Robert Benezra - Chief Executive Officer
Robert Benezra has served as our Director, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Scientific Officer since our inception in 1999. Dr. Benezra is a member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer in the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and a Professor of Biology at Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York City. Before he joined Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Benezra received his Ph.D. at Columbia University. and then did his postdoctoral work at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. It is there where Dr. Benezra identified the Id proteins as dominant negative regulators of the helix-loop-helix protein family and has since gone on to identify these proteins as key regulators of tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis. In addition, while at Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Benezra and his colleagues identified the first human mitotic checkpoint gene, hsMad2, and demonstrated that its deregulation leads to chromosome instability, tumor progression and drug resistance. His program continues to focus on the molecular basis of tumor angiogenesis, tumor instability and metastasis and is currently developing molecular and cellular tools to inhibit these processes in patients. In 1999, after genetic validation of the importance of Id proteins in cancer and vascular disease, Dr. Benezra co-founded Angiogenex, a company dedicated to targeting Id proteins therapeutically. Since then he has directed the effort that produced a series of active small molecules that target the Id proteins and have demonstrated profound potential in disease intervention.
Michael Strage - Chief Operating Officer
Michael Strage has served as our Director, Vice President, Chief Operations Officer since 2007. Mr. Strage was a co-founder of Axonyx Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company engaged in the development of drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease. As a founding Officer and Director, he was responsible for all business and administrative aspects of Axonyx from its inception in 1996 to its listing on the NASDAQ-NMS in January 2001. As Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Axonyx, Mr. Strage was responsible for negotiating all of the company's major corporate transactions including the agreements under which Axonyx first acquired its intellectual property portfolio that includes the commercial rights to the pre-clinical research and development programs at New York University School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging, and subsequently out-licensed some of those rights through pharmaceutical joint development agreements, including a major world-wide licensing agreement with Serono International S.A. In addition, Mr. Strage directed all aspects of the administrative operations of Axonyx including finance, where he participated actively in each of the multiple phases of the company's capital formation, budgeting, human resources, infrastructure, corporate communications and investor relations. As Chairman and founder of AngioGenex, Mr. Strage recruited and assembled our management team and its Scientific Advisory Board. On our behalf, he acquired the exclusive rights to Dr. Benezra's anti-cancer work by negotiating the Company's Industrial Research and Commercial licenses with MSKCC. Mr. Strage was responsible for raising the seed capital used to create the Company and that funded the collaboration with MSKCC. Prior to joining Axonyx in 1996, Mr. Strage was an associate at the Los Angeles law firm of Hancock, Rothert & Bunschoft and prior thereto an assistant district attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
Martin Murray - Chief Financial Officer
Martin Murray has served as our Director and Chief Financial Officer since 2005. Since 2000, Mr. Murray has been the founder and managing partner of Murray and Josephson, CPAs, LLC. He previously held the position of managing partner at the accounting firm of Leeds & Murray, and audit manager with EisnerAmper, LLP. His experience includes providing accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services for publicly-traded and privately-owned companies, including professional organizations, biotechnology companies, creative artists, and manufacturing firms. Mr. Murray has appeared on television news as a guest expert and has led a series of Continuing Professional Education seminars. He is a member of the tax section of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants where he served on the health care committee. He earned his MBA in taxation from Baruch College where he also earned his BBA in Accountancy.
Scientific Advisory Board
Ouathek Ouerfelli joined as a member of our SAB in 2016 and has been head of pre-clinical R&D since 2016. Dr. Ouerfelli has been at MSKCC for more than 24 years. After defending his PhD in Organic Synthesis at the University Pierre & Marie Curie in Paris, France, he had a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University working with Gilbert Stork. He then spent two years at the Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research in Osaka, Japan under the mentorship of Koji Nakanishi and working on glutamate receptor structural requirements for activity.
With Sam Danishefsky at MSKCC, he has started several collaborative bio-organic projects that led to his promotion to Assistant Laboratory Member within the Cell Biochemistry & Biophysics Program under the direction of Jim Rothman (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2013). As an Associate Laboratory Member he directed a chemistry team that produced 23,000 siRNAs over two years. This was part of collaboration between MSKCC and Amersham Biosciences (now GE Healthcare) towards a functional proteomic profiling of the human genome using loss of function. Since 2004, he has moved to his current position as Director of the Organic Synthesis Core which participates in all facets of basic research as well as R&D at MSKCC. His work spans total synthesis and modification of natural products, design and synthesis of chemical libraries, hit to lead development, polymorph stability as well as formulation and up to Phase I-enabling scale up of APIs, to name a few. His success is credited to creative interactions with surgeons, oncologists as well as basic scientists to bring about novel and original solutions to important problems.
Board of Directors
Mr. Aronstein is the non-executive Chairman of the Board of AngioGenex, Inc. . He is the President/Chief Investment Officer and
Portfolio Manager of Marketfield Asset Management, LLC. He attended Stuyvesant High School in New York and Yale University.