Constance McKee, President & CEO

Constance is co-founder, President and CEO of Manzanita Pharmaceuticals. With Robert Webb PhD she is a co-inventor of three issued Manzanita patents.

Constance graduated with honors from Stanford University and earned an MBA from Yale University in 1986. In 1986-87 she was awarded a Bosch Fellowship in Germany which supported internships in corporate finance at the Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. From 1990-1994 she served Chief Executive of a seed venture fund at Cambridge University, Cambridge Quantum Fund I (CQF), and subsequently acted as full-time Chief Executive of one of CQF’s portfolio companies, SynGenix Limited (Cambridge, UK) from 1994-1995.

Since returning to the US in 1995 Constance has advised or consulted to another ten technology and life sciences start-ups. From 1996-2001 she worked as a contractor for Philips Electronics on over 20 M&A, licensing agreements, intellectual property-based divestments and venture capital assignments. She was a member of Licensing Executives Society from 1990-2002.

Constance was founder and CEO of Asilomar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the precursor to Manzanita. She raised $2.8 million in early-stage funding for Asilomar from federal, private and institutional sources. Constance led the group of private investors that acquired the assets of Asilomar in May 2007.

In 2001 she co-founded and continues to serve as a Board member of BioE2E, Inc., a nonprofit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area that presents programs for bioentrepreneurs, by bioentrepreneurs. For the past seven years she has taught a non-credit course at Yale University, “Business of Biotech.”

From 2007-2008 Constance served as Co-Executive Director, Americans for Cures Foundation, a charitable foundation supporting advocacy for stem cell research.

With Dr Jay Levy (UCSF) she is currently a co-founder of California Antiviral Foundation, a start-up biomedical foundation. California Antiviral Foundation’s goal is to elucidate the protein(s) that confers innate immunity on HIV-infected individuals. Innate immunity describes the naturally-occurring phenomenon in about 5% of HIV-infected long-term survivors who never develop AIDS.

Robert R Webb, PhD., Chief Scientific Officer

Rob is Chief Scientific Officer of Manzanita. He is a co-inventor of the Manzanita issued patents. Rob was the principal architect for the bioconjugation strategies used in the modified glucocorticoid described above.

He completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA in biochemistry (1977), earned his PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Utah (1982), and served as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University with Professor Samuel J. Danishefsky. In addition to the Manzanita patent estate, Rob is named as a co-inventor of several issued patents involving antiviral and anti-infective drugs, beginning with his work at BristolMyers Squibb to develop Vistide™ (cidofovir).

He is founder of RW Consulting, LLC, providing advice to biotechnology companies on drug discovery and development. In addition to the marketed product Vistide™, Rob has guided and contributed to several drug development programs that have yielded marketed products including Videx™ (didanosine), Sensipar™ (cinacalcet) and compounds in clinical trials (Lorcaserin™), as well as other preclinical development programs that have yielded lead clinical candidates.

Robert G Dalziel, PhD., Chair, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr Dalziel serves as Chair, Scientific Advisory Board of Manzanita Pharmaceuticals. He joined the Asilomar team in 2003 as Principal Investigator under a sponsored research agreement at the University of Edinburgh. His laboratory carried out the in vivo studies described above.

Dr Dalziel is a Group Leader and Senior Lecturer in The Roslin Institute and the Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University of Edinburgh. He gained his BSc (Honours) in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow in 1980. He carried out his PhD studies on protein/DNA interactions in HSV-1 infected cells at the MRC Institute for Virology, graduating in 1984. He then worked at the Scripps Research Institute and in 1987 accepted a Faculty Position at the University of Edinburgh. Following a Wellcome Trust lectureship in Molecular Biology (1987-92) and a Lectureship in Virology (1992-97), he has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh since 1997.

Dr Dalziel’s research interests include the biology of VZV latency and mechanisms of induction of post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), control of gene expression during HSV-latency and reactivation, and the pathogenesis of gammaherpesvirus infection. He also has an evolving interest in the development of novel vaccination strategies for Avian Influenza.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of seven of our nine private investors: Constance McKee, Rob Webb, and Bob Dalziel are joined by Thomas Knobel, Gary Blair, Jon Saiger and Steve Borst.

Thomas Knobel

Mr. Knobel is Managing Partner for PK Associates, providing business and technology consulting for corporate, government, and not-for-profit clients worldwide.

Clients have included Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the European Union, Dow Chemical, Sword & Company (investment banking), IBA (Brussels), Marine East, Mercury Plastics, Polestar Marine, Kent State Development Corporation, and Damilic.

Mr. Knobel spent 25 years as a researcher and manager for Dow Chemical and later as Technical Director at E-BEAM Services. He has been granted 23 US and several foreign patents for inventions involving new chemical compositions, products, and processes.

He holds BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Houston, University Park. Mr. Knobel is an author and an active public lecturer on topics including technology, energy and history.

Gary Blair, M.D.

