About Us

Gila Therapeutics, Inc.  is a privately held clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. Founded in 2014, Gila operates in Minnesota.

 

Our Mission is to develop and commercialize innovative, effective, and safe therapies for metabolic diseases, using novel routes of administration.

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Leadership:

Thomas Vasicek, PhD – Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

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Dr. Vasicek is an experienced biotech industry executive with extensive startup experience, including Millennium, LabSeek, Lynx, HTG and PanGenX.  He has established new ventures within Corning, Medtronic and Roche.  Dr. Vasicek’s first scientific investigations in endocrinology began in the 1980s.  In the 1990s he began working with obesity genes at Millennium.  At Medtronic he led development of gut hormone therapies for obesity and clinical trials of pump-delivered interferon alpha for hepatitis-C.  He has been successful at raising financing, launching products, and buying and selling companies. Dr. Vasicek holds a BS in Chemistry from MIT and a PhD in Genetics from Harvard, and has authored 26 publications, two issued patents and two patent applications.

Andres Acosta, MD, PhD –  Inventor, Co-founder, and Chief Scientific Officer

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Dr. Acosta is an Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.  He is Board Certified in obesity and directs the Mayo Endoscopic Obesity Clinic.  Dr. Acosta has spent much of his career studying obesity and gastrointestinal hormones, during which time he discovered the alternative satiation signaling pathway connecting the oral mucosa and hypothalamus.  At the Mayo Obesity Center he has been involved in clinical trials of most of the approved obesity treatments, and of many others in development.  Dr. Acosta holds an MD from Universidad San Francisco De Quito, Ecuador, a PhD from University of Florida, Gainesville and has authored more than 35 publications and two patent applications.

Jon Freeman, MBA, CFM – Chief Financial Officer

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Mr. Freeman has 25 years of finance, operations and management experience across a variety of industries including medical device, technology, industrial manufacturing, and professional services. He has worked in a wide range of environments, ranging from large public multi-national corporations down to small emerging private companies.  Jon has helped lead several companies that have realized substantial shareholder value.  Mr. Freeman holds a BA in Economics from St. Olaf College and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Advisors:

Donna Ryan, MD

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Dr. Ryan is past president of The Obesity Society and currently President-elect of the World Obesity Federation, and Associate Editor-in-Chief for Obesity.  At Pennington Biomedical in Baton Rouge, LA, where she is professor Emerita, she directed clinical research for 22 years.  She participated on the teams that developed and executed the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), POUNDS Lost, DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program), and Look AHEAD Studies.  She has been a scientific advisor and consultant to many companies, including Novo Nordisk, Takeda, Vivus, Eisai, Real Appeal, and Scientific Intake.  Dr. Ryan’s current focus is on translation of effective weight management into primary care practices.

Dr. Ryan has authored more than 200 original publications and 45 books, chapters and reviews, primarily in the field of obesity.  She served as co-Chair of the Expert Panel that produced the AHA/ACC/TOS 2013 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Obesity and was a panel member of the 2015 Endocrine Society Systematic Evidence Review and Guidelines for Medications that Affect Body Weight.

Christine Fischette, PhD – Business Development and Pharma Strategy

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Dr. Fischette is CEO of BioLinkUp, LLC, a Corporate Strategy/Business Development Consulting entity and spends much of her time with financial advisory firms in New York. Formerly, she was President of Enzo Therapeutics, Inc., a division of Enzo Biochem (ENZ: NYSE), and has spent 25+ years at Roche, Novartis and Pfizer with increasing areas of responsibility in strategic and operational roles covering multiple therapeutic areas.  She directed the entire drug development process and subsequent marketing effort for an anti-diabetes therapy, Glucotrol XL®, and became Head of Pfizer’s US commercial diabetes division where sales eventually reached ca. $300m. She functioned as Head of Negotiation, Global Business Development & Licensing for various therapeutic Business Franchise Boards at Novartis Pharmaceuticals where she sourced, negotiated and executed multiple deals involving various deal structures, including asset acquisitions, with US, European, Japanese and Indian companies. Dr. Fischette holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from the Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, formerly University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and has authored over 50 publications in peer-reviewed publications, including Science.

Thomas Copmann, PhD – Regulatory Affairs and Drug Development

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Dr. Copmann is the Owner of Drug Development Associates, a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry. He has been active on editorial boards, advisory boards and as a member of boards of directors. Former Chair of the Commission on Drugs for Rare Diseases. Former Advisor to the National Vaccine Advisory Board. He has served as a scientific advisor to the CDC and the White House.  Dr. Copmann has been involved in over 47 NDA's in the areas of Endocrinology, Neurology, Cardiovascular, and Oncology area. He has established global departments at Eli Lilly, PMA, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Nordisk and others. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles. He holds an MS in Endocrinology and a PhD in Physiology from Kent State University with Post-Doctoral training in Neuroendocrinology.

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Board of Directors:

Thomas Vasicek, PhD – Chairman

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Dr. Vasicek is an experienced biotech industry executive with extensive startup experience, including Millennium, LabSeek, Lynx, HTG and PanGenX.  He has established new ventures within Corning, Medtronic and Roche.  Dr. Vasicek’s first scientific investigations in endocrinology began in the 1980s.  In the 1990s he began working with obesity genes at Millennium.  At Medtronic he led development of gut hormone therapies for obesity and clinical trials of pump-delivered interferon alpha for hepatitis-C.  He has been successful at raising financing, launching products, and buying and selling companies. Dr. Vasicek holds a BS in Chemistry from MIT and a PhD in Genetics from Harvard, and has authored 26 publications, two issued patents and two patent applications.

Christopher De Souza, PhD, MBA

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Dr. de Souza has been a Director at Broadview Ventures since 2012. Broadview is a philanthropic, for-profit venture fund supported by the Leducq Family Trust with a mission to accelerate the development of promising technology in cardiovascular and neurovascular disease through targeted investments in and support of early stage ventures. Dr. de Souza is also on the Board of Directors at MassBio, a not-for-profit organization that represents and provides services and support for the Massachusetts life sciences industry. Dr. de Souza is also a Strategic Advisor and member of the Board of Directors for Metaome Science Informatics Pvt Ltd. Dr. de Souza earned his BSc and MSc in Zoology and Biochemistry from University of Mumbai, his M.S. and PhD in Endocrine Physiology from Louisiana State University, and his MBA from Rutgers University.

Richard Horan, MBA

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Mr. Horan has been the Senior Managing Director at Slater Technology Fund since 2002.  He commenced his career in the venture capital business in 1986, with Johnston Associates, Princeton, NJ, where he was employed through 1998. During 1999-2001, Mr. Horan was a principal at Sachem Ventures. During his tenure in the venture business, Mr. Horan has served as President & CEO of Immunicon Corp., SEQ LTD., and Medical Media Systems, Inc. During 1980-86, Mr. Horan was employed within the Capital Markets Group of Bank of America. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1976 and his M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1980.

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