Mr. Cook is a veteran biopharma executive and Managing Director of venture capital firm Mountain Group Partners. He is the former CEO and Chairman of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on the research, development and commercialization of medicines to treat patients with diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Cook is an investor, founder and board member of multiple private and public companies, including NuSirt Sciences, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, and Corcept Therapeutics. He retired as a Group Vice President, Global Operations, of Eli Lilly and Company in 1993 after more than 28 years of service.
Cook is a past Chair and current member of the University of Tennessee College of Engineering Advisory Board. He has also served on the national board of the American Diabetes Association and is past Chairman of the board of Life Science Tennessee.
Dr. Laden is an investor and entrepreneur who previously served for 10 years as Managing Director of TriStar Health Partners, a life sciences venture capital firm he co-founded in 2009. Prior to founding Appello and TriStar, Dr. Laden served as the Assistant Director in the Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development at Vanderbilt University. Before turning his focus to the business end of biopharma drug development, Dr. Laden worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt, where his work focused on structure-function studies of the cytochromes P450.
Dr. Elfont is a neurologist with nearly two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical sector. Most recently, he served as Head of Clinical Development and Pharmacovigilance at Adamas. He has served as CMO for several biotech companies including PhotoThera and Avigen. Before moving to the biotech sector, Dr. Elfont held senior medical director positions at Roche, Pfizer and Teva Neuroscience.
Elfont was previously an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine, where his research activities focused on immune cell trafficking.
Dr. Blobaum holds a doctorate degree in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan and undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Biology from West Virginia University. Prior to moving into the drug discovery and development arena, Dr. Blobaum pursued post-doctoral studies and a research faculty position in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University. In 2010, Dr. Blobaum joined the Vanderbilt (now Warren) Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (WCNDD) as a project leader in drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK). For more than 10 years, Dr. Blobaum served as a team lead in the WCNDD, co-director of DMPK, and as research faculty in the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.
During her tenure at the WCNDD, Dr. Blobaum’s focus was on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological disorders. Her group was integrally involved in supporting chemistry and pharmacology team efforts in the hit-to-lead and lead optimization processes to identify potential drug candidates. Dr. Blobaum’s areas of expertise include: defining mechanisms of clearance, P450 metabolism/inhibition/induction, non-P450 contributions to metabolism, metabolite identification/biotransformation, drug efflux, IVIVC, human PK predictions, and PK-PD relationships.
Dr. Scatina brings more than 20 years of experience in preclinical development to Appello. Most recently, Scatina served as Senior Vice President of Preclinical Development at Lycera, a company focused on developing novel small molecule immunomodulatory medicines for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer.
She is also the former Vice President of Drug Metabolism at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, where she led a team of up to 100 scientists, responsible for the preclinical development of marketed products including Premarin®, Duract®, Lodine®, Sonata®, Effexor®, Pristiq® and Rapamune® (1985 to 2001).
Dr. Scatina is currently serving on the editorial board of Drug Metabolism Reviews and has served as ad hoc reviewer for a number of drug metabolism journals. She is the associate editor for Drug Metabolism Handbook: Concepts and Applications. She is also a member of the Drug Discovery Advisory Group for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation.
Dr. Hardy is Vice President of Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls (CMC) for Deerfield Discovery and Development. He is responsible for leading CMC development, manufacturing and supply chain activities for all therapeutic modalities for Deerfield’s academic translator companies and some early stage portfolio companies.
As an advisor to the Appello senior management team, he brings more than 25 years of industry experience leading CMC development activities from preclinical through commercialization and lifecycle management in both large pharma at GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Merck, as well as emerging biopharmaceutical companies, most recently Lycera.
Dr. Hardy holds a Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutics from the University of Nottingham and an M.B.A. from Warwick Business School.
Dr. Conn is the Lee E. Limbird Professor of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery at Vanderbilt University.
Previously, Dr. Conn served as head of the Department of Neuroscience at Merck and Company from 2000 to 2003, as Editor in Chief of Molecular Pharmacology, and on editorial boards of multiple other journals, and scientific advisory boards of multiple foundations and companies. He has received numerous awards for his translational research.
He received the Ph.D. degree from Vanderbilt in 1986 and pursued postdoctoral studies at Yale University before joining the faculty at Emory University in 1988.
Mr. Bryson is former President and CEO of Eli Lilly. Following 32 years with Eli Lilly, Bryson was Vice Chairman of Vector Securities International, a healthcare focused investment banking firm, and President of Life Science Advisors, LLC, a healthcare consulting company. He has served on the board of directors of many public and private companies including Eli Lilly & Co., Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., Quintiles Transnational and Chiron Corporation.
Mr. Slattery is a Partner with the Deerfield Discovery and Development team and joined the Firm in 2000. Prior to Deerfield, Mr. Slattery was a senior healthcare analyst for 10 years at Amerindo Investment Advisors, where he oversaw biotechnology investments. He has held various positions in research including those at National Medical Enterprises, Johnson & Johnson, and HMSS. Mr. Slattery is the Chairman of Gilda’s Club New York City, a non-profit organization supporting cancer patients and their families.
He holds an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from State University of New York at Albany and completed coursework in immunology at the Graduate School-New Brunswick, Rutgers University.
Dr. Furst is a Partner on the Biotherapeutics group at Deerfield and joined the firm in 2007. He is a physician with 11 years of clinical experience. Prior to Deerfield, Dr. Furst was Portfolio Manager at Magnetar Capital and was responsible for building the firm’s healthcare team and developing its private and public investment approach. Before joining Magnetar, Dr. Furst served as a life sciences analyst at Maverick Capital.
Dr. Furst received a B.A. with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, a M.D. from New York University and a M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Jerri M. Rook, PhD, is Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Director of In Vivo & Behavioral Pharmacology for the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Rook received her B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Drury University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She then pursued her postdoctoral studies at Vanderbilt University in the laboratory of P. Jeffrey Conn, Ph.D. before accepting a faculty position in the Department of Pharmacology. As the Director of In Vivo & Behavioral Pharmacology for the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, Dr. Rook is currently responsible for driving the in vivo DMPK, behavioral, and biomarker studies for nine active drug discovery programs.
Dr. Rook has received multiple awards for her scientific contributions, including the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and Harrington Discovery Institute Scholar Award, the Butler-Williams Scholars Award from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) ASPET Training in Neurotherapeutics Discovery and Development for Academic Scientists Award, the Vanderbilt Faculty Research Scholar Award, and the 2020 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery.
Dr. Rook has served on numerous review panels for the NIH, Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and United Kingdom Research and Innovation Medical Research Council. In addition to serving as a reviewer and guest editor for several scientific journals, she has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation since 2014.
Dr. Rook is a highly trained behavioral and systems neuropharmacologist who has a great deal of expertise with the use of molecular, behavioral and imaging techniques to study the in vivo effects of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in preclinical rodent models. Dr. Rook’s multidisciplinary, translational research is currently funded by the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Ono Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd.