M. (Ken) Kengatharan, PhD, MBA
President & CEO (Interim)
Dr. M. (Ken) Kengatharan is currently a co-founder, President and Co-CEO of Armetheon, Inc. He is the former President & CSO and a co-founder of Altheos, Inc., and a co-founder and former Vice President, Pre-Clinical R&D of Athenagen, Inc. (re-named CoMentis, Inc), all three biopharmaceutical companies are based in San Francisco bay area.
Since 2000, Dr. Kengatharan has been critical to the development of multiple drug candidates (NCEs and re-purposed drugs) from concept to Phase II. Since setting-up his first company in the late 1990s, Dr. Kengatharan has been instrumental in raising more than $160MM in private equity for 6 start-up companies. He is also a founder and General Partner at Atheneos Capital, a San Francisco bay area-based evergreen healthcare incubator fund.
In 2004, Dr. Kengatharan co-founded Athenagen, Inc. (re-named CoMentis, Inc.), which in 2008 completed a licensing and drug development collaboration deal with Astellas Pharmaceutical worth $760+ MM, with an upfront payment of $100MM. He joined the company as its Vice-President of Pre-Clinical Research and Development and then became Vice-President of Translational Research and Scientific Affairs. Prior to joining CoMentis, he was a staff scientist in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University, where he continued his affiliation as a visiting scientist until June 2013. Dr. Kengatharan has also served as Director of Corporate Development (from initial stage), and later, Vice President of Pre-Clinical R&D at OxoN Medica Inc., where he spearheaded pre-clinical drug development as well as R&D operations. He is currently a member of the board of directors at Armetheon, Inc., a mentor at SPIRE Ventures, an advisor to Stanford’s SPARK program, a technology translation project for biotech ideas, since it was founded in 2006. Previously, he was a board observer at CoMentis, Inc., and Altheos, Inc. and has served on the boards of EPi3 (UK) Ltd, Athenagen, Inc., and Altheos, Inc., and as a member of the advisory board of Cardinal Free Clinics at Stanford University School of Medicine. In addition, he has been a mentor at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF Entrepreneurship Center) and a panel judge for the Stanford GSB’s Ignite Program (Palo Alto).
Dr. Kengatharan obtained his PhD in pharmacology from the University of London at the William Harvey Research Institute under the supervision of Nobel laureate Sir John Vane and Professor Christoph Thiemermann. Thereafter, he held a post-doctoral position at the same institute under the supervision of Professor Erik Änggård as a recipient of a British Heart Foundation Fellowship. He obtained his MBA (with Distinction) from Durham University in England, where he focused on Biotech Finance and Entrepreneurship.
Detlef Albrecht, MD
Chief Medical Officer and Head of Drug Development
Dr. Albrecht has over 22 years of experience in building organizations and managing R&D portfolios in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He has played a key role in gaining approvals for products in Urology, Oncology, Pain Management and CNS Diseases in the US, Europe and Canada. Additionally, he has led or co-led the raising of over $200 Million in private and public equity and non-equity financings for several companies.
Over the past 10 years, Dr. Albrecht has led the development of several therapeutic agents for cardiovascular and renal diseases. Prior to joining Armetheon, Dr. Albrecht was President and CEO of Sorbent Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for heart failure and chronic kidney disease patients. Before that, he built and ran the R&D organization at Ilypsa (acquired by Amgen in 2007 for $420 million), where he led the development of bixalomer (Kiklin®), a phosphate binder for treatment of hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients. Dr. Albrecht is co-founder of Relypsa where he led the development of patiromer, a potassium binder for the treatment of hyperkalemia in patients with chronic kidney disease or heart failure. Between 1992 and 2004, he led or co-led development teams at Schwarz Pharma and ALZA that achieved two US NDAs, three supplemental US NDAs, and five EU Market Authorizations for products including Edex®, Duragesic®, Ditropan XL®, Doxil®, and Concerta. Dr. Albrecht began his medical career as a practicing physician specializing in urology and he holds both medical and doctorate degrees from the Rheinisch Westfaelische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) University in Aachen, Germany.
Chief Financial Officer (Interim)
John is a partner at FLG Partners and he is serving as Interim CFO for Armetheon. John has over 30 years of business experience working with both public and private companies. His primary interest and experience is with start-up and emerging growth biopharma and high technology companies. He has worked with a multitude of companies both as CFO, and as an external Audit Partner while at Ernst & Young, LLP.
