About us

At SmartPharm Therapeutics, we are committed to an ambitious goal: to make biologic therapies accessible for the patients who need them. We seek to accomplish this goal by developing gene encoded therapeutics capable of generating therapeutic proteins inside the patient’s body—”biologics from within.”

SmartPharm was formed in 2017 to catalyze a unique network of technologies and development partners in order to pursue high-impact opportunities in key medical markets.

Jose Trevejo, MD, PhD

“We believe that the coming decades will be the age of gene therapy in medicine. Our company’s role is to create gene-based drugs that can make desired therapeutics in the patient’s own body. We believe this revolutionary approach to biologics will make it possible to provide biologic therapies for the patients that need them.”

Management Team

José Trevejo, MD, PhD
José Trevejo, MD, PhDCEO and President

Dr. Trevejo brings his experience and passion for leading research and development teams in the advancement of novel therapeutics for serious diseases. Before joining SmartPharm as CEO, Dr. Trevejo served as vice president, clinical development at Cyclerion Therapeutics, where he helped advance a diverse clinical pipeline in rare diseases such as sickle cell anemia. Dr. Trevejo joined Ironwood/Cyclerion from Visterra, where he was a member of the executive team and lead the pre-clinical and clinical development of novel biologics. While at Visterra, he oversaw the transition to a clinical stage company as well as helped to secure a $215 million DHHS award to support development of a novel treatment for influenza. Prior to Visterra, he held clinical development leadership positions at Genentech and Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

Before entering the biotechnology industry, he served as instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and was a principal biomedical scientist at the Draper Laboratory.

Dr. Trevejo completed his clinical training at BWH/BIDMC/Harvard Medical School and earned his MD and PhD degrees from the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program at Cornell-Rockefeller-Sloan Kettering in New York.

Susan Best
Susan BestSr. Director, People/Operations

Ms. Best is a human resources and operations leader with 20 years of progressive experience within the biotech, construction, finance, and professional services sectors with key experience in startups and SMEs. Her work with life science companies includes Cambria Pharmaceuticals and Antigenics LLC (now Agenus), where she helped both companies transition out of university settings. Ms. Best is well-versed in identifying, defining, and driving strategic HR initiatives, developing and aligning HR policy and procedures, and orchestrating effective talent management solutions. She specializes in company culture and has collaborated with Education First (EF) on a speaker series about building company culture. She has also previously served as a judge in the HULT prize/Clinton Global Initiative.

Ms. Best obtained a BS in business management from the University of Phoenix.

Timothy Brauns, MBA
Timothy Brauns, MBAChief Operating Officer

Mr. Brauns brings tested and diverse operational experience in the life sciences field over the last 25 years gained in the academic hospital environment and in biotech and medical device companies and medical philanthropies. Prior to joining SmartPharm, Mr. Brauns was the associate director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where over a five-year period he helped to double the funding of the center, including landing key STTR grants and other contracts for support of preclinical life science technologies and guiding four preclinical technologies toward development partnerships. Before his work with VIC, he held positions as vice president of strategic planning for Boston BioCom, a biotechnology company; vice president of marketing and communication for BL Healthcare, a home health monitoring technology company; assistant director of the international program in the Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) at MGH; and director of program development at the Adelson Medical Research Foundation.

Mr. Brauns brings special skills in the development and management of “distributed development” of new life science technologies through cross-disciplinary, inter-institutional, industry-academic teams, and in sponsored program developing, assisting organizations he was part of in securing over $60 million in grants and contracts from a broad range of federal and private funding organizations.

Leon F. Hebert Jr, PhD, JD, MBA
Leon F. Hebert Jr, PhD, JD, MBAGeneral Counsel

Prior to joining SmartPharm, Dr. Hebert served as associate director of innovation for Partners HealthCare, where he utilized his business development, legal, and scientific experience to launch biotechnology start-up companies based upon research conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Dr. Hebert first developed his skills as a patent attorney with Pennie & Edmonds LLP in New York City and, since then, has worked for a number of biotechnology companies to create, license, and commercialize new technologies.

