BioNJ Announces Newly Elected Board Chair, Officers and Trustees

Trenton-based BioNJ, The Gateway to Health, announced the election of its 2017 Officers and Board Members. The Board appointments preceded BioNJ’s 24th Gateway Gala and Innovation Celebration on February 2 at the Hilton East Brunswick where 650 industry leaders turned out to celebrate the industry and its many accomplishments over dinner, networking and awards presentations.

Newly elected Officers are Chairman James Sapirstein, R.Ph., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer, ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Vice Chair Daniel J. O’Connor, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Advaxis, Inc.; Treasurer Scott White, President, Oncology, Janssen Biotech, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company and Secretary Christian Kopfli, Esq., Chief Executive Officer, Chromocell Corporation.

“Because Patients Can’t Wait®, we are grateful for our talented and dedicated Board whose guidance is invaluable to enabling our Mission,” said BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart.

James Sapirstein, R.Ph., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer, ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was elected Chairman of BioNJ, succeeding Stuart Peltz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, PTC Therapeutics who concluded a two-year term and moves into the Immediate Past Chairman’s role.

“It is an honor to serve as the Chair of BioNJ, and to follow the strong leaders before me. BioNJ is a vital organization to our ecosystem and will play an increasingly important role as we face new challenges on so many fronts in the coming months. I look forward to working with the Board and the team to help advance the work of this industry in support of Patients,” Sapirstein said.

In thanking Dr. Peltz, Hart noted that “during his tenure, Dr. Peltz was a confidant, leader and mentor whose inquisitive nature drove BioNJ to higher ground. I sincerely thank Dr. Peltz for all that he has done during his dynamic two years as Chairman.

“I am honored that Mr. Sapirstein has agreed to join us as our Chairman. Mr. Sapirstein’s notable industry experience, great passion and public policy acumen will be invaluable to BioNJ’s efforts as we take on the responsibility of helping to ensure medical innovation and access for all.”

James Sapirstein Elected New Chairman 

Mr. Sapirstein is currently the CEO of Contravir Pharmaceuticals. After beginning his career in 1984 with Eli Lilly, he accepted a position at Hoffmann-LaRoche in 1987, where he served for almost a decade as part of its sales and marketing teams. Mr. Sapirstein then moved into the biotech arena at Gilead Sciences, Inc. He served in the Global Marketing Group at Gilead, beginning in 2000 where he led and developed the global marketing strategy for its flagship HIV drug, Viread. In 2002, he accepted the position of Executive Vice President for Serono Laboratories where he led a team of over 100 professionals to rebuild a struggling HIV and pediatric growth hormone business. As the founding CEO of Tobira Therapeutics, a New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel HIV and infectious disease compounds, Mr. Sapirstein was instrumental in helping to raise over $60 million in venture capital and research funding to enable Tobira to further its scientific development. Just prior to joining Contravir, Mr. Sapirstein was CEO of Alliqua Therapeutics at Alliqua, Inc.

BioNJ Board Officers Include:

Newly elected Vice Chairman: Daniel J. O’Connor, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Advaxis, Inc. Mr. O’Connor was appointed Advaxis’ President and Chief Executive Officer in August 2013 at a time when the company was a “penny stock,” had no cash and was burdened with significant debt. Undeterred, he executed a turnaround strategy rooted in an understanding of the potential of Advaxis’ Lm Technology™ platform and has successfully transformed Advaxis financially, clinically and operationally, providing a strong balance sheet that has enabled the company to advance one of the most diverse and active immunotherapy pipelines in the industry.

Newly named Treasurer: Scott White, President, Oncology, Janssen Biotech, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Mr. White began his career with Johnson & Johnson 24 years ago in R&D developing high-throughput screening assays for Drug Discovery followed by several years in Clinical Research and Development. He has enjoyed a broad and diverse career holding various discovery, clinical development, sales, marketing and managed markets positions across the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. In his current position, Mr. White is responsible for leading Janssen’s Oncology business unit which is responsible for the commercialization of Janssen’s oncology portfolio in the United States.

Secretary: Christian Kopfli, Esq., Chief Executive Officer, Chromocell 

Dr. Kopfli co-founded Chromocell in 2002, serving initially as General Counsel before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2005. Prior to joining Chromocell, he was an Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, working in its New York City, Tokyo and Frankfurt offices. At Davis Polk, Dr. Kopfli worked extensively in Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets and Private Equity Transactions. He received a doctoral degree in law (magna cum laude) from the University of Zurich and earned his LL.M. from Columbia Law School in New York City.

At the meeting, three new Members joined the BioNJ Board of Trustees:

Sol J. Barer, Ph.D., Former Chairman, Celgene Corporation, Chairman of the Board,  Edge Therapeutics, Inc.

Newly named Chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Barer spent most of his professional career with the Celgene Corporation. He was Chairman from January 2011 until June 2011, Executive Chairman from June 2010 until January 2011 and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from May 2006 until June 2010. Previously he was appointed President in 1993 and Chief Operating Officer in 1994 before assuming the CEO position. He also served as Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, and Vice President/General Manager, Chiral Products, from October 1990 to October 1993, and Vice President, Technology, from September 1987 to October 1990. Dr. Barer was the founder of the biotechnology group at the Celanese Research Company which was subsequently spun out to form Celgene. Dr. Barer serves as Chairman of the Board of Edge Therapeutics, InspireMD, Aevi Genomic Medicine and Centrexion and is Lead Director of ContraFect.

Meeta Chatterjee, Ph.D., Head, Business Strategy and Operations, Business Development and Licensing, Merck Research Laboratories

Dr. Chatterjee has 30 years of broad strategic and operational experience in pharmaceutical research and development, in-licensing and externalization activities. In her current role, she is responsible for overseeing business strategy and operations, including governance, oversight and control within the research laboratories and across divisions. Additionally, Dr. Chatterjee oversees Merck’s Outlicensing/Externalization activities.

Matthew Roden, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Strategic Corporate Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

At Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), Dr. Roden is responsible for Business Development strategy and overseeing the Mergers & Acquisition team accountable for acquisitions, structured transactions and divestitures. Prior to joining BMS, he was most recently the Head of the Biotechnology Equity Research Team at UBS, and prior was a senior biotech analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan.

Board of Trustees 2017

In addition to the officers and new Board members, Members of the Board of Trustees are: Immediate Past Chair Dr. Stuart Peltz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, PTC Therapeutics; Ambaw Bellete, President, Photocure, Inc.; Bradley Campbell, President and Chief Operating Officer, Amicus Therapeutics, Inc.; Paul G. Howes, Executive Chairman, ThromboGenics, Inc.; John Maki, President and Chief Executive Officer, Vicus Therapeutics; Anthony S. Marucci, M.B.A., Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.; Geneviève Ménard, Pharm D., M.B.A., Sr. Vice President, Global Pharmaceutical Development and Operation, Celgene Corporation; Spiro Rombotis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Alan Rubino, President and Chief Executive Officer, Emisphere Technologies, Inc.; Christopher J. Schaber, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Soligenix, Inc.; Marco Taglietti, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, SYNEXIS, Inc. and Ji Zhang, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Head of R&D Operations, Sanofi.

Returning Board Advisors include: Rajeev Dadoo, Ph.D., Partner, SROne; Denis Segota, Esq., Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP; Kenneth Somberg, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Covance and Anthony Torrington, C.P.A., Partner, EY, LLP.

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