Management Team

Gerald E. Commissiong

Gerald E. Commissiong

President & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Commissiong is President & CEO, Co-Founder and a member of the Board of Directors of Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc. Mr. Commissiong has been responsible for leading the Company's strategic transactions, licensing, research collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, and fund raising. He has raised over of $25 million to acquire and develop assets to build a robust therapeutics and diagnostics pipeline. Prior to becoming CEO in October 2011, Mr. Commissiong was the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to co-founding Amarantus, Mr. Commissiong played professional football for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Mr. Commissiong received a B.Sc. in Management Science and Engineering with a focus on Financial Decisions from Stanford University.

Barney Monte

Barney Monte

Interim Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Monte has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry where he has held senior level positions within investment banking and private equity. Mr. Monte co-founded Ozado Partners LLC, a direct investment and merchant banking business, where he was responsible for sourcing, structuring and negotiating investment opportunities across various industries, including the acquisition of an ~80 megawatt natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant and cogeneration facility. Prior to co-founding Ozado Partners, Mr. Monte's senior-level investment banking positions included head of International and Asia investment banking for a middle market focused U.S. based broker-dealer. Over his tenure, Mr. Monte has acted as a principal and agent in assisting companies raise private capital, IPOs, secondary offerings, debt offerings and M&A advisory services where he has invested, raised or advised on over $10.0 billion worth of transactions. Mr. Monte graduated from Skidmore College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.

Brian E. Harvey, MD, PhD

Brian E. Harvey, MD, PhD

Chief Regulatory Advisor

Dr. Harvey recently served as Vice President of U.S Regulatory Strategy at Pfizer, where he led U.S. FDA regulatory interactions across all Pfizer business units and was a member of the CEO's Senior Leadership Council (SLC). He led the Pfizer efforts on the PhRMA Regulatory Affairs Coordinating Committee (RACC). In addition, he was responsible for supervisory oversight of U.S. Regulatory Policy & Intelligence functions and the U.S. Advertising & Promotion activities. He played an early role in PDUFA VI Preparation, the PhRMA Steering Committee and the 21st Century Cures initiatives.

Prior to his time at Pfizer, Dr. Harvey served as Vice President of Regulatory Policy at Sanofi, where he was the head Liaison with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), served on the International Biologics and Biotechnology Taskforce and Biologics Key Issues Team, was on the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Regulatory Affairs Committee (RAC). He was the Signatory authority for Sanofi written comments to the FDA docket and was a Member of the Sanofi Policy Development Committee.

Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Harvey spent 11 years with FDA in increasing positions of responsibility across the organization including Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). From 2000 to 2001, Dr. Harvey served as an American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellow on behalf of FDA. Dr. Harvey received his PhD, then MD from the University of Connecticut.

His Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard was followed by a 3-year Gastroenterology/Hepatology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital prior to joining FDA.

Elise Brownell, Ph.D.

Elise Brownell, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President of Operations and Project Management

Dr. Brownell joined Amarantus in December 2014 and has more than 20 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical project management experience with a proven track record of advancing programs through clinical development. She serves as a Life Sciences entrepreneurial advisor for ASTIA, the nation's premier entrepreneurial organization focused on women-led businesses. Dr. Brownell is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Contract Pharma Magazine, and previous Chair of the Leaders Network program of Women in Consulting. She is the co-founder of ZephyrBiotech, LLC, a project management firm dedicated to advancing therapeutic candidates through development to key inflection points for clients. Earlier, Dr. Brownell was a founding member, head of project management and senior director of Aerovance, Inc., a venture-backed biotechnology company spun out from Bayer Healthcare, where she created and managed effective team processes to bring product candidates into full scale clinical Phase 1 and 2 development. Prior to Aerovance, Dr. Brownell acted as head of project management for Bayer's Biotechnology Unit, where she integrated project strategies to meet therapeutic and market needs. Other roles included building and negotiating partnerships with third parties to support development programs, leading research teams through early bench-to-clinic development phases, as well as entrepreneurial investment experience with Angel’s Forum. Dr. Brownell received her M.S., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in biology from Yale University and her B.S. in biology from Allegheny College.

John W. Commissiong, PhD

John W. Commissiong, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Commissiong has served as the Chief Scientific Officer and a Director of Amarantus since co-founding the company in 2008. Prior to Amarantus, Dr. Commissiong served as the CSO of Neurotrophics, Inc. and Prescient Neuropharma, Inc. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Commissiong has been focused on the discovery of novel neurotrophic factors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases as well as understanding the fundamental underlying biology of protoplasmic type-1 astrocytes that secrete neurotrophic factors. He was Chief of the Neural Transplantation Unit, NINDS-NIH, from 1989-94 where his research focused on identifying therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injury. Dr. Commissiong was Head of the Neurotrophic Factors Group, NINDS-NIH, from 1994-97 where he focused on developing technologies to systematically identify novel neurotrophic factors with applications for specific Central Nervous System disorders. He co-founded Prescient Neuropharma in 1999, and discovered MANF in 2003. The work pioneered by Dr. Commissiong has led to significant advancements in the field of astrocyte-neuron biology. Dr. Commissiong did his Postdoctoral work in the Lab Preclin Pharmac, NIMH-NIH, concentrating on the application of quadrupole mass spectrometry in the analysis of neurotransmitters. He holds a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology from the University of Southampton, a M.Sc. in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of Southampton, and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of the West Indies.

