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.
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 is an executive level corporate attorney with strong legal and business skills, currently serving as Managing Director of iSci Management. He has over 25 years of national law firm and in-house general counsel experience covering technology licensing, securities regulations, mergers and acquisitions, inter-company collaborations, corporate governance, human resources and litigation management. Mr. Dunn has an in-depth knowledge of the biopharma industry from early product development through regulatory approval and commercialization. In his legal positions he has structured and managed complex legal transactions and business matters, as well as managed corporate legal departments and external counsel. Before joining iSci Management, Mr. Dunn was an Executive Vice President at Biogen Idec where he was in charge of the company’s $200 million internal corporate venture fund which was put in place with the merger of Biogen and IDEC Pharmaceuticals. The venture group worked extensively with business development and their joint efforts resulted in two significant acquisitions and a number of licenses that added to Biogen Idec’s pipeline. He was also responsible for the divestiture of several deprioritized assets through the sale to biopharma companies or spin-outs with venture capital firms. As manager of the Biogen Idec venture fund, he developed a robust network with US, European and Asian venture firms, as well as senior management at opportunity and portfolio companies and business development representatives at biotech and pharma companies. Prior to the Biogen Idec merger, Mr. Dunn was Senior Vice President of Legal 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. In that role Mr. Dunn provided legal guidance in the commercial launch of Zevalin, the first radioimmunotherapy drug approved by the FDA. He also managed several equity and debt offerings and was involved in structuring a number of IDEC’s many collaborations. Previously, he had been a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop LLP for 16 years and co-leader of the firm’s Biotech, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Industry Team. Mr. Dunn served on the Board of Directors (either as a Board member or observer) of most of Biogen Idec’s portfolio companies. He has also represented Biogen Idec on the Board of Directors of the California Healthcare Institute and currently serves on the Boards of Connect and BIOCOM, two San Diego industry groups. Mr. Dunn has honors BS (Finance) and JD degrees from the University of Wyoming.
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 17 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.