Frank Litvack M.D., FACC
Dr. Litvack joined the Capricor, Inc. board in 2012 and since November 2013 has been serving as the Company’s Executive Chairman. Dr. Litvack is a native of Canada. He completed medical school and residency at McGill University in Montreal and a Cardiovascular Fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he subsequently became co-director of the Cardiovascular Intervention Center and Professor of Medicine at UCLA. There he led a prominent clinical and research program known for its excellence in innovation, care, and leadership in Translational Medicine. Dr. Litvack was board-certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Interventional Cardiology. He has published more than one hundred research articles and chapters and is the recipient of several awards, including an American Heart Association Young Investigator Award, the Leon Goldman Medical Excellence Award for contributions to the field of biomedical optics, and the United States Space Technology and Space Foundation Hall of Fame for pioneering work with the excimer laser. Dr. Litvack left full-time practice and academics in 2000 to concentrate on entrepreneurial activities. Dr. Litvack has founded and operated several healthcare ventures, both as chairman and/or chief executive officer, including Progressive Angioplasty Systems Inc., a medical device company that was acquired by United States Surgical Corp. in 1998; Savacor, Inc., a medical device company that was acquired by St. Jude Medical in 2005; and Conor Medsystems, Inc., a publicly-traded medical device company that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2007. He presently sits on the boards of several early-stage healthcare companies, including Credence MedSystems, a drug delivery company; V Wave Medical, a heart failure company; and as Director of Levation Pharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company in the area of facial aesthetics which he co-founded. Additionally, he was an early investor and Board Member of MedAvail Inc., a disruptive player in the evolving technology-enabled pharmacy space. In 2018, he co-founded Trialtech Medical Inc., a software and services company in the clinical trial recruiting space. Trialtech was sold to Scarritt Sciences in December 2020. Dr. Litvack was a former director of Nile Therapeutics, Inc. (predecessor entity to the Company) from 2009 to 2012. Dr. Litvack is also currently a Member of the Management Company of Pura Vida Investments, LLC, a healthcare hedge fund, and is serving as a Director on the board of Cardiovascular Research Foundation, a non-profit research and education entity and on the Advisory Board of the Tannenbaum Open Science Institute at McGill University.
Linda Marbán, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer and Director
Dr. Marbán is currently serving as our Chief Executive Officer, and has served in that capacity and on the Board since November 2013. As co-founder of Capricor, Inc., our wholly-owned subsidiary, Dr. Marbán has been with Capricor, Inc. since 2005 and became its Chief Executive Officer in 2010. Dr. Marbán has been in the biotechnology field for more than 20 years and brings extensive experience across research, product development and business development to the Company.
From 2003-2009, Dr. Marbán held various senior roles at Excigen, Inc., a gene therapy biotechnology company, where she was responsible for operations and business development and where she oversaw the development of a biologic pacemaker for the heart. Prior to Excigen, Dr. Marbán worked in academic science, first at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation working on the development of contractile dysfunction in heart failure due to myocarditis, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. While at Johns Hopkins, she advanced to the rank of Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, specializing in the mechanism of the biophysical properties of cardiac muscle. Her tenure at Johns Hopkins ran from 2000 through 2003.
Dr. Marbán earned a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in cardiac physiology and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland.
Paul G. Auwaerter, M.D., M.B.A., FIDSA
Dr. Paul Auwaerter joined the Company’s Board in July 2023. Dr. Auwaerter is the Sherrilyn and Ken Fisher Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, serving as the Clinical Director for the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Sherrilyn and Ken Fisher Center for Environmental Infectious Diseases. Dr. Auwaerter serves as the Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Point of Care-Information Technology (POC-IT) Center producing the Johns Hopkins ABX (Antibiotic), JH HIV, JH Osler, JH Psychiatry and JH Diabetes Guides. Dr. Auwaerter also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the ABX Guide. Dr. Auwaerter’s research and clinical interests include improving the diagnosis and care for patients with infectious diseases, specifically Lyme disease, respiratory infections, surgical infections, prosthetic joint infections, Epstein-Barr virus, and fever of unknown origin. He is a Past President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the largest professional society worldwide related to infectious diseases. He currently serves as Chairman of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Foundation and is also on the Board of Directors of the American Lyme Disease Foundation. Dr. Auwaerter has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and has been awarded the national Distinguished Eagle Scout award. Dr. Auwaerter holds undergraduate and medical degrees from Columbia University and subsequent training in medicine and infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins, where he has been employed since 1988; he also trained in the virology and immunology laboratory of Dr. Diane Griffin.
Earl M. (Duke) Collier Jr.
Mr. Collier has been a member of the Capricor, Inc. board since 2011 and became a member of the Company’s Board in November 2013. He is a member of the Company’s Compensation Committee and Chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. From 2010-2014, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of 480 Biomedical, a medical device company developing products used in the treatment of peripheral artery disease, and the executive chairman of Arsenal Medical, Inc., a medical device company. Mr. Collier was formerly Executive Vice President at Genzyme Corporation, a biotechnology company acquired by Sanofi for $20.1 billion in 2011. Mr. Collier also served as President of Vitas Healthcare, a hospice provider, as a partner at the Washington, DC-based law firm of Hogan and Hartson, and as Deputy Administrator of the Health Care Finance Administration (now CMS) in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. He is Chair Emeritus of the Innovation Advisory Board of Mass General Brigham. Additionally, he is a member of the board of the Boston Athenaeum. Previously, Mr. Collier served as a director of publicly-traded Decode Genetics Inc. (DGI Resolution, Inc.), a biopharmaceutical company; GenSight, a gene therapy company in Paris that trades on the French Euronext exchange; and Tesaro, Inc., a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company. Mr. Collier earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Yale University and received a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School.
