ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT 2023
Cirna Diagnostics, LLC
As a results-oriented executive, Nick has a strong track record of success in team building, strategic planning, and tactical execution in pharma, biotech, and medical device organizations. Previously Nick’s extensive experience includes senior executive positions at Merck, Merial and Reliefband providing him expertise with global drug, dietary supplements, nutraceuticals, biologicals, and med device development and commercialization experience. He is a serial entrepreneur taking companies from start up through financing stages to exit. Nick was the founder, Chairman, and CEO of Topaz Pharmaceuticals, the founder and managing partner of Humanitas Consulting, the co-founder of Reliefband Technologies, a med device company as well as co-founder of BioVeras – bringing blockchain to life sciences. He is a Senior Partner with The Bracken Group. In addition, Nick has served for 10 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech and med device entrepreneurship, marketing, and commercialization as well as direct involvement with the PA Biotechnology Center, Doylestown, since 2005.
David Lopez, Esq, CPA
David Lopez, Esq, CPA, is CEO and an experienced biotech executive with over 30 years in emerging growth companies, serving as an attorney, business development and transactional professional. He was a founding team member of Discovery Labs (Nasdaq), taking the company public, and served as EVP, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer overseeing legal, regulatory, manufacturing, quality and medical affairs. He has served as EVP, CFO and General Counsel of Immunicom, an immuno-oncology company and PrescribeWell, a Merck portfolio company. He has provided specialized consulting services to biotech and big pharma, including Insmed, Otsuka and QrumPharma (acquired by MannKind, 2020). Previously, he was a Senior Attorney at a Cravath Swain spinoff, Roberts, Sheridan & Kotel, specializing in life sciences, biotechnology, medical device and high-technology. Prior to that, Mr. Lopez gained investment banking experience at Drexel Burnham Lambert and served as a consultant and auditor in ‘Big Four’ public accounting, both in NYC.
Kunwar Shailubhai, PhD, MBA
Kunwar Shailubhai is an experienced executive Co-founder, CEO & CSO with 30+ years of R&D experience with a demonstrated history of 'Bench to Market' in startup Biotech and Big pharma. His research experience includes Inflammation, oncology, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. Dr. Shailubhai Successfully advanced two start-up biotech companies to NASDAQ listing. These endeavors required establishing R&D pipeline, in-licensing assets, educating the investment community, developing relationships with investment firms, research analysts & KOL and then successfully completing financings.
Nous Biosciences, a start-up biotechnology company registered in Pennsylvania, is engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutics for treatment of gastrointestinal (GI), neurodegenerative and pulmonary Inflammatory diseases. Our strategy is to utilize our proprietary formulation technologies to deliver drugs directly to the affected organs and tissues to facilitate rapid local action. The locally acting drugs are expected to maximize clinical benefits while minimizing systemic toxicities. Currently, our focus is on the treatment of patients with GI inflammation (IBD), secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). SPMS and IPF are unmet medical needs and are eligible to receive orphan drug designation (ODD).
Greg Anthos, MBA
Greg brings to Tunnell over 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry, including over a decade of consulting experience in all business functions. He is adept at strategy development and execution, change management, operations management and program / project management. He is a seasoned operations leader with significant experience in engineering, organizational transformation and supply chain.
Prior to joining Tunnell, he spent 30 years at Merck & Co., most recently as Executive Director, Business Consulting, where he was a program leader in charge of transforming a 2,000 person global regulatory affairs function in order to provide a more competitive advantage for Merck. Previously he was Sr. Director, Merck Sigma Program and Training and MMD Operational Excellence Director where he developed a worldwide Lean Six Sigma Training program that was adopted by over 5,000 employees. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt as well as Change Agent II and Process Improvement Master.
MBA, James Madison University
B.S., Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Virginia Tech
Jennifer Griffin, PhD
Jennifer Griffin, PhD is a Partner in the Cambridge office of early-stage venture firm Mission BioCapital. Jennifer has spent the last 10+ years accelerating early-stage life science companies through direct investing, as well as creating ecosystems for them to thrive. As a VP at the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), she designed and executed the Commonwealth’s investment strategy with a particular focus on developing underserved and underrepresented markets and talent within the industry. Before this, she served as a management and strategy consultant at Back Bay Life Science Advisors. She began her career as a licensing professional at MIT’s Technology Licensing Office working with faculty, entrepreneurs, and investors to commercialize early-stage life science innovations. Jennifer holds a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she studied the genetic basis of mycobacterial cholesterol utilization.
Lorenzo Pellegrini, PhD, MBA
Lorenzo is the Managing Partner of the Hatch Biofund with overall responsibilities for its investing and operating activities. He is a scientist, investor and entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in the life sciences and a passion for translating scientific discoveries into products that make a difference in patients’ lives.
Lorenzo was founder or co-founder of six biotech companies, as either sole founder or venture capital equity co-founder and manager. Prior to joining Hatch, Lorenzo Pellegrini was the Founder of Palladio Biosciences, a privately-owned biotech company developing innovative drugs for the treatment of rare kidney diseases. Serving as Palladio’s first CEO, he raised $20 million in venture capital financing and advanced the company’s lead drug through Phase 2 studies. He then transitioned to the COO role and helped steer Palladio through its acquisition by Centessa Pharmaceuticals and subsequent IPO (Nasdaq: CNTA).
Prior to Palladio, Lorenzo was a Partner at Care Capital, a leading venture capital and private equity firm investing in private life sciences companies and providing project-based financing for late stage drug development programs. During his 12-year tenure at Care, Lorenzo led the firm’s investments in Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion), Anacor Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), and Agile Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AGRX), among others. He also co-founded and served on the board of several portfolio companies, including Minerva Neurosciences (Nasdaq: NERV), Biocritica (acquired by Lilly), and Sentinella Pharmaceuticals.
Before joining Care Capital, Lorenzo conducted pre- and post-doctoral research in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University and at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main. Lorenzo received a Laurea in Chemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of Padova, Italy; a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main, Germany; and an M.B.A. with Honors from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His original research work was published in peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Nature, Cell and Neuron, and he is an inventor of two patent families.
Grant W. Castor
Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy and Operations
Mr. Castor holds more than a decade of strategy, finance and commercial operations experience in the biopharma and medical device industries. Prior to joining Sentynl as a founding member in 2015, Mr. Castor led marketing operations for Amedra Pharmaceuticals LLC and Lineage Therapeutics, which was successfully sold to Impax Laboratories, LLC, now Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Before his focus in biopharma, Mr. Castor held numerous commercial roles in the medical device sector, most notably as the head of U.S. operations and global marketing for an Israel-based organization, where he successfully commercialized a novel orthopedic device in more than 30 countries. Mr. Castor earned his Bachelor of Science in international business from Johnson & Wales University.