It's all by design
It's all by design
It's all by design
 
SCILEX is more than just a pharmaceutical company. It’s a team of passionate and dedicated people who have faith in forward-thinking technologies and who believe that helping patients better manage their pain can lead toward a better quality of life. Learn more about the people who make up what we think is a pretty amazing place.
 

Principled by design

We are committed to following these tenets of good business that have
helped shape the Mission, Vision, and Values by which we run SCILEX.

MISSION

SCILEX Pharmaceuticals responsibly develops and brings branded products to market using technologies designed to maximize the quality of life for patients we serve.

VISION

We are uncompromising in our focus to become the global pharmaceutical leader in pain management through social, environmental, economic and ethical principles.

VALUES

Responsibility

Excellence

Accountability

Diversity

Integrity

Quality

Integrity by design
Integrity by design
Integrity by design

Integrity by design

The ethical standards that govern how SCILEX conducts business reflect the company's commitment to integrity and excellence. The following documents outline the guiding principles and the internal structures we have in place to monitor them.

Governance Documents

California Compliance

It's all by design
It's all by design
It's all by design

Experienced by design

Comprising industry veterans and visionary thinkers, the SCILEX Board of Directors is a management team that has decades of pharmaceutical experience with a strong track record of success. The members offer a collective knowledge of drug development, finance, accounting, regulatory, legal, sales, and marketing to help advise and counsel the day-to-day Executive Team.

 

Jaisim Shah

Jaisim Shah is a successful life science leader with significant success in global business development and product commercialization. Jaisim’s track record of success in leading teams in the commercialization of some of today’s most recognized pharmaceutical brands. Innovation, collaboration and patient care has been at the heart and soul of his extensive life science career and they are guiding principles for Scilex/Semnur. Jaisim has been CEO and President of Semnur Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Scilex Pharmaceuticals) since its inception in 2013. Jaisim also serves as CEO and President of Scilex Holding and Scilex Pharmaceuticals since March 2019 and on the Board of Directors for Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. Most recently, Jaisim served as Chief Business Officer of Elevation Pharmaceuticals where he focused on financing, mergers and acquisitions, and business development. He led the sale of Elevation to Sunovion Dainippon Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals in 2012. Formerly, he was the chief business officer and senior vice president of business development at CytRx, a biopharmaceutical company which specializes in oncology. At Facet Biotech and PDL BioPharma, he served from 2000 to 2009 as chief business officer and also held the position of senior vice president of marketing and medical affairs. Here he completed numerous licensing/ partnering and strategic transactions including with Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Otsuka and Biogen Idec. His leadership in marketing and leading the commercial enterprise helped the company make large improvements to meet its profitability potential. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, as vice president of global marketing from 1997 to 2000 he received the “Presidents Award” for completing one of the most significant collaborations in the company’s history. Prior to working with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. Shah led international marketing for oncology and virology and was global business leader for corporate alliances at Roche from 1991 to 1997 with Genentech and Idec, and prepared products for worldwide launch and pre-launch at F. Hoffman-LaRoche AG in Switzerland. He has played a key role in the formulation of long-range plans and pre-launch and launch strategies for such brands as Abilify®, Pegasys® and Rituxan/MabThera®, each of which have generated well over $1 billion in sales. Jaisim holds an MA in Economics from the University of Akron and an MBA from University of Oklahoma.

Mahendra G. Shah, Ph.D.

