Board of Directors

Anne Whitaker

Chief Executive Officer and Director

Anne is a seasoned healthcare executive and corporate director with more than 25 years of experience across multiple companies and geographies.  She has a proven track record of building and leading high-performance teams to successfully commercialize pharmaceuticals, consumer products and medical devices. Anne attributes her career success to being an authentic, courageous and agile leader who establishes high performance cultures that enable teams to deliver exceptional results. She has been recognized in the pharmaceutical industry by Fierce Pharma as one of the top 25 Most Influential People in BioPharma in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014 as one of the top 25 Most Influential Women in BioPharma. She is active in the North Carolina community mentoring women and men in pursuit of STEM careers and leadership positions.  She is a member of Women Corporate Directors, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, International Women’s Forum and OnBoardNC.

Anne started her healthcare career with The Upjohn Company selling pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes and arthritis. She subsequently transitioned to GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK: NYSE) where she rose in the commercial ranks to become a Senior Vice President for the Cardiovascular, Metabolic, and Urology franchises in 2009.  Anne joined Sanofi SA (SAN-FR: Euronext Paris) in 2011 as the President of the North America Region where she led more than 5000 commercial and medical employees to deliver ~$10B in net sales equaling > 30% of the net sales and >50% of the profit for Sanofi globally.  Anne served as the CEO and President of Synta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SNTA: NASDAQ) traded company in 2014 and 2015.  She joined Bausch Health Company, Inc. (BHC: NYSE) as an Executive Vice President and Company Group Chairman for the Branded Pharmaceuticals segment in mid 2015 where she led the successful integration of Salix Pharmaceuticals and Dendreon, built the U.S. Pharmaceutical Commercial Operations and Market Access team, launched Xifaxan for irritable bowel syndrome and led the Western European Region.  

More recently, Anne served as the CEO and President of KNOW Bio, LLC, a privately held life science company, and its subsidiary, Novoclem Therapeutics, Inc., now Vast Therapeutics, from February 2017 until April 2018.   She is currently an independent director on the board of Cree (CREE: NASDAQ), a LED and semiconductor company, Mallinckrodt (MKN: NYSE), a specialty pharmaceutical company, Vectura (VEC-GB: London Exchange), a pharmaceutical and medical device company, and a Trustee for the University of North Alabama.  

Anne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of North Alabama.

John Patton, PhD

Director and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. John Patton began Dance Biopharm operations in 2010 with a carefully selected core team.  Previously, he was the co-founder of Inhale Therapeutics (now Nektar Therapeutics), where he helped lead the development and FDA approval of the first inhaled insulin product.  During his 18-year tenure at Inhale, Patton was a key driver for the company’s business development deals and participated in financings totaling more than $700M.  Prior to founding Inhale, Patton led the drug delivery group at Genentech from 1985-1990; before that time, he was a tenured professor at the University of Georgia.  Dr. Patton was the founding investor in Halozyme Therapeutics in 1998 and a co-founder in 2009 of Incarda Therapeutics, Inc., a product-focused cardiovascular company.  Dr. Patton previously served as a member of the board of directors of Activaero GmbH, a drug delivery company, from 2007 until its acquisition by Vectura Group plc in March 2014. Dr. Patton also serves as a member of the advisory board of the College of Science at Pennsylvania State University and is a member of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Advisory Counsel. Dr. Patton earned a B.S. in Zoology from Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Patton also has held post doctorate positions in Biomedicine at Harvard Medical School and the University of Lund in Sweden. He is author or co-author of more than 100 publications, and inventor or co-inventor of more than 37 patents.

Steve Thornton

Director, Chair of Compensation Committee

Mr. Thornton served as president & CEO of Excelsior Medical LLC from 2011 until its sale to ICU Medical and Medline Industries in late 2015.  Previously, from 2007, he was president & CEO of Bioniche Pharma Inc., a company specialized in the development, manufacture and sale of both proprietary and generic injectable pharmaceuticals and oversaw its significant growth through acquisition and internal development programs until its sale to Mylan Corp in 2010 for $550 million. In 2002, Mr. Thornton joined SkyePharma Inc., a company developing drug delivery technology for the sustained release of injectable drugs, where he served as president until its sale in 2007, at which time he was asked to join its board of directors.  Steve has held numerous board of director positions including Halozyme Therapeutics and Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. and has acted in advisory capacities for both private and public companies. Earlier in his career he held management positions with units of Bayer and Eli Lilly.  He is currently the chairman of the board for XBolt Orthopaedics, an Ireland based company focused on the marketing and sale of a novel device for hip fixation.


