Leadiant Biosciences, Inc. is led by a team of experienced pharmaceutical executives who share a common purpose: helping people affected by rare diseases. The team’s collective knowledge and unrivaled expertise in orphan drug development guides our research, development and delivery of crucial therapies to patients who need them most.
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Minarich is responsible for leading the company’s continued commitment to rare and ultra-rare disease therapies through registration, commercialization and life-cycle management of its proprietary research and development pipeline.
Prior to joining Leadiant Biosciences in 2015, Mr. Minarich provided consulting services to start-up, early and mid-stage companies in the biosciences and specialty pharmaceutical industries. He spent the previous 20 years as an expatriate in Asia (Seoul), Canada (Montreal) and Europe (Brussels & Prague) as the Market Company President, Czech Republic for Pharmacia Corporation and at legacy company, G.D. Searle / Monsanto, with increasing responsibilities in international marketing, business development and general management.
Mr. Minarich received a Master of Business Administration in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, a unit of Arizona State University.
Gianfranco Fornasini, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Scientific Affairs
Dr. Fornasini is responsible for the overall management of scientific programs to advance the development of the company’s compounds and products. Dr. Fornasini’s expertise includes pharmacokinetics and metabolism, specifically of endogenous substances, analytical methods with emphasis on mass-spectrometry, pharmacokinetic and bioequivalence study design, and regulatory and technical aspects of chemistry manufacturing and control processes.
Dr. Fornasini joined the company in 1996 as manager of pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism and has since held various regulatory and scientific roles with increasing responsibility until being appointed senior vice president of scientific affairs in 2003.
During his thirty year experience in pharmaceutical industries in Europe and in the United States, mainly spent in the drug development of small molecules and biologics for rare diseases, he has assumed a wide range of responsibilities, including analytical method development and validation, non-clinical and clinical pharmacokinetics, regulatory sciences, and the life cycle management of company commercial products. Until 2014 he also held the position of head of the manufacturing operations at Indianapolis, a facility specialized in the production of injectable products of pegylated proteins and lyposomal formulations.
Dr. Fornasini earned his doctorate degree in pharmaceutical chemistry and technology from the University of Milan, Italy and specialized in mass-spectrometry at the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Environmental Toxicology of the “Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche M.Negri” in Milan, Italy. He continued his studies at the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, where he received his post-doctorate training in pharmacokinetics. Dr. Fornasini has co-authored several scientific publications and is co-inventor on a variety of patents.
Vice President, Finance
Mr. Izzi has more than 20 years of financial experience, he was previously the Financial Director for Sigma Tau España based in Madrid.
Prior to joining the company, he was an Executive Director with a major accounting firm, providing consulting services in capital market transactions, acquisitions and audit. Mr. Izzi received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Università degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’.
Taha Keilani, M.D.
Vice President & Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Keilani is responsible for leading medical affairs and supporting strategy across clinical development, medical communications, patient advocacy, and pharmacovigilance. Dr. Keilani has extensive experience in numerous therapeutic areas including nephrology, transplantation, immunology, rheumatology, gastroenterology, cardiovascular, and oncology.
Prior to joining Leadiant Biosciences, Dr. Keilani held global leadership positions at AVANT Immunotherapeutics, Inc., Serono, Inc., and Fujisawa Healthcare, Inc., where he was responsible for clinical development, medical and regulatory affairs and clinical operations.
After graduating from Aleppo University Medical School and completing his Internal Medicine residency, Dr. Keilani was a nephrology research fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. After his fellowship, he continued as Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Northwestern University Medical School and Veterans Administration Lakeside Medical Center in Chicago, IL.
Vice President, Pharmaceutical Products
Ms. Parsons is responsible for managing the commercial products for Canada and the US.
Working primarily in the environment of start-up ventures, Ms. Parsons gained a wide range of experience in the following areas: clinical affairs, sales, sales management, product management, marketing, reimbursement, regulatory affairs, pharmacoeconomics, drug importation and distribution, CME, medical information, government affairs, market access, PMPRB pricing compliance, public relations, patient programs, reimbursement and the successful executive management of four fully owned Canadian subsidiaries.
Ms. Parsons joined the company in 2013 as director of Canadian Operations managing the importation, distribution, sales marketing and reimbursement functions for seven rare disease products coming into Canada. Her portfolio included the commercialization of 3 rare disease products and Special Access Programme products. Ms. Parsons additionally managed marketing access issues, reimbursement dossiers, distribution of the commercial products and relationships with GPOs and wholesalers, coordinated sales activities as well as defined market opportunities for new products.
Prior to joining Leadiant Biosciences, Ms. Parsons worked for six years as a medical writer in the area of oncology and wound care and consulted with pharmaceutical companies in the areas of product development, market access, sales, marketing and strategic planning. She also worked with Genentech, Amgen, The Liposome Company and Enzon in their commercial divisions.
Ms. Parsons earned her Masters of Science in developmental biology and biochemistry technology from Brock University in Ontario, Canada.
Giuseppe D. Testa
Vice President, Product Development
Mr. Testa is responsible for strategic and operational oversight of the development of novel therapeutics in clinical research. He has over 30 years of experience in research and clinical development including trial planning and implementation, as well as project management, staff recruiting and training. His therapeutic experiences include cardiovascular, oncology, and neurology as well as immunology.
Mr. Testa first joined the company in 1987, serving as the CRA for the International Clinical Trials Division in Research & Development in Italy. In 1997, he transferred to the U.S. and most recently served as the Vice President of Clinical Development. Prior to that, Mr. Testa held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility within the company.
Mr. Testa holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Rome, Italy.
Joseph Wiley, M.D.
Vice President, Medical Affairs
Dr. Wiley is responsible for leading and managing the company’s Medical Affairs operations. Dr Wiley directs the Medical Affairs strategic and operational initiatives and the Medical Science Liaison team, as well as providing medical and scientific support of clinical and regulatory affairs. Dr. Wiley has more than 35 years of experience and leadership in the medical field, specifically in pediatric hematology-oncology.
Prior to joining Leadiant Biosciences, he served as the first Medical Director of Population Health at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore, Maryland after serving as Chairman of Pediatrics for 14 years. Previously, he has also served as the Interim Director, Cancer Institute at the Alvin and Lois Lapidus Cancer institute, Chairman of the Medical Executive Committee, Chairman of the Institutional Review Board and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.
Dr. Wiley has contributed to more than 100 publications and was honored as Pediatrician of the Year, Maryland Chapter, and American Academy of Pediatrics in 2013. He received his BA in Mathematics from Loyola College and his M.D. from the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. He completed his Pediatric residency at The John Hopkins Hospital and a fellowship training in Pediatric Hematology Oncology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Wiley is a member of numerous scientific societies and serves as a Board Member for the Children’s Cancer Foundation in Maryland.