Executive Management Team
Ms. Conte is the founder, president and Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the board of directors, of Jaguar Health, a natural product pharmaceuticals company focused on the commercialization and development of novel gastrointestinal products for both human prescription use and animals on a global basis, including the recently launched Mytesi®. A human drug approved by the U.S. FDA for the symptomatic relief of noninfectious diarrhea in adults with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy, Mytesi® is a first-in-class anti-secretory agent and the first oral drug approved by the FDA under botanical guidance. In July 2017, two companies founded by Ms. Conte—Napo Pharmaceuticals, a human-focused pharmaceuticals company, and Jaguar Animal Health, the veterinary-focused licensor of all of Napo’s technology—merged and now comprise Jaguar Health. Ms. Conte is also currently a member of the board of directors of Healing Forest Conservatory and a member of the Board of Visitors for the Dickey Center of International Understanding at Dartmouth College. Ms. Conte holds an M.S. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.B.A. and A.B. in Biochemistry from Dartmouth College.
Karen Wright: Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
Ms. Wright joined Jaguar’s team in December 2015. She brings more than 30 years of financial experience with a number of international biotech companies. Prior to joining Jaguar Animal Health, Ms. Wright most recently was head of finance for Clene Nanomedicine. She also served as vice president of finance and corporate controller at multiple other private and public companies, including Veracyte and Intermune, which was acquired by Roche. Early in her career, Ms. Wright spent 13 years at Genentech building a strong foundation in the biotech industry. Ms. Wright has been responsible for financial reporting and operational financial planning and analysis, including R&D, clinical, marketing and sales, G&A and manufacturing; as well as tax and treasury planning. She has participated in three IPOs and numerous offerings. Ms. Wright holds a BS in Accounting and Marketing from the University of California Walter A. Haas School Of Business.
Steven King, PhD: EVP, Sustainable Supply, Ethnobotanical Research & IP
Dr. King has served as our Executive Vice President of Sustainable Supply, Ethnobotanical Research and Intellectual Property since March 2014. From 2002 to 2014, Dr. King served as the Senior Vice President of Sustainable Supply, Ethnobotanical Research and Intellectual Property at Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to that, Dr. King served as the Vice President of Ethnobotany and Conservation at Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. King has been recognized by the International Natural Products and Conservation Community for the creation and dissemination of research on the long-term sustainable harvest and management of Croton lechleri, the widespread source of crofelemer. Dr. King is currently a member of the board of directors of Healing Forest Conservatory, a California not-for-profit public benefit corporation. Dr. King holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden and an M.S. in Biology from the City University of New York.
Pravin Chaturvedi, PhD: Chair of Scientific Advisory Board; acting Chief Scientific Officer
In his role as the chair of our Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Chaturvedi is responsible for providing direction on strategy, tactics and oversight to the leadership team regarding advancing the development and commercialization of the Napo drug pipeline, including, but not limited to, Mytesi and SB-300. Dr. Chaturvedi has co-founded and led multiple biotech enterprises including Scion, IndUS and Oceanyx, and has served as the CEO or CSO for Scion, IndUS, Napo, Oceanyx and Pivot Pharmaceuticals. Over his 25+ year career, Dr. Chaturvedi has led the discovery and/or the development activities for several new chemical entities (NCEs) including the successful development of crofelemer (Mytesi) and has participated in the discovery and/or development of novel drugs for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis C, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Earlier in his career, Dr. Chaturvedi was the Head of Lead Evaluation at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and was in the preclinical group at Alkermes. He started his career in the Product Development group at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert Company (now Pfizer). Dr. Chaturvedi holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from West Virginia University and a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from the University of Bombay.
David Sesin, PhD: Chief Manufacturing Officer
David is a pharmaceutical scientist with more than 30 years of experience ranging from drug discovery through manufacturing. He is the developer of the crofelemer manufacturing process. Prior to serving as Jaguar’s CMO, he was Director of Chemistry and QHSE at Bayer CropScience, Director of Chemistry at AgraQuest, Inc., and he spent nine years with Shaman Pharmaceuticals.
