Federica Pericle PhD, MBA
President and CEO
Dr. Pericle has over 25 years of experience in scientific, strategic and leadership positions within the biotechnology industry and academia. As the President and CEO of AgilVax she has secured a combined $14M in private and non-dilutive funding. Dr Pericle is also an experienced life science analyst and currently serves as a Senior Strategic Advisor for Onelife Fund (~$100M) managed by Bluestar Investment Managers based in Lugano, Switzerland. Prior to AgilVax Dr. Pericle was the co-founder and COO of SeneXta Therapeutics, a clinical stage company developing treatments for CNS disorders. She has also worked as scientific advisor for Agennix, Inc. and as director of the Cancer Gene Therapy Program at Valentis in Houston, TX. Dr. Pericle worked as a Senior Scientist at the National Cancer Institute with over a decade of research experience in oncology, immunology, CNS, inflammation, antibody/protein drug development, and gene therapeutics. She has led the development of 10 product candidates into clinical trials, published over 50 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored five patents in the field of cancer. Dr. Pericle received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Turin, Italy, a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Turin and South Florida, and an M.B.A. from Texas A&M University.
Les Stewart MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Stewart is a seasoned senior executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in biotechnology and drug delivery creating growth strategies, developing new markets and new products, and cultivating strong partnerships. Previously, he was the CEO of SolaranRx, Inc., a start-up biotechnology company developing novel therapies and companion imaging agents to treat advanced melanoma. He also served as the Vice President of global marketing for C. R. BARD, a leading developer and manufacturer of life-enhancing medical devices. Further, Mr. Stewart created and led the drug coated balloon business as General Manager for Bayer Healthcare for an emerging therapy in vascular treatment. Mr. Stewart holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Cum Laude) from General Motors Institute.
Michael Perrine MS, MBA
Director of Business Development
Mr. Perrine has multiple years of experience fostering academic and industry collaborations at AgilVax. Mr. Perrine has attained an extensive technical and business understanding of the biotechnology industry through his research and development work at Azano Biotech, Exagen Diagnostics, nanoMR, and Physiogenix, which allows him to seamlessly communicate with both executive and scientific teams. Mr. Perrine was part of research teams that developed a novel breast cancer prognostic assay, a non-invasive assay for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases, a rapid assay for the detection of sepsis, and performed preclinical pharmaceutical screening of early stage hypertension and diabetes therapeutics. Mr. Perrine holds an MBA from the University of New Mexico's Anderson School of Management and an MS in Physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Jerri Caldeira PhD
Director of Research and Development
Dr. Jerri Caldeira obtained his PhD in Physiology from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil where he studied the neuro-endocrinology of the stress response. He was previously a professor at the School of Medicine of Sao Jose do Rio Preto in Brazil. He received post-doctoral training at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Neuroscience, where he investigated how Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects the physiology of neurosteroids. He also received postdoctoral training in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology where worked on investigating the molecular basis of protein-RNA recognition. More recently he has studied RNA-phage VLPs as platforms for vaccine development, focusing on affinity-selection (on neutralizing antibody targets) of vaccine candidates from random sequence peptide libraries displayed on RNA phage VLPs. Dr. Calderia has multiple years of experience working with Agilvax’s virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology and has published multiple articles detailing the utility VLP technology.
Naseer Salameh PhD
Dr. Salameh obtained his PhD from the University of Siena, Italy where he focused on VEGFR-3 cytoplasmic and nuclear signaling pathways in endothelial cells. He received additional post-doctoral training at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where he was directly involved with discovery of targeting peptide strategies, rapid structural-functional screening for the discovery of drug prototypes and protein-targeting in cancer cells. Before joining Agilvax, Dr. Salameh was a Senior Scientist at the University of Texas Health Science Center since 2012 where he was instrumental in the development of humanized antibodies for targeting therapy in cancer and identification of the genes involved in the resistance to antibodies targeting therapy against EGFR, HER2 and HER3 in cancer.
Head of Preclinical
Mr. Blezinger has over 26 years of experience in biotechnology drug development from proof of concept to clinical validation with particular focus on preclinical animal models and toxicology. He has been involved with preclinical work on over 20 new drugs in the area of cancer, immunotherapy, CNS, cardiovascular and inflammation, and has participated in the approval of over seven INDs in the area of small molecules and biologics. Prior to AgilVax, Mr. Blezinger was an independent consultant providing oversight, design, approval, implementation, and analysis of preclinical studies for over a dozen companies. He was also worked in a number of other biotech companies including Argennix (lung cancer and sepsis), Senexta Thereaputics (CNS), Lexicon Pharmaceuticals (cardiovascular), and GeneMedicine/Valentis (oncology). He received his B.S. in Animal Science from Texas A&M University in 1986.
