Management Team

Michael Cola

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.

Younok Dumortier Shin, PhD, MBA

Younok Dumortier Shin, PhD, MBA

Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Younok Dumortier Shin has more than 18 years of experience in research & development, manufacturing and product supply.

Prior to joining Cerecor, Dr. Shin served as Vice President and Managing Director at Dermelix Biotherapeutics where she was accountable for developing innovative therapies to treat rare genetic disorders.  Her responsibilities included early discovery, non-clinical, process development and manufacturing, and overall company strategy. Prior to Dermelix, Dr. Shin worked at GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson and Allergan, with increasing responsibilities including several leadership roles, and helped two new product launches (Darzalex®, Sylvant®), seven commercial products manufacturing (Botox®, Remicade®, Stelara®, Simponi®, Eprex®, Reopro®, Orencia®), and more than thirty clinical products supply, ranging from novel biologics, gene and cell therapies, and oligonucleotides, from more than fifteen manufacturing facilities worldwide. During her tenure at Bristol Myers Squibb, Dr. Shin also worked in a Licensing Group and completed several successful transactions. Dr. Shin completed her postdoctoral training at the National Research Institute of Canada.

Dr. Shin holds a B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from University of British Columbia, a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, and a MBA from Babson College specialized in Entrepreneurship.

James A. Harrell, Jr.

James A. Harrell, Jr.

Chief Commercial Officer

Mr. Harrell has a great breadth of biopharmaceutical industry experience. Jamie joined Cerecor in May of 2018 as the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications and was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer in November of 2019 with the divestiture of Pediatric portfolio of products.  Prior to joining Cerecor he was an owner and principal with the NSCI Group, Inc., a privately held medical communications and education company where he focused on new business development and brand strategy. Mr. Harrell was Vice President and General Manager of Specialty Pharmaceuticals for Covidien, running 350-person commercial operations group in the area of pain management from 2011 to 2013. From 2007 to late 2010 he was the Vice President of Marketing with MedImmune, Inc., responsible for their Global Pediatric Infectious Disease franchise., Mr. Harrell held various commercial positions with Centocor, Inc. from 1999 until February 2007 with increasing levels of responsibility and management focused on the marketing of immunotherapy in autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular products. He began his career in field and hospital sales at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer in 1991. During his career he has helped to commercialize and market 3 blockbuster brands. He holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration, with a double major in Marketing and Economics from Samford University.

Dr. Garry Neil, MD

Dr. Garry Neil, MD

Chief Scientific Officer

Prior to becoming the Chief Scientific Officer at Cerecor, Dr. Garry Neil served as Chief Scientific Officer of Aevi Genomic Medicine since September 2013. Prior to joining Aevi Genomic Medicine, Dr. Neil held a number of senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry, academia and venture capital. These include Corporate VP of Science & Technology at Johnson & Johnson, and Group President at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, VP of R&D at Merck KGaA/EMD Pharmaceuticals, VP of Clinical Research at Astra Zeneca and Astra Merck. Dr. Neil holds a B.S. from the University of Saskatchewan and an M.D. from the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He completed his postdoctoral clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Neil also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic. He is the Founding Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Industry R&D Consortium, TransCelerate Biopharmaceuticals Inc.  He also serves on the Boards of Arena Pharmaceuticals, the Reagan Udall Foundation and the Center for Discovery and Innovation at Hackensack Meridian Health.  He is past Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) Science and Regulatory Executive Committee and the PhRMA Foundation Board.  He is a past member of the Boards of GTx Pharmaceuticals, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), and the Science Management Review Board of the NIH.

Chris Sullivan

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Sullivan brings to the Company his strong technical accounting and SEC reporting background, along with his wealth of financial knowledge, including experience with multiple forms of capital raises, knowledge from leading accounting and finance functions at various health sciences and biopharmaceutical companies. Prior to being named the Company’s Interim Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Sullivan was the Vice President of Finance and served in various other escalating roles since April 2018. Prior to joining Cerecor, Mr. Sullivan was the Corporate Controller for Sucampo Pharmaceuticals when it was merged with Mallinckrodt in a $1.2 billion transaction. He also served as the Corporate Controller for OpGen and prior to that was an Auditor and Senior Manager at Ernst & Young. Mr. Sullivan received his B.S. degrees in Accounting and Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a Certified Public Accountant.

H. Jeffrey Wilkins, MD

H. Jeffrey Wilkins, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Wilkins brings over 19 years of clinical research experience to the Company, most recently serving as Chief Medical Officer of Zyla Life Sciences. Previously, he held position of Chief Medical Officer at Onspira Therapeutics, Lycera, and Ceptaris Therapeutics, Inc., where he led clinical programs from IND Phase I trials to regulatory approval (including Valchlor®). Prior to this, Dr. Wilkins was Vice President, Worldwide Clinical Research, Inflammation/Oncology at Cephalon Inc., where he led clinical development, medical affairs and business development efforts in both therapy areas. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Ception Therapeutics, where he headed a successful program in eosinophilic asthma prior to the company’s acquisition by Cephalon. Dr. Wilkins entered the pharmaceutical industry with GlaxoSmithKline, where he rose to become Vice President of Discovery Medicine for GSK’s Center of Excellence in External Drug Discovery. He also served as Group Director of GSK’s urology franchise, responsible for Levitra® and the launch of VESIcare®. Earlier in his career as a practicing primary care physician, Dr. Wilkins was Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TriValley Primary Care, a large multi-center primary care group in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Dr. Wilkins received his M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine and his B.S. from Bucknell University.

Lisa Hegg Ph.D.

Lisa Hegg Ph.D.

Vice President Research and Development Programs and Project Management

Dr. Hegg brings over 20 years of Research and Development (R&D) and leadership experience to Avalo Therapeutics as Vice President, R&D Program & Project Management. Prior to joining the company, she served as VP, Development and Project Management at Aclaris Therapeutics where she led dermatology and immune-inflammation early and mid-stage development programs. Prior to Aclaris, Dr. Hegg held the role of VP, Head of Project and Planning & Management as well as Medicine Development Leader at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) where she oversaw multi-disciplinary teams through early and late stage drug development, market launch, and post approval processes. Following her Post-Doctoral Fellow position at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Dr. Hegg began her industry career at GSK in R&D Discovery where she held significant project management and leadership roles in cardiovascular, metabolic, pulmonary, immuno-inflammatory, dermatology and urogenital programs/products. Dr. Hegg received her Ph.D. from Clark University, and her B.S from Muhlenberg College.

Colleen Matkowski

Colleen Matkowski

Vice President Global Regulatory Affairs

Ms. Matkowski served as a Global Regulatory professional in the Biopharmaceutical industry for the last 24 years. Most recently, she joined Cerecor as VP, Global Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining Cerecor, she was a Senior Global Regulatory Consultant for large and small pharmaceutical companies, where she focused primarily on the development of therapies for rare diseases. Ms. Matkowski was the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Aclaris Therapeutics, where she led multiple global programs throughout development. She has held various regulatory positions across multiple therapeutic areas at Takeda, BioMarin, ViroPharma, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Cephalon, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Matkowski began her career at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where she served in various roles within the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Philadelphia District. Ms. Matkowski received her B.S. degree in Public Health from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey as well as a M.S. in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs/Quality Assurance from Temple University.