Seth Lederman is a physician, scientist, and specialty pharmaceuticals entrepreneur. Prior to founding TONIX, from 2007-2008 Dr. Lederman co-founded and was a managing partner of Konanda Pharma Partners, LLC and Konanda Pharma Fund I, LP. He co-founded and served as director and chairman of its wholly-owned operating companies Validus and Fontus Pharmaceuticals Inc., which market Equetro® (carbamazepine – Extended Release), Marplan® (isocarboxazid) and Rocaltrol® (calcitriol). In 2000 Dr. Lederman founded Targent Pharmaceuticals to develop late-stage oncology drugs including pure-isomer levofolinic acid, which was sold to Spectrum Pharmaceuticals and is now FDA-approved and marketed as Fusilev® for colorectal cancer. In 1998 Dr. Lederman co-founded Vela Pharmaceuticals, which developed several drugs for central nervous system disorders, including VLD-cyclobenzaprine.
A member of the faculty of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons since 1985, Dr. Lederman maintains an appointment as Associate Professor. At Columbia, he was an NIH Physician-Scientist from 1985-1990. Dr. Lederman became an Associate Professor with tenure in 1996 and Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology in 1997. From 1988 to 2002, he directed basic science research at Columbia in molecular immunology, infectious diseases and the development of therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. Dr. Lederman has authored numerous scientific articles, and has been issued several patents for drug development technologies.
Dr. Lederman’s fundamental research on the CD40-Ligand (CD154) elucidated the molecular basis of T cell helper function and led to the development of therapeutic candidates for autoimmune diseases and organ transplant rejection in collaboration with Biogen-IDEC and CellTech/UCB. The successful defense of his CD154 patents established important precedents defining the relationship between therapeutics and molecular targets. In collaboration with Prof. David Baltimore (then at Rockefeller University and later MIT), Dr. Lederman identified and functionally characterized the CD40 signaling molecule, TRAF-3. Dr. Lederman’s earlier research efforts in HIV contributed to understanding how the V3 loop of HIV gp120 affected fusion with CD4 cell membranes, an early and essential event in viral entry and infection.
Dr. Lederman earned an AB from Princeton in Chemistry cum laude in 1979 and an MD from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1983. He trained in internal medicine and rheumatology at Columbia’s Presbyterian Hospital, serving as an attending physician in its Edward Daniels Arthritis and Autoimmunity Clinic from 1988-1996.
Leland Gershell joined TONIX Pharmaceuticals as Chief Financial Officer in April 2012. Dr. Gershell was most recently Managing Director and Senior Analyst at Madison Williams and Company, where he was responsible for research on specialty pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Dr. Gershell began his equity research career at Cowen and Company, and has also held analyst positions at Apothecary Capital, a pharmaceutical and biotech-focused investment fund, and at Favus Institutional Research, a boutique research firm that caters to institutional investors. Dr. Gershell’s prior industry experience includes affiliations with Targent Pharmaceuticals, where he facilitated capital raising, and with Vela Pharmaceuticals, where he evaluated pharmaceutical assets for in-licensing. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Columbia University and his B.A. magna cum laude in Chemistry and Asian Studies from Dartmouth College. Dr. Gershell is an inventor on Columbia’s patents for SAHA/vorinostat, which is marketed by Merck as Zolinza® and is the first histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor to receive FDA approval.
Bruce Daugherty joined TONIX Pharmaceuticals as Senior Director, Drug Development in April 2012. Dr. Daugherty has extensive experience in drug development and basic biomedical research. For the majority of his career, Dr. Daugherty was with Merck & Co., most recently as Senior Research Fellow, where he was project leader for multiple drug discovery programs in the therapeutic areas of inflammation, immunology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Daugherty was an early pioneer in the humanization of monoclonal antibodies, and played a key role in Merck’s chemokine biology program. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Daugherty was a scientist at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, characterizing interferon genes. Most recently, Dr. Daugherty was a consultant, where he provided drug development expertise to universities and biotechnology companies seeking to out-license their technology to large pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Daugherty earned his MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, winning the entrepreneur award. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, his M.S. in Zoology from Rutgers University and his B.A. in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Daugherty has authored numerous original research papers that have been published in leading scientific journals and is an inventor on three issued patents. Dr. Daugherty is also an Eagle Scout.