Advancing a class on top of statins
World Class Leadership
Management Team
Mina Sooch President and Chief Executive Officer
Mina Sooch

MBA

Mina Sooch, MBA, serves as our President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Gemphire Therapeutics, she served from 2012 to 2014 as the CEO of ProNAi (NASDAQ:DNAI), a clinical-stage oncology company, and a board director from its founding in 2004 through 2014. At ProNAi, Ms. Sooch pioneered a new drug modality, DNAi, led the execution of Phase I and II trials on PNT2258 (a novel bcl2 targeted drug candidate) and raised over $70M in Series C and D financing from top tier institutional investors. The last round of $60M was the largest VC financing ever in Michigan’s history. Prior to her operating role, she has spent over a decade in life sciences venture capital through founding of Apjohn Ventures and also as EIR at Northcoast Technology Investors. As a VC, she led the sourcing and evaluation of deals across therapeutic areas, the investment terms and syndication, the governance, the follow-on financings totaling over $300M, and the exits of several life sciences companies. Also, she co-founded three start-ups (Afmedica, ProNAi, and Nephrion/Cytopherx). Notable exits from the Apjohn portfolio include the acquisition of ZyStor by BioMarin(NASDAQ:BMRN) in 2010, the acquisition of Afmedica by Angiotech Pharmaceuticals in 2005, and the product acquisition from Ikano by Upsher-Smith in 2010. Ms. Sooch has served on over 10 private, public, and VC industry boards including ProNAi, ZyStor, Asterand, Cytopherx, Svelte, Wolverine Venture Fund, and Michigan Venture Capital Association. Earlier in her career from 1993-2000, she served as global account manager at Monitor Group, a top tier global strategy consulting firm based in Boston. In 1995, she worked on the multi-billion Pharmacia & Upjohn merger. Mina received a MBA from Harvard Business School in 1993. She graduated summa cum laude and commencement speaker from Wayne State University in 1989 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

Jeff Mathiesen Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Mathiesen

CPA

Jeff Mathiesen serves as our Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining Gemphire Therapeutics, he served as CFO of Sunshine Heart, Inc., leading the medical device company through its transition from the Australian capital markets to the U.S., which included a successful IPO and equity financings totaling approximately $100 million. Mr. Mathiesen has more than 20 years of experience as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of publicly traded companies, including two successful initial public offerings (IPOs). His experience encompasses a variety of highly competitive, technology based industries in organizations with global reach and includes several M&A transactions, divestitures, organizational development and equity and debt financing. He began his career at Deloitte. Mr. Mathiesen also serves as Director and Audit Committee Chair of Sun BioPharma, Inc. a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for pancreatic diseases. Mr. Mathiesen graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota with a B.S. degree in Accounting.

Charles Bisgaier Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder
Charles Bisgaier

PhD

Dr. Bisgaier serves as our Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer. From 1990 to 1998, Dr. Bisgaier was an Associate Research Fellow in the Department of Vascular and Cardiac Disease at Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis. There he participated in the discovery and/or development of gemfibrozil (LOPID®), atorvastatin (LIPITOR®) and gemcabene (AKA CI-1027 and PD 72953). Subsequently, Dr. Bisgaier co-founded the first Esperion Therapeutics (1998- 2004), which was then acquired by Pfizer. At Pfizer he then served as the Senior Director of Pharmacology at the Esperion Division of Pfizer Global Research and Development. Notably, he was a major influence in the discovery, research and/or development of many small molecules with potential utility for metabolic syndrome including ETC-1002 (AKA ESP 55016) which was licensed by the new Esperion (NASDAQ: ESPR) from Pfizer, as well as HDL-therapy product candidates, such as ApoA-I Milano (ETC-216) which was also licensed by The Medicines Company (NASDAQ: MDCO) from Pfizer. After Pfizer, he served as a Company Director, Board Member and President of Pipex Pharmaceuticals (2006-2008, currently known as Synthetic Biologics, NYSE: SYN), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing fibrotic and neurological disease therapies, that included a treatment for Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Both Pipex Pharmaceuticals and the first Esperion Therapeutics became public companies through a reverse-merger and an initial public offering (IPO), respectively during Dr. Bisgaier's tenure. He is also a co-founder of Michigan Life Therapeutics (predecessor to Gemphire) and Michigan Life Ventures. In addition, he is currently a Board member at Hygieia, Inc., a company that has developed a novel handheld medical device to assist diabetics to determine appropriate dosage when self-administering insulin, and a Board member at BioSavita Inc., a company that has developed a novel platform technology for protein expression in yeast. He also has served as a Board member (2009-2014) and President and CEO (2010-2011) of ProNAi Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNAI). Currently, Dr. Bisgaier is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. He received a B.A. in Biology from the State University College at Oneonta, NY (1974), and a M.S.(1977) and Ph.D. (1981) in biochemistry from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. After receiving his doctorate, he studied lipoprotein metabolism within the Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) for atherosclerosis at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY.