Dee Brescia has served as Agilvax’s Chief Financial Officer since 2013. Prior to joining Agilvax, Ms. Brescia served as Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer for PhDx Systems, a company that develops proprietary clinical study software, for 12 years. Ms. Brescia has also held the title of Director of Accounting at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and Accountant for Southwest Medical Ventures. Ms. Brescia has a BS in accounting from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, an MBA in accounting from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, and is a Certified Public Accountant in New Mexico and Colorado.
Joseph Patti PhD
Executive Chairman, Co-Founder of Inhibitex, Inc., Former President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviragen Therapeutics
Dr. Patti has over two decades of drug development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has been a successful entrepreneur and scientific leader. Dr. Patti was co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Inhibitex, Inc., which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in a deal worth $2.5 billion. The purchase price was a 163% premium over the last trading day’s price and at that time was the largest premium ever paid for a biotech company. Most recently, Dr. Patti served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviragen Therapeutics, Inc. and was responsible for successfully merging the organization with Vaxart Inc. in a transaction that valued the company at a premium to its market capitalization. During his tenure in the industry, he has been directly involved in raising over $300 million in private and public capital and has spearheaded strategic transactions with both pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Dr. Patti received a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.S.P.H. from the University of Miami, School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
David Hung MD
Founder, former President, and Chief Executive Officer of Medivation
Dr. Hung is world-renowned physician with expertise in internal Medicine and Oncology who was the founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Medivation from 2004 through its acquisition in 2016 by Pfizer for approximately $14 billion. Medivation developed and commercialized Xtandi for the treatment of metastatic and non-metastatic prostate cancer, driving the program from invention to FDA approval in seven years, one of the fastest development times in biopharmaceutical history. At Medivation Dr. Hung also built a pipeline of cancer therapies addressing significant unmet needs, including a potentially best-in-class poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor (talazoparib) which was recently approved for germline BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. From April 2017 to February 2018, Dr. Hung was chief executive officer and a director of Axovant Sciences, Inc. Dr. Hung is world-renowned physician with expertise in internal Medicine and Oncology. He received his M.D. from the University of California at San Francisco, School of Medicine and his M.A. and A.B. in Biology and Organic Chemistry from Harvard College.
Brad H. Vale PhD, DVM
CEO and Founder of Calaveras Creek Capital & Former head J&J Development Corporation
Brad H. Vale
Brad is the CEO and Founder of Calaveras Creek Capital, collaborating with strategic partners in equity investing to facilitate innovation. He is a member of the board of directors at Nevro (NVRO), Cleveland Clinic Innovations, and on a corporate venture advisory board for Silicon Valley Bank, along with sitting on the board of several private companies. Brad was Head of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) from 2012 to 2015. JJDC is Johnson & Johnson’s venture investing arm and has investors based in Si-Valley, Boston, Shanghai, London and Tel Aviv. He established JJDC’s west coast office in 1997 and was an investor in medical devices, healthtech, and biotech from 1992-2012. Prior to joining JJDC, Dr. Vale supported Johnson & Johnson’s medical device businesses at the Corporate Office of Science and Technology, leading exploratory efforts in several areas, including biomaterials, intra-operative diagnostics, and lasers in medicine. He began his JNJ career at Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, working on preclinical studies in wound closure, microsurgery, new business development, and a coronary artery bypass graft internal venture that was spun out of Ethicon. Dr. Vale has other experience in medical device research and development, including blood-compatible polymers, novel methods for tissue closure, and hyaluronic acid for post-operative adhesion prevention. Dr. Vale received a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Iowa State University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University.
Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Sun Mountain Capital
Brian Birk is Managing Partner and 2006 co-founder of Sun Mountain Capital and has over 20 years experience as an operating executive and investor. Prior to forming Sun Mountain Capital, Birk was Vice President and Director of Private Equity at Fort Washington Capital Partners where he helped the firm establish and manage a number of private equity direct investment funds, secondary investment funds, and fund of funds programs. Birk has held a senior manager position at the Boston Consulting Group and finance manager positions at General Electric and GE Capital. Birk has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BS in economics from Carleton College.
