About Us :: Management

Management
Board of Directors
Investors

Tragara has assembled an expert team of entrepreneurs to carry out its mission. These individuals have extensive experience in essential areas of the Tragara mission: market-driven cancer product development, marketing, business development, biotechnology and specialty pharmaceutical management, and finance.

Executive Management


Thomas M. Estok
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Estok brings 25 years of experience in the development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals to his leadership role at Tragara where the team has advanced CAPOXIGEM (apricoxib) from IND to phase III planning in <4 years and TG02 from development candidate to phase I in 16 months. Previously, he was the founding President/CEO of Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals where he led the organization’s development of amrubicin prior to its acquisition by Pharmion; and, served as Chief Commercial Officer of Conforma Therapeutics whose HSP90 franchise was acquired by Biogen-Idec. A 19-year veteran of Schering-Plough, Mr. Estok held a number of positions with progressing responsibility in R&D (biochemistry and oncology operations management), in both US and Global Marketing, European Operations (2 assignments), sales, and commercial development. His most recent position was Vice President, US Marketing and Commercial Development, Oncology. As Head of Business Units (US and EU) and CEO of companies, Mr. Estok has led multidisciplinary R&D, business development, and commercial teams and is a recognized leader in the commercialization of oncology therapeutics and the formation/growth of new divisions and companies.

During his tenure at Schering-Plough, Mr. Estok successfully led the oncology and anti-infective commercialization efforts behind TEMODAR (> $1 billion), EULEXIN ($300M), CAELYX ($250M), INTRON A (>$500M), PEGINTRON (>$1 billion), REBETOL (>$500M), NOXAFIL, LEUCOMAX, and ETHYOL. Mr. Estok was instrumental in establishing the Medical Affairs function within Oncology at Schering-Plough through which 4 supplemental regulatory approvals were achieved. Mr. Estok graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS degree in Biochemistry and was awarded an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is currently a Board member of Aarden Pharmaceuticals where he is Co-Founder and Chairman.

Mr. Estok adopts an open communication leadership style similar to that described in The Oz Principle, whereby individual team members execute their responsibilities with associated accountability. This style affords teams the ability to identify roadblocks early, develop solutions to such roadblocks, and make decisions with a sense of ownership at all levels throughout the organization, resulting in a high performance company culture. This culture has allowed companies such as Cabrellis and Tragara to execute high quality drug development plans at an accelerated pace.


Chris LeMasters
Chief Business Officer

Mr. LeMasters joins Tragara after serving as Chief Business Officer and co-founder of Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals. At Tragara, he completed the negotiation with Daiichi-Sankyo for the company’s founding license to CS-706 (TG01, apricoxib). He also negotiated the world-wide license to SB1317 (TG02) from S*BIO Pte Ltd of Singapore. At Tragara, Mr. LeMasters oversees the administrative and operational functions of the company, including finance and accounting, intellectual property, and corporate development. While at Cabrellis, Mr. LeMasters was responsible for negotiating the acquisition by Pharmion Corporation. Previously, he served as Vice President, Business Development of Conforma Therapeutics where he was responsible for the in-licensing of Amrubicin from Dainippon Sumitomo and for negotiating the acquisition by Biogen IDEC. Mr. LeMasters earlier worked in Corporate Business Development at Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis. In that role, he was responsible for the successful negotiation of numerous partnerships and licenses across diverse therapeutic areas. Mr. LeMasters was also a management consultant with Coopers & Lybrand Consulting in Chicago for four years, where he led strategy consulting projects for Fortune 500 clients. He specialized in turn-around and profit improvement strategy and implementation. Mr. LeMasters began his business career as an operational auditor with Owens Corning Fiberglas in Toledo, Ohio, where he led assessments of internal organizations and manufacturing/distribution operations. Mr. LeMasters has a B.A. in Finance from Indiana University and an M.B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago. He is a co-founder and board member of Aarden Pharmaceuticals, and a board member of the Hoosier Oncology Group.

While at Eli Lilly, Mr. LeMasters led the redesign of Lilly's licensing processes and organization in 1998, which led to several industry-firsts in organization design, including a dedicated alliance management function. He was instrumental in the creation of the industry’s first dedicated out-partnering organization and was a founding member of that group, which has since generated more than $2 billion in revenue. He was subsequently a driver in the re-formation of a dedicated discovery and technology licensing group, where he led several large-scale multi-deal efforts to expand the company’s technology capabilities.

Tracy L. Parrott, J.D.
Chief Development Officer

Ms. Parrott was a co-founder of Tragara Pharmaceuticals in 2007. With 23 years in the pharmaceutical industry, she has contributed to the development, registration and commercialization of key products including Gemzar, Tasigna, LBH589, Temodar, Caelyx, Evista, Zyprexa and Humalog. Ms. Parrott has held significant leadership roles in her previous positions: Sr. Manager Regulatory Affairs and Assoc. Dir. Project Management at Schering Plough, Executive Director Project Management at Novartis and Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Development Operations at Cabrellis. She has also held positions at Warner Lambert, Eli Lilly and Company, and Abbott Laboratories.

