Board of Directors
Paolo Fundaro has served as a member of our board of directors since 2006 and has acted as our chairman since October 2015. Mr. Fundaro has been Genextra’s chief financial officer since its inception in 2004. Before joining Genextra, Mr. Fundaro was director of finance and strategic planning for the Fastweb Group from 2000 to 2004. Previously, he worked for investment banks, including Salomon Smith Barney (now Citigroup) and Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette (now Credit Suisse). Mr. Fundaro has a degree in Business Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy
Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D.
Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since October 2012. Since February 2016, Dr. Akkaraju has been a senior advisor to Sofinnova Ventures. From April 2013 to February 2016, Dr. Akkaraju served as a general partner of Sofinnova Ventures. From January 2009 until April 2013, Dr. Akkaraju was a managing director of New Leaf Venture Partners, L.L.C. From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Akkaraju served as a managing director at Panorama Capital, LLC, a private equity firm founded by the former venture capital investment team of J.P. Morgan Partners, LLC, a private equity division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Prior to co-founding Panorama Capital, he was with J.P. Morgan Partners, which he joined in 2001 and of which he became a partner in 2005. From 1998 to 2001, he was in business and corporate development at Genentech, Inc. (a wholly owned member of the Roche Group), a biotechnology company, most recently as senior manager. Dr. Akkaraju received his M.D. and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University. He received his undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Computer Science from Rice University. Dr. Akkaraju serves and has served on the boards of directors and board committees of numerous public and private companies. Dr. Akkaraju serves as a director of Seattle Genetics, Inc., Versartis Inc. and aTyr Pharma, Inc. Previously, Dr. Akkaraju served as a director on the boards of Barrier Therapeutics, Inc., Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Synageva Biopharma Corp. and ZS Pharma, Inc., all publicly traded biotechnology companies, and Amarin Corporation plc, a foreign publicly traded biotechnology company.
Luca Benatti, Ph.D.
Luca Benatti, Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since July 2014. Dr. Benatti has over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has been serving as the chief executive officer and a director of EryDel S.p.A., a drug delivery company focused on rare diseases, since June 2012. From 1999 until May 2012, Dr. Benatti was the founder and chief executive officer of Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A., a company listed on the Swiss Exchange. Under his guidance, Newron developed a pipeline of potential therapies, with its most advanced compound, Xadago, recently approved in Europe and under regulatory review in the United States for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. He also was instrumental in finalizing multimillion licensing deals with Merck Serono, Meiji Seika and Zambon Pharma S.p.A., and in the acquisition of Hunter Fleming, a U.K.-based biotechnology company. From 1985 to 1998, he held various R&D positions at Farmitalia, Pharmacia and Pharmacia & Upjohn. Dr. Benatti graduated from and performed his post-doctoral training at Milano Genetics Institute. He serves as director on the board of Newron (SIX: NWRN), as chairman of the scientific advisory board of Zambon, as chairman of the Italian Angels for Biotech association, as a member of the board of Assobiotec, the Italian Biotech Association, and member of the jury of the European Biotechnica Award. He has authored several scientific publications and holds a number of patents.
Keith Gottesdiener, M.D.
Mark Pruzanski, M.D.
Mark Pruzanski, M.D. is a co-founder of our company and has served as our chief executive officer and president, and has been a member of our board of directors, since our inception in 2002. He has over 15 years of experience in life sciences company management, venture capital and strategic consulting. Dr. Pruzanski was previously a venture partner at Apple Tree Partners, an early stage life sciences venture capital firm he co-founded in 1999. Prior to that, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Oak Investment Partners. Dr. Pruzanski received his M.D. from McMaster University in Ontario, a M.A. degree in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He currently also serves on the boards of the Emerging Company Section of the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank in Washington, D.C. Dr. Pruzanski is a co-author of a number of scientific publications and an inventor of several patents relating to our product candidates and scientific discoveries.
Gino Santini has served as a member of our board of directors since November 2015. From 1983 to December 2010, Mr. Santini held a variety of commercial and operational roles at Eli Lilly and Company, a public global pharmaceutical company, serving most recently from April 2007 to December 2010 as Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, where he led corporate strategy and long-range planning, mergers and acquisitions, new product licensing and the expansion of Lilly Ventures in the United States and China. During his tenure at Eli Lilly, Mr. Santini held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility, including manager of various international regions and Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Policy from 2004 to 2007. Mr. Santini serves on the boards of directors of the following public biopharmaceutical companies: AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc., since 2012; Collegium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., since 2012; Horizon Pharma plc (and its predecessor company), since 2012; and Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc., since 2014. Mr. Santini was previously a director of Sorin, S.p.A., a global public medical device company, until its acquisition in October 2015. Mr. Santini also serves as a director for a number of private biopharmaceutical companies such as Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc., Allena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Artax Biopharma Inc. Mr. Santini is a past chairman of the board of the National Pharmaceutical Council and of Noble of Indiana, a non-profit agency serving individuals with developmental disabilities. He also served on the board of directors for United Way and the executive committee and the board of directors of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. He holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bologna and an M.B.A. from the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester.
Glenn Sblendorio has served as a member of our board of directors since 2014. In April 2016, Mr. Sblendorio joined Ophthotech Corporation as its executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Mr. Sblendorio served as the president and chief financial officer of The Medicines Company from February 2012 through December 2015. From March 2006 to February 2012, he served as chief financial officer and executive vice president of The Medicines Company. From November 2005 until he joined The Medicines Company, Mr. Sblendorio served as a consultant to a company in the pharmaceutical industry. Previously, Mr. Sblendorio was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from February 2002 until it was acquired by OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in November 2005. Mr. Sblendorio also held the position of chief executive officer and managing director of MPM Capital Advisors. His other pharmaceutical experience also includes 12 years at Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, in a variety of senior financial positions, including vice president, finance of Roche Molecular Systems and head of finance-controller for Amgen/Roche Europe. Mr. Sblendorio currently serves as a director of Amicus Therapeutics, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company. Mr. Sblendorio was previously a board member of Ophthotech Corporation though March 2016 and The Medicines Company through December 2015. Mr. Sblendorio received his B.B.A. from Pace University and his M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, Advanced Management Program.
Daniel Welch has served as a member of our board of directors since November 2015. Mr. Welch has been an Executive Partner at Sofinnova Ventures since 2015. From 2003 until October 2014, Mr. Welch was the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of InterMune, Inc., which was listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market until the acquisition of the company by Roche. During his tenure, InterMune secured registration of Esbriet, the first medicine approved for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Europe and the United States. Mr. Welch built the InterMune development and commercial teams that delivered the successful approval and launches of Esbriet in Europe and the United States. From August 2002 to January 2003, Mr. Welch served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Triangle Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company which was acquired by Gilead Sciences. From October 2000 to June 2002, he served as president of the pharmaceutical division of Elan Corporation, PLC (later acquired by Perrigo Company plc). From September 1987 to August 2000, Mr. Welch served in various senior management roles at Sanofi-Synthelabo (now Sanofi S.A.) and its predecessor companies, Sanofi and Sterling Winthrop. During his time at Sanofi, he led the worldwide launches of Plavix®, Eloxatin® and Avapro® as Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and served as Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. business. From November 1980 to September 1987, Mr. Welch was with American Critical Care, a division of American Hospital Supply. He currently serves on the board of directors of Avexis, Inc., (where he serves as the chairman of the board), Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc., (where he serves as the chairman of the board) and Seattle Genetics, Inc. Mr. Welch holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina.