Board of Directors
Guillermo Torre-Amione, MD, PhD
Board certified in cardiovascular disease and Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant Cardiology, Dr. Guillermo Torre-Amione is former chief of the Heart Failure Division and former medical director of Cardiac Transplantation at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. He is also Professor of Cardiology at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, New York, and President of TecSalud, an academic medical center and medical school of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico.... read more
Dr. Torre-Amione spearheads the Gene and Judy Campbell Laboratory for Cardiac Transplant Research, where his primary areas of research include heart failure, cardiac transplant, and the role of the immune response in modulating the progression of heart failure. Dr. Torre-Amione initiated a series of clinical studies that led to an FDA-approved Phase II clinical trial of neurostimulation in heart failure, a novel approach to the treatment of patients with advanced heart failure. Other significant clinical investigations include a study with cardiac transplant patients designed to impact the cardiac hypertrophy that naturally follows transplantation, a protocol for autologous stem cell transfer in patients with advanced refractory heart failure, and a novel study involving plasma exchange in advanced heart failure patients.
After receiving his medical degree from the ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico, Dr. Torre-Amione moved to Chicago, where he conducted graduate studies in immunology that led to a doctorate degree in immunology from the University of Chicago. He then moved to Houston to complete his internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, where he received his first academic appointment as a clinical instructor in 1995. Dr. Torre-Amione has published more than 170 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and currently divides his time between his clinical and academic activities in Houston at The Methodist Hospital and in Monterrey, Mexico, at ITESM.
Jennifer M. Chao, BA
Ms. Chao has over 25 years of experience in the biotech and life sciences industries focused primarily on finance and corporate strategy. She is Managing Partner of CoreStrategies Management, LLC, a company she founded in 2008 to provide transformational corporate and financial strategies to biotech/life science companies for maximizing core valuation. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Endo International and is a member of the Audit Committee and Compliance Committee and serves on the Board of Directors of Edesa Biotech. Prior to joining Endo, Ms. Chao served as Chairman of the Board of BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. (BioSpecifics) from October 2019 until its acquisition by Endo for approximately US $660 million in December 2020. She also served as Chair of BioSpecifics’ Compensation Committee and as a member of the Audit Committee, Strategy Committee, Intellectual Property Committee, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee from 2015 to 2020.... read more
Additionally, from 2004 to 2008, Ms. Chao was Managing Director and Senior Lead Biotechnology Securities Analyst at Deutsche Bank, responsible for U.S. large- and small- to mid-cap biotechnology companies with global client coverage; and was known for differentiated fundamentals securities analysis and high visibility coverage of game changing technologies, paradigm shifting treatment algorithms, industry trends and portfolio risk/reward management. Prior to that, Ms. Chao served as Managing Director and Senior Lead Biotechnology Analyst at RBC Capital Markets and VP, Senior Biotechnology Analyst at Leerink Swann & Co. Ms. Chao was a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, as a recipient of the BioMedical Research Career Award, and received her B.A. in Politics and Greek Classics from New York University.
David Elsley, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Elsley is a business leader with a proven track record of developing, financing and managing all aspects of corporate development in biotechnology and high-growth organizations.
In 1990, Mr. Elsley founded Vasogen Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the research and commercial development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of heart failure and other inflammatory conditions. Mr. Elsley assembled a team of management, directors and scientific advisors comprising industry professionals and thought leaders from North America and Europe.... read more
Mr. Elsley managed and directed Vasogen’s growth from start-up to an organization employing over 250 people with operations and R&D programs in Canada, the United States and Europe. He established the research and development infrastructure, partnerships, manufacturing capability, and corporate quality systems necessary to advance two anti-inflammatory therapies from concept to completion of international multi-center pivotal phase III clinical trials involving 2,500 patients. Vasogen went public on the TSX and the Nasdaq, raising over $200 million to support corporate development and reached a market capitalization over US$ 1 billion.
Mr. Elsley holds a Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.
Chris Waddick, MBA, CPA, CMA
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Chris Waddick has over thirty years of experience in financial and executive roles in the biotechnology and energy industries, with substantial knowledge of public company management and corporate governance, and in designing, building, and managing financial processes, procedures, and infrastructure. Mr. Waddick has served as Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Cardiol since August 16, 2018. He serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for a private Ontario energy company where he was retained by the shareholders to refinance the company and establish a new strategic direction, as well as the appropriate financial infrastructure.... read more
Mr. Waddick spent more than twelve years at Vasogen Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the research and commercial development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of heart failure and other inflammatory conditions. While serving as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, the company grew from start up to an organization employing over 250 employees that established the necessary systems and infrastructure to advance an anti‑inflammatory therapy through to the completion of an international multi-center pivotal trial involving 2,500 patients. Vasogen went public on the TSX and the NASDAQ, raising over $200 million to support corporate development and reached a market capitalization of over US$ 1 billion. Prior to Vasogen, he held progressively senior financial positions at Magna International Inc. and Union Gas Limited. Mr. Waddick is a CPA and earned a business degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Business Administration from York University.
