Acer Board of Directors
Mr. Aselage has more than 30 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience, currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of Retrophin, Inc. (RTRX). Previously, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer of BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. During his seven years with BioMarin, he built the commercial and medical affairs functions that launched three commercial products and developed commercial businesses in more than 45 countries. Mr. Aselage has also held leadership roles with Cell Therapeutics, Sangstat Medical Corporation, Advanced Tissue Sciences and Genentech. He worked briefly for Genzyme, as well, assisting in the transition following its acquisition of Sangstat. Earlier in his career, he held a variety of sales and sales management positions at companies including Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals (now Sanofi-Aventis) and Bristol Laboratories. Mr. Aselage received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. In addition, Mr. Aselage currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Department of Science at Notre Dame.
Mr. Amello is the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and
Treasurer of Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. and has held the position since 2013. Prior to
joining Akebia, Mr. Amello served as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer,
and Treasurer of ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc., from 2012 to 2013. From 2000 to 2011, Mr. Amello held various positions at Genzyme Corporation, most recently as Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer, and led the Strategic Financial Services group through which he served as a key advisor on all of Genzyme’s M&A and strategic transactions. Earlier in his career, Mr. Amello spent 10 years in the business advisory and assurance practice of Deloitte, serving in various roles of increasing responsibility through senior manager. Mr. Amello currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New England Baptist Hospital, where he is the Chair of the Quality of Care Committee and a member of the Finance and Investment Committee. Mr. Amello holds a BA from Boston College and is a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Hubert Birner, Ph.D., MBA
Dr. Birner is Managing Partner of TVM Capital Life Science, responsible for TVM Capital Life Science’s overall investment strategy and fund operations in North America and Europe. He also serves as a member of the fund advisory board of TVM Capital Life Science’s China BioPharma Capital I fund.
Dr. Birner joined TVM Capital in 2000 as an investment manager. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Argos Therapeutics Inc. (Durham, North Carolina, NASDAQ), Spepharm Holdings BV (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Noxxon AG (Berlin, Germany) and leon nanodrugs (Munich, Germany). He is a member of the Board of Directors of Proteon Therapeutics, Inc. (Waltham, Massachusetts, NASDAQ) and represents the firm’s interests in Evotec AG (Hamburg, Germany, XETRA) as well as Probiodrug AG (Halle, Germany, EURONEXT). For many years he has been the Chairman/Vice Chairman of the Board of Direvo Biotech AG (Cologne, Germany) and Jerini AG (Berlin, Germany) which were acquired in 2008 by Bayer HealthCare AG and Shire Ltd., respectively.
Prior to his tenure at TVM Capital, he was Head of Business Development Europe and Director of Marketing for Germany at Zeneca. Dr. Birner joined Zeneca from McKinsey & Company’s European Health Care and Pharmaceutical practice. As a management consultant he gained extensive experience in R&D management, marketing and sales, and joint venture structuring and business development.
Before starting his professional career in business, he earned substantial academic merits, including a position as Assistant Professor for biochemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University (LMU), following his summa cum laude doctoral degree in biochemistry at LMU. His doctoral thesis was honored with the Hoffmann-La Roche prize for outstanding basic research in metabolic diseases. Dr. Birner additionally holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
John M. Dunn
Mr. Dunn has served as General Counsel to Vital Therapies, Inc., a public biotech company located in San Diego, California, since November 2014. Prior to joining Vital Therapies, Mr. Dunn was a consultant in the life science industry from February 2012 to November 2014. Mr. Dunn retired from Biogen in 2012 where he was an Executive Vice President and headed up its corporate venture group which managed a $200 million fund for strategic investments in emerging biotech companies. Prior to the merger of IDEC Pharmaceuticals and Biogen, Mr. Dunn was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of IDEC. He led IDEC’s legal and compliance departments and served as a member of the company’s senior management team. Previously, Mr. Dunn had been a partner at the Pillsbury law firm and co-leader of the firm’s Biotech, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Industry Team. He practiced law for over 23 years, representing public and venture capital financed private companies. In addition Mr. Dunn serves on the Board of Directors of Biocom and Connect, two non-profit trade organizations supporting the life science and technology industries in California.
