Ms. Alison Silva, MA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Alison Silva is the President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Cotinga Pharmaceuticals Inc. Previously, she was a co‐founder, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Synlogic, Inc. where she lead the regulatory strategy, drug development, and operational aspects of the company’s focus on the discovery and development of engineered therapeutic probiotics. Alison is also a co‐founder of The Orphan Group, a specialty consulting company focused on assisting companies with developing and implementing their orphan drug strategy and product lifecycle management.
Alison previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at SLA Pharma, a GI‐oncology focused biotech company, where she was responsible for heading up U.S. corporate and clinical operations for their pipeline of orphan drug candidates. Prior to joining SLA Pharma, Alison was Vice President of Drug Development at Marina Biotech through its acquisition of Cequent Pharmaceuticals in 2010, where she held the same role since 2007. Alison began her career in drug development in clinical operations with various positions at Pfizer, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts. Alison holds a Bachelor’s degree from Clark University and a Master’s degree from Clark University and UMass Medical Center.
Dr. Richard Ho, M.D.-Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Richard Ho is the Chief Scientific Officer and leads Cotinga’s scientific programs from early stage discovery through preclinical and clinical development. Prior to joining Cotinga, Dr. Ho was Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for Marina Biotech from 2014 to 2016, and was its Executive Vice President, Research and Development from 2011 to 2014. He served as Senior Medical Director at Entelos, Inc. from 2008 to 2011, where he oversaw academic and governmental collaborations including a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the FDA. From 2007 to 2008, Dr. Ho was a Principal at Rosa and Co. where he worked with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on physiological modeling efforts in several disease areas.
Dr. Ho began his industry career at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development starting as a fellow in Medical Informatics and advancing to the position of Director of Disease Modeling. While at Johnson & Johnson, he led a team that championed systems biology and personalized medicine approaches to understanding and treating human disease. In this position, he coordinated model-based analysis and research with global clinical and preclinical teams developing both small and large molecule compounds. Dr. Ho received his M.D.-Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and received his A.B. in physics from Harvard College.
Mr. Gene Kelly
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Gene Kelly is the Chief Financial Officer. He began his business career spending six years in public accounting with Clarkson Gordon. He brings to the company extensive experience from his 16-year career with the Cuddy Group of Companies, a large multinational multiplier turkey breeding company where he held various positions including: Director of Finance (Cuddy Farms), Vice President Commodity and Industry Affairs (Cuddy Foods), Vice President Strategic Implementations (Cuddy Farms) and Director of Quality.
Dr. Kowthar Salim, MBA, PhD
Vice President, Development
Dr. Salim directs multi-disciplinary R&D teams of contract research organizations to bring new product candidates from target validation to IND filing and clinical trials to fill and advance Cotinga’s pipeline of drug candidates. She provides strategic planning, coordination, and scientific leadership throughout Cotinga’s product development activities in multiple functional areas such as manufacturing, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and clinical development and operations. Dr. Salim led the team that successfully obtained FDA approval for Cotinga’s first IND application.
Dr. Salim earned her PhD in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology from the University of Toronto in 2007, and her MBA in Management of Technology and Innovation from Ryerson University in 2013. Prior to joining Cotinga in 2008, she was a consultant with GeneEx Inc., and a research associate at the University of Toronto where she facilitated commercialization of the technology discovered during her doctoral studies. Dr. Salim is named as an inventor on patents and her research resulted in several publications.
Ms. Debi Sanderson, MBA
Director, Resourcing and Operations
Debi Sanderson is the Director, Resourcing and Operations. Prior to joining Cotinga, Debi lead a Human Resources and management consulting practice that provided strategic HR and executive organizational support to small, growth-oriented businesses. Previously, Debi held increasingly senior positions with the TD Bank Financial Group in corporate Human Resources, where she served as a senior contributor to several large scale acquisitions and a public offering. Debi holds an Honours degree in Business Administration and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Ivey School of Business at Western University.