Mahendra G. Shah, Ph.D. is a highly successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur and executive who has been at Vivo Capital since March 2010. He was also the founder and Executive Chairman of Semnur Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Scilex Pharmaceuticals) until March 2019. Dr. Shah currently serves as chairman of the board of Essentialis Therapeutics, board member of Biotie Therapies (NASDAQ: BITI), and a member of the board of trustees of St. John’s University. He is also a board member and charter member of EPPIC and a charter member of TIE. From September 2005 to December 2009, he was the founder, chairman and CEO of NextWave Pharmaceuticals, a pediatric focused specialty pharmaceutical company, which was sold to Pfizer for a total of $700 million in upfront and milestone payments. From 1993 to May 2003 he was the chairman and CEO of First Horizon Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded specialty pharmaceutical company, where he raised over $200 million and built a highly profitable company before it was sold to Shionogi Pharmaceuticals for $1.4 billion. From 1991 to October 1999, he was vice president of E. J. Financial Enterprises, Inc., which manages a fund that invests in healthcare companies. He previously served on the boards of Unimed Pharmaceuticals (UMED), Introgen Therapeutics (INGN), Inpharmakon, Protomed, Structural Bioinformatics, and Zarix. From 1987 to 1991 he was the senior director of new business development with Fujisawa USA (Astellas). Prior to that time he worked in various scientific and management positions with Schering-Plough and Bristol Myers-Squibb. Dr. Shah received his Ph.D. in industrial pharmacy from St. John’s University and his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Pharmacy from L.M. College of Pharmacy in Gujarat, India.

Brent Ahrens M.S., M.B.A.

Brent Ahrens joined Canaan in 1999 as a member of the Kauffman Fellows Program. A raconteur extraordinaire, in his work hours, Brent focuses on healthcare investments and has led investments in life sciences companies such as DexCom (DXCM), Revivant (acquired by ZOLL), Peninsula Pharmaceuticals (acquired by JNJ), Cerexa (acquired by FRX), Calixa (acquired by CBST), Durata Therapeutics (DRTX), and Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by DNPUF). Brent serves on the board of Durata Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company pursuing late-stage clinical development of novel antibiotic programs. He is also on the boards of EndoGastric Solutions, the leading company offering medical devices for treatment of reflux disease; Minimally Invasive Devices, a developer of a franchise of products that substantially improve visualization during laparoscopic surgery; Relievant MedSystems, a maker of minimally invasive devices to relieve chronic back pain; Semnur Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Scilex Pharmaceuticals), a developer of pain managements solutions; and Spinifex, a biotech company developing new treatments for chronic pain. Prior to joining Canaan, Brent worked in both commercial and technical roles at General Surgical Innovations, Ethicon Endo-Surgery (J&J), and IAP Research. He also has several surgical instrument patents to his credit. Brent earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College after graduating with a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton.
 

elizabeth-czerepak

Elizabeth Adkins Czerepak

Ms. Czerepak brings 35 years of experience in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and venture capital where she has demonstrated leadership in pharmaceuticals finance and business development.  Additionally, she has served on the board of directors of several private and public companies, including Spectrum Pharmaceuticals where she currently serves as chairperson of the audit committee. Elizabeth is Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer at Genevant Sciences, Inc., a preclinical stage company based in Cambridge, MA.  Prior to Genevant, she was Chief Financial Officer at public biotech companies, Altimmune, Inc. and Cancer Genetics, Inc.  Earlier, Elizabeth served as Managing Director at JP Morgan and Bear, Stearns, Inc., and a General Partner in the Bear Stearns Health Innoventures venture fund.  Elizabeth began her career with 18 years in finance and corporate development at BASF (Knoll) Pharma, Hoffmann-La Roche and Merck & Co., where she served a primary role in Roche’s .4bn acquisition of Syntex and BASF Pharma’s .9bn sale to Abbott. She holds an MBA from Rutgers University and a B.A. from Marshall University.
 

Henry Ji, Ph.D

Henry Ji, Ph.D., co-founded and has served as a director of Sorrento since January 2006, and as its Chief Executive Officer and President since September 2012. Dr. Ji served as Sorrento’s Chief Scientific Officer from November 2008 to September 2012 and as its Interim Chief Executive Officer from April 2011 to September 2012.

Dr. Ji served as VP of Sales and Business Development at CombiMatrix, and was responsible for strategic technology alliances. From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Ji served as Director of Business Development, and in 2001 as VP of Business Development at Stratagene (later acquired by Agilent Technologies), a biotechnology company. In 1997, Dr. Ji co-founded Stratagene Genomics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stratagene Corporation, and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer and Director from its founding until 1999.

