Team

Management

Richard L. Sherman, JD

Interim CEO

Jennifer Murata, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Alan Johnson, Ph.D.

Director of Chemistry

Sean O’Malley, Ph.D.

Director of Botulinum Antitoxin Therapeutics Program

Richard maintains an active worldwide legal and strategic business consulting practice focused on life sciences companies. He has served as general counsel for private and public development stage pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for over 45 years, including Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He spent more than a decade (1976-1989) as Deputy General Counsel of SmithKline Beckman Corporation (now GlaxoSmithKline), was a partner in the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP (1990-1992), and was founder and managing officer (1992-2001) of QED Technologies, Inc., a life science business consulting firm purchased in 1999 by The Omnicom Group in New York. He has been a venture partner in SCP Private Equity Partners, SCP Vitalife Partners, and CIP Capital LP, investment firms with a focus on development stage life science and technology companies. Mr. Sherman has served on the board of directors of a number of public and private for-profit companies in the United States and Canada, including Biophage, Inc. (Chair), CytoMed, Inc., Functional Technologies Corp. (Chair), IBAH, Inc., Kenna Technologies, Inc., Leversense LLC, Mera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sparta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Immunomedics, Inc., Hawaii Biotech, Inc., and PONTiS Orthopaedics LLC., as well as many non-profits, including The Sbarro Health Research Organization, Aloha Medical Mission, American Music Theater Festival (Chair) and SCA, Inc. (Chair). Mr. Sherman graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska (1968), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As a Root-Tilden Scholar at the New York University School of Law, he received his Juris Doctor in 1971.
Jennifer has over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, and has held executive and financial management positions in private and public companies in various industries in Hawaii and California. Ms. Murata holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and also attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She holds a license as a Certified Public Accountant from the State of Hawaii. Ms. Murata is a member of the Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants. Prior to rejoining Hawaii Biotech in 2015, Ms. Murata served for five years as CFO for DTRIC Insurance and its subsidiaries and RSFC. Her prior experience also includes Big Four firm, KPMG LLP, Oahu Transit Services, Autobytel, RGP, Kamehameha Schools, and Hawaii Biotech. Ms. Murata’s experience includes strategic planning, risk analysis and management, financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, treasury and accounting operations, reporting, system implementations, project and change management, and auditing. She previously served on the board of directors of a credit union and was an active member of her former employer’s ERM, investment, 401(k) and ESOP committees.
Alan has been the Director of Chemistry at Hawaii Biotech Inc since 2013. Previously, he was the Director of Chemistry at PanThera Biopharma, a Hawaii Biotech spin-off. He has been the Principle Investigator for several NIH grants and contracts involved with the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics to treat infectious diseases. He was a Group Leader at X-Ceptor Therapeutics, where he focused on the discovery of small molecule modulators of the nuclear receptor LXR to treat metabolic disease. He began his professional career at Allergan Inc. working in the area of the nuclear receptors. At Allergan, his work led to the identification of RAR subtype specific agonists and antagonists. He has coauthored numerous articles in the area of organic and medicinal chemistry and is a coauthor on multiple issued patents. He obtained his B.A. in chemistry at UC San Diego and his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Oregon State University, before completing an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester.
Sean has nearly 30 years of experience in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, rational drug design, and molecular modeling. He has supervised high-throughput docking, screening, analytical, biochemical, and hit-to-lead and lead optimization medicinal chemistry activities with a team of scientists at Hawaii Biotech, as a program supervisor in a matrix management context. In addition, he has overseen external CRO activities including: ADME assays, PK and tox studies; animal efficacy studies, model development, and optimization and implementation of scale-up process chemistry methods for bulk syntheses of key investigational compounds.  He has served as Principal Investigator on multiple NIAID grants and DoD contracts. Current and past projects include work in biodefense antitoxin therapeutics, antibody-directed enzyme-activated anticancer and antifungal prodrug design, and immunoassays. He holds a BA in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

David Clements, M.S.

Director of Vaccine Research & Development

David has over 25 years of experience in molecular biology and the development of recombinant protein expression systems at Hawaii Biotech. He has worked on a variety of projects involving molecular genetics and has extensive experience in the expression of recombinant proteins in heterologous host cell systems. He has been actively involved in the development of Hawaii Biotech’s recombinant subunit vaccine platform, utilizing a stable insect cell expression system. For the past 15 years, He has been responsible for the development of the necessary cell lines and large-scale cell culture processes needed for cGMP production of the dengue and West Nile virus vaccines. This includes production of pilot lots suitable for toxicology studies, tech-transfer to GMP manufactures and oversite of upstream and downstream operations. In addition to his role in cGMP manufacture, he has also have been involved in the preparation of pre-IND and IND packages for the dengue, West Nile and Zika vaccines. He has been Principle Investigator on several SBIR grants directed towards the development of recombinant subunit vaccines for malaria, Tick-borne flaviviruses, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Chikungunya, and SARS 1 and 2. He received his degree in Biochemistry from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his studies focused on the molecular genetics of toxin production in plant pathogenic bacteria.

