James Sapirstein, R.Ph., brings over thirty years of pharmaceutical industry experience to Contravir. After beginning his career in 1984 as a sales representative with Eli Lilly, he accepted a position at Hoffmann-LaRoche in 1987, where he served for almost a decade as part of its sales and marketing teams. He held a number of positions at Hoffmann-LaRoche, including Product Director and International Operations Manager, and was actively involved with numerous product launches including several antivirals. In 1996, he became the Director of International Marketing of the Infectious Disease Division at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS). Mr. Sapirstein directed the international HIV product marketing strategy at BMS and was an integral part of the international development and launch of a number of infectious disease products while at BMS.
More recently, Mr. Sapirstein has become known in the industry as a start-up and turnaround specialist, mainly for his work at Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD), Serono Laboratories, Inc., Tobira Therapeutics, Inc. and Alliqua Inc. (ALQA). Mr. Sapirstein served in the Global Marketing group at Gilead, beginning in 2000 where he led and developed the global marketing strategy for its flagship HIV drug, Viread. He played a key role in the development of the drug combination strategy that resulted in Gilead’s acquisition of Triangle’s nucleoside portfolio. That acquisition ultimately led to the launch of Truvada, Gilead’s multi-billion dollar combination HIV drug. In 2002, he accepted the position of Executive Vice President for Serono Laboratories where he led a team of over 100 professionals to rebuild a struggling HIV and pediatric growth hormone business. As CEO of privately held Tobira Therapeutics, a New Jersey based biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel HIV and infectious disease compounds, he was instrumental in helping to raise over $60 million in venture capital and research funding to enable Tobira to further its scientific development. As a result of those efforts, he was named one of New Jersey’s top 50 most influential people in healthcare in 2010 by NJBiz.com. Most recently, Mr. Sapirstein was CEO of Alliqua Therapeutics at Alliqua Inc., where he helped lead the transformation of transdermal wound care and drug delivery technology into a premier wound care organization. Mr. Sapirstein developed the growth strategies for the organization and was responsible for several key licensing opportunities which lead to an increased return on investment for all of the shareholders.
John Cavan brings more than 20 years of financial management experience in both public and private companies. Prior to joining ContraVir as CFO, Mr. Cavan was a consultant with The Pine Hill Group where he was instrumental in completing several financial transactions, including initial public offerings, business combinations and strategic transactions. Prior to his role with the Pine Hill Group, he served as Chief Accounting Officer at Stemline Therapeutics, Inc. Preceding his role at Stemline, Mr. Cavan was Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer at Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was instrumental in the company’s initial public offering, through which Aegerion achieved a $2 billion market capitalization. He has also held financial positions within the healthcare industry at AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Alpharma. Mr. Cavan served in a variety of financial and operational positions early in his career during tenures with large multinational public companies, including Sony, American Express, International Specialty Products (an Ashland Company) and Nestlé U.S.A. Mr. Cavan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Vantage Health Systems. He holds a B.B.A in Accountancy from Iona College and an M.B.A. in Finance from Seton Hall University.
John Sullivan-Bolyai, M.D., brings many years of pharmaceutical and biotech experience as an expert in HBV. Prior to ContraVir, Dr. Sullivan- Bolyai was the Executive Director of Infectious Disease clinical research at Merck where he oversaw multiple HCV protocols in all three phases of clinical development. Prior to this, he was the Vice-President of Clinical Research at Idenix where he managed all medical aspects of the HIV and HCV programs. Additionally, he was responsible for the transition of Idenix’s clinical team to Merck, which acquired Idenix. Prior to joining Idenix, Dr. Sullivan-Bolyai worked at Anadys Pharmaceuticals on hepatitis C and at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International on Valeant’s nucleotide prodrug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection. Previously, he held various medical and operations positions at Biomeasure and Serono Laborotaries in Massachusetts, working on coagulation, immunomodulatory, endocrine, and gastrointestinal compounds. He began his career with Hoffmann-La Roche where he worked on a variety of compounds for the treatment of bacterial infections, HCV and HIV. Dr. Sullivan-Bolyai received an MD, MPH from the University of Washington in Seattle. He completed his infectious diseases fellowship training at the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle, WA, followed by academic positions at UCLA and the University of Illinois.
