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. Pekos is a veteran of the pharmaceutical services industry who founded Dalton Pharma Services (Dalton) in 1986, and over a period of 30 years directed its growth based on strong client relationships. In a world-class 42,000 square foot facility with more than 110 employees in the heart of one of North America’s largest biomedical clusters, Dalton provides pharma and biotech clients with an array of integrated services. 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 continues to serve Dalton as President & CEO, guiding the evolution of the company to serve best the changing needs of its clients, which are in all of the major global economies and include the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. The range of services extends from discovery research up to commercial production. In addition to innovative drug molecules, the company’s expertise extends to custom peptides and conjugation of active pharmaceutical ingredients and fluorophores with polymers and antibodies.

In 1983, Mr. Pekos obtained a Chemistry/Biochemistry Double Specialist Degree with a Minor in Biology from the University of Toronto. In 1986 he completed a Masters 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 has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Lab Business, one of the biotechnology publications of Jesmar Communications, and on the Business Advisory Board for Critical Outcome Technologies, Inc., a publicly owned Canadian drug discovery company and is a member of the editorial board of Biotechnology Focus, a leading Bio-business magazine in Canada.

Mr. Pekos is currently on the board and 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.

Mr. Pekos is an active Angel Investor and has invested in several start-ups focused on novel cancer therapeutics, Orphan diseases, and vaccine technologies.

As a York University and University of Toronto Alumni and Donor, Mr. Pekos actively supports scholarship funds at both York University and the University of Toronto.

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.

Iain Chalmers, MBA

Director

Mr. Iain Chalmers is currently a professor of Marketing and Alcohol Business Management at Centennial College in Toronto Ontario. He recently transitioned to teaching after spending nearly thirty years in the Consumer Packaged Goods business, where for the last eight years, he was the Vice President of Marketing & Innovation for Diageo Canada, the world’s largest alcohol spirits company. Prior to this, he spent eleven years at Gillette/Procter & Gamble in various senior positions, including General Sales and Marketing Director for the Gillette Grooming Division. Iain is a seasoned marketer and brand builder with experience in Canada and the U.S. He led the Business Development and Sales Planning function for Braun USA and worked in marketing and sales positions at Unilever and Wrigley Canada.

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While at Diageo, he was recognized by Marketing Magazine as one of the top four Marketers in Canada, based on the strong creative output of his team and consistent business performance for global brands, including Guinness, Smirnoff, Crown Royal, and Captain Morgan. Working in the alcohol industry has given Iain extensive experience building brands in a highly government-regulated environment. He is a past member of the Association of Canadian Advertisers, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) and was a member of the Judicial Committee for ASC. Iain holds a BA in Political Science from University of Western Ontario, a Graduate Certificate in Management from Harvard University, a Bachelor of Education and an MBA from Charles Sturt University, and is a Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner (CAAP) from the Institute of Canadian Advertising.

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.