Stanley T. Crooke, MD, PhD
Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board
Dr. Crooke is the founder, chief executive officer and chairman of n-Lorem Foundation. He’s also the founder and executive chairman of the board of directors for Ionis Pharmaceuticals, the leader in RNA-targeted therapeutics. Under his leadership of Ionis, he pioneered development of the revolutionary antisense technology platform and created one of the largest, most advanced pipelines in the biotechnology industry. Today, Ionis has more than 40 medicines in development.
Prior to founding Ionis, Dr. Crooke was head of R&D at SmithKline, where he was involved in commercializing numerous drugs in broad therapeutic areas and later assumed responsibility for worldwide R&D at SmithKline Beckman. At Bristol-Myers, he established the first broad anticancer program, bringing nine drugs to the market in five years.
He has led the development of more than 20 marketed drugs and supported the creation and growth of several companies based on Ionis’ antisense technology. Commercialization of SPINRAZA® (nusinersen), the global foundation of care treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and TEGSEDI™ (inotersen), the world’s first RNA-targeting subcutaneous injection to treat polyneuropathy caused by hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (hATTR) in adults, are recent examples of Ionis’ transformational therapies being delivered to patients in need.
Dr. Crooke is a recipient of the Massry Prize, recognizing his pioneering work in RNA-targeted therapeutics, the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Chemical Society’s E.B. Hershberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances, the Prix Galien Best Biotechnology Award for Spinraza, the Scrip Lifetime Achievement Award, and BIO’s Helix Award for the most important innovation, and other awards.
Dr. Crooke received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and house staff training at Baylor College of Medicine and has been an active scientist throughout his career. He has published nearly 500 scientific publications, edited more than 20 books, and has numerous patents.
C. Frank Bennett, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
Dr. Bennet is the chief technical officer of n-Lorem Foundation. He also is a founding member of Ionis Pharmaceuticals and serves as the company’s chief scientific officer. He is responsible for preclinical antisense drug discovery and antisense technology research. Dr. Bennett is also the franchise leader for neurological programs at Ionis. He has been involved in the development of antisense oligonucleotides as therapeutic agents, including research on the application of oligonucleotides for inflammatory, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, oligonucleotide delivery, pharmacokinetics and medicinal chemistry.
Dr. Bennet is a co-recipient of the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his contributions to the discovery and development of SPINRAZA® (nusinersen) and the 2018 Hereditary Disease Foundation’s (HDF) Leslie Gehry Brenner Prize for Innovation in Science for his leadership and continued commitment to developing antisense therapies for Huntington’s disease (HD).
Dr. Bennett has published more than 200 papers in the field of antisense research and development and he is an inventor on more than 175 issued patents.
Prior to joining Ionis, Dr. Bennett was associate senior investigator in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at SmithKline and French Laboratories, currently, GlaxoSmithKline.
He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and his B.S. degree in Pharmacy from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He performed his postdoctoral research in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at SmithKline and French Laboratories.
Dr. Bennett serves on the Advisory Board for the Experimental Therapeutics Centre in Singapore and the Hereditary Disease Foundation.
Michel Vounatsos, MBA
CEO of Biogen
Mr. Vounatsos joined Biogen in 2016 as Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer after a 20 year career at Merck. While at Merck, he held leadership positions of increasing responsibility in Europe, China, and the U.S., driving significant and consistent growth across multiple geographies. Most recently, he served as President, Primary Care Business Line and Merck Customer Centricity leading Merck’s global primary care business unit, a role which encompassed Merck’s cardiology-metabolic, general medicine, women’s health and biosimilars groups, and developed and instituted a strategic framework for enhancing the company’s relationships with key constituents, including providers, payers and retailers and governmental bodies throughout the world. Earlier in his career, Mr. Vounatsos held management positions at Ciba-Geigy.
Mr. Vounatsos received his C.S.C.T. certificate in Medicine from the Universite Victor Segalen, Bordeaux II, France, and his M.B.A. from the HEC School of Management in Paris
Karen Chen, PhD
CEO of the SMA Foundation
Karen Chen is the Chief Executive Officer of SAM Foundation, responsible for overseeing the full range of our scientific and drug discovery programs, as well as managing the operations activities at the SMA Foundation. Dr. Chen is a senior research scientist and manager with over 30 years of experience, including 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, planning, directing, and conducting preclinical research. She has managed departments and groups working on a variety of projects for the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for neurological disorders. Dr. Chen joined the SMA Foundation from Roche Palo Alto where she was Director of Neurosciences and Head of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurodegeneration Group. Prior to Roche she was Director of Pharmacology and Head of the In Vivo Neurodegeneration and Behavior Groups at Elan Pharmaceuticals working primarily on therapies for Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Her post-doctoral training was obtained at Genentech investigating neurotrophic factors therapies for neurodegenerative conditions. Dr. Chen holds an A.B. from Harvard University, and obtained her Ph.D. in Neurosciences from the University of California, San Diego working with Dr. Fred (Rusty) Gage on the behavioral and morphological effects of fetal grafts and neurotrophin administration in models of age-related degeneration. She has over 50 scientific publications and several patents. Dr. Chen currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Bluefield Project and the N-Unem Foundation, and is an advisor to several other non-profit organizations. Dr. Chen has served on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) National Advisory Council. She also is the Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Imago Pharmaceuticals and on the Board of Directors of Nitrome Biosciences.
