President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director
Mr. Grau co-founded and has served as Chief Executive Officer and Director at Sojournix since 2016. An experienced biotech entrepreneur and operating executive, Mr. Grau led the deal to acquire SJX-653 and has driven the rapid growth and financing of the company from startup to clinical-stage pharmaceutical business. Prior to Sojournix, Mr. Grau served as President at Heptares Therapeutics (acquired 2015), Chief Executive Officer at Cortria (acquired 2010), and Chief Operating Officer at CombinatoRx (IPO 2005). Mr. Grau currently serves as an advisor to HotSpot Therapeutics and previously served as a member of the Product Advisory Board at Concert Pharmaceuticals and as an advisor to Nimbus Therapeutics. Earlier in his career, Mr. Grau worked with multi-national pharma companies as a management consultant focused on corporate and business franchise strategy, M&A, and new product launches. Mr. Grau earned his M.Phil., M.A., and M.A.R. degrees from Yale University, where he was awarded a Mellon Fellowship, the Day Graduate Prize, and a Bass Fellowship, and a B.A. with High Honors from Davidson College, where he held a Dana Honor Scholarship, a Montgomery Scholarship, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Philip Graham, PhD
Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer
Dr. Graham has served as Senior Vice President, Chief Development Officer at Sojournix since 2017. He has over 25 years pharmaceutical industry experience, during which time he held senior development positions with responsibility for leading development-stage programs across a range of therapeutic areas; including kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and Alzheimer’s. Prior to joining Sojournix, Dr. Graham served as Vice President, Clinical Research at Concert Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for developing and managing relationships with external clinical experts to identify key product attributes and outline clinical development paths. Dr. Graham also held the position of Vice President of Program Development at Concert Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for establishing and leading development programs in multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to Concert, Dr. Graham held leadership positions at EPIX Pharmaceuticals and was the program leader for several therapeutic and imaging programs, including MS-325 which was the first approved magnetic resonance vascular imaging agent, as well as programs in pulmonary hypertension and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Graham started his career as a research scientist at Eli Lilly and Company in Indiana and has more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He holds a B.S. (honors) from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Ruth Thieroff-Ekerdt, M.D.
Senior Vice President, Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Thieroff-Ekerdt has served as Senior Vice President, Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer at Sojournix since 2019. Over the span of her career, Dr. Thieroff-Ekerdt has provided clinical leadership across diverse therapeutic areas, including endocrinology, women’s health, dermatology, gastrointestinal diseases, autoimmune diseases, and rare diseases, and successfully interacted with both U.S. and European regulators leading to multiple drug submissions and product approvals. Dr. Thieroff-Ekerdt has previously served as Chief Medical Officer at Kaleido Biosceinces, Strongbridge Biopharma Plc, Aptalis Pharmaceuticals, and Eurand Pharmaceuticals and as Vice President Clinical and Medical Affairs at Bayer Consumer Care. Earlier in her career Dr. Thieroff-Ekerdt held clinical operations, clinical science and preclinical/discovery positions of increasing responsibility at Berlex Inc. and Schering AG (now Bayer). Dr. Thieroff-Ekerdt, who is fluent in German and English, earned her medical degree at the Free University of Berlin and specialized in pharmacology and clinical pharmacology. Dr. Thieroff-Ekerdt has authored over 27 publications and is an inventor on over 33 patents.
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Jennifer Cormier has served as Vice President, Clinical Operations at Sojournix since 2017 and has over 12 years of experience in clinical operations, product development and medical affairs. Prior to Sojournix, Ms. Cormier was Director of Clinical Operations at Acorda Therapeutics, a biotech company developing therapies for neurologic disorders, and she led the Phase 3 Parkinson’s Disease Program for INBRIJA™ (levodopa inhalation powder). Prior to Acorda, Ms. Cormier held various roles in project management and Medical Affairs, leading global study clinical programs and registry studies at GI Dynamics and Shire. Ms. Cormier earned her B.S degree in Biology from University of Massachusetts Boston.
Ann Robbins, PhD
Head, Regulatory Affairs
Dr. Robbins has served as Head of Regulatory Affairs at Sojournix since 2017 and has 28 years of experience providing regulatory affairs expertise and strategy to drug development programs. Trained as a neuroscientist, her therapeutic focus is on neuroendocrinologic and central nervous system drug products. She provides regulatory strategy for global interactions with and submissions to regulatory bodies, from the pre-IND to NDA stage, lifecycle management and regulatory compliance for marketed products, and regulatory due diligence for product in-licensing and business partnerships. Prior to becoming an independent regulatory affairs consultant in 2010, Dr. Robbins held regulatory affairs leadership positions at Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, and served as Vice President of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs at Thyreos, a startup pharmaceutical company, and provided clinical trial management and regulatory affairs expertise at Organon Pharmaceuticals and The Population Council, Center for Biomedical Research, a non-profit drug development organization. She received her B.A. in Physiological Psychology from The University of Texas, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Florida State University.
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Karen Roberts is interim Chief Financial Officer at Sojournix and has been responsible for the company’s finance, human resources and business operations functions since 2017. She brings over 30 years of finance and operational leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has provided consulting and interim finance management services to life science companies since 2015. Ms. Roberts previously served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration at Cerulean Pharmaceuticals from 2010 until August 2015. During her tenure, Cerulean advanced its nanoparticle-drug conjugate into a phase 2 clinical trial, closed four rounds of private financing, secured venture debt, completed an IPO in 2013 and a follow on offering in 2015. Prior to Cerulean, Ms. Roberts held senior finance positions at Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Frontline Group, Dyax Corporation and T Cell Sciences. Ms. Roberts was recruited into life sciences from Avery Dennison, where she held numerous financial positions of increasing responsibility.
Executive Director, CMC & Non-Clinical Development
David Turnquist has served as Executive Director Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls at Sojournix since 2018. He has 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical development in both large and small companies, holding leadership roles in multiple CMC disciplines. Prior to Sojournix, he served as Director of Analytical Development at XTuit, Inc., a venture backed startup company developing polymer drug conjugate technologies to treat liver fibrosis and cancer, leading both the CMC Analytical and Bioanalytical groups. Mr. Turnquist served in leadership roles at SynDevRx and Concert Pharmaceuticals spanning the major disciplines of CMC and held multiple roles of increasing responsibility at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Merck. He received his M.B.A. degree specializing in corporate finance from Boston college and B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Executive Director, Corporate Development and Strategy
Christoph Jaeker has served as Executive Director, Corporate Development & Strategy at Sojournix since 2018. He has more than 10 years of experience in biopharmaceutical strategy and corporate development functions across small and large biotech/pharma. Prior to Sojournix, Christoph held corporate development roles at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he worked on several successful corporate transactions, and at Nimbus Therapeutics, where among other responsibilities he was the commercial strategy lead for Nimbus’ ACC inhibitor program. Christoph started his career in the European Healthcare practice of strategy consulting firm Booz & Company where he advised multi-national pharmaceutical companies primarily on R&D and portfolio strategy. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he later received a Blavatnik Fellowship, and his B.Sc. degree in biochemistry with distinction from the Technical University of Munich, where he was awarded a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.