Richard L. Sherman, JD

Interim CEO

Jennifer Murata, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Richard maintains an active worldwide legal and strategic business consulting practice focused on life sciences companies. He has served as general counsel for private and public development stage pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for over 45 years, including Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He spent more than a decade (1976-1989) as Deputy General Counsel of SmithKline Beckman Corporation (now GlaxoSmithKline), was a partner in the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP (1990-1992), and was founder and managing officer (1992-2001) of QED Technologies, Inc., a life science business consulting firm purchased in 1999 by The Omnicom Group in New York. He has been a venture partner in SCP Private Equity Partners, SCP Vitalife Partners, and CIP Capital LP, investment firms with a focus on development stage life science and technology companies. Mr. Sherman has served on the board of directors of a number of public and private for-profit companies in the United States and Canada, including Biophage, Inc. (Chair), CytoMed, Inc., Functional Technologies Corp. (Chair), IBAH, Inc., Kenna Technologies, Inc., Leversense LLC, Mera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Sparta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Immunomedics, Inc., Hawaii Biotech, Inc., and PONTiS Orthopaedics LLC., as well as many non-profits, including The Sbarro Health Research Organization, Aloha Medical Mission, American Music Theater Festival (Chair) and SCA, Inc. (Chair). Mr. Sherman graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska (1968), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. As a Root-Tilden Scholar at the New York University School of Law, he received his Juris Doctor in 1971.
Jennifer has over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, and has held executive and financial management positions in private and public companies in various industries in Hawaii and California. Ms. Murata holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and also attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She holds a license as a Certified Public Accountant from the State of Hawaii. Ms. Murata is a member of the Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants. Prior to rejoining Hawaii Biotech in 2015, Ms. Murata served for five years as CFO for DTRIC Insurance and its subsidiaries and RSFC. Her prior experience also includes Big Four firm, KPMG LLP, Oahu Transit Services, Autobytel, RGP, Kamehameha Schools, and Hawaii Biotech. Ms. Murata’s experience includes strategic planning, risk analysis and management, financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, treasury and accounting operations, reporting, system implementations, project and change management, and auditing. She previously served on the board of directors of a credit union and was an active member of her former employer’s ERM, investment, 401(k) and ESOP committees.

Alan Johnson, Ph.D.

Director of Chemistry

Sean O’Malley, Ph.D.

Director of Botulinum Antitoxin Therapeutics Program

Alan has been the Director of Chemistry at Hawaii Biotech Inc since 2013. Previously, he was the Director of Chemistry at PanThera Biopharma, a Hawaii Biotech spin-off. He has been the Principle Investigator for several NIH grants and contracts involved with the discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics to treat infectious diseases. He was a Group Leader at X-Ceptor Therapeutics, where he focused on the discovery of small molecule modulators of the nuclear receptor LXR to treat metabolic disease. He began his professional career at Allergan Inc. working in the area of the nuclear receptors. At Allergan, his work led to the identification of RAR subtype specific agonists and antagonists. He has coauthored numerous articles in the area of organic and medicinal chemistry and is a coauthor on multiple issued patents. He obtained his B.A. in chemistry at UC San Diego and his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Oregon State University, before completing an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester.
Sean has nearly 30 years of experience in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry, rational drug design, and molecular modeling. He has supervised high-throughput docking, screening, analytical, biochemical, and hit-to-lead and lead optimization medicinal chemistry activities with a team of scientists at Hawaii Biotech, as a program supervisor in a matrix management context. In addition, he has overseen external CRO activities including: ADME assays, PK and tox studies; animal efficacy studies, model development, and optimization and implementation of scale-up process chemistry methods for bulk syntheses of key investigational compounds.  He has served as Principal Investigator on multiple NIAID grants and DoD contracts. Current and past projects include work in biodefense antitoxin therapeutics, antibody-directed enzyme-activated anticancer and antifungal prodrug design, and immunoassays. He holds a BA in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

David Clements, M.S.

Director of Vaccine Research & Development

David has over 25 years of experience in molecular biology and the development of recombinant protein expression systems at Hawaii Biotech. He has worked on a variety of projects involving molecular genetics and has extensive experience in the expression of recombinant proteins in heterologous host cell systems. He has been actively involved in the development of Hawaii Biotech’s recombinant subunit vaccine platform, utilizing a stable insect cell expression system. For the past 15 years, He has been responsible for the development of the necessary cell lines and large-scale cell culture processes needed for cGMP production of the dengue and West Nile virus vaccines. This includes production of pilot lots suitable for toxicology studies, tech-transfer to GMP manufactures and oversite of upstream and downstream operations. In addition to his role in cGMP manufacture, he has also have been involved in the preparation of pre-IND and IND packages for the dengue, West Nile and Zika vaccines. He has been Principle Investigator on several SBIR grants directed towards the development of recombinant subunit vaccines for malaria, Tick-borne flaviviruses, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Chikungunya, and SARS 1 and 2. He received his degree in Biochemistry from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his studies focused on the molecular genetics of toxin production in plant pathogenic bacteria.