Faith L. Charles
Partner in Thompson Hine's Corporate Transactions and Securities
Faith L. Charles
Faith Charles, a corporate and securities specialist and law firm partner, has a 25+ year track record of results for public and private companies. Her specialties include corporate counseling and strategic advice in the biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics and health care information space including:
- U.S. and global business transactions and technology transfers;
- Angel and venture capital financings;
- Private placements;
- Public offerings (equity and debt);
- Mergers and acquisitions;
- Spin-offs, joint ventures, licensing and other strategic collaborations;
- Alternative financings;
- Corporate governance; and
- Compliance with SEC, Amex, Nasdaq and securities regulatory issues.
Waneta Tuttle PhD, MBA
Owner and CEO of Southwest Medical Ventures (SMV)
Waneta C. Tuttle, Ph.D., M.B.A. is the owner and CEO of Southwest Medical Ventures (SMV), a life sciences and health care venture development company. Through SMV, she was the founding CEO of Indigo Medical, (acquired by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endosurgery), PhDx Systems, Inc. and Exagen Diagnostics, Inc. SMV is the managing member of Puente Partners, LLC and Southwest Medical Technologies, LLC (SMT). The Puente Partners portfolio includes nanoMR, Inc. and Azano Pharma, Inc. SMT was organized in 2010 to create new ventures focused on technology spin-offs and roll-ups. SMT's first company is AgilVax, Inc. Until its sale to Eisai Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in January of 2008, Dr. Tuttle served as a Director of NASDAQ listed MGI Pharma, Inc., an oncology and acute care focused biopharmaceutical company. She is a Director of Health Care Service Corporation, a mutual legal reserve company operating Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and is a Member of the Corporation at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratories in Boston. She serves as Southwest Regional Advisor to Tullis Health Investors and to the Tullis-Dickerson funds. Prior to founding SMV in 1992, Dr. Tuttle held positions of increasing responsibility over 23 years at the Lovelace Medical Foundation in Albuquerque. She began her career at the Foundation as a research scientist, and then served for many years as its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. She was also a member of the management committee for the integrated health care delivery system at Lovelace and served on the Boards of Directors for several of the Lovelace organizations. Dr. Tuttle’s Ph.D. is in biology with a concentration in physiology. She also holds an M.B.A. from the R.O. Anderson Schools of Management at the University of New Mexico and has been inducted into the Anderson Schools Hall of Fame.
Ebetuel Pallares PhD
Founded Joseph Advisory Services (jAS) and co-founded Cottonwood Capital Partners
Dr. Ebetuel Pallares founded Joseph Advisory Services (JAS) in 2006. He brings extensive domestic and international start-up experience as an entrepreneur and in conducting due diligence for both start-ups and late stage companies. His professional experience spans working for top-tier strategy consulting firms, co-founding start-ups, international business development, nonprofit management, venture capital and military service. In the summer of 2009, he co-founded Cottonwood Capital Partners, the general partner of Cottonwood Technology Fund, a seed and early-stage venture fund with headquarters in El Paso, TX. He serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards. He is also an advisor to the UT Horizon Fund, the venture capital investment fund of the University of Texas System, he is the Investor in Residence for NMSU's Arrowhead Center, and serves on the limited partnership advisory committees of several venture funds. He graduated from Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA, with a degree in economics, and received his MBA from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He also went on to attain a Ph.D. in International Business from UTEP. Dr. Pallares' research has focused on confluence of high tech emerging market firms, incubators and technology commercialization. Dr. Pallares is married, and enjoys fatherhood. When not watching his kids while his wife, a professional photographer, is on assignment, he engages in reading, writing and community service, including service in Rotary International and Gideons International.
