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Our Mission

Palvella Therapeutics was founded to serve individuals suffering from rare diseases by developing safe and efficacious therapies that will dramatically enhance their quality of life. We focus on developing therapies that specifically target the root cause of the disease. The Palvella team is committed to recruiting passionate and like-minded collaborators to ensure we expeditiously deliver on this important mission for rare disease patients.

Many Unmet Needs in Rare Genodermatoses

There are over 25 million people in the United States living with one of 6,800 rare diseases. The initial focus of Palvella’s research efforts is within the almost 600 rare dermatologic diseases where less than 2 percent have an approved therapy. In most of these cases there is an opportunity to be the first FDA-approved therapy. Because many of these diseases are genetic, those suffering from these rare genodermatoses endure lifelong symptoms – often severe debilitation and chronic pain. Further, the multitude of genetic research in recent years in this area has elucidated the mechanisms of many of the diseases, bringing targeted therapeutic approaches within reach. We are proud to be a leader in the advancement of targeted therapies for serious rare genodermatoses.

Wes Kaupinen Headshot

Wes Kaupinen

President and CEO

Wes Kaupinen

Wes Kaupinen

President and CEO

Mr. Kaupinen brings more than 17 years of experience as an operating executive and early stage investor.
Mr. Kaupinen brings more than 17 years of entrepreneurial life sciences experience as an operating executive and early stage investor, including having worked closely with several companies that have secured FDA approvals of novel treatments for high unmet indications. Prior to Palvella, Mr. Kaupinen served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Commercialization at Insmed (NASDAQ: INSM), a global commercial stage biopharmaceutical company focused on rare diseases. Previously, Mr. Kaupinen was a Principal at Quaker Partners, a life sciences venture capital firm with $700mm under management, where he worked on several public and private investments, including recruiting new leadership to Insmed to execute on a rare disease strategy. Mr. Kaupinen has served as a board director or observer for more than ten companies, including leading Series A investments in Intact Vascular (backed by NEA, HIG, and Quaker) and TELA Bio (NASDAQ: TELA). Mr. Kaupinen earned an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Economics from The University of Virginia.

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Braham Shroot Headshot

Braham Shroot, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Braham Shroot, Ph.D.

Braham Shroot, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Shroot brings over 30 years of experience in drug research and development specializing in skin disorders, and played a key role in the development of commercially available therapeutics including Differin, Atralin, Vectical, and Diflucan.
Dr. Shroot is the recipient of the American Skin Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and an honorary lifetime member of the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Prior to Palvella, Dr. Shroot held senior roles in the biopharma industry, including President of Galderma Research, Chief Scientific Officer of Barrier Therapeutics (sold to Stiefel), and CSO/VP of R&D for DFB Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Shroot also served as the chief executive officer of Signum Biosciences, a company developing dermatological therapeutics. Dr. Shroot is an inventor on over 50 patents, author of over 260 publications, and a member of the editorial boards of several prestigious dermatology journals. Dr. Shroot earned a B.Sc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Glasgow University in Scotland.

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Jeff Martini Ph.D.

VP of R&D and Corporate Strategy

Jeff Martini Ph.D.

Jeff Martini Ph.D.

VP of R&D and Corporate Strategy

Dr. Martini brings nearly 20 years of leadership roles in R&D and corporate development.

Prior to Palvella, Dr. Martini served as Executive Director of Business Development and Corporate Strategy at Marinus Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for rare diseases. Previously, Dr. Martini was Project Champion at Teva Specialty Pharmaceuticals and Cephalon Pharmaceuticals where he led the cross functional development teams for several therapeutic areas and was responsible for program strategy and delivery. Prior experiences include research scientist roles at GSK and Centocor and as an investment consultant at Ben Franklin Technology Partners where he led the due diligence for early stage investments. Dr. Martini has experience leading programs at all stages of development, including IND submission through NDA approval and product launch. Dr. Martini holds a B.S. from Penn State University and a PhD in molecular pharmacology from Jefferson University.