Dr. Hebert obtained his BS in biology from the University of Notre Dame, his PhD in cellular biology from the University of Alabama Birmingham, his JD from Seton Hall University, and his MBA from the University of Connecticut.

Jon Mogford, PhD
Jon Mogford, PhDGovernment Affairs/Alliance Management

Dr. Mogford has a proven track record in fostering and managing complex life science development. He most recently served as the vice chancellor for research for The Texas A&M University System, where he provided research and development leadership to the system’s eleven universities and seven state agencies encompassing 30,000 faculty and staff, 135,000 students, a budget of more than $4 billion, and research expenditures of more than $945 million annually. As the leader of the A&M System Office of Research, Dr. Mogford developed strategic partnerships with external agencies, foundations, academic institutions, and commercial corporations to enhance the system’s mission of research, teaching, service, and economic development for the state of Texas. Prior to joining the Texas A&M University System in 2011, Dr. Mogford served as a program manager and then deputy director of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the U.S. Department of Defense. As DSO Deputy Director, he provided strategic planning and implementation of $400M/year in R&D in the physical, biomedical, and material sciences. He provided leadership to 20 program managers in the development and management of office investments ranging from the fundamental sciences to commercial transition efforts for both defense and non-defense applications. Dr. Mogford led expansion of the formal working relationship between DARPA and the FDA to improve the ability of each organization to meet mission goals, which was highlighted as a DARPA-FDA-NIH partnership by the White House. Dr. Mogford is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Dr. Mogford obtained his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Texas A&M University and doctorate in medical physiology from the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College Station, Texas. His research in vascular physiology continued at the University of Chicago as a postdoctoral fellow from 1997-1998. Dr. Mogford transitioned his research focus to the field of wound healing at Northwestern University, both as a research associate and also as a research assistant professor from 1998-2003.

Bill Pullman, MB, MS, BMedSc, PhD, FRACP
Bill Pullman, MB, MS, BMedSc, PhD, FRACPHead of Research and Development

Bill Pullman, MB MS BMedSc PhD FRACP, has more than 35 years of experience, spanning the fields of Clinical Practice and Pharmaceutical Research and Development with “small” molecular and biologic (protein, antibody) therapeutics. He has played key roles in developing and progressing a significant number of innovative medicines through Regulatory approval in the US and EU (NDA and MAA) and onto market. Additionally, he has experience in Medical Affairs and Regulatory Approval in the Asia Pacific region (Australia, New Zealand and Japan) and has many successful IND’s to his credit.

Previously serving in roles for small to mid-sized Biotech companies, including Chief Scientific Officer (Proximagen LLC, Upsher-Smith Pharmaceuticals), Chief Medical Officer (Cubist) or Chief Development Officer (Dyax, TransForm), Bill has led strategic direction as well as operational and tactical execution for clinical, regulatory and scientific affairs for novel molecular entities as well as drug repurposing efforts. His contributions to Drug Development include pipeline selection and enhancement, translational medicine innovations including biomarker application, novel early and late phase clinical trial designs, medical affairs, and regulatory interactions.

Prior to his Biotech experience, Bill worked in a variety of roles for big Pharma companies including Pfizer, Lilly, Aventis, Sanofi-Aventis specializing in Clinical Pharmacology, Clinical Research and Medical Affairs. He completed his primary medical training at the University of Western Australia and is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians. He also received a Ph.D. in Medicine and Clinical Science (Immunology) from the Australian National University.

Mr. Thomas has more than 40 years of experience in a variety of financial and accounting positions, with the last 33 years spent in the medical, pharmaceutical, and device fields. From 2001 until 2018, Mr. Thomas served as chief financial officer and secretary of CorMatrix Cardiovascular, a privately held medical device company and a director from 2001 until 2016. Since 1991, Mr. Thomas has served as chief financial officer, secretary, and director of Motion Reality, Inc., a privately held motion capture and simulation company. Since 2014, Mr. Thomas has served as a director of NantKwest, Inc., a public biotechnology company. From 2012 to 2019, Mr. Thomas served as a director of Novelion Therapeutics, Inc., formerly QLT, Inc., a public biotechnology company, and Medovex, Inc., a public medical device company. During the past 10 years, Mr. Thomas served as acting chief financial officer for DemeRx, Inc., MRI Interventions, Inc., MiMedx Group, Inc., and DARA BioSciences, and as a director of MRI Interventions, Inc. In 2018, Mr. Thomas was asked to return as the chief financial officer for DemeRx to assist them through a reorganization, which he did and continues to serve in that role.  From 1999 and 2012, Mr. Thomas also served as a trustee and subsequently the chairman of the finance committee of The Walker School, a private Pre-K through grade 12 school. Mr. Thomas is a certified public accountant and graduated from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce.

