Leadership

Company Leadership, Scientific Advisors and Board of Directors

Pamela R. Contag, PhD

Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Board Director

Life science executive, scientist, and entrepreneur. Dr. Contag is an experienced senior executive for both public (President and CEO, Xenogen Corp., NASDAQ: XGEN), and multiple private companies including, most recently Origen Therapeutics, Cygnet Biofuels, and Cobalt Technologies. Dr. Contag has extensive experience leading science and business teams for pioneering biomedical technology companies. While serving as CEO of Xenogen, in 2000, Xenogen was listed as one of the “Top 25 Young Businesses” by Fortune Small Business and in both 2001 and 2003 the company received the R&D 100 award for achievements in Physics.  In 2004, Xenogen was named as one of the top 100 fastest growing companies by the San Francisco Times, received the Frost and Sullivan Technology Innovations award, and the company completed a successful initial public offering (NASDAQ: XGEN). Dr. Contag was named one of the “Top 25 Women in Small Business” by Fortune magazine. She was also awarded the Northstar Award from Springboard Enterprises. While serving as CEO & Chairman of Cobalt Technologies, the company was named one of the top 20 cleantech companies. In 2011, Dr. Contag was awarded “Cleantech Innovator of the Year” award for technology developed at Cygnet Biofuels. With more than 25 years of microbiology research experience, Dr. Contag is widely published in the field of Microbiology and Optical imaging, and has over 35 patents in Biotechnology. Dr. Contag received her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1989 studying Microbial Physiology and Genetics (for Alternative Fuels), and completed her Postdoctoral Training at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1993 specializing in “Host/Pathogen Interactions”.

Benjamin C. Carter, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Carter has twenty years of finance and business development executive experience in both privately-held and publicly-traded biotechnology, medical device, and R&D tool companies. Mr. Carter most recently served as CFO and VP, Business Development for Origen Therapeutics, a privately-held company, focusing on the development of a polyclonal antibody production platform with broad application in pharmaceutical R&D and other industrial applications. Prior to Origen, Mr. Carter served as VP of Finance & Operations for Cobalt Technologies, a second-generation renewable fuels and green chemistries company.  Prior to joining Cobalt, Mr. Carter was Divisional VP, Business Development for Xenogen Corporation (NASDAQ: XGEN), where he played an instrumental role in Xenogen’s successful IPO and subsequent commercialization of its novel molecular imaging technology for pharmaceutical R&D. Mr. Carter holds an MBA degree from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA degree in Business Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he earned a Phi Beta Kappa honorary.

Catherine Sohn, PharmD.

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Dr. Sohn is a pharmacist, global biopharmaceutical executive, Adjunct Professor and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP).  Sohn has deep industry knowledge with thirty years of U.S. and global experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and a reputation as a strategic thinker with the ability to drive a strong interface between research and development and marketing. She was named ‘Distinguished Alumnus’ by University of California San Francisco (2000), was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) in 2003, has received the Licensing Executive Society’s ‘Frank Barnes Mentoring Award’ (2009), and the HBA Euro-Excellence Award (2012). In 2016, SOHN was recognized as one of the PharmaVoice 100 most inspiring people in the life science industry.  Her areas of expertise include domestic and global business development, strategy and product marketing/launch execution across vaccines, pharmaceutical products and consumer healthcare brands, having led the launches of the U.S. Vaccine Business and a $1 billion CNS pharmaceutical product at SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). From 1998 to 2010, Dr. Sohn was Senior Vice President for Worldwide Business Development for GlaxoSmithKline’s $6 billion Consumer Healthcare division where she served on the Global Executive Committee and led numerous US, global, European and Japanese transactions and integrations. In the pharmaceutical division, from 1994 to 1998, she was Vice President, Worldwide Strategic Product Development at SmithKline Beecham for the Cardiovascular, Pulmonary, and Metabolic Therapeutic Areas with responsibility for product strategy, valuation and strategic commercial leadership of all assets from Phase 1 through life cycle management. She has a strong technical background, having begun her career in anti-infective medical affairs at SmithKline & French in 1982. Dr. Sohn received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of California San Francisco, a Certificate of Professional Development from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, is a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), and is a Certified Licensing Professional. Dr. Sohn is an independent Director on the Board of Directors of Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (JAZZ) and Landec Corporation (LNDC), both publicly-traded life science companies.