Dr. Foster brings over 30 years of pharmaceutical and biotech experience to Contravir. Prior to Contravir, he was CEO and Founder of Ciclofilin Pharmaceuticals Inc. which merged with ContraVir. Prior to Ciclofilin Pharmaceuticals, he founded Isotechnika Pharma Inc. (1993) He was Chairman and CEO, of Isotechnika (TSX:ISA) for 21 years. Dr. Foster was founding CEO and later, CSO of Aurinia (NASDAQ:AUPH), after Isotechnika acquired Aurinia. During his tenure with Isotechnika, Dr. Foster, together with a core team, discovered the immunosuppressive drug, voclosporin. In 2002, while Isotechnika’s CEO, Dr. Foster structured Canada’s largest licensing deal, at the time, for $215 million USD with Hoffman-La Roche (Basle, Switzerland) for voclosporin. In addition to pharmaceutical discovery and development, Dr. Foster also developed and obtained regulatory approvals for a commercially available diagnostic test (carbon-13 urea breath test), called Helikit, for the diagnosis of H. pylori. After realizing multimillion dollar commercial sales, Dr. Foster subsequently sold the diagnostic kit. At present, Helikit sales continue in Canada and other countries.
Dr. Foster is currently Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, and is currently a Board member of Transcriptome Sciences Inc.He has previously served as Board member for Alberta Economic Development Authority, Business Competitiveness and Diversification Committee; Board member of Alberta Economic Development, Fiscal Planning and Policy Committee; Council Member, Alberta Premier’s Advisory Council on Health; Advisory Board Member, Industry Liason Office, University of Alberta; Co-Chair and Board member of BioAlberta; and Board of Management, Alberta Science and Research Authority.
After graduating with a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr. Foster served as a tenured, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta (1988 to 1997). From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Foster served as an Adjunct Full Professor at the same university. From 1990 to 1994, Dr. Foster was Medical Staff, Scientific and Research Associate in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the Walter C. MacKenzie Health Sciences Centre. He has published over 170 papers, abstracts and book chapters focused on drug analysis, development, and pharmacokinetics, and received numerous awards for both pharmaceutical research and teaching. Dr. Foster was also named Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People in 2002, and received Alberta Venture’s 3rd Fastest Growing Company, 2003, for Isotechnika, as well as being named amongst the top 100 Fastest Growing Canadian Company by Profit Magazine in 2003. Dr. Foster previously served as Division Chairman of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Alberta, and has acted as a consultant to many pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Foster is named as an inventor on 242 patents, of which 216 are currently active and granted, 5 allowed, and 21 that are pending.
Theresa Matkovits, Ph.D., brings over 20+ years global drug development, commercialization, and leadership experience to ContraVir. A seasoned and established leader in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Sectors, Dr. Matkovits has led Global Drug Development Teams bringing to market a number of approved medicines to several global markets.
Dr. Matkovits earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. Dr. Matkovits started her career at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology and Organon where she held positions in clinical development in the Women’s Health area. In 1997, Dr. Matkovits joined Novartis in Global Drug Development, taking on leadership roles in the clinical development for the marketed antipsychotic, Fanapt. Dr. Matkovits advanced her career in Novartis, taking on Global Drug Development leadership for the CNS Psychiatry Portfolio including Schizophrenia, Anxiety Disorders, and Depression. She served as Global Program Leader for a number of early-phase, mid-phase, and late-phase development compounds and in-line brands such as Clozaril. In 2010, Dr. Matkovits transitioned to the US commercial organization in Novartis where she lead the Strategic Planning and Operations Group for the General Medicines Portfolio in Medical Affairs. Dr, Matkovits was responsible for the oversight and leadership of Continuing Medical Education, Resource and Strategic Planning, Organizational Development and Training, Compliance, Project Management, IT for the Field Medical Team, and the establishment of a REMs Center of Excellence.
Dr. Matkovits subsequently joined The Medicines Company in 2010 as Vice President, Innovation Leader, where she was recruited and lead the successful global development and registration of oritavancin, which is now approved and commercialized in the US and EU as ORBACTIV. In 2013, Dr. Matkovits joined NPS Pharmaceuticals as a consultant to the CEO to lead the integration of two commercial assets acquired from Takeda into NPS. Dr. Matkovits played a critical role in driving the expansion of NPS from a US-centric to a global development and commercial organization. In 2012, Dr. Matkovits joined NPS as Global Program Leader to lead the registration of Natpara for the US and EU Markets. Under her leadership, the team had a positive vote in front of an FDA Advisory Committee and the approval was secured for the US for Natpara for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism in January 2015. Dr. Matkovits was accepted into Women in Bio’s inaugural Boardroom Ready Class of 2016.