OUR TEAM

Our executive management and advisory team has extensive entrepreneurial experience combined with long-standing proven medical, scientific, regulatory and business expertise in the development of targeted therapeutics for cancer.

Fahar Merchant, PhD, Chairman, President and CEO

Dr. Merchant is a 25-year biotech veteran, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Medicenna. Previously he was President and CEO of Protox Therapeutics (TSX.V and TSX; now Sophiris Bio, Nasdaq) where he established a late clinical stage urology company. At Protox he raised more than $70M through multiple PIPEs, including a $35M investment by Warburg Pincus. In 1992 he co-founded IntelliGene Expressions, Inc., a biologics CDMO, and built it to one of the fastest growing companies in Canada. In 2000, by strategic in-licensing, he co-founded Avicenna Medica, Inc., a clinical stage oncology company that was sold a year later to KS Biomedix (LSE) for $90M. Fahar was CTO and Director of KS Biomedix until its acquisition by Xenova (Nasdaq and LSE; now Celtic Pharma). Fahar has closed several transactions valued at more than $300M. He has a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Western University.

Samuel Denmeade, MD, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Sam Denmeade, MD (CSO) is a Professor of Oncology and Urology at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Medicine. He has published more than 100 papers focused in the development of novel targeted approaches to treat cancer. He was the CSO at Protox Therapeutics Inc (now Sophiris Bio) and a co-inventor of PRX302, a PSA activated protoxin, which was in late stage development for the treatment of BPH. He holds 12 US patents related to his work on cancer therapeutics. Dr. Denmeade earned his MD at Columbia University, received residency training at the University of Chicago before his fellowship training in oncology at JHU.

Elizabeth Williams, CPA, CA, Chief Financial Officer

Elizabeth Williams has more than 12 years of experience in biotech, working with publicly listed entities in both Canada and the United States. She has extensive financing experience, having played an integral role in raising more than $100 million in financing. Prior to joining Medicenna, Ms. Williams was the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Aptose Biosciences Inc. (previously Lorus Therapeutics Inc.), a biotechnology company listed on both the TSX and NASDAQ capital markets. While at Aptose, she held several positions, including Acting Chief Financial Officer during a lengthy transition period, and was responsible for a broad range of activities including financings, financial reporting and regulatory compliance. She is a CPA and CA and received a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Martin Bexon, MD, Head of Clinical Development

Dr. Martin Bexon, MD, has more than 15 years of experience in early and late stage clinical development including medical affairs in various therapeutic areas, particularly in oncology and hematology. He has recently worked as a strategic adviser, study medical expert and medical monitor in a number of oncology programs (U.S. and E.U.), in both solid tumors and hematological malignancies. While at CSL Behring (Bern, Switzerland) he led multiple global clinical studies across a range of indications including orphan diseases. As Global Medical Director, Dr. Bexon also led their medical affairs function for immunoglobulin products, generating more than 50% of the company’s revenues. At Hoffman-La Roche (U.K. and Switzerland) he designed and implemented multiple global clinical trials enrolling more than 10,000 subjects to support product commercialization. He has also led teams filing numerous regulatory submissions on both sides of the Atlantic and Japan. Prior to joining pharma, he practiced in the clinic as a pediatrician. He obtained his MBBS (MD equivalent) from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.

Rosemina Merchant, MESc, Chief Development Officer

Ms.Rosemina Merchant has 30 years of experience in the development of biopharmaceuticals. Most recently, Ms. Merchant was Senior VP of Development and Regulatory Affairs at Sophiris Bio (formerly, Protox Therapeutics) and responsible for development of PRX302 for prostate cancer and BPH. She transitioned PRX302, a discovery project to a late stage clinical program in less than 6 years. During that time, she executed multiple clinical trials, managed Canadian and US regulatory filings and led all CMC related outsourcing activities in the US and Europe. In 1992, Nina co-founded, IntelliGene Expressions, Inc., a biologics CDMO, where she was VP of Manufacturing and Chief Operating Officer. Nina also held a variety of senior level positions at KS Biomedix, Bioniche, GE LifeSciences, Sanof Pasteur and Alberta Innovates. Her education includes a MESc. in Biochemical Engineering from Western University.

Patrick Ward, MBA, RPh, Chief Operating Officer

Patrick Ward, RPh, MBA has more than 20 years of operational experience in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as the COO and co-Founder of Aviara Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing a portfolio of assets acquired from Pfizer. Previously, he was President and COO of Ocusoft, Inc., a specialty ophthalmic company, where he was also responsible for product development, manufacturing and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Ocusoft, he was Executive Director at Encysive Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer) where he spent 13 years in business development. At Encysive, he was involved in the partnering and commercialization of Argatroban™ with GSK and Mitsubishi Pharmaceuticals,as well asb Thelin™ in Europe. He received a BS in Pharmacy from The University of Houston and an MBA in Finance from the University of St. Thomas.

Shafique Fidai, PhD, Head of Discovery and Corporate Development

Dr. Shafique Fidai, PhD (Head of Corporate Development) brings nearly 20 years of research and management experience in the biotechnology industry. Most recently, he was VP of Corporate Development at Protox Therapeutics (now Sophiris Bio) where he was part of the executive team and managed the IP portfolio and corporate transactions. Prior to Sophiris, he was at Chromos Molecular Systems and a founding member of the management team at Xenon Pharma. He has experience in strategic planning and corporate development, completing nearly $200M in partnerships, including out-licensing deals with Pfizer, Janssen Biotech, Kissei Pharma, Medimmune, Xencor, Lonza and UniQure. Shafique has a PhD in Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University.

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