Benjamin Selzer, who served as interim Chief Financial Officer, will continue as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Gershell, age 39, most recently served as Managing Director and Senior Analyst at Madison Williams and Company, where he provided research on specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Dr. Gershell began his equity research career at Cowen and Company, and has also held analyst positions at Apothecary Capital, a pharmaceutical and biotech-focused investment fund, and at Favus Institutional Research, a boutique research firm that caters to institutional investors. Dr. Gershell’s prior industry experience includes affiliations with Targent Pharmaceuticals, where he facilitated capital raising, and with Vela Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for the evaluation of pharmaceutical assets for in-licensing. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Columbia University and his B.A. magna cum laude in Chemistry and Asian Studies from Dartmouth College. Dr. Gershell is an inventor on Columbia’s patents for SAHA/vorinostat, which is marketed by Merck as Zolinza® and is the first histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor to receive FDA approval.
Dr. Daugherty, age 54, joins TONIX in a newly created position and has more than 30 years’ experience in drug development and scientific research. For the majority of his career, Dr. Daugherty was with Merck & Co., most recently as Senior Research Fellow, where he was project leader for multiple drug discovery programs in the therapeutic areas of inflammation, immunology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Daugherty was an early pioneer in the humanization of monoclonal antibodies and played a key role in Merck’s chemokine biology program. He was a member of the research team that developed nicotinic acid/laropiprant for dyslipidemia that is marketed by Merck ex-U.S. as Tredaptive®. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Daugherty was a scientist at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, characterizing interferon genes in the laboratory of Dr. Sidney Pestka. Most recently, Dr. Daugherty was a consultant, providing drug development expertise to universities and biotechnology companies seeking to out-license their technology to large pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Daugherty earned his M.B.A. from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, his M.S. in Zoology from Rutgers University and his B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. He has authored numerous original research papers that have been published in leading scientific journals and is an inventor on three issued patents.
Seth Lederman, M.D., President and CEO of TONIX said, “We are delighted that Leland and Bruce are joining our team. Their recruitments are a huge endorsement of our mission. Leland is a physician-scientist who has been successful in navigating the system of investment banks and institutional investors that finance drug development in public companies. As an experienced securities analyst, Leland has built an extensive network of relationships throughout both the investment and corporate communities, which complement his skills in capital raising, due diligence and financial forecasting. I’ve worked with Leland at both Vela and Targent, and have every confidence that he will make valuable contributions to TONIX. Bruce and I collaborated more than twenty years ago and I have followed his impressive career and accomplishments ever since. Bruce’s extensive experience in developing novel therapeutics will be a real benefit to TONIX. Bruce has a clear understanding of how large pharmaceutical companies evaluate acquisitions and partnerships, and he will play a key role in helping us maximize the impact and value of TNX-102 for patients and our investors. Both Leland and Bruce recognize the challenges inherent in bringing innovative therapies to market, and we now have a strong management team in place to execute our corporate strategy as we develop innovative therapies for fibromyalgia and other challenging disorders of the central nervous system.”
“I believe there are significant growth opportunities at TONIX, with the recent financing supporting a focused, capital-efficient drug development program. I look forward to leading the Company’s capital markets and strategic initiatives, and guiding TONIX’s investor outreach program as we attract new institutional investors to the Company. I join this distinguished team with great enthusiasm,” said Dr. Gershell.
Dr. Daugherty commented, “I am excited to lead the Company’s drug development efforts because I believe TNX-102 has the potential to become an important and differentiated therapy for fibromyalgia patients. The clinical program for TNX-102 in fibromyalgia has already progressed to a stage of development at which the risk of late-stage failure is minimized. I look forward to advancing TNX-102 into its pivotal clinical trials in fibromyalgia, which we expect to commence in the first quarter of next year.”