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Management team bios

Derek Chalmers, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Chief Executive Officer, President, and Director

Dr. Chalmers is a co-founder and has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Cara since 2004. Dr. Chalmers has over 22 years’ experience in the biotechnology industry with increasing levels of corporate and business responsibilities. Prior to founding Cara Therapeutics, Inc., Dr. Chalmers co-founded Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA), a drug discovery and development company, and served as its Vice President and Executive Director from June 1997 until May 2004. Prior to Arena, Dr. Chalmers was a Group Leader at Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ: NBIX).

Dr. Chalmers holds a Ph.D. from The Wellcome Surgical Institute, University of Glasgow and has previously conducted research as both a NARSAD and Fogerty International Fellow at The University of Michigan.

Frédérique Menzaghi, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, SVP Research & Development

Dr. Menzaghi, one of our founders, and has been with the company since 2004, leading our preclinical research and pruritus clinical programs. Dr. Menzaghi has over 25 years of drug development and management experience in biotechnology in the field of ion channels and GPCRs. Her expertise ranges from exploratory non-clinical research through clinical development. She has a successful track record in leading numerous drug discovery programs in the areas of pain, inflammation, obesity, psychiatric, cognitive and neurological disorders. She guided numerous compounds to late Phase clinical trials, including one compound approved by the FDA in 2013 for the treatment of obesity. She has led or contributed to the filing of numerous INDs and CTAs and has led successful interdisciplinary teams spanning the entire drug development process from the validation of novel receptor targets to novel chemical entity formulated for oral, parenteral or transdermal routes of administration. From 2003-2004, she served as VP Pharmacology and Business Development at Psychogenics Inc., a preclinical CRO. From 1999 to 2003, she was the Research Director of In Vivo Pharmacology at Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA) leading a multidisciplinary research team. Prior to that, Dr. Menzaghi established and directed a preclinical research laboratory at SIBIA Neurosciences (acquired by Merck). Her research expertise ranged from the development of small molecules to small peptides. She has extensive experience with corporate partnering with large US and Asian pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly, Merck and J&J. Dr. Menzaghi received her Ph.D. in Neurosciences from the University of Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France and a M.Sc. in clinical psychology from the University of Nancy, France, after which she conducted her post-doctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, California. She has over 55 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, 100 international meeting presentations and is listed as an inventor on numerous patents.

Joana Goncalves, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Goncalves brings more than 17 years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to Cara. Most recently, she served as Vice President, Medical Affairs for Dermatology and Neurology at Celgene Corporation where she was instrumental in planning and executing medical support activities for a number of programs, including OTEZLA® for psoriasis. Previously, Dr. Goncalves held the position of Vice President, Medical Strategy and Scientific Affairs at LEO Pharma Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of LEO Pharma A/S. She began her pharmaceutical career at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, working on a range of products across various therapeutic areas. Dr. Goncalves received her M.D. from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Thomas Reilly

Chief Financial Officer

Tom has over 20 years of experience in building and leading finance and administration teams at life sciences companies both in the United States and abroad. Most recently he served as Head of Finance of the Allergan General Medicines business.  Prior to joining Allergan, he held finance leadership positions at Novartis.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Manhattan College, an M.B.A in accounting from Seton Hall University and is a certified public accountant.

Scott Terrillion

General Counsel, Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer

Mr. Terrillion joined Cara in 2016 as the company’s General Counsel.  Scott oversees Cara’s legal and compliance functions and serves as company Secretary.

Mr. Terrillion brings over 20 years of diverse pharmaceutical industry experience from varying legal and business roles in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  Mr. Terrillion spent 15 years at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he served as Vice President, Associate General Counsel. At Boehringer, Mr. Terrillion built and led the legal team supporting the global company’s US human pharmaceutical business during a period of rapid, industry-leading growth.  Mr. Terrillion also spent two years at Mesoblast, Inc., a publicly traded emerging biotech, as the company’s Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Head of Compliance.  Mr. Terrillion began his legal career at Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody), a large general practice law firm, where he was an associate in the Health Care and Technology/Intellectual Property Practice groups.  A licensed pharmacist, Mr. Terrillion began his professional career as a community pharmacist and later served as Director of Pharmacy for Preferred Care, Inc., a HMO insurance provider.

Mr. Terrillion received his B.S. in Pharmacy from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where he serves on the Board of Trustees, and a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Albany Law School.  He is a member of the New York bar.

Eric Vandal

Sr. Vice President, Commercial

Mr. Vandal has served as our Sr. Vice President of Commercial since June 2014. He has more than 25 years of executive and commercial leadership experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Cara Therapeutics, Eric was the Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Nuvo Research Inc, a specialty pharmaceutical company specializing in topical pain products. At Nuvo Research, Eric built and lead a commercial team of 25 employees in re-launching SYNERA® Patch into the interventional pain physician segment as well as pioneering its efforts to establish SYNERA® Patch in large corporate health care companies.

Prior to joining Nuvo Research, Eric was Senior Director, Marketing for King Pharmaceuticals where he led the company’s hospital business unit. At King Pharmaceuticals, he oversaw the company’s hospital franchises, including their hemostasis portfolio (Thrombin-JMI®) and launched their pain franchise into the hospital segment.

Prior to working at King Pharmaceuticals, Eric was at Alpharma Pharmaceuticals where he was Senior Director, Marketing as well as the Regional Business Director for the Northeast Region.  At Alpharma, he was the head of the marketing department that successfully launched the first topical NSAID in the United States, FLECTOR® Patch, and significantly grew the KADIAN® Capsule business.

Eric previously worked for Endo Pharmaceuticals where he took on roles of increasing responsibility within its commercial organization, including leadership over the launch of PERCOCET® line extensions, OPANA® and OPANA® ER franchise as well as FROVA® Tablets.

Eric began his career working in a variety of sales and marketing roles for Schering-Plough and SmithKline Beecham.  Eric holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University.

Michael E. Lewis, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Advisor

Dr. Lewis, one of our founders, has had over 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, and prior to that, about five years of experience in opioid research at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan. Previously, Dr. Lewis received training in psychobiology research at the National Institute of Mental Health and at Clark University, where he received a Ph.D. in psychology, and then received postdoctoral training in psychopharmacology and neuropharmacology at the University of Cambridge. After establishing and directing a molecular neuropharmacology laboratory at DuPont, Dr. Lewis co-founded Cephalon, Inc. (Nasdaq; CEPH), serving as Director of Pharmacology and Senior Director of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Lewis later co-founded and served as Chief Scientific Advisor to Adolor Corporation (Nasdaq; ADLR), and was subsequently invited by Dr. Chalmers to co-found Arena Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq; ARNA), where he served as a pre-IPO Director and Chief Scientific Advisor. Dr. Lewis is an inventor or co-inventor on 17 issued U.S. patents and is an author or co-author of numerous scientific papers, including over 40 publications on opioids and opioid receptors.