Lee Golden Chief Medical Officer
Lee Golden

MD

Dr. Golden has over 20 years of clinical and industry experience. He has held several roles with increasing responsibilities within the pharmaceutical industry since beginning his career with Pfizer, Inc. His experience includes Medical Affairs, Clinical Development and Business Development, for market leading therapeutics within primary care and orphan indications. At Pfizer, in addition to working on the Global atherosclerosis team and overseeing several large global cardiovascular trials, he was the US Medical Team Leader during the filing and launch of several products. After leaving Pfizer, Dr. Golden broadened his experience with responsibility for leading medical teams in Cardiopulmonary, GI and CNS therapeutic areas. During his time at Actelion he oversaw multiple products and trials in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and was involved with design and oversight of several other pulmonary related diseases. In his previous role at Eisai Inc. he was the Therapeutic Area Head for Cardiovascular and Blood Disorders where he was responsible for leading global development teams from discovery through NDA/MAA approvals.

Dr. Golden was most recently the Therapeutic Area Head for CV, Pulmonary and CNS at Mesoblast, Ltd., a global regenerative medicine company. His was responsible for overseeing the strategic planning, implementation and execution from preclinical through registration across multiple indications. He championed regulatory interactions that led to the first global phase 3 cardiovascular program with allogeneic stem cells in patients with congestive heart failure.

Dr. Golden earned his MD degree from New York University School of Medicine. After his Internal Medicine Residency at New York University Medical Center, he completed fellowships in Cardiology, At University of Miami Health Center, and Interventional Cardiology, at George Washington University Hospital. While at George Washington University Hospital, Dr. Golden also held the position of Adjunct Instructor.

Seth Reno Chief Commercial Officer
David Lowenschuss

MBA

Mr. Reno serves as our Chief Commercial Officer and has over 25 years of experience in the Bio-Pharmaceutical industry. He has extensive experience in building commercial capabilities to successfully commercialize both small and large molecules across a range of therapeutic areas including the cardiovascular market. Prior to joining Gemphire, he spent five years at Medimmune building commercial teams and capabilities that focused on launching complex biologics such as Mylept and Lynparza with orphan designation status into rare disease markets. As Medimmune’s Head of Commercial Operations he was responsible for leading core business functions across: Sales Operations, Marketing Operations, Market Research, Fleet Services, Sales Training, Commercial Insight, Advanced Analytics and Forecasting. Mr. Reno spent ten years at AstraZenca across a number of roles in Sales, Commercial Operations, Managed Markets and Brand Team. He led the Commercial Insight’s team for the dyslipidemia franchise, most notably the successful launch of Crestor’s atherosclerosis indication. He also led the insight work for several mixed dyslipidemia fixed dose combinations in development with industry partners. Prior to Joining AstraZeneca in 2001, Mr. Reno Spent eleven years at Wyeth in commercial operations and sales account management successfully building B2B relationships across Federal, Trade, Military and Commercial accounts. Mr. Reno holds a B.S. in Human Resources from University of Delaware and a MBA from Strayer University.

