Our board of directors have the relevant experience needed to help an innovative company thrive.
Dr. Priyanka Belawat
D r. Priyanka Belawat is an Investment Advisor for HBM Healthcare Investments. Dr. Belawat has 10 years of experience in venture and private equity investing in the healthcare space. She has been instrumental in many portfolio investments of HBM funds in areas of biotech, pharma diagnostics and services. Presently, she represents HBM funds on the board of Neurelis Inc., and is board observer to ARMO Biosciences (USA, Immuno-oncology), TrueNorth Therapeutics (USA, Rare diseases), SAI Lifesciences (India, Contract research and manufacturing), and 1MG (India, Online pharma portal). She was closely involved with HBM’s investment in Advanced Accelerator Applications (NASDAQ:AAAP), a French company in the radio-therapeutics and radio-diagnostics space, which went public at US NASDAQ in 2014. She also has extensive knowledge of the Indian pharma sector and has been involved in various public equity, fund, and direct private investments in India.
Dr. Belawat holds a doctorate in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Zurich and completed post-doctorate work at HKUST.
S teve Cartt joined Neurelis as a board member in January 2020. Mr. Cartt also served as a board member of TXP Pharma AG from August 2020 until its acquisition by SynAct Pharma AB in January 2023. He previously served as President and CEO of Asterias Biotherapeutics and was a board member from 2016 until its acquisition in 2019 by BioTime, Inc., where he had been a board member from 2014 to 2016.
Mr. Cartt served as Chief Operating Officer of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc., from 2012 to 2014, when the company was acquired by Mallinckrodt plc. Mr. Cartt served as Chief Operating Officer of the Autoimmune and Rare Diseases business unit of Mallinckrodt plc on an interim basis in 2014 following the merger with Questcor. He originally joined Questcor as Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, in 2005. He was later appointed Chief Business Officer and then Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Cartt was a private consultant from 2002 to 2005. Between 2000 and 2002, he was the Senior Director of Strategic Marketing for Elan Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, Mr. Cartt held a variety of R&D and commercial positions at ALZA Corporation from 1985 to 2000.
Mr. Cartt holds a BS degree from the University of California at Davis in biochemistry and an MBA from Santa Clara University.
Craig C. Chambliss
President and CEO/Co-Founder
C raig Chambliss has 30 years invested in the biopharma and drug delivery arenas, with primary focus on rare diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) and epilepsy, in particular. He co-founded Neurelis in 2007, serving as CEO and President, and has raised over $300M in funding to progress the company to a fully integrated organization, from early-stage development through commercialization.
Mr. Chambliss was previously integral to the reengineering of NextWave Pharmaceuticals to a CNS focus as Chief Business Officer, raising $45M in Series C financing and culminating in the sale of NextWave to Pfizer for over $700M in 2012. Prior to NextWave and Neurelis, he led commercial operations at Questcor Pharmaceuticals, from 2005-2007, where he was integral in also engineering the transition to a CNS-focused company and establishing the commercial infrastructure to support the relaunch of Acthar® Gel (repository corticotropin injection) to treat a rare epilepsy disorder in pediatrics.
Mr. Chambliss began his career in pharmaceutical sales at Bristol Myers Squibb and joined Alza Pharmaceuticals upon the launch of their commercial organization in 1994. While at Alza Pharmaceuticals, he served in various sales and marketing roles prior to joining Elan Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Director of Business Development for CNS assets. In 2001, along with other former Dura and Elan executives, Mr. Chambliss launched Xcel Pharmaceuticals, a CNS start-up focused on epilepsy and, primarily, the treatment of seizure emergencies. He led commercial operations and the successful launch of Diastat® (diazepam rectal gel) until Xcel's acquisition by Valeant Pharmaceuticals in 2005 for $280M. Mr. Chambliss holds a BS in Finance and a BS in Accounting from Missouri State University.
