gram-positive bacterial infections. Prior to Merck, Dr. Dorr was Senior Director, Global Medical Affairs at Wyeth where she was the program leader for Phase 4 trials supporting women’s healthcare and gastrointestinal therapeutic areas, and served as Pandemic Preparedness Advisor.
In addition to her big pharma experience, Dr. Dorr served as the development team project manager at Vicuron Pharmaceuticals for dalbavancin, a novel intravenous antibiotic for the treatment of serious Gram-positive bacterial infections. Prior to Vicuron, she had several roles at Rhône-Poulenc Rorer. As a senior research scientist, Dr. Dorr was responsible for clinical pharmacokinetic development for a quinolone antibiotic, ZAGAM (sparfloxacin), and subsequently joined the clinical research group where she managed Phase 1 and 3 trials for ZAGAM and several Phase 3b trials for SYNERCID (quinupristin/dalfopristin), an antibiotic for serious Gram-positive infections. She also worked at Parke-Davis where she was responsible for the design and implementation of preclinical and clinical pharmacokinetic research for several quinolone antibiotics.D
Dr Dorr received her B.S., Pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia; her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics with an emphasis on pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., and completed a clinical pharmacy residency at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Philadelphia.
Ms. Ellis has more than 25 years of GCP/GMP quality assurance experience, having worked in and set up analytical chemistry and quality control laboratories. Ms. Ellis has experience creating quality control and quality assurance systems for small biotech companies and has extensive experience managing contract-manufacturing facilities for drug substance and drug product manufacture, including injectable and solid oral dosage forms.
Prior to joining Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, Ms. Ellis was Head of Quality Assurance at TRACON, and Vice President of Quality Assurance at Trius Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) where she led the GxP Quality activities for development and commercialization of SivextroTM. SivextroTM was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2014. Ms. Ellis started her career as an analytical chemist at Alliance Pharmaceuticals, and then moved to leading analytical and CMC project teams at Pfizer, Inc. In her career, she has led CMC and Quality groups in the development of compounds in a variety of therapeutic areas.
Ms. Ellis received a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Delaware.
Dr. Emeigh Hart is Vice President, Non-Clinical Safety at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, where she leads the company’s nonclinical efforts across discovery, preclinical and clinical stage programs. She is an experienced nonclinical drug development scientist with more than 25 years of experience in preclinical drug development, including the design, conduct and supervision of toxicology, pathology, toxicokinetic/ADME, pharmacology, and mechanistic/derisking studies performed internally, through contract research organizations and through academic collaborations, preparation of submission documents (IND through NDA/BLA) and interaction with regulatory authorities. She has held numerous senior management and executive level positions in established global pharmaceutical companies and small biopharmaceutics firms, where she has managed non-clinical drug development programs and regulatory submissions (IND through NDA/BLA) for small molecules and monoclonal antibodies as well as unusual biopharmaceuticals (peptides, aminosterols, oligonucleotides, non-antibody, non-recombinant proteins and gene therapy products) across a wide variety of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular/metabolic diseases, anti-infectives, oncology, CNS, rheumatology/orthopedics, and ophthalmology.
Prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Emeigh Hart was the Director of Experimental Pathology in the Nonclinical Drug Safety (US) department at Boehringer Ingelheim, where she managed the Development and Molecular Pathology groups and the Clinical Pathology and Histology laboratories that performed pathological evaluations in support of new chemical entities and biologics from Discovery through full Development. Before Boehringer Ingelheim, Dr. Emeigh Hart was the Vice President, Preclinical Development at Intrexon Corporation; Senior Director, Non-Clinical Development at Auxilium Pharmaceuticals; Senior Director, Safety Assessment at Genaera Corporation and held various roles at AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer. Dr. Emeigh Hart is board certified in both Anatomic and Clinical Pathology through the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and in General Toxicology through the American Board of Toxicology; she is also a Eurotox Registered Toxicologist (peer recognized expert in toxicology through the UK Registry of Toxicology). She holds a Ph.D. from The University of Connecticut, a V.M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and a B.S., Animal Science from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Emeigh Hart is an Adjunct Associate Professor (Pathology) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. McConnell is Vice President, Medical Affairs at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, where he is responsible for leading the medical affairs function at Venatorx and overseeing the planning and execution of medical strategy, field medical engagement and scientific communications. Additionally, Dr. McConnell and his team are responsible for communicating scientific data to key opinion leaders and well as other infectious disease and critical care healthcare professionals to broaden awareness of, and support for, Venatorx’s pre-clinical- and clinical-stage programs.