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Kathy Goin Headshot

Kathy Goin

VP of Development Operations

Kathy Goin

Kathy Goin

VP of Development Operations

With a positive and relentless spirit, Ms. Goin builds and coaches high performing and successful clinical development teams.
Since 1998, Ms. Goin served many patient populations by developing drugs and devices to treat different cancers, heart disease/abnormalities, and pain conditions. As Vice President, Clinical Operations at Trevena, Inc., she shaped trial execution strategies across all programs by promoting meaningful and streamlined interactions between sites and sponsor representatives and employing modern processes for lean yet highly effective trial execution. These approaches led to helping the company start and finish three Phase III studies in just under two years. In 2017, she joined colleagues to start Clinical Works, a progressive specialty consulting firm focused on helping emerging and small biotech/pharmaceutical companies start their clinical programs and execute trials. Ms. Goin holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from College Misericordia.

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Pam Swiggard

VP of Regulatory Affairs

Pam Swiggard

Pam Swiggard

VP of Regulatory Affairs

Ms. Swiggard is an accomplished pharmaceutical executive in global regulatory affairs and quality assurance with more than 21 years of experience in operations, clinical research and project management for a broad range of therapeutic areas across development and commercial assets.

Ms. Swiggard previously served as Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Galera Therapeutics Inc., where she led global strategy for regulatory affairs and provided guidance for product development.  Prior to Galera, Ms. Swiggard worked in a variety of leadership roles including Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at Zynerba Pharmaceuticals and Fibrocell, Inc. (merged with Castle Creek Biosciences) and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Project Management of Trevena, Inc. Previously, Ms. Swiggard served in positions of increasing responsibility in regulatory affairs at Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals that was acquired by Pfizer, Inc. in 2009.  Ms. Swiggard earned a B.S. in Microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. in Regulatory Affairs/Quality Assurance from Temple University.

Emily Cook Headshot

Emily Cook

VP of Clinical Operations

Emily Cook

Emily Cook

VP of Clinical Operations

Ms. Cook’s 15-year career spans large and small pharmaceutical companies where she has managed clinical development programs for clinical and commercial stage products.

Prior to Palvella, Ms. Cook served as Director of Clinical Operations for Complexa, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on life-threatening fibrosis and inflammatory diseases. Prior to joining Complexa, she served as the director of clinical operations for Trevena, Inc., where she contributed to the completion of multiple Phase 1 through Phase 3 clinical trials. Emily also held clinical and sales roles at Applied Clinical Intelligence, Yaupon Therapeutics, and Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals. Emily received her B.A. in Microbiology from Miami University and earned her Clinical Research Associate certification from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals.

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Kathleen McGowan Headshot

Kathleen McGowan

VP of Finance and Operations

Kathleen McGowan

Kathleen McGowan

VP of Finance and Operations

Ms. McGowan brings over 35 years of diversified financial experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
Before Palvella, Ms. McGowan served as Chief Financial Officer of VaxInnate, a private company developing vaccines for influenza, malaria, and dengue. Prior to VaxInnate, she led financial operations at Tobira Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan plc), a clinical-stage company developing and commercializing therapies for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other liver diseases. Earlier in her career, Ms. McGowan held financial senior management roles at Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (now Windtree Therapeutics), Claneil Enterprises, Liposome Company (acquired by Elan Corp.), and Johnson & Johnson. She received her B.S. in finance and accounting from Drexel University and holds an M.B.A. in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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Jason Connor, Ph.D.

VP of Clinical and Biostatistics

Jason Connor, Ph.D.

Jason Connor, Ph.D.

VP of Clinical and Biostatistics

Prior to joining the Palvella team, Dr. Connor founded ConfluenceStat, a statistical consulting firm working with biotech and biotech investors. He is also Assistant Professor of Medical Education at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine (since 2008) and Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, teaching a summer class on Bayesian Adaptive Trials (since 2010). Prior to founding ConfluenceStat, he was on the senior team at Berry Consultants, the worldwide leader in innovative and Bayesian adaptive trial design, leading a team of biostatisticians and collaborating on over 200 Bayesian adaptive trials, and was an internal consultant at Cleveland Clinic. Jason received his Ph.D. jointly in Statistics & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has co-authored over 90 papers in the statistics and clinical literature.