Dr. Ji obtained his Ph.D. in Animal Physiology from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Fudan University. He held many executive positions in biotechnology and life sciences companies during his career.

Yue Alexander Wu, Ph.D.

Dr. Wu was the co-founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Crown Bioscience International, a leading global drug discovery and development solutions company, which he co-founded in 2006. From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Wu was Chief Business Officer of Starvax International Inc. in Beijing, China, a biotechnology company focusing on oncology and infectious diseases. From 2001 to 2004, Dr. Wu was a banker with Burrill & Company where he was head of Asian Activities. Dr. Wu received his Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology and his MBA from University of California at Berkeley. He earned an M.S. in Biochemistry from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and his B.S. in Biochemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Tien Lee, M.D.

Dr. Lee has over 15 years of experience as a biotechnology innovator and executive who has been integrally involved with the founding or advancement of several biopharmaceutical companies. Since 2017, Dr Lee is the founder/CEO of Aardvark Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to this, Dr. Lee joined Nantkwest in 2014 and served as its Chief Strategy Officer until March, 2017. His experience includes therapeutics for immunology, cardiovascular, oncology, neurology, and infectious disease indications. Dr. Lee is also an inventor or co-inventor of multiple biomedical and biotechnology innovations, licensed or assigned to several companies for development including Nantkwest (Nasdaq: NK), Simcere Pharmaceutical Group, Cellics Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics (Nasdaq: SRNE), and Aardvark Therapeutics. Dr. Lee earned his M.D. degree from UC San Diego and his B.A. degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular Biology where he was also a Regents and Alumni Scholar. Dr. Lee received post-graduate training in Internal Medicine through UC Los Angeles and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UC Irvine.
 

Kenji Hakoda

Kenji Hakoda has more than twenty years of management experience in the global chemical trading industry, including 11 years in Korea and Taiwan with a focus on seeking new business development. Mr. Hakoda currently serves as the Pharmaceutical Division Director and Chief Operating Officer for Itochu Chemical Frontier Corporation (“ICF”) in Japan, a member of ITOCHU Corporation, a Fortune Global 500 Company and one of the three leading Sogo Shosha (general trading companies) in Japan. In 1983 Mr. Hakoda entered ITOCHU Corporation as an expert in chemical trading. In the past five years he has served the pharmaceutical industry, by utilizing a global network to procure API(Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) and FDF(Finished Dosage Form), and also contributing to the development of biosimilars. Mr. Hakoda holds a B.S. in Applied Chemistry from the Engineering Department at Yokohama National University in Japan

Scott M. Whitcup, MD

Dr. Scott Whitcup is the Founder and CEO of Akrivista and Whitecap Biosciences, two companies focused on developing new therapies in ophthalmology and dermatology. Previously, Dr. Whitcup was the Executive Vice President, R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at Allergan where he led the discovery, clinical development, and medical affairs organizations focused on therapeutic areas including ophthalmology, CNS, urology, dermatology, and medical aesthetics. Before Allergan, Dr. Whitcup was the Clinical Director at the National Eye Institute at NIH. Dr. Whitcup received a BA from Cornell University and his MD from Cornell University Medical College. He completed an internal medicine residency at UCLA and an ophthalmology residency at Harvard University at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He is an inventor on over 25 issued patents in the US and an author on over 200 scientific articles and books. Dr. Whitcup is currently on the Clinical Faculty at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute and serves on the Board of Menlo Therapeutics, Scilex Pharmaceuticals, and Anivive.

Leadership by design

Legal, Finance, Clinical, Regulatory, and Product Commercialization

The mission of the Executive Team is to bolster our proprietary pain management technology by employing years of expertise that comes with overseeing market access, commercialization, advocacy, and government affairs programs. These seasoned professionals bring SCILEX a type of leadership that is unmatched in the pharmaceutical industry.

