Board of Directors

Simon Pedder, Ph.D.

Executive Chairman of the Board

Dr. Pedder was appointed the Executive Chairman of the Board in April 2019. Dr. Pedder had served as an independent director on our Board since April 2018. Dr. Pedder is the Chief Business and Strategy Officer, Proprietary Products at Athenex, Inc (NASDAQ: ATNX), a global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel therapies for treatment of cancer. Simon has a long career in drug development including more recently leadership roles as President and CEO of Cellectar Biosciences, President and CEO of Chelsea Therapeutics, Vice President of Oncology Pharma Business at Hoffmann-LaRoche, Life Cycle Leader and Global Project Leader of Pegasys/IFN, Head of Hepatitis Franchise at Hoffmann-LaRoche, and Vice President and Head of Drug Development at Shearwater Corporation. Formerly, he was faculty in the Department of Pharmacology in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology. In addition, Dr. Pedder obtained a M.S. in Toxicology from Concordia University, a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and completed the Roche-sponsored Pharmaceutical Executive Management Program at Columbia Business School.

Dr. Sol J. Barer

Dr. Barer spent most of his professional career with the Celgene Corporation. He was Chairman from January 2011 until June 2011, Executive Chairman from June 2010 until Jan 2011 and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from May 2006 until June 2010. Previously he was appointed President in 1993 and Chief Operating Officer in 1994 before assuming the CEO position. He also served as Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, and Vice President/General Manager, Chiral Products, from October 1990 to October 1993, and Vice President, Technology, from September 1987 to October 1990. Dr. Barer was the founder of the biotechnology group at the Celanese Research Company which was subsequently spun out to form Celgene.

Dr. Barer serves as Chairman of the Board of the public companies Edge Therapeutics (neuro-critical care therapeutics), InspireMD (stents) and private company Centrexion (pain therapeutics), is Lead Director of ContraFect (anti-infectives), and is on the Board of Directors of the public companies Amicus Therapeutics (rare diseases) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. He is an advisor to biopharma companies.

In 2011 Dr. Barer was Chairman of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Committee which resulted in sweeping changes in the structure of New Jersey’s medical schools and public research universities. He previously served as a Commissioner of the NJ Commission on Science and Technology. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Rutgers University (until 2013). He also served two terms as Chair of the Board of Trustees of BioNJ (2010-2012) the New Jersey biotechnology organization.

Dr. Barer was named to the “Worldview 100” (Scientific American’s 100 most influential figures in today’s world of biotechnology) in 2015, named one of “25 Leadership Legends of NJ” (NJBiz) in 2012, “The 50 Most Powerful People in N.J. Health Care,” in 2012, inducted into the NJBiz Hall of Fame in 2011 and was named as one of NJ’s top 10 scientists by New Jersey Business in 2008.

Steven J. Boyd

Mr. Boyd is the Chief Investment Officer of Armistice Capital. He founded Armistice in 2012, which was named "best new hedge fund" by Hedge Funds Review the following year. Prior to Armistice, Mr. Boyd had been an analyst at Senator Investment Group and York Capital. He started his career at McKinsey & Company. Mr. Boyd received a B.S. in Economics as well as a B.A. in Political Science from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Cola

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Cola brings a wealth of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.  Prior to joining Cerecor, Mr. Cola served as President and CEO of Aevi Genomic Medicine since September 2013. Prior to joining Aevi Genomic Medicine, Mr. Cola served as President of Specialty Pharmaceuticals at Shire plc, a global specialty pharmaceutical company, from 2007 until April 2012. He joined Shire in 2005 as EVP of Global Therapeutic Business Units and Portfolio Management. Prior to joining Shire, he was with Safeguard Scientifics, Inc., a growth capital provider to life sciences and technology companies, where he served as President of the Life Sciences Group. While at Safeguard, Mr. Cola served as Chairman and CEO of Clarient, Inc., a cancer diagnostics company subsequently acquired by GE Healthcare, and as Chairman of Laureate Pharma, Inc., Prior to Safeguard Scientifics, Mr. Cola held senior positions in product development and commercialization at Astra Merck, a top 20 U.S. pharmaceutical company, and at Astra Zeneca, a global biopharmaceutical company.  Mr. Cola received a B.A. in biology and physics from Ursinus College and an M.S. in biomedical science from Drexel University. He serves on the Board of Directors of Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc., Sage Therapeutics and Phathom Pharmaceuticals, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia.

