Board of Directors

Expertise and dedication

Chris Bowden, M.D.

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, AGIOS PHARMACEUTICALS

Chris Bowden, M.D.

Dr. Bowden, an oncology drug development executive with more than 20 years leadership experience including the approval of several cancer medicines, joined Ziopharm’s Board in October 2019.  He has been the chief medical officer of Agios Pharmaceuticals since May 2014. Previously, Dr. Bowden was vice president product development oncology, at Genentech for eight years. From 2003 to 2006, he was the executive director for EMEA regions for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Earlier, Dr. Bowden held positions of increasing responsibility in oncology clinical development, at Pharmacia Corporation and Janssen Pharmaceutical.  Prior to industry, Dr. Bowden was on the oncology faculty at the University of Virginia Health Science Center. Dr. Bowden received his M.D. from Hahnemann University School of Medicine followed by internal medicine training at Roger Williams Medical Center and the Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island. He completed his medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute Medicine Branch. Dr. Bowden is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.

Kevin Buchi

Retired CEO, Biospecifics, TetraLogic and Cephalon

Kevin Buchi

Mr. Buchi joined the Ziopharm Board in September 2020.   He has deep life sciences industry experience, notably 15 years with Cephalon, including serving as its Chief Executive Officer during Cephalon’s acquisition by Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2011 for $6.8 billion. Subsequently, Mr. Buchi served as Chief Executive Officer of TertraLogic Pharmaceuticals, and more recently as Chief Executive Officer of Biospecifics Technologies, prior to his retirement.  Following the acquisition of Cephalon by Teva in 2011, Mr. Buchi served as corporate vice president of global branded products at Teva. In addition, Mr. Buchi currently serves as chairman of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, and as a director of Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Benitec Biopharma Ltd.  Mr. Buchi earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University and a Master’s in Management, Accounting and Finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer, Ziopharm Oncology

Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D.

Laurence joined Ziopharm Oncology as chief executive officer in 2015 after the Company licensed technology for a non-viral approach for genetically modifying T cells from MD Anderson Cancer and the University of Minnesota. This technology is designed to reduce the cost and complexity of genetically modified T cells. Prior to joining Ziopharm, Laurence was a tenured Professor at MD Anderson with joint appointments in the Division of Pediatrics and Department of Immunology. There, he served as Section Chief of Cell Therapy at the Children’s Cancer Hospital and helped lead scientific efforts to develop new treatment approaches which pair genetic engineering with immunotherapies. He remains a visiting scientist at MD Anderson. Laurence has coauthored dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters. He has initiated multiple trials under INDs infusing T cells and NK cells. He obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and he completed his training in Pediatric Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Heidi Hagen

CO-FOUNDER AND ADVISOR, VINETI

Heidi Hagen

Ms. Hagen, an experienced and entrepreneurial biotechnology operations executive, joined Ziopharm’s Board in June 2019.  She is Co-Founder and Advisor of Vineti, a cloud-based software platform company that addresses challenges in data management from order through cell collection, manufacturing, and delivery of personalized treatments such as cell and gene therapies and cancer vaccines. Beginning her career at Immunex Corporation, Ms. Hagen worked for ten years in a range of roles in drug development and operations management. Following Immunex, she served as Senior Vice President of Operations for more than a decade at Dendreon. More recently, she was the Global Chief Operating Officer for SOTIO, a diverse pharmaceutical company specializing in oncology, based in Prague.  Ms. Hagen also serves on the board of directors for Vericel, a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing on cellular therapies for sports medicine and severe burn care markets. She has a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology, an M.S. in Bioengineering, and an MBA from the University of Washington.

Holger Weis

Co-Founder, Chief Financial Officer and Director of PhenoTarget Biosciences, Inc.

Holger Weis

Holger Weis is a proven founder and senior executive with two decades of experience holding c-level positions at life science companies and is also a co-author of several scientific papers.

