Senior Management Team
Amit D. Munshi
Amit D. Munshi has served as a member of our Board of Directors since June 2016, and as our President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2016. Previously, Mr. Munshi served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. and Percivia LLC, a biotechnology company (sold to JNJ). Prior to Epirus and Percivia, Mr. Munshi was a co-founder and served as Chief Business Officer of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., from 2005 to 2010, (sold $2.1B to AGN) and held multiple leadership positions at Amgen Inc. from 1997 to 2005, including General Manager, Nephrology Europe. Mr. Munshi holds a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in History from the University of California, Riverside, and an M.B.A. from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Mr. Munshi has more than 28 years of global biopharmaceutical industry experience in executive management, business development, product development and portfolio management. Mr. Munshi currently serves on the boards of Pulmatrix, Inc. (Nasdaq: PULM) and Enterprise Therapeutics Ltd, and also serves as an advisor and lecturer at the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at the Claremont Graduate School.
Vince Aurentz has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer since August 2016. Mr. Aurentz has over 28 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Previously, he served as the Chief Business Officer of Epirus Biopharmaceuticals. Prior to that, Mr. Aurentz served as President of HemoShear Therapeutics, where he oversaw the scientific and business development efforts including collaborations with global organizations such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Janssen R&D and Children’s National Health System. Prior to joining HemoShear Therapeutics, Mr. Aurentz was Executive Vice President and member of the Executive Management Board at Merck KGaA (Merck Serono) where he directed R&D programs, portfolio strategy and headed all deal activity and venture investments. He is a former Executive Vice President at Quintiles, Co-founder and Managing Director of a venture capital and advisory business and started his career at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). Mr. Aurentz received a B.S. in Mathematics from Villanova University.
Douglas A. Bakan, PhD
Dr. Douglas A. Bakan has served as our Executive Vice President of Technical Operations since May 2018. Previously, Dr. Bakan served as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations from January 2017 to May 2018. He has extensive expertise in all aspects of pharmaceutical drug development and commercialization along with over 25-years of experience in firms ranging in size from entrepreneurial startups to established publicly traded companies. In various roles at companies including Medicis Pharmaceuticals (now Valeant Pharmaceuticals), Novalar Pharmaceuticals, Neurocrine Biosciences, Alerion Biomedical, MetaProbe LLC, Corvas International and Molecular Biosystems, Inc., Dr. Bakan has been responsible for activities including discovery research, nonclinical and clinical testing, CMC efforts for drug substance and drug product supply, quality system development, program management, regulatory submission preparation and review, intellectual property creation and prosecution, venture capital financing, technology in-licensing and out-licensing, and technical due diligence. Most recently, Dr. Bakan has provided pharmaceutical consulting services to various clients in the areas of product development, regulatory dossier preparation and technical due diligence. Dr. Bakan has been an author on more than 50 scientific publications and is an inventor on more than 35 issued or pending patents. Dr. Bakan earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering at UC San Diego, his Ph.D. in Biology from UC San Diego and completed post-doctoral research at the University of Michigan in the laboratories of Drs. Raymond Counsell and Jamey Weichert.
Chris Cabell, MD, MHS, FACC
Dr. Chris Cabell, has served as our Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer since August 2019. From October 2017 to July 2019, Dr. Cabell served as Senior Vice President and Head of Clinical Development. Prior to joining Arena, Dr. Cabell spent 10 years at Quintiles Inc and QuintilesIMS in a variety of management positions including Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Global Head of Medical and Project Management, and Global Head of Business Development. Prior to joining Quintiles, Dr. Cabell was on staff at Duke University, where he led efforts to begin two important collaborative consortia. In 1999, the International Collaboration on Endocarditis was formed and Dr. Cabell received National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to support the novel effort to study a disease of low prevalence, but high morbidity and mortality. In addition, Dr. Cabell was one of the founding members and Co-Chairs for the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium, a partnership between academic medical centers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Industry. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Cabell has over 100 peer reviewed publications including in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Annals of Internal Medicine. Board certified in both internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases, Dr. Cabell is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and Duke University, earning both his medical degree and a Masters in Health Sciences from the latter.
