Management Team

Karoly Nikolich

Karoly Nikolich

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Karoly led Genentech’s entry into neuroscience during the 1980s and led and participated in the development of numerous protein therapeutics. He was Vice President of Research at Lynx Therapeutics, co-founder of AGY Therapeutics, Amnestix, Neurofluidics, Chase Pharmaceuticals, Circuit Therapeutics, and Alkahest. He has served on the boards and scientific advisory boards at a number of neurotherapeutics and biotech companies, as well as investment funds. Dr. Nikolich is a graduate of Eotvos University in Budapest and worked as postdoctoral fellow at Tulane University and UCSF before joining Genentech. He has been Consulting Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School.

Steven Braithwaite

Steven Braithwaite

Chief Scientific Officer

Steven has extensive experience in therapeutic development in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He previously led research at Circuit Therapeutics, drug discovery at Signum Biosciences, headed the cellular neurodegeneration group at Wyeth/Pfizer, and was a program leader at AGY Therapeutics. In these roles he has led both small molecule and biological research and development programs across a diverse range of indications in the field of neuroscience. Steven is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, UK, received his PhD from the University of Bristol, UK and performed postdoctoral work at Stanford University. He is actively involved with the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Sam Jackson

Sam Jackson

Chief Medical Officer

Sam has extensive experience in drug development, most recently at Dynavax where he led the Drug Safety Group and designed and conducted clinical trials in vaccines and in asthma. Prior to his time at Dynavax, Sam led drug-development teams at Genentech in diverse therapeutic areas including immunology, hepatology and ophthalmology. He started his career in industry at Amgen where he was responsible for the safety for a broad array of molecules in various stages of development. Sam has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and is a graduate of the combined MD/MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at UC Davis in Sacramento, California and his fellowship in Medical Toxicology at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

Helen Jenkins

Helen Jenkins

Chief Operating Officer

Helen has over 30 years experience in development and operations in the biotechnology industry, with a focus on ensuring efficient program execution to Go/No Go decisions. Most recently, Helen was the Chief Operating Officer of Tobira Therapeutics where she led the company to completion of pivotal Phase 2B studies in NASH, a novel indication, and where she continued as NASH Core Team Leader once acquired by Allergan. Previously, Helen held lead development and operational roles at Nuon Therapeutics, Saegis, Valentis, Glycomed and Genentech. Helen holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master of Arts in Molecular and Cellular Biology from San Francisco State University.

Joseph S. McCracken

Joseph S. McCracken

Vice President of Business Development

Joseph currently advises biopharmaceutical companies on the design and implementation of corporate strategy and business development initiatives. Joe also serves on the Board of Genkyotex S.A., Savara Pharmaceuticals and Nexvet Biopharma. He was previously Vice President and Global Head of Business Development & Licensing for Roche Pharma, where he was responsible for Roche Pharma’s global in-licensing and out-licensing activities. Prior to joining Roche Pharma, Joe held the position of Vice President, Business Development at Genentech for more than 10 years, and previously held similar positions at Aventis Pharma and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.  Dr. McCracken holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, a Master of Science in Pharmacology and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Tammy Kent

Tammy Kent

Vice President Human Resources and Operations

Tammy has nearly twenty years of experience working with small start up biotechnology companies providing Human Resources, Accounting, Facilities, and General Administrative leadership. She was most recently Director of HR at Circuit Therapeutics, Inc. Tammy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is a Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources and has been a member of HR organizations for nearly two decades.