Abeona Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ABEO) is a fully-integrated gene and cell therapy company at the forefront of the rapidly-advancing field of genetic medicine. Our expertise across R&D, manufacture, and discovery of novel gene and cell therapies has us uniquely positioned to bring new medicines to patients in need.

Our Mission:

Working together to deliver gene and cell therapies for people impacted by serious diseases. Our strategy to harness the promise of genetic medicine to transform the lives of patients is inspired by our vision, to realize a world where cure is the new standard of care.

Gene therapy is the use of DNA as a potential therapy to treat a disease. In many disorders, particularly genetic diseases caused by a single genetic defect, gene therapy aims to treat a disease by delivering the correct copy of DNA into a patient's cells. The functional copy of the therapeutic gene then helps the cell function correctly.

Management Team

>Michael Amoroso

Michael Amoroso

Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer

Prior to joining Abeona, Mr. Amoroso held various senior level commercial positions at leading biopharmaceutical companies, including Kite, Eisai Inc., Celgene Corporation (now a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company), and Sanofi. At Kite, he was responsible for the company’s worldwide commercial organization leading the commercialization efforts for the autologous CAR T-cell therapy, YESCARTA®, and the future cell therapy pipeline. Before Kite, Mr. Amoroso was Senior Vice President, Americas for Eisai’s Commercial Oncology Business Group, where he was accountable for teams charged with creating and driving commercial strategy and implementation for the company’s approved products and earlier-stage assets. Previously, Mr. Amoroso worked at Celgene for six years in several commercial roles before serving as the organization’s Commercial Lead for CAR T-cell therapy programs. In this capacity, he helped Celgene develop an organizational model to commercialize cell therapies including specialized manufacturing and customer services for patients with lymphoma and myeloma. Before joining Celgene, Mr. Amoroso held various marketing and sales leadership positions over his 10-plus year tenure at Sanofi. Mr. Amoroso earned his M.B.A. in Management from the Stern School of Business, New York University, and his B.A. in Biological Sciences, summa cum laude, from Rider University.

>Jay Bircher

Jay Bircher

Chief Technical Officer

Jay Bircher, Chief Technical Officer, brings more than 28 years of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device experience, knowledge and leadership in the areas of microbiology, quality assurance, quality control, regulatory compliance, validation, sterile manufacturing and operational excellence. Mr. Bircher has lead FDA (CBER and CDER), EMEA and other regulatory body inspections with successful outcomes.

Prior to Abeona, he held quality positions of increasing responsibility with GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, Tyco Healthcare and most recently Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), where he was Head of Quality from groundbreaking of a 120,000 ft2-sterile manufacturing facility through an FDA pre-approval inspection (PAI) and eventual launch of several ready-to-administer, prefilled syringe products. Later in his tenure at BD, Mr. Bircher served as Head of Manufacturing where he was responsible for all formulation, fill and packaging operations. He holds a B.S. from Marshall University and is Six Sigma certified.

>Edward Carr

Edward Carr

Chief Accounting Officer, Principal Financial Officer

Ed Carr, Chief Accounting Officer, joined Abeona in 2018, bringing more than 25 years of corporate public accounting experience to the Company. Most recently, he served as Vice President and Assistant Controller at Coty Inc., a publicly listed multinational company. Mr. Carr has significant experience managing various accounting, financial reporting, internal controls, tax and treasury matters. Prior to Coty, he served for more than 10 years as Chief Accounting Officer at Foster Wheeler AG. Mr. Carr, who is a Certified Public Accountant, began his career at Ernst & Young LLP. He holds a B.S. and Master of Professional Accountancy from West Virginia University.

>Victor Paulus, Ph.D.

Victor Paulus, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Head of Regulatory Affairs

Victor Paulus, Ph.D. joined Abeona in 2019, bringing 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including over 20 years specializing in Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining Abeona, he served as Vice President and Global Head of Regulatory Affairs at the clinical-stage immunotherapy company Hookipa Pharma. Previously, Dr. Paulus was Global Head of Regulatory Affairs for Advanced Accelerator Applications, a Novartis Company, where he secured orphan designations and product approvals for Gallium Ga68 dotatate and Lutetium Lu177 dotatate. Earlier in his career, Dr. Paulus served as Director of Regulatory Affairs for Pediatric Vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline and Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs for Biosimilar drug development at Dr. Reddy’s. He also held roles of increasing responsibility at Organon, Elusys Therapeutics, and the Population Council. Dr. Paulus began his career as a laboratory technician at the Salk Institute manufacturing vaccines for the US Army and then managed a cell culture laboratory at Centocor and viral vaccine production at what is now Sanofi Pasteur. He was also Manager of Regulatory Affairs for MCM (Merck-Connaught-Merieux), developing novel combination pediatric vaccines. Dr. Paulus has BSc degrees in Biology and Biochemistry, an MSc in biology (parasitology) and a Ph.D. in public health.