Dr. McConnell has over 20 years’ experience in infectious disease, oncology, rare and orphan diseases and academia. He graduated with a Pharm.D. from Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions after which he completed a one-year Pharmacotherapy Residency at Basset Healthcare and a two-year post-doctoral Infectious Disease Pharmacology Fellowship at The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Subsequently, Dr. McConnell served on faculty at both the University of Arkansas and Creighton University Pharmacy Schools, teaching infectious diseases and oncology with clinical practice sites in bone marrow transplantation, oncology/hematology, and infectious disease.
In 2006, Dr. McConnell joined Cubist Pharmaceuticals, where he held several medical affairs roles and remained at the company until 2015 when it was acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. Following the Cubist acquisition, Dr. McConnell built, led and/or managed Medical Affairs functions for several companies including Alkermes, Kaleido Biosciences, and Chiasma, the latter of which was acquired by Amryt Pharma in August 2021.
Dr. McGovern has more than 20 years of Infectious Diseases experience including 13 years in anti-infective drug development. As Senior Vice President, Medical Sciences at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, Dr. McGovern serves as the primary scientific and medical advisor to the company’s clinical teams, providing medical input to all aspects of product development and to drug discovery teams. Additionally, Dr. McGovern is involved in the planning, implementation, analysis and interpretation of clinical studies, and provides medical expertise necessary to advance development programs to the filing of INDs and NDAs.
Prior to Venatorx, Dr. McGovern was Vice President, Clinical & Medical Affairs at Paratek Pharmaceuticals; Senior Director at Actelion Clinical Research; and Director of Vaccine Research and Clinical Affairs for Infectious Diseases at Wyeth/Pfizer. Dr. McGovern received his B.S. from the University of Notre Dame, his M.D. from Northwestern University, and completed his Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases training at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Moeck is Senior Vice President, Microbiology at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals where he is responsible for ensuring comprehensive and timely characterization of investigational agents via clinical microbiology studies. He has spent over 15 years in antibacterial drug discovery and development, leading cross-functional teams or as a team member advancing the long-acting lipoglycopeptide oritavancin through nonclinical IND-enabling studies and Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical studies, leading to its regulatory approval as Orbactiv® in the U.S. in 2014 and the European Union in 2015. Dr. Moeck's microbiology team also contributed to the successful regulatory filing of meropenem/vaborbactam which was approved as VabomereTM by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017. Prior to joining VenatoRx, Dr. Moeck was Vice President, Biology at The Medicines Company (acquired by Melinta Therapeutics) and Senior Director of Biology at Targanta Therapeutics (acquired by The Medicines Company).
Dr. Moeck has published over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored three book chapters, and is co-inventor on four patents relating to methods of treatment of bacterial infections. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Paris XI on iron acquisition in gram-negative bacterial pathogens as a Fellow of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France.
Jennifer Nelson, PMP is Vice President, R&D Program Management at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals where she has responsibility for the delivery of R&D programs across Venatorx's portfolio, including its lead asset, taniborbactam (VNRX-5133), which is currently in clinical development. Ms. Nelson has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry spanning discovery, pre-clinical, early- and late-stage development across various therapeutic areas including anti-infectives, cardiovascular, respiratory/inflammation, and neuroscience. Prior to joining Venatorx, Ms. Nelson was a Director in Project Management at AstraZeneca where she managed and led several cross-functional teams in support of clinical development and NDA/MAA submissions, change management, data standardization, and data transparency policy initiatives. Prior to AstraZeneca, Ms. Nelson worked as a Project Manager and a medicinal chemist at DuPont Pharma. Ms. Nelson has a B.S. in Chemistry from Ursinus College and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.
Dr. Rosen joined Venatorx in 2015 as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Product Development. In this role, he is responsible for drug product development spanning from candidate selection to commercialization. Prior to joining Venatorx, Dr. Rosen spent 22 years at Merck where he contributed to the development and registration of seven products approved for the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and insomnia. Dr. Rosen received Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Princeton University and B.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania, all in Chemical Engineering. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Mr. Sargent is Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy at Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, a world leader in antibacterial and antiviral drug research and development. At Venatorx, Mr. Sargent is responsible for designing and executing the Company's commercial strategy across its portfolio of clinical and preclinical antibacterial and antiviral programs.
Mr. Sargent has over 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience, including multiple product and line extension launches. Prior to joining Venatorx, he served as Vice President, Commercial Strategy at Nabriva where he led the launch and commercialization for Xenleta, a novel antibiotic approved for the treatment of community acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP). Previously, Mr. Sargent held a variety of leadership roles at Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, including Vice President, Orthopedic Business Unit where he led the company's sales and marketing teams advancing XIAFLEX® for the treatment of Dupuytren's contracture and development of additional pipeline indications. Before Auxilium, Mr. Sargent was a biotechnology equities analyst at Bank of America and held multiple commercial roles at Amgen and Immunex. Mr. Sargent received his BA in Biology from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business.
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