John joined FLG in 2005 and served on the firm’s Management Committee from 2013-2016. Prior to becoming a partner at FLG, John was the CFO for Fast Track Systems, a privately-held web-based software and data company providing clinical trial services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, which was later acquired by Medidata Solutions. Previously, as Chief Financial Officer of Argonaut Technologies, John was recruited to file the Company’s S-1 registration statement and to represent the Company during the investor road show. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer of Beacon Diagnostics, a diagnostics company. He is a Certified Public Accountant and spent approximately half of his career with Ernst & Young, LLP. He began his career at Alza Corporation, a publicly traded drug delivery systems company.
John holds a BS degree in Business Administration (Accounting) from California State University, San Jose, and is an inactive Certified Public Accountant in California. In June 2005, John attended the Stanford University School of Law, Directors’ College.
Pascal Druzgala, PharmD, PhD
Senior Vice President, Research & Development
Pascal is a co-founder of Armetheon, where he serves as Senior Vice President, Research & Development. He is in charge of all discovery programs. Pascal is also a co-founder and board member of Optivia Biotechnology, and a co-founder of ARYx Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ARYX), where he served as senior VP and CSO from 1997 to 2011 as well as chairman of the scientific advisory board.
Dr. Druzgala received a Pharm.D. degree in 1978 from the University of Montpellier, France, and then went on to earn a diplôme d’études approfondies degree (DEA) at the European Institute of Industrial Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPIM), also in Montpellier, France. Dr. Druzgala later graduated in 1985 from the University of Florida with a doctorate in medicinal chemistry. He completed his post-doctorate work at the Center for Drug Design and Discovery at the University of Florida, where he first experimented with various drug discovery programs utilizing retrometabolic techniques. These techniques, pioneered by Dr. Nicholas Bodor in the late 1970s, are the basis for the research into enhanced safety for Armetheon’s clinical-stage drug candidate: tecarfarin.
Vice President, Product Development
Andrew Lam is currently Vice President of Product Development at Armetheon, where he leads the CMC development and pharmaceutical operations. Prior to joining Armetheon, Andrew has more than 24 years of experience in pharmaceutical product development, with a primary focus in the development of controlled release products.
Prior to Exelixis, Andrew served as Senior Director of Liquid OROS® Technology Development at ALZA, a Johnson & Johnson company, where he developed the liquid delivery technology for poorly soluble compounds and advanced a number of new molecular entities to human studies. During his tenure at ALZA, Andrew held numerous positions in pharmaceutics research, formulation, process scale-up and development, and served as project team leader for the development of three commercialized products from early compound development to product launch. Andrew received the 2002 Johnson Medal, the most distinguished award at Johnson & Johnson, for development of CONCERTA®, a multi-billion dollar product for attention deficit hyperactive disorder. As pharmaceutical development leader, Andrew filed 29 INDs, 3 NDAs, 2 MAAs and 1 JNDA, and managed the post-approval changes of marketed products.
Andrew is an inventor on 20 issued US patents and 4 additional US published patent applications. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Davis.
Elizabeth A. Ahrens, JD
General Counsel and Vice President, Legal
Elizabeth A. Ahrens, Esq. is currently General Counsel/Vice President, Legal of Armetheon, Inc. Ms. Ahrens brings a wide variety of legal, medical, and business experience to her role at Armetheon. Ms. Ahrens is an attorney specializing in providing legal services to clients in the areas of biomedical and pharmaceutical investment, healthcare, corporate, small business, and real estate law.
In addition to these practice areas, she has previously served as in-house corporate counsel to a real estate investment company specializing in alternative investments.
Prior to her work as an attorney, Ms. Ahrens worked extensively in the health care sector, particularly in the orthopedic, sports medicine, and physical therapy practice areas. As a Certified Athletic Trainer, Ms. Ahrens provided sports medicine and rehabilitation services in the clinic, university, and high school settings in addition to management duties. These duties included establishing and implementing HIPAA record keeping, review, and audit procedures for orthopedic practices and physical therapy clinics after the passage of HIPAA by Congress in 1996. Ms. Ahrens served as Chief Financial Officer of a privately held Cincinnati physical therapy practice and was actively involved in all details of its expansion in the area. Ms. Ahrens also was a Host Athletic Trainer for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four held in Cincinnati in 1997.
Ms. Ahrens holds a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati, a M.A. in Theology from the Athenaeum of Ohio, and a B.A. in Communication Arts from Mount St. Joseph University.