>Juan Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D.

Juan Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D.

Head of European Medical Affairs

Juan Ruiz, Ph.D., joined Abeona as Chief Medical Officer in 2017 and transitioned to Head of European Medical Affairs in October 2018, bringing years of experience in clinical drug development including C-level positions at Lykera Biomed and Digna Biotech, where he spent more than 10 years leading teams dedicated to developing gene therapy translational medicine programs. His proven track record demonstrates a start-to-finish scope, from early preclinical and proof of concept studies to manufacturing, regulatory IND and IMPD submissions, clinical trial design and execution, as well as manufacturing and quality control of the adenoviral vectors. Dr. Ruiz has been instrumental in achieving multiple Orphan Product Designations, has led teams for successful Scientific Advice and Protocol Assistance meetings with the FDA and EMA, and has helped design Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) in the U.S. to assess skin outcome measures in patients with systemic sclerosis for use as primary endpoints in late-stage clinical trials.

He is the author of more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is an inventor on multiple issued patents. Dr. Ruiz earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Navarra. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut and earned his MBA from the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra.

>Jodie Gillon, M.P.H.

Jodie Gillon, M.P.H.

Vice President, Patient Advocacy & Clinical Affairs

Jodie Gillon, M.P.H. joined Abeona in 2019, bringing more than 20 years of industry experience in various roles across Development, Medical and Corporate Affairs. Prior to joining Abeona, she cumulatively spent over a decade with Pfizer as the Global Medical Lead for Patient Engagement within the Rare Diseases Business Unit and the Director of Medical Communications within the Chief Medical Office. In these roles, Ms. Gillon facilitated collaborations with patient groups across many therapeutic areas and served as a core member of several cross-functional teams. Prior to Pfizer, she was the Head of Patient Advocacy and Professional Affairs with Achillion Pharmaceuticals. Ms. Gillon also previously served as the Head of the Chief Medical Office of AstraZeneca, which was preceded by additional roles at Novartis and Oridion. She holds a M.P.H. with a dual degree in Health Economics and Epidemiology from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a BSFS from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.

>Brendan O’Malley, J.D., Ph.D.

Brendan O’Malley, J.D., Ph.D.

Vice President, Head of Legal and IP

Brendan O’Malley, J.D., Ph.D., joined Abeona in 2019 as Chief IP Counsel, bringing significant technical and legal expertise to the Abeona team.  Prior to joining Abeona, he was a partner at the prominent New York patent litigation firm Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto, where he started his career as a summer associate in 2006, and then at Venable LLP, which merged with Fitzpatrick in 2018.  While at Fitzpatrick and Venable, Dr. O’Malley litigated a wide variety of biopharmaceutical patent cases in the United States District Courts, at the Federal Circuit, and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, negotiated numerous settlement and license agreements, and provided many patent opinions in connection with M&A due diligence in the biotech space. 

While attending law school at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Dr. O’Malley served as a judicial intern to Judge William H. Pauley in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Before law school, he earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Microbiology from Tufts University School of Medicine, where he studied the role of protein-protein interactions in hepatitis virus assembly, and a B.S. degree magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

>Kristina Maximenko

Kristina Maximenko

Vice President, Human Resources

Kristina Maximenko joined Abeona as Vice President of Human Resources in 2018, bringing significant experience in multiple functional areas such as recruitment, employee relations, organizational development and employment law with a focus on rapidly growing small- to medium-size companies. Most recently, Ms. Maximenko was Global Director of Human Resources at Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), an innovative nuclear medicine company that was acquired by Novartis in January 2018. In this role, she led the human resources (HR) function across 11 international AAA locations and served as the human resources head in the U.S. Ms. Maximenko was instrumental in growing the company from about 400 people to more than 650 people globally in two years, setting up company-wide HR programs and building cohesive company culture.  She also played a key role during the integration process of AAA into Novartis and was a member of AAA’s Executive Committee.

