Tony Giordano, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Dr. Giordano has held senior management positions at seven separate biotechnology companies, including Sulfagenix and TheraVasc, where he co-founded both companies and served as their President and CEO. At Sulfagenix, after completing Phase I safety studies, Dr. Giordano licensed the company’s only product to a medical food company, Solubiomix, which launched the product as Sulfzix in 2017. He previously served as the Assistant Dean of Research and Business Development at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, where he managed the Institution’s licensing activities, was the Director of the Center for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, and the Director of the Biotechnology Ph.D. Track within the graduate school.
During this time, he was a co-founder, President and CEO of Cognition Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company located in Pittsburgh, PA. Prior to joining LSUHSC, Dr. Giordano served as the President of Alteris, Inc., a cancer vaccine company with a Phase II clinical candidate, acquired by Celldex in 2005. He has also served as the President of Nucleonics, Inc., an RNAi company he co-founded in 2001. Dr. Giordano was critical in raising seed financing for Nucleonics, positioning the company, licensing key patents critical to the company’s platform, and recruiting the administrative and scientific staff.
He was also a co-founder of Message Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company established in 1997 on a novel RNA drug discovery platform, where he served as the Vice President of Research until leaving to build Nucleonics. At Message, Dr. Giordano identified and supervised the buildout of the laboratories, wrote the budgets and oversaw spending, recruited the scientific staff and designed the research programs. These research efforts resulted in twelve patent applications, with three series of small molecules moving into animal testing and one into human clinical trials. The research activities were supported in part by over $4 million in federal grants awarded to the company and $12 million in venture capital. Dr. Giordano was also involved in the commercialization of the research, having written the Opportunity documents which led to three research collaborations with large pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Giordano first joined the biotechnology industry as Director of Molecular Biology at Symphony Pharmaceuticals, where he was eventually promoted to Vice President of Research and appointed to the Board of Directors. At Symphony (acquired by Transgenoics), Dr. Giordano was responsible for the preclinical development of a series of glutamate receptor antagonists for treatment of CNS disorders. He was able to secure over $1 million in federal funding to advance the kainite program to preclinical development. He also supported the continued development of these molecules by initiating collaborations with academic groups.
Prior to this, Dr. Giordano was employed by Abbott Laboratories where he headed up the molecular biology effort within the Neuroscience area. He also became involved in technology assessment activities at Abbott, where he chaired a subcommittee on new technologies. Dr. Giordano serves as a consultant to venture capitalists and has completed scientific due diligence on close to three dozen companies for GeneChem, Hambro, Toucan Capital, and Paul Sonz Partners.
Joseph Foss, M.D.
Founder & Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Foss is a graduate of Brown University where he did both his undergraduate studies and received his medical degree. He subsequently received his training in clinical pharmacology at the University of Chicago and led the development of methylnaltrexone, a peripherally active opioid antagonist. This involved the proof of principle trials in pre-clinical models, the first-in-man studies, and subsequent proof-of-concept trials and studies of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in man. He was responsible for the regulatory submissions during this period and had several meetings with the FDA.
Methylnaltrexone was licensed out and approved for clinical use (as Relistor®) in the management of opioid side effects in patients with advanced medical illness, such as cancer patients receiving opioids for palliative care.
He subsequently worked for Adolor, a small biotech company developing alvimopan, another peripherally acting opioid antagonist, which also has been approved for clinical use. At Adolor he was also responsible for the translational program developing novel analgesics. He designed and managed two first-in-man trials for these new molecular entities as well as the proof-of-concept trials for the treatment of pain.
He was subsequently recruited to Cleveland Clinic to assist in developing the research program in anesthesiology. His extensive experience in research, development of clinical programs and his management of the regulatory aspects of bringing a drug from the lab into clinical use puts him in a strong position to ensure the success of the development of CB2-agonists for the management of AD and neuropathic pain.