Meet the Marinus Team

Marinus’ management team is committed to developing innovative treatment options for seizures disorders in both the hospital and home setting.

Executive Leadership

Scott Braunstein, M.D.

Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Scott Braunstein was appointed Chairman of Marinus Pharmaceuticals’ Board in November 2022. He has held the position of Chief Executive Officer at Marinus since August 2019 and has been a valued member of its Board since September 2018. Under Dr. Braunstein’s leadership, Marinus received its first FDA-approval in March 2022.

Dr. Braunstein brings over 30 years of knowledge and experience from diverse biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry vantage points. Dr. Braunstein is currently an operating partner at Aisling Capital. He most recently served as chief strategy officer and chief operating officer at Pacira Biosciences, Inc. Prior to Pacira, Dr. Braunstein served as a healthcare portfolio manager at Everpoint Asset Management and spent 13 years with J.P. Morgan Asset Management as a healthcare analyst and managing director in the U.S. Equity team, and as portfolio manager of the JP Morgan Global Healthcare Fund responsible for managing investments in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices.

Dr. Braunstein is currently on the board of Trevena, Inc., Caribou Biosciences, Inc., One Biosciences and SiteOne Therapeutics, Inc. He also serves on the advisory board of Life Science Cares. He previously served on the boards of Constellation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by MorphoSys AG in July 2021), Ziopharm Oncology, Inc., Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. and Protara Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Braunstein began his career as a practicing physician at the Summit Medical Group and as assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. He earned his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his B.S. from Cornell University.

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Scott Braunstein, M.D.

Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer

 

Steven E. Pfanstiel

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Steven Pfanstiel has a long track record in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, supporting the financial side of R&D, supply chain, and global commercialization organizations.

Mr. Pfanstiel brings 16 years of J&J experience in various financial reporting and business support roles and was most recently Vice President, Finance for LifeScan of Malvern, PA, a world leader in blood glucose monitoring known for its OneTouch brand products for managing diabetes.
At LifeScan, he was responsible for a finance team of over 40 and drove significant cost savings while optimizing investment in sales and marketing.

Prior to LifeScan, Mr. Pfanstiel held financial leadership roles in a wide range of life sciences and pharmaceutical organizations, including Senior Director, Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) at Optinose; Senior Director, Global Strategic Marketing, at Depuy Synthes (Johnson & Johnson); Senior Director, North America Commercial, Worldwide Financial Reporting, and Portfolio for LifeScan & Animas (Johnson & Johnson). Prior to his roles with LifeScan and Optinose, Mr. Pfanstiel worked for 16 years in various divisions and operating companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Mr. Pfanstiel holds a B.A. in Physics from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN; an M.S. in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson University in Clemson, SC; and an M.B.A. in Finance from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, IN.

Steve

Steven E. Pfanstiel

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

 

Joseph Hulihan, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Joseph Hulihan, M.D. brings close to 30 years of experience in clinical drug development, medical affairs and research in numerous conditions in neurology and psychiatry including epilepsy, ADHD, schizophrenia and mood disorders.  

Dr. Hulihan is a board-certified neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist. He spent 15 years at Johnson & Johnson in roles of increasing responsibility with a primary focus on neurology and psychiatry. Most recently he served as Global Medical Affairs Leader, Neuroscience (mood disorders) at Janssen Global Services, LLC. Other roles included Vice President, CNS Medical Affairs at Janssen and Director, CNS Research, Clinical Affairs at Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical. Additionally, he was principal at Paradigm Neuroscience, where he provided consulting services including clinical and strategic support for neurotherapeutics in all phases of development.

Dr. Hulihan has served as a principal investigator, member of the clinical development team, group supervisor, and study physician on more than 25 late-stage CNS focused clinical trials and authored more than 70 published papers. He received his medical degree from Drexel University School of Medicine, with Honors in Neurology.

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Joseph Hulihan, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

 

Christy Shafer

Chief Commercial Officer

Christy Shafer is our Chief Commercial Officer.  In this role, Ms. Shafer is leading the development of our commercial strategy and organization to take advantage of current market opportunities and to maximize growth of our portfolio. 

