Management Team

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Robert Cobuzzi, Jr., Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Cobuzzi has served as a director since January 2020.  He is currently advisor to the Mitochondrial Disease Frontier Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and chairman of Sunstone Life Science Venture’s Business Development Board.  From 2005 until 2018 Dr. Cobuzzi held a variety of senior  roles in Corporate Development, R&D and Operations at Endo International Plc, including most recently as President, Endo Ventures Limited in Dublin, Ireland from 2015 until 2018.  Prior to Endo, he was with Adolor Corporation from 2001 until 2005.  He began his career in 1995 at AstraMerck in clinical operations before joining Centocor (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) in Worldwide Regulatory Affairs from 1999 to 2001.  Dr. Cobuzzi was previously a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Health/Science Products and Services, and served as a board member for two development-stage medical device companies.  Dr. Cobuzzi holds an A.B. in Biochemistry and Art History from Colby College and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from Loyola University Chicago.  He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

 

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David R. Jones, M.D.
Senior Medical Advisor

Dr. Jones has served as Diffusion’s Chief Medical Officer since September 2012.  In addition to serving as Diffusion’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jones is also the Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller Endowed Professor for Lung Cancer Research and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, a position he has held since 2013. From 2007 to 2013, Dr. Jones was Professor of Surgery and Division Chief for Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Virginia. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Jones has published more than 220 scientific articles, authored or co-authored over 35 book chapters, and served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of over 30 clinical trials.  Dr. Jones received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry and M.D. from West Virginia University. He then completed his thoracic surgery residency and a postdoctoral research fellowship in molecular oncology at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

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Thomas E. Byrne, JD
General Counsel

Thomas Byrne has directed Diffusion’s intellectual property strategy since the Company was founded in 2001. He is an experienced pharmaceutical development executive with special expertise in related intellectual property law. His experience includes in-house counsel positions within both Genentech and Amgen. While at Amgen, he coinvented the erythropoiesis stimulating agent darbepoietin alpha (Aranesp®). From 1992-2000 he was a partner in the intellectual property law firm of Nixon and Vanderhye P.C. (Arlington, VA). Mr. Byrne is currently a consultant for start-up biotechnology companies on intellectual property, contract and business issues. He holds BS degrees from the University of Virginia in Chemical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering, an MS degree from Yale University in Biochemical Engineering, and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

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Bill Hornung
Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Hornung is the Chief Business Officer of Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Mr. Hornung has over twenty years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. As CBO of the Company, Mr. Hornung has responsibility for implementing the Company’s overall business development strategy and will manage investor, bank, and analyst relationships. Prior to joining Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mr. Hornung held the position of Chief Financial Officer at Contravir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to Contravir, Mr. Hornung held positions of increasing responsibility with PTC Therapeutics Inc., most recently serving as Vice President of Finance. During his tenure at PTC Therapeutics (December 2002 through March 2014), Mr. Hornung oversaw the IPO process in which PTC became a publicly traded company. Mr. Hornung also held positions of increasing responsibility with Elan Pharmaceuticals (formerly The Liposome Company) from 1998 through 2002. At Liposome and Elan, he was responsible for strategic planning and operations of the company’s UK-based European headquarters. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hornung worked for a clinical research organization where he was responsible for project management and all financial aspects of the company. Mr. Hornung holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the William Paterson State University of New Jersey. He lives in Virginia with his wife Kristin.

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Douglas Gravatt
Senior Consultant for Manufacturing

Doug is a pharmaceutical engineer with more than 35 years of experience including shepherding 15 new compounds through clinical manufacturing and commercial start-up. He has in-depth experience with the technical and the compliance requirements of aseptic operations from design of facilities through validation of sterile manufacturing processes. He has managed projects between pharmaceutical companies on both sides of outsourced/contract manufacturing. For the past ten years, with Commissioning Agents, Inc., Doug has provided a dozen clients with hands-on guidance for process improvements, troubleshooting, and new product start-up. Doug holds degrees in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.

