Management Team

Management Team

Stephen J. Russell MD PhD, Founder, Director, CEO & President

Dr. Russell is a Professor of Molecular Medicine, Consultant Hematologist at Mayo Clinic Rochester and serves on the Board of Trustees of Buena Vista University, Iowa. He was formerly the Dean for Discovery and Experimental Research at Mayo Clinic. He obtained his MD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and his PhD from the University of London, England. He trained at University College Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, then moved to Cambridge, England where he led a research team in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, founded Cambridge Genetics, a biotechnology/drug discovery company that succeeded through a series of mergers, and was a practicing consultant hematologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. In 1998 he moved to Mayo Clinic where he chaired the Department of Molecular Medicine, built a comprehensive translational gene and virus therapy program, developed innovative technologies for targeting viruses to cancer cells, and orchestrated the first-in-human testing of oncolytic Measles and Vesicular stomatitis viruses.

Glen Barber PhD, Founder and Director

Dr. Barber is presently Chair and Professor of the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida, as well as Associate Director for Basic Research at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (SCCC). He received his PhD from the University of London and Porton Down and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of Tokyo, Japan. He became Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Winship Cancer Center at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, prior to joining the University of Miami in 1999. Dr. Barber is a leader in the field of oncolytic viral therapies and has pioneered several discoveries related to understanding mechanisms of host defense and innate immunity.

Jim Hannon, Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Hannon is an experienced senior executive with extensive general and financial management experience in business operations, acquisition, divestiture and capital structuring. Industry experience includes biotechnology, biomedical, printing, manufacturing, distribution and alternative energies. Mr. Hannon received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and Accounting from the University of St. Thomas in 1973 and Masters of Science in Management from the Stanford Sloan Graduate School of Business in 1984. Mr. Hannon is also the Private Equity Manager for Quinstar Investment Partners.

Alice S. Bexon, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Bexon brings to Vyriad more than 20 years of management experience in clinical development of biopharmaceuticals, including management of multi-site clinical trials and FDA approval of lead assets. Prior to joining Vyriad, Dr. Bexon founded Bexon Clinical Consulting, which provides clinical development support to the pharma and biotech industries. Previously, Dr. Bexon was Vice President of Clinical Development of Idera Pharmaceuticals, from 2007-2009.  From 2001-2006, she held a number of positions of increasing responsibility at Roche Oncology, including serving as a key member of the clinical development and life cycle team responsible for Xeloda®.  Dr. Bexon earned her medical degree from Bristol University Medical School in the United Kingdom and her oncology diploma at the Institut Gustave Roussy in France.

Shruthi Naik PhD, Founder and VP, Comparative Oncology

Dr. Naik is a researcher in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic. She has extensive knowledge and experience developing VSV based technologies, having both designed and developed products currently in clinical development. Dr. Naik has successfully implemented and coordinated innovative and collaborative approaches to facilitate clinical translation of novel cancer therapies, building strong multi-institutional teams and infrastructures to optimize the process of clinical drug development. She holds degrees in Molecular Biology and Economics & Finance, and received her PhD from Mayo Graduate School.

Kah Whye Peng PhD, Founder and Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Peng is Professor of Oncology and Director of the Pharmacology and Toxicology Laboratory in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic. She is a Council Member of the International Society of Cell and Gene Therapy and serves on NIH grant review panels. She obtained her BSc degree (First Class Honors) in Zoology from the National University of Singapore and her PhD degree in Gene Therapy from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on the development of new technologies that can be applied for targeting, monitoring and enhancing the potency of novel cell, gene and virus-based anticancer therapies, and to advance the most promising technologies to clinical testing.

Titus Plattel, MSc., MBA, Chief Operating Officer

Titus Plattel, MSc., MBA is our chief operating officer responsible for the operations of our company, in overseeing key business functions like manufacturing, clinical operations, business and corporate development. Titus has been working over 25 years in global life science companies giving him a broad experience in all facets of drug development and commercialization of innovative therapies across different therapeutic areas. His passion is to develop novel therapeutics, with a strong focus in oncology and immunology, to address the high unmet clinical needs that challenge these patients. His professional experience spans key functions of drug development, varying from program management to portfolio analyses, building market knowledge through applying market research and gaining insights through competitive intelligence to the implementation of market conditioning programs in a prelaunch setting to the final product launch by all sales and marketing functions involved. Titus career started in the Netherlands in sales functions, and transferred via a domestic launch responsibility for Neupogen/Amgen in the USA to preparing for an international product launch in chronic plaque psoriasis for Biogen in Paris. The opportunity to globally launch Amevive brought him to Biogen in Cambridge (MA), where he also worked on the in-licensing of tecfidera.  His next career move brought him to the emerging biotech ventures where he held executive and management roles at Therion Biologics, Tolerx and Bavarian Nordic, combining product development roles and commercialization responsibilities. At Bavarian Nordic he has full responsibility for the commercial due diligence in successful out-licensing of PROSTVAC to BMS a deal worth close to $1B. Recently, Titus worked as COO, CBO for emerging life sciences companies. Titus received his MBA from Pepperdine University and his MSc from the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.