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Our Management Team
Our leadership, including the management team and Board of Directors, is made up of pharmaceutical industry experts who are recognized for their contributions in drug development and their success in bringing novel therapies to market.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Howard Robin joined Nektar Therapeutics in January 2007. He has more than 25 years of successful biopharmaceutical experience managing clinical development and commercial operations. Most recently, Mr. Robin served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sirna Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering RNAi-based therapies for serious diseases and conditions, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), hepatitis C, asthma, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Huntington's disease. During his tenure at Sirna, Mr. Robin successfully re-launched the company and created significant shareholder value that led to its acquisition by Merck for $1.1 billion.
Prior to Sirna, Mr. Robin spent 20 years at Berlex Laboratories, the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical firm Schering AG. From 1991 to 2001, he served as corporate vice president and general manager of their U.S. Therapeutics division and was responsible for the development of drugs, such as Betaseron® (Interferon beta-1b) for multiple sclerosis and Fludara® (fludarabine phosphate) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, generating annual global sales in excess of $800 million. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee. Prior to that, he was vice president of Finance and Business Development and CFO of Berlex. Earlier in his career, Mr. Robin was a senior associate with Arthur Andersen and Co.
Mr. Robin serves as a director of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the world's largest biotechnology industry trade organization, and also serves as a director of BayBio, a non-profit trade association serving the Northern California life sciences community.
Mr. Robin holds a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.
Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer
Steve Doberstein joined Nektar in January 2010 as Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer to lead all aspects of discovery research at Nektar. Dr. Doberstein brings over 17 years of experience in biotechnology research and development to the company. Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Doberstein was Vice President of Research at XOMA where he was responsible for directing the discovery and development of their drug candidates, including antibody discovery and support of clinical development through non-clinical safety, translational medicine and pharmacokinetics/ pharmacodynamics. Prior to that, Dr. Doberstein served as Vice President, Research at Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc, a protein and antibody discovery and development company where he built and led a high performance discovery research and process development group. While at Five Prime, he established programs resulting in multiple strategic alliances with pharmaceutical partners, built a strong proprietary pipeline, and moved multiple product candidates from concept to pre-IND stages in diabetes, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Prior to that, Dr. Doberstein was Vice President, Research at Xencor, an antibody and protein engineering and development company. At Xencor, he was instrumental in advancing its protein platform technologies and preclinical product candidates. Before that, he also held a number of senior positions at Exelixis.
Dr. Doberstein received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and completed his postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley. Earlier in his career, Dr. Doberstein held a variety of engineering roles at DuPont after receiving his B.S.Ch.E. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.
Senior Vice President, Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer
Ivan Gergel joined Nektar in May 2014 as Senior Vice President, Drug Development & Chief Medical Officer to oversee the company's clinical strategy and activities, including direct supervision of clinical research, medical affairs, regulatory affairs and drug safety and surveillance. Dr. Gergel brings over 25 years of pharmaceutical leadership and drug development experience to Nektar with deep expertise in all aspects of the clinical and regulatory process.
Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Gergel served as Executive Vice President, Research & Development of Endo Pharmaceuticals and Chief Scientific Officer, where he led clinical, research, regulatory, project management and medical affairs. During his tenure with Endo, Dr. Gergel was responsible for a number of late stage development programs and product approvals, including BEMA® Buprenorphine, which is in Phase 3, Abuse-Deterrent Opana® ER for chronic pain, and Fortesta® and Aveed for hypogonadism. Prior to joining Endo, Dr. Gergel served as Senior Vice President of Research and Development for Forest Laboratories Inc. As the head of the clinical organization and then as the senior R&D executive for the company, Dr. Gergel oversaw the successful development programs leading to the approval of numerous NCEs to treat a range of CNS disorders and other medical conditions, including Celexa® for depression, Aerospan for asthma, Lexapro® for depression and generalized anxiety disorder, Namenda® for Alzheimer's Disease, Combunox for acute pain and Savella® for fibromyalgia. Dr. Gergel also led the organization through the approval and launch of Bystolic® for hypertension and Campral® for alcohol dependency. In addition, while at Forest Laboratories Inc. Dr. Gergel led the R&D team responsible for the successful in-licensing or acquisition of several new agents including Turdoza for COPD, Linzess® for IBS, and the anti-infective Teflaro®. Prior to Forest, Dr. Gergel was a senior leader at SmithKline Beecham where he led the U.S. clinical team responsible for the development and commercial support of Paxil®, which is approved to treat depression, OCD, panic disorder, social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder.
Dr. Gergel received his M.D. from The Royal Free Medical School of The University of London and an MBA from the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities Operations
As Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities Operations, Ms. Hirth is responsible for designing and implementing HR strategies and programs that attract, develop and retain talent for a high-performing workforce. Ms. Hirth's experience spans 19 years at biotechnology companies leading strategic and tactical aspects of human resource functions, including managing issues surrounding mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Nektar in 2007, Ms. Hirth headed the human resource programs at Sirna Therapeutics, where she was part of the diligence team during the acquisition process by Merck. She was also part of the team that started SUGEN and transitioned it from start-up through two acquisitions initially by Pharmacia and then by Pfizer Inc. In addition, she served as Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities at Kosan Biosciences and Corgentech/Anesiva.
