WHO WE ARE
“We founded Hillhurst to liberate Sickle Cell Disease patients from the horrendous, recurrent, lifelong severe painful episodes and accompanying organ injury of this life limiting disease.”
Management Team and Key Advisors
Chief Executive Officer
Before co-founding Hillhurst, Mr. Gomperts was Chief Business Officer at Cerus Corporation, where he was responsible for the global marketing and business development functions and for the commercial organizations in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions. Prior to Cerus, he led corporate and business development for Sangart, a development stage biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for sickle cell disease and traumatic hemorrhage. Mr. Gomperts also led corporate development for Prometheus Laboratories. He previously spent five years with McKinsey & Company, where he advised corporations on strategic, financial and operational issues. Mr. Gomperts holds an MBA from the Wharton School, a JD from Stanford Law School and a BS in Chemistry and Economics from UCLA.
Ms. Arter has over 40 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry, with a focus on commercialization and commercial activities. She has held senior executive positions at Baxter Healthcare, Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals. Ms. Arter has led both the commercialization strategy, including marketing strategy, clinical strategy, and product design, as well as operational commercialization activities, including worldwide launch activities and ongoing US and global sales/marketing for numerous therapeutics including several orphan drugs. She has led biopharmaceutical development projects at all stages, from the decision to develop in man through successful global launch and ongoing commercialization. Ms. Arter holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BA in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.
Senior Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Advisor
Mr. Bracken has over forty years of executive and operational experience in the development and manufacturing of drug products and formulations. He was previously Vice President of Manufacturing for Verenium, Universal Preservation Technologies, and Vical, where he oversaw production, process development, engineering and quality control for multiple drug products. Mr. Bracken has led both development and commercial stage manufacturing, and has led contract manufacturing and contract research interactions on numerous occasions. He previously oversaw the process engineering function at Vestar/NeXstar and Baxter Bioscience. Mr. Bracken holds a MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.
Vice President, Regulatory and Clinical Operations
Bonnie Mills, PhD
Dr. Mills has a multi-national clinical drug development career spanning over 25 years in both the large pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Her broad based experience includes multiple therapeutic areas with development of drugs, biologics and combination products to treat oncology, hematology, immunology and inherited metabolic disorders. In her prior position as Senior Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, she was responsible for strategy, coordination, implementation and oversight of all clinical development and regulatory activities including phase I/II/III clinical development programs, and submission of marketing applications in the US and European Union. Following the relocation of Inspiration headquarters in 2012, Dr. Mills has worked as an independent clinical and regulatory consultant to biotech companies that are initiating clinical development programs and/or preparing marketing applications. Recent projects include gene therapy candidate products, biosimilar development, and novel therapeutics to treat orphan indications. Dr. Mills received her Ph.D. from The University of New Mexico School of Medicine and completed post-doctoral training programs at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in San Diego.
Vice President, Technical Operations
Mr. Stockdale has over thirty years of broad operational and technical experience in the Life Science Industry and was previously head of European Contract Manufacturing for Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a late stage company focused on the development of recombinant proteins for the treatment of hemophilia. Prior to Inspiration, he was the CEO of Stockdale Associates, Inc. a boutique consulting group providing technical operational professional services to the life science industry. Mr. Stockdale spent over twenty years with Baxter Healthcare in various operational and technical leadership roles with four Baxter business units; Diagnostics, Biologics, Medical Devices and Biopharmaceuticals. Mr. Stockdale holds an MBA from the University of La Verne and a BS in engineering from Michigan State University.
Vice President, Nonclinical Research
Mark Young, PhD
Dr. Young has over 30 years of academic and industry experience in preclinical aspects of pharmaceutical development. He was previously Vice President and Head of Nonclinical Research at Intercept Pharmaceuticals. He was also Vice President and Head of Nonclinical Research at Mistral Therapeutics and Vice President of Preclinical Research at Sangart, Inc, where he published several research articles on the cytoprotective actions of carbon monoxide. He previously was General Manager for the San Diego branch of Charles River Labs, and Director of Cardiovascular Pharmacology at Gensia Inc. Dr. Young received his PhD in Physiology from Rutgers University and post-graduate training in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Founder and Chairman
Edward Gomperts, MD
Edward Gomperts MD is a pediatric non-oncologic hematologist on staff at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles since 1978. He is co-inventor of Hillhurst’s current technology and a co-founder of the Company. He is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Pathology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Prior to his retirement from his academic appointment at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, he was Director, Clinical Research at CHLA and co-Director of the USC/CHLA CTSI. In addition to his academic and clinical responsibilities, he was Vice President, Medical Affairs and Clinical Development for the Baxter Healthcare Hyland/Bioscience Division between 1990 and 2005, and was responsible for the clinical program resulting in the licensure of Baxter’s recombinant Factor VIII therapeutic products.
Senior Medical Advisor
Howard Levy, MD PhD
Dr. Levy has over 25 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry with a focus on critical care and benign hematology therapeutic areas. He was Chief Medical Officer at Catalyst Biosciences, a protease engineering company that has created increased-potency recombinant clotting factors IX and activated VII for subcutaneous administration in hemophilia. He served as Chief Medical Officer at Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, a hemophilia company, and at Sangart, Inc., which was developing pegylated hemoglobin as an oxygen therapeutic agent, and a treatment for sickle cell crisis. Prior to Sangart, he was Associate Vice President, Clinical Research, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, at Novo Nordisk and was responsible for a number of clinical research programs, including hemostasis agents, recombinant factor VIIa for trauma and intracerebral hemorrhage, and anti-inflammatory biological compounds. Earlier, Dr. Levy was Clinical Research Physician and Medical Director Acute Care in the U.S. Medical Division of Eli Lilly and Company supporting postmarketing clinical trials and medical affairs for recombinant Activated Protein C (Xigris) in severe sepsis and antiplatelet agents ReoPro and prasugrel. He was Chief of Critical Care Medicine at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque for 11 years.
Principal Scientific Advisor
Leo Otterbein, PhD
Dr. Otterbein has over twenty years of experience in heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and carbon monoxide (CO) research, including seminal preclinical and clinical research expertise on the therapeutic use of CO in a number of indications including organ transplantation, sepsis, vascular-proliferative disease and acute lung injury, among others. His current research is focused on the mechanisms by which HO-1 and CO modulate innate immunity, host defense and tissue repair. Dr. Otterbein brings more than fifteen years of experience advising companies on CO-focused drug development programs. Dr. Otterbein earned his PhD in Physiology at Johns Hopkins University with graduate and postdoctoral training at Yale University and the University of Pittsburgh. He joined the Department of Surgery at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2004 and currently has an appointment as a Professor at Harvard Medical School.