Prokaryotics management consists of a well-balanced team of discovery research and business executives with extensive expertise and experience in antibiotic drug discovery and development.
Terry Roemer, Founder, Board Member & Chief Scientific Officer
Terry brings nearly 20 years of biopharmaceutical experience and expertise in antimicrobial discovery authentically rooted in innovative genetic, genomic, chemical biology, and phenotypic screening strategies to identify novel targets and cognate antibiotic drug candidates to treat serious bacterial and fungal infections. Previously, Terry assumed increasing roles and responsibilities at Merck & Co., Inc. from 2004-2017, serving as Senior Research Fellow, Distinguished Scientist, and Co-Chair of the MRL Antibacterial Early Discovery Unit. Prior to joining Merck, he served as Director of Antifungal Research and Site Head of Elitra Canada, a subsidiary of Elitra Pharmaceuticals. Terry also served as a co-founder and Director of Research at Mycota Biosciences, an antifungal startup and later acquired by Elitra Pharmaceuticals. He has also served as principal investigator of two large-scale Genome Canada projects related to Candida albicans genomics and antifungal lead discovery. Terry has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters as well as multiple Merck, Elitra, and Mycota patents. Terry received his PhD in 1994 at McGill University in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Bussey where he studied yeast genetics and cell wall biogenesis, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Snyder at Yale University.
Sherman Tim Waddell, Vice President Chemistry
Tim brings 26 years of experience in leading chemistry lead identification/optimization programs in the areas of infectious and cardiometabolic disease, retiring from Merck as a Senior Investigator/Principal Scientist in 2016, To date, five compounds from his programs have entered the clinic. He is principal or co-author on 36 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and is an inventor on over 100 published and granted Merck patents. Prior to joining Merck, Tim received his PhD in 1988 from Yale University, where he studied physical organic and synthetic chemistry under Prof. K. B. Wiberg, and was an NIH post-doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Prof. E. T. Kaiser at The Rockefeller University and Prof. Ronald Breslow at Columbia University, where he pursued research in bioorganic and peptide chemistry. Tim is known for his scientific outreach, and speaks frequently to public audiences at the high school and college level about the mission, methods and challenges of the pharmaceutical industry.
Holly Sutterlin, Director of Biology
Holly Sutterlin, PhD is a microbial geneticist specializing in the discovery and development of novel antibacterials. Before joining Prokaryotics, Holly served as a disease area biologist in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Merck & Co., where her efforts focused on antibacterial target identification and validation as well as lead compound identification and development. She has experience with both synthetic small molecule and natural product pipelines geared toward discovery of new antimicrobials to combat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. Holly received her PhD in 2014 from Princeton University, where she studied Escherichia coli cell envelope biogenesis in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas J. Silhavy. She was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which funded three years of her graduate work. Holly graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Duke University in 2008.
Bob Wilkening, Director of Chemistry
Robert R Wilkening, has been a medicinal chemist, group leader and people manager with 35 years of experience working in lead optimization at Merck & Co., Inc. He worked extensively in the antibacterial area on the PRIMAXIN program, MRSA carbapenem program leading to L392 and the macrolide program producing the marketed BRD (bovine respiratory disease) GAMITHROMYCIN. He also worked in the antifungal area preparing the first orally active GS inhibitor SCY-078 currently in phase II clinical studies. He is principal or co-author on over 25 peer reviewed papers and an inventor on over 50 published or issued Merck patents.
Keith Bostian, Board Member & Acting CEO
Keith Bostian is an entrepreneur scientist with a distinguished career in industry and academia. He has held senior executive positions in numerous life science companies including Kemin Pharma and Vanta Bioscience, as President and CEO. He was a founder of Mpex Pharmaceuticals, founder and CEO of Iconix Pharmaceuticals, and founder and COO of Microcide Pharmaceuticals. At Merck, he was Head of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, with responsibility for antimicrobial drug discovery and discovery of new leads from natural products worldwide. Most recently, he founded the Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurism (ILSE) at Kean University, a New Jersey regional knowledge hub connecting academic and industrial scientists with resources to promote translational research and life-science start-ups. Dr. Bostian is an inventor on numerous patents in drug discovery and genomics, and has championed efforts resulting in numerous clinical candidates including a first-in-class anti-fungal antibiotic, CANCIDAS®, and an aerosol fluoroquinolone, Aeroquin®, for cystic fibrosis infections, as well as a proprietary probiotic, Anaban™. He is a fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology, and a former faculty member at Brown University. Dr. Bostian earned his doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of London and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow.
Steve Lesiak, Acting CFO
Steve began his career with Johnson & Johnson in various finance roles across the pharma group including global pharma R&D where he gained an intimate knowledge of clinical drug development. He then joined Agennix (formerly GPC Biotech) as senior manager of drug development finance as they pursued various early stage and clinical phase I, II & III oncology based programs. Most recently Steve was Director of Finance/Controller for Lux Biosciences, Inc., a venture backed biotech company working on phase III development of an immunosuppressant for ophthalmic indications. He serves on the Talent Advisory Committee of BioNJ, the Steering Committee of the CFO Leadership Council (NJ), and The Manhattan Institute Young Leaders Advisory Committee. Steve has a BS in accounting from Rutgers and is currently doing his MBA at Sloan.
Pamela Demain, Vice President Business Development & Board Member
Pam recently retired from Merck & Co., Inc. and has over 35 years of experience in pharmaceutical business development, licensing, strategic planning and marketing. She previously served as Executive Director, Business Development and Licensing at Merck & Co., Inc. For the past 20 years, she was responsible for negotiating transactions with companies, universities and institutions worldwide, including arrangements for compounds, research collaborations, patents, formulations and research platform technologies. Prior, Ms. Demain was in charge of the Business Information & Research Department in the Worldwide Human Health Marketing area of Merck. She was also responsible for the worldwide launch of the antibiotic PRIMAXIN/TIENAM. She joined Merck in 1981 on a management training program. Ms. Demain is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and holds a M.B.A. in International Business from The American University in Washington, D.C. and is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP). She served as President, Licensing Executives Society USA and Canada (LES) 2014-2015 and was on the LES Board for over 10 years. She is a member of the ILSE Board of Trustees and was a member of the BioNJ Board from 2013-2016, heading the Membership Committee.