Board of Directors
Client Team Lead: Matt Toner
Client: Allarity Therapeutics, Inc.
Allarity Therapeutics, Inc. (Allarity or the Company), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing novel oncology therapeutics together with drug-specific DRP® companion diagnostics for personalized cancer care, today announced the appointment of three seasoned biotechnology executives, Laura Benjamin, Ph.D., Robert Oliver, M.B.A., Joseph Vazzano, C.P.A., to its Board of Directors, effective August 1, 2023.
The appointment of these new Board Directors, which fills existing vacancies, completes the Company’s restructuring of its Board, following listing on NASDAQ in late 2021. Additionally, the appointment of these independent Directors is expected to bring the Company back into compliance with the Nasdaq Stock Market’s continued listing requirements relating to Board and Committee independence.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Benjamin, Mr. Oliver, and Mr. Vazzano to our Board of Directors,” said Jerry McLaughlin, Allarity’s Chairman of the Board. “Their combined expertise, industry knowledge, and diverse backgrounds will strengthen our Board’s strategic guidance for Allarity. Their appointment results in the assembly of a highly qualified and experienced Board to support the Company’s development efforts towards clinical, and ultimately commercial, success.”
Laura Benjamin, Ph.D.
Laura is the Founder and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of OncXerna Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to this role, Laura was a Vice President in Oncology at Eli Lilly, where she led cancer discovery and translational discovery teams in New York and Indianapolis. She worked closely with the clinical teams to support multiple clinical programs, most notably the ramucirumab program from Phase 2 to commercial launch in colorectal, gastric, and non-small cell lung cancers. Additionally, she helped build the cross-functional initiative to discover, test and advance biomarker development in oncology clinical trials across the portfolio. Prior to joining Lilly, Laura spent 10 years as a tenure track professor in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. During this time, she supported and mentored Ph.D., postdoctoral, and medical students with NIH and foundation grants. When she left Harvard in 2009, Laura was an Associate Professor and was co-Director of the Vascular Biology Center at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Both Laura’s postdoctoral work and academic research at Harvard focused on cellular and molecular mechanisms driving cancer, with a particular interest in the role of the microenvironment on cancer progression and response to targeted therapies. Laura received a B.A. in Biology from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert (Bob) Oliver, M . B . A .
Bob most recently served as President and CEO of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., (OAPI). He was responsible for overseeing OAPI’s diverse and growing product portfolio across the neuroscience, cardiovascular, oncology, and medical device markets. Prior to joining Otsuka, Bob was Vice President and Global Business Manager for Oncology at Wyeth (now Pfizer.) In his roles there, Bob also provided leadership to the Vaccines Division and Primary Care while eventually assuming responsibility for U.S. Commercial Operations, including Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. He began his career in pharmaceuticals with Johnson & Johnson, holding positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, business operations and corporate management. Bob also serves as a member of the Board for Academic Fellows at Eastern University, where he mentors doctoral candidates. Bob has extensive board experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, currently serving on boards for Exelixis, PysBio Therapeutics, and Hyalo Technologies. He previously served as Board Chairman for Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical. Bob received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and an M.B.A. degree in Marketing from the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, where he now sits on the Pharma Board of Advisors.
Joseph Vazzano, CPA
Joseph (Joe) Vazzano joined Abeona Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ABEO) as Chief Financial Officer in March 2022. While at Abeona, Mr. Vazzano has secured multiple equity raises including private placements, a registered direct offering, and at the market transactions. Before joining Abeona, Mr. Vazzano worked at Avenue Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATXI) from August 2017 to January 2022, most recently serving as Avenue’s Chief Financial Officer. During his tenure at Avenue, Mr. Vazzano secured multiple equity financings and served in a leadership role for signing a complex, two-stage acquisition of Avenue with future contingent value rights. Previously, Mr. Vazzano served as Assistant Corporate Controller at Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ICPT) from October 2016 to July 2017, where he helped grow the finance and accounting department during the company’s transition from a development-stage company to a fully integrated commercial organization. Prior to Intercept, Mr. Vazzano has held various finance and accounting roles at Pernix Therapeutics, Inc. and NPS Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Vazzano began his career at KPMG, LLP and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Lehigh University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New Jersey.
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