Meet the Marinus Team

Marinus Pharmaceuticals’ management team is committed to developing ganaxolone for treatment of drug-resistant seizures and neuropsychiatric disorders in both the hospital and home setting.

Management

David Czekai

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

 

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Alex Aimetti, Ph.D.

Vice President, Scientific Affairs

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.

Vice President, Scientific Affairs

 

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Sasha Damouni Ellis

Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

Sasha Damouni Ellis is responsible for all corporate communications and investor relations at Marinus.

Ms. Damouni brings close to 20 years of healthcare experience, including financial communications, issues management, and executive visibility, to Marinus.
Immediately prior to joining the company, Ms. Damouni was Director of External Communications and Media Relations for Bayer U.S., where she drove external brand-building strategies in therapeutic areas of oncology, hemophilia, cardio-pulmonary, and women’s health. Prior to Bayer, she was a Senior Healthcare Journalist at Bloomberg News where she focused on articles related to high profile FDA advisory committee meetings, drugs in development, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions. Ms. Damouni launched and was Global Editor of BioPharm Insight, formerly a division of the Financial Times Group, where she managed a group of three analysts and nine journalists in London and New York.

Ms. Damouni has also held roles at Mergermarket, and a number of leading international newspapers. She earned her Master of Arts from City, University of London’s Graduate School of Journalism, in the United Kingdom, and her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Richmond, the American International University in London, United Kingdom.

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Sasha Damouni Ellis

Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

 

Maciej Gasior

Maciej Gasior, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development

Maciej Gasior, M.D., Ph.D., joined Marinus as vice president, clinical development in 2018. Dr. Gasior has nearly 15 years of pharmaceutical experience.

Prior to joining Marinus, he served as a senior medical director at TEVA Pharmaceuticals, where he led several R&D projects in the company’s pain portfolio that led to a regulatory approval. Other prior positions were with Bristol-Myers Squibb (Exploratory Clinical and Translational Research in Neuroscience and Pain) and Cephalon Inc. (Discovery and Clinical Research in CNS and Pain). Within these positions, Dr. Gasior was responsible for the clinical development and execution of global clinical programs and trials from Phases 1 through 4. Dr. Gasior is a former staff scientist in the Epilepsy Research Section (NIH-NINDS), junior faculty fellow at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center (Harvard Medical School) and post-doctoral fellow at the Drug Development Group (NIH-NIDA).

Dr. Gasior’s main research interests and expertise are in epilepsy, pain, and drug development for neuropsychiatric disorders. He has published over 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals, serves as a member of editorial boards for the Journal of Translational Neuroscience and Journal of CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets. He is also an adjunct professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology (Drexel University College of Medicine). Dr. Gasior earned his M.D. with honors and Ph.D. in neuropharmacology from the Medical University of Lublin, Poland, where he is a full professor.

Maciej Gasior

Maciej Gasior, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development

 

Igor Grachev 2

Igor Grachev, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development

Igor Grachev, M.D., Ph.D., joined Marinus as vice president, clinical development and brings nearly 20 years of Pharma industry experience to Marinus Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Grachev has led clinical development and medical affairs programs at both multinational pharmaceutical and biotech organizations. Prior to joining Marinus, he served as Chief Medical Officer at Cellectar Biosciences, and previously had progressive leadership roles at TEVA Branded Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, GSK, GE Healthcare, BioClinica, Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering Plough, and Guide Pharmaceutical Consulting. Over the course of his career, Dr. Grachev has been responsible for clinical development, clinical operation, regulatory affairs, medical affairs and drug safety, execution and management of clinical programs and trials Phases 1 through four worldwide in neurology/neurodegenerative disorders and psychiatry, neuro-oncology and other adjacent therapeutic areas, achieving regulatory approvals in multiple countries.

Dr. Grachev is a former assistant professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University and served as a fellow/instructor/assistant professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University Medical School. Dr. Grachev is well-published in the field of neurology, neurodegeneration and psychiatry with over 150 peer-reviewed publications. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurology and Brain Disorders and serves as associate editor of several neurology and medical journals. Dr. Grachev earned his M.D. with highest honor in general medicine from Bogomolets National Medical University; his Ph.D. in neuroscience, and neurology and psychiatry residency trainings from the Institute of Gerontology at the Shupyk National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education; and completed a fellowship training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University Medical School.

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Igor Grachev, M.D., Ph.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development

 

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall

Vice President, Clinical Development Operations

Matthew Hall is our Vice President of Clinical Development Operations. He leads the operation, execution, strategy and vendor management for Marinus’ domestic phase 1 & 2 and global phase 3 clinical trials.

