Dr. McKinnell was appointed Optimer’s Chief Executive Officer in February 2013 and has served as Chairman of the Board since April 2012. He has served as a director since January 2011, and Optimer's lead independent director from March 2012 to February 2013. Dr. McKinnell served as Chairman of the Board of Pfizer, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, from May 2001 until his retirement in December 2006 and Chief Executive Officer from January 2001 to July 2006. He served as President of Pfizer, Inc. from May 1999 to May 2001, and as President of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group from January 1997 to April 2001. Dr. McKinnell served as Chief Operating Officer of Pfizer from May 1999 to December 2000 and as Executive Vice President from 1992 to 1999. Dr. McKinnell currently serves as lead independent director of Moody’s Corporation and is a director of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. McKinnell also serves as Chairman of the Board of the Accordia Global Health Foundation. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Connecticut Science Center, and is a member of the Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa. He served as director of Pfizer and ExxonMobil Corporation until 2007 and John Wiley & Sons until 2005. Dr. McKinnell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business from the University of British Columbia, and M.B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Sherwood L. Gorbach, M.D., has served as our Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President since June 2011. Dr. Gorbach joined Optimer® in 2005 as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs. In addition to serving on the faculties of The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Illinois and UCLA, Dr. Gorbach has been at Tufts University School of Medicine since 1975 as, among other things, Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Community Health and a Professor in the School of Nutrition and Social Policy. Dr. Gorbach also was Chief of Infectious Diseases at New England Medical Center from 1975 to 1987. In 1990, he served as the President of the Massachusetts Infectious Diseases Society, and in 1995, he was the President of the Society of Microbial Ecology and Disease. Dr. Gorbach has received numerous awards, including the Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has served as editor of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases for the past 13 years. Dr. Gorbach received an M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine.
Meredith Schaum became General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary in February 2013. Ms. Schaum joined the Optimer Legal team in January 2012 as Senior Corporate Counsel. Prior to joining Optimer, Meredith spent almost twelve years as external legal counsel to a number of large pharmaceutical and other companies. Meredith earned her J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2000, and her B.A. from Villanova University in 1997.
Stephen W. Webster has served as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Finance, since June 2012. Prior to joining Optimer, Mr. Webster served as Chief Financial Officer of Adolor Corporation, a hospital-based specialty pharmaceutical company, from 2008 until the company was acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, Mr. Webster held the position of Managing Director, Investment Banking Division, Health Care Group for Broadpoint Capital (formerly First Albany Capital), an investment bank. Previously, he served as co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer for Neuronyx, Inc, a biopharmaceutical company. From 1987 to 2000, he served in positions of increasing responsibility including Director, Investment Banking Division, Health Care Group for PaineWebber Incorporated, an investment bank. Mr. Webster received an A.B. in Economics cum laude from Dartmouth College and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
Linda Amper, Ph.D., has served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources, since January 2011. Prior to joining Optimer, Dr. Amper was Senior Vice President, Human Resources, at OSI Pharmaceuticals (now Astellas Pharma). Before joining OSI, she served at the New York Blood Center for 23 years where she held several key positions including Executive Director and Vice President of Long Island Blood Services, a division of the New York Blood Center. Immediately prior to that, Dr. Amper served as Vice President, Human Resources, for the New York Blood Center. Dr. Amper holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, health administration from Columbia Southern, a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in health care from C.W. Post College and a B.S. in medical biology also from C.W. Post College.
Kasia Petchel, M.D. has served as Senior Vice President and Head of Optimer Pharmacovigilance since April 2011. Prior to joining Optimer she worked in the pharmaceutical industry at varied positions, including Global Medical Affairs, Regulatory and Drug Safety, spanning location assignments in North America, Europe and Singapore. She served as Pfizer’s first EU ‘Qualified Person’ for Pharmacovigilance starting in 1996 and continued to work at Pfizer in various positions of increasing responsibilities, including Vice President and Global Head of Safety Surveillance, where she led the global organization. In 2006, Dr. Petchel joined Hoffman La Roche, a global pharmaceutical company, as Vice President and Global Head Drug Safety Risk Management. Dr. Petchel is a Board-certified Physician and epidemiologist and received her postgraduate degree from Harvard University and served as Fellow and resident at Mount Sinai Medical School in NYC.
