Arie Belldegrun MD FACS - Chairman
Arie Belldegrun, M.D., FACS, is the Chairman of UroGen Pharma. He has a distinguished career as a visionary surgeon, scientist and life sciences entrepreneur. Arie founded Kite Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of innovative cancer immunotherapies where he served as Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer until the acquisition of Kite by Gilead Sciences in October 2017. He remains as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for FosunKite, a joint venture formed between Fosun Pharma and Kite, a Gilead company, for the development of cell therapy in China. Arie has had a distinguished tenure in the life sciences, having been closely involved with the founding and advancement of several successful biopharmaceutical companies including Cougar Biotechnology and Agensys. Abiraterone, developed by Cougar, is a mainstay of therapy for patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Arie most recently co-founded Allogene Therapeutics, a biotechnology company with a mission to catalyze the next revolution in cancer treatment through the development of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapy directed at blood cancers and solid tumors. He serves as Executive Chairman of Allogene as well as Two River Group, is a Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director of Vida Ventures, and previously served as a Board Member of Cell Design Labs until its acquisition by Gilead in December 2017.
Arie is a Professor of Urology, holds the Roy and Carol Doumani Chair in Urologic Oncology, and is Director of the UCLA Institute of Urologic Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is currently a member of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Strategic Advisory Group.
Prior to joining UCLA, Arie was at the National Cancer Institute/NIH as a research fellow in surgical oncology and immunotherapy under Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg. He completed his M.D. at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, his post-graduate studies in Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and his residency in Urologic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He has authored several books in oncology and more than 500 scientific and medical papers related to urological cancers, immunotherapy, gene therapy, and cancer vaccines. He is certified by the American Board of Urology, and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons.
Ron Bentsur - Board Member and CEO
Ron Bentsur has served as our Chief Executive Officer as of August 2015 and as a director as of October 2015. Ron Bentsur has more than 15 years of experience in the biotech industry. Until 2015 Mr. Bentsur served for more than five years as the Chief Executive Officer Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX), culminating in U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and year-end 2014 launch of Auryxia™ (ferric citrate). Prior to that Mr. Bentsur served as CEO of XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: XTLB) (TASE: XTLB), a position he held from January 2006 until April 2009. Prior to his tenure at XTL, Mr. Bentsur was with Keryx from 2000-2006, serving as the Keryx’s Chief Financial Officer from June 2003 until his departure in January 2006. From July 1998 to October 2000, Mr. Bentsur served as Director of Technology Investment Banking at Leumi Underwriters, where he was responsible for all technology/biotechnology private placement and advisory transactions. From June 1994 to July 1998, Mr. Bentsur worked as an investment banker in NYC, most of this period at ING Barings Furman Selz. Mr. Bentsur holds a BA in Economics and Business Administration with distinction from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and an MBA (Magna Cum Laude), from New York University’s Stern Graduate School of Business.
Kate Falberg - Board Member
Kate Falberg has served as our director since April 2017. Ms. Falberg has held several CFO and Head of Strategy and Corporate Development roles in the technology and biotechnology industries including for Applied Magnetics, Amgen and, most recently, Jazz Pharmaceuticals. She also currently serves on the boards of, Aimmune Therapeutics, aTyr Pharma, Axovant Sciences, BioMarin Pharmaceutical and The Trade Desk, and formerly served on multiple boards including Medivation and Halozyme Therapeutics. Ms. Falberg holds a B.A. and M.B.A from UCLA, is a CPA, inactive, and a UCLA Certified Director.