Phil Gutry

Mr. Gutry has served as an independent director on our Board since April 2015. He has over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in a variety of senior investment, business development, and strategic roles. Mr. Gutry currently serves as Chief Business Officer at Kronos Bio. He previously led oncology business development and strategy at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Regeneron, he served as Principal at MPM Capital where he led new company formation and venture investments in oncology and neuroscience, and managed MPM's Janssen and Astellas partnerships. From 2006 to 2011, Mr. Gutry worked in Corporate Development at Gilead Sciences, where he focused on M&A and licensing in oncology, respiratory, liver, and infectious diseases. Prior to Gilead, Mr. Gutry invested in commercial-stage life science companies at Riverside Partners. He began his career with The Wilkerson Group, a healthcare focused consulting firm. Mr. Gutry received his M.B.A. from The Wharton School and an A.B. from Dartmouth College.

Uli Hacksell, Ph.D.

Dr. Hacksell has served as a member of the Board of Directors since May 2015. Prior to his position as CEO of Cerecor, Dr. Hacksell served as Chief Executive Officer of ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from September 2000 to March 2015 and was a member of its Board of Directors. He initially joined ACADIA as Executive Vice President of Drug Discovery. Prior to ACADIA, Dr. Hacksell held various senior executive positions at Astra AB, a pharmaceutical company, including Vice President of Drug Discovery and Technology, President of Astra Draco, one of Astra's largest research and development subsidiaries, and Vice President of CNS Preclinical R&D at Astra Arcus, another Astra subsidiary. Earlier in his career, Dr. Hacksell held the positions of Professor of Organic Chemistry and Department Chairman at Uppsala University in Sweden and also served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Hacksell is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marina Biotec and is a member of the Board of Directors of InDex Pharmaceuticals, Medivir AB, Beactica AB, and Uppsala University. He received a Master of Pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Uppsala University.

Magnus Persson, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Persson has served as an independent director on our Board since August 2012. Dr. Persson is currently serving as CEO of Karolinska Institutet Holding AB in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served as an Associate Professor in Physiology at Karolinska Institutet since September 1994. Dr. Persson has served as a practicing pediatrician at CityAkuten in Stockholm, Sweden, since December 2012. Dr. Persson served as a Partner at HealthCap, a Swedish-based venture capital firm from January 2008 through December 2009, and as a Managing Partner at The Column Group, a San Francisco based venture capital firm, from January 2010 through November 2011. Dr. Persson co-founded Aerocrine AB, a medical technology company in 1994. Dr. Persson has also served on the boards of Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB, a technology transfer company, since December 2011, Galecto AB, a biotechnology company, since January 2013, AscendxSpine Inc., a medical device company, since December 2012, SLS Ventures AB, a life science venture capital firm since March 2012, Karolinska Institutet Information AB, a healthcare IT-software company since October 2015, Immunicum AB a biotechnology company since December 2015, and Albumedix AS, a biotechnology company since January 2016. Dr. Persson received his M.D. and Ph.D. in physiology from Karolinska Institutet.

Keith Schmidt, MBA

Mr. Keith W. Schmidt, M.B.A. was appointed as an independent director on our Board in June 2019. Previously was the Chief Commercial Officer of Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. prior to its sale to H. Lundbeck A/S in 2014.  Mr. Schmidt has over 35 years of experience and an outstanding reputation and proven track record in domestic and international pharmaceutical sales, and strategic marketing for launching industry leading drugs including Pegasys®, Naprosyn®, Anaprox®, Cialis®, Cymbalta®, and Strattera®. Mr. Schmidt served as President of Tellico Pharma LLC. and served as Vice President of Thomson Healthcare Advanced Therapeutics Communications.  Over the course of his career, Mr. Schmidt has worked for such companies as Hoffmann-La Roche AG and Syntex Laboratories, Inc.  During his tenure at Hoffmann-La Roche, he served as International Business Leader responsible for global pre-launch marketing preparation, launch market plans, and life cycle planning for Pegasys® in Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and Oncology. At Roche, he developed and led the global sales and marketing launch efforts for Pegasys and Copegus. Prior to joining Roche, Mr. Schmidt served in a number of progressively senior positions at Syntex Laboratories, variously directing New Product Development, Sales Force Strategies, OBYN Sales, and Sales Training. Mr. Schmidt earned a Bachelor of Science from South Dakota State University and an MBA from the University of San Francisco.