Our Leadership

Our senior and executive management has extensive leadership experience in regenerative medicine, stem cells, cell and gene therapy, medical devices, and diabetes. Their experience and expertise help ViaCyte advance transformative cell replacement therapies as possible functional cures for human diseases and realize the potential of our proprietary technologies.

Paul Laikind, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Paul Laikind, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Paul K. Laikind, Ph.D. has more than 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. As 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.

Kevin D’Amour, Ph.D.

Vice President, Research
Chief Scientific Officer

Kevin D’Amour, Ph.D.

Vice President, Research
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 U.S. 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
Chief Medical Officer

Howard Foyt, M.D., Ph.D., FACP

Vice President, Clinical Development
Chief Medical Officer

Howard Foyt, M.D., Ph.D. FACP has more than 28 years of clinical development experience in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic 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.

Liz Bui, J.D., Ph.D.

Vice President
Intellectual Property Counsel

Liz Bui, J.D., Ph.D.

Vice President
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 M.S. and 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. She received her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Steve Kradjian, RAC

Vice President, Regulatory

Steve Kradjian, RAC

Vice President, Regulatory

Steve Kradjian, RAC, is responsible for regulatory leadership in the development of biologic and medical device components of all ViaCyte product candidates. Mr. Kradjian is a regulatory affairs leader with more than 25 years of experience in clinical, nonclinical and CMC regulatory affairs disciplines for cell therapies, medical devices, biologics, small molecules, macromolecules, and combination products  in a wide range of therapeutic areas. Prior to ViaCyte, Mr. Kradjian was founder and principal consultant at a full-service regulatory CRO, where he led domestic and international regulatory teams to multiple U.S. product approvals. He led the successful filing of several NDAs and INDs in the United States and CTAs in Canada and Europe as well as pre-submission/scientific advice and strategic meetings with health authorities in these regions. Previously, Mr. Kradjian was Executive Director of Regulatory at Vical and held positions of increasing responsibilities at American Medical Optics and Amgen.  He earned a B.A. in chemistry from Occidental College and completed the Executive Development Program in regulatory affairs at The Kellogg School of Management.

Anne Sandan, CPA

Vice President, Finance
Corporate Controller

Anne Sandan, CPA

Vice President, Finance
Corporate Controller

Anne Sandan, CPA is responsible for accounting and financial reporting, as well as human resources, information systems, 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 more than 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 for public and privately held companies across a wide variety of industries, including wireless technology, REITs, media-based corporate training, hospitality, and entertainment. Ms. Sandan is a graduate of the University of San Diego, where she received a BBA in accounting. Ms. Sandan is a California certified public accountant.

Mark Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Operations

Mark Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Operations

Mark C. Zimmerman, Ph.D., a leader in diabetes and regenerative medicine for more than two decades, is responsible for business development and operations. He joined ViaCyte after Johnson & 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 & Johnson, heading up regenerative medicine projects related to orthopedic surgery, wound healing, vascular biology, and diabetes. Prior to Johnson & 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.

Board of Directors

The members of ViaCyte’s Board of Directors include industry executives with the knowledge and expertise to help the company fulfill its mission of delivering a breakthrough diabetes therapeutic product.

Ian F. Smith

Chairman of the Board

Ian F. Smith

Chairman of the Board

Mr. Smith, who most recently was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, has more than 20 years of finance and operating experience for public companies in the biopharmaceutical industry. At Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Smith held responsibility for a wide range of core functions, including Corporate and Business Development, Finance and Accounting, Investor Relations, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Operations and Global Operations, Facilities, and Information Systems. Prior to joining Vertex in 2001, Mr. Smith served as a partner in the Life Science and Technology Practice Group of Ernst & Young LLP, an accounting firm. Additionally, Mr. Smith has served as a member of the Board of Directors of multiple publicly-traded and privately-held biopharmaceutical companies. He received a B.A. with honors in accounting and finance from Manchester Metropolitan University and is a Certified Public Accountant and also a Chartered Accountant of England and Wales.

Fred A. Middleton

Board Member (At Large)

Fred A. Middleton

Board Member (At Large)

Fred Middleton has more than 30 years of experience in the biotechnology and biomedical industries in both corporate operating management and as an institutional venture capital investor. He is currently Managing Director of Sanderling Ventures where he has, over time, served as an investor, management team member, and director in more than 25 new biomedical ventures built in the firm’s investment portfolios since 1988. Prior to his career in venture capital, Mr. Middleton served as the founding Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development at Genentech. Mr. Middleton earned his B.S. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A with distinction from the Harvard Business School. He serves as a member of the MIT Corporation (board of trustees).

Steven R. Altman

Director

Steven R. Altman

Director

During his career at Qualcomm, spanning more than 20 years, Steve Altman’s leadership and contributions have been instrumental to the company’s success. Initially hired as Corporate Counsel, Mr. Altman distinguished himself as a key licensing strategist for Qualcomm’s broad intellectual property portfolio. He advanced through several executive roles and served as President for six years before being appointed Vice Chairman in 2011. Mr. Altman is also a member of Qualcomm’s Executive Committee, providing direction and guidance on key initiatives, vision and strategy. Mr. Altman earned his B.S. in political science and administration from Northern Arizona University and his J.D. from University of San Diego. He worked as a corporate attorney for Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye (which became DLA Piper) before joining Qualcomm.

