Our Leadership

Our leadership, including the management team and Board of Directors, is made up of biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry experts who are recognized for their contributions to discovering and developing new therapies and their track record of successfully bringing new treatments to patients and physicians.

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 including 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. He holds a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and serves as a member of its Board of Trustees.

Robert Bacci joined Nektar in 2001 and serves as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Facilities Operations, leading the company’s human resources strategy. In his role, Mr. Bacci also oversees and leads environmental health and safety, facilities and operations. Mr. Bacci’s professional experience spans over 25 years and he has held several leadership positions with increasing responsibility at Nektar since his joining.

Prior to joining Nektar, Mr. Bacci served as an industrial hygienist at multiple firms where he led complex environmental investigations and risk assessments.  He has previously served as an affiliate faculty member in the M.S. Program in Organizational Leadership at the Union University and Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He also holds professional certifications, including as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) from the American Board of Industrial Hygiene.

Mr. Bacci received his M.B.A. from John F. Kennedy University and his B.S. in Industrial Hygiene from California State University at Fresno.

Kevin Brodbeck joined Nektar in 2002. As Senior Vice President of Technical Operations, Dr. Brodbeck leads management and oversight of Nektar's CMC and manufacturing operations worldwide. He has 25 years of pharmaceutical experience with small molecules and biologics in the fields of pain, oncology, and immunology.

Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Brodbeck headed Formulation and Process Sciences at PowderJect Technologies, and served as the Director of Product Development at ALZA in the Biopharmaceutical Research & Implant Division. While at ALZA, Dr. Brodbeck developed and commercialized the Viadur® (leuprolide 65mg) one-year implant. Dr. Brodbeck was also the lead inventor of multiple novel protein delivery technologies for sustained release and improved stability of biopharmaceutical agents.

Dr. Brodbeck received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Brodbeck is the holder of numerous patents and speaks at industry conferences on pharmaceutical formulation and process sciences.

Brian L. Kotzin, M.D., joined Nektar Therapeutics in April 2017 as Head of Clinical Development for the company’s immunology program and was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer in April 2022. In this role, he leads clinical development and study oversight of the company’s therapeutic candidates and programs. Dr. Kotzin has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of inflammation and immunology in academia and industry, and expertise in various autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Kotzin served as Vice President of Global Clinical Development and Head of the Inflammation Therapeutic Area at Amgen. During his 11 years at Amgen, he also served as Vice President of Translational Sciences and Head of Medical Sciences/Early Development, where he was responsible for the planning and execution of early-phase clinical development in all therapeutic areas. He was also responsible for the discovery and implementation of pharmacodynamic biomarkers in clinical studies and clinical immunology support for clinical studies. After leaving Amgen in 2015, he became a consultant to groups involved in developing new therapeutics for systemic lupus erythematosus and other immune-mediated diseases.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Kotzin served as Head of Clinical Immunology in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Autoimmunity Center of Excellence at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. During his time in Denver, he was a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Immunology at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. In addition to previous academic posts in rheumatology, microbiology, and immunology, Dr. Kotzin served as Chief of the Rheumatology Section at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Denver.

Dr. Kotzin has authored more than 200 publications in medical journals, books, and book chapters. He also served on the editorial boards of Arthritis and Rheumatism, The Journal of Immunology, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Dr. Kotzin received his B.S. in mathematics from the University of Southern California and his M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed a Residency in internal medicine and a Fellowship in rheumatology and medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is board certified in rheumatology and internal medicine.

Jennifer Ruddock joined Nektar in 2004 and currently serves as Chief Business Officer, leading the company’s strategic and corporate initiatives. In this role, Ms. Ruddock also oversees and leads investor relations, business development, corporate marketing, corporate and employee communications, and public and government affairs functions. Ms. Ruddock's professional experience spans over 25 years in biotechnology, technology and finance. Prior to joining Nektar, Ms. Ruddock held leadership roles in investor relations, financial communications, and corporate marketing at multiple public companies, including Catellus Development Corporation (acquired by ProLogis) and Tumbleweed Communications (acquired by Axway). Prior to that, she worked at Montgomery Securities (acquired by Bank of America), a San Francisco-based investment bank which specialized in high technology and healthcare sectors.