Teri Loxam, MBA
Teri Loxam has over 25 years of experience in biotech, life sciences and entertainment industries with diverse roles spanning strategy, investor relations, finance and communications. Ms. Loxam joined Kira Pharmaceuticals in November 2021 as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. In this role, she oversees finance, operations and strategic functions for the company. Prior to joining Kira, Ms. Loxam served as SQZ Biotech’s Chief Financial Officer where she led the company’s financial operations, investor relations and communications/public relations functions. While at SQZ, she was instrumental in helping the company raise over $200M in private and public funding, including taking the company public through an IPO on the NYSE in October 2020.... read more
Before joining SQZ Biotech, Ms. Loxam served as Sr. Vice President of Investor Relations and Global Communications at Merck. In this role, she led its investor relations and investment community interactions as well as its internal and external communications efforts globally, including corporate and financial media relations, product communications, public affairs and employee communications. Prior to Merck, Ms. Loxam was Vice President, Investor Relations for IMAX Corporation, where she reshaped the entertainment company’s investor strategy, helping to convert its investor base and helping the company go public in China with an IPO on the Hong Kong Exchange. Ms. Loxam also spent over a decade at Bristol-Myers Squibb in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility across Strategy, Treasury and Investor Relations. She started her career as a marine biologist and worked at Sea World of San Diego for several years before making a transition into business. Ms. Loxam is a member of the board of directors of Vaxcyte. She holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Victoria, B.C. Canada.
Peter Pekos , BSc, MSc
Mr. Peter Pekos, is a veteran of the pharmaceutical services industry. In 1986, he was a founder of Dalton Pharma Services (Dalton). Over a period of 36 years, he directed Dalton’s growth based on strong client relationships. Dalton provides pharma and biotech clients with an array of integrated services in a world-class 42,000 square foot facility, with more than 140 employees, in the heart of one of North America’s largest biomedical clusters. This includes premium contract chemistry research, a full range of analytical support, medicinal chemistry, formulation, cGMP manufacture of solid dosage forms, and cGMP aseptic fill-in vials and syringes.... read more
Mr. Pekos is currently CEO of Dalton, guiding the evolution of the company to best serve the changing needs of its clients throughout the major global economies, including the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. In 1983, he obtained a Chemistry/Biochemistry Double Specialist Degree with a Minor in Biology from the University of Toronto. In 1986, he completed a Master’s Degree in synthetic chemistry at York University, and with his Professor, Doug Butler, founded Dalton with a very modest amount of capital. The company used incubator facilities at York University, and initially manufactured and sold specialty chemical compounds. Mr. Pekos also founded Ashbury Biologicals. Inc., a phyto-pharmaceutical company, Jupiter Consumer Products, a company that targeted the development of adult-focused confections, and several other technology-based companies focused on advanced materials and pharmaceutical development tools. Mr. Pekos was founding Chairman of ventureLAB a Regional Innovation Center located at IBM’s York Region campus. VentureLAB guides government program delivery to support the innovation ecosystem for biotechnology and related industries in southern Ontario.
Colin G. Stott, BSc (Hons)
Mr. Stott is a veteran of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, having almost 30 years’ experience in pre-clinical and clinical development, with specific expertise in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and 19 years’ experience in the field. Currently Chief Operating Officer of Alterola Biotech Inc., Mr. Stott is the former Scientific Affairs Director, International and R&D Operations Director for GW Pharmaceuticals plc (“GW Pharma”), a world leader in the development of cannabinoid therapeutics.... read more
As R&D Operations Director at GW Pharma for over 16 years, he was a key player in the development of their discovery and development pipeline, and was closely involved in the Marketing Authorization Application submission and approval of Sativex® and the New Drug Application submission of Epidiolex®, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an orphan drug for the treatment of rare forms of paediatric epilepsy in June 2018. More recently, as Scientific Affairs Director, International, he was part of the Medical Affairs team responsible for the preparation of the international launch of Epidiolex®.
Prior to his 19-year tenure at GW Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Stott held various roles in Clinical Research and Development across a range of therapeutic areas, including: cardiology, oncology, urology, dermatology, metabolic disorders, neurology, haematology, and organ transplantation.
Mr. Stott holds a BSc (Hons) in Medicinal & Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a Diploma in Industrial Studies from Loughborough University of Technology, U.K., as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research from the Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University, U.K. He has published over 20 research papers and is a named inventor on 17 international patent applications.
Michael J. Willner, Esq.
Michael J. Willner, Esq. has practiced as both an Attorney and a Certified Public Accountant. He graduated from Emory University Law School as a member of the Emory Law Review. Subsequently, he practiced real estate and corporate law with New York City-based Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, one of the nation’s most prominent international law firms. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Willner was employed by the former Arthur Andersen & Company, a national accounting firm, where he practiced in Arthur Andersen’s tax department.... read more
Mr. Willner has been a very active and successful opportunistic investor for over forty years and is the founder of Willner Capital, Inc., an investment company specializing in public and private equities, as well as debt instruments. Willner Capital primarily uses fundamental analysis as an evaluation method and event-driven strategies. Over the past ten years, Willner Capital has made significant investments in both the biotechnology and pharmaceutical cannabinoid industries, focusing primarily on clinical-stage companies that seek to address significant unmet medical needs. Mr. Willner has been quoted in the New York Times business section and has served as a moderator and participant on numerous panel discussions and advisory boards regarding his investments in the pharmaceutical end of the cannabinoid industry.