Prior to that, Ms. Maximenko was a Global Human Resource Manager at FastGroup, a European technology company. She established their presence in the U.S. and built the HR function from the ground up. From 2010 to 2012, Ms. Maximenko worked in Employee Relations Operations at Macquarie, an Australian investment bank, where she supported three business groups in all phases of employee lifecycle, international assignments and compliance. She earned her Master’s in international law from Far Eastern National University in Russia.

>Scott Nogi

Scott Nogi

Vice President, Business Operations

Scott Nogi joined Abeona as Vice President of Business Operations in 2018. Prior to Abeona, he served as Executive Director of Kolot Chayeinu / Voices of Our Lives, where he led the business strategy and operations, finances and staff and board relations for the non-profit organization. Before that, Mr. Nogi was Vice President of Business Development at Access Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he worked on out-licensing. He was also Vice President of Operation at SCO Capital Management, where he managed all back-office staff and systems. Mr. Nogi earned his MBA in management and strategy from the Stern School of Business at New York University and his BFA also from New York University.

Board of Directors

Steven H. Rouhandeh
Chairman of the Board

Mr. Rouhandeh has served as a Director of Abeona’s board since the Company’s public debut in 2015, and previously served as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors from January 2015 to April 2020. He has been Chief Investment Officer of SCO Capital Partners, a group of New York based life sciences funds since 1997. Mr. Rouhandeh possesses a diverse background in financial services that includes experience in asset management, corporate finance, investment banking and law. He has been active throughout recent years as an executive in venture capital and as a founder of several companies in the biotech field. His experience also includes positions as Managing Director of a private equity group at Metzler Bank, a private European investment firm and Vice President, Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank. Mr. Rouhandeh was also a corporate attorney at New York City-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Mr. Rouhandeh holds a J.D., from Harvard Law School, Harvard University and B.A. Political Science, from Southern Illinois University.

Christine Silverstein

Christine Silverstein brings over 15 years of experience in capital markets strategy, financial services, investor relations and healthcare media communications to the Company. Prior to her current role, she served as Chief Financial Officer for Abeona. Silverstein has held various executive roles within the biotechnology industry including Head of Investor Relations at Relmada Therapeutics, Inc., Vice President of Corporate Development at PlasmaTech Biopharmaceuticals, and Managing Director at SCO Financial Group, a life sciences fund. Earlier in her career, she held senior positions at leading New York corporate and capital market advisory firms. Silverstein began her career in financial services as an investment advisor at Royal Alliance Associates before moving to the investor and corporate relations industry. A member of the National Investor Relations Institute, Ms. Silverstein holds a B.S. from the Peter Tobin College of Business at St. John's University.

Todd Wider, M.D.

Todd Wider, M.D.became a director in May 2015 and serves as a member of the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee. Dr. Wider is a surgeon and has served as consultant to numerous entities in the biotechnology space. Dr. Wider holds an M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and a B.A. from Princeton University.

Paul Mann

Mr. Mann has over 20 years of experience in the financial and biotechnology industries. Most recently, he served as CFO at PolarityTE, Inc., a biotechnology and regenerative biomaterials company, where he was responsible for all financial operations. Prior to that, Mr. Mann was the Healthcare Portfolio Manager at Highbridge Capital Management and has held positions with Soros Fund Management, UBS Investment Group, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. Mr. Mann began his career as a scientist at Procter and Gamble and is named as an inventor on patents for skincare compounds and technologies. Mr. Mann has an MA (Cantab) and an MEng from Cambridge University where he studied Natural Sciences and Chemical Engineering.

Scientific Advisory Board

Kevin M. Flanigan, MD

Kevin M. Flanigan, MD, is an attending neurologist at Nationwide Children’s and Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Flanigan is the director of the Center for Gene Therapy in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s and a leading expert in neuromuscular disorders. He is also on the physician team for Nationwide Children’s world-class Neuromuscular Disorders program, which provides coordinated care with pediatric experts from more than a dozen specialties.

Dr. Flanigan earned his medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed his internship at the University of Michigan Health System before completing his Neurology residency and fellowship in Neuromuscular Disorders at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and an additional post-doctoral laboratory fellowship in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Utah.

