Team / Board of Directors
Leslie Williams has more than 25 years of industry experience in healthcare, management, commercial product development and marketing. In 2010 she founded ImmusanT, Inc., which subsequently acquired the assets of Melbourne, Australia based Nexpep. She has built and led the team since inception. In 2015 Williams received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Iowa in recognition of her accomplishments in her professional life. Prior to founding ImmusanT, she was President & CEO of Ventaira Pharmaceuticals, which became a significant player in the pulmonary drug delivery market under her leadership. While President & CEO of Ventaira Pharmaceuticals, she was recognized as one of the top 100 leaders in life sciences by PharmaVOICE magazine.
Prior to Ventaira, Ms. Williams served as director of marketing for INO Therapeutics, Inc., where she played a significant role in the NDA submission for INOmax (nitric oxide) for inhalation, a drug for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension. Responsible for the commercial aspects of INOmax’s US market introduction, from setting objectives and strategy to developing key constituency groups and expert advisory boards, as well as representing INO Therapeutics on Capitol Hill, Williams also assisted with expansion of the INO-therapy platform into the European marketplace. The company was acquired by Ikaria Holdings in 2007. Ms. Williams’ prior pharmaceutical industry experience includes commercial positions at Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, and drug-delivery and -monitoring experience at Datex-Ohmeda (formerly Ohmeda, Inc.). She was a venture partner at Battelle Ventures where she sourced and evaluated deals and assisted early-stage technology companies with strategy, management, business development and M&A. She served on the Boards of Hepregen Corporation and CDI Bioscience. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of The Capital Network (TCN) and is on the Executive Board of the University of Iowa School of Pharmacy. She also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Life Science Leader as well as The Journal of Advanced Therapies and Medical Innovation Sciences. In addition, she serves as a mentor in the Boston University Kindle Program.
Ms. Williams holds an MBA from Washington University, John Olin School of Business, and a BS degree with honors in nursing from the University of Iowa. Before entering industry, she was a critical-care nurse at Duke University, Medical College of Virginia and at the University of Iowa.
Kevin Ferro is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Vatera Holdings LLC, the investment advisor to Vatera Healthcare Partners and a Co-Founder of Vatera Healthcare Partners. In addition to being the Chairman of the Board of Directors of ImmusanT, Inc., Mr. Ferro is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and a member of the Board of Directors of Melinta Therapeutics, Inc. Mr. Ferro was Chairman of the Board of Directors for Pearl Therapeutics, Inc. until its sale to AstraZeneca in July 2013 and a member of the Board of Directors of Kos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until its sale to Abbott Laboratories in 2006.
Previously, Mr. Ferro was the Global Head of Alternative Investment Strategies for Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second-largest listed bank, where he managed alternative investment programs for the bank and its clients. Prior to Commerzbank, Mr. Ferro was a Vice President at D. E. Shaw & Co., LP (1994-1998).
Mr. Ferro holds an AB in government from Harvard College.
Sundar Kodiyalam is a Managing Director of Vatera Holdings LLC and a Co-Founder of Vatera Healthcare Partners. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors of ImmusanT, Inc., he is a member of the Boards of Directors of Melinta Therapeutics, Inc. and Edgemont Pharmaceuticals, LLC. Mr. Kodiyalam is also a Board Observer for Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Kodiyalam also previously served on the Board of Directors of Pearl Therapeutics, Inc. until its sale to AstraZeneca in July 2013.
Prior to Vatera, Mr. Kodiyalam worked as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & New Business Opportunities at Kos Pharmaceuticals, Inc. During his four-year tenure at Kos, sales contributions from licensed products grew from 0% to more than 25% as a result of transactions completed by Mr. Kodiyalam and his team. The company also boasted a robust late-stage pipeline partially built through successful licensing efforts. Mr. Kodiyalam was also a key member of the management team that worked on the sale of Kos Pharmaceuticals to Abbott Laboratories. Prior to Kos, Mr. Kodiyalam was Vice President of Commercial Development at Ortec International, a tissue engineering company. Mr. Kodiyalam’s experience with big pharma includes three years at Schering-Plough Corporation as Director of Business Development & Licensing, and ten years at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in domestic and international marketing roles.
Mr. Kodiyalam holds a B Pharm in pharmacy from Madras University in India, and an MS in pharmaceutical administration from Ohio State University.
Dr. Thomas Koestler is an Executive Director of Vatera Holdings LLC. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors of ImmusanT, Inc., Dr. Koestler is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Melinta Therapeutics, Inc. and a member of the Boards of Directors of Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc., Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Edgemont Pharmaceuticals, LLC. Dr. Koestler also previously served on the Board of Directors of Pearl Therapeutics, Inc. until its sale to AstraZeneca in July 2013, Novo Nordisk A/S and ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (sold to KKR in 2013).
In his nearly 30-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Koestler established a track record of building high-performance teams that drove global success in research and development. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President of Schering-Plough Corporation and President of Schering-Plough Research Institute (SPRI), the pharmaceutical Research and Development arm of Schering-Plough Corporation. Under his leadership, the company developed an industry-leading pipeline that contributed to the turnaround of the business. Dr. Koestler’s accomplishments include over 80 product approvals including over 30 New Molecular Entities. Before joining Schering-Plough, he was Senior Vice President, Global Head Regulatory Affairs for Pharmacia Corporation. Prior to joining Pharmacia, Dr. Koestler was Senior Vice President, Global Head Drug Regulatory Affairs/Compliance Assurance Professionals for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Before joining Novartis, he was Senior Director, Drug Regulatory Affairs at Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Corporation and Director, Regulatory Affairs, Pharmaceutical Research and Development Division at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Westwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dr. Koestler holds a BS in biology from Daemen College and a PhD in medicine/pathology from the State University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Memorial Institute.
Justin Sun is a Director of Vatera Holdings LLC. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors of ImmusanT, Inc., he is a member of the Board of Directors of Edgemont Pharmaceuticals, LLC. Prior to joining Vatera, Mr. Sun was an Analyst at Aisling Capital, a leading private equity fund exclusively dedicated to life sciences investing. Previously, Mr. Sun was an Analyst in the Healthcare Investment Banking Division at Thomas Weisel Partners where he focused on M&A and equity financing transactions across the healthcare industry.
Mr. Sun holds a BA in economics from Yale University.
Mr. Estwick served as Chairman of Nexpep Pty Ltd and was integrally involved in the lead up to, and execution of, the move of Nexpep’s assets to the United States. Prior to that, Mr. Estwick has consulted to a wide range of technology organizations. He has been involved raising grant funds, pursuing private equity and venture capital, and providing assessments on the commercialization potential of specific technologies to a variety of organizations, including tertiary institutions and public companies. He has angel investments in several early-stage technology ventures. Previously, Mr. Estwick was a partner of international professional services firm Deloitte and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, the Taxation Institute of Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His board activities have included writing strategic plans, developing board charters, instigating management team key performance indicators and remuneration packaging, and chairing boards and board sub-committees.