Dr Blair is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician with a long-standing interest in finding effective non-narcotic alternatives to pain management for his patients.

Jonathan S. Saiger

Jonathan S. Saiger is a Senior Director of Infrastructure for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (a US government agency) overseeing implementation of roads, airport, water, health, and tourist infrastructure projects funded through grants to Tanzania, Lesotho, and Namibia.

Steven J. Borst

Steve Borst has 26 years of operational and venture capital experience, and is currently the Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development for Q Therapeutics, Inc., a venture backed start-up developing cell-based therapies for degenerative conditions of the brain and spine. ( Prior to joining Q, Steve was a General Partner of Utah Ventures, an early-stage healthcare and information technology fund in Salt Lake City. He has co-founded four venture-backed life science companies in his career and worked with both Frontenac Company and Capital Health Venture Partners. He has a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Scientific Advisors

G. Craig Hill, PhD.

Dr. Hill served as Advisor under the company’s prior DARPA grant and is a co-inventor of the Manzanita issued patents. He was the principal scientist who reduced to practice the company’s bioconjugation strategies for the modified glucocorticoid described in the studies summarized above.

Dr. Hill completed his undergraduate studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Biochemistry (1986), earned his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Arizona (1990), and served as NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Texas at Austin with Professor Lawrence Hurley. He is currently Principal Scientist with SAIC-Frederick in support of the Cancer Imaging Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. At SAIC-Frederick he coordinates development projects for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer involving the bioconjugation of monoclonal antibodies with bi-functional chelating agents and their subsequent radio-metal tagging and small molecule radio-labeling.

Robert B. Campenot, PhD.

Bob Campenot joined Asilomar as an advisor in 1998 and continues to serve as an advisor to Manzanita.

Dr. Campenot has been a member of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of Alberta since 1987, and has served as Full Professor in the Department of Cell Biology since 1992. A US citizen, prior to coming to Alberta Dr Campenot was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. He holds a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, an MS in Physiology from UCLA, and a PhD in Biological Oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/MIT joint program (1976). He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Neurobiology Department of Harvard Medical School.

Dr Campenot’s research interests are in neuronal development, and nerve growth and regeneration. His work involves cultured neurons analyzed primarily with biochemical methods. Major research accomplishments include invention of the compartmented culture technique (Campenot, 1977, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 74, 4516) and the subsequent characterization of many important principles of axonal growth and axonal and neuronal survival. He used compartmented cultures to accomplish the first quantitative study of NGF retrograde transport and processing (Ure and Campenot, 1997, J. Neurosci. 17, 1282) and the first study of retrograde phosphorylation signaling to cell bodies (Senger and Campenot, 1997, J. Cell Biol. 138, 411). Dr Campenot’s work has shown that survival signals to the cell body initiated by NGF at axon terminals can be transmitted unaccompanied by NGF transport, findings that contradict a 30-year dogma (MacInnis and Campenot, 2002, Science 295, 1536). Recently work from Dr. Campenot’s laboratory has shown that NGF-deprived axons generate a retrograde death signal that is transported to the cell bodies (Mok, Lund, and Campenot, 2009, Cell Research, in press.). This is the first time that death signaling from axons, rather than survival signaling, has been implicated in the control of neuronal survival by neurotrophins. Other work provided evidence that slow axonal transport of tubulin and other cytosolic molecules may be accomplished by carrying these molecules on the surfaces of fast transport vesicles (Campenot et al., 2003, Neuropharmacol. 44, 1107). The compartmented culture system is recognized as the best model system for studies of retrograde signaling and has been widely adopted other research groups.

Stephen B. Kahl, PhD.

Dr Kahl is Vice Chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California San Francisco. He has been an advisor in medicinal chemistry to the company since 1998. He has more than 35 years' experience in designing and synthesizing organic molecules for selective delivery to target cell populations, specifically cancer and the vascular endothelium.

Dr Kahl has been at UCSF since 1982, where he is currently Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He is a member of the Neuro-oncology Program of the UCSF Cancer Center and is a founding scientist of the UCSF Molecular Design Institute.

Dr Kahl earned his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Indiana University (1972) and his BS from Duke University (1968). He was a postdoctoral research associate with Professor KN Raymond in the Department of Chemistry (1972-1973), and with Professor John H Reynolds in the Department of Physics (1973-1974), both at UC Berkeley. He also holds an appointment as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stanford.

Alan Herman, PhD.

Alan C. Herman is Founder and President of WindRose Analytica. ( He has 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. From 1989 to 2000, he was at Amgen where he was Director of Analytical Research & Development and later Director of Process Analytical Laboratories. Prior to founding WindRose Analytica, Dr. Herman was Senior Director of Quality Control at Tercica, Inc. in South San Francisco. Earlier, he was at Genentech and Merck, Sharp and Dohme.

Dr. Herman will be responsible for the synthesis of FA-NGF with recombinant human NGF material and characterization of the conjugate.