Experienced Management Team
ViaCyte’s management blends sound technical expertise with diverse research and development experiences. The result is a team on the leading edge of medicine.
We’ve assembled a leadership team that is extremely well qualified to develop and manufacture transformative cell therapies, delivery devices, and combination products for clinical testing and commercialization.
Paul Laikind, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
Paul K. Laikind, Ph.D. has over 28 years of leadership experience in the biotechnology and life sciences industry in San Diego. He currently serves as President, CEO and a member of the Board of ViaCyte, Inc. a leading company in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. A serial entrepreneur, over the course of his career Dr. Laikind co-founded and held top executive and board positions at three San Diego companies that each went public before ultimately being acquired. These include Gensia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which was ultimately acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals in a multi-billion dollar transaction, Viagene, Inc., which, like Gensia, was founded upon technology Dr. Laikind helped to create, and Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer. Just prior to joining ViaCyte, Dr. Laikind served as Chief Business Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute where he established a number of licensing and strategic partnerships with large pharmaceutical organizations, including collaborations with Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceutical. Dr. Laikind holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego. He also serves as Chairman Emeritus of CONNECT and as a current board member and past Chairman of BIOCOM.
Allan Robins, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Science & Technology
Allan Robins, Ph.D. oversees strategic advances of the Company’s technology platform and also leads the development of novel techniques for scaling cell manufacturing at ViaCyte’s facility in Athens, Georgia. Prior to ViaCyte, Dr. Robins served as Chief Scientific Officer at BresaGen, Inc., the United States subsidiary of BresaGen Limited, an Australian biotechnology company that has since been acquired by Hospira, Inc. Under Dr. Robin’s leadership, BresaGen, Inc. was awarded significant support for its stem cell research from the National Institutes of Health. BresaGen, Inc. merged with ViaCyte’s predecessor companies in 2004. Prior to BresaGen, Inc., Dr. Robins was Chief Scientific Officer at BresaGen Limited, where he developed a proprietary expression system, which continues to be used in the production of protein pharmaceuticals. Dr. Robins received a B.S. with honors in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Kevin D’Amour, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Chief Scientific Officer
Kevin D’Amour, Ph.D. is an expert in stem cell science, an inventor of ViaCyte’s key patents and a co-author of high profile publications in renowned scientific journals. In addition to leading research advances in the stem cell program, Dr. D’Amour is frequently called upon to address the biological aspects of ViaCyte’s technology platform with regulating bodies, such as the US patent office and the FDA. Prior to joining ViaCyte, Dr. D’Amour performed pre-doctoral research with Dr. Fred Gage at The Salk Institute where he studied stem cell plasticity in neural stem cells. His past experience also includes a research position at Gen-Probe, Inc. Dr. D’Amour performed his undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire and earned his Ph.D. in biology at the University of California, San Diego.
Howard Foyt, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, Vice President, Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer
Howard Foyt, M.D., Ph.D. FACP has over 16 years of clinical development experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology environments. Dr. Foyt’s background as an endocrinologist and his multiple NDA and IND applications position him as ViaCyte’s strategic leader for clinical and regulatory operations. Prior to ViaCyte, Dr. Foyt served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Cebix, Inc., a company focused on treatments for complications of type 1 diabetes. Before Cebix, he was Vice President, Clinical Development at Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Foyt’s pharmaceutical experience includes senior positions at Pfizer Global Research & Development and Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research. As a clinician, Dr. Foyt was Assistant Professor and Medical Director of the University Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine where he also earned a Ph.D. in Cell Biology. Dr. Foyt completed his residency in internal medicine at Baylor and an endocrinology fellowship at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
Michael Scott, Ph.D., Vice President, Device Research & Development and Chief Development Officer
Michael J. Scott, Ph.D. oversees ViaCyte’s product development program and is also responsible for ViaCyte’s engineering groups, including cell process development and device and combination product design, manufacturing, and qualification. Prior to joining ViaCyte, Dr. Scott served as Senior Director, Heart Valve Therapies at Edwards Lifesciences where he managed preclinical and clinical trials of high profile products. Dr. Scott also held the role of Vice President of Research and Development at Orqis Medical Corporation, a venture-backed medical device startup. Dr. Scott led Orqis to the first human use of a sophisticated implantable blood pump system for the treatment of congestive heart failure. Dr. Scott was educated in Canada, earning a B.A.Sc. with honors and an M.A.Sc. in civil engineering (orthopedic bioengineering) from the University of Waterloo in Ontario and a Ph.D. in medical biophysics from the University of Western Ontario.
Liz Bui, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President and Intellectual Property Counsel
Liz Bui, J.D., Ph.D. oversees all matters related to intellectual property and is instrumental in the execution of corporate partnerships, licensing contracts, and other key business alliances. Prior to joining ViaCyte, Dr. Bui was with the law firm of DLA Piper in the Global Life Science Sector, where she focused on IP asset management and protection strategies. She began her law career as a technology specialist at the firm of Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly. Dr. Bui holds a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine where her research focused on the biochemistry of Alzheimer’s disease. She received her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California.
Anne Sandan, C.P.A., Vice President, Finance and Corporate Controller
Anne Sandan, CPA is responsible for accounting and financial reporting, as well as human resources, information systems, purchasing, and general administrative management. Prior to ViaCyte, Ms. Sandan was Director of Accounting Compliance at Carl Zeiss Vision and responsible for company-wide accounting policies and adherence to U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards. She also led Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts for the SOLA International division and over 10 of its worldwide operating entities. Ms. Sandan began her career with the audit division of Arthur Andersen LLP. This experience led to significant leadership roles in accounting across a wide variety of industries, including wireless technology, REITs, media-based corporate training, hospitality and entertainment. Ms. Sandan is a cum laude graduate of the University of San Diego, where she received a B.B.A. in accounting. Ms. Sandan is a California certified public accountant.
Mark Zimmerman, Ph.D., Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Mark C. Zimmerman, Ph.D., a leader in diabetes and regenerative medicine for over two decades, is responsible for strategy and business development. He is seconded to ViaCyte, after Johnson and Johnson and ViaCyte agreed to merge the assets of BetaLogics, a business unit of Janssen R&D LLC, into ViaCyte. Like ViaCyte, the mission of BetaLogics was to discover and develop a cellular product to treat diabetes. Dr. Zimmerman was appointed Executive Director of BetaLogics in 2002, and Venture Leader/Vice President of BetaLogics in 2009. Before the establishment of BetaLogics, Dr. Zimmerman was a Principal Scientist and Group Leader at Johnson and Johnson heading up regenerative medicine projects related to orthopedic surgery, wound healing, vascular biology, and diabetes. Prior to Johnson and Johnson, Dr. Zimmerman was an Associate Professor of Surgery at UMD-New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Zimmerman received his B.S. in Biology from Syracuse University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University.