Nigel Webb, PhD – President and Chief Executive Officer (Board Member)
During his career in the pharmaceutical industry, Nigel Webb has pioneered a wide range of breakthrough therapies and clinical diagnostics using small molecules, nucleic acids and monoclonal antibodies. Dr. Webb co-invented a new cancer drug and directed its development from discovery through FDA-compliant Phase III clinical studies in four countries, while leading research collaborations with the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the National Cancer Institute. He is an inventor on eleven issued US drug patents. Before founding RiboNova in 2013, Dr. Webb started three biotechnology firms, two of which became publicly-traded companies. He held senior management positions with the pharmaceutical companies Searle and Johnson & Johnson, and he served on the boards of five other biomedical companies. Dr. Webb has negotiated multinational licensing agreements, conducted public offerings and arranged many private financings. He has served on the boards of the Massachusetts state biotechnology center and the United States biotechnology trade association. Since Dr. Webb founded RiboNova, the National Institutes of Health has awarded Dr. Webb four peer-reviewed grants for his medical research into potential therapeutic applications of nucleic acid modifications. Dr. Webb was trained as a molecular biologist at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council in the UK, where he studied transfer RNA in the laboratory of DNA Nobel laureate Maurice Wilkins. He received his MA in biochemistry with first class honours from the University of Cambridge, his PhD in biophysics from the University of London, his CDipAF in finance from the UK Association of Certified Accountants, and he completed the Executive Program at the Harvard Business School.
Anthony Ford-Hutchinson, PhD – Chief Scientific Officer (Board Member)
Tony Ford-Hutchinson has substantial experience with pharmaceuticals, drug and vaccines discovery, research and development, business development, emerging markets and scientific strategy. Dr. Ford-Hutchinson spent thirty years at Merck, starting in 1981 when he joined Merck Frosst Canada in Montreal, moving from director of pharmacology to senior vice president and site head. During his time in Canada, the laboratories developed novel drugs for the treatment of several human diseases, including the development of Singulair® and the discovery of selective COX-2 inhibitors for the treatment of osteoarthritis and pain, making the Merck Frosst Laboratories the most productive discovery unit within Merck. In 1998, Dr. Ford-Hutchinson moved to Pennsylvania to head Merck’s basic research effort in the US and worldwide, covering all therapeutic areas. As Executive Vice President he was responsible for franchise strategies in multiple disease areas, including vaccines and infectious diseases. Prior to joining Merck, he performed research in the field of leukotrienes and prostaglandins at Kings College Hospital Medical School and was a lecturer in its chemical pathology department. Dr. Ford-Hutchinson currently serves on the boards of several biotechnology companies and has participated in several recent successful exits, including Okairos (GSK), Ligocyte (Takeda) and Novira (Johnson & Johnson). The companies he has worked with have largely been in the fields of orphan diseases, anti-infectives, vaccines and oncology. He holds a PhD in biochemistry from the University of London, a master's degree in molecular enzymology from the University of Warwick and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Birmingham.
Yucynthia Jean-Louis, MPH, MBA – Chief Business Officer
Yucynthia Jean-Louis is an accomplished business development executive with over thirty years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Yucynthia has successfully negotiated over 100 transactions on both the buy side and sell side. Since 2015, she has been serving as Managing Partner at Jean-Louis Warner & Associates, LLC, a boutique consulting firm providing consulting services primarily to biotechnology companies to create executable business development strategies and structure and negotiate business transactions. Previously, Yucynthia served as Executive Director, Corporate Licensing at Merck for 11 years. In that role, she successfully negotiated deals in several therapeutic areas, and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in oncology and immunotherapy. Yucynthia led the negotiating team for the groundbreaking collaboration between Merck and AstraZeneca which received the Scrip Award for “Best Partnership Alliance.” She was the chief architect of the innovative clinical collaborations investigating Merck’s novel anti-PD-1 immunotherapeutic, KEYTRUDA®, with investigational compounds and marketed products. She was also responsible for negotiating Merck’s agreements for vaccines, biologics, neuroscience, and platform technologies as well as agreements in personalized medicine for companion diagnostics in oncology and neuroscience. Prior to that, she spent 13 years working in roles of increasing responsibility in marketing at Merck, including launching Singulair® in allergic rhinitis, the first billion-dollar asthma medication, and at the vaccine joint venture formed by Merck and Pasteur Merieux, responsible for the entire live viral vaccine franchise in Europe while based in France. Early in her career, Yucynthia worked as a basic research scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratories in Atlanta and at the University of Washington in Seattle. Yucynthia received her BS in Microbiology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her MPH in Health Policy and Planning and MBA in Strategy and General Management from Emory University in Atlanta.
Eric Yuen, MD – Chief Medical Advisor
Eric Yuen is a clinical development physician with over 20 years of experience in academia and industry. During his career Dr. Yuen has developed numerous biologics and small molecule therapeutics for a variety of diseases, including rare genetic diseases and neurology, psychiatry, pain and oncology disorders. Dr. Yuen has led departments responsible for Phase I-IV development and submissions of numerous INDs, CTAs, NDAs and MAAs. Eric was the Director of Clinical Research at Merck & Co., working on CNS and pain indications, and later Vice President of Clinical Development at Johnson & Johnson, where he served as the therapeutic area head for CNS and the head of clinical development at a monoclonal antibodies and vaccines joint venture between Johnson & Johnson and Elan. Eric later served as Chief Medical Officer for Ultragenyx, a start-up company focused on rare genetic diseases, and as VP Clinical Development at BioClin Therapeutics, a start-up focused on the rare genetic disorder achondroplasia (dwarfism) and bladder cancer. Eric serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Spirovant Sciences. Earlier in his career, Dr. Yuen was an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Washington. Eric completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University, he received his MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, completed his neurology residency at UCSF, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory studying neurotrophic factor signaling at UCSF.