John C. Thomas, Jr., CPA
John C. Thomas, Jr., CPAChief Financial Officer

Board of Directors

Steve Gorlin
Steve GorlinChair

Mr. Gorlin has 45 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He has founded several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including Medivation, Inc.; Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation; MiMedx; DARA BioSciences, Inc.; Hycor Biomedical, Inc.; CytRx Corporation; and EntreMed, Inc. Additionally, Mr. Gorlin served for many years on the business advisory council to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and on the Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering advisory board, and serves on the board of Andrews Institute. Mr. Gorlin is also the founder of The Touch Foundation, a nonprofit organization for the blind, and was a principal financial contributor to the founding of Camp Kudzu for diabetic children. In addition to his position as board chair for SmartPharm Therapeutics, he also currently serves as vice chairman of NantKwest, Inc.; chairman of ViCapsys; CEO of Nantibody Fc; and on the boards of Medovex, Inc.; Catasys, Inc.; Nantibody Fc; and NTC China, Inc. He is also a member of the Research Institute Advisory Council (RIAC) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Fred Driscoll
Fred Driscoll

Prior to his retirement in 2017, Mr. Driscoll served as chief financial officer at Flexion Therapeutics, where he spearheaded a successful IPO in 2014 and during his tenure raised over $600 million toward the ultimate FDA approval of Zilretta®. From 2009 to 2013 he served as chief financial officer at Novavax, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Novavax, Mr. Driscoll served as chief financial officer from 2007 to 2008, and subsequently chief executive officer from 2008 to 2009, at Genelabs Technologies, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline; and chief executive officer at OXiGENE, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, from 2000 to 2006.

He began his biotechnology career serving as chief financial officer at Instrumentation Laboratory, an in vitro diagnostics company. Mr. Driscoll has served as chairman of the board at OXiGENE and as a member of the audit committee for Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc., which was sold to Sunovion Pharmaceuticals in 2016. He currently sits on the boards of Cellectar Biosciences, Cue Biopharma, MEI Pharma, and NantKwest, all publicly traded companies where he serves on the audit committees of each.

Mr. Driscoll earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Bentley University.

Peter C. Gerhard
Peter C. Gerhard

Mr. Gerhard is the founder, managing partner, chief investment officer, and a portfolio manager of G Capital. Mr. Gerhard launched G Capital in 2009 after spending more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs. While at Goldman Sachs, he was named a partner in 1994 and was a member of the bank’s risk committee and also a member of the operating committee for its fixed income, currency, and commodities business. Mr. Gerhard is also the founder of Intervention Energy, LLC.

John T. Potts, MD, DSc
John T. Potts, MD, DSc

Dr. Potts is the Jackson Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School. After completing his MD at the University of Pennsylvania and internship and residency at MGH, he worked at the National Institutes of Health for almost a decade, studying protein chemistry with Nobel laureate Christian Anfinsen. He returned to MGH as chief of endocrinology in 1968, where he subsequently served as director of research, chairman of the department of medicine, and physician-in-chief. An internationally recognized authority on calcium metabolism and the hormonal mechanisms that govern it, he has been a pioneer in identifying the chemistry and biology of clinical disorders of bone and mineral ion metabolism.

Dr. Potts has played an active role in the life sciences industry. He is a founder of Radius Health, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative endocrine therapeutics in the areas of osteoporosis and oncology, where he currently serves as a scientific advisory board member. He has also served on advisory boards with MPM Capital and HealthCare Ventures. He has previously held board of director positions with Cell Genesys, Zeltiq Aesthetics, Genentech, and NantKwest.