Ms. Griffin currently provides consulting services to biotechnology companies and boards of directors through her firm, Pacific Biotechnology Consulting Group. Ms. Griffin served on the board of directors and chair of the audit committees for PhaseRx, Inc. from 2016 to 2018 (acquired by Roivant Sciences GmbH in 2018), OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc. from 2008 to 2011 and Sonus Pharmaceuticals, Inc from 2004 to 2008 when it was acquired by OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. She has also served as chair of the board of directors for Universal Cells, Inc. from 2017 until its acquisition by Astellas Pharma Inc. in 2018, and as a member of the board of directors of Virginia Mason Health System and Virginia Mason Medical Center from 2014 to 2018. Ms. Griffin served as a member of the board of directors for Polynoma LLC from 2012 to 2014. She served as executive vice president, operations, and as chief financial officer at OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc. from 2011 to 2013. Prior to that, Ms. Griffin served as a member of the board of directors of OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals Inc. She served as acting chief executive, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Trubion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, from 2009 until its acquisition in 2010 by Emergent BioSolutions, Inc and as is chief financial officer from 2016 to 2009. From 2005 to 2006, Ms. Griffin served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Dendreon Corporation, a biotechnology company. From 1995 to 2005, she was employed by Corixa Corporation, a biotechnology company, and served as its chief financial officer from 1997 until 2005 when Corixa Corporation was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline plc. Prior to that, Ms. Griffin held several finance and strategic planning positions at The Boeing Company. She received a post‐graduate certificate in accounting and an MBA from Seattle University and a B.S. in statistics and marketing from George Mason University and has passed the certified public accountant exam.
Luc Marengere, Ph.D.
Dr. Marengere is Managing Partner of TVM Life Science Venture VII. He oversees the establishment of the new Canadian operations and the North American investment strategy as well as deal sourcing and execution. He is responsible for ongoing relationships with certain Canadian LPs as well as Korean investors Bukwang Pharma and Quad Investment Management located in Seoul. Dr. Marengere joined the team in 2012 and has 20 years of venture capital experience in Canada and the U.S. Prior to joining TVM Capital Life Science, Dr. Marengere was a Managing General Partner with VG Partners where he successfully founded and oversaw the operations and investments of the VG Advanced Life Sciences Fund (VG ALSF). He is currently a Director on the Board of US-based Colucid (NASDAQ – “CLCD”), UK-based Ixchelsis and Canadian-based PRCL Research Inc., as well as Modulate Therapeutics Inc., he also represents the interest of the firm at Rapid Micro Bio Systems, MA, USA. Luc was a Director on the Boards of a number of companies including Trillium Technologies Inc., (Toronto, ON – NASDAQ – “TRIL”); Cytochroma Inc., (Toronto, ON – sold to Opko Health); Aegera Therapeutics, Inc. (Montréal, QC – sold to Pharmascience); Cita Neuropharma (Toronto, ON – sold to Vernalis Plc, UK) and lastly Argos Therapeutics Inc., (Durham, NC –NASDAQ – “ARGS”). Dr. Marengere also invested in VisualSonics, Inc. (Toronto, ON – sold to SonoSite). He founded the life science practice and team within VG Partners and raised more than $230M for the first fully dedicated life science fund, VG Advanced Life Science Fund. Dr. Marengere has worked as a Director focused on making venture investments in the life science sector while with CDP Capital – Technology Ventures and MDS Capital Corp. Prior to his venture capital career, he conducted commercially-oriented research in the fields of immunology and oncology while at Amgen. Dr. Marengere holds a Ph.D. from University of Toronto’s department of Medical Biophysics and Molecular Genetics, A Master’s degree of Science from Queen’s University and he graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of Ottawa.
CEO & Founder, Director
Chris Schelling has 18 years of biotech and pharma strategic and orphan drug expertise. Prior to founding Acer, he was Executive Director of Strategic Marketing at BioMarin Pharmaceutical (BMRN), where he was instrumental in the development and commercialization of the company’s phenylketonuria (PKU) franchise. Previously, he held roles at Abgenix, Cell Therapeutics, Stanford Research Institute Consulting, and Organon.