 

Jaisim Shah

Jaisim Shah is a successful life science leader with significant success in global business development and product commercialization. Jaisim’s track record of success in leading teams in the commercialization of some of today’s most recognized pharmaceutical brands. Innovation, collaboration and patient care has been at the heart and soul of his extensive life science career and they are guiding principles for Scilex/Semnur. Jaisim has been CEO and President of Semnur Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Scilex Pharmaceuticals) since its inception in 2013. Jaisim also serves as CEO and President of Scilex Holding and Scilex Pharmaceuticals since March 2019 and on the Board of Directors for Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. Most recently, Jaisim served as Chief Business Officer of Elevation Pharmaceuticals where he focused on financing, mergers and acquisitions, and business development. He led the sale of Elevation to Sunovion Dainippon Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals in 2012. Formerly, he was the chief business officer and senior vice president of business development at CytRx, a biopharmaceutical company which specializes in oncology. At Facet Biotech and PDL BioPharma, he served from 2000 to 2009 as chief business officer and also held the position of senior vice president of marketing and medical affairs. Here he completed numerous licensing/ partnering and strategic transactions including with Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Otsuka and Biogen Idec. His leadership in marketing and leading the commercial enterprise helped the company make large improvements to meet its profitability potential. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, as vice president of global marketing from 1997 to 2000 he received the “Presidents Award” for completing one of the most significant collaborations in the company’s history. Prior to working with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. Shah led international marketing for oncology and virology and was global business leader for corporate alliances at Roche from 1991 to 1997 with Genentech and Idec, and prepared products for worldwide launch and pre-launch at F. Hoffman-LaRoche AG in Switzerland. He has played a key role in the formulation of long-range plans and pre-launch and launch strategies for such brands as Abilify®, Pegasys® and Rituxan/MabThera®, each of which have generated well over $1 billion in sales. Jaisim holds an MA in Economics from the University of Akron and an MBA from University of Oklahoma.
 

Suketu D. Desai, Ph.D.

Suketu D. Desai, Ph.D. has 25+ years of experience in the Biologics and Pharmaceutical Industry. Suketu is Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice President, Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls, Regulatory CMC and Quality at Semnur Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Scilex Pharmaceuticals), Inc., (2015-current). Prior to Semnur, Suketu was Vice President of Biologics Development and Manufacturing for biologics drug substance and drug product, technical due diligence and commercial technical operations at Allergan, Inc. (2014-2015), which was acquired by Actavis, plc. Before Allergan, Suketu was a CMC consultant in 2013. Suketu was Vice President, Biotechnology Technical Operations for biologics drug substance and drug product, analytical, manufacturing and technical due diligence at Cephalon, Inc. (2010-2012), which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals. During 2007-2010, Suketu was Ception Therapeutics, Inc., Vice President, Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) and Quality responsible for biologics drug substance and drug product development, analytical, manufacturing, quality, regulatory CMC and technical due diligence for business development. Ception was acquired by Cephalon (2010).

Earlier, Suketu was Principal Scientist, Process Sciences/Technical Operations for late-stage and commercial biologics drug substance and drug product at Centocor, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary (2003-2006); Assoc. Director, Pharmaceutical and Biologic Formulations Development at AAI Pharma Development Services (2001-2003); Director/Sr. Manager at Aronex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1996-2001); and Senior Scientist II/I at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, formerly Alcon Labs, Inc., (1992-1996).

Suketu has contributed to several commercial biologic products (Botox, Cinquair, Simponi, Remicade, ReoPro, Retavase, Eprex) and pharmaceutical products (Azopt and Volfenol) and late-stage products including SP-102 and abicipar pegol.

Suketu has experience in biologics development, pharmaceutical development, internal and contract manufacturing, process validation, methods development and validation, quality, CMC regulatory and pre-approval inspection, clinical and commercial supply chain, CMC outsourcing, contract manufacturing organization (CMO) management and technical due diligence. He has managed CMOs in US, Europe and Asia for biologics and pharmaceutical drug substance and drug products.

