Chairman of the Board
Michael Rapp has more than 30 years of experience in the financial industry and is the Managing Member of Broadband Capital Investments, LLC, a middle-market private equity sponsor focused on high growth companies. Mr. Rapp has been instrumental in providing early financing and for advising exciting growth companies including; Examworks (acquired by Leonard Green), Montrose Environmental (the leading US environmental services company), Vroom.com (Nasdaq: VRM), the leading internet used car company, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ZYNE), a leading cannabinoid biotech company, and Hydrofarm (a leading hydroponics distribution company). Mr. Rapp received his BA degree in psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1989.
Richard Baron has served as a member of our board of directors since September 2020. Since 2011, Mr. Baron has served as a strategic advisor to early stage companies in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and technologies industries through RA Baron Associates LLC. From March 2015 to August 2016, he was Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceuticals company. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Globus Medical, Inc., an orthopedic spine company, from 2012 to January 2015. In addition to these roles, Mr. Baron has been the Chief Financial Officer for various companies in the biotechnology, managed care and generic pharmaceuticals industries.Mr. Baron began his career in audit and tax services at Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Young. Mr. Baron received his B.S. in Economics at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a C.P.A. Our board of directors believes Mr. Baron’s industry experience and significant financial expertise qualify him to serve on our board of directors.
John LaMattina, PhD
Dr. LaMattina is an Independent Non-Executive Director at PureTech Health and was previously President of Pfizer Global Research and Development and Senior Vice President of Pfizer, Inc. During his 30-year career at Pfizer Inc., Dr. LaMattina held positions of increasing responsibility for Pfizer Central Research, including Vice President of US Discovery Operations in 1993, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Discovery Operations in 1998 and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Development in 1999. In 2010 he was the recipient of the American Chemical Society’s Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management. Dr. LaMattina received a B.S. in Chemistry from Boston College in 1971, and received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of New Hampshire in 1975. He then moved on to Princeton University as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Professor E. C. Taylor. Dr. LaMattina serves on the Board of Directors of PureTech Health, Ziarco Pharmaceuticals, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Vedanta Biosciences, is Chairman of the Board of Gelesis, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Trevena pharmaceuticals. He is the author of the book: Devalued and Distrusted – Can the pharmaceutical industry restore its broken image? and is the author of the Drug Truths blog at Forbes.com.
Michael Lefenfeld is the president and chief executive officer of Cyanco, the leading global supplier of reagents and technologies which enable commercial mining of precious metals – Gold and Silver. He is also the co-founder and former chief executive officer of SiGNa Chemistry, a global manufacturer of highly-active, environmentally friendly chemicals. SiGNa’s products are used to improve production processes in the energy recovery, petrochemical refining and chemical manufacturing industries. His work has led to safer industrial environments, better medical technologies and more effective, affordable energy solutions. Prior to SiGNa, Lefenfeld developed and commercialized several new technologies, launching and selling three companies by age 30. Lefenfeld holds more than 50 patents in medical devices, controlled release, electronics, chemical reactivity and information technology. After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at WashU in 2002, Lefenfeld, a resident of New York City, earned a master’s in chemistry at Columbia University and an executive education certificate at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Purnanand Sarma, PhD
Dr. Purnanand Sarma serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Immunome. Sarma brings more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of pharmaceutical industry business across multiple R&D platforms, ranging from venture-backed biotechnology start-ups to large cap pharmaceutical companies. He was most recently the President & CEO of Taris Biomedical, which he built over the last nine years into a leader in therapeutic urology, focused on diseases such as bladder cancer and overactive bladder. In addition to raising more than $100M in equity capital, he also sold one of Taris’ products to Allergan (NYSE:AGN) in a deal worth up to $587M. Prior to Taris, Sarma was the VP and General Manager of World-wide Drug Delivery Technologies for Cephalon Corporation (NYSE:CEPH). Before joining Cephalon, he spent over 10 years in various capacities at Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), including VP of Drug Development & Program Management and built the entire green field operation of Nektar Therapeutics (India), serving as its first Managing Director. He started his career at SmithKline Beecham in King of Prussia, PA, after earning his PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Minnesota and B. Pharm from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India. Sarma also serves as an independent Board member at Vaxess Technologies Inc.
Mr. Wagenheim has more than 28 years of experience in the financial industry and is the Managing Partner of Broadband Capital Partners, LLC, a middle-market private equity sponsor focused on growth companies and industry consolidations. Prior to Broadband Capital Partners, he was the vice-chairman of Broadband Capital Management LLC, an investment and merchant bank he co-founded in 2000. Mr. Wagenheim has extensive experience with public and private growth equity investments, including Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ZYNE), ExamWorks (Nasdaq: EXAM), Vroom.com (Nasdaq: VRM) and Montrose Environmental Group. In connection with Zynerba’s recapitalization, Mr. Wagenheim was named President and a Director of the company, serving as a director until the company’s initial public offering in August 2015 led by Jefferies and Piper Jaffray. Mr. Wagenheim received his degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Franklyn G. Prendergast, MD, PhD
Dr. Prendergast received his medical degree with honors from the University of the West Indies in 1968 and after an internship attended Lincoln College, University of Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar where he obtained a BA with First Class Honors in 1971 and an MA in 1979. He commenced a residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in 1971 and subsequently obtained a PH.D. in Biochemistry from the joint Mayo Graduate School / University of Minnesota program in 1977.
Dr. Prendergast was appointed to the Faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at the Mayo Graduate School immediately after receiving his Ph.D. and rose through the ranks quickly to become a full Professor simultaneously in that Department and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1986. That Same year, he was named the Edmond Guggenheim Professor and also Chair of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Dr. Prendergast was appointed as the Director for Research of Mayo Clinic, Rochester in 1989, serving for the subsequent four years in that capacity. In 1990, he was also appointed to Mayo’s highest administrative committees, the Board of Governors and the Mayo Foundation’s Board of Trustees. He served on these bodies continuously until 2009. In 1995, he was appointed as Director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, a position he held until September 2006. His last administrative role at Mayo was as the charter Director of the Mayo Center for Individualized Medicine. He retired from that position and also from the Mayo Foundation in December 2014.
Throughout his academic career, Dr. Prendergast participated extensively in numerous NIH and NSF grants review groups, task forces and advisory committees. Additionally, he was appointed as a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Eli Lilly and Co., a post he held from 1995 until 2017. He has been awarded several honors, including honorary doctorates from Purdue University and the University of the West Indies, Distinguished Alumni awards from the University of the West Indies, University of Minnesota and, most recently, in 2019 the Mayo Clinic.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Prendergast has served on the Board of Directors or Scientific Advisory Board of several biotechnology companies.