Federica Pericle PhD, MBA
President and CEO
Dr. Pericle has over 25 years of experience in scientific, strategic and leadership positions within the biotechnology industry and academia. As the President and CEO of AgilVax she has secured a combined $14M in private and non-dilutive funding. Dr Pericle is also an experienced life science analyst and currently serves as a Senior Strategic Advisor for Onelife Fund (~$100M) managed by Bluestar Investment Managers based in Lugano, Switzerland. Prior to AgilVax Dr. Pericle was the co-founder and COO of SeneXta Therapeutics, a clinical stage company developing treatments for CNS disorders. She has also worked as scientific advisor for Agennix, Inc. and as director of the Cancer Gene Therapy Program at Valentis in Houston, TX. Dr. Pericle worked as a Senior Scientist at the National Cancer Institute with over a decade of research experience in oncology, immunology, CNS, inflammation, antibody/protein drug development, and gene therapeutics. She has led the development of 10 product candidates into clinical trials, published over 50 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored five patents in the field of cancer. Dr. Pericle received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Turin, Italy, a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Turin and South Florida, and an M.B.A. from Texas A&M University
Naoto Tada Ueno MD, PhD
Section Chief, Department of Breast Medical Oncology University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Naoto Tada Ueno
Dr. Ueno has a strong background in translational breast cancer research in the areas of cancer biology and molecular therapeutics. Dr. Ueno trained as a Medical Oncologist at MD Anderson and simultaneously learned how to conduct clinical research and perform data analysis related to breast cancer. He is now a practicing physician who has experience in conducting both targeted and gene therapy clinical trials. Dr. Ueno currently serves as the executive director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic and Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research. Dr. Ueno did his medical training at Wakayama Medical College in Japan and obtained a PhD in Cancer Biology from The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
George Peoples MD
Founder and Director of Cancer insight and the Cancer Vaccine Development Program
Dr. Peoples is the Founder and Director of Cancer Insight and the Cancer Vaccine Development Program. Dr. Peoples has over 15 years of experience discovering, developing, and clinical testing of cancer vaccines. Dr. Peoples has led multiple Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials in cancer. Dr. Peoples is the former Deputy Director of the US Military Cancer Institute and served as the Chief of Surgical Oncology at Walter Reed Medical Center. Dr. Peoples is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Peoples has over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters.
Saira Ramasastry M.S
Managing Partner, Life Sciences Advisory, LLC
Saira Ramasastry, Managing Partner of Life Sciences Advisory, is a seasoned industry insider with over 20 years of transaction and advisory experience. Prior to working for LSA, Ms. Ramasastry helped to establish the leading life sciences franchise on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch, and was responsible for biotech coverage for a decade. Her clients have included Vertex, Medivation (now Pfizer), Theravance, CV Therapeutics (now Gilead), ZymoGenetics (now BMS), and ICOS (now Eli Lilly). Ms. Ramasastry is a successful leader in the field of life sciences public-private alliances and is often called upon as a speaker. She serves on the boards of several public and private life sciences companies, philanthropic organizations and foundations, including the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She has a B.A. in Economics with Honors and Distinction from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa), and advanced degrees in Management Science & Engineering and Management Studies from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge. In 2011, Ms. Ramasastry was included on the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list.
Federica Cavallo PhD
Associate Professor of Immunology (General Pathology) at the University of Turin Medical School
Dr. Cavallo is an Associate Professor of Immunology (General Pathology) at the University of Turin Medical School. Dr. Cavallo has a wealth of experience in basic and translational cancer immunotherapy and has extensive expertise in transgenic mouse models of cancer and DNA vaccination. Dr. Cavallo has a PhD in immunology from the University of Turin. She is also a member of numerous scientific associations, which include the European Society for Cancer Research, the American Association for Cancer Research, the European Society for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, and the American Association of Immunologists.
David Peabody PhD
Professor - University of New Mexico & Co-Inventor of the AgilVax Technology
Dr. David Peabody is a Professor in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and a co-inventor of the Agilvax technology. He was trained at Stanford University in the laboratory of Paul Berg (Nobel Prize, 1980) and has been associated with the University of New Mexico since 1984. For a number of years he studied RNA viruses of bacteria as model systems to understand gene regulation, but in recent years has focused on adapting the virus-like particles of these bacteriophages as platforms for vaccine development and targeted drug delivery.
Bryce Chackerian PhD
Professor - University of New Mexico & Co-Inventor of the AgilVax Technology
Dr. Bryce Chackerian is a Professor in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and co-inventor of the Agilvax Technology. As a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. John Schiller’s laboratory at the National Cancer Institute he began his work on using Virus-like particles (VLPs) as platform for antigen display. Since moving to the University of New Mexico in 2004 his laboratory has shown that VLP presentation can enhance the immunogenicity of numerous target epitopes, including epitopes derived from self-antigens, which are normally subject to the mechanisms of B cell tolerance. His work has focused on the development of new vaccines against infectious agents, as well as self-antigens involved in chronic diseases.