Benjamin Yerxa, PhD
Dr. Yerxa is President and co-founder of Envisia Therapeutics, a spin out of Liquidia Technologies. Previously, he was the Chief Scientific Officer for both Liquidia and Envisia and joined Liquidia from Clearside Biomedical. Prior to Clearside, Dr. Yerxa was the Executive Vice President and Chief, Research & Development of Inspire Pharmaceuticals, a top ranked publicly traded biotech company acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. During his time at Inspire, Dr. Yerxa helped the company build and commercialize a portfolio of innovative new products and was part of the senior management team through multiple rounds of financing, including the company’s initial public offering (ISPH). Throughout his 25-year career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, Dr. Yerxa has been involved with the discovery and development of several investigational new drugs, phase 3 clinical programs, new drug applications and drug approvals. He is an inventor of DIQUAS™, an innovative treatment for dry eye approved in Japan. His experience spans a variety of therapeutic areas including ophthalmology, pulmonary, cardiovascular and HIV. Dr. Yerxa has more than 50 U.S. patents to his name, led a variety of licensing deals including technology transfers and manufacturing agreements, and has built several R&D and corporate functions from inception. Dr. Yerxa serves on the board of directors of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and Sharefish.
Mr. William Yelle has over 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry, including positions in executive management, corporate and business development, strategic planning, portfolio management, commercial operations and R&D. Most recently, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Aldea Pharmaceuticals, where he built an executive team, completed a successful Series B financing and brought two programs into the clinic. Prior to Aldea, Yelle was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Sepracor Inc.). While at Sepracor, he was instrumental in the company’s transition from an early stage clinical organization into a fully integrated pharmaceutical company, and its sale to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, Co., Ltd. for $2.6 billion in 2009. Prior to joining Sepracor in 1995, Yelle held positions of increasing responsibility in Pfizer Inc.’s U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group. Yelle received an M.B.A. from Columbia University, a M.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Linsley has more than 20 years financial and life science investment experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Envisia, Mr. Linsley was a managing partner at Pappas Ventures in Durham, NC where he was directly responsible for investments that led to several very successful acquisitions and initial public offerings. Before Pappas, he served as Chief Financial Officer of TriPath Imaging, Inc. (Nasdaq: TPTH), a medical device company later acquired by Becton, Dickinson and Company. He also played a key role in facilitating the three-way merger between AutoCyte, Inc., NeoPath (Nasdaq: NPTH) and Neuromedical Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: NSIX) to form TriPath Imaging, Inc., following his successful facilitation of a public stock offering of AutoCyte two years earlier. Mr. Linsley also worked as an investment professional with Ampersand Capital, where he held several management positions in operating and financial roles for various industrial products and life sciences companies. Early in his career, he served as a management consultant with Bain & Co. and McKinsey & Co., and was a Certified Public Accountant with Arthur Andersen LLP.
Tomas Navratil, PhD
Senior Vice President, Development
Dr. Navratil is Senior Vice President of Development and oversees nonclinical and clinical development and pharmaceutical sciences at Envisia. Previously, Dr. Navratil was Vice President of Development at Liquidia and Envisia, and was a member of Envisia founding team. He joined Liquidia from Parion Sciences where he served as Executive Director of Clinical Research and Product Development. Prior to Parion, Dr. Navratil served in director-level positions in drug discovery, clinical development, and medical affairs divisions of Inspire Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Navratil has been involved with the discovery and development of new chemical entities, novel medical devices focused on improved drug delivery, phase 1-4 clinical programs, and regulatory submissions to US FDA and EMA. Dr. Navratil’s therapeutic area experience encompasses ophthalmology, pulmonary, cardiovascular, infectious diseases, and oral health. Dr. Navratil is originally from Prague, Czech Republic and serves on the Advisory Board of the Chemistry Department at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Stacey Pittman MPM
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Stacey Pittman has more than 25 years of experience working in clinical operations within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries with approximately 15 years focused on the ophthalmology therapeutic area. Prior to Envisia, Stacey was Vice President Clinical Operations at Neurotech Pharmaceuticals where she focused on conducting their Phase I/II studies. Prior to Neurotech, she worked at Allergan Inc. as Director of Clinical Operations where she conducted many studies spanning several ophthalmic indications of glaucoma, ocular pain and inflammation, miebomian gland dysfunction, dry eye, and ocular infections. Her relationship with Allergan span over 13 years starting as a consultant focusing on conducting successful of phase 1-3b clinical studies. After several years of working on clinical trials, she moved into supporting in the Quality and Training group for the development of standard operating procedures and conducted training globally for the research and development group. Following years of consulting, Stacey expanded her business into her own contract research organization (CRO) which was soon listed in the top 100 fastest growing businesses by INC magazine and conducted Phase I – 4 studies. Several pivotal studies were completed to achieve timely as well as high quality data for NDA submissions which lead to their rapid approval. After graduating with her Masters Degree in Project Management, Stacey began her career working for Pfizer, Inc. tracking new drug applications and then worked as Director Project Management for several major CROs such as Quintiles and PAREXEL.