Board of Directors

David G. Kalergis, JD/MBA

Co-Founder and Chairman

David Kalergis is the co-founder of Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer from 2004 until September, 2020. Under his leadership, Diffusion has grown into a publicly-traded clinical-stage drug development company commercializing a novel proprietary pharmaceutical technology.

  • Clinical trials of Diffusion’s lead compound, trans sodium crocetinate (TSC), began in 2007 with a focus on improved treatments for solid cancerous tumors. TSC in newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) was the subject of a successful end-of-Phase 2 meeting with the FDA in 2015, and the Company is now working on the implementation of Phase 3 programs.

    Before attending graduate school, David worked as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Government. In 1982, after receiving MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia, he was associated with the New York City law firm of Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood, practicing in the areas of corporate finance, public offerings and mergers and acquisitions.

    In 1991, David became the first private investor in Pharmaceutical Research Associates, Inc. (PRA), a contract research organization providing clinical trials services to international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. PRA went public in 2004 and is now among the world’s largest CROs. David served on PRA’s Board of Directors, and from 1991 to 1994 first as head of Business Development and then as General Counsel. In these capacities he was involved in the planning and implementation of all phases of pharmaceutical clinical trials across a wide range of indications.

    After leaving PRA, David became associated with the University of Virginia in an initiative to more closely link high-technology industry with research. He met Professor John Gainer and the two launched Diffusion Pharmaceuticals shortly thereafter. David has remained involved with the University’s efforts to encourage the spin-out of new high technology companies.

    David is a founding director of publicly traded Virginia National Bank, and served on its board until May 2012. While on the Virginia National Bank board, he served on its Audit Committee and as Chairman of its Assets and Liabilities Committee. Other past board service includes the Virginia Biotechnology Association.

    David graduated from the University of Virginia College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in Psychology. In 1982 he graduated from the Combined Program of the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and the University of Virginia School of Law, receiving both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees. David is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Leadership and Strategy in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industry program.


Robert Cobuzzi, Jr., PhD

Chief Executive Officer and Member

Dr. Cobuzzi has served as Chief Executive Officer since September, 2020 and 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.

Mark T. Giles, JD

Member, Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee Lead Independent Director

Mr. Giles has served as a director of Diffusion and its predecessors since 2008. Since July 2007, Mr. Giles has been the sole managing member of Panda Holdings, LLC, which engages in the investment and management of private capital.

  • Prior to joining Panda Holdings, Mr. Giles served as the Chief Executive Officer of Virginia National Bank from July 1998 until June 2007 and thereafter continued to serve as the non-executive Chairman until December 2011. Prior to joining Virginia National Bank, Mr. Giles also served as the president of two publicly traded bank holding companies and subsidiary banks in Texas and practiced law with the banking group of a Houston law firm. He chairs the board of Expedition Trust Company.  Mr. Giles received a B.S. from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Alan Levin

Member, Chairman of the Audit Committee

Alan Levin formerly served as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Endo Health Solutions Inc. (Endo) from June 2009 until September 2013.

  • Prior to joining Endo, Mr. Levin worked with Texas Pacific Group, a leading private equity firm, and one of their start-up investments. Before that, he was Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Pfizer Inc., where he worked for 20 years in a variety of executive positions of increasing responsibility. Mr. Levin received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Advisory Board of Auven Therapeutics, a private equity fund, where he chairs the fund’s Audit & Risk Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Aceto Corp, a NASDAQ-traded company specialized in generics and pharmaceutical intermediate products and the Critical Path Institute, a nonprofit collaboration between the Food and Drug Administration and the pharmaceutical industry, focused on streamlining and accelerating the development and regulatory pathways for innovative medicines.

Robert Adams, JD

Member, Chairman of the Compensation Committee

Robert W. Adams, Esq., serves as a director on the Company’s Board. Mr. Adams was, until his recent retirement, partner in the intellectual property law firm of Nixon & Vanderhye P.C. (Arlington, VA).

  • His practice specialty over the past 25 years was U.S. patent litigation and international patent licensing and negotiations. Mr. Adams received a BA from the University of Maryland in 1972 and a JD (with honors) from George Washington University in 1975.


John L. Gainer, PhD

Co-Founder and Member

Dr. John L. Gainer was Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia, serving as a member of the faculty from 1966-2005.

  • As co-founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of the Company, and the inventor of the trans bipolar carotenoid family of molecules, he plays a critical role in charting the path of their further development and commercialization. He has authored more than 100 scientific journal articles, including more than 30 published in medical journals. He has spent four decades investigating the transport properties of small molecules in solvents and biological systems. His recent research, funded by the Office of Naval Research, has focused on the use of trans bipolar carotenoid molecules to treat hemorrhagic shock, which is the major cause of death in combat, and to treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS.)

    Professor Gainer has spent two sabbaticals investigating drug actions and related research in the laboratories of major pharmaceutical companies. He has been a member of the International Society for Oxygen Transport in Tissues since its inception in 1973. He has received several teaching awards, including the University of Virginia Alumni Association’s Distinguished Professor Award and the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Southeastern Section of the American Society for Engineering Education. Dr. Gainer received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1964.

Jane H. Hollingsworth

Member, and Member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation and Audit Committee

Jane H. Hollingsworth is Managing Partner of Militia Hill Ventures, a business focused on building and growing high quality life sciences companies, and Executive Chair of Talee Bio, a gene therapy company with a focus on cystic fibrosis and diseases of the lung.

  • Jane is also former Executive Chair of Immunome Inc., a cancer immunotherapy company, and co-founder and former CEO of NuPathe Inc., a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company focused on diseases of the central nervous system and sold to Teva in 2014. Jane also co-founded and served as EVP of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on urology and sold to Endo in 2015. Prior to launching and leading multiple successful biopharmaceutical companies, Ms. Hollingsworth was VP, Secretary & General Counsel of IBAH, Inc., a publicly-traded, multinational clinical research organization. Before joining IBAH, she practiced law at the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads and served as law clerk to the Honorable Jane R. Roth of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

    Ms. Hollingsworth is one of the leaders of the entrepreneurial and life sciences communities and serves on various industry and community boards, including DS Biopharma, Talee Bio, the University City Science Center, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Breastcancer.Org.

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