Mark G. Foletta, CPA

Director

Mark G. Foletta, CPA

Director

Mr. Foletta has considerable audit and financial experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Mr. Foletta previously served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public pharmaceutical company, from March 2006 through Amylin’s acquisition by Bristol Myers-Squibb Company in August 2012, and as Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Amylin from 2000 to 2006. Prior to joining Amylin in 2000, Mr. Foletta held a number of management positions with Intermark, Inc. and Triton Group Ltd. from 1986 to 2000 and served as an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young. Mr. Foletta served as a director of Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly-held biopharmaceutical company now owned by F. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., from September 2005 through November 2011. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Audit Committee of AMN Healthcare Services, Inc., a publicly traded healthcare workforce solutions provider, and Regulus Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. Mr. Foletta received a B.A. in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Financial Executives Institute.

Paul J. Hastings

Director

Paul J. Hastings

Director

Mr. Hastings, who is currently President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nkarta Therapeutics, has more than 35 years of leadership experience in biopharmaceuticals. Previous to Nkarta, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining OncoMed in 2006, he served as CEO of QLT, Inc. Before QLT, Mr. Hastings served as President and CEO of Axys Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Celera Corporation in 2001. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the President of Chiron BioPharmaceuticals, a division of Chiron Corporation. Prior to that, he was President and CEO of LXR Biotechnology. Mr. Hastings also held a series of management positions of increasing responsibility at Genzyme Corporation, including serving as President of Genzyme Therapeutics Europe and President, Genzyme Therapeutics. Mr. Hastings also held senior Marketing and Sales positions for Synergen, Inc. and Hoffmann-La Roche. He is currently Lead Director of Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Chair of the Board at Proteon Therapeutics, Director of Nkarta Therapeutics, and Vice Chair of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). Mr. Hastings received a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island.

Adam M. Koppel, M.D., Ph.D.

Director

Adam M. Koppel, M.D., Ph.D.

Director

Adam M. Koppel, M.D., Ph.D. rejoined Bain Capital in 2016 as a Managing Director of Bain Capital Life Sciences. He initially joined Bain Capital Public Equity in 2003 where he worked as a leader within the healthcare sector until 2014. From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Koppel was EVP of Corporate Development and Chief Strategy Officer at Biogen. Prior to initially joining Bain Capital in 2003, Dr. Koppel was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Co in New Jersey where he served a variety of healthcare companies. Dr. Koppel received an M.D. and Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also received an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Palmer Scholar. Dr. Koppel graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an AB and AM in history and science. He also sits on the Boards of Aptinyx (NASDAQ: APTX), Cerevel Therapeutics, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: DRNA), Foghorn Therapeutics, and Solid Biosciences (NASDAQ: SLDB).

Paul K. Laikind, Ph.D.

President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Paul K. Laikind, Ph.D.

President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Paul K. Laikind, Ph.D. has more than 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.

Heath Lukatch, Ph.D.

Director

Heath Lukatch, Ph.D.

Director

Heath Lukatch, Ph.D., is a Partner at TPG in San Francisco who focuses on life sciences investments. Prior to joining TPG in 2015, Dr. Lukatch was a Partner at Novo Ventures and Piper Jaffray Ventures, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, Co-founder and CEO of AutoMate Scientific, and a bench scientist at Cetus, Chiron, and Roche Bioscience. Dr. Lukatch graduated from Stanford with a Ph.D. in neuroscience and UC Berkeley with a B.A. in biochemistry. He currently is chairman of the Boards of Engage Therapeutics, Inogen (NASD: INGN) and Satsuma Pharma, and he serves on the Boards of Adynxx, Ceribell, Flexion (NASD: FLXN), Halo Neuroscience, SutroVax, and ViewPoint Therapeutics.

Sandra E. Poole

Director

Sandra E. Poole

Director

Sandra E. Poole most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer of LogicBio Therapeutics, Inc., a genome editing company. At LogicBio, Ms. Poole was responsible for leading the company’s internal operations, including all technical functions, quality and regulatory, and supported a successful initial public offering. Prior to LogicBio, Ms. Poole held executive roles of increasing responsibility at ImmunoGen, Inc., a company developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) to treat cancer. While at ImmunoGen, she built technical development and CMC capabilities and built a network of contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture ADCs. Before joining ImmunoGen, Ms. Poole spent more than 15 years in global manufacturing and development leadership positions at Genzyme (now Sanofi Genzyme). Ms. Poole currently serves on the Board of Directors of Retrophin and the Supervisory Board for Valneva, SE, a France-based vaccine company. Ms. Poole holds a M.A.Sc. and B.A.Sc. in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Asish K. Xavier, Ph.D.

