Humacyte, partner for IPO name nominees for board as IPO nears

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DURHAM – Alpha Healthcare Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: AHAC) (“AHAC”), a special purpose acquisition company, have announced the nominees who will stand for election/reelection to its Board of Directors during the August 24, 2021, AHAC special shareholder’s meeting to vote