Dr. Kessler has more than 35 years of applied development experience in the areas of iodine-based formulations, bio-analytical assays, in vitro diagnostic (IVD) medical devices and regulatory affairs. He is a named inventor on more than 20 U.S. patents for analytical assays, IVD medical devices, iodine-based disinfectants and formulations and pharmaceutical dosage forms. Kessler has also authored more than 20 publications and book chapters and participated on six federal research grants from the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He received a doctorate in biochemistry from SUNY at Syracuse and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.


Victor Nizet 

Victor Nizet, M.D. is the Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair for Basic Research and Chief of the Division of Host-Microbe Systems & Therapeutics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Medicine as well as Distinguished Professor at UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Nizet received his medical training at Stanford University School of Medicine, completed a Residency and Chief Residency in Pediatrics at Harvard University's Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington's Children's Hospital in Seattle. Dr. Nizet leads a large basic and translational research laboratory focused on discovering virulence factors of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens, elucidating mechanisms of host innate immunity, and novel approaches to infectious disease therapy. Dr. Nizet has authored over 450 peer-reviewed publications (> 100 since 2017), including several in the most prestigious general scientific journals. He has collaborated with several biotechnology interests in developing new antibiotic and immune-based therapies against drug-resistant pathogens. Dr. Nizet's work has been recognized by an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, the American Lung Association Career Investigator Award, the American Asthma Foundation Senior Investigator Award, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, the UCSD Chancellor’s Associates Award for Excellence in Research in Science and Engineering, and an NIH Merit Award. Dr. Nizet has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Academy of Microbiology. Details of his research program can be found on the laboratory website:


Stephen Keane

Mr. Keane is a life sciences executive with an extensive track record in corporate development, business development and financial transactions for emerging biopharmaceutical companies. He has been an Officer of four publicly traded companies, raised over $400 million in equity capital in the last two decades and has helped generate more than $400 million in non-dilutive partner revenues to fund drug discovery programs. Mr. Keane is Co-Founder of Staurus Pharma, served as President and CEO of Femta Pharmaceuticals and has held senior corporate development positions with Ambit Biosciences, Dendreon Corp., Corvas International, Epimmune Inc., Cosmo Pharmaceutical, SIBIA Neurosciences and Molecular Biosystems. He was responsible for negotiating significant alliances including licenses, distributions agreements, technology acquisitions and research agreements with large pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. He also served as the Principal Negotiator for Dendreon’s acquisition of Corvas International and Merck’s acquisition of SIBIA Neurosciences. He earned a BA in English Literature from San Diego State University.


Jim Pekarsky

Mr. Pekarsky is an accomplished executive with over 30 years of domestic and international experience in general management, finance and operations for both publicly traded and privately held companies in high technology and healthcare, based in the Silicon Valley. With extensive capital raising experience having led several IPOs, Mr. Pekarsky’s background includes founder and CEO of BioPharmX, 15 years as CFO for publicly traded companies including Solar Power, MoSys and Virage Logic and 5 years as the European General Manager for U.S. based multinational corporations Mentor Graphics and Bio-Rad. More recently, Mr. Pekarsky has counseled numerous start-ups in various industries, assisting in private financings, accounting and finance infrastructure, reverse mergers and IPO preparations. Mr. Pekarsky holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a M.B.A. in Finance from the Golden Gate University.