Director

Asish K. Xavier, Ph.D.

Director

Asish Xavier, Ph.D. is Vice President, Venture Investments, and he joined Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation in 2004. Dr. Xavier previously worked in business development at BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corporation which was acquired by Pfizer in 2007. While at BioRexis, he assisted the company in raising a $30 million second round of financing. Dr. Xavier has worked in business development at Structural GenomiX, Inc., acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008, and was a project leader at Message Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Xavier received a Ph.D. from the University of Houston and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors. He received a Bachelor of Technology in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. Dr. Xavier was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University.

Clinical Advisors

ViaCyte’s clinical advisors help guide the Company’s scientific and clinical initiatives in stem cell therapy.

Orville G. Kolterman, M.D.

Orville G. Kolterman, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer, Whole Biome Inc.; former Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Amylin Pharmaceuticals

Orville G. Kolterman, M.D. is the chief medical officer of Whole Biome Inc. Prior to that, Dr. Kolterman joined Amylin in 1992 and served as Senior Vice President, Clinical Affairs and Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs until 2012, when the company was acquired by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Kolterman was instrumental in the development of Amylin’s first-in-class diabetes medicines, SYMLIN (pramlintide acetate) injection and BYETTA (exenatide) injection. Prior to Amylin, Dr. Kolterman was Program Director of the General Clinical Research Center and Medical Director of the Diabetes Center at the UC San Diego Medical Center. He has also served as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Endocrinology and Metabolism Division at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver and was a member of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Study Group. Dr. Kolterman currently serves as a consultant to the Epidemiology of Diabetes Intervention and Complications Study. Dr. Kolterman received his M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Daniel Pipeleers, M.D., Ph.D.

Daniel Pipeleers, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Diabetes Research Center, Free University of Brussels, Belgium

Daniel Pipeleers, M.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Diabetes Research Center at the Free University of Brussels. Since 2002, he has been the director of the The Center for Beta Cell Therapy in Diabetes. He founded two networks for clinical translation, the Belgian Diabetes Registry with associated Diabetes Biobank and the international Beta Cell Therapy Consortium, supported by grants from the European Commission and JDRF. Since 1990, he has been the director of the VUB-Diabetes Research Center, where expertise in beta cell biology, pathology, and therapy guides strategies and trials for early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of type 1 diabetes. Since 1980, he has been a professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel-VUB and since 1987, a consultant at University Hospital, Brussels. Between 1971 and 1980, he was an investigator at the Belgian Research Foundation and Harkness Fellow Commonwealth Foundation at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Washington University St Louis, Queen Elisabeth Foundation Brussels. Dr. Pipeleers is an Honorary Doctor at Uppsala University, Sweden, member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine, recipient of twelve international and national awards in medical sciences. He has served as a board member and advisor in academic, clinical, and governmental institutions in scientific and bioindustrial organizations.

James S. Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D.

James S. Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Clinical Islet and Living Donor Liver Transplant Programs, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

James Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Surgery, Medicine and Surgical Oncology, and Director of the Clinical Islet and Living Donor Liver Transplant Programs at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He directs one of the leading clinical islet transplant programs worldwide with hundreds of patients treated and was the lead investigator of the team that developed the “Edmonton Protocol,” the first trial to achieve consistent 100% insulin independence in islet-alone transplant recipients with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Shapiro subsequently led the trial which replicated these findings in nine international centers. He has an active experimental laboratory working on improving long term survival of transplanted islets and in immunomodulation of transplanted tissues. Dr. Shapiro is fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has received several prestigious awards, including the Hunterian Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Paul E. Lacy Gold Medal, the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Governor General’s Gold Medal, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal. He obtained his M.D. at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and trained in surgery at the University of Bristol, UK.

Jay S. Skyler, M.D.

Jay S. Skyler, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Academic Programs at the Diabetes Research Institute

Jay S. Skyler, M.D., MACP, is a professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida. He served as director of that Division from 2000 to 2004. At the University of Miami, he is deputy director for Clinical Research and Academic Programs in the Diabetes Research Institute. For 22 years, Dr. Skyler served as chairman of the NIH (NIDDK)-sponsored Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international network conducting clinical trials to prevent type 1 diabetes or interdict the type 1 diabetes disease process. His research interests are in clinical aspects of diabetes, particularly improving the care of type 1 diabetes through meticulous glycemic control, psychosocial and behavioral support, and immune system intervention. He is widely acclaimed for developing “algorithms” for patient adjustment of insulin doses. Dr. Skyler is a past president of the American Diabetes Association, the International Diabetes Immunotherapy Group, and the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, and was a vice president of the International Diabetes Federation. He served as a member of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Subspecialty Examining Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, as chairman of the Council of Subspecialty Societies of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and a member of the ACP Board of Regents. He was founding editor-in-chief of Diabetes Care and currently is senior editor of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. He has a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and a M.D. from Jefferson Medical College. He served as an intern, resident, and fellow, and was on the faculty of Duke University.

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