Preston Klassen, MD, MHS
Preston Klassen MD, MHS, has served as our Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development since August 2019. From March 2017 to July 2019 he served as Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Klassen has over 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical product development. Most recently, he was Chief Medical Officer of Laboratoris Sanifit S.L. and prior to that was Executive Vice President, Head of Global Development at Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, Dr. Klassen held several positions of increasing responsibility at Amgen Inc., including Therapeutic Area Head for Nephrology. Prior to joining Amgen, he was a faculty member in the Division of Nephrology at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Klassen received his medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine, fellowship in nephrology, and masters in health sciences degree at Duke University.
Laurie Stelzer has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since March 2020. Laurie has over 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical management, including leading teams in finance, treasury, investor relations, business development and emerging markets. Most recently, Laurie served as Chief Financial Officer of Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to joining Halozyme, Laurie served as SVP of Finance for R&D, Technical Operations and Business Development, and was previously Division CFO for Regenerative Medicine, at Shire Plc. Before Shire, she spent 15 years at Amgen Inc. in senior leadership roles in finance and business development with responsibilities including the U.S., Canada and International Markets, ultimately serving as the company’s acting treasurer, and playing an integral role in the original build of their immunology business. Laurie earned her B.S. in Accounting from Arizona State University and an M.B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management. She currently serves on the board of directors for Surface Oncology, Inc.
Robert Lisicki has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer since November 2018. Prior to joining Arena, Mr. Lisicki most recently served as General Manager, Vice President Cardio-Metabolic and Inflammation at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining Regeneron, he was Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Chief Customer Officer at Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. Prior to Daiichi Sankyo, Mr. Lisicki held several management positions at Amgen Inc., including Vice President and General Manager, responsible for a 700+ person sales force in the U.S. His U.S. leadership experiences included such market shaping products Enbrel and Prolia. During his tenure he also covered several ex-U.S. regions, and worked as an International Franchise Lead running the development and international strategies and business plans across Amgen’s portfolio including Nephrology, Cardiology, Bone and Oncology. Prior to joining Amgen, Mr. Lisicki held various sales and marketing positions at Johnson & Johnson Corporation. Mr. Lisicki brings over 20 years of experience in biopharmaceutical management, sales and marketing to Arena. Mr. Lisicki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Business Administration from the State University of New York at Albany.
Joan Schmidt, JD
Joan Schmidt has served as our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, since March 2020. Prior to joining Arena, Joan served as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary at DBV Technologies SA, a publicly traded, clinical-stage biopharmaceuticals company. Prior to DBV, she served as EVP, Legal Affairs and Human Resources, and General Counsel at Biotronik, Inc. Joan’s experience includes twenty years of increasing responsibility at Novo Nordisk in both the US and Europe, most recently as Corporate Vice President, Legal Affairs of Novo Nordisk, a publicly traded, Fortune 100 company. Ms. Schmidt earned a J.D. from Pace University and a B.A. from the University of Connecticut.
Suzanne has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer since August 2018, responsible for global people, places, community and culture strategies and execution. Suzanne is an accomplished business executive with 20+ years of experience leading, scaling and elevating the human capital practices and capabilities for companies ranging from large, public multi-nationals to early-stage, entrepreneurial enterprises. Suzanne has an extensive background and track record establishing the vision and roadmap for execution in high growth organizations, with a focus on practical solutions that can adapt as the demands of the business change and mature. Prior to Arena, Suzanne held executive management roles at several public and private technology and life science companies. Suzanne is also an adjunct professor in the School of Management at San Diego State University, where she teaches Total Rewards. Suzanne holds a B.S. in Finance from San Diego State University and a Certification in Human Resources Management from the University of California, San Diego.