Senior Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing Operations
Maninder Hora joined Nektar in August 2010 as Senior Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing Operations to lead management and oversight of Nektar's CMC, bioanalytical and manufacturing operations worldwide. Dr. Hora has been in the biopharmaceutical industry for 27 years with demonstrated expertise in process, analytical and pharmaceutical sciences, manufacturing and quality functions for biologics, vaccines, small molecules and drug delivery systems. He has led large teams of scientists and engineers to perform early and late stage development as well as lifecycle management CMC activities. He brings to Nektar the experience of registering nine drugs or vaccines products in the United States or Europe. Dr. Hora most recently served as Vice President of Product Operations & Quality at Facet Biotech (a spin-off from PDL BioPharma, now a part of Abbott Laboratories). He joined PDL BioPharma in 2006 as Vice President of Process Development and later took charge of Product Operations & Quality. From 1986 to 2006, Dr. Hora served in various positions of increasing responsibility at Chiron Corporation (now Novartis) with his last position being Vice President of Process and Product Development during the period 2001 to 2006. Dr. Hora also worked at Smith Kline & French (now Glaxo SmithKline) and Ayerst-Wyeth (now Pfizer) prior to joining Chiron.
Dr. Hora received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bioengineering (Materials) in 1980 and held a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Hora holds twenty one US Patents and has authored scores of publications and delivered numerous presentations in international forums. He serves as a scientific advisor for Reviva Pharmaceuticals, an emerging research based pharmaceutical company.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Gil M. Labrucherie joined Nektar in September 2005 as Vice President of Corporate Legal. Prior to joining Nektar, from October 2000 to September 2005, Mr. Labrucherie was Vice President of Corporate Development at E2open, Inc., where he was responsible for global corporate alliances and merger and acquisition activity. Prior to E2open, he was the Senior Director of Corporate Development at AltaVista Company, an Internet search company, where he was responsible for merger and acquisition transactions. Mr. Labrucherie began his career as an associate in the corporate practice of the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Graham & James (DLA Piper Rudnick).
Mr. Labrucherie received his J.D. from University of California Boalt Hall School of Law, where he was a member of the California Law Review and Order of the Coif, and received his B.A. from the University of California, Davis.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
John Nicholson was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company in December 2007. Mr. Nicholson reports to Nektar's President and Chief Executive Officer, Howard W. Robin. Previously, Mr. Nicholson was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Business Operations at Nektar. Prior to joining Nektar, he served in a number of leadership roles at Bayer Schering Pharma AG, including Vice President, Corporate Development and Treasurer of Schering Berlin Inc., President of Schering Berlin Insurance Company, President of Bayer Pharma Chemicals Inc., and President of Schering Berlin Capital Corporation. Mr. Nicholson also served as Treasurer of Berlex Inc.
Senior Vice President, Technology Assessment and Quality Assurance
Timothy A. Riley, Ph.D. joined the company as Vice President, Research & Development in October 2005. His responsibilities include leading research operations and driving research strategy at Nektar. He is responsible for overseeing a number of key research functions at the company.
Dr. Riley had previously served as Senior Director Medicinal Chemistry at Chimerix Inc. in San Diego. He was responsible for directing medicinal chemistry as well as process development and clinical marker synthesis for their lead clinical candidate for smallpox, CMX001.
Prior to Chimerix, Dr. Riley was a Co-Founder and VP Operations and Chemistry for Oasis Biosciences Inc., a target validation company linking genes with disease. He was responsible for internal chemistry efforts, as well as, outsourced efforts. Dr. Riley was a key figure in all aspects of the Oasis Biosciences' operations.
Dr. Riley also served as VP of Chemistry at Genta. His team provided early work and support for Genta's lead product Genasense for melanoma.
Dr. Riley earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with a Biochemistry emphasis from Brigham Young University where he worked with Roland K. Robins, Ph.D., one of the grandfathers of nucleoside chemistry. He also earned his BS in Chemistry from Brigham Young University.
Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer
Jillian B. Thomsen joined Nektar in March 2006 and was appointed Chief Accounting Officer in April 2008. Ms. Thomsen has 20 years of financial reporting and accounting experience. She currently oversees accounting, financial reporting, planning & analysis, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, treasury and tax.
Prior to April 2008, she served as Vice President, Finance and Controller of Nektar. Before joining Nektar, Ms. Thomsen was Deputy Controller of Calpine Corporation from September 2002 to February 2006. From December 1990 to May 2002, Ms. Thomsen performed various roles with Arthur Andersen starting as a staff accountant and concluding as a senior manager. Ms. Thomsen holds a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Denver and a B.A. in Business Economics from Colorado College.