Governance at a Glance
|Board Members||Audit||Compensation||Nominating and Corporate Governance|
Brian J. G. Pereira
Dr. Pereira was appointed Executive Chairman in 2020, bringing over 30 years of expertise to Abeona as a veteran biopharmaceutical leader. His experience in financing and growing companies is seen at Visterra, where he serves as President and CEO following the Company’s 2018 acquisition by Otsuka America, Inc. Previously, Dr. Pereira served as the President and CEO of AMAG Pharmaceuticals where he built the clinical development, manufacturing, supply-chain, and commercial infrastructure for Feraheme, underpinned by four financing rounds at increasing valuations. Previously, he held senior roles at Tufts Medical Center including President and CEO of a Physician Organization. Currently, Dr. Pereira serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Africa Healthcare Network and serves on the Boards of KalVista, Cullinan Pearl, and the American India Foundation. He earned a medical degree (M.B.B.S.) from St. John’s Medical College, M.D. (Medicine), D.M. (Nephrology) from the Post Graduate Institute, and M.B.A. from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
João Siffert, M.D.
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.
Christine Silverstein brings over 15 years of experience in capital markets strategy, financial services, investor relations and healthcare media communications to the Company. Prior to her current role, she served as Chief Financial Officer for Abeona. Silverstein has held various executive roles within the biotechnology industry including Head of Investor Relations at Relmada Therapeutics, Inc., Vice President of Corporate Development at PlasmaTech Biopharmaceuticals, and Managing Director at SCO Financial Group, a life sciences fund. Earlier in her career, she held senior positions at leading New York corporate and capital market advisory firms. Silverstein began her career in financial services as an investment advisor at Royal Alliance Associates before moving to the investor and corporate relations industry. A member of the National Investor Relations Institute, Ms. Silverstein holds a B.S. from the Peter Tobin College of Business at St. John's University.
Ms. Tomasello was appointed Independent Board Director in 2020, bringing over 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical industry to Abeona. As CCO, she was a key executive in the $11.9 billion Kite Pharma/Gilead acquisition in 2017. Prior to joining Kite, Ms. Tomasello was the CCO of Commercial and Medical Affairs at Pharmacyclics, surging its market cap from $8 billion to $19 billion, and culminating in the 2015 acquisition by AbbVie for $21 billion. She brings extensive strategic experience in building world class organizations encompassing commercial, compliance, regulatory, pricing, and medical affairs functions. Ms. Tomasello built the foundation for her career with leadership roles at Celgene Corporation, Genentech, Pfizer Laboratories, Miles Pharmaceuticals and Proctor & Gamble. She currently serves on the Board of Principia BioPharma, Urogen Pharma, Mesoblast Ltd., Gamida Cell, and Centrexion Therapeutics. Ms. Tomasello earned a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati and M.B.A. from Murray State University, KY.
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.
Steven H. Rouhandeh
Mr. Rouhandeh has been a Director 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.
Stephen B. Howell, MD
Stephen B. Howell, M.D. has served as a Director since 1996. He is a member of the Compensation Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board. Dr. Howell is a medical oncologist and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, where he has directed laboratory and clinical research and training programs since 1977. 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. He has serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Aptose Biosciences and has had extensive consulting experience. 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.
Todd Wider, M.D.
Todd Wider, M.D. 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.