Daniela Oniciu Vice President of Preclinical R&D and Manufacturing
Daniela Oniciu

PhD

Dr. Oniciu serves as our VP of Preclinical R&D and Manufacturing. Dr. Oniciu has more than 30 years of experience in chemical research, with her last sixteen years dedicated to pharmaceutical research and development in various therapeutic areas including: cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and cholesterol management, neuroprotective drug analogs, prodrugs and chemical delivery systems. Most recently she has focused on preclinical R&D and CMC related regulatory affairs for pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals that span small molecules. Prior to that, Dr. Oniciu was appointed as Senior Director of Chemistry at Cerenis Therapeutics Holding SA, a French biotech dedicated to the development of novel HDL therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. At Cerenis, Dr. Oniciu participated in the financing of the company with top tier investors, leading to €92M out of the total of €117M in equity raised by Cerenis. Prior to joining Cerenis, Dr. Oniciu was Senior Director of Chemical R&D at Esperion Therapeutics Inc., where she was a co-inventor of small molecule drug candidates including ETC-1002, and served as co-chair of the preclinical research team. Following the acquisition of Esperion by Pfizer Inc., Dr. Oniciu served as Associate Director of Chemistry at Pfizer. Prior to joining Esperion in 2001, Dr. Oniciu was co-founder of a custom research organization, Alchem Laboratories Corporation, one of the first CROs in the United States, specialized in drug design and process development support for the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, Dr. Oniciu is Courtesy Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florida at Gainesville since 2004. Dr. Oniciu holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest (Romania), and a M.S. in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the same University.

Rebecca Bakker-Arkema Vice President of Drug and Clinical Development
Rebecca Bakker-Arkema

RPh, MS, FAHA

Rebecca Bakker-Arkema serves as our VP of Drug and Clinical Development. Rebecca has worked in pharmaceutical development for over 25 years, starting her clinical career as a Clinical Scientist and then Director in Clinical Development at Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis. She was primarily involved with the clinical development program for atorvastatin (LIPITOR®) with responsibility for several studies from Phase 2 through Phase 3b as well as the Integrated Summary of Safety. Following acquisition by Pfizer Rebecca was Director of Exploratory Clinical Development responsible for several early stage compounds including gemcabene (AKA CI-1027 and PD 72953). When Rebecca left Pfizer in 2007 she was the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Translational Medicine Site Head, overseeing the early development and biomarker work on a portfolio of early stage compounds cardiovascular/metabolic disease discovered in Ann Arbor. Rebecca has been a consultant over the past 9 years working for several large companies (Medical Diagnostics, GE Healthcare) as well as several small biotech companies (Senior Director of Clinical Research at Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc). She was most recently Vice-President of Clinical Development at AlphaCore Pharma, LCC which was acquired by MedImmune/Astrazeneca in 2012. Rebecca has over 50 publications in peer reviewed journals and scientific presentations, is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, and is an adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Pharmacy. Rebecca earned a pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan in the School of Public Health. She is a registered Pharmacist in Kansas and Michigan.

Liz Masson Vice President of Clinical Operations
Liz Masson

B.A.

Liz Masson serves as our Vice President of Clinical Operations. Prior to that, she held several progressive management roles in clinical operations, specifically site development, CRO oversight and rescue work. Responsible for strategic and operational development activities, Liz has a passion for growing and developing highly engaged teams and assuring the highest standards for program execution. As a clinical entrepreneur, Liz started Clinical Minds, a specialty consulting firm committed to provide small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies relevant and decisive guidance. Liz received her B.A. in Leadership and Organizational Management from Bay Path College.

Amy Rabourn Director of Finance
Amy Rabourn

MAcc, CPA

Ms. Rabourn serves as our Director of Finance. Ms. Rabourn is a Finance professional with 13 years of Finance and Accounting experience including experience in the pharmaceutical industry. In her most recent role, she was the Controller at a VC backed software company with revenues of $25 million. In a prior role, she was Interim Finance Manager for a non-profit with revenues of $10 million that managed sarcoma clinical trials. Since leaving the non-profit, she has served on their Finance Committee. Prior to that, she worked in Finance at Pfizer where she performed budgeting and forecasting for research and development projects. She also has the public accounting experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP where she worked in the audit practice. Ms. Rabourn holds a MAcc (Master of Accounting) and BBA with concentration in Finance and Accounting from University of Michigan.