Ms. Shafer has spent almost 20 years in the biotech, pharma, and medical device spaces, with her most recent position being Business Director of Neurology at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. There, she led teams through transformational growth in first-in-class neurology product launches, which catalyzed significant growth for the organization.

Prior to her tenure at Alexion, Ms. Shafer held positions of increasing responsibility at Pacira BioSciences, where she was responsible for multimillion-dollar sales forecasts, operational budgets, and leading highly functioning regional business leaders and their teams. Ms. Shafer has also held the roles of Regional Sales Director for Sanofi Biosurgery and Regional Vice President at I-Flow Corporation. She earned her Post-Baccalaureate degree in Immunology and Pharmacology and her Bachelor of Life Science in Cell/Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Christy Shafer

Chief Commercial Officer

 

Martha Manning, Esq.

Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Martha Manning has spent over 20 years in the life sciences sector, providing legal advice for development stage and commercial biopharma companies.

Immediately prior to joining Marinus, Ms. Manning was Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where she helped to develop and execute corporate strategy, managed corporate governance for the Board of Directors, and handled all legal and compliance matters. Before her tenure at Achillion, she was General Counsel for ICeutica Inc. where she was also responsible for all legal matters, including supporting corporate growth through R&D, product and clinical development, and out licensing.

Ms. Manning has held roles that have included Chief Legal Officer for OraPharma, Inc., Vice President and General Counsel for Sandoz, Inc. (Novartis), Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Adolor Corporation, and Business and Finance Associate for the law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Ms. Manning earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar.

Martha Manning Esq

Martha Manning, Esq.

Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

 

Alex Aimetti, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Alex Aimetti, Ph.D., is responsible for scientific and clinical strategy, medical communications, and delivering technical expertise across Marinus’ product portfolio.

Dr. Aimetti has 10 years of broad experience in research, clinical development, scientific and medical affairs at companies focused on developing CNS therapies within the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. He joined Marinus from InVivo Therapeutics, where he worked in roles of increasing responsibility, including most recently Vice President of Medical Education and Product Strategy, in which he led medical education efforts and helped guide the research and clinical development for the company’s clinical-stage CNS pipeline.

Dr. Aimetti holds a Ph.D. in Chemical & Biological Engineering from the University of Colorado and conducted his Post-Doctoral research training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

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Alex Aimetti, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

 

Kimberly McCormick, PharmD

Chief Regulatory and Quality Assurance Officer

Dr. McCormick is our Chief Regulatory and Quality Assurance Officer at Marinus, she leads the regulatory strategy and interactions with health authorities.

Dr. McCormick has over 25 years of experience in regulatory affairs at specialty pharmaceutical companies. Under her leadership, the regulatory team fosters innovation and efficiency in developing new treatments for CNS disorders, while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations via transparent and data-driven decision-making. Before joining Marinus, she was Senior Director, Global Regulatory Lead at Shire Pharmaceuticals, where she was part of the team responsible for all aspects of regulatory affairs for a broad range of programs in multiple therapeutic areas and pharmaceutical technologies.

Prior to Shire, she held roles of increasing responsibility at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer. Dr. McCormick holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia.

Kimberly Mccormick

Kimberly McCormick, PharmD

Chief Regulatory and Quality Assurance Officer

 

Sonya Weigle

Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, Human Resources & Corporate Affairs

Sonya brings over 25 years of experience transforming organizations through change management, organizational development and human capital strategy.

Prior to joining Marinus, Sonya was the founding principal of SWC Management Consulting, a 21-year-old human capital strategy consulting practice focused primarily on M&A integration in the life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. SWC worked on both the buy side and sell side to assess cultural, behavioral, structural and process fit to help clients mitigate against the 80 percent failure rate of most M&A transactions. Sonya also hosted a live weekly radio show called, “Beyond Financials: The People Side of Mergers & Acquisitions”. Sonya started her career in global consulting as part of the executive compensation, communications and human resource transformation practices at Mercer Consulting. After Mercer, Sonya joined Accenture in their change management practice and would eventually become the AVP of Human Resources for five lines of business at ACE, a global property & casualty insurance company.

