Jennifer K Simpson, Ph.D., MSN, CRNP
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Simpson joined Panbela as President and Chief Executive Officer in July of 2020 and was also appointed as a Director at that time. She brings to the Company more than 12 years’ experience in pharmaceutical executive leadership, global marketing and product commercialization. Most recently Dr. Simpson was the CEO of Delcath (Nasdaq:DCTH), an interventional oncology company focused on the treatment of primary and metastatic liver cancer.
She joined Delcath as Executive Vice President, Global Marketing in March 2012 and held various leadership positions there including interim President and CEO in 2014 until her promotion to CEO in 2015. From 2008 to 2012, Dr. Simpson served in various product leadership roles, including Vice President, Global Marketing, Oncology Brand Lead at ImClone Systems, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY)). From 2006 to 2008, Dr. Simpson held the position of Product Director, Oncology Therapeutics Marketing at Ortho Biotech (now Janssen Biotech), a biotechnology company focused on innovative solutions in immunology, oncology and nephrology. Earlier in her career, Dr. Simpson spent over a decade as a hematology/oncology nurse practitioner and educator. She has served on the Board of Directors and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EGRX) since 2019. Dr. Simpson earned a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. in Nursing from the University of Rochester, and a B.S. in Nursing from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Michael T. Cullen, M.D., MBA
Co-Founder, Executive Chairman
Dr. Cullen has served as Executive Chairman of the Board and as a Director of Panbela since September 2015; he also previously held the positions of Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Medical Officer since co-founding the Company in 2011. Dr. Cullen brings more than 30 years of pharmaceutical expertise including working with development-stage companies in planning, designing and advancing drug candidates from preclinical through clinical development.
He provided due diligence consulting to the pharmaceutical industry from 2008 to 2011, and prior to that developed several oncology drugs as Chief Medical Officer for MGI Pharma Inc., G.D. Searle, and SunPharm Corporation. Prior to that he was Vice President of Clinical Consulting at IBAH Inc., at the time the world’s fifth largest contract research organization, where he provided consulting services on business strategy, creating development plans, regulatory matters and designing clinical trials for several development stage companies. Dr. Cullen was also a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of IDD Medical, a pharmaceutical start-up company. Dr. Cullen joined 3M Pharmaceuticals in 1988 and contributed to the development of cardiovascular, rheumatology, pulmonary and immune-response modification drugs. Over the course of his career he has been instrumental in obtaining the regulatory approval of ten drugs. Prior to joining industry Dr. Cullen practiced medicine from 1977 to 1988 at Owatonna Clinic, Owatonna, MN, where he served as president. Dr. Cullen earned his MD and BS degrees from the University of Minnesota and his MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and completed his residency and Board Certification in Internal Medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Wilmington, NC.
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Horvath has held both finance and operating positions within pharmaceutical, healthcare and consumer organizations. In addition to her position with the Company, Ms. Horvath sits on the board of directors and provides financial consulting services for Photonic Pharma, LLC, a privately held company focused on efficiencies in early stage drug discovery. Most recently she served as Chief Financial Officer of Eyebobs, LLC, a private company focused on the reading glasses industry.
Prior to that, Ms. Horvath was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Tenacious Holdings, Inc., a privately held safety products company that designed, manufactured and sold products to improve safety and productivity in the work place; Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Human Resources at Healthsense, Inc., a next generation technology (SaaS) and remote monitoring company focused on providing safety and improving quality of life while reducing overall costs of healthcare for seniors and fragile adults; Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Operations & Human Resources of Hemosphere, Inc., an early commercialization stage medical device company that manufactured and sold HeRO® – a clinically proven long-term vascular access device for hemodialysis patients; Director of Financial Planning & Analysis and Vice President & Team Leader International of CNS, Inc, a $140 million fast-growing consumer health care products company focused on the development and marketing of strong consumer brands, including Breathe Right® nasal strips, and FiberChoice® daily fiber supplements. Ms. Horvath holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois, Champaign, and is a Certified Management Accountant and Certified Public Accountant, inactive.
Thomas X. Neenan, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Neenan is an entrepreneur and scientist with extensive chemistry and business development executive experience with AT&T Bell Labs, Geltex, Genzyme, Warwick Effect Polymers, and Proxy Biomedical. Prior to co-founding Panbela, he was the founding CEO and Chief Technology Officer at Sideris Pharmaceuticals Inc, raising $32M in equity financing.
Dr. Neenan holds a B.Sc (Hons) in Chemistry from the The National University of Ireland, a Ph.D. in Synthetic Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University, and completed post-doctoral studies in chemistry at Harvard University. Dr. Neenan brings a wealth of knowledge to the Company on drug manufacture and was instrumental in improving the synthetic process for SBP-101. He is the author of approximately 65 publications in the fields of chemistry, materials sciences and drug development and holds approximately 45 US and international patents.
Suzanne Gagnon, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Gagnon has served as Chief Medical Officer and as a Director of Panbela since September 2015. She originally joined the Company as 2014 as its Lead Clinical Consultant. Dr. Gagnon has been the President of Gagnon Consulting LLC since July 2014, providing consulting expertise on medical, safety and regulatory matters related to clinical drug development.
Prior to that time she was Chief Medical Officer for four companies involved in drug development including Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Daiichi-Sankyo, and ICON Clinical Research, a global Contract Research Organization. Before joining industry Dr. Gagnon was a member of the original NIAID-sponsored AIDS Clinical Trials Group. She was a Principal Investigator or sub investigator on more than 30 clinical trials while a faculty member at the University of Miami and the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, and lead author of a study on the Use of Corticosteroids as Adjunctive Therapy for Pneumocystis Pneumonia in AIDS, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. She received her BS and MD degrees from Providence College and Boston University School of Medicine, respectively, and completed her residency at Boston City Hospital, prior to receiving Board Certification in Internal Medicine.
Vice President of Operations
Since April 2012, Ms. Groene has provided operational management and administrative support to the Panbela team. Prior to joining Panbela Therapeutics, Inc., Ms. Groene worked for MGI Pharma, Inc. as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Medical Officer then transitioned into the Marketing Department. Ms. Groene earned her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Anthony L. Kiorpes, Ph.D., DVM
Andy Kiorpes is a graduate of Columbia University (BA Biology, 1970), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (MS Veterinary Science, 1974; PhD Physiology, 1977) Kansas State University (DVM, 1982), and the University of Arkansas (MBA, 1999). He has over 22 years of experience as a toxicologist working in food, pharmaceutical, and medical device development and safety.
Michael Walker, M.D.
Pancreatic Research Consultant
Dr. Michael Walker obtained his BS (Biochemistry) and MD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He completed his General Surgery residency and a 2-year American Cancer Society clinical and research fellowship at UCLA, focusing on pancreatic islets and their molecular physiology. Before joining Panbela, he practiced General Surgery in Minnesota.
Kristen Flaharty, PharmD
Dr. Kristen Flaharty, a board certified Clinical Pharmacologist, has been a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, for the past 20 years, primarily involved in clinical pharmacology and regulatory aspects of pharmaceutical development. Dr. Flaharty has presented clinical development plans and pre-registration packages at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research on behalf of sponsors…