Paula Trzepacz, MD

Paula Trzepacz, MD

Chief Medical Advisor to Elto Pharma

Prior to joining Elto Pharma, Dr. Trzepacz was the Chief Medical Officer at Neurotrope from June 2016 to September 2016, and has served as a member of Amarantus' Alzheimer's disease Diagnostics Scientific Advisory Board since 2015. Prior to Neurotrope, Dr. Trzepacz was at Eli Lilly and Company for over 15 years where she completed her tenure as Senior Medical Fellow in Neurosciences drug development. She served on the global drug development team for Amyvid, the PET radiotracer indicated for estimation of beta-amyloid plaque density in brains of cognitively impaired persons suspected of having Alzheimer's disease. Prior to that, she led the Phase 2 medical team investigating mibampator, a novel AMPA receptor potentiator, for agitation and aggression in Alzheimer's disease patients. As Senior Medical Fellow on the global Strattera team for over three years, Dr. Trzepacz was the medical lead for registration and regulatory related issues for its ADHD indications for both adult and pediatric populations, including design of new Phase 3 registration trials and collaborations with the European and Japanese Lilly teams. As Senior Medical Director of U.S. Neurosciences, she was responsible for a large medical team of physicians and other scientists, including for the design and execution of many Phase 4 double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials over a five-year period. Some of those trials were used to support registration work in addition to answering key patient-relevant questions for practicing physicians. Importantly, the products her team supported included Prozac, Zyprexa, Cymbalta, and Strattera and their multiple indications, line extensions, and formulations.

Dr. Trzepacz is a geriatric psychiatrist and neuropsychiatrist. She is currently Volunteer Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine where she has served since 2004. In the past Dr. Trzepacz was Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Mississippi Medical School, where she directed clinical services and participated in NIH-funded research. She served as President of the American Neuropsychiatric Association from 2009 to 2011, and of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine in 2004-2005. Dr. Trzepacz serves on four journal editorial boards, most recently joining "Alzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring." Dr. Trzepacz earned her B.A. at Wellesley College and M.D. at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. After a year of Internal Medicine residency, she completed a Psychiatry residency and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship at Dartmouth.

Dr. Richard Kagan

Dr. Richard Kagan

Chief Medical Advisor to Cutanogen Corporation

Prior to joining Cutanogen, Dr. Kagan had retired from a career as a tenured Professor of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine as well as the Chief of Staff at the Shriners Burn Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio where the ESS technology was clinically developed. Dr. Kagan is a past President of the American Burn Association, and previously served as a member of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the President of the American Association of Tissue Banks. Dr. Kagan serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Burn Care & Research and has been an invited reviewer for the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, the Annals of Surgery, the Annals of Plastic Surgery, Burns and Surgery. Dr. Kagan has authored over 130 peer-reviewed publications, 20 book chapters in medical textbooks, and has been an investigator or co-investigator of over 35 research & development grants.

Michael T. Ropacki, PhD

Michael T. Ropacki, PhD

Chief Medical Advisor - Alzheimer’s Blood Diagnostic LymPro Test®

Dr. Ropacki is the President of Strategic Global Research & Development (SG R&D), an S Corporation based in San Francisco, which collaborates with sponsors developing and executing Clinical Development Plans to maximize meaningful and productive regulatory interactions, as well as increase the probability of technical and regulatory success.  Prior to his role at SG R&D, Dr. Ropacki was most recently Senior Vice President of Clinical Developmernt at MedAvante-ProPhase after its acquisition by WIRB Copernicus Group (WCG) in 2017. Before the WCG acquisition, he served as MedAvante’s Vice President of Research & Development. Prior to his work at MedAvante, Dr. Ropacki held roles of increasing responsibility at Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), his last as Director of Clinical Development, Neuroscience, Research and Development, for Janssen Research & Development. In this capacity he served as the Clinical Lead responsible for developing and leading the Cognitive Health in Aging Registry: Investigational, Observational and Trial studies in dementia research – Prospective Readiness Cohort (CHARIOT-PRO) program and was responsible for assisting with the development and execution of other clinical programs within the neuroscience therapeutic area. Prior to that role, Dr. Ropacki served as Global Medical Affairs Leader, Head of Late-Stage Development at Janssen Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy, LLC. 

Dr. Ropacki serves as Co-Chair of a Scientific Advisory Group for the Innovative Medicines Initiative-European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (IMI-EPAD) program, and he is a National Institute of Health (NIH) advisor to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). He is a member of the Critical Path Institute's  Critical Path for Alzheimer’s Disease (CPAD) and digital Drug Development Tool (dDDT) Team.  Previously, he was Co-Chair of the CAMD Preclinical Cognitive Outcome Assessment (COA) team working with the Food and Drug Administration's Drug Development Tool, COA Qualification Program.  Dr. Ropacki authored or co-authored of dozens of published manuscripts and abstracts and was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Dr. Ropacki also previously served on the Steering Committee at the New York Academy of Sciences-Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP), and Co-Leader of the GAP Registries-to-Cohort team.

Dr. Ropacki holds a bachelor degree Summa Cum Laude from University of Arizona and a master degree and doctorate from Texas Tech University. He completed his internship/residency at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Psychiatry and two post-doctoral fellowships at Brown University School of Medicine and UCLA School of Medicine, Neuropsychiatric Institute.