Mr. Weis is the Co-Founder, Chief Financial Officer and Director of biotech start-up company PhenoTarget Biosciences, Inc. and is also the founding principal of Weis Advisors, Inc., where he provides consulting services to life science companies. Mr. Weis’ impressive career has provided him with deep knowledge of the biotech industry and operational, financial, and strategic planning practices. Previously, Mr. Weis held numerous c-level leadership positions at life science companies like his 7-year tenure at DemeRx, Inc., a clinical stage pharmaceutical company where he served as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and President. From 2000-2011, Mr. Weis held leadership roles at medical technology and pharmaceutical companies, including as Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer of GMP Companies, Inc., which develops and commercializes pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic technologies. Earlier in his career, Mr. Weis served for 14 years at Ernst & Young, an internationally recognized professional services company. Mr. Weis has co-authored a number of scientific papers and presentations and is also an inventor on numerous patents and patent applications. Mr. Weis holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Georgia and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Jaime Vieser

Manager of Brushwood LLC, former Managing Partner and co-principal of Castle Hill Asset Management LLC

Jaime Vieser

Jaime Vieser has over 30 years of investment management and banking experience, which includes his involvement in numerous successful corporate restructurings and providing both start-up capital and guidance for emerging technology and biotech companies.

Since 2017, Mr. Vieser has been the manager of a private investment firm, Brushwood LLC. Mr. Vieser has over three decades of experience investing across various asset classes and served for nearly a decade as Managing Partner and co-principal of Castle Hill Asset Management LLC (“Castle Hill”), a multi-billion dollar asset manager and hedge fund. Mr. Vieser has a deep understanding of Ziopharm’s assets, governance, and financials as he is a sizable and long-term shareholder of the Company. Prior to founding Castle Hill, for 10 years Mr. Vieser was responsible for the High Yield Sales and Trading Group in London at Deutsche Bank AG, a multinational investment bank and financial services company. Earlier in his career, Mr. Vieser worked as a banker in the Leveraged Finance division of Bankers Trust Company, a bank holding company that was acquired by Deutsche Bank AG in 1999. Mr. Vieser holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

James Huang

Managing Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers China

James Huang

Mr. Huang, a life sciences industry veteran entrepreneur with 20+ years’ experience, joined Ziopharm’s Board in July 2020. He is currently a Managing Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) China and has founded and financed several innovative biotech companies, including GenScript, Legend Biotech and Zai Lab. He is also Founding Partner of Panacea Venture, which formed TriArm Therapeutics, the funding partner for Ziopharm’s joint venture, Eden BioCell. Prior to joining KPCB in 2011, he was a Managing Partner at Vivo Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in life sciences investments. While at Vivo, he led numerous investments in China. Prior to joining Vivo in 2007, Mr. Huang was President of Anesiva, a biopharmaceutical company focused on pain-management treatments. During his 20-year career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, Mr. Huang held senior roles in business development, sales, marketing and R&D with Tularik Inc. (acquired by Amgen), GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Bristol-Myers Squibb and ALZA Corp (acquired by Johnson & Johnson). Mr. Huang received an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mary Thistle

Special Advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

Mary Thistle

A biotechnology leader with 25+ year track record of creating shareholder value through strategy, business development, commercial and financial leadership, Mary Thistle joined Ziopharm’s Board in November 2020. Ms. Thistle is Special Advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, where she previously held the role of Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, Ms. Thistle was Chief Operating Officer of Dimension Therapeutics, where she directed multiple financing rounds (including the company’s IPO), expanded the pipeline through strategic business development transactions, and led the sale of the company for a significant premium. Previously, Ms. Thistle was Senior Vice President, Business Development at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for multiple acquisitions and assisted in the sale of the company. She has also held leadership positions at ViaCell and PerkinElmer. Ms. Thistle began her career in finance as a Certified Public Accountant, after graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from the University of Massachusetts. Ms. Thistle serves on the Boards of Directors of Homology Medicines and Enterome SA.