George W. Dunbar, Jr.
Mr. Dunbar has been a member of the Capricor, Inc. board since 2012 and a member of the Company’s Board since November 2013. He is a member of the Company’s Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. He is Managing Partner of The Dunbar Group, LLC, and provides advisory services to healthcare and life science investors and companies who recognize they need short-term or interim industry expertise as they grow in order to be capital efficient. Mr. Dunbar has extensive healthcare and life sciences operating experience and has served as a director or chief executive officer with private and public life science companies specializing in diagnostics, specialty pharma, cell therapy and biologics, two as chief executive officer, where he led initial public offerings. He served as chief executive officer of ISTO Technologies and ISTO Biologics, two private orthobiologics companies acquired by Thompson Street Capital Partners. Prior to ISTO, Mr. Dunbar served as a Venture Partner with Arboretum Ventures, a leading healthcare venture capital firm. Mr. Dunbar is currently a board member of Progenitor Life Sciences, a private next-generation immunotherapy development company, and Executive Chairman of Akadeum Life Sciences, a private next-generation sample prep/separations tools company with a focus on cell and gene therapy. Mr. Dunbar attended Auburn University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and later received his M.B.A. He served on the Harbert College of Business M.B.A. Advisory Board and is an advisor with Life Science Tennessee and to Vanderbilt University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization.
Philip J. Gotwals, Ph.D.
Dr. Philip Gotwals joined the Company’s Board in July 2023. Dr. Gotwals has experience in drug development, research, corporate strategy and business development with a career spanning nearly 30 years in the biotechnology industry. Dr. Gotwals most recently served as the Global Head, Vice President of Business Development and Licensing at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) from 2019 to 2023, where he oversaw business development efforts for all disease areas and technology platforms. Prior to that, Dr. Gotwals was Global Head of Search and Evaluation of NIBR from 2017 to 2019. Dr. Gotwals also served as Executive Director, Immuno-Oncology, at NIBR from 2009 to 2017. Under Dr. Gotwals’ leadership, NIBR business development and licensing executed over 50 major strategic transactions which included licensing deals, collaborations, acquisitions and new company creations. These transactions led to significant corporate evolution and growth. During his 13 years at Novartis, Dr. Gotwals was instrumental in building the company’s immuno-oncology strategic research area and spearheading the collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania to develop chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. Prior to Novartis, he was Vice President of Program Management at Altus Pharmaceuticals from 2006 to 2009, where he was responsible for all product development project management activities. Prior to Altus, he was Senior Director of Program and Alliance Management at Biogen, from 1994 to 2006, where he oversaw leadership of internal and allied early product development teams in the autoimmune, neurology and oncology therapeutic areas. Dr. Gotwals has a B.A. in Biology from Amherst College, holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California at Berkeley, completed postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, business training at Harvard Business School and has published extensively in the area of integrin biology.
Michael Kelliher joined the Company’s Board in September 2023. Mr. Kelliher is an experienced business development and finance professional with expertise in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships and licensing, with a career spanning more than 20 years with leading biotechnology and global pharmaceutical companies. He currently serves as Group Vice President, M&A and Business Development, at Horizon Therapeutics (now Amgen), a global biotechnology company focused on researching, developing and commercializing medicines for rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases. Mr. Kelliher joined Horizon in 2014 and led an aggressive growth and expansion agenda through acquisitions, development collaborations and other transactions. He was instrumental in transforming Horizon into a $28 billion innovation-driven biotech company. Prior to his time at Horizon, from 2009 to 2014, Mr. Kelliher held progressive financial roles at Elan Corporation (now Perrigo Company), a leading global pharmaceutical company where he oversaw strategic partnerships and collaborations and advised its Board of Directors and senior leadership on investments, business development, product commercialization and asset monetization. Mr. Kelliher began his career in banking, public accounting and corporate finance and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University College Cork (Ireland). He is also an Associated Chartered Accountant.
David B. Musket
Mr. Musket has been a member of the Capricor, Inc. board since 2012 and a member of the Company’s Board since November 2013. He is Chairman of the Company’s Audit and Compensation Committees. Mr. Musket has vast experience in strategic finance and has been following developments in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries for over 30 years. Mr. Musket began his investment career as an equities research analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co. following the pharmaceutical industry. From 1991 through 2016 he served as President of Musket Research Associates, a registered broker/dealer focused exclusively on venture banking transactions for emerging healthcare companies. In 1996 he co-founded ProMed Management, a healthcare-focused investment management company that he continues to run today. He has served on the boards of several private and public companies throughout his career. From 1999 to 2007, Mr. Musket served on the board of directors of publicly-traded Conor MedSystems, Inc. a medical device company sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2007 for $1.4 billion. Mr. Musket holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Psychology from Boston College.
Karimah Es Sabar
Ms. Es Sabar joined the Company’s Board in July 2021 and is a member of the Audit Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. Since 2016 she has been the CEO and General Partner at Quark Venture LP, a venture capital investment firm, leading their global health sciences enterprise. Prior to Quark Venture, Ms. Es Sabar was President and CEO at the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada’s national drug development and commercialization center, responsible for developing and executing on the overall strategic direction. Ms. Es Sabar has held senior management positions with multinational pharmaceutical companies, most notably as Director International Division, and later Global Head Marketing and Business Development at Pasteur Merieux Connaught (Sanofi Pasteur) based in Toronto. She holds degrees in Neurochemistry from the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the University of Salford Manchester, and an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Ms. Es Sabar is also the Chair of the Health Biosciences Economic Strategy Table (Government of Canada).