Cynthia Butitta - Board Member
Cynthia M. Butitta has served as our director since November 2017. Ms. Butitta is a seasoned financial and operational executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in both the biotechnology and high-technology industries. Most recently, Ms. Butitta served as Chief Operating Officer of Kite Pharma, where she played an instrumental role leading up to Kite Pharma’s acquisition by Gilead Sciences for approximately $11.9 billion in cash. From 2014 to 2016, Ms. Butitta served as Kite Pharma’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. During her tenure at Kite Pharma, Ms. Butitta was responsible for securing over $1 billion in equity financing and oversaw the rapid growth of the organization. Prior to joining Kite, Ms. Butitta served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NextWave Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was acquired in 2012 by Pfizer, Inc. for $700 million. Previously, Ms. Butitta served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Telik Inc., a public biotechnology company focused on the development of small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer, prior to its acquisition by MabVax Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to this, Ms. Butitta served as Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer for Connetics, Inc., a public biotechnology company. Ms. Butitta received a B.S. degree with honors in Business and Accounting from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and a M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Fred E. Cohen MD - Board Member
Fred Cohen, M.D., has served as our director since May 2017. Dr. Cohen is a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital, where he served for over 15 years as a Partner, and founder of TPG Biotechnology, a life science focused venture capital fund. In addition, for over two decades throughout his career, Dr. Cohen has been affiliated with UCSF where he held various clinical responsibilities, including as a research scientist, an internist for hospitalized patients, a consulting endocrinologist, and the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Dr. Cohen received his BS degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, his D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, and his MD from Stanford. Dr. Cohen currently serves on the Board of Directors of several other biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Stuart Holden MD - Board Member
Stuart Holden, M.D., has served as our director since December 2015. Dr. Holden has been the Chairman of ProQuest Investments’ Scientific Advisory Board since its founding. Since May 2014 Dr. Holdern is a member of the UCLA faculty as a Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Urology, Spielberg Family Chair in Urologic Oncology, in the Department of Urology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Associate Director of the UCLA Institute of Urologic Oncology. Dr. Holden has worked on the frontlines of prostate cancer for more than 36 years and has pioneered new treatments for urologic cancers. Dr. Holden’s dedication to patient care resulted in him being named medical director of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which is the world’s largest prostate cancer research funding organization; he has held this position since the foundation’s inception in 1993. Dr. Holden was the director of the Louis Warschaw Prostate Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the first holder of the Warschaw, Robertson, Law Families Chair in Prostate Cancer. In addition, he was a founding partner at Tower Urology in Los Angeles. Dr. Holden received a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed his medical degree and received his surgical training at Weill Cornell Medical College and the New York Hospital – Cornell University Medical College. He completed his urology residency at Emory University School of Medicine and fellowships in urology and developmental genetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He also was awarded a clinical fellowship from the American Cancer Society.
Ran Nussbaum - Board Member
Ran is a managing partner and co-founder of The Pontifax Group. The fund is running more than 45 portfolio companies all around the globe. Prior to joining Pontifax, he was a partner at Israel’s largest business intelligence and strategic consulting firm. Ran’s work revolves around constant and active involvement in companies, providing them with strategic and business development oversight. Ran serves as a board member on many of Pontifax’s portfolio companies, including Kite pharma, Keros (as chairman), cCAM Biotherapeutics ,Eloxx, Nutrinia, Quiet Therapeutics and other bio-pharma companies. He also chaired OCON Medical, NasVax and ran Biomedix and Spearhead in the past.
Shawn C. Tomasello - Board Member
Ms. Tomasello brings over 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry and most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer of Kite Pharma (subsequently Kite, a Gilead Company), where she led the commercialization of Yescarta™ (axicabtagene ciloleucel), the first approved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T therapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Prior to joining Kite, Ms. Tomasello served as Chief Commercial Officer at Pharmacyclics, Inc., during which time the brand Imbruvica® was awarded the prestigious 2015 Prix Galien Award for Best Pharmaceutical Agent. Previously, she held senior leadership positions at Celgene Corporation, including President of the Americas, Hematology and Oncology, in which she oversaw over $4 billion in product revenues. During her tenure at Celgene, Ms. Tomasello was responsible for all aspects of commercial sales and marketing for five brands encompassing 11 indications. One of these brands, Revlimid®, was awarded the Prix Galien USA 2008 Award for Special Therapeutic Development. Prior to this, she was National Director of Hematology for Rituxan® at Genentech, representing the most significant portion of the company’s product revenue during her tenure. Earlier in her career, Ms. Tomasello held positions at Pfizer Laboratories, Miles Pharmaceuticals and Proctor & Gamble. She currently serves on the Boards of Centrexion Therapeutics, Oxford BioTherapeutics and Diplomat Specialty. Ms. Tomasello holds a B.S. degree in marketing from the University of Cincinnati and an M.B.A. from Murray State University, KY.