Steven H. Rouhandeh
Chairman of the Board and Executive Chairman
Steven H. Rouhandeh became the Executive Chairman, Principal Executive Officer, on January 1, 2015. Mr. Rouhandeh has been a Director and Chairman of the Board since March 4, 2008. He has been Chief Investment Officer of SCO Capital Partners, a group of New York based life sciences funds since 1997. Mr. Rouhandeh possesses a diverse background in financial services that includes experience in asset management, corporate finance, investment banking and law. He has been active throughout recent years as an executive in venture capital and as a founder of several companies in the biotech field. His experience also includes positions as Managing Director of a private equity group at Metzler Bank, a private European investment firm and Vice President, Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank. Mr. Rouhandeh was also a corporate attorney at New York City-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Mr. Rouhandeh holds a J.D., from Harvard Law School, Harvard University and B.A. Political Science, from Southern Illinois University.
João Siffert, MD
Chief Executive Officer, Head of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer
João Siffert, M.D., joined Abeona as Head of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer in 2018, bringing 30 years of combined experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, clinical care, and academia. In February 2019, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer after serving in the role on an interim basis from November 2018. In February 2019, he was also appointed to the Board of Directors. Dr. Siffert has successfully led multiple drug development programs from pre-clinical to regulatory approvals and commercial launches in the U.S. and Europe and has held several scientific leadership positions in biotech and pharma, including programs in gene therapy.
In 2017, Dr. Siffert was appointed to the Board of Directors of gene therapy developer AveXis Inc., which was subsequently acquired by Novartis. Dr. Siffert began his career in industry at Pfizer, where he held medical roles of increasing responsibility from 2002 to 2005. He served as Chief Medical Officer of Avera Pharmaceuticals from 2005 to 2007, before holding the same position at Ceregene from 2007 to 2011, where he was responsible for clinical development of adeno-associated viral (AAV2)-based gene therapies for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Dr. Siffert also led the R&D, medical, regulatory, compliance, manufacturing and quality organizations at Avanir Pharmaceuticals from 2011 to 2016. Most recently, he was the Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for Nestle Health Science, where he led translational research, clinical development and operations, regulatory, medical affairs, and health economics. Before joining industry, Dr. Siffert spent seven years in academic practice as a neuro-oncologist.
Dr. Siffert earned his M.D. from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, as well as an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He completed medical residencies in pediatrics at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and in neurology at Harvard Medical School, followed by a fellowship in neuro-oncology at NYU. The American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry certified Dr. Siffert in 1996.
Todd Wider, MD
Todd Wider, MD. is a surgeon. Dr. Wider became a Director on May 7, 2015. Dr. Wider has served as consultant to numerous entities in the biotechnology space. Dr. Wider holds a M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and B.A. from Princeton University.
Stephen B. Howell, MD
Stephen B. Howell, MD has served as a Director since 1996. Dr. Howell is a member of the Compensation Committee of the Board. Dr. Howell is a Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Moore Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego where he has been since 1977. He is the Co-Leader of the Solid Tumor Therapeutics Program and the Center for Engineering in Cancer and Director of the Cancer Therapeutics Training Program. Dr. Howell is a recipient of the Milken Foundation prize and was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science based on his contributions to the field of cancer therapy. He has served on the National Research Council of the American Cancer Society and on the editorial boards of multiple medical journals. Dr. Howell founded DepoTech, Inc. and served as a member of its board of directors from 1989 to 1999. Dr. Howell served on the board of directors of Matrix Pharmaceuticals from 2000 to 2002. Dr. Howell received his A.B. at the University of Chicago, his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and subsequent training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the NIH and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Mark J. Alvino
Mark J. Alvino became a Director in March 2006 initially as a designee of SCO Capital Partners LLC and is chairman of the Audit Committee. He is no longer a designee of SCO Capital Partners LLC. Mr. Alvino is also a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Alvino is currently with Hudson Square Capital LLC since October 2014. From 2013 to October 2014 Mr. Alvino was leading the LifeSciences efforts of Bradley Woods, & Co. Ltd. Mr. Alvino was Managing Director for Griffin Securities from 2007 to 2013. Mr. Alvino was Managing Director for SCO Financial Group LLC from 2002 to 2007. Mr. Alvino was a member of the board of directors of MacroChem Corporation from 2007 until February 2009. He previously worked at Feinstein Kean Healthcare, an Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Company. There he was Senior Vice President, responsible for managing both investor and corporate communications programs for many private and public companies and acted as senior counsel throughout the agency’s network of offices. Prior to working at FKH, Mr. Alvino served as Vice President of Investor Relations and managed the New York Office of Allen & Caron, Inc., an investor relations agency. His base of clients included medical devices, biotechnology, and e-healthcare companies. Mr. Alvino also spent several years working with Wall Street brokerages including Ladenburg, Thallman & Co. and Martin Simpson & Co.
Mr. Buono is an accomplished Italian physicist and alumnus of The European Organization for Nuclear Research. Until recently, Mr. Buono was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), an international radiopharmaceutical company he founded in 2002. During his tenure at AAA, the company expanded its presence to 13 countries, grew to 630 employees, established 21 manufacturing facilities, registered 8 diagnostic drugs and one therapeutic drug both in Europe and in the U.S., completed 13 acquisitions, and reached €150M in sales prior to the launch of its first therapeutic, Lutathera®, for the treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs), an orphan disease. Among Mr. Buono’s many accomplishments was bringing AAA public in November 2015, on the NASDAQ exchange. The company traded under the ticker symbol AAAP, until it was acquired by Novartis in January 2018.
Richard Van Duyne
Richard (Dick) Van Duyne held executive-level business development positions with Warner-Lambert, Med-Pointe, and Pharmacia, before joining Daiichi Sankyo in 2003 as Global Head of Business Development, working directly with senior management in Tokyo, the U.S. and Europe on key licensing and business development projects. From April 2013 through November 2017 he served in a senior advisor role, working with the CEO on special projects. He continues to work with Daiichi Sankyo as a consultant. Mr. Van Duyne serves on the boards of Daiichi Sankyo Inc. (the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Daiichi Sankyo) and Bionpharma Inc., a privately-held generics company based in Princeton, N.J. Mr. Van Duyne received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, his M.B.A. from the Wharton Graduate Division, University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Stanford University.