David F. Hale
D avid Hale is a co-founder and Director of Neurelis. He is Chairman and CEO of Hale BioPharma Ventures, LLC, a private company focused on the formation and development of biotechnology, specialty pharma, diagnostic, and medical device companies. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Oncternal Therapeutics, Inc., an oncology company, and as a director of Dermata, Inc., a dermatology company. He served as Chairman of Santarus, Inc., prior to its sale to Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 2014; SkinMedica, Inc., prior to its sale to Allergan in 2012; Micromet, Inc., prior to its sale to Amgen Inc. in 2012; Somaxon Pharmaceuticals prior to its sale to Pernix in 2013; and Crisi Medical Systems prior to its sale to Becton, Dickinson & Company in 2015.
Mr. Hale is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the formation and development of a number of biomedical companies.
In 1982, after joining Hybritech, Inc., the first monoclonal antibody company, Mr. Hale served as COO and President, and then Chief Executive Officer when Hybritech was acquired by Eli Lilly and Co. in 1986. From 1987 to 1997 he was Chairman, President, and CEO of Gensia, Inc., which merged with SICOR to become Gensia Sicor, Inc., and was then acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals. He co-founded and was Chairman of Viagene, Inc. from 1987 to 1995, when Viagene was acquired by Chiron, Inc. He co-founded LMA North America in 1997 and served as Chairman until its merger with LMA International in 2004. He was President and CEO of Women First HealthCare, Inc., from late 1997 to June 2000, prior to joining CancerVax in October 2000, where he served as President and CEO from 2000 until its merger with Micromet, Inc. in 2006, when he became Chairman.
Prior to joining Hybritech, Mr. Hale was Vice President and General Manager of BBL Microbiology Systems, a division of Becton, Dickinson & Company from 1971 to 1980, and held various marketing and sales management positions with Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc.
Kevin Li, PhD
Chairman of the Board of Directors
D r. Kevin Li is a Managing Partner at LYZZ Capital, a global biotech venture capital fund. He has more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and active biotech investor in the US and China. Prior to co-founding LYZZ, he was a partner at DT Capital and HBM BioMed China. Kevin was involved in co-founding and managing several successful biotech companies, including ClinChoice, Alpha Biopharma, and Mojia Biotech. Dr. Li received his PhD in biology from Indiana University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. Li has served as an investor and board member of many successful biotech companies, including Cathay Industrial Biotech, Chipscreen, Alpha Biopharma, Neurelis, Qpex, Jumpcode, Onchilles, and Wugen, among others.
David V. Smith
Director and Chairman of the Neurelis Audit Committee
C orporate finance veteran David V. Smith joined the company’s Board of Directors in 2021. Most recently, Mr. Smith served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Five Prime Therapeutics, a publicly traded company focused on discovering and developing novel immuno-oncology protein therapeutics, which was acquired by Amgen in April 2021. Previously, Mr. Smith served as Chief Operating Officer of IntegenX, and Chief Financial Officer of Thoratec, Chiron, and Anergen, Inc. He has also held finance positions with Genentech, Inc., Syntex, and IBM.
Mr. Smith is currently the Chair of the Audit and Strategy Committees of Codexis, Inc., and serves on the board of IO Biotech. Previously, he served as Chair of the Audit Committee and a Director of OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and of Perlegen Sciences, Inc.
Mr. Smith holds a BA in Economics and History from Willamette University and an MBA specializing in Finance from Golden Gate University.
J ames Stearns joined the company’s Board of Directors in 2023, having previously participated as a Board Observer. Mr. Stearns has a multi-decade career in corporate finance and fund management, having been based in both London and New York. James Stearns is currently the CIO (Europe & Americas) for China Medical System Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong–listed specialty pharmaceutical company.
Mr. Stearns has a broad range of board experience across the listed and private healthcare & biotech spheres. Mr. Stearns is currently the Chair of the Audit committee at Destiny Pharma, a London-listed anti-infectives company, as well as a Non-Executive Director for both Eye Tech Care and Qureight.
Mr. Stearns also sits as a Board Observer for Gelesis (NASDAQ listed), Acticor (listed in France), and Acclaro (unlisted).
Mr. Stearns holds a BSc in Economics & Accounting from the University of Bristol in the UK.
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