Mr. Hall has over 25 years of experience in medical / dental device, clinical drug development, clinical operations and medical affairs. Under his leadership, the Clinical Development Operations team has capitalized on efficiencies, quality and cost savings by internalizing key functions to enhance essential infrastructure, quality deliverables and control of clinical trial data. Before joining Marinus, Mr. Hall held titles of Director of North American Clinical Operations and Director of US Medical Affairs at Teva Pharmaceuticals. There, he led teams responsible for successfully executing numerous phase 1 – 4 domestic and global clinical trials in CNS, oncology, women’s health, endocrinology and mental illness therapeutic areas.

In addition, Mr. Hall led multiple MSL teams responsible for pre and post launch activities, providing medical / scientific support for several CNS and women’s health approved drugs.  Prior to Teva, he held roles of increasing responsibility at Barr Laboratories, Pharmanet, PPD, Clinical Research Associates and authored / co-authored nine published papers in the Journal of Dental Research.  Mr. Hall holds a B.S in Human Biology from the University of Utah.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall

Vice President, Clinical Development Operations

 

Ian Hunt

Ian Hunt

Vice President, Market Access and Channel Strategy

Ian Hunt joined Team Marinus as our Vice President, Market Access and Channel Strategy.

Ian Hunt has over 25 years of experience leading payer & channel strategy, field sales and marketing in commercial and pre-commercial programs for some of the industry’s foremost pharmaceutical and biotech companies. He has worked on the launch of over a dozen products and managed pricing and contracting for both Pharmacy and Medical Benefit products. He was most recently Vice President of Market Access; Payor and Site of Care Strategy & Marketing for Horizon Therapeutics where he was responsible for four Business Units, nine Brands, and investigational new products.

Previously, Mr. Hunt served as Head, Value & Access – Strategy/Marketing at Bioverativ, Inc., Vice President, Head Global Market Access, Patient Services, and Channel Strategy for Sage Therapeutics, and Senior Director, Payer & Channel Strategy and Marketing for Genzyme. Mr. Hunt holds a Master of Science degree in Politics & Economics from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom where he was a Rotary Scholar, and a B.A. from Troy University in Alabama.

Ian Hunt

Ian Hunt

Vice President, Market Access and Channel Strategy

 

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Fred Halperin

Vice President, Marinus Technology

Fred Halperin is responsible for all aspects of the technology function at Marinus.

Mr. Halperin brings more than 35 years of healthcare and technology experience to Marinus. Immediately prior to joining Marinus, Mr. Halperin was Senior Director, IT Strategy, Transformation and Enablement Services for Otsuka Pharmaceuticals where he led a global effort to define a 3-year IT Roadmap as well as establish several internal technology support functions and processes. Prior to Otsuka, Mr. Halperin worked in the Office of the CIO at Johnson & Johnson as the Chief of staff to the Corporate Chief Information and Chief Technology officers. In this role, Mr. Halperin acted on their behalf as the primary technology liaison to the J&J Executive Committee and Board of Directors, led the creation and implementation of the enterprise IT strategy and managed several high-priority technology initiatives in partnership with the business lines and global technology infrastructure function.

Prior to these recent corporate roles, Mr. Halperin was a senior life sciences technology practice leader with two leading global management consulting firms.
Mr. Halperin earned his Bachelor of Science degree in both Computer Science and Industrial Psychology from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.    

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Fred Halperin

Vice President, Marinus Technology

 

Dayong Li

Dayong Li, Ph.D.

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.

Vice President, Biometrics

 

Thomas Lyons

Thomas Lyons

Vice President, Corporate & Business Development and Commercial Planning

Thomas Lyons (“T.J.”) has over 25 years of Commercial, Strategic and Transactional experience spanning various operating, consulting, and advisory roles primarily within the Life Sciences industry.

Prior to joining Marinus, Mr. Lyons was a Managing Partner at Fidem Capital, a boutique financial advisory firm focused on Mergers & Acquisitions, Equity Financings, and Corporate Development for Health Care and Technology companies. Previously, he held Corporate & Business Development positions at Oscient Pharmaceuticals and Cempra Pharmaceuticals as well as a wide range of commercial roles of increasing responsibility at both Abbott Laboratories and Cephalon, Inc. He has also been a Managing Partner of Vector Advisory, a consultancy concentrating on Corporate Development and Strategic Advisory initiatives to Life Science and Healthcare companies.

Throughout his various roles, Mr. Lyons has been involved with the launch of a number of proprietary biopharmaceutical products and executed a broad range of transactions including product in-/out-licensing, M&A, asset acquisitions/divestitures/spin-outs, financings, co-promotions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances for both private and public entities ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50 international corporations. He joined Marinus in his current role in January 2018. Mr. Lyons holds a B.S. in Business Administration & Marketing from Boston College and an M.B.A in Finance & Entrepreneurship from Babson College. He has held FINRA Series 7, 63 & 79 licenses for securities transactions and investment banking.