Gregory T. Schiffman, MBA, CPA

Independent Board Director

Mr. Schiffman is a CPA and an accomplished senior finance executive with more than 25 years of strategic and operational finance, treasury, and corporate development experience.  He has served as Chief Financial Officer at Lion Biotechnologies, as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at StemCells, Inc, Dendreon, and Affymetrix, all publicly-traded healthcare companies.  Notably, while serving as Executive Vice President and CFO of Dendreon Corporation, the company secured marketing authorization from the FDA and the European Commission for the world’s first cell-based, autologous immunotherapy for prostate cancer. Prior to these roles, he was Vice President and Controller at Applied BioSystems where he managed global financial operations and headed up a variety of global assignments at Hewlett Packard including international finance projects in Europe and Asia, and a U.S. manufacturing operation.  Mr. Schiffman received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from De Paul University.

Christopher Contag, PhD

Co-Founder & Scientific Advisor

Dr. Christopher Contag, a widely respected academic researcher and entrepreneur, is the inaugural Director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering and the Chairperson of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. Dr. Contag was previously a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Radiology, Bioengineering and Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. He held the titles of associate chief of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging and co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program.  Dr. Contag previously served as Chair, Scientific Advisory Board for Xenogen Corp. (Nasdaq: XGEN), during the time it was a private company, and also following the company’s successful IPO in 2004.  Dr. Contag is a co-founder of BioEclipse Therapeutics™ and is currently a member of the company’s Scientific Advisory Board.  Dr. Contag is a pioneer in the field of molecular imaging and is developing imaging approaches aimed at revealing molecular processes in living subjects, including humans, and advancing therapeutic strategies through imaging.  He is a founding member, and a past president of the Society for Molecular Imaging, and for his fundamental contributions in imaging, is a recipient of the Achievement Award from the Society for the Molecular Imaging. Contag is a Fellow of the World Molecular Imaging Society (WMIS) and currently President Elect of WMIS. Dr. Contag received a bachelor of science in Biology from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 1990-1994 in the Department of Microbiology and then joined the faculty in Pediatrics at Stanford in 1995 with a joint appointment in Microbiology and Immunology.

Robert Negrin, MD

Co-Founder & Scientific Advisor

Dr. Negrin is a Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Stanford University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and MD from Harvard University. He trained in medicine and hematology at Stanford University and joined the faculty in 1990. His research work has focused on cellular immunology, in particular developing a more fundamental understanding of complex biological reactions such as graft versus host and graft vs tumor reactions in animal models and in the clinic. He has authored over 225 original papers, 40 book chapters and a book. He has received a number of awards including a fellowship from the Jose Carreras Foundation, he is a recipient of the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award and is a member of the Association of American Physicians. He was previously the President of the International Society of Cellular Therapy and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He served as an Associate Editor of the journal Blood and is the founding editor of Blood Advances.

David Bartlett, MD

CMC Advisor

Dr. Bartlett is the Dr. Bernard Fisher Professor of Surgery and Professor of Clinical and Translational Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Cancer Immunology Program. Dr Bartlett specializes in all aspects of surgical oncology, with a particular expertise in liver and bile duct tumors, the management of advanced, complex abdominal malignancies, gastric cancer and abdominal sarcomas. He is board-certified in general surgery. He received an undergraduate degree at Rice University in Houston, and received a medical degree at the University of Texas. Dr. Bartlett completed a residency in general surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Bartlett has a research interest in treating advanced carcinomas in the peritoneal cavity. He also pioneered the use of Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus as a monotherapy for the treatment of malignant melanoma. He is also a member of many professional organizations including the American Medical Association, Society of Surgical Oncology, Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, American Society of Gene Therapy, Society of University Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Oncology.