Hemal Shah, PharmD. joined Optimer as Senior Vice President Health Economics & Outcome Research (HEOR) and New Products Marketing in January 2011 and in 2012 she was appointed as head of Medical Affairs. Prior to joining Optimer, Dr. Shah spent more than 10 years at Boehringer Ingelheim, a global pharmaceutical company, most recently as Executive Director, where she led the HEOR team in generating evidence to support brand value arguments critical for securing and maintaining market access and optimal product utilization. Prior to joining Boehringer Ingelheim, Dr. Shah held roles in outcomes research consulting and in clinical research. Dr. Shah received a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Connecticut and a Doctorate in Pharmacy from Rutgers University. In addition, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Outcomes Research with Geisinger Health Plan in collaboration with Novartis. She has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications and also co-authored a book chapter entitled “The Development of Pharmacoeconomic Research in Managed Care” in the textbook Managed Care Pharmacy Practice.
Robert M. Savel, II, joined Optimer in 2011 as Senior Vice President, Operations. Prior to joining Optimer, Mr. Savel served as Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice President at Inspire Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company, from 2010 to 2011 where he was responsible for all corporate technical operations, manufacturing (commercial and clinical) and supply chain functions . From 2008 to 2010, he was President of Savel Enterprises LLC, a pharmaceutical and biotech consulting company. Prior to that, he held the position of Senior Vice President, Technical Operations at PDL Biopharma, a biotechnology company, from 2007 until 2008, where he was responsible for clinical and commercial manufacturing, quality and supply chain functions across multiple sites. Prior to joining PDL, Mr. Savel held roles of increasing responsibility at Johnson & Johnson, a global pharmaceutical company, from 1999 to 2007, most recently serving as North America Vice President of Quality and Compliance for the J&J Global Pharmaceutical Sourcing Group. Mr. Savel directed quality and manufacturing compliance for approximately 40 manufacturing, contract manufacturing or distribution sites for multiple Johnson & Johnson subsidiary companies. Prior to that, Mr. Savel served as a principal consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and held management positions at Ingersoll-Rand Corporation, an industrial manufacturing company. Mr. Savel received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Rachel Stahler has served as Chief Information Officer since August 2011. Prior to joining Optimer, Ms. Stahler spent eight years at Pfizer, Inc, a global pharmaceutical company, where she most recently led global technology strategy and implementation for Marketing, Sales and CRM for the Diversified Business Unit. She also served as Pfizer’s technology lead for North America Specialty Care and Market Access/Global Strategy, as well as a division of worldwide marketing covering key therapeutic areas such as urology, ophthalmology, pain/inflammation and EMEA Marketing. Prior to Pfizer, Ms. Stahler was the Global Vice President of Channel & Market Strategy for SPL WorldGroup, a niche utility software company, where she directed market and geographic entry strategies to determine business direction. She also helped launch a consulting company in New York City focused on Siebel and CRM process reengineering. Her career began at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where she held the position of IT Consultant. Ms. Stahler received an MBA from Columbia Business School and a B.A. from The University of Pennsylvania.
Bhooshi De Silva joined Optimer in 2011 as Vice President, Business Development and Strategy. In 2012 he added responsibility for International. Prior to joining Optimer, Mr. De Silva spent over 12 years at Pfizer, Inc, a global pharmaceutical company, where he most recently held the position of Vice President and Head of Business Development Evaluation and Strategy. During his tenure at Pfizer, Mr. De Silva directly led a wide range of enterprise strategic projects and initiatives, including leading all Business Development evaluations, M&A screening and playing a central role in Corporate Strategic Planning. While at Pfizer, he also spent two years leading the Customer Analytics Group responsible for supporting contract negotiations for all U.S. payers and accounts. In addition, Mr. De Silva held roles across the R&D and Commercial organizations in Portfolio Management, Strategy and Operations. He was also involved in special projects ranging from litigation strategy to healthcare reform and capital allocation and was recognized and received an award for his management and leadership. Mr. De Silva has studied Management Science, Economics, Finance and Engineering and holds degrees from Stanford University, the London School of Economics and Imperial College of Science & Technology.