Robert S. Saunders
Mr. Saunders currently serves as principal of Saunders Murdock & Associates, a private equity firm specializing in life science and technology opportunities. Previously, Mr. Saunders served as Managing Director of Chrysalis Ventures from 1997 – early 2009 with a focus on technology investments. In January 2009, he retired from an active management role and now serves Chrysalis as a Senior Advisor. Prior to Chrysalis, Mr. Saunders was Chief Planning Officer and Managing Director for Strategic Planning and Business Development at Providian Capital Management, Inc. From 1988 to 1993, he was Managing Director of Saunders Capital Group, Inc., a Boston-based private equity boutique that focused on turnarounds. Mr. Saunders began his career in 1978 as a business strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and joined Bain & Co. in 1982, where he became acting Director of Competitive Strategy Analysis. A former Marshall Scholar and Fulbright Scholar, Mr. Saunders holds a BA from Stanford University, an MSc from the London School of Economics and an MA from Harvard University.
Cedric Francois, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Francois co-founded and served as CEO of Potentia Pharmaceuticals (sold to Alcon in 2009) and has since co-founded Apellis Pharmaceuticals, for which he also serves as CEO. Dr. Francois received his medical degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium and his Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Louisville, with primary areas of expertise in immunology and immune system mediated disease. Following postgraduate training in pediatric and transplant surgery, Dr. Francois was a member of the research team that performed the first successful hand transplantation and of the Louisville Face Transplant Team, whose work supported the first human face transplantation in Lyon, France in 2005. He has published numerous publications and is the principal author on the clinical report of the first four human hand transplantations. Dr. Francois led Potentia to become the first group to test complement-inhibiting drug candidates for age-related macular degeneration. He is an inventor on many biotechnology patent applications, including all of Potentia’s proprietary patent applications.
Fred Mermelstein, Ph.D.
Dr. Mermelstein is the founder of several biotechnology companies, and has had substantial management experience with numerous biotech start-up companies. Dr. Mermelstein currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pear Tree Women’s Health Care, Inc., the most recent company he founded. In addition, since 2004, Dr. Mermelstein is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson MedicalSchool, and is on the editorial board of Medical Innovation and Business. Dr. Mermelstein was the founder of Javelin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (JAV), which was recently acquired by Hospira, Inc. He has served as the CEO and President of Javelin, which has brought to market in Europe DylojectTM, an injectible anti-inflammatory for the treatment of post-operative pain. He was the founder of PolaRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., where he also served as Chief Scientific Officer, and was responsible for bringing TrisenoxTM (Arsenic Trioxide for the treatment of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia) to NDA completion, now marketed and sold worldwide. Dr. Mermelstein received a Ph.D. joint degree in pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (UMDNJ-RWJ) and completed his post-doctoral training as a research fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute located at UMDNJ-RWJ. Dr. Mermelstein is the recipient of research awards from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institute of Health/National Cancer Institute and New Jersey Cancer Commission, and the Society of Toxicology. Dr. Mermelstein is the author of numerous scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and holds several primary patents.