Board of Directors
Garry A. Neil, MD
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Neil serves as Chief Executive Officer at Avalo Therapeutics (formerly Cerecor, Inc.), a publicly held biotechnology company since February 2022. Prior to that, Dr. Neil was Senior Scientific Adviser and Chief Scientific Officer at Avalo since Avalo’s February 2020 merger with Aevi Genomic Medicine, Inc., a biotechnology company where Dr. Neil had served as Chief Scientific Officer from September 2013 to February 2020. Prior to joining Aevi, Dr. Neil was a Partner at Apple Tree Partners, a life science private equity firm, from September 2012 to September 2013, and held a number of senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry, including most recently Corporate VP of Science & Technology at Johnson & Johnson from November 2007 to August 2012. Prior to these roles, Dr. Neil served as Group President at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, VP of R&D at Merck KGaA/EMD Pharmaceuticals, and VP of Clinical Research at AstraZeneca and Astra Merck. Dr. Neil serves on the board of directors of Celldex Therapeuics. He also serves on the board of directors of Zura Bio Limited. Dr. Neil served on the board of directors of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since February 2017 and as its Chair since February 2021 until it was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in March 2022. He has previously served on the board of GTx, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. He is a member of the board of the Center for Discovery and Innovation of the Hackensack Meridian Medical School in Hackensack, N and is the Founding Chairman of TransCelerate Biopharma, Inc., a non-profit pharmaceuticals industry R&D consortium, and is a past member of the TransCelerate Board. He served on the board of Reagan Udall Foundation for the FDA from 2007 – 2021, the board of Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 2010 – 2012 and on the Science Management Review Board of the NIH from 2010 - 2012. Dr. Neil is also the past Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) Science and Regulatory Executive Committee and the PhRMA Foundation Board. Dr. Neil holds a B.S. from the University of Saskatchewan and an M.D. from the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He completed postdoctoral clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Neil also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic.
June Almenoff, MD, PhD
June Almenoff M.D., Ph.D., is an accomplished biopharma executive with close to 25 years of leadership experience. She brings expertise in R&D, commercialization, and executive leadership to this role. Dr. Almenoff served as President and Chief Medical Officer of Furiex Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Actavis for $1.2B. Furiex developed eluxadoline (Viberzi®), which was approved both in the United States and Europe. Prior to joining Furiex, Dr. Almenoff was at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for 12 years, where she held various positions of increasing responsibility.
Dr. Almenoff is currently Chief Medical Officer at RedHill Biopharma Ltd (Nasdaq: RDHL), where she serves on the commercial executive team. She has deep expertise in many therapeutic and development areas having led or contributed to numerous submissions, product approvals and launches. Dr. Almenoff is on the investment advisory board of the Harrington Discovery Institute, a private venture philanthropy. She serves as a Board Director to Brainstorm Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCLI) and Tenax Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: TENX). She previously served as a Board Director to Tigenix, which was acquired by Takeda, Kurome Therapeutics, RDD Pharma (Chair), and Furiex Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Almenoff received her B.A. cum laude from Smith College and graduated with AOA honors from the M.D.-Ph.D. program at the Icahn (Mt. Sinai) School of Medicine. She completed post-graduate medical training at Stanford University Medical Center and served on the faculty of Duke University School of Medicine. She is an adjunct Professor at Duke, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP) and has authored over 60 publications.
Mitchell Chan has more than 15 years of finance experience in the life sciences industry. Mr. Chan was previously the Chief Financial Officer at Viela Bio, where he was instrumental in supporting the company through capital raises with leading global healthcare investors. While at Viela Bio, he successfully raised over $750 million including an initial public offering in 2019. In 2021, he also led a merger transaction whereby Viela Bio was acquired by Horizon Therapeutics for $3.1 billion. Prior to Viela Bio, Mr. Chan served as the Director of Investor Relations for AstraZeneca, North America. Mr. Chan also held several roles of increasing responsibility at Genentech-Roche including in BioOncology Commercial Finance, R&D Finance, and Mergers & Acquisitions. Mr. Chan is the recipient of Executive Certifications from Stanford University, University of California (Haas), and University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) and earned his BSc in Biochemistry, MSc in Medical Biophysics, and MBA (Rotman School of Management) from the University of Toronto.
Gilla Kaplan, PhD
Dr. Kaplan is recognized as an authority on various aspects of the host immune response to mycobacterial pathogens, including the causative agents of leprosy and tuberculosis. Most recently, she was the Director of the Global Health Tuberculosis program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF; January 2014 - April 2018). Her scientific work has encompassed developing a deep, holistic understanding of the cellular immune response and how to harness it for host adjunctive therapies. She spent her career as an academic research scientist leading her laboratory in investigations focusing on human disease control. Building on her research experience at Rockefeller University in New York City (for 20 years) and then at the Public Health Research Institute Center at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark (for 10 years), she led the reshaping of the TB program at the BMGF. Dr. Kaplan is the recipient of multiple grants from the NIH-NIAID and other funding organizations for her research. Dr. Kaplan served on the Board of Directors at Celgene from 1998 to 2018 and is currently a member of Tyra Biosciences, Inc.’s Board of Directors. Dr. Kaplan received her BSc from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, and her MSc and PhD from Tromso University Norway. Dr. Kaplan was appointed as an independent director to the Avalo Board in October 2020.
Magnus Persson, MD, PhD
Dr. Persson has served as lead independent director since November 2021 and as an independent director with Avalo since August 2012. Dr. Persson is currently serving as CEO of Karolinska Institutet Holding AB in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served as an Associate Professor in Physiology at Karolinska Institutet since September 1994. Dr. Persson has served as a practicing pediatrician at CityAkuten in Stockholm, Sweden, since December 2012. Dr. Persson served as a Partner at HealthCap, a Swedish-based venture capital firm (January 2008 - December 2009), and as a Managing Partner at The Column Group, a San Francisco–based venture capital firm (January 2010 - November 2011). Dr. Persson co-founded Aerocrine AB, a medical technology company, in 1994. Dr. Persson has also served on the boards of Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB, a technology transfer company, since December 2011; Galecto AB, a biotechnology company, since January 2013; AscendxSpine Inc., a medical device company, since December 2012; SLS Ventures AB, a life science venture capital firm, since March 2012; Karolinska Institutet Information AB, a healthcare IT-software company, since October 2015; Immunicum AB, a biotechnology company, since December 2015; and Albumedix AS, a biotechnology company, since January 2016. Dr. Persson received his MD and PhD in Physiology from Karolinska Institutet.