Dr. Desai received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and Master’s in Pharmacology and Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from the University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India.

Dmitri Lissin, M.D.

Dmitri Lissin currently serves as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs of Scilex/Semnur Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Semnur, from 2011-2015, Dmitri was Vice President of Clinical Development at Xenoport, responsible for conduct of multiple clinical research programs in neurology and dermatology. From 2006-2011 Dmitri directed a clinical research team and served as member of the Executive Committee at DURECT Corporation, designing and executing clinical trials in chronic nociceptive, neuropathic, and acute post-operative pain, which led to successful licensing deals and NDA filings. From 1998-2006 Dmitri managed various clinical R&D programs at Titan Pharmaceuticals, Aerogen and Synarc. Dr. Lissin has a broad expertise with proprietary drug-delivery technologies applied to therapeutic products spanning numerous clinical areas, including pain and neurological disorders. Most of his experience involves clinical development of novel oral, transdermal, implantable and injectable formulations containing existing active pharmaceutical ingredients, using 505(b)(2) drug approval pathway. He has participated in many Pre-IND, End of Phase 1, End of Phase 2 and Pre-NDA meetings, negotiating clinical development programs with the FDA Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products (DAAAP), Division of Neurology Products and Division of Dermatology and Dental Products. He received his post-doctoral training at the University of California San Francisco, and his medical degree through an exchange program between Russian National Medical University and Harvard Medical School.

Suresh Khemani

Suresh Khemani has 25+ years of senior management experience in the industry and successfully launched both specialty and large market products. His therapeutic areas include pain, neurology, oncology, immunology and CV. Suresh is a board member of Full Spectrum Genetics, an antibody technology company.

Michael E. Faerm

Mike serves as our Chief Business Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer. He has extensive experience in life sciences, from the multidimensional perspectives of an industry executive, equity analyst and investment banker. He has executed a wide variety of transactions including IPOs and other equity financings, debt, non-dilutive financings, mergers and acquisitions, and licensing agreements. Mike was previously the Chief Business Officer for Innoviva, Inc. (formerly Theravance, Inc.), where he led all corporate development activities and helped develop the company’s strategy. In his other roles in biopharma companies, Mike worked in business development at Forest Laboratories (now part of Allergan), where he sourced and executed partnerships with growing biotech companies; and at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where Mike performed long-term financial planning and helped execute a collaboration agreement for the company’s largest product, Eylea. As an equity analyst, Mike worked at Wells Fargo and at Credit Suisse, covering stocks in the pharmaceutical industry, including numerous pain-focused specialty pharmaceutical companies. Previously as a healthcare investment banker at Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Mike executed a wide range of transactions including equity, debt and M&A. Mike holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Columbia University.

Steve Lincoln

Steve Lincoln serves as interim General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer for Scilex Holding Company and Scilex Pharmaceuticals. Steve has been involved in the biopharma industry for more than 18 years. Most recently, he has been Of Counsel to the law firm of Brown Gee & Wenger, where his corporate practice has included several publicly traded and private biopharma companies. Before that, Steve served in in-house counsel roles at SciClone Pharmaceuticals (acquired by GL Capital), Kosan Biosciences (acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb), SuperGen (now Astex Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Otsuka), and Protein Design Labs (later Facet Biotech, acquired by AbbVie). Steve is a graduate of Brown University and the Boston University School of Law.

Not your typical pharma

We’re not just your average pharmaceutical company. We’re a different breed altogether. Ours is a passionate team of talented people working together to make a difference in the world of pain management. Our team-spirited approach ensures a collaborative, engaged, and focused atmosphere where we push thinking further, fostering innovation and fervently pursuing viable solutions for patients and providers through groundbreaking technologies. We believe in the “law of science” and that we’re all entitled to live healthy and pain-free lives—because we’re patients, too. We don’t just seek answers. We seek THE answer.

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