About Us

Board of Directors

Guillermo Torre-Amione, MD, PhD

Chairman

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.

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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.

Peter Pekos , BSc, MSc

Director

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Colin G. Stott, BSc (Hons)

Director

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.

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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.

Jennifer M. Chao, BA

Director

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.

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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.

Michael J. Willner, Esq.

Director

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.

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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.