An author on over 500 publications, his honors and awards include the Association of Professors of Medicine’s Robert H. Williams, MD, Distinguished Chair of Medicine Award; the Biomedical Science Career Program Hope Award; the Endocrine Society’s Fred Konrad Koch Award; and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s William F. Neumann Award. He holds active and honorary memberships in a number of scientific and professional organizations including the National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.

John Preston
John Preston

Mr. Preston is president and CEO of North American Development Group, one of the largest private developers and owners of retail shopping centers in North America. Mr. Preston has over 40 years of successful real estate development and investment experience throughout North America. Mr. Preston is also a founding partner of Centrecorp Management Services, which has become one of the largest private retail service providers in North America. In addition, he was co-founder and executive director of Centrefund Realty, a $1.1 billion Toronto Stock Exchange listed public company which, over a six-year period until it was sold in 2000, grew from a portfolio of 5 properties to own over 70 shopping centers. In 2007, Mr. Preston co-partnered the privatization of Sterling Centrecorp Inc. in a $280 million transaction. Mr. Preston, over the past few years, co-founded five investment funds in the United States and one in Canada, comprising over $1.25 billion of equity. These funds are investment partnerships comprising private and institutional investors.

Mr. Preston received his MBA from York University in Toronto.

José Trevejo, MD, PhD
José Trevejo, MD, PhD

Dr. Trevejo brings his experience and passion for leading research and development teams in the advancement of novel therapeutics for serious diseases. Before joining SmartPharm as CEO, Dr. Trevejo served as vice president, clinical development, at Cyclerion Therapeutics, where he helped advance a diverse clinical pipeline in rare diseases such as sickle cell anemia. Dr. Trevejo joined Ironwood/Cyclerion from Visterra, where he was a member of the executive team and lead the preclinical and clinical development of novel biologics. While at Visterra, he oversaw the transition to a clinical stage company as well as helped to secure a $215 million DHHS award to support development of a novel treatment for influenza. Prior to Visterra, he held clinical development leadership positions at Genentech and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Before entering the biotechnology industry, he served as instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and was a principal biomedical scientist at the Draper Laboratory.

Dr. Trevejo completed his clinical training at BWH/BIDMC/Harvard Medical School and earned his MD and PhD degrees from the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program at Cornell-Rockefeller-Sloan Kettering in New York.

Scientific and Clinical Advisors

Barbara Rath, MD, PhD
Barbara Rath, MD, PhD

Barbara Rath, MD PhD is a board-certified pediatric consultant and infectious disease specialist with 20 years’ experience in clinical trials, public health and virology in the US, Latin America and Europe. Dr. Rath’s recent research focuses on vaccine safety/communication and the quest for a personalized approach to managing acute infections in children.

Dr. Rath is co-founder and chair of the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative (VVSI), an international think tank and non-profit-organization focused on new avenues for the treatment, communication and prevention of infectious diseases. Under her leadership, VVSI developed a mobile application in 2015/16—during the peak of refugee arrivals in Berlin—that allowed young refugees to self-report in real time their health needs securely and anonymously. The tool was based on a survey instrument she had encountered while providing urgent care services to 18,000 evacuees in Lafayette, LA, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. housing up to 18’000 evacuees. In conjunction with the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, Dr. Rath has also developed innovative, real-time surveillance and quality improvement programs for the monitoring of acute infections with epi/pandemic potential.

In addition to her work with VVSI, Dr. Rath also chairs the Epidemiology Group and is an ex officio board member of the International Society for Influenza and other Respiratory Virus Diseases (ISIRV) . She also serves on the board for the respiratory virus study group of the European Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. She is a founding member of the Monarch Collaboration, an international consortium to Improving the Health of Migrant and Refugee Populations through Immunization and in 2018, she completed the Global Pediatrics Leadership Program at Harvard University Medical School. In 2018 she was also appointed as an honorary professor at the University of Nottingham School of Medicine, UK.

Dr. Rath received her medical school education in Germany, the United States and Spain, and her doctoral degrees from the University of Basel, Switzerland and the University of Besançon, France. In addition to a post-doctoral fellowship at the Stanford Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases & Geographic Medicine, she has received pediatric residency and infectious disease subspecialty training at Duke and Tulane Universities, USA.

