Paul Weiss, Ph.D.
Dr. Weiss has been a member of the MVI board since 2013. He joined Venture Investors in 2006 as a Managing Director, and focuses on making Healthcare investments. Dr. Weiss has over 20 years of operating experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. He previously was President of the Gala Biotech business unit of Cardinal Health (now Catalent Pharma solutions). Before joining Gala, he served as the VP of Business Development for 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company that completed its IPO during his tenure, and was subsequently acquired by Johnson & Johnson. Earlier in his career, Dr. Weiss worked as Director of Licensing for Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, (now Pfizer). He also served as Director of Business Development and Research for Scientific Protein Labs, a division of American Home Products, and Director of Operations for Columbia Research Labs (Nasdaq: COB), a small, publicly held company that focuses on women’s health. Dr. Weiss is currently a member of the Boards of Directors for Aerpio Therapeutics, Akebia Therapeutics, Euthymics Bioscience, Mithridion, Neurovance, and ProCertus BioPharm (also acting President and CEO). He is an observer at Tissue Regeneration Systems and Inviragen. Dr. Weiss also serves on the Board of Directors for Tamir Biotechnology (formerly Alfacell Corporation, Nasdaq: ACEL). He received a B.S. in Biochemistry with honors from Carleton University-Ottawa, Ontario, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also worked as a postdoctoral research associate.
Leigh Cagan is Chief Technology Commercialization Officer for the Wisconsin Alumni Research foundation (WARF). Mr. Cagan has extensive entrepreneurial and industry experience including work at IT industry icons Hewlett-Packard and IBM. He currently oversees the WARF licensing team and is responsible for maximizing the economic opportunities for WARF's technology portfolio. Prior to joining WARF, Mr. Cagan served as Director of Intellectual Property Licensing for Hewlett-Packard at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. Working within the company's corporate legal group, he represented a broad range of intellectual property in technology transfer initiatives, from early-stage innovations to established products. Mr. Cagan previously served as manager of the business development group at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. His responsibilities there included external licensing, university collaborations, strategic partnerships, and related efforts to monetize the intellectual property assets and expertise of IBM Research Division. Mr. Cagan also held management roles with Scientific Computing Associates and Multiflow Computer, both ventures that commercialized information technology associated with the Yale University Department of Computer Science. Mr. Cagan holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from the Yale University School of Management.
Michael S. Richman, MSBA
Michael Richman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Amplimmune, Inc. Mr. Richman provided critical leadership in Amplimmune’s acquisition by Astra Zeneca in October, 2013. Prior to his co-founding and leadership roles in Amplimmune, Mr. Richman served as an Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MacroGenics, Inc. from April 2002 to May 2007. He has over 30 years of experience working in research, intellectual property and business development capacities. Along with comprehensive experience in corporate development, he has an extensive involvement in strategic management, encompassing legal affairs, licensing and project management and a strong knowledge of U.S. and foreign intellectual property systems. He served as Vice President of Business Development at MedImmune (now Astra Zeneca) from November 1996 to December 2000. He also served as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Administration at MedImmune from December 2000 to March 2002. While at MedImmune, he was responsible for all Business Development, Licensing, Intellectual Property, Legal Affairs, Project Management and Strategic Planning functions. His transactional and M&A experience, management skills and familiarity with the scientific and intellectual aspects of biotechnology product development are invaluable in building young companies. From 1985 to 1996, he served in various senior positions at Chiron (now Novartis) and served as Director of Corporate Business Development. He served as Manager of Business Development at Chiron Corporation from 1990 to 1992 and Manager of Intellectual Property from 1988 to 1990. Mr. Richman has been a Director of Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. since June 16, 2006 and served as a Director on the board of Amplimmune, Inc. Mr. Richman also served as a Director of Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. from June 8, 2006 to July 2009 until their acquisition by J&J. Mr. Richman holds a MSBA degree in International Business from San Francisco State University and a B.S. degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of California at Davis.
Richard R. Lesniewski, Ph.D.
Dr. Lesniewski served in multiple leadership positions at Abbott Laboratories (North Chicago) and GlaxoSmithKline (Philadelphia). As Vice President of Oncology Biopharmaceuticals at GSK, Richard led a new Biopharmaceutical Drug Performance Unit (DPU) within GSK’s Global Oncology Business Unit. He established GSK’s relationship with Seattle Genetics for antibody drug conjugates, and started their PD-1 antagonist program by developing a strategic alliance with Amplimmune (Rockville, MD), for which he had oversight of late stage preclinical development and introduction of this agent into Phase 1 clinical trials. Prior to joining GSK, Richard completed a 25-year career with Abbott Laboratories (1983-2009) where he held multiple positions within the Global Pharmaceuticals Cancer Research Organization, leading discovery and optimization of biopharmaceutical agents, and later founding new research programs in tumor genomics, cancer biomarkers, and therapeutic antibody discovery. As Director of Cancer Research, Dr. Lesniewski also led the Department of Biomarker Discovery Research, and integrated personalized medicine strategies across the Abbott Oncology drug portfolio. Prior to these roles, Dr. Lesniewski held a Technology Assessment and Licensing position within Abbott’s Global Pharmaceutical Division. There he helped establish the Division’s first oncology therapeutic area, driving successful partnering initiatives with Northwestern University, Idun Pharmaceuticals (ABT-263, Navitoclax) and Yale University. During his first 12 years with Abbott, Richard led teams in discovery of novel viral diagnostic tests, and helped Abbott Diagnostics Division develop and launch their franchise leadership in hepatitis C virus blood screening assays. Dr. Lesniewski’s experience covers novel biopharmaceutical drug and companion diagnostics discovery research, translational drug development, creating and managing productive strategic alliances, and leading drug development partnerships from early discovery to the clinic. Dr. Lesniewski currently sits on the Board of Directors of DNASTAR, Invenra, and Scarab Genomics, and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Alethia Biotherapeutics. Dr. Lesniewski holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from North Dakota State University and BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Carroll University.
Dr. Douglas McNeel, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. McNeel is Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is a genitourinary medical oncologist with a laboratory and clinical research program that has focused on prostate cancer immunology for over a decade. The long-term goal of Dr. McNeel’s research efforts is to develop effective anti-tumor vaccines as treatments for prostate cancer. His current research efforts seek to identify immunologically recognized proteins of the prostate, characterize these as tumor target antigens, and evaluate anti-tumor genetic vaccines targeting these antigens in appropriate pre-clinical models. Dr. McNeel is specifically evaluating plasmid DNA vaccines encoding these antigens, and is actively translating these findings in early phase human clinical trials. Dr. McNeel is the primary author of multiple issued patents covering the prostatic acid phosphatase and androgen receptor plasmid DNA vaccines, as well as for pending patents on potential biomarkers of patient response to the PAP vaccine. His work provides the underpinning scientific and clinical innovation for MVI. Dr. McNeel has led more than 20 clinical trials and is a frequent podium speaker at national and international conferences on prostate cancer and therapeutic vaccines. Dr. McNeel is Board Certified in Medical Oncology. He holds an M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, a Ph.D. and M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago, and served clinical and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Washington Seattle.