Barry Kappel, Ph.D., M.B.A.
President, CEO and Director
Barry Kappel is the founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Sapience Therapeutics. As a biotechnology entrepreneur, executive and native New Yorker, Dr. Kappel is driven to help develop and foster the biotechnology community in New York, and Sapience is the latest example of this effort.
Prior to founding Sapience, Dr. Kappel was a senior executive of ContraFect Corporation, a company that he played an integral part in founding in 2009. As the Senior Vice President of Business Development, he was involved in all aspects of the company, including financing activities, licensing of the company's key technologies, establishing scientific collaborations with academic and corporate partners, presenting to regulatory authorities and developing a corporate strategy. Prior to ContraFect, Dr. Kappel was a Senior Consultant at Easton Associates, LLC, a boutique life science consulting firm located in Manhattan. Easton Associates has since been acquired by Navigant Consulting.
Dr. Kappel holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Emory University, a Ph.D. in Immunology and Pharmacology from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and an M.B.A. from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Dr. Kappel was also chosen as a Howard Hughes Pre-Doctoral Fellow and has published 17 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Alice S. Bexon, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Alice Bexon is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at Sapience Therapeutics. Dr. Bexon has over 20 years of experience managing the clinical development of numerous novel therapeutics, including drugs and biopharmaceuticals. She has executed many clinical trials from Phase 1 through 4 and brought several drugs through FDA and worldwide approval. Dr. Bexon has led oncology development teams in CMO and VP roles since 2007, in addition to running Bexon Clinical Consulting, which provides clinical development support to the pharma and biotech industries. Dr. Bexon brings her team with her to Sapience and has supported our preclinical development program for the past 2 years. Recent CMO/VP clinical roles have included Senesco Technologies (now Eloxx Pharmaceuticals) and Vyriad. Previously, Dr. Bexon was Vice President of Clinical Development at Idera Pharmaceuticals, from 2007-2009. From 2001-2006, she held a series of positions of increasing responsibility at Roche Oncology, including serving as a key member of the clinical development and life cycle team responsible for Xeloda®. Prior to that, Dr. Bexon was the country medical lead for Eloxatin® in France and also worked for the EORTC phase 1-2 unit in Amsterdam (the New Drug Development Office).
Dr. Bexon earned her medical degree from Bristol University Medical School in the United Kingdom and her oncology diploma at the Institut Gustave Roussy in France.
Nancy Dong, MPPM, CMA, SPHR
SVP, Finance and Administration
Ms. Dong, MPPM, CMA, SPHR has over 25 years of experience in accounting, strategic planning, budgeting, forecasting, organization development, financial systems and controls. Prior to Sapience , she served as VP Finance & Administration at ContraFect Corporation (Nasdaq: CFRX) where she helped grow the company from startup to a public company. Ms. Dong served as VP Finance & Administration at DCM, Inc. a teleservices firm supporting the performing arts and also held the positions of COO/CFO at Semaphore, a financial management software development firm. Ms. Dong started her career as a management consultant at Ernst & Young. Ms. Dong received her BA degree from Yale University and a Master degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Gene Merutka, Ph.D.
Head of CMC
Gene Merutka is the Head of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) at Sapience Therapeutics. Dr. Merutka has over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and specializes in the development of peptide therapeutics, including CMC, preclinical, quality and regulatory CMC. Prior to his role with Sapience, Dr. Merutka co-founded and served as Vice President and Head of Non-Clinical Development and CMC at Merganser Biotech, Inc., which was developing a Hepcidin mimetic to treat iron storage diseases. Previously, he served as the Head of CMC Development and Vice President at Azelon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (alternate name Zelos Therapeutics Inc.), where he focused on novel formulations and delivery routes for parathyroid hormone (PTH 1-34). He also worked at Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for product development and played an important role in the submission of two approved NDA filings, and at Trimeris Inc., where he was part of the team that developed Fuzeon (Enfuvirtide).
Dr. Merutka holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from The University of Iowa and a B.S. in Chemistry from The University of Chicago. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute.
Jim Rotolo, Ph.D.
Head of Research
Jim Rotolo is the Head of Research at Sapience Therapeutics, where he is leading the Company's discovery and pre-clinical development efforts. Prior to Sapience, Dr. Rotolo was Director of Pharmacology at ContraFect Corporation with roles in R&D, non-clinical development and clinical operations. He was responsible for directing in vivo studies supporting the progression of the company's lead candidate from proof of concept into Phase 2 of clinical development, including PK/PD assessments to inform dose selection for Phase 1 and 2 studies. In addition, Dr. Rotolo designed and directed toxicology, immunogenicity and efficacy experiments to evaluate discovery-phase molecules and in-licensed candidates. Prior to ContraFect, Dr. Rotolo's research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center culminated in the invention of an engineered antibody-fragment-based therapeutic for medical radiation countermeasures and autoimmune indications. This antibody has been licensed for commercial development and is supported by the NIH Radiation Nuclear Countermeasures Program.
Dr. Rotolo holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Emory University, an M.S. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Long Island University, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Immunology from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. His work has resulted in over 20 publications and multiple patents/patent applications.
Gina Capiaux, Ph.D.
Head of Regulatory Affairs
Gina Capiaux is the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Sapience Therapeutics. Gina has over 25 years of experience in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry and 17 years in regulatory affairs. Prior to Sapience, Gina was Sr. Director at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, where she helped develop the regulatory affairs department and led multiple programs for rare genetic disorders including the enzyme replacement therapy MepseviiTM for mucopolysaccharidosis 7 (MPS 7) and DojolviTM for long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorders (LC-FAOD). Previously, she held positions of increasing responsibility at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, where she led the program for Vimizim® for (MPS 4) and various other small molecule and biologic programs. Her leadership has led to >30 successful IND/CTA applications, 6 NDA/BLA approvals, and numerous expedited program designations/approvals worldwide.
Dr. Capiaux holds a B.A. in biochemistry from California State University Fresno and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.