Robert J. Griffing: Chief Commercialization Officer
Mr. Griffing came to Napo from biopharmaceutical company Orexigen Therapeutics, which he joined in 2015 as Senior Vice President, Global Marketing. Prior to Orexigen, he spent two years with electroCore, LLC, following more than 22 years at Merck. At Merck, two of his key roles included Global Brand Leader within Merck’s Oncology Franchise as well as identifying opportunities to accelerate net sales and market share in the company’s HIV business unit. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the Martin Tuchman School of Management at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Katie MacFarlane, PharmD: Co-EVP, Commercial Operations
Katie MacFarlane is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years in the industry, including senior level roles in drug development, marketing, and sales management. Katie played a key role in the launch of many pharmaceutical brands, most notably Lipitor®, Celexa®, and Loestrin® 24. Katie’s GI experience includes clinical research in IBS (Librax®) and obesity (Xenical®), as well as consultation on Amitiza® (constipation and IBS) and crofelemer. Katie has held senior roles including Chief Commercial Officer of Agile Therapeutics, Vice President of Women’s Health and New Product Planning at Warner Chilcott, and Sr. Director of Marketing at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert. Katie received her BS and PharmD degrees from Purdue University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Rutgers University and Hoffmann-LaRoche.
Brian Zorn, PharmD: Co-EVP, Commercial Operations
Brian Zorn has over 25 years’ experience in pharmaceutical marketing, advertising, and sales. He played a key role in the launch or marketing of brands including Accupril®, Omnicef®, Neurontin®, Bextra®, Menopur®, Euflexxa®, Endometrin®, and Diovan®. He was one of the founders and the General Manager of Trio Advertising, and at Parke-Davis, he was the Senior-Director of CNS Marketing. He is also the co-founder of SmartPharma, LLC a pharmaceutical consulting firm.
David Upchurch: VP, Supply Chain Management & Quality Assurance
David Upchurch is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years in the industry, and joined Jaguar’s team in 2016. Prior to Jaguar, Mr. Upchurch held positions of increasing seniority in pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain management for Agouron Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences. Mr. Upchurch served key roles in authoring global marketing submissions, securing approvals, launch, and lifecycle management for over a dozen novel pharmaceutical products, and managed international health authority site inspections on a regular basis. Mr. Upchurch holds a BS from The University of the South, an MS from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and an MBA from the University of San Diego.
Pete Riojas: National Sales Director
Prior to joining Napo, Mr. Riojas served as a regional sales director with Sanofi, and as a national sales director with UCB Pharma. He spent nearly nine years in a sales leadership role with Boehringer Ingelheim, and 13 years in sales with Pharmacia Corporation. During his career, he has worked closely with populations living with HIV/AIDS and addressed diversity considerations in patient populations with unmet needs. Mr. Riojas graduated from the University of Texas–Pan American with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, and attended the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.
Michael K. Guy, DVM, MS, PhD: Vice President and Clinical Veterinarian
‘Dr. Mike’ joined Jaguar in September 2015 with over 20 years of experience in animal and human pharmaceutical development. Dr. Guy has worked in clinical development, manufacturing, regulatory and pre-clinical drug discovery, and he has worked at Amgen, Heska, Colorado Serum Company, Lloyd Pharmaceuticals, Virbac Animal Health, and most recently, the Morris Animal Foundation, where he created and recruited the largest and longest clinical trial ever done in dogs – the 3,000 dog Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. In addition, Dr. Mike has over 12 years of experience as a practicing veterinarian, and his patients have included everything from dogs, cats, horses and ferrets to birds, wildlife and zoo animals. Dr. Guy still maintains his veterinary license and volunteers as a spay/neuter surgeon at a local animal shelter. At Jaguar, Dr. Mike supervises all animal health clinical studies, is involved in regulatory, safety assessment and manufacturing, and he advises on the many other scientific and medical activities within the company.