His primary research interest is in the genetic and molecular characterization of inherited neuromuscular diseases, and the development of therapies directed toward these diseases. A major focus of his laboratory concerns genotype/phenotype correlation in, with the intention of increasing our understanding of the pathogenesis in this disease and translating this understanding into improved therapies. Dr. Flanigan is named among the “Best Doctors in America” and joined Nationwide Children’s Hospital in October 2009.

Maria Escolar, MS, M.D.

Maria Escolar, MD, MS is Director, Program for the Study of Neurodevelopment in Rare Disorders (NDRD) and Associate Professor, Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The NDRD was established in 2002 because of the need of help children and their families understand the overall impact of rare neurological diseases in child development. Dr. Escolar is a graduate of the Escuela Colombiana de Medicina. She has a master’s of science in human nutrition from Columbia University and completed a residency in general pediatrics and fellowship in child development and behavior at Cornell University Medical Center in 1995. Dr. Escolar is board-certified in neurodevelopmental disabilities. She has 15 years of experience as a practicing clinician and researcher. Dr. Escolar has authored multiple original manuscripts, including two New England Journal of Medicine articles. She is nationally and internationally known for her work in neurodevelopment of children with leukodystrophies and mucopolysaccharidosis. Her research focuses on behavioral and neuroimaging outcome measurements.

Steven Gray, Ph.D.

Steven Gray, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW). Dr. Gray earned his PhD in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University in 2006, after earning a BS from Auburn University. He performed a postdoctoral fellowship focusing on gene therapy in the laboratory of Jude Samulski at UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Gray is the director of the UTSW Viral Vector Facility and maintains affiliations with the Department of Molecular Biology, the Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, and the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine at UTSW.

Dr. Gray's core expertise is in AAV gene therapy vector engineering, followed by optimizing approaches to deliver a gene to the nervous system. As AAV-based platform gene transfer technologies have been developed to achieve global, efficient, and in some cases cell-type specific CNS gene delivery, his research focus has also included preclinical studies to apply these reagents toward the development of treatments for neurological diseases. Currently these include preclinical studies for Rett Syndrome, Giant Axonal Neuropathy (GAN), Tay-Sachs, Sandhoff, Krabbe, AGU, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Batten, and Austin diseases, and have expanded into human clinical studies to test a gene therapy approach for GAN.

Erika Augustine, M.D.

Erika F. Augustine, MD is a Senior Instructor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She completed undergraduate studies at Harvard College and received her M.D. degree from the University of Rochester. Dr. Augustine completed Pediatrics and Child Neurology residency training at Children’s Hospital Boston in 2008, followed by fellowship training in Pediatric Movement Disorders and Experimental Therapeutics in 2010 at the University of Rochester. Dr. Augustine’s research interests include methodology of clinical research and experimental therapeutics in rare pediatric neurological disorders. Current work focuses on therapeutics in Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis and on the epidemiology of Tourette Syndrome in minorities. She currently serves as Assistant Program Director for the NINDS-funded Experimental Therapeutics training program at the University of Rochester. She is also a member of the NIH Taskforce on Childhood Motor Disorders and is a consultant to the FDA Neurological Devices Panel.

Jonathan Mink, M.D., Ph.D.

Jonathan Mink, MD, PhD, is a Pediatric Neurologist who specializes in movement disorders starting in childhood. He was attracted to pediatric neurology when he was a medical student and realized that he had an intellectual interest in the brain but enjoyed the challenges and rewards of caring for children. As a movement disorders specialist, he cares for children with a variety of conditions that impair voluntary movements, cause involuntary movements, or both. Such conditions include dystonia, chorea, tics, myoclonus, tremor, stereotypies, parkinsonism, and combinations of these such as may occur in conditions like cerebral palsy. In addition to movement disorders, neurodegenerative diseases are also a focus of his clinical practice.

His research has been focused on understanding brain mechanisms involved in the control of movement or where disorders cause involuntary movements. The research involves neurophysiology, direct measurement of movement abnormalities, rating scales, and longitudinal assessments over the course of development and disease. More recently, his work is included clinical trials and studies of factors that impact the function of children with movement disorders. In addition to his clinical practice and research, he directs the Child Neurology residency at the University of Rochester. Dr. Mink serves on a number of advisory boards including the Tourette Syndrome Association, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, the Batten Disease Support and Research Association, the NINDS Board of Scientific Counselors, and the Pediatric Advisory Committee of the FDA. He is also an Associate Editor of Neurology.

John Cooper, Ph.D.

Updating bio coming soon.