Dr. De La Rosa is the Chairman of the board of directors and a co-founder of Antios Therapeutics. He was most recently Antios’ Chief Executive Officer and led it from an early stage idea to a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Antios, Dr. De La Rosa was Chief Scientific Officer of Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE) and the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD), focused on the discovery and development of antiviral drugs for the treatment of viral diseases of unmet medical need and global concern. During his nearly 6-year tenure at Emory University, he helped raise over $40 million in funding and was a co-inventor on technologies licensed to AbbVie and Antios.
Prior to joining Emory University, Dr. De La Rosa was Senior Vice President of Business Development and Scientific Affairs at Pharmasset. From 2002 until its acquisition by Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) for $11 billion in 2012, he was responsible for licensing, strategic transactions, and alliance management of collaborations and partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and universities. He provided business and scientific leadership to drug development programs for the treatment of HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, including Sofosbuvir. Prior to Pharmasset, Dr. De La Rosa held both scientific and business positions at Visible Genetics, where he was responsible for the development and improvement of genotyping tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, including the first sequencing-based HIV drug resistance test to receive FDA approval. He also held scientific positions at Innogenetics, Boston Biomedica, and Digene, developing molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. He is an inventor and author on several U.S. patents and publications relating to molecular diagnostic methods, techniques and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer.
Dr. De La Rosa has served on Scientific Advisory Boards and Board of Directors of biotechnology companies.
Dr. De La Rosa earned a Fogarty Fellowship and an Intramural Research Training Award Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health, where he completed post-doctoral training in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and the Laboratory of Pathology of the National Cancer Institute. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Miami University.
Benjamin Rovinski, PhD
Dr. Benjamin Rovinski has 30 years of investment, operational, managerial and research experience in the healthcare sector. Beni joined Lumira Ventures in 2001, where he is a Managing Director, with an investment focus on early- to late-stage private and public life sciences companies. With a proven track record of delivering results, both as a senior scientist and a business executive, Beni has held several senior management positions in the biotechnology sector, including 13 years at Sanofi Pasteur (formerly Aventis Pasteur) where he was a senior scientist and director of molecular virology, with a particular focus in the areas of virology, vaccine development, recombinant protein production, and functional genomics. While at Aventis, Beni led global research and development programs in the areas of HIV/AIDS and therapeutic cancer vaccines, bringing several of them through to clinical stage. Beni received a PhD in biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal and did post-doctoral studies in molecular oncology and retrovirology at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston.
Beni’s current and past board roles and investment responsibilities include several private and public companies, such as Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AUPH); Antiva Biosciences; G1 Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GTHX); KAI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen); Morphotek (acquired by Eisai); Health Hero Network (acquired by Bosch); Avalon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVRX; acquired by Clinical Data, Inc.); and SGX Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SGXP; acquired by Eli Lilly). He also serves on the board of directors of Ontario Genomics and Life Sciences Ontario; and he is also a member of the investment committee of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) and the advisory board of the TO Health! industry-led initiative to promote the profile of the Toronto region’s Human Health & Sciences cluster. Beni is fluent in English, French and Spanish. He has published over 25 scientific articles and reviews and is the recipient of 32 issued patents.
Chief Executive Officer, Antios Therapeutics
Mr. Mayes is the Chief Executive Officer and a board member of Antios Therapeutics. Prior to Antios and drawing on inspiration from his son’s epilepsy diagnosis, he raised $40 million from prominent investors and founded the clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, Engage Therapeutics, to develop a product candidate for seizures. Upon approval, Staccato® Alprazolam will be the first and only drug-device-combination for the rapid termination of an active epileptic seizure. Engage was sold to UCB in 2020 in a deal valued at $270 million following the successful completion of its randomized, phase 2b clinical study.
Prior to Engage, Mr. Mayes played an integral role in the growth of Advaxis Immunotherapies (NASDAQ: ADXS), a biotech company developing immuno-oncology therapies for patients with hard-to-treat cancers through its bacterial vector system, Lm Technology™. As its Chief Operating Officer, he was instrumental in helping to secure in excess of $200 million in follow-on funding and developing partnerships with companies such as Amgen, AstraZeneca and Merck & Co.
From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Mayes served as Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer at ImClone Systems Corporation. During his tenure at ImClone, Mr. Mayes supported the clinical development and commercialization of ERBITUX® and contributed significantly to activities that resulted in its acquisition by Eli Lilly for $6.5 billion in 2008.
Mr. Mayes is a cum laude graduate of Syracuse University where he was recognized as a Remembrance Scholar and he earned his J.D. degree magna cum laude from the Temple University School of Law where he was the Articles Editor on the Temple Law Review.
Former Chief Operating Officer, Arbutus Biopharma
Mr. Higgins joined the board of directors at Antios Therapeutics in February 2021, reuniting with his former Pharmasset colleague, Antios’ founder and Chairman, Dr. Abel De La Rosa. Mr. Higgins is a former biopharmaceutical executive who led companies in the development of therapies to treat infectious diseases of the liver, including Hepatitis B and C, for more than two decades. He was most recently chief operating officer at Arbutus Biopharma, which is developing therapeutics for HBV. Prior to Arbutus, he co-founded and served as chief executive officer of OnCore Biopharma, which he eventually took public by merging with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals to form Arbutus. Before co-founding OnCore, Mr. Higgins was executive vice president, Commercial, for Pharmasset, where he helped oversee the development of sofosbuvir, an FDA-approved therapy for HCV, and was responsible for developing and executing the commercial strategy for sofosbuvir before Pharmasset was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2012 for $11 billion. Prior to Pharmasset, he led the infectious disease portfolio, including Pegasys® for hepatitis infections, for Hoffman-LaRoche and spent 13 years at Schering Plough in various roles.
Mr. Higgins is currently also a director on the Board of Saronic Biotechnology. He earned is B.A. at Villanova University and his M.B.A. at Seton Hall University.
Iyona Rajkomar, MBBS
Iyona joined Pontifax as a Partner in February 2019 and is based in the London office. She spent the last four years at Advent Life Sciences where she founded and was a board member on a number of their early-stage companies. She was previously an equity research analyst and also worked in strategy consulting. At Pontifax, she will be responsible for generating deal flow, diligence and transactional work across both the equity and venture debt funds. Iyona qualified as a medical doctor with Honours from St George’s Hospital Medical School and holds the CFA Charter. Iyona is a director on the boards of Abcuro, Amolyt, Antios and Stargazer and is an observer on the board of StrideBio.
Scott Morenstein serves as Managing Director of CAM Capital, where he leads healthcare investing. CAM Capital was established in 2012 by Bruce Kovner following his retirement from Caxton Associates, the macro hedge fund he founded and managed from 1983 to 2011. Prior to joining CAM Capital in 2013, Mr. Morenstein served as Managing Director at Valence Life Sciences and before that Principal at Caxton Advantage Venture Partners, which he joined in 2007. Prior to joining Caxton Advantage, Mr. Morenstein served as an investment banking associate and founding member of Seaview Securities. Mr. Morenstein began his career at Lehman Brothers as a healthcare investment banker and equity research analyst. Mr. Morenstein has more than 15 years experience in biopharmaceutical investing, equity research and investment banking. Mr. Morenstein led CAM’s investment in and served as a director of Celator Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in July 2016. He was nominated a director of Synta Pharmaceuticals to advise the company as it explored strategic alternatives ultimately leading to a merger with Madrigal Pharmaceuticals. He served as a member of Gemin X’s board of directors until its acquisition by Cephalon. He currently serves as a director of Molecular Templates (Nasdaq: MTEM) and Velicept Therapeutics.