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Brian Bollwage, JD
Senior Consultant for Regulatory Affairs

Brian D. Bollwage, JD is a career regulatory professional that provides strategic regulatory solutions for products at all stages of development in the product life cycle. Mr. Bollwage has more than 30 years experience in the health products industry permitting him to design regulatory strategies which expedite progress to market. Presently he serves as the Vice President of Strategic Regulatory Affairs at Theorem Clinical Research a mid-sized contract research organization. He has previously served as Regulatory Counsel at i3Research and during tenures with Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacia, Hoechst-Roussel, and Bristol-Myers Squibb he has managed the preparation, submission, research activities and associated FDA liaison activities of over 150 INDs and 25 successful NDAs or BLAs. He received the J.D. from Rutgers Law School, an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University, an M.Sc. in Biology from Rutgers University and a B.A. in Biology from University of Bridgeport. In addition, he holds an appointment as Assistant Professor of Food and Drug Law at Temple University and speaks and publishes actively on numerous Food and Drug Law topics.

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Kelly Hoy
Director of Project Management

Kelly Hoy has over twenty years of diverse experience in the drug development industry. She joined the Diffusion team in February 2004 to coordinate the writing, assembling, and filing of the Company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) Applications following all federal guidelines and receiving Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. She serves as the main point of contact for the FDA to facilitate activities that satisfy their needs to move the Company’s clinical program forward. In addition to managing the two INDs she has successfully submitted and received approval for two Orphan Drug Designations. Kelly has continued to increase her role and responsibilities and in addition to her regulatory role she has assumed the role of Senior Project Manager for Diffusion manufacturing and clinical trials. She serves an integral role in overseeing the manufacturing process as the first point of contact with contracted manufacturing vendors ensuring all operational aspects meet the projected scope of work, budget and timeline. She ensures the conduct of clinical studies are carried out by the project team, including assigned contactors, in accordance with the company’s Standard Operating Procedures, Good Clinical Practices, and ICH guidelines to fulfill all federal and local regulations. Managing multiple site projects includes maintaining tracking tools; analyzing, evaluating, and reporting on study progress to ensure conduct is according to company’s timelines and needs.

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Harry Cook RPh/MBA
Vice President, Clinical Operations

Harry Cook has over 36 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry performing a variety of functions including: clinical strategy development, project leadership, clinical process ownership, related financial/resource management, CRO contracting/management and pharmaceutical sales. Mr. Cook’s experience includes major exposure to the NDA process and hands-on oversight of the clinical function including trial design, budgeting, investigator selection, site initiation, monitoring, data analysis, report writing, and pharmacovigilance. He has interacted effectively with thought leaders and company personnel at all levels. Mr. cook has either led or been instrumental in more than 14 major drug submissions in the United States and abroad in a variety of therapeutic areas.

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Anna Grace, MA, RN, CCRP
Project Manager

Anna Grace has over 15 years of experience in clinical drug and device trials, in both NIH and Industry-sponsored research. Her experience spans that of research team manager, trial manager, research consultant, study monitor, and study coordinator. In her largest project to date, Anna managed the first-ever phase 3 pre-hospital-initiated trial of treatment for acute stroke, and oversaw a team of 15 nurse coordinators carrying out trial activities utilizing all hospitals and EMS providers in Los Angeles County.

Here at Diffusion, Anna manages and coordinates the day-to-day conduct of clinical trials. She liaisons with clinical research sites, EMS providers, CRAs, and vendors, and is an integral part of the team responsible for review and approval of clinical protocols, informed consent forms and case report forms. She is responsible for creating training materials and providing study-specific training to sites and EMS providers, as well as overseeing the IRB and contract submission and approval processes for multiple trial sites. Anna collaborates with vendors and trial sites to manage investigational drug supply, including shipment, distribution to research pharmacies, and accountability throughout all phases of the trial process. She ensures that clinical studies are carried out by the company, contractors, and site-based teams in adherence to the company’s SOPs and federal and local GCP and ICH guidelines, and manages operations to ensure that trial conduct is meeting the company’s timelines and needs.