Sonya holds a BS in Political Science, English and Psychology from The University of Pittsburgh and an MS in Management focused on human resources and strategy from Carnegie Mellon University. Sonya has been recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune and the American Arthritis Foundation as a “Woman on the Move”, was given the Leadership Award by the MS Society and was of named one Philadelphia’s Top 40 Business People Under 40 by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Sonya serves on many Boards, most recently The Nelson Foundation, The Philadelphia Film Society, the Board of Directors for Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, City Team Ministries, The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, The Finance Committee of The Agnes Irwin School Board of Trustees and the Haverford Leadership Council of The Haverford School Board of Trustees.

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Sonya Weigle

Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, Human Resources & Corporate Affairs

 

David Czekai

Senior Vice President, Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls

David Czekai is responsible for drug product development, manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain.

Mr. Czekai is a global pharmaceutical development and operations executive with over 30 years’ experience in advancing complex, technology-based products from proof of concept through commercialization. He is a pioneer in the areas of developing and advancing nanotechnology to commercial success for multiple FDA/EMA-approved drug products. Mr. Czekai started his career at Eastman Kodak where he was co-inventor of Kodak’s NanoCrystal® technology platform, and co-founder of Kodak’s pharmaceutical subsidiary NanoSystems LLC (later acquired by Elan Corporation). While at Elan (later acquired by Alkermes), Mr. Czekai led the NanoCrystal® business, including drug delivery, product development, and commercialization within the global pharmaceutical industry. 

After his tenure at Alkermes, he founded and served as president of NanoCentrix LLC, a pharmaceutical nanotechnology development and consulting business. 
Mr. Czekai holds over 30 US Patents in the fields of pharmaceuticals and nanotechnology. Mr. Czekai earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Clarkson University and has been inducted to Omega Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta PI National Engineering Honor Societies.

David Czekai

David Czekai

Senior Vice President, Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls

 

Mark Paternoster, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Development

Mark Paternoster is responsible for leading the creation and implementation of Marinus’ oral ganaxolone development team’s strategy.

Dr. Paternoster has 25 years of experience in drug development with a focus leading high performing teams developing asset strategy and delivering successful products to the market. Before joining Marinus, Dr. Paternoster was Vice President, Product Development at GW Pharmaceuticals. In this role, he served as the development team lead for cannabidiol—from the initiation of pivotal trials in Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and TSC-associated seizures, to FDA approval and commercialization. He was also the development team lead for nabiximols in spasticity associated with MS. In addition, Dr. Paternoster was instrumental in the creation and evolution of the GW operating model of product development teams and their governance.

Prior to GW, Dr. Paternoster held positions of increasing responsibility at Eisai—from clinical trial management through regulatory submission management, program management and development team leadership. His therapeutic focus at Eisai included commercial and development stage epilepsy and dementia products as well as early development oncology. Dr. Paternoster’s career started in clinical operations at PPD, British Biotech and ICON, primarily in oncology.  He holds a B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Bristol, UK, a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Kent, UK, and a M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Medicine from the University of Surrey, UK.

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Mark Paternoster, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Development

 

Dayong Li, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Biometrics

Dayong Li, Ph.D., joined Marinus as Vice President of Biometrics, responsible for overseeing and ensuring effective operations in biostatistics, data management, and statistical programming.

Dr. Li brings 25 years of experience in clinical drug development and clinical statistics.
Prior to Marinus, he led biometrics teams at pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as Forest Laboratories (Now Abbvie) where he co-authored clinical study reports, manuscripts, developed study protocols and statistical analysis plans, and participated in planning activities as a lead statistician for projects.
As Director of Biostatistics at AstraZeneca, Dr. Li provided strategic input for product development, marketing, and life cycle management. In addition, he brought modern statistical methodologies to the company, applying them to design and analysis of clinical studies.

Dr. Li has been a major contributor to several FDA approved drug products giving him in depth knowledge and experience in 10+ NDA/sNDA submissions with a high approval rate. Dr. Li earned his Ph.D. in statistics from The University of Maryland Baltimore County and his B.S. in Mathematics from Henan Normal University, China.

Dayong Li

Dayong Li, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Biometrics