Board of Directors
Steven James (Chairman)
CEO, Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, Inc.
Steven James serves as Chairman of Antiva Biosciences’ Board of Directors. Mr. James has over 30 years of biopharmaceutical experience and has been involved in building and leading numerous successful companies and the discovery and development of important approved drug products. Currently, Mr. James is Chief Executive Officer and director of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics. Previously, he was president and CEO of Labrys Biologics until it was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Labrys, Steve was president and CEO of KAI Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Amgen. He has held leadership positions at Exelixis, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and began his career at Eli Lilly. He holds a Master’s in Management from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Brown University. He serves as a trustee of Middlebridge School in Rhode Island. Steve is currently chairman of Antiva Biosciences and Soteria Therapeutics and a director of Allakos, Inc. and Ventus Therapeutics.
Michael Cannon has over forty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He worked for twenty years at SICOR, a Swiss-Italian API manufacturing company, in a variety of positions in manufacturing, quality and regulatory affairs before moving to business development. He was a member of the team that conducted the merger of SICOR with Gensia of San Diego in 1997. He served as a member of SICOR’s board and president of the biotech division until the company was sold to Teva in 2004. Mr. Cannon is now a board member of Antiva Biosciences, Eureka, Inc., Moleculin, Inc., Osel, Inc., and BioSentinel, Inc.
Wende S. Hutton
General Partner, Canaan
Wende Hutton identifies, builds, and invests in companies that can change the practice of medicine by bringing novel drugs, technologies, and devices to market. She joined Canaan in 2004 and throughout her career she has partnered with founders to deliver more than a dozen of those innovations to patients. Her track record includes seven IPOs and six acquisitions. Wende currently sits on the boards of Antiva Biosciences, Glooko, Hyalex Orthopaedics, OncoResponse, Qlaris Bioto, and Stargazer Pharmaceuticals. Her prior investments include BiPar Sciences (acquired by Sanofi-Aventis), Chimerix (CMRX), Dermira (DERM), Labrys Biologics (acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical), and Transcend Medical (acquired by Alcon/Novartis). Wende was recognized among Fierce Biotech’s 2014 “Fierce 15” women in biotech.
David Kabakoff, PhD
Executive Partner, Sofinnova Ventures
David Kabakoff has been an Executive Partner with Sofinnova since 2007 and a Partner in HealthQuest Capital since 2013. Prior to entering venture capital, David had more than 30 years of experience leading technology and product development programs in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, diagnostics, and drug delivery fields. David currently serves as Chairman of NextCure, and as a Director of Antiva Biosciences, Neurana Pharmaceuticals, Rarecyte, Castle Biosciences, and BioTheranostics. Formerly he served as Chairman of Trius Therapeutics (acquired by Cubist), Chairman of Amplimmune (acquired by AstraZeneca), and as a Director of lnterMune, Inc. (acquired by Roche), Principia Biosciences (acquired by Sanofi), and Allylix, Inc. (acquired by Evolva).
President & CEO, Brace Pharma Capital
Vinzenz Ploerer has 30+ years of extensive leadership experience in operations, acquisitions, and business development, and currently serves on several life science company boards. Prior to launching Brace, he worked at EMS S/A as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations. He has held various leadership positions at Novartis/Sandoz including country head of Brazil and Argentina, and Head of BDL Sandoz, building the company through acquisitions. Mr. Ploerer holds an M.B.A. in Strategy from Leopold-Franzens Universität Innsbruck, participated in Novartis Leadership Program at Harvard Business School, and attended the Advance Management Program at Insead Fontainbleau.
Benjamin Rovinski, PhD
Managing Director, Lumira Ventures
Benjamin Rovinski has over 30 years of investment, operational, managerial, and research experience in the healthcare sector, including 13 years at Sanofi Pasteur, where he led global R&D programs in areas such as HIV/AIDS and therapeutic cancer vaccines. He received a PhD in biochemistry from McGill University in Montréal and did post-doctoral studies in molecular oncology and retrovirology at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. Beni joined Lumira Ventures in 2001 and his current and past board roles include Antios Therapeutics, Antiva Biosciences, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AUPH), Avalon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVRX, acquired by Clinical Data, Inc.), Bright Angel Therapeutics, G1 Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GTHX), Health Hero Network (acquired by Bosch), KAI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen), Morphotek (acquired by Eisai), Notch Therapeutics, and SGX Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SGXP, acquired by Eli Lilly). Beni is a member of the Government of Canada
Clifford M. Samuel
Principal, PCMS1 Consulting
Clifford Samuel has 25+ years of commercial leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with more than two decades at Gilead Sciences in leadership roles across sales, managed markets, and global commercial operations, including Senior Vice President, Global Patient Solutions, with responsibility for more than 140 countries. Propelled by his mission to ensure large-scale access to Gilead’s life-saving medicines, Clifford enabled the delivery of medicines to more than 18 million people in emerging markets, while increasing revenue by billions. He spearheaded Gilead’s entry into generic licensing agreements with companies in China, India and South Africa that created a competitive market for generic HIV and hepatitis B & C medicines. Clifford has been recognized for pioneering new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, and developing and implementing innovative approaches to engineering education. A graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, he received an Honorary PhD from his alma mater and sits as an NJIT Honor Program Board Member. He is also the recipient of an Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineers in 2019.
QingQing (Michael) Yi
Partner, Hillhouse Capital Management
Mr. Michael Yi is Co-Chief Investment Officer and Partner at Hillhouse. He heads Hillhouse’s healthcare investment and is a founding member of the firm. Prior to joining Hillhouse, Mr. Yi was an Equity Research Analyst at China International Capital Corporation. He received a BS in Engineering from Shanghai Maritime University, as well as an MBA from University of Southern California.
President & CEO, Antiva Biosciences
Gail Maderis brings over 25 years of leadership in biopharmaceutical companies to the Antiva team. From 2009 to 2015, Gail led BayBio, the industry organization representing and supporting Northern California’s life science community. From 2003 to 2009, Gail served as President and CEO of Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc. (FPRX), a protein discovery and development company. At FivePrime, she successfully funded the company’s rapid growth through substantial private equity financings and corporate partnerships and took the company’s first novel cancer therapeutic from discovery into clinical trials. Prior to FivePrime, Gail held senior executive positions at Genzyme Corporation, including founder and president of Genzyme Molecular Oncology (GZMO). Gail also practiced management and strategy consulting with Bain & Co. She serves on the corporate boards of Allarity Therapeutics (ALLR), DURECT Corporation (DRRX), and Valitor, Inc., as well as on the non-profit boards of BIO (Emerging Company and Health Sections), CLSI, The Termeer Foundation, and the University of California Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees. She received a BS in business from UC Berkeley, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.