Board of Directors
Jon S. Saxe, J.D., LL.M
Chairman of the Board
Jon S. Saxe, J.D., LL.M. has served as Chairman of our Board of Directors since 2000. He also serves as the Chairman of our Audit Committee. Mr. Saxe is the retired President and was a director of PDL BioPharma from 1989 to 2008. From 1989 to 1993, he was President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of Synergen, Inc. (acquired by Amgen). Mr. Saxe served as Vice President, Licensing & Corporate Development for Hoffmann-Roche from 1984 through 1989, and Head of Patent Law for Hoffmann-Roche from 1978 through 1989. Mr. Saxe currently is a director of Durect Corporation (NASDAQ: DRRX), and six private life science companies, Achelios, Arbor Vita Corporation, Aether, Inc., Arcuo Medical, LLC, Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Trellis Bioscience, Inc. and Epalex Corporation. Mr. Saxe has also served as a director of other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including ID Biomedical (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), Sciele Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by Shionogi), Amalyte (acquired by Kemin Industries), Cell Pathways (acquired by OSI Pharmaceuticals), Lumos Pharma, Inc. (merged with New Link Genetics) and other companies, both public and private. Mr. Saxe has a B.S.Ch.E. from Carnegie-Mellon University, a J.D. degree from George Washington University and an LL.M. degree from New York University.
Joanne Curley, Ph.D.
Joanne Curley, Ph.D. joined our Board of Directors and Board’s Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee in April 2021. Dr. Curley brings more than 25 years of experience in the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products, including R&D governance. She is currently the Chief Development Officer at Vera Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to joining Vera, Dr. Curley spent 15 years with Gilead Sciences, Inc., during which time the anti-viral portfolio grew from four to seventeen commercial products. While at Gilead, Dr. Curley led Project and Portfolio Management with oversight of the development pipeline across four therapeutic areas and was responsible for research and development governance. Before Gilead, Dr. Curley worked as an aerosol formulation scientist and subsequently as a project leader at Nektar Therapeutics. She received a BSc in Physics and Chemistry from Trinity College, Ireland, a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and completed a post-doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, focused on long-acting biodegradable formulations.
Jerry Gin, Ph.D., MBA
Jerry B. Gin, Ph.D., M.B.A joined our Board of Directors in March 2016. Dr. Gin is currently the co-founder and CEO of Nuvora, Inc., a private company founded in 2006 with a drug delivery platform for the sustained release of ingredients through the mouth for such indications as dry mouth, biofilm reduction and sore throat/cough relief. Dr. Gin is also co-founder and Chairman of Livionex, a private platform technology company founded in 2009 and focused on oral care, ophthalmology and wound care. Previously, Dr. Gin co-founded Oculex Pharmaceuticals in 1993, which developed technology for controlled release delivery of drugs to the interior of the eye, specifically to treat macular edema, and served as President and CEO until it was acquired by Allergan in 2003. Prior to forming Oculex, Dr. Gin co-founded and took public ChemTrak, which developed a home cholesterol test commonly available in drug stores today. Prior to ChemTrak, Dr. Gin was Director of New Business Development and Strategic Planning for Syva, the diagnostic arm of Syntex Pharmaceuticals, Director for Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic businesses for Dow Chemical, and Director of BioScience Labs (now Quest Laboratories), the clinical laboratories of Dow Chemical. Dr. Gin received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, his M.B.A. from Loyola College, and conducted his post-doctoral research at the National Institutes of Health.
Brian J. Underdown, Ph.D.
Brian J. Underdown, Ph.D. has served as a member of our Board of Directors since November 2009. Dr. Underdown is a Venture Partner with Lumira Capital Corp., having served as a Managing Director with Lumira from September 1997-December 2015. His investment focus has been on therapeutics in both new and established companies in both Canada and the United States. Prior to joining Lumira and it's antecedent company MDS Capital Corp, Dr. Underdown held a number of senior management positions in the biopharmaceutical industry and at universities. Dr. Underdown's current board positions include the following private companies: Kisoji Biotechnology Inc., Naegis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Osteo QC. Formation Biologics and Osteo QC. Some of Dr. Underdown's previous board roles include: Argos Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ARGS), ID Biomedical (acquired by GSK), enGene Inc. and Ception Therapeutics (acquired by Cephalon). He has served on a number of Boards and advisory bodies of government-sponsored research organizations including CANVAC, the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Vaccines, Ontario Genomics Institute (Chair), Allergen, the Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Allergy and Asthma. Dr. Underdown obtained his Ph.D. in immunology from McGill University and undertook post-doctoral studies at Washington University School of Medicine.
Shawn K. Singh, J.D.
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Shawn Singh has served as our Chief Executive Officer since August 2009; he joined our Board of Directors in 2000. Mr. Singh has nearly 30 years of experience working with private and public biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies, a venture capital firm, and a profitable contract research and development organization (CRO), serving in numerous senior management roles. Prior to joining us as Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Singh served as President of Artemis Neuroscience, prior to our acquisition of that company, Managing Principal of Cato BioVentures, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm, and as Chief Business Officer and General Counsel of Cato Research Ltd (now Cato-SMS), a global CRO. Earlier, Mr. Singh assisted with the IPO of SciClone Pharmaceuticals (formerly NASDAQ: SCLN), a revenue-generating, China-focused specialty pharmaceutical company, and served as its Chief Business Officer before departing to form Cato BioVentures with the founders of Cato Research. He began his career as a corporate finance attorney in the Silicon Valley offices of Morrison & Foerster LLP, with a transaction-focused practice involving both emerging biotechnology and high technology companies. Mr. Singh earned a B.A. degree, with honors, from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Mr. Singh is a member of the State Bar of California.
H. Ralph Snodgrass, Ph.D.
Founder, President, Chief Scientific Officer and Director
Dr. Snodgrass co-founded VistaGen with Dr. Gordon Keller in 1998 and served as our Chief Executive Officer until August 2009. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior biotechnology management and is recognized as an expert in stem cell biology with more than 28 years' experience in the uses of stem cells as biological tools for research, drug discovery and development. Prior to founding VistaGen, Dr. Snodgrass served as a key member of the executive management team that led Progenitor, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developmental biology, through its initial public offering, and was its Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director. Dr. Snodgrass also has over 10 years of research experience as a professor at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and served as a member of the Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland. He is a former Board Member of the Emerging Company Section of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and a former member of the International Society Stem Cell Research Industry Committee. Dr. Snodgrass has published more than 50 scientific papers, is the inventor of more than 17 patents and a number of patent applications, and is or has been, the Principal Investigator on U.S. federal and private foundation sponsored research grants with budgets totaling more than $14.5 million. He received his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ann Cunningham, MBA
Chief Commercial Officer and Director
Prior to joining VistaGen as Chief Commercial Officer, Ms. Cunningham served as Managing Partner of i3 Strategy Partners, where she guided senior pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives in planning and executing successful portfolio strategies and brand launches. Her experience in the pharmaceutical industry includes numerous instrumental roles in the successful commercial launch and sales of multiple CNS brands, including notably Lilly’s blockbuster CNS product, Cymbalta, for which she led the development and execution of the “Depression Hurts” consumer campaign, and a key Otsuka America CNS product, Rexulti, serving as Senior Director, Global Brand Lead. While at Lilly, she also led psychiatry sales teams as Area Sales Director responsible for Cymbalta, Zyprexa and Strattera. More recently, Ann led commercial development of a portfolio of products as Vice President, Neurodegenerative Disease and Psychiatry at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Ms. Cunningham holds a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business.