George Jenkins

Chairman

George Jenkins

Chairman

From 1987 to 2005, Mr. Jenkins was a general partner of Apax Partners, a leading global private equity firm where he served as chief operating officer overseeing a multi-billion dollar venture capital and private equity investment portfolio. Since 2006, Mr. Jenkins has been an active private investor primarily funding technology-based start-ups. Mr. Jenkins has been or currently serves as a board member of numerous public and private companies, including SkinMedica (acquired by Allergan), Colorescience, Flower Orthopedics, Power Survey, Sunglass Hut, and Spyder Active Sports. Prior to joining Apax, Mr. Jenkins was a banker managing banking facilities in Europe. Mr. Jenkins earned a B.A. in Economics and Accounting from Lafayette College where he currently serves as a Trustee.

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Aditya Asokan, Ph.D.

Director

Aditya Asokan, Ph.D.

Director

Aditya joined Samsara in 2020. During his time at Samsara, Aditya has been involved in both, private and public company investments, a number of Samsara’s internal company creation efforts and currently serves as an Observer for Fluent Biosciences, ImmunOs Therapeutics and a stealth stage oncology company. Aditya is a neuroscientist by training and has spent over 10 years conducting research on Parkinson’s Disease, Autism Spectrum disorders and neuroinflammation. Prior to Samsara, Aditya was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Scientist at Stanford University School of Medicine. Outside the lab, Aditya also consulted for various life science investment firms such as Aquilo Capital Management and Sofinnova Investments and is a founding member of the Mythos Biotechnology Fund, a student and postdoc-led life science investment club at Stanford. Aditya received a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida and is an alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Ignite Program in entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Todd Davis

Director

Todd Davis

Director

Mr. Davis is a founding Managing Director at HealthCare Royalty Partners, a global healthcare investment firm. He has thirty years of experience working in and investing in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Over the course of his career, Mr. Davis has been involved in over $2 billion in healthcare deals and nearly $1 billion in royalty financings. He has also led, structured and closed over 40 additional intellectual property licenses, as well as growth equity, and debt deals. Previously, Mr. Davis was a partner at Paul Capital Partners, where he co-managed that firm’s royalty investments as a member of the royalty management committee. He also served as a partner responsible for biopharmaceutical growth equity investments at Apax Partners. Prior to beginning his principal investment career in 2001, Mr. Davis held various sales and product management roles at Abbott Laboratories and worked in business development, operations and licensing at Elan Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Davis holds a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He currently serves on the board of Ligand Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: LGND).

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John Doux, M.D., FAAD

Director

John Doux, M.D., FAAD

Director

Dr. Doux joined Palo Alto Investors, a healthcare-focused investment firm, in 2004 as an analyst. Dr. Doux is a board certified dermatologist who maintained a clinical practice in medical and surgical dermatology for seventeen years. He earned his M.D. from Stanford University, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow performing and publishing research in the laboratory of Dr. David Woodley. He completed training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Stanford Medical Center and earned an M.B.A. at the Wharton School of Business where he was a Palmer Scholar.

Elaine J. Heron, Ph.D.

Director

Elaine J. Heron, Ph.D.

Director

Dr. Heron served as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage drug development company from February 2009 until October 2015, and she continues to serve as board member. She also serves as a board member of BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRN), a therapeutics company with annual sales over $1 billion, and Vala Sciences, a private biotechnology tools company. From July 2001 to October 2008, Dr. Heron was Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Labcyte Inc., a private biotechnology tools company. Before joining Labcyte Inc., she spent six years in positions of increasing responsibility at the Applied Biosystems Group of Applera Corporation, a biotechnology tools company, including the positions of general manager and VP of sales and marketing. Dr. Heron earned a B.S. in Chemistry with highest distinction, a Ph.D. in Analytical Biochemistry from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.