Michael Hayden, MBChB, PhD
Killam Professor of Medical Genetics at University of British Columbia
Dr. Michael Hayden is a Killam Professor at the University of British Columbia and the director of the Translational Laboratory in Genetic Medicine at the National University of Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). From 2012 to 2017, he served as president of Global R&D and chief scientific officer at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Dr. Hayden built and transformed research and development at Teva to become a highly productive research engine and was instrumental in the approval of approximately 30 new products.
Dr. Hayden has founded three biotechnology companies and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards including being inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, receiving the July 2012 Diamond Jubilee Medal, on behalf of HRH Queen Elisabeth II and the Margolese National Brain Disorder Prize, awarded to Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the treatment, amelioration, or cure of brain diseases. He’s also received the Canada Gairdner Wightman award for his outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science as a physician-scientist. Dr. Hayden was awarded the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, named Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and has received the Prix Galien for his contribution to Canadian pharmaceutical research. Most recently, Dr. Hayden was named one of the 50 Canadians born in the 20th century who have changed the world.
Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD
Senior Physician & Head of the Department of Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Executive Committee Member of UDN
Dr. Loscalzo is Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chairman of the Department of Medicine, and physician-in-chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Loscalzo received his A.B. degree, summa cum laude, his Ph.D. in biochemistry, and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His clinical training was completed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he served as Resident and Chief Resident in medicine and Fellow in cardiovascular medicine. Post-training, Dr. Loscalzo joined the Harvard faculty and staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1984. He rose to the rank of associate professor of Medicine, Chief of Cardiology at the West Roxbury Veterans Administration Medical Center, and director of the Center for Research in Thrombolysis at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He joined the faculty of Boston University in 1994, first as Chief of Cardiology and, in 1997, Wade Professor and Chair of Medicine, Professor of Biochemistry, and Director of the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute. He returned to Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2005. He currently serves on the board of directors of Leap Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company.
Rosanne Crooke, PhD
Founder of n-Lorem, Senior Strategic Advisor to Ionis Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Rosanne M. Crooke is a volunteer who will serve on the n-Lorem Board of Directors. Dr. Crooke received a B.A. degree in Biology at Williams College and Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is vice president of Cardiovascular Research at Ionis Pharmaceuticals and one of the founding members of the company. From 1989-2000, she managed a research group at Ionis and characterized the in vitro toxicological and pharmacokinetic parameters of antisense agents. For the past 19 years, she has been responsible for leading the cardiovascular, metabolic, renal research program at Ionis Pharmaceuticals. In this position, multiple drugs to treat cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases have been identified and advanced to the clinic. During her tenure at Ionis, she as authored more than 110 primary research manuscripts, reviews and book chapters, and is an inventor on more than 67 issued patents. She also serves on the board of the Deuel Lipid Conference and the Akcea Therapeutics Scientific Advisory board.
Lynne Parshall, Esq
Senior Strategic Advisor to Ionis Pharmaceuticals
Ms. Parshall has served on the Ionis board since September 2000 and as a senior strategic advisor to Ionis since January 2018. Previously she served as our chief operating officer from December 2007 through December 2017 and as chief financial officer from June 1994 through December 2012. She also served as Ionis’ corporate secretary through 2014 and has served with the company in various executive roles since November 1991. Prior to joining Ionis, Ms. Parshall practiced law at Cooley LLP, outside counsel to Ionis, where she was a partner from 1986 to 1991. Ms. Parshall is a member of the American and California bar associations. Ms. Parshall serves on the board of directors of Cytokinetcs Inc. and Akcea Therapeutics, Inc.
Spencer Berthelsen, MD
Former Managing Director & Chairman of the Board of the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic
Dr. Berthelsen has served as a Director of Ionis since May 2002. Since 1980, he has practiced Internal Medicine with the Kelsey Seybold Clinic, a 400-physician medical group based in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Dr. Berthelsen has served in various senior leadership positions at Kelsey Seybold, including chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, medical director and managing director. He served as chairman of their Board of Directors from October 2001 through April 2016. He has served as a clinical professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston. Dr. Berthelsen served on the board of the Texas Academy of Internal Medicine in the past and the Caremark National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee from 1999 through 2005.