Greg Sturmer, CEO

Mr. Sturmer has worked in the healthcare industry for nearly 30 years, and has been Dr. Jenkins’ business partner and longtime colleague for over 15 years. After leaving Arthur Andersen & Co., where he was a Manager in the consulting and advisory services primarily to healthcare clients, he became CFO of Sonoma Valley Hospital District in Sonoma California. Subsequently, he was the controller at Vivus, Inc., which was a fast growth, publicly traded pharmaceutical company with first year commercial sales of $130M as it transitioned from development to commercial stage. As Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Theravance, Inc., Mr. Sturmer partnered with the head of business development to negotiate and execute two landmark deals with GlaxoSmithKline that enabled the company to go public at a value of ~$1 billion. While a private company, Theravance raised over $500 million in equity capital. Most recently, Mr. Sturmer was Vice President of Finance and CFO of Signature Therapeutics (Now Ensysce Biosciences), where in addition to his role in financing the Company (raised ~$70M), he was also responsible for business development. Mr. Sturmer has established long-term relationships with his business development counterparts at multiple pharmaceutical companies involved in the pain space. Mr. Sturmer is a CPA (inactive) and earned his MBA from Pepperdine University.

Tom Jenkins, CSO, Ph.D.

Prior to co-founding Elysium in 2013, Dr. Jenkins co-founded Signature Therapeutics (Now Ensysce Biosciences), where he served as Chief Scientific Officer and led a highly productive Research team that advanced nine discovery programs into development, of which eight related to abuse-resistant opioids, with multiple programs successfully completing human Phase 1 clinical studies. Dr. Jenkins graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry in 1993. Since then, he has worked in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1997, he co-founded Theravance, Inc. where he initially recruited and led the medicinal chemistry department, and co-invented the drug discovery technology used to develop multiple clinical candidates, and two approved drugs, resulting in multiple deals with large pharmaceutical companies. While at Theravance, Dr. Jenkins’ responsibilities grew to encompass senior project leadership roles for several multi-disciplinary project teams in research and development. Prior to Theravance, Dr. Jenkins led a discovery team at Axys Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he discovered a novel mechanism for the inhibition of serine proteases that led to several multi-million dollar strategic collaborations.

Craig Husfeld, Ph.D.

Dr Husfeld has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 17 years, during which he has been involved in a variety of project (ranging from asthma/COPD, over-active bladder to antibiotics. Dr. Husfeld joined Theravance as a medicinal chemist in 2001. Since 2008, he has been focused on the development of abuse-resistant opioid and amphetamine therapies. His work has led to the innovation of a novel class of trypsin-labile opioid agonist prodrugs that provide unprecedented protection from all non-oral routes of abuse. Working under Dr. Tom Jenkins’ leadership, a lead hydromorphone prodrug from this class successfully completed phase 1 human clinical studies wherein all of the desired safety, pharmacokinetic, and abuse-resistant endpoints were met. During his four-year tenure at Elysium Therapeutics (Now Ensysce Biosciences), Craig has been a key contributor to both the O2P and XpiRx programs. Dr. Husfeld graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry.  

board of directors

Kathy LaPorte, MBA

Kathy LaPorte has a 25-year successful track record of guiding the growth of leading biopharmaceutical, diagnostic and digital health companies with breakthrough technologies. She was a Founding Partner of New Leaf Venture Partners from its inception as a spin-out of the Sprout Group, where she served as General Partner. In addition, Ms. LaPorte was co-founder of angel investing group Health Tech Capital in the digital health arena. Previously, she was a Principal at a venture capital firm. Ms. LaPorte received her B.S. degree in biology from Yale University and her MBA degree from Stanford University.

Bob A. Rappaport, M.D.

Dr. Rappaport graduated from and completed his medical training at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine. In 1994, after four years on the faculty at George Washington, he joined the neurology division at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, where he spent the first few years developing expertise in drug regulatory science, drug product development, and clinical trial design and analysis. In 1998 Dr. Rappaport was asked to become a team leader in the FDA division responsible for the analgesic, anesthetic and addiction drug products, an opportunity well suited to his long-standing interest in improving pain management. He was promoted to Deputy Division Director later that year and Division Director three years later. He remained in that position until he retired from FDA in October of 2014.

James Hackworth, Ph.D.

James Hackworth, PhD - Dr. Hackworth is a pharmaceutical executive with an extensive track record in licensing, M&A, and partnership transactions, particularly ones with a high degree of complexity, and is an expert on the US pain market.  He began his career in strategy consulting with McKinsey and Company and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Commercialization Strategy at Shionogi, Inc.  He has helped Shionogi remake its US business through a series of transactions over several years and the creation of a commercial strategy to launch drugs generated from its pipeline.  In addition, Dr Hackworth serves as a Mid-Atlantic Bio-Angles Steering Committee member. He graduated summa cum laude with a BS in physics from the Ohio State University in 1998 and a PhD in theoretical physics from Columbia University in 2006. 

Lynn Webster, M.D.

Lynn Webster, M.D.

Lynn R. Webster M.D., is a leading pain physician and researcher with a focus on the management of complex pain problems. Dr. Webster has long been an advocate for patients suffering from chronic pain and has fought for better education and safer therapies to address the twin crises of chronic pain and addiction in America.

For 25 years he treated patients with chronic pain, many of who were at high risk for substance abuse. For 15 of those years, he also treated individuals with opioid addiction. The dual role lends Dr. Webster a valuable perspective: He is dedicated to treating patients in pain while simultaneously working to minimize the potential for harm from pain medications.

Dr. Webster earned his doctorate of medicine from the University of Nebraska and completed his residency in the University of Utah’s Department of Anaesthesiology. He is board certified in anaesthesiology and pain medicine, and is also certified in addiction medicine. He lectures extensively and has authored over 300 scientific publications and a book entitled Avoiding Opioid Abuse While Managing Pain: A Guide for Practitioners. Dr. Webster is a senior editor to Pain Medicine and former editor of the sections on Neuromodulation and Opioids, Substance Abuse and Addiction. 

He is a former president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Webster is the author of “The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us.” He has co-produced a documentary with the same title, The Painful Truth, which has aired throughout the country on public television stations.

Vern Norviel, JD (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (WSG&R) is the premier legal advisor to technology, life sciences, and other growth enterprises worldwide. WSG&R represent companies at every stage of development, from entrepreneurial start-ups to multibillion-dollar global corporations, as well as the venture firms, private equity firms, and investment banks that finance and advise them. The firm's broad range of services and practice areas are focused on addressing the principal challenges faced by the management, boards of directors, shareholders, and in-house counsel of our clients. Vern Norviel is our lead partner for Intellectual Property matters; and Philip Oettinger, for general counsel.