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Scott Morenstein

Director

Scott Morenstein

Director

Scott Morenstein has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2020. Mr. Morenstein has served as Managing Director at CAM Capital LLC, where he currently leads biotechnology investing, since November 2013. Prior to joining CAM Capital, Mr. Morenstein served as managing director at Valence Advantage Life Sciences Fund from January 2012 to November 2013. Prior, he served as principal at Caxton Advantage Venture Partners, which he joined in 2007 and served until 2011. Prior to that, he servedas an investment banking associate and founding member of Seaview Securities from 2003 to 2005.Mr. Morenstein began his career at Lehman Brothers as a healthcare investment banker and equity research analyst, where he served from 2000 to 2002. He currently serves on the board of directors of Molecula rTemplates, Inc. (Nasdaq: MTEM), Antios Therapeutics, and Primmune Therapeutics, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies, where he has served since July 2017, November 2018 and March 2020,respectively. He also serves on the board of directors of Avenge Bio, a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, where he has served since December 2021. Mr. Morenstein served as a director of Velicept Therapeutics from 2015 to December 2020 and Celator Pharmaceuticals from April 2013 until its acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in July 2016. He served as a member of the board of directors of Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. from November 2015 until its merger with Madrigal Pharmaceuticals in 2016. Mr.Morenstein served as a member of the board of directors of Gemin X Pharmaceuticals from 2009 until its acquisition by Cephalon, Inc. in 2011. Mr. Morenstein holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in the Biological Basis of Behavior.

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Wes Kaupinen

President and CEO

Wes Kaupinen

President and CEO

Mr. Kaupinen brings more than 17 years of experience as an operating executive and early stage investor.
Mr. Kaupinen brings more than 17 years of entrepreneurial life sciences experience as an operating executive and early stage investor, including having worked closely with several companies that have secured FDA approvals of novel treatments for high unmet indications. Prior to Palvella, Mr. Kaupinen served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Commercialization at Insmed (NASDAQ: INSM), a global commercial stage biopharmaceutical company focused on rare diseases. Previously, Mr. Kaupinen was a Principal at Quaker Partners, a life sciences venture capital firm with $700mm under management, where he worked on several public and private investments, including recruiting new leadership to Insmed to execute on a rare disease strategy. Mr. Kaupinen has served as a board director or observer for more than ten companies, including leading Series A investments in Intact Vascular (backed by NEA, HIG, and Quaker) and TELA Bio (NASDAQ: TELA). Mr. Kaupinen earned an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Economics from The University of Virginia.

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Michael Murray

Observer

Michael Murray

Observer

Mr. Murray joined BVF Partners L.P. in 2013. Prior to joining the General Partner, Mr. Murray was an Associate at Leerink Swann in the strategy consulting division where he advised pharmaceutical and biotech clients on M&A strategy, due diligence, clinical development strategy, and commercial opportunity assessments. He holds an A.B. in Human Evolutionary Biology and a Secondary Field in Economics from Harvard College.

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David Bickers, MD

Columbia University

David Bickers, MD

Columbia University

Chair of Dermatology

Columbia University

Alain Hovnanian

Imagine Institute

Alain Hovnanian

Imagine Institute

Team Lead

Imagine Institute

Sandy Leachman, MD, PhD

Oregon Health & Science University

Sandy Leachman, MD, PhD

Oregon Health & Science University

Chair of Dermatology

Oregon Health & Science University

Will Motley, MD

Johns Hopkins & Third Rock Ventures

Will Motley, MD

Johns Hopkins & Third Rock Ventures

Edel O’Toole, MD, PhD

Barts and The London

Edel O’Toole, MD, PhD

Barts and The London

Academic Dermatologist

Barts and The London

 

Amy S Paller, MD

Northwestern Medicine

Amy S Paller, MD

Northwestern Medicine

Chair, Department of Dermatology

Director, Skin Biology and Diseases Resource-Based Center

Walter J. Hamlin Professor of Dermatology

Northwestern Medicine

 

Joyce Teng, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Joyce Teng, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Professor of Dermatology

Stanford University

 

James Treat, MD

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

James Treat, MD

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Dermatology

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia