Chief Executive Officer
Herm Cukier has been our Chief Executive Officer and a member of our Board of Directors since May 2018. From December 2013 to April 2018, he served in various capacities at Allergan plc, ultimately as Senior Vice President, Head of Commercial Strategy and Innovation. He also served as the Senior Vice President of Allergan’s Eye Care division and as Senior Vice President of Allergan’s Woman’s Healthcare division. From 2010 to 2013, he served as Vice President of Bayer HealthCare, and from 2009 to 2010, he served as President, Chief Executive Officer and board member at Reverion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a start-up company associated with Weill Cornell Medical College. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Chief Marketing Officer and member of the Executive Committee at Organon Biosciences, which was acquired by Schering-Plough. He began his career in 1992 at Pfizer and later served as Executive Director of Global Marketing at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mr. Cukier received an MBA from the Columbia Business School and a BSE in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Scott M. Plesha, joined the company in August 2015 as our Senior Vice President, Sales, with more than 26 years of sales experience and over 18 years of sales management experience within the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Mr. Plesha assumed the additional responsibility of leading our Marketing department in December 2015. In January 2018, Mr. Plesha was appointed to the role of President of the Company. Mr. Plesha leads our Specialty Sales Force, Marketing, and Training departments. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Plesha was Senior Vice President, GI Sales Force & Training at Salix Pharmaceuticals, where since 2002 he led Salix’s top rated gastrointestinal (GI) sales forces, the sales training department as well as many other sales operations functions. During Mr. Plesha’s tenure at Salix he was responsible for launching or growing product sales as well as optimizing and expanding the sales force to accommodate the multiple companies and products that Salix acquired. Prior to joining Salix, Mr. Plesha was a Regional Sales Manager for the O’Classen Dermatologics division of Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Plesha began his pharmaceutical sales career with Solvay Pharmaceuticals where he was a field as well institutional sales representative. Mr. Plesha received a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Medical Studies from DePauw University.
Ernest R. De Paolantonio, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Ernest R. De Paolantonio, CPA MBA, has been our Chief Financial Officer since October of 2013 and has over 35 years of varied financial and business experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining the company, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of CorePharma LLC, a private specialty generic company, and was directly involved in the financial and commercial strategy to establish Core's proprietary labeled portfolio of products. In addition, he previously served in finance and controllers positions in roles of increasing responsibility at Colombia Laboratories, where he was also responsible for business development and logistics, including supply chain management for the company's first commercial product launch. Mr. De Paolantonio has served in various financial positions in senior management at Taro Pharmaceuticals where he was the Corporate Controller, Watson Pharmaceuticals where he was Executive Director of Finance, Group Controller and responsible for managing the Corporation's supply chain of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, and GlaxoSmithKline where began his career in finance and spent over 17 years in areas of increasing responsibility including; Manufacturing, Corporate Finance, R&D and U.S. Pharmaceuticals where he was Group Controller. Mr. De Paolantonio received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lycoming College, his MBA in Finance at Saint Joseph's University and is a licensed CPA.
James D. Darnley, Jr.
Vice President, General Counsel and Commercial Compliance Officer
James D. Darnley, Jr. joined the company May 2017 and is our Vice President, General Counsel, and Commercial Compliance Officer. Mr. Darnley brings over 30 years of global experience as an attorney and over 23 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry to the company. Prior to joining our company, Mr. Darnley was Head of Intellectual Property at Moderna Therapeutics, a mRNA therapy company. He was also Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Millennium Pharmaceuticals/Takeda Pharmaceuticals International from 2007 to 2015 where he was responsible for global IP support for Oncology research, development and commercial activities as well as general IP support for on-site research and development. Prior to that he worked for BiogenIDEC as a licensing attorney for 4 years and Pharmacia for 9 years where he held positions of increasing responsibility and ultimately became the Site Head of the Pharmacia Intellectual Property Group at its Kalamazoo, Michigan Research & Development Center. Mr. Darnley has worked on a number of complex legal issues over the years including multiple Hatch-Waxman Paragraph IV and 505(b)(2) litigations for VELCADE (bortezomib) and INTEGRILIN (eptifibatide), corporate mergers, acquisitions and divestments (e.g., Sugen, BioVitrum, Asgrow, Conforma, Intellikine, Millennium), the in-licensing and out-licensing of products, research programs and technologies and the creation and implementation of worldwide patent procurement strategies. Mr. Darnley received a bachelor’s degree with honors in biology as well as a law degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. During law school, Mr. Darnley was a member of the Indiana Law Journal.
National Director, Managed Markets
Michael Bullock has been our National Director, Managed Markets since joining the company in June 2015, with more than 26 years of Sales and 18 years of Managed Markets experience within the pharmaceutical and medical space. Mr. Bullock heads our Managed Markets department and is responsible for developing and implementing market access strategies and managing consultant relationships relating to managed markets, lobbying and government affairs. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Bullock was a Director, Managed Markets for Salix Pharmaceuticals, a GI pharmaceutical and medical device company, where he led a team of National and Regional Account Managers. While at Salix, Mr. Bullock was responsible for implementing market access strategies across various payer channels including Commercial, Medicaid, Medicare, GPO, Institutional, Long Term Care and Employer Group customers, as well as developing medical policy for devices. Prior to joining Salix, Mr. Bullock held managed markets positions with UCB, Celltech Pharmaceuticals and Medeva Pharmaceuticals and was a sales representative with Adams Laboratories. Mr. Bullock received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from The Ohio State University.
Senior Vice President, Operations
Joseph Lockhart was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations for our company in January 2018 after having served as our Vice President of Manufacturing and Supply Chain since joining the company in November 2015. Drawing upon over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with specific focus in the areas of manufacturing, supply chain, product development, CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls) and quality, Mr. Lockhart now provides senior-level management to our company’s overall Operations, including Clinical, Quality, Regulatory, and Manufacturing/Supply Chain. Prior to joining BDSI, Mr. Lockhart served as Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing at Salix Pharmaceuticals, where since 2001 he established the Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing team and contributed to multiple NDA submissions, as well as multiple product acquisitions and launches. During Mr. Lockhart’s tenure at Salix he held positions of increasing responsibility and was responsible for managing Manufacturing, Technical Operations, Formulation Development, and Clinical Trial Material Operations. From 1986 thru 2001 Mr. Lockhart served in various pharmaceutical CMC-related roles and responsibilities at both the Manager and the Director levels of management. Mr. Lockhart received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.