Executive Leadership

Board of Directors

Dr. Behzad Aghazadeh

Dr. Behzad Aghazadeh is a Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager of the venBio Select Fund, the main equity investment vehicle of venBio Select Advisor LLC, a SEC registered investment manager. Dr. Aghazadeh has served as Chairman of our Board of Directors since March 2017. He has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with over 10 years of investing and 6 years of general management consulting experience in the healthcare sector. Prior to venBio, Dr. Aghazadeh’s previous investing experience was with Sio Capital and at Bernstein Value Equities, where he oversaw the firm’s healthcare positions in the U.S. and Europe. From 2000 until 2006, he was in the healthcare practice of Booz Allen (now a unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers), where he led major strategic and operational initiatives for pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. Previously, Dr. Aghazadeh was in basic and clinical research. He received his Master’s degree in Physics from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Munich, Germany) and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Biochemistry & Biophysics.

Mr. Scott Canute

Mr. Scott Canute has more than 34 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, previously serving as President of Global Manufacturing and Corporate Operations of Genzyme Corporation from 2010 until 2011, where he led a major turnaround in manufacturing in order to ensure on-going supply of life saving products that were in short supply, and developed and implemented a comprehensive manufacturing strategy including a revamped global governance system. Prior to joining Genzyme, Mr. Canute spent 25 years at Eli Lilly and Company, where he served as President, Global Manufacturing Operations from 2004 until 2007. During his tenure at Eli Lilly, Mr. Canute directed all manufacturing and supply chain activities for the company’s global operations, which spanned 24 international manufacturing sites and 80+ contract manufacturing operations, and managed a $3.7 billion budget.

Mr. Canute currently serves on the Board of Directors for Akebia Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on kidney disease through the biology of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF); Flexion Therapeutics, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal conditions; Proteon Therapeutics, Inc., a company addressing the medical needs of patients with kidney and vascular diseases; and Oncobiologics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on complex biosimilar therapeutics. He previously served as a Director for Allocure Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company developing cell therapies for kidney diseases; and Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a company that focused on hemophilia and other rare diseases. Mr. Canute has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Indiana Manufacturers Association and the Tauber Manufacturing Institute-University of Michigan. He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Mr. Peter Barton Hutt

Mr. Peter Barton Hutt is a Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, specializing in Food and Drug Law, where he represented national trade associations for the food, prescription drug, nonprescription drug, dietary supplement, and cosmetic industries. He began his law practice with the firm in 1960 and has remained at the firm with the exception of serving as Chief Counsel for the Food and Drug Administration from 1971 until 1975. Starting in the 1960s, he has served on dozens of corporate boards and non-profit boards.

Mr. Hutt is a renowned expert in food and drug law. Since 1994, he has taught a full course on Food and Drug Law during winter term at Harvard Law School. He is the co-author of Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 1st edition 1980, 2d edition 1991, 3d edition 2007, 4th edition 2014), and has published more than 175 book chapters and articles on Food and Drug Law and on health policy. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Food and Drug Law Journal.

In addition, Mr. Hutt was named by The Washingtonian magazine as one of Washington’s 50 best lawyers (out of more than 40,000) and as one of Washington’s 100 most influential people; by the National Law Journal as one the 40 best health care lawyers in the United States; and by Global Counsel as the best FDA regulatory specialist in Washington, DC. Business Week referred to Mr. Hutt in June 2003 as the “unofficial dean of Washington food and drug lawyers.”

Mr. Hutt currently serves on the Board of Director for Flex Pharma, Inc., a biotechnology company that is developing treatments for severe neurological diseases; Suneva Medical, Inc,. a privately-held aesthetics company; Seres Therapeutics, Inc., a microbiome therapeutics platform company; Moderna Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA Therapeutics; Selecta Biosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted immunotherapies for rare and serious diseases; Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on applying its DCE Platform® to address unmet patient needs; Living Proof, Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of hair care products; Xoma Corporation, an antibody-based therapeutic company; and Q Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held, biotechnology company developing human cell-based therapies for diseases of the central nervous system. Previously, he served on the Board of Directors for DBV Technologies S.A., an immunotherapy company; NanoMedical Systems, Inc., a company addressing unmet clinical needs with innovative nanotechnology-based medical solutions; Pervasis Therapeutics, Inc., a company engages in endothelial cell-based therapies for various critical therapeutic areas; Ista Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company that specializes in ophthalmic pharmaceutical products, which was acquired by Bausch & Lomb in March 2012; Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in the detailed structural analysis of complex drugs. Mr. Hutt received a B.A. from Yale University, an LL.B. from Harvard Law School, and an LL.M. from New York University School of Law.

Dr. Khalid Islam

Dr. Khalid Islam has over 29 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and currently serves as the Managing Director of Life Sciences Management GmbH, a position he has held since 2014. He is also co-founder in 2009 of Sirius Healthcare Partners GmbH, a Swiss life sciences company and PrevABR LLC, an American clinical-stage therapeutics company, in 2010.

Previously, Dr. Islam served as Chairman and CEO of Gentium S.p.A., a Nasdaq-listed pharmaceutical company, from 2009 until 2014. Under his leadership Defibrotide, a widely-used anti-coagulant, was granted marketing authorization in the European Union and the company’s value increased from $25m to $1billion through a cash merger with Jazz Pharmaceuticals, plc. He is an advisor to the venture group Kurma Biofund (Paris) and a founder/co-founder of Sirius Healthcare Partners GmbH (Zurich, Switzerland), PrevAbr LLC (D.C., USA), BioAim LLC (L.A., USA) & Life Sciences Management GmbH (Zug, Switzerland).

Dr. Islam had also served as President and CEO of Arpida AG, a SWX-listed biopharmaceutical company, where he raised $300M in its initial public offering and follow-ons. Prior to that, he had held various positions at Sanofi-Aventis (f/k/a HMR & MMD). For nearly ten years, he worked at Imperial College (University of London), Milan University, and other universities across Europe. He holds several patents and has published over 80 articles in leading journals.

Dr. Islam currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Minoryx Therapeutics, a drug development company specialized in the discovery of new drugs for orphan diseases; Fennec Pharma, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development of Sodium Thiosulfate for the prevention of platinum-induced ototoxicity in pediatric patients; and as a Director for Oxthera AB, a Stockholm-based privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for Primary hyperoxaluria, and Karolinska Development, a Nordic life sciences investment company. He previously served as the Chariman of the Board of Directors for PCovery Aps, a privately-held company developing new drugs for treatment of invasive fungal infections, and C10 Pharma A/S, a privately-held company developing antibiotics to treat potentially life-threatening bacterial infections, and as a Director for Molmed SpA, a medical biotechnology company focused on innovative therapies to treat cancer. Dr. Islam is a graduate of Chelsea College and received his Ph.D. from Imperial College, University of London.