Daniel J. O'Connor
Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Mr. O'Connor, J.D. served in various senior roles for Advaxis, Inc. from August 2013 until his resignation in July 2017, including most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer. At Advaxis, Mr. O'Connor led the company in raising more than $250 million in funding and facilitated the company's transformation into a patient-focused cancer immunotherapy company. During his tenure at Advaxis, Mr. O'Conner was also instrumental in establishing partnerships with other companies, including Amgen Inc., Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb. In addition, under his leadership, Advaxis advanced four new cancer immunotherapy drug candidates into clinical trials, as well as several PD-1 combination clinical studies with Merck's drug Keytruda® and Bristol-Myers Squibb's drug Opdivo®. Previously, Mr. O'Connor was Senior Vice President for ImClone Systems, where he supported the clinical development, launch, and commercialization of ImClone's drug ERBITUX®, and the sale of ImClone to Eli Lilly in 2008. Prior to that, Mr. O'Connor served as General Counsel at PharmaNet (now inVentiv Clinical Health), and was part of the senior leadership team that grew the company from a start-up contract research organization into a leader in clinical research. Mr. O'Connor is a 1995 graduate of the Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and currently serves as an Entrepreneur Trusted Advisor to its Dean. He graduated from the United States Marines Corps Officer Candidate School in 1988 and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marines, attaining the rank of Captain while serving in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. Mr. O'Connor is currently the Vice Chairman of BioNJ and was formerly a New Jersey criminal prosecutor.
Avtar Dhillon, M.D.
As former president and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (formerly Inovio Biomedical Corporation), Dr. Dhillon successfully created a vertically integrated DNA vaccine development company with one of the strongest development pipelines in the industry. Dr. Dhillon also raised over $125 million and secured more than $200 million in licensing deals from global companies including Merck and Wyeth (now Pfizer).
Dr. Dhillon was a founding board member of Protox Therapeutics, Inc. and currently sits on the Board of Directors of BC Advantage Funds, the largest Venture Capital Corporation in British Columbia.
Co-founder and Director
Formerly the VP of finance and operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Mr. Dhillon raised over $125 million through multiple financings and several licensing deals. He was also instrumental to the successful in-licensing of key intellectual property and a number of corporate transactions, including the acquisition and consolidation of Inovio AS, a Norwegian DNA delivery company, and the merger with VGX Pharmaceuticals.
Mr. Dhillon has also been a consultant and board member for several early stage life science companies.
James M DeMesa, M.D.
Dr. DeMesa has been a practicing physician and served as a senior executive with several international pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the areas of corporate management, regulatory affairs, and pre-clinical and clinical pharmaceutical and medical device product development. Most recently, Dr. DeMesa served as president, CEO, and director of Migenix Inc., a public biotechnology company.
Dr. DeMesa was also president and CEO of GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., a public biotech company, and vice president of medical and regulatory affairs at Biodynamics International, Inc. He is also a co-founder of CommGeniX and MedXcel.
Gregory T. Mayes
Mr. Mayes has served as the president, chief executive officer, founder and a member of the board of directors of Engage Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, since January 2017. From 2013 to 2016, Mr. Mayes served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Advaxis, Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company focused on developing immuno-oncology therapies for patients with hard-to-treat cancers. Mr. Mayes also served as a member of the board of directors of Advaxis from March 2016 to April 2017. Prior to joining Advaxis, Mr. Mayes served as executive vice president of Dendreon, a leading pioneer in the field of immuno-oncology research and development. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Mayes was the president and general counsel of Unigene Laboratories, Inc. where he primarily led out-licensing efforts for the company's novel oral peptide drug delivery platform. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Mayes served as vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at ImClone Systems Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Company. Mr. Mayes has also served as senior counsel at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and in private practice at Morgan Lewis LLP. He earned his B.S. degree from Syracuse University and a J.D. degree from the Temple University School of Law.