Oren Gilad, Ph.D – President and CEO
Dr. Gilad has extensive leadership experience across all phases of drug development. He has an accomplished track record leading Atrin from inception to pre-clinical and moving into the clinical stage. Prior to founding Atrin in 2011, Dr. Gilad had a 13-year academic career, where he has authored numerous high impact scientific articles, including one that demonstrated the importance of the ATR pathway in cancer development and prevention.
This breakthrough research was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. This is the third company that he has set up, the first two having been sold.
Dr. Gilad holds a B.Sc from the Hebrew University, a Ph.D and post-doctorate from University of California at Davis, and a post-doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
Zeev Weiss, CPA, B.Sc – Chief Business Officer
Zeev has over 20 years of broad and extensive biopharmaceuticals industry experience in strategic, operational, and corporate development in the emerging and established healthcare industry. Until 2017, Zeev served as the CEO and formerly as Executive VP Commercial Operations of Intec Pharma (NASDAQ: NTEC), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing drugs based on its proprietary Accordion Pill® platform technology. Zeev successfully led Intec’s IPO on NASDAQ as well as multiple collaboration agreements with global leading pharmaceutical companies. Zeev also had a central role in leading Intec from their very early stage into late clinical stage, including raising substantial funds, obtaining non-dilutive grants, progressing pre-clinical and clinical development, regulatory and IP activities.
Prior to Intec, Zeev was Head of Life Sciences Strategic Consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Israel. At PwC, Zeev led numerous corporate developments, business development, strategic planning and corporate finance consulting engagements with various healthcare companies.
Zeev holds a BA in accounting and is a certified public accountant. He also earned a B.Sc in Biology and has completed M.Sc. in Neuro-Biochemistry studies from Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Andrea Epstein, CPA – Controller
For more than thirteen years, and throughout her entire career beginning at the accounting firm Ernst & Young in the assurance practice, Ms. Epstein has developed extensive experience in many aspects of financial management including accounting, reporting, internal controls, budgeting, analysis and auditing. Ms. Epstein is a Certified Public Account who has served as Atrin’s Controller since August of 2017. Ms. Epstein’s ability to design and oversee various finance functions from the ground up allowed Atrin to establish a strong financial infrastructure in preparation for capital transactions and leading to an efficient audit. Ms. Epstein built and led Atrin’s accounting, financial reporting, financial planning and analysis, regulatory compliance and internal controls.
Prior to joining Atrin, Ms. Epstein worked in management and finance in the biotechnology industry for over ten years including as Controller for PDS Biotechnology from 2015 through their reverse merger with Edge Therapeutics in March of 2019. From 2008 until 2015, Ms. Epstein was the Director of Finance at Aprecia Pharmaceuticals where she managed all aspects of accounting during a period of expansion and growth.
Ms. Epstein holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Michel Afargan, Ph.D - Head Pharmacology Development
Dr. Afargan has over 25 years of experience as a Senior Executive in Drug Discovery and Development. He served as CTO, CEO and Chairman of several biomed startups and public companies. Dr. Afargan is co-author of 7 INDs, 2 IDEs and 2 505(B)2. Since 2012, Dr. Afargan has been the leading Lecturer of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. He is the innovator of the novel peptide-based drug Somatoprim® for the treatment of metabolic disorders and adenocarcinomas, and inventor of a series of issued and pending patents in innovative drug delivery systems, diagnostics and new drug entities of small molecules and peptide-based drugs.
Dr. Afargan received a B.Sc. in Life Sciences, M.Sc. (S) in Molecular Biology, License in Pharmacy (B. Pharm.), M.Sc. Pharmaceutical Sciences and Ph.D in Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences (Hebrew University, Israel).
Joseph Vacca, Ph.D. - Medicinal Chemistry
Dr. Vacca has over 35 years of experience as a Senior Executive in Drug Discovery and Development, including over 30 years at Merck & Co., where he contributed to the total synthesis of myoinositol polyphosphates; the discovery of orally bioavailable HIV-1 protease inhibitors, thrombin inhibitors, BACE inhibitors, and HCV protease inhibitors; and the discovery and development of HIV integrase inhibitors. His work on the HIV-1 protease project led to the discovery of Merck’s HIV protease inhibitor CRIXIVAN™ (indinavir sulfate). Dr. Vacca has over 100 publications and patents, and is the holder of many awards including a Merck Directors Award given by the Merck board of Directors (1998); PhRMA Discoverers Award (1999); and was named to the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.
Dr. Joseph Vacca received a B.S. in Chemistry (St. John Fisher College), and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (State University of New York at Buffalo, under Professor Peter T. Lansbury Sr.).
Dansu Li, Ph.D. - Head of Technology
Dr. Li joined Atrin as Head of technology in 2017, with over 15 years of project management and scientific experience in drug discovery and development programs in large pharma, small biotech, and CROs. Prior to Atrin, Dr. Li served as Director of Medicinal Chemistry at WuXi AppTec, where she contributed to clients’ oncology programs, including two programs that advanced into clinical development. Prior to WuXi, Dr. Li worked at Merck Research Laboratories (previously Schering Plough Research Institute), where she had a strong track record in managing external resources, executing medicinal chemistry optimizations, and strengthening IP positions for lead compounds.
Dr. Li holds a BS in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China and a PhD in chemistry from Dartmouth College.
Rifat Pamucku, M.D. - Chief Medical Advisor and Board Member
Dr. Pamukcu has extensive experience in pharmaceuticals and drug development, with a particular focus on oncology. He currently serves as the President and CEO of Midway Pharmaceuticals. He was also a co-founder, Director and CSO of Cell Pathways (NASDAQ:CLPA, acquired by OSI Pharmaceuticals), where he directed the basic science, preclinical drug development, clinical research, regulatory programs, and various aspects of chemical scale-up and manufacturing, and raised over $140 million of investment capital. Dr. Pamukcu has been a member of the Advisory Council to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, the GI Oncology Task Force of the American Gastroenterological Association, Executive Steering Committee of the Gastroenterology Research Group and Scientific Advisory Board of the Hereditary Colon Cancer Association. Since 1985, Dr. Pamukcu has authored or co-authored over 110 journal articles, book chapters and abstracts in the fields of gastroenterology, cancer, cancer chemoprevention and signal transduction systems. He is an inventor on over 280 issued or pending patents in the areas of drug discovery and development of agents for cancer prevention, cancer chemotherapeutics and inflammatory bowel disease.