Robert Finberg, MD
Robert Finberg, MD

Robert Finberg, MD is a physician scientist specializing in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. His clinical expertise is in the treatment of infections in patients with cancer and transplant recipients. He has experience as both a clinician who cares for patients with serious infections and as a research scientist who has studied the role of host responses to infection. Dr. Finberg worked at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital from the completion of his training in 1980, where he was promoted to Professor of Medicine. In 1999, he joined the University of Massachusetts as the Chair of the Department of Medicine, a position he held until 2019.

Dr. Finberg’s career has focused on studies that define the interactions between viruses and mammalian hosts. His initial training was in virology (reoviruses) with Dr. B.N. Fields, and cellular immunity with Dr. Baruj Benacerraf. In recent years, work in Dr. Finberg’s laboratory has demonstrated the role of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in the innate immune response to viruses. He identified the receptor for Coxsackie and adenoviruses (CAR) and is currently working on defining receptors for other picornaviruses. He has also worked on the pathogenesis and the development of the host immune response to respiratory viruses, in particular, influenza A virus (IAV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). He is currently conducting drug trials for COVID-19 and studying the host response to SARS-CoV-2. His clinical interests include new approaches to healthcare delivery, ensuring wellness and preventing disease, and treatment of infections in immunocompromised patients.

Dr. Finberg received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and did his internal medicine training at Bellevue Hospital in New York and his fellowship in Pathology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  He has published over 200 peer reviewed papers, and his research has received continuous support from the NIH and other funding agencies for over 35 years. Dr. Finberg serves on multiple editorial boards and scientific advisory boards.

Jeffrey Gelfand, MD
Jeffrey Gelfand, MD

Jeffrey Gelfand, MD is a Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has over 40 years of experience in both research and clinical care. His laboratory and clinical research spans immunology, inflammation and infection, while he developed a specialty in infectious diseases and immunology, becoming a world expert in complement, fever of unknown origin, and tick-borne diseases.

His research work over the last 20 years has focused on vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer. He initiated research programs on ovarian cancer, developing several vaccines and immunotherapies, as well as a laser adjuvant. Most recently he initiated funded studies on the uses of light energy as antimicrobial therapy and a strategy for overcoming antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics. At MGH he co-founded a company to develop methods to enhance immune responses to vaccines, a therapeutic vaccine targeting ovarian cancer, and a vaccine platform to enable rapid and/or personalized vaccines for cancers or infectious diseases. In 2007, Dr. Gelfand was elected a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science “for distinguished contributions to clinical immunology and vaccine development.”

During his career, Dr. Gelfand served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine of Tufts University School of Medicine,   Physician-in-Chief at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Dean for Research at Tufts University School of Medicine, Senior Vice President for Research and Technology at Tufts- New England Medical Center, and the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (www.CIMIT.org), where he founded a number of programs aimed at building international collaborations and responding to emerging infectious diseases. Most recently he has worked with the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he serves as a senior scientific advisor. Dr. Gelfand has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 50 chapters in leading textbooks of medicine.

Michael Mansour, MD, PhD
Michael Mansour, MD, PhD

Michael Mansour, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist involved in the investigation of invasive fungal diseases and host immune responses. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an attending physician on the Transplant and Immunocompromised Host Service in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Mansour’s clinical work focuses mainly on the care of solid and bone marrow transplant patients with infectious complications. In addition, he maintains a basic and translational research laboratory investigating the critical molecular mechanisms responsible for host immunity to life-threatening fungal pathogens. In recent years, he has developed expertise in the clinical treatment of human coronavirus infection, first with MERS-CoV, where he assisted the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia in care for these patients, and more recently with SARS-CoV-2, where he is an investigative clinician on a number of clinical trials to test potential therapies for COVID-19.

Dr. Mansour obtained his MD and PhD degrees from Boston University School of Medicine. His PhD focused on host response to the human pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also served as served as Chief Medical Resident after which he completed the Harvard combined Infectious Diseases fellowship.