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Leadership | Senior Mangement

Leadership | Senior Mangement

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Raymond P. Warrell, Jr. M.D.

Raymond P. Warrell, M.D.

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Member of the Board

Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Member of the Board

Inventor of the Acquist drug prototype, Ray has more than 25 years of achievement in scientific research, clinical development, finance, operations, regulatory affairs, and senior management experience in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology sectors.

Ray was the lead inventor of two earlier drugs, drafted their INDs, secured their designations as “Orphan Drugs”, and designed and led the Phase 1-3 clinical trials that were pivotal for FDA approval. These drugs were acquired by Fujisawa (Astellas Inc.) and Cell Therapeutics Inc. In recognition of this work, he received FDA’s Public Health Service Award for “Exceptional Achievement in Orphan Drug Development”. Ray has received more than 25 patents for discrete inventions and more than 100 world-wide issued filings. He has published more than 110 scientific papers, primarily in oncology, hematology, arthritis, and metabolism.

Prior to founding Acquist, Ray was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Genta Inc. (GNTA), a biotechnology company focused on mRNA regulation of cancer cell apoptosis. Previously, he was Associate Physician-in-Chief and Tenured Member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He was also Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell University Medical College. He received a B.S degree in Chemistry from Emory University, a M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, and a M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Raymond P. Warrell, M.D.

Inventor of the Acquist drug prototype, Ray has more than 25 years of achievement in scientific research, clinical development, finance, operations, regulatory and legal affairs, and senior executive business management in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology sectors.

Ray was the lead inventor of two earlier drugs, drafted their INDs, secured their designations as “Orphan Drugs”, and designed and led the Phase 1-3 clinical trials that were pivotal for FDA approval. These drugs were acquired by Fujisawa (Astellas) and Cell Therapeutics Inc. For this work, he received FDA’s Public Health Service Award for “Exceptional Achievement in Orphan Drug Development”.

Ray was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Genta Incorporated (Nasdaq: GNTA), a biotechnology company focused on mRNA regulation of cancer cell apoptosis. Previously, he was an Associate Physician-in-Chief and Member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell University Medical College. He received a B.S (Chemistry) from Emory University, a M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia, and a M.B.A. from Columbia University.

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John J. Piwinski, PhD

Drug Discovery and Nonclinical Research 

Dr. Piwinski has extensive expertise in small molecule drug discovery with over 30 years of experience in medicinal chemistry.  During his career, he oversaw discovery programs in chemistry from project initiation to delivery of candidates for clinical development.

Dr. Piwinski worked at Schering-Plough/Merck for more than 25 years in positions of progressively increasing responsibility.  Most recently, he was Site Head and Group Vice-President of Merck’s Cambridge, MA site, which focused on medicinal chemistry (lead identification and optimization), affinity-based screening, bio-nuclear magnetic resonance (screening and structure-based drug design), protein science, and biologics.  Previously, he oversaw Chemical Research at Schering Plough’s Kenilworth, NJ facility as Vice-President from 1999 to 2003 and Group Vice-President from 2004 to 2008.  In these positions, he was responsible for overseeing drug discovery in medicinal chemistry in the areas of respiratory, immunology, cardiovascular, CNS, oncology and infectious disease.  Prior to joining Schering Plough, he was a Senior Scientist at Revlon Health Care in cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Piwinski received his B.S. degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University.  He has presented numerous talks at scientific meetings and has approximately 150 published research papers, abstracts, and U.S. patents.  He is a member of the American Chemical Society.  Dr. Piwinski currently serves on an NIH Drug Development Program Review Panel and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Institute of Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery at Stony Brook University.

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John Thottathil, PhD

Chemical Process Research, Outsourcing, and Scale-Up

Dr. Thottathil is a senior scientist with a long career in the pharmaceutical industry and extensive experience in drug development. Most recently, he was Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of New River Pharmaceuticals (now part of Shire Pharmaceuticals), where he was responsible for nonclinical development of small molecule drugs. Previously, he worked at Abbot Laboratories, serving as Director of Core R&D Chemistry and Director of Outsourcing. Earlier, he was with Bristol Myers Squibb as Director of Chemical Process Research and Development and later, Director of Outsourcing. John is a mentor in the Chicago Innovation Mentor Program, which is dedicated to increasing success rates of early-stage life science companies. He also participates in the drug discovery course within the Pharmacology Department, Loyola University of Chicago.

John received a Ph.D. (organic chemistry) from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and a M.S. and B.S. from Calicut University, Kerala. He has published more than 40 scientific papers and is an inventor/co-inventor on more than 80 patents or patent applications, including several with Acquist scientists.

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John Carbine, MBA

Financial Strategy and Analysis

John has 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience. He is currently Senior Director of Finance at Immunomedics, Inc. (IMMU).  Previously, he was Director of Financial Strategy at The Medicines Company, Inc. (MDCO), where he provided financial analyses and recommendations for investment or asset divestment. He co-led the company’s strategic planning process based on modelling, scenario projections, and long-term financial analyses.

Previously, John was Executive Director, Corporate Operations at Genta, Inc. (GNTA), where he was responsible for financial strategy and analysis related to commercial operations and manufacturing. At Genta, he led an integrated team of scientists, consultants and contract API manufacturers, which successfully developed new synthetic routes for the company’s lead Phase 3 drug, tesetaxel.

Prior to Genta, John held various positions in finance reporting to the Chief Financial Officer at Ortho Biotech (Johnson & Johnson). John received an MBA from Columbia University – Business School and a B.S. in accounting from Rutgers.

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Brad Zerler, PhD

Nonclinical Safety

Dr. Zerler has extensive experience in discovery research and development of new chemical entities and biologicals that encompass a broad range of therapeutic areas. Formerly Vice-President, Nonclinical Development at The Medicines Company (MDCO), Brad was responsible for nonclinical compound development across the entire portfolio, including the approved drugs Kengreal® (cangrelor) and Orbactiv® (oritavancin), and the novel siRNA PCSK9 inhibitor (inclisiran). Previously, Brad was Vice President of Research at CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals and Global Head of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Barrier Therapeutics, each of which was acquired following regulatory approvals of three therapeutic agents. Brad started his career at Bayer Pharmaceuticals where he was Head of the Bone and Joint Research Group, which focused on osteoarthritis. He is currently an advisor to the i3 Asset Accelerator program at Mt. Sinai Innovation Partners.

Brad received his PhD in Microbiology from New York Medical College and did his Postdoctoral Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in the lab of Nobel Laureate, Richard Roberts.

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