Board of Directors

Debra Beresini
Director

Debra is an experienced leader, manager, investor, and entrepreneur. In 1997, she co-founded invencor, inc. based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has since served as its CEO. Over the years, invencor has managed debt and equity funds and consulted with lending institutions on credit facilities for startup companies. While invencor continues to serve in that role, its primary focus is to support women entrepreneurs and those rising through the ranks of their companies. In 2013, Debra was named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. She was on the Board of Trustees for VentureCapital.org (VCO) for 17 years with 5 of those years as Chair. During her time at VCO, she and the team founded WeROC (Women Entrepreneurs Realizing Opportunities for Capital). Through VCO, women are coached on their presentation skills in order to raise money from investors at the WeROC conferences. She was previously Senior Vice President and Manager of the National Division at Silicon Valley Bank. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dominican College (now Dominican University) and has an MBA from the Jack Welch Management Institute, Strayer University.

Debra also runs a family-owned vineyard, Beresini Winery, with her husband, Steve, in Carneros, Napa producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir Rose. Recently, they opened a Winery and Tasting Room for their award-winning wines in Glen Ellen, California.

Mark Bogart. Ph.D.
Director

Mark is a highly successful biotech entrepreneur. He discovered and commercialized a key part of the maternal serum triple test for Down’s Syndrome carried out on pregnant women. The test became part of the standard of care for pregnant women in the first world. Dr. Bogart is an investor in over a dozen biomedical and technology companies and has served on the Boards of Genetic Information Management Systems, Kuehnle Agrosystems, Kona Blue Water Farms, and Hawaii Biotech, Inc. He did his post-doctoral training in Genetics at UCSD and is Board Certified in Clinical Cytogenetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics and was a founding member of the American College of Medical Genetics. During his academic career in clinical and research genetics Dr. Bogart published over 50 scientific articles and received three patents. Transitioning from academics to business he started a patent management and licensing company (Biomedical Patent Management Corp.) and a diagnostic genetics laboratory (Mid-Pacific Genetics) which was subsequently sold to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. He has served on a number of State committees and non-profit Boards in both California and Hawaii. He received a BA from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and a PhD in a joint program between UCSD and San Diego State University.

Enrique J. Carrazana, M.D.
Director

Enrique has over 25 years of experience in drug development and the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to Hawaii Biotech, Dr Carrazana is a member of the board of directors of Marinus Pharmaceuticals. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Neurelis, Inc., where is responsible for the management of the drug development and safety programs. Previously, he was the Chief Medical Officer of Acorda Therapeutics. He also held various medical leadership roles at Novartis, where his last role was Vice President, Global Head Development Established Medicines Franchise based in Basel, Switzerland. He was Director of the Epilepsy Center of Excellence at the Miami Veterans’ Administration (VA) Hospital and Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.  He has presented and published a wide range of research on various neurology topics. He received his medical degree from the Harvard Medical School and completed his residency in neurology and fellowship in neurophysiology at the Harvard Longwood Neurology Program; and is a board-certified neurologist. 

Michele Yelmene
Director

Michele has over 35 years of hands-on biotech and pharmaceutical industry experience in all aspects of drug development from bench research and clinical trial design through product registration and post marketing activities. Her breadth of experience includes the submission of over 100 INDs with 18 drugs/biologics achieving domestic and international regulatory marketing approval.

She has designed, conducted, and reported global clinical studies in a wide variety of therapeutic areas, including infectious diseases, metabolic and endocrine disorders, and oncology. She has also implemented and overseen Quality Systems and manufacturing for Phase 1 through commercial launch of new drugs and biologics in addition to preparing for and hosting inspections by FDA and other regulatory authorities.

Robert J. Robinson, Ph.D.
Director

Rob Robinson co-founded Topaz Management in 2010, Kolohala Ventures in 2006, is founder / president of Hawaii's angel investor network, Hawaii Angels (2002), and serves as a senior mentor at Blue Startups, Hawaii’s premier tech accelerator. He is co-author of Angel Investing: Matching Startup Funds with Startup Companies (2000), and is a charter member of the Angel Capital Association out of Kansas City. The various funds and organizations that he has headed have invested over $120MM in mostly Hawaii-based companies since 2001.

Dr. Robinson grew up in South Africa, earning a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1991. He spent ten years on the faculty of Harvard Business School, and in 2001 was recruited to the University of Hawaii as Entrepreneurship Chair and the Director of the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship. He serves on the board of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, as well as on the boards of other non-profits and a number of startup companies that his funds have invested in.