Ms. Parrott has utilized her strong leadership and matrix management skills to lead development teams by inspiring team accountability. While at Novartis, Ms. Parrott led the development, registration and commercialization strategy for Tasigna® (ranked Novartis’ 2nd priority program) from first-in-man/ Phase I through global regulatory submission. Under her leadership, the development from FIM to submission was completed in 29 months. This was a new milestone for development of a new chemical entity and was used as a benchmark for future accelerated programs within Novartis. Additionally, she led the team in developing and championing a strategy for head-to-head comparison with Glivec for the first-line indication. At Schering-Plough Ms. Parrott led oncology development programs as well as a consent decree initiative redeveloping analytical methodology for marketed products across global manufacturing sites and a quality program establishing compliance with 21 CFR Part 11. She also contributed to oncology licensing programs. Ms. Parrott has a B.S. in microbiology from Indiana University and a Jurisprudence Doctorate from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. She is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Athena San Diego.

During her tenure at Tragara, Ms. Parrott has spearheaded the CMC, preclinical and bioassay development efforts, led all project teams for development products and managed regulatory affairs. Ms. Parrott is also the Alliance Manager for the Tragara collaboration with S*BIO on TG02 development.

Dennis Bilski
Vice President, Finance

Mr. Bilski joined Tragara in March 2007 and brings over 14 years of strategic planning, finance, accounting, human resources, and business advisory experience to the company. Mr. Bilski was most recently the Director of Finance of Del Mar Database (DMD) in San Diego. In that role, he helped lead the company through a turnaround and rapid expansion and facilitated DMD’s acquisition by Fiserv, Inc. in March 2005. Prior to joining DMD, Mr. Bilski spent five years with Arthur Andersen LLP in Washington, D.C., where he managed financial statement audits and due diligence engagements for various public and private companies. Mr. Bilski also spent two years with a private consulting firm in Washington, D.C., where he worked exclusively with early-stage technology firms, providing them with finance, accounting and operational related advisory services. Mr. Bilski graduated from The College of William and Mary with a BBA degree in Accounting.

Francis Burrows, Ph.D.
Head, Oncology Biology


Francis Burrows received his PhD in immunology from the University of Bristol, U.K. and performed post-doctoral studies on antibody-based cancer therapeutics at ICRF in London and U.T. Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. In 1994 he joined Viagene, a gene therapy company in San Diego, leading a team that developed an HSV-TK suicide gene therapeutic for cancer from concept to Phase I trials. Following the acquisition of Viagene by Chiron Corp., Dr. Burrows joined Idun Pharmaceuticals where his team initiated the program that led to the Abbott Bcl-2 inhibitor, ABT-263, that is currently in Phase II trials in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
In 2000, Dr. Burrows co-founded Conforma Therapeutics, the first company to discover drugs against the cellular chaperone Hsp90. As Vice President of Biology at Conforma, he played a pivotal role in bringing two Hsp90 inhibitors for concept to the clinic in five years, leading to a $250M acquisition by Biogen-Idec in 2006. Dr. Burrows served as Senior Director of Discovery Oncology at Biogen Idec, overseeing all preclinical small molecule cancer programs and taking the Hsp90 inhibitor BIIB021 into Phase II trials. Dr. Burrows is also a co-founder of Aarden Pharmaceuticals in Indianapolis.

Robert Mansfield, Ph.D.
Senior Director of Manufacturing

Robert Mansfield is a 20 year veteran in the pharmaceutical industry with a broad array of experience in developing a variety of dosage forms, such as solid oral dosage forms (capsules, tablets), parenteral intravenous emulsions, parenteral and ophthalmic solutions, parenteral suspensions, supported four abbreviated new drug applications (ANDA) for inhalation/nasal solutions (alburterol sulfate, cromolyn sodium, ipratropium bromide, desmopressin acetate) and one Marketing Application Authorization (MAA) for Alphagan® (brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution). Dr. Mansfield received his PhD in Medicinal & Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Kentucky in 1992 and continued his research as post-doctoral fellow at the University of Kansas developing novel prodrug formulations for poorly soluble oncology agents for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Mansfield entered the Pharmaceutical Industry in 1993 when he joined Gensia, a biotechnology in San Diego, CA. Dr. Mansfield was later employed by two mid-size pharmaceutical companies (Allergan and Bausch & Lomb) specializing in ophthalmic product and generic product development. In 1997, Dr. Mansfield helped build, equip, staff and establish MDS Tricon (now Xcelience), a CMC contract research organization (CRO) located in Tampa Florida that provided CMC services to the pharmaceutical industry. In 2002, Dr. Mansfield returned to the biotech industry by joining Conforma Therapeutics in San Diego to provided CMC leadership and guidance to support Conforma’s novel Hsp90 research program. Two Hsp90 inhibitors discovered at Conforma were in clinical development leading a $250M acquisition by Biogen Idec in 2006. Dr Mansfield served as Associate Director of BioPharm development at Biogen Idec supporting small molecule development for oncology.

Mary Syto
Director, Clinical Operations

Ms. Syto is the Director of Clinical Operations at Tragara Pharmaceuticals, where she brings more than 17 years of experience in pharmaceutical development. She is responsible for leading all aspects of the company's clinical operations, including the implementation and management of multiple oncology clinical trials and oversight of the company's alliances with contract research organizations. She has managed multicenter phase 1 and phase 2 trials in hematology and solid tumors. Prior to joining Tragara, Ms. Syto spent eight years with PAREXEL International, one of the leading contract research organizations worldwide, where she successfully led clinical teams in support of a variety of clinical trials for both large pharma and small company clients, including global and multicenter programs in dermatology, immunology, neurology, and oncology. Early in her career, she worked as a drug discovery research associate at Desmos, a start-up biotechnology company developing metabolic and endocrine therapies. Ms. Syto has a B.S. from the University of California, San Diego in Biology.

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