Committee Role
Compensation Committee Chair

Adam Stern


Adam K. Stern has served as a member of our board of directors since December 2014. Mr. Stern has been the head Private Equity Banking at Aegis Capital Corp. and CEO of SternAegis Ventures since 2012. Prior to Aegis, from 1997 to November 2012, he was with Spencer Trask Ventures, Inc., most recently as a Senior Managing Director, where he managed the structured finance group focusing primarily on the technology and life science sectors. Mr. Stern held increasingly responsible positions from 1989 to 1997 with Josephthal & Co., Inc., members of the New York Stock Exchange, where he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Private Equity Marketing. He has been a FINRA licensed securities broker since 1987 and a General Securities Principal since 1991. Mr. Stern is a director of Matinas Biopharma Holdings, Inc. Mr. Stern is a former director of InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ Global Market: NVIV), Organovo Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Market: ONVO), LabStyle Innovations Corporation (NASDAQ Capital Market: DRIO) and PROLOR Biotech Ltd., which was sold to Opko Health, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select: OPK) for approximately $600 million in 2013. Mr. Stern holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from The University of South Florida in Tampa. We believe Mr. Stern is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his extensive experience in corporate finance with special emphasis on the life science industries.

Benjamin Wolin

Interim Chairman, Chair of Nomination and Governance Committee

Mr. Wolin was CEO and Co-Founder of Everyday Health, Inc., (NYSE: EVDY), the leading communication and marketing platform for consumers, doctors and healthcare companies. Wolin founded the company in 2002 and served as CEO from inception, through IPO and sale for nearly $500M in 2016. Wolin is currently Chairman of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy (NYSE:DPLO), the nation's largest independent specialty pharmacy. Wolin also serves as Chairman of Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ: RMTI), a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company targeting end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) with innovative products for the treatment of iron replacement, secondary hyperparathyroidism and hemodialysis in the U.S. and throughout the world. Wolin also serves as an advisor and board member to several technology, marketing and healthcare companies. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College.


Committee Role
Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Chair

Matt Jennings


Matt has more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in the medical device and healthcare industry, including senior executive and director roles. He has had significant general management operating roles in leading healthcare companies, currently serving as CEO and president of Phillips-Medisize, a Molex Company that provides design and manufacturing services for medical devices and diagnostics.

Previously, Matt was president of Teleflex Incorporated North American Medical businesses, with 8,000 employees and 12 manufacturing facilities. Prior to his tenure with Teleflex, Jennings was the president and CEO of Bioenterprise Corporation, a bioscience business formation, investment and acceleration company. Jennings began his career with Monsanto Corp. in 1985, and later held numerous corporate leadership positions over a 13-year period with Baxter International and Allegiance Healthcare.

Matt is on the board of directors of Cadence Medical, Spinal Elements Corporation and Angus Chemical, which are owned by private equity firms.

Kenneth B. Lee, Jr.

Director, Chair of Audit Committee

Kenneth Lee currently serves as a General Partner with Hatteras Venture Partners, a venture fund focused on healthcare and life sciences, which he joined in 2003, and where he is involved in deal sourcing, investment decisions and implementing exit strategies. Previously, he was President of A.M. Pappas & Associates, LLC, a venture development firm, which he joined following 29 years with Ernst & Young. At Ernst & Young, Kenneth co-founded the firm's national life sciences practice.

Mr. Lee is a nationally-recognized financial matters expert and has served on eight public life sciences company boards, including Abgenix, CV Therapeutics, Maxygen and OSI Pharmaceuticals. He previously served as Chairman of the Inspire Pharmaceuticals board until the company’s sale to Merck in 2011. Ken currently serves on the boards of Aralez, Inc., Eyenovia and BioCryst Pharmaceuticals. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from Lenoir-Rhyne College and his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Committee Role
Audit Committee Chair