Usman “Oz” Azam, MD
Most recently, Dr. Azam was the Head of the Cell & Gene Therapies Unit at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and was a member of the Pharmaceutical Executive Committee. He has an extensive US, Global and International pharmaceutical industry background, with strong experiences in science, clinical development, regulatory and commercial activities. While at Novartis, he lived and worked in the US and Switzerland. Previous roles at Novartis included Head of Global Medical Affairs & HEOR General Medicines, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of US Clinical Development & Medical Affairs and Global Head Regulatory Affairs for the Neurosciences & Ophthalmic Franchise.
Prior to Novartis, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Novaccel Therapeutics LLC, a company he founded focusing on accelerating assets in the translational medicine setting. Prior to this he served as Chief Medical Officer at Aspreva Pharmaceutics Inc, a company that focused on orphan and rare autoimmune disease states. Aspreva was acquired by Galenica SA in 2008. Prior to this he worked at Johnson & Johnson in Pharmaceutical Research & Development and in Medical Devices at Johnson & Johnson Ethicon. He started his life sciences career with Warner Lambert-Parke Davis in 1998. Dr. Azam is a member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Azam is a graduate of the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, where he completed undergraduate studies in Human Biology & Anatomy. He graduated from the University of Liverpool School of Medicine and attained board certification as an Obstetrician & Gynecologist in the UK.
Mr. Bell has over 30 years of global experience in finance, commercial operations, and strategy within the biopharmaceutical industry. During this period, he was instrumental in the execution of nearly 300 deals, from ideation to integration, including co-development, co-promotion, licensing, acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures.
Most recently, Mr. Bell was Chief Financial Officer and head of operations at the genome-editing company, Intellia Therapeutics. Previously, he served as Chief Financial Officer at Anacor Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw the financial aspects of its $5.6 billion acquisition by Pfizer, Inc. in June 2016. In addition, for more than 20 years, he held senior financial management positions at Merck & Co. Inc., including Chief Financial Officer of US operations and Chief Financial Officer of the UK business, where he was involved in manufacturing activities and product launches. While at Merck, he also led the company’s investor relations activities. Mr. Bell is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds an MBA from the University of Durham in the UK.
Mr. Christiano has nearly 20 years of corporate development and transactional experience in the life sciences industry, contributing to company-building efforts in both start-up biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies. During this period, he led the design and negotiation of transformative license and collaboration agreements, mergers and acquisitions, and early-stage equity investments in promising start-up companies.
Most recently, Mr. Christiano was Vice President and Head of Transactions in Global Business Development and Licensing (BD&L) at Novartis AG. Joining Novartis in 2010, he also held the Head of Transactions role for Novartis' Cell & Gene Therapies Unit and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. While at Novartis, Mr. Christiano played an instrumental role in establishing many strategically important and innovative transactions across Novartis' cell and gene portfolio, including alliances with the University of Pennsylvania (CAR-T) and Intellia Therapeutics (CRISPR). His transactions leadership was recognized through Novartis’ President’s, Innovation and Team awards. Prior to Novartis, he held a series of increasingly senior BD&L positions at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Takeda); AVEO Oncology, from its start-up to IPO; and as co-founder of Karyopharm Therapeutics. Mr. Christiano is a graduate of Virginia Tech and Cornell University.
Moji James, Esq.
Moji James has extensive global and diversified legal experience. During her more than 20 years practicing law, Ms. James has supported the development and commercialization of innovative drugs, biologics and vaccines. She most recently served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Iroko Pharmaceuticals, where she managed various functions including legal, compliance, human resources and corporate communications.
Prior to her appointment at Iroko, she was Global Product Counsel at Pfizer and before that was Senior Attorney at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now part of Pfizer). During her combined Wyeth-Pfizer tenure, she served as the primary business lawyer for several therapeutic areas, including transplant, neuroscience, and US vaccines. Before joining Wyeth, she was a litigator at major law firms including Shearman & Sterling in New York, focusing her practice on complex commercial and securities issues.
Ms. James has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Warwick University, England, Master of Laws degree from London University and is also a barrister at law. Ms. James is a Board member of Mental Health Partnerships and serves on its Governance committee. She is also a member of The Forum of Executive Women and a speaker on topics relating to the legal profession and life sciences industry.
Mr. Krentz has extensive technical leadership experience in the development and manufacturing of biologic and cell-based products at established and emerging pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Most recently, Mr. Krentz was Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Endo Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for biologic and specialty implant manufacturing, supply chain and process development operations. Prior to Endo, he was Vice President of Technical Operations and Head of CMC Project Management at Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, responsible for global manufacturing and supply chain, technical development and alliance management activities. Prior to joining Auxilium, Mr. Krentz was Head of Technical Operations at Tengion, a clinical stage developer of autologous regenerative medicine therapies.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Krentz worked at Centocor/Johnson & Johnson where he held positions of increasing responsibility in process technical support roles and was head of upstream manufacturing operations at a large-scale mammalian cell culture facility. He holds an MBA from St. Joseph’s University and a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan.