Ilse Treurnicht, PhD, Chairperson

Ilse Treurnicht is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District (MaRS) and a member of Triphase’s Board of Directors since 2010.

MaRS is a leading innovation centre located in Toronto. She oversees both the development and operations of the MaRS Centre and its broad suite of entrepreneurship and innovation programs. Ilse joined MaRS in early 2005 from her role as President & CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a startup-stage venture capital fund focused on the advanced technologies sector. Prior to Primaxis, Ilse was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in a number of emerging technology companies. Ilse holds a DPhil in chemistry from Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes scholar.  Ilse has been recognized with Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 award presented by the Women’s Executive Network three times and was named to the Women’s Executive Network’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

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Jeff Courtney, BSc, Director

Mr. Jeff Courtney is the President of Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) and and a member of Triphase’s Board of Directors since 2016. FACIT is an independent business trust established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) to undertake development and commercialization activities related to cancer research, products and drug discovery.

Mr. Courtney has extensive experience in venture capital, business development and strategic planning.  Prior to joining FACIT, Mr. Courtney was Managing Director of Verde Ventures, a management consulting firm specializing in providing financial and strategic advice to companies in the life sciences, health care and technology. Mr. Courtney is Co-founder and CEO of Sempra Therapeutics, a dermatology startup company.  As General Partner at VG Partners, Mr. Courtney was part of the leadership team that oversaw the $250M Advanced Life Sciences Fund. Mr. Courtney also was a partner at CDP Sofinov, President of Faulding Canada Inc., Executive Vice-President of Pharmascience Inc. and held various senior positions with Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Courtney has served on numerous boards of directors for public and private enterprises in the biomedical industry and is currently a director on the boards of the Ontario Preclinical Imaging Consortium, Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization, DLVR Therapeutics, XLV Diagnostics and Turnstone Biologics. He is a member of the Investment Committee of the MaRS Discovery District’s Investment Accelerator Fund.  Mr. Courtney holds a BSc in microbiology from the University of Guelph.

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Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein, PhD, Director

Dr. Hofstein is the President of MaRS Innovation (MI) and a member of Triphase’s Board of Directors since 2010. MI is a non-profit organization that acts on behalf of its members–15 of Toronto’s top universities, institutions and research institutes, plus the MaRS Discovery District–to bring their most promising research breakthroughs to market.

Dr. Hofstein received his PhD and Master of Science degrees in Life Sciences and Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. His Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Physics was attained from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Awards received while completing postdoctoral training and research at the Harvard Medical School in Boston in the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Neurobiology include the Hereditary Disease Foundation Fellowship in 1982-83, and the Chaim Weizmann Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1980-82. During the 1980s, he held the roles of Scientific Director of Biotechnological Applications Ltd., and Manager R&D and Chief of Immunochemistry at the International Genetic Scientific Partnership; organizations that were pivotal in the development of Israel’s world-leading biotechnology sector. Dr. Hofstein was Scientific Director of the Israeli office of Ecogen Inc., a subsidiary of Monsanto, for over six years before assuming the role of Vice President, Business Development for Ecogen in Langhorne, Pa. From 1997 to 1999 Dr. Hofstein was President of Mindsense Biosystems Ltd., an Israeli company that develops neuropsychiatric immune assays. From 1999 to the present, he has held the position of President and CEO of Hadasit Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Later on, Dr. Hofstein joined Medica Ventures, a lead VC in Israel and served for 10 years as the President and CEO of Hadasit, the commercialization company of Hadassah, the largest teaching hospital in Israel. Dr. Hofstein was the founder and served as Chair of Hadasit BioHolding Ltd., a publicly traded holding company (10 startups under management) on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), since 2005. Other directorships held on TASE publicly traded companies include: Bioline RX (drug development); Exalenz (medical devices); and Evogene (agri-bio). He has also served as Chairman of BIOMED, Israel’s annual biomedical conference, from 2005 to 2007. In addition, Dr. Hofstein is a co-founder and board member of ILSI, the Israeli Life Science Industry Organization, and a co-founder and executive in Israel’s Tech Transfer Network (ITTN). Dr. Hofstein is currently member of the board of directors of Life Science Ontario and of Clinical Trials Ontario as well as a member of the Organizing Committee of the Public Policy Forum (part of the Quebec City Conference).

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Mohit Trikha, PhD, President and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Trikha is the President and CSO of Triphase Accelerator and Board member of Triphase Accelerator since 2014. He has 20 years of drug discovery and development experience, that has been instrumental in fund raising at Triphase, leading the filing of oncology INDs, and initiating multiple Phase 1/2 clinical trials in North America, Europe and Australia.

Since Triphase establishment, he was responsible for the non-clinical and clinical development of marizomib, a novel brain penetrant proteasome inhibitor, for glioma, CNS malignancies, myeloma, GLP toxicology, and developed an oral formulation. Celgene acquired marizomib in December 2016 and is advancing the drug to Phase 3 registration studies. His group is now leading a novel CD22 antibody drug conjugate (ADC) for lymphoma that site specifically delivers two cytotoxic payloads per antibody. Prior to Triphase, he was Associate VP of translational medicine & clinical development at Ambit Biosciences, project leader for the AML drug, quizartinib (a FLT-3 kinase inhibitor), project leader for AC480, a brain penetrant pan-EGFR inhibitor, and was responsible for lung, breast & glioma IND/clinical studies. Prior to Ambit, he was Director of BioOncology Early Development at Genentech and Assistant Director of oncology research at Centocor (Johnson and Johnson). At Genentech, Dr. Trikha had a joint appointment in Research and Development and managed the BioOncology Early Development portfolio of small molecules, mAbs and ADCs. He built a cross-functional group that advanced programs from candidate nomination through clinical proof of concept. Two of the projects are now approved: Kadcyla® (Herceptin-DM1) and Erivedge® (GDC 0449 Hedgehog inhibitor). He was a JSC member for the apoptosis/bcl-2 collaboration (ABT 263) with Abbott, Genentech and WEHI, worked closely on MetMab (anti-cMET one armed antibody), GDC 0941 (PI3 kinase inhibitor), CD79b ADC, and IAP antagonist GDC0152. At Centocor/JNJ, Trikha held various positions in clinical pharmacology and oncology drug discovery. His basic research focused on angiogenesis, inflammatory cytokines (TNF and IL6), targeted immunoliposomes, mAbs and ADCs.  He is co-inventor of siltuximab (CNTO 328 an anti-IL6 mAb called Sylvant ®), CNTO 95 (an anti-integrin mAb), IMGN388 (an anti-angiogenic ADC), and EGFR targeting STEALTH® immunoliposomes. IMGN388 and CNTO 95 completed Phase I and Sylvant ® is approved for Castleman’s disease. Dr. Trikha is interested in advancing first or best in class drugs, cell signaling, tumor immunology, apoptosis, protein homeostasis, and developing biomarkers for predicting response and toxicity. He has published 40 papers, filed multiple patents and presented at AACR, ASCO, ASH, and EHA.  He received his BS from California State University, LA, PhD from University of Southern California, and was an Assistant Professor of Research at Wayne State University prior to joining industry. Dr. Trikha is also a Board Member for EnCycle Therapeutics (a macrocycle company). His hobbies are high altitude hiking and understanding the molecular biology of meditation. He has hiked up to Mt Everest Base Camp/Kalapathar (18,202 ft) and Mt Whitney (14,494 ft).

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