Lycera’s senior management team is comprised of leaders with deep experience spanning the entire value chain, from drug discovery and development through commercialization. Lycera scientists are thought leaders in immunology, inflammation and kinase biology, and have been responsible for key advances and discoveries in their respective fields.
Paul Sekhri joined Lycera as President and CEO in February 2015. Prior to this he served as Senior Vice President, Integrated Care for Sanofi from April 2014 through January 2015. Previously, he served as Group Executive Vice President, Global Business Development and Chief Strategy Officer for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Lt. Prior to joining Teva he spent five years as Operating Partner and Head of the Biotechnology Operating Group at TPG Biotech, the life sciences venture capital arm of TPG Capital. From 2004-2009 Mr. Sekhri was Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Cerimon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to founding Cerimon, Mr. Sekhri was President and Chief Business Officer of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Previously, Mr. Sekhri spent four years at Novartis, as Senior Vice President, and Head of Global Search and Evaluation, Business Development and Licensing for Novartis Pharma AG. Mr. Sekhri also developed the Disease Area Strategy for Novartis, identifying those specific therapeutic areas upon which the company would focus. His first role at Novartis was as Global Head, Early Commercial Development – a department he established to ensure the differential competitive advantage of Novartis’ pipeline.
Mr. Sekhri completed graduate work in Neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he also received his BS in Zoology.
Mr. Sekhri has been a Director on sixteen private and public company Boards, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Veeva System, Pharming N.V., Enumeral Biomedical, and was a recent board observer at IMS Health.
Additionally, he is on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Cancer Research Institute, the BioExec Institute, Inc., the Industry Advisory Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the TB Alliance, the Tectonic Theatre Project, and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Young Concert Artists, Inc. Mr. Sekhri also served as a Member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall from 2010-2012, where he is now an active member of their Patrons Council.
Bruce A. Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Dr. Bruce A. Goldsmith joined Lycera as chief business officer in 2013 and brings more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Most recently, he served as senior vice president corporate development at Allos Therapeutics, where he helped shape and manage corporate strategy and planning, financing transactions, business development and investor relations. While at Allos, Dr. Goldsmith led the successful sale of the company and, previously, executed a global collaboration for the co-development and commercialization of the company’s lead oncology asset outside of North America.
Prior to joining Allos, Dr. Goldsmith served as vice president, strategic marketing at GPC Biotech. Previously, he held various strategic marketing and business development roles with the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, including roles as group product director, virology and global marketing leader, oncology.
Dr. Goldsmith holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and his B.A. in biology from Colgate University.
Alex G. Howarth
Alex G. Howarth joined Lycera as Chief Financial Officer in 2015, bringing more than 25 years’ experience in healthcare and financial advisory roles. Most recently, Mr. Howarth served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of moksha8. During his tenure as a key member of the executive team, he played a leading role in defining organizational strategy to build the company and establish its global business. Prior to this, Mr. Howarth was Chief Business Officer at Vitae Pharmaceuticals, where he led the company’s alliances with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH.
Previously, Mr. Howarth held senior positions at GSK, including as Senior Director, Worldwide Business Development, executing licensing transactions across all phases of development in diverse therapeutic areas, and then as Head, Venture Partnerships, focused on partnering GSK’s clinical assets globally. Before this, he worked at KPMG, where he qualified as a chartered accountant.
Mr. Howarth received his BSc degree in biochemistry from the University of Bath, UK, and conducted molecular biology and neuroscience research at Celltech and Merck.