Ms. Ruddock began her career in medical device sales at Curtin Matheson Scientific, Inc. (acquired by Fisher Scientific). Ms. Ruddock serves on the Board of Directors of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) and is also a member of the Public Policy Committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. She is also a board member of the San Francisco Foster Youth Fund, a non-profit providing educational grants to at-risk youth in San Francisco foster care.

Ms. Ruddock received her B.A. degree in neuroscience from Colgate University in 1991.

Mary Tagliaferri, M.D., serves as Chief Development Officer of Nektar. Dr. Tagliaferri has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical drug development in oncology and women's health that includes extensive regulatory expertise. In her current role, Dr. Tagliaferri provides clinical strategy guidance and oversees medical affairs, key clinical investigator relationships, and medical writing and publication functions for the company. Since joining Nektar in January 2015, she has provided strategic development leadership for the company’s immunooncology portfolio, especially bempegaldesleukin. She serves as Nektar’s strategic development leader for the company’s clinical collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Tagliarerri was a clinical and regulatory consultant to InterMune before its acquisition by Roche. She also served as Chief Medical Officer at KangLaiTe USA, a privately-held biotechnology company which develops oncology drug candidates in multiple solid tumor settings. Dr. Tagliaferri was also a Co-Founder and President and Chief Medical Officer of BioNovo, where she led the company's clinical drug development strategy and global regulatory affairs, data management and biostatistics, and oversaw clinical operations and compliance. Dr. Tagliaferri received the 2012 State of California Woman of the Year award for her advancements of clinical research in women's health and her mentorship of women in the biotechnology field.

Dr. Tagliaferri received her B.S. degree from Cornell University and her M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Jillian B. Thomsen was appointed Chief Financial Officer in July 2022. She has over 20 years of financial reporting and accounting experience. In her current role, Ms. Thomsen oversees accounting, financial reporting, planning & analysis, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, treasury, and tax functions at the company. Previously, she served as Vice President, Finance and Controller of Nektar.

Prior to joining Nektar in 2006, 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 degree from the University of Denver and a B.A. in Business Economics from Colorado College.

Mark A. Wilson was appointed Chief Legal Officer in July 2022. In this role, Mr. Wilson oversees all legal matters pertaining to the company, including contracts, corporate governance, securities law, SEC reporting, litigation, and all intellectual property matters including patent, copyright, and trademark matters. Mr. Wilson has over 20 years in the legal field, with a particular emphasis on intellectual property. Prior to his appointment as Nektar’s General Counsel in July 2016, Mr. Wilson led Nektar’s intellectual property department with oversight for the company's extensive patent portfolio, including the preparation and prosecution of patent applications.

Prior to joining Nektar in 2002, Mr. Wilson was an associate at Reed & Associates, a patent law firm in Menlo Park, California, where he successfully represented both early-stage and Fortune 500 companies.

Mr. Wilson received his J.D. from Seton Hall University, School of Law, and his B.S. in pharmacy from Rutgers University, College of Pharmacy. He is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is a member of the California Bar.

Jonathan Zalevsky was appointed Nektar’s Chief Research & Development Officer in October 2019 to lead all aspects of the R&D organization, including research, clinical development, regulatory affairs, and biologics process development. Dr. Zalevsky joined the Company in 2015 and has served as our Chief Scientific Officer since 2017. During his tenure at Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky’s expertise in immunology, and across biological modalities and therapeutic areas, has helped fuel the growth of the company’s immuno-oncology and immunology pipeline. Dr. Zalevsky led the early development for bempegaldeskleukin and NKTR-358.

Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky was Global Vice President and Head of the Inflammation Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. As the leading immunologist for Takeda, he was responsible for an immunology pipeline that spanned from early target discovery to late-stage development and marketed products. Prior to his work at Takeda, Dr. Zalevsky worked in research and development at Xencor, where he oversaw the discovery and development of Xencor's first four clinical-stage assets.

Dr. Zalevsky received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Tetrad Program at the University of California, San Francisco. He received dual B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.