Thomas Lyons

Thomas Lyons

Vice President, Corporate & Business Development and Commercial Planning

 

Kimberly Mccormick

Kimberly McCormick, PharmD

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Dr. McCormick is our Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Marinus, she leads the regulatory strategy and interactions with health authorities.

Dr. McCormick has 20 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

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

 

Ian Miller, Headshot

Ian Miller, MD.

Vice President, Clinical Development

Ian Miller joined our team as Vice President, Clinical Development

Dr. Ian Miller is a pediatric epileptologist with 14 years of experience at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, where he most recently served as the Chair of the Neurology Department, and on the Board of Directors for First Choice Neurology (a private practice of over 80 neurologists). Within the hospital he was the founding Medical Director of the Ion Channel Epilepsy Program, co-Director of the Tuberous Sclerosis Program, and the Director of Neuroinformatics. Dr. Miller’s research experience includes participation in all five of the pivotal trials for cannabidiol, including one as a first author. He was also a primary investigator for fenfluramine, nasal diazepam, and neuropace, among others, and has provided input regarding trial design and endpoints for three early gene therapy candidates in SCN1A, and enrolled patients in one of them as PI. He is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for the Dravet Syndrome Foundation (DSF), and a member of the American Epilepsy Society.

 He is board certified in Neurology with a special qualification in Child Neurology, as well as Clinical Neurophysiology, Epilepsy, and Neuroimaging. Dr. Miller testified with the DSF at the FDA in 2018 regarding the need for an ICD10 code for Dravet syndrome, leading to the approval of the G40.83 and its subgroups in October of 2020. Dr. Miller received his M.D. degree from the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, where he grew up. He completed residency and fellowship training at the University of Utah and the University of Washington before completing Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship at Miami Children’s Hospital.

Ian Miller, Headshot

Ian Miller, MD.

Vice President, Clinical Development

 

Michael Saporito 2

Michael Saporito, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research and Preclinical Development

Michael Saporito, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Research and Preclinical Development at Marinus Pharmaceuticals.

He brings nearly 30 years of pharmaceutical industry research experience to Marinus and is an accomplished biopharmaceutical leader with demonstrated success in identifying drug candidates and enabling their translation from early lead stage, through to development and proof of concept clinical studies. Dr. Saporito started his career at Cephalon Inc. where he led efforts in discovery of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases.  He also headed the biology research group at Locus Pharmaceuticals, cofounded Melior Discovery where he was Chief Scientific Officer and has consulted for emerging biopharmaceutical start-up companies and venture capital groups.

He is a member of Michael J. Fox Foundation review panel and has consulted for and advised multiple biopharmaceutical companies, venture capital groups and investment banks. Dr. Saporito has over 40 scientific publications, review articles, book chapters, and is an inventor on over 15 patents. Dr. Saporito is a graduate of Juniata College, obtained his Ph.D in Pharmacology at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and completed his training as a postdoctoral fellow at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the Department of Neurology.

Michael Saporito 2

Michael Saporito, Ph.D.

Vice President of Research and Preclinical Development

 

Patricia Ward

Patricia Ward

Vice President, Quality Programs

Patricia Ward has over 30 years of Quality Assurance experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Ms. Ward’s area of expertise includes both US and EU requirements for drug product manufacturing, preclinical and clinical programs, pharmacovigilance and corporate compliance.  She spent almost 15 years as a QA consultant supporting both large and small pharma clients by designing and implementing audit programs, drafting and auditing procedural and regulatory documents and assessing internal processes to identify gaps or opportunities for improvement.

Ms. Ward has held management level positions at Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca. She holds a B.S in Biology/PreMedicine from Ursinus College and an M.S. in Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs from Temple University.

Patricia Ward

Patricia Ward

Vice President, Quality Programs

 

Henrikas Vaitkevicius 2

Henrikas Vaitkevicius, M.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development

Dr. Vaitkevicius was previously an attending neurologist in the Neurocritical Care, Stroke and Hospitalist Divisions of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Neurology, and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Vaitkevicius received his graduate and medical school training at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He completed his neurology residency and neurocritical care fellowship at Brigham & Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dr. Vaitkevicius has appeared in over 40 peer-reviewed publications, and multiple other scientific and medical materials and chapters.

He has served as the director of Brain Hub: Studio for Research and Innovation in Critical Care Neurology, where he focused on fostering collaborations among academic departments and pharmaceutical industries to bring novel treatments to the bedside.

Henrikas Vaitkevicius 2

Henrikas Vaitkevicius, M.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development