I-novion is led and advised by a group of seasoned pharma/ biotech executives and accomplished scientists with keen interest and knowledge, and a track record of success in the company’s field of activity.


Ulrich M. Grau, Ph.D.

Sidney L. Weiss

Poonam R. Velagaleti, Ph.D.

Brian C. Gilger, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVO, Dipl. ABT


 

Ulrich M. Grau, Ph.D.
Dr. Grau has over 30 years of experience from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. His extensive expertise in the healthcare field includes general and R&D management, business development and deal making, corporate strategy and strategic alliances, and the development of new products and technologies for a variety of diseases.

Most recently, Dr. Grau was Chief Operating Officer at Micromet, a public oncology company with a proprietary bi-specific antibody technology and clinical programs in various tumor types. Micromet was acquired by Amgen in 2012. Between 2006 and 2010, Dr. Grau was a founder, President and CEO of Lux Biosciences, Inc, a clinical stage ophthalmic company. He raised $99M in venture capital funding to advance Lux’ lead program LX211, a novel immunomodulator, through phase 3 pivotal trials in posterior uveitis and the simultaneous electronic submission of an NDA and an MAA. Lux also developed a proprietary formulation of the same molecule for dry eye through phase 1/2.

Previously, Dr. Grau served as Enzon’s chief scientific officer. In this role, he has built a portfolio of projects in all stages of development, based on Enzon’s macromolecular engineering technologies (single chain antibodies and PEGylation) and based on partnering. The areas of therapeutic focus included oncology and immunology, as well as viral and fungal infections.

Prior to joining Enzon, Dr. Grau served as President of Research and Development at BASF Pharma/ Knoll where he directed a global R&D organization. The development pipeline included therapies for autoimmune diseases, obesity, arrhythmia, sepsis, severe pain and most notably, a human antibody directed against TNFα (adalimumab, Humira®) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. BASF Pharma was acquired by Abbott in 2002, and Humira® is now the best-selling pharma product globally.

Previously, Dr. Grau served as senior vice president and R&D integration officer of Aventis Pharma, and as SVP Global Product Realization at Hoechst Marion Roussel where he directed the company’s global late-stage product development activities with a portfolio of projects ranging from diabetes, infectious diseases, oncology, neurology, osteoporosis, cardiology, rheumatology and hormone replacement therapies. Earlier, he was CEO of Hoechst Marion Roussel in the Netherlands, responsible for the commercial infrastructure of this subsidiary. Insulin Glargine (Lantus®) is based on his inventions at the beginning of his career at Hoechst.

Dr. Grau received his Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Stuttgart and spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at Purdue University in the field of protein crystallography.

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Sidney L. Weiss
Mr. Weiss has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical clinical development and program management. Mr. Weiss was a co-founder of Lux Biosciences, Inc. and served as its Senior Vice President, Program Planning and Analysis where he designed pioneering clinical trials for the evaluation of a systemic immunosuppressant agent in posterior uveitis and managed the early development of a novel topical agent for dry eye syndrome.

Prior to that, he held the position Senior Director, Program Management at Enzon Pharmaceuticals where he served as project leader for the development of a polyclonal antibody for use as immunosuppressive induction therapy in solid organ transplantation. Mr. Weiss had previously been a member of the founding team of Opt-e-scrip, a privately held company engaged in the development of innovative clinical data-driven technology for personalized pharmacy benefits management.

During a 20 year career at Schering AG/Berlex Laboratories, Mr. Weiss served as Director of Biostatistics and Research Information Systems. He was a key contributor to a number of successful NDA submissions in multiple therapeutic areas. He also managed Berlex’s scientific IT infrastructure and had a leadership role in the design and implementation of Schering AG’s global drug development organization and technology infrastructure.

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Poonam R. Velagaleti, Ph.D.
Dr. Velagaleti has over 30 years of industry and contract research experience. Her extensive expertise in the pharmaceutical area includes general and R&D management, business development, corporate strategy and strategic alliances, and the development of new products and delivery technologies for ocular diseases.

Between 2006 and 2010, Dr. Velagaleti served as Vice President for Nonclinical and Alliance management at Lux Biosciences, Inc, a clinical stage private ophthalmic company in New Jersey. She managed the nonclinical safety program for a new chemical entity that was simultaneously submitted for NDA and MAA. Dr. Velagaleti was also a key contributor to the development of two proprietary ocular drug delivery platforms; a bioerodible implant and a liquid topical eye formulation. These novel formulations received patents and were successfully tested in animal models for proof of concept. The topical formulation advanced to clinical phase 1 testing after conducting IND enabling studies. Dr. Velagaleti also conducted IND enabling studies for a drug-eluting ocular silicone implant. In addition, she developed analytical methods for the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) program for the topical formulation and the silicone ocular implant as drug products.

From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Velagaleti founded and managed a five member consulting company for nonclinical and clinical absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME), in-vivo and in-vitro drug-drug interaction studies involving CYP450 and transporters and in the area of bioanalysis for the pharmaceutical industry.

Between 1994 and 2002 Dr. Velagaleti served as Director/ Senior Vice President and later chief scientific officer at a Contract Research Organization. In this role, she built R&D capabilities in the pharmaceutical nonclinical and bioanalytical areas. She managed a group of 55 scientists in USA and 19 in Northern Ireland. She also hosted FDA’s audits of the GLP program. Dr. Velagaleti had previously served as Group Leader at Battelle’s Health Division with responsibility for projects in molecular biology, immunology and the development of instruments for clinical chemistry.

Dr. Velagaleti received her PhD in biochemistry from Jawahar Lal Nehru University in Delhi and spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow in enzymology at Charles F Kettering Research laboratory.

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Brian C. Gilger, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVO, Dipl. ABT
Dr. Brian Gilger is an advisor to i-novion. He received his veterinary degree from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. After an ophthalmology residency and masters degree at Auburn University, Dr. Gilger returned to The Ohio State University as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology in 1992. In October 1995, Dr. Gilger joined the faculty at North Carolina State University as an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and is now a Professor and head of clinical ophthalmology at NC State University. Dr. Gilger has been president of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, chair of the ARVO Animals in Research Committee, and a member of the AAALAC Board of Trustees. He is board certified in Veterinary Ophthalmology and Toxicology. Dr. Gilger's research is focused on sustained ocular drug delivery, animal models of ocular inflammation, and wound healing. He is a consultant for many pharmaceutical companies and CROs, has authored over 100 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, has written over 30 book chapters, and is the editor of five books, including the 2014 publication Ocular Pharmacology and Toxicology.

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