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Leadership

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John Whelan

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President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

John has over 20 years of experience leading venture-backed and public biotech companies. He has worked in early and late-stage companies taking products from discovery through NDA submission. He has contributed to the growth of these companies by building skilled, effective management teams and raising over $240M in funding through financings and collaborations.

 

Most recently John held the role of President and COO at Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, a private company developing a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Prior to Neuraltus, Mr. Whelan held executive leadership positions with several life science companies, including President, CEO and Board Director at Heron Therapeutics where he led the company’s turnaround. Earlier, he was COO and CFO at Raven biotechnologies, where he led the sale of the company to MacroGenics.

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Sam Lai, PhD

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Founder, Chief Scientific Officer and Director

Sam is the founder, chief scientific officer and director of Inhalon Biopharma, with a research background in pioneering the nanoparticle-based delivery of bioactive molecules to mucosal tissues. His prior inventions formed the basis of multiple startup companies, and multiple FDA-approved drugs.

 

As professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sam has established a rigorous research program at the interface of engineering, immunology, biophysics and biomaterials. His lab pioneered Inhalon’s platform technology and has also spun off other companies.

 

He graduated with a B.S. and Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Cornell and Johns Hopkins University. He is the recipient of a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and an NSF CAREER Award for his pioneering work on muco-trapping antibodies.

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Jeff Hutchins, PhD

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Chief Development Officer

Dr. Hutchins was most recently Chief Science and Chief Operating Officer at Heat Biologics (Nasdaq: HTBX) where he guided a focus on cancer and infectious disease directed therapies that activate the human immune system. Prior to joining Heat, Dr. Hutchins served as Vice President of Preclinical Research at Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics to fight cancer and infectious diseases. Dr. Hutchins also served as Vice President, Preclinical Development at Inhibitex, Inc., which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Earlier, Dr. Hutchins held several senior scientist positions in discovery research at Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo Wellcome, with a visiting professor appointment at Rush Medical College.

Dr. Hutchins earned a B.S. in Biology from Oral Roberts University, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas, Health Science Center at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and conducted postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California’s Department of Microbiology at the Norris Cancer Center. Dr. Hutchins’ publications and patents span the fields of oncology, infectious disease, osteoarthritis and immunology.

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Thomas Moench, MD

Vice President, Clinical

Thomas is an infectious disease physician/scientist and served on the faculty of JHU School of Medicine for over 10 years. As Chief Medical Officer at Mapp, he oversaw the clinical development of ZMapp, a cocktail of 3 mAbs for treatment of Ebola, as well as the preclinical development and clinical study of MB66, a vaginal film loaded with two anti-viral mAbs.  He was the Principle Investigator (PI) of over $144M in BARDA funding for development of ZMapp and co-PI of a $13.3M NIAID-sponsored multicenter microbicide program that funded the MB66 work.  As such, he has experience in both clinical development and the industrialization of biologics as well as drug-device combinations for infectious disease.

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Bill Picht

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Consulting CFO

Bill has over 15 years of experience building and leading the finance, HR, facilities, IT and legal functions in life science companies. He has completed multiple equity, debt, licensing, and M&A transactions.  For the past five years, Bill has served as a finance consultant to a variety of life science companies.  Previously, Bill was CFO of Harpoon Therapeutics (HARP) and Pearl Therapeutics (acquired by Astra Zeneca in 2013).  

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Board of Directors

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John Whelan

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President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

John has over 20 years of experience leading venture-backed and public biotech companies. He has worked in early and late-stage companies taking products from discovery through NDA submission. He has contributed to the growth of these companies by building skilled, effective management teams and raising over $240M in funding through financings and collaborations.

 

Most recently John held the role of President and COO at Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals, a private company developing a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Prior to Neuraltus, Mr. Whelan held executive leadership positions with several life science companies, including President, CEO and Board Director at Heron Therapeutics where he led the company’s turnaround. Earlier, he was COO and CFO at Raven biotechnologies, where he led the sale of the company to MacroGenics.

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Sam Lai, PhD

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Founder, Chief Scientific Officer and Director

Sam is the founder, chief scientific officer and director of Inhalon Biopharma, with a research background in pioneering the nanoparticle-based delivery of bioactive molecules to mucosal tissues. His prior inventions formed the basis of multiple startup companies, and multiple FDA-approved drugs.

 

As professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sam has established a rigorous research program at the interface of engineering, immunology, biophysics and biomaterials. His lab pioneered Inhalon’s platform technology and has also spun off other companies.

 

He graduated with a B.S. and Ph.D. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Cornell and Johns Hopkins University. He is the recipient of a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and an NSF CAREER Award for his pioneering work on muco-trapping antibodies.

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Winnie H Wan, PhD

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Serial Entrepreneur

Winnie has extensive experience launching and building life science companies and has successfully commercialized disruptive technologies that resulted in successful exits. These technologies include the analytical systems for drug development at ForteBio, Inc. (acquired by Pall Corp.); the anatomical pathology systems for cancer diagnosis at Becton Dickinson, the cell analysis systems at Guava Technologies, Inc. (acquired by Millipore); and the HIV drug testing model at SyStemix, Inc. (acquired by Novartis).

Advisors

Seth Hetherington, M.D

Seth Hetherington, M.D. is a clinical development consultant to biotech companies. Dr. Hetherington earned his B.S. at Yale University and his M.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He completed his postgraduate training in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina and the University of Minnesota, respectively. Dr. Hetherington has published extensively in medical and scientific literature. Following a career in academics, he joined GlaxoSmithKline in the anti-viral clinical development group, and worked on multiple projects of new chemical entities from Phase 1 through approval. Subsequently he joined a series of start-up biotech companies as Chief Medical Officer creating and overseeing clinical development programs for both small molecules and biologics across multiple therapeutic areas. He has served as the industry representative to the Vaccines and Related Blood Products Advisory Committee of the FDA, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and several ad hoc review committees of the National Institutes of Health. He is based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is an adjunct clinical faculty member of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Richard Fuller, M.D., Ph.D.

Richard Fuller, M.D., Ph.D. provides advisory services in area of clinical development and strategy to life science companies. Dr. Fuller was a Research Fellow at Imperial College London. He has published widely in medical and scientific literature. Following his academic career, he held executive roles in clinical research at Glaxo Smith Kline plc. Dr. Fuller then was Director of Science Funding for the Wellcome Trust, a not-for-profit research donor organization. Subsequently he was CMO of Aerovance Inc. Following Aerovance, he was CEO of Oriel Therapeutics, Inc. which was acquired by Novartis AG. Dr. Fuller is a member of The General Medical Council UK, Royal College of Physicians of London, and The American Thoracic Society.

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Investors

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Partners

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