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 led 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 BestDirector of People Resources/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, MBADirector of Business Development

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 startup 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, PhD in cellular biology from the University of Alabama Birmingham, JD from Seton Hall University, and MBA from the University of Connecticut.

Jon Mogford, PhD
Jon Mogford, PhDHead of Business Development and Alliances

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 1997-98. 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.

Kristy Szretter, PhD
Kristy Szretter, PhDDirector, Nonclinical Development

Dr. Szretter has broad expertise in preclinical research and development of vaccines, biologics, and gene therapy in academic, government, and industry settings. Dr. Szretter’s experience includes discovery/lead candidate identification, safety assessment, and translation into the clinic with a successful track record of regulatory submissions in the US and globally. Prior to joining SmartPharm, Dr. Szretter was the associate director of nonclinical safety assessment at Axovant Sciences, leading the toxicology program and nonclinical development of gene therapy products for neurological and rare diseases. Before that, Dr. Szretter was at Visterra, where she held various positions of increasing responsibility developing biologics to treat infectious disease and autoimmune disorders.

Dr. Szretter received her BS in animal science from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and her PhD in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University. She completed postdoctoral work in the infectious disease department at Washington University in St. Louis – School of Medicine.

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

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 was 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 2012, Mr. Thomas has served as a director of Novelion Therapeutics, Inc., formerly QLT, Inc., a public biotechnology company and Medovex, Inc., a public medical device company. Since 2014, Mr. Thomas has served as a director of NantKwest, Inc., a public biotechnology company. During the past 10 years, Mr. Thomas has 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. From 1999 to 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.

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

Mohammed Asmal, MD
Mohammed Asmal, MD

Dr. Asmal is the vice president, head of clinical research and development, at bluebird bio, where he leads a team of 8 physicians, pharmacologists, and clinical scientists working on lentiviral-based gene therapy for sickle cell disease, thalassemia, adrenoleukodystrophy, and on an immuno-oncology pipeline for liquid and solid tumors. Before joining bluebird bio, Dr. Asmal was the medical director of clinical development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He is a medical scientist with broad range of therapeutic and research experience spanning small molecules and cell & gene therapy, and disease area expertise including hemoglobinopathies, neurometabolic disorders, solid and liquid tumor oncology, and infectious diseases (hepatitis C, HIV, influenza). Dr. Asmal is an American Board of Internal Medicine-certified practitioner of internal medicine and infectious disease at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he is involved in the treatment of complex general medical and infectious conditions, and in the teaching of medical students and residents and fellows in training.

He received his MD from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and subsequently completed his internship and residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.

Atta Behfar, MD, PhD
Atta Behfar, MD, PhD

Dr. Behfar is a consultant in the department of cardiovascular diseases where he is the co-director for innovation in biological agents/drugs. He holds a joint appointment in the department of physiology and biomedical engineering and molecular pharmacology. He joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 2014 and holds the academic rank of associate professor of medicine. Dr. Behfar is the Braswell Family Deputy Director of Translation, where he provides oversight of technological platforms, infrastructure, and clinical trials to advance new knowledge to clinical applications. Dr. Behfar also directs the Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program, where his team conducts cardiovascular regeneration research and develops technologies to repair heart tissues. He also serves as the medical director for the Advanced Product Incubator, a CGMP manufacturing facility designed to accelerate the development and use of regenerative products. Dr. Behfar has received the Howard Hughes Scholarship Award, the American College of Cardiology Herman K. Gold Young Investigator Award, and the American Society for Clinical and Pharmacology and Therapeutics Presidential Award. He has over 100 publications and has contributed to several United States and international patents in the biotherapeutics and device space.

Ellie Hershberger, Pharm D
Ellie Hershberger, Pharm D

Dr. Hershberger is a clinical advisor with over seventeen years of experience in leading development of small and large molecules across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular and infectious diseases. Dr. Hershberger’s experience includes leading drug candidates through early and late stages of development with over 20 successful regulatory submissions in the US and globally. Dr. Hershberger has held a number of leadership positions in various levels of increasing responsibility at Pfizer, Cubist, Merck, and Visterra. She played a leading role in the development of Zerbaxa® and Cubicin® while serving as global program development lead at Merck and senior medical director at Cubist. At Visterra, she led the clinical and operation teams responsible for global development of novel biologic therapies.

Dr. Hershberger has a BS in chemistry, a doctorate in pharmacy, and completed a fellowship in infectious diseases PK/PD.

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

Dr. Mansour is a physician-scientist involved in the investigation of invasive fungal diseases and host immune responses. He is 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 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 chief medical resident, after which he completed the Harvard combined infectious diseases fellowship.

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.

Tarek Shazly, PhD
Tarek Shazly, PhD

Dr. Shazly is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. The research in Dr. Shazly’s lab is focused on defining and characterizing relevant tissue properties for clinical applications and rationally designing polymeric biomaterials that leverage local biology to enhance therapeutic gain. His specific interests include physiological mechanical testing of soft matter, mechanical modeling, multiphysics-based computational modeling, tissue-material adhesion, and tissue scaffold engineering. Dr. Shazly obtained his masters in bioengineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD at MIT, Cambridge, in bio and polymeric materials science and engineering.