H. Jeffrey Wilkins, M.D.
Dr. H. Jeffrey Wilkins is chief medical officer of Lycera. Dr. Wilkins brings over 15 years of clinical research experience, most recently serving as Clinical Lead and Partner of NeXeption, LLC, a biopharmaceutical management company. Previously, he was Chief Medical Officer and Head of Medical Affairs at Ceptaris Therapeutics, Inc., where he was the lead clinician on the successful NDA for VALCHLOR® gel, approved for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Prior to this, Dr. Wilkins served as Vice President, Worldwide Clinical Research, Inflammation/Oncology at Cephalon Inc., where he led clinical development, medical affairs and business development efforts in both therapy areas. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Ception Therapeutics, where he headed a successful program in eosinophilic asthma prior to the company’s acquisition by Cephalon. Dr. Wilkins entered the pharmaceutical industry joining GlaxoSmithKline, where he rose to become Vice President of Discovery Medicine for GSK’s center of Excellence in External Drug Discovery. He also served as Group Director of GSK’s urology franchise, responsible for Levitra® and the launch of VESIcare®. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wilkins was Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TriValley Primary Care, a large multi-center primary group in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Wilkins received his M.D. from Temple University and his B.S. from Bucknell University.
Laura L. Carter, Ph.D.
Dr. Laura Carter brings nearly 15 years of scientific experience working in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Lycera, she was scientific director in the respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity group at MedImmune, where she was responsible for overseeing research and development of treatments for autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Prior to MedImmune, she was a senior research investigator in the inflammation biology and translational science department at Array Biopharma and held scientific positions of increasing responsibility in the departments of inflammation/immunology and cardiovascular/metabolic diseases at Wyeth.
Dr. Carter received an S.B. in biological science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in molecular pathology from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
JoAnn Scatina, Ph.D.
Dr. JoAnn Scatina joined Lycera in 2011 and brings more than 20 years of experience in preclinical development, most recently as vice president of drug metabolism at Wyeth Research. Dr. Scatina has extensive and broad experience in the evaluation of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic properties of drug candidates from all therapeutic areas, from the discovery phase through global registration. At Wyeth, she led a team of up to 100 scientists, responsible for the preclinical development of marketed products including Premarin®, Duract®, Lodine®, Sonata®, Effexor®, Pristiq® and Rapamune® (1985 to 2001). Recently marketed and late stage products supported (2001 to 2010) include Tygacil®, Mylotarg®, Relistor®, Viviant®, Vabicaserin® and Neratinib®. Under Dr. Scatina’s entrepreneurial leadership, the Drug Metabolism department spearheaded numerous cutting edge strategies and technologies earning both corporate recognition and external visibility, with more than 80 publications, presentations and patents in 2008. Her most recent achievements include the establishment of a more efficient organizational model for discovery support, as well as the design of strategies to provide rapid improvement in compound properties that contributed to the successful progress of 12 to 16 development track compounds annually from 2001 to 2008.
During her career, Dr. Scatina championed the development of preclinical strategies for all Wyeth assets to meet evolving regulatory requirements. She has extensive regulatory interaction experience, and mentored staff in building credibility with agencies and key opinion leaders. In 2010, Dr. Scatina formed a consulting firm and has provided preclinical development consultancy for several pharmaceutical companies on a variety of discovery and development phase programs.
Dr. Scatina is currently serving on the editorial board of Drug Metabolism Reviews and has served as ad hoc reviewer for a number of drug metabolism journals. She is the associate editor for Drug Metabolism Handbook: Concepts and Applications. She is also a member of the Drug Discovery Advisory Group for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation.
Dr. Scatina received her B.A. in microbiology from Douglass College, Rutgers University and her Ph.D. in pharmacology/toxicology from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Peter L. Toogood, Ph.D.
Dr. Peter L. Toogood joined Lycera in 2007 as VP Chemistry and Chemical Biology. He previously held the titles of senior research associate, associate director and research fellow at Parke-Davis/Pfizer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His drug discovery experience encompasses the fields of immunology/inflammation, infectious diseases and cancer. Dr. Toogood was a co-inventor of the cyclin-dependent kinase-4 inhibitor Palbociclib. Before joining Parke-Davis, Dr. Toogood served on the chemistry faculty of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he established an NIH and NSF funded research program in natural products total synthesis and chemical biology.
Dr. Toogood received his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London, working with Professor Steven V. Ley, and was a NATO postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Jeremy R. Knowles at Harvard University.
He is an author of more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, and an inventor on 20 issued patents and pending patent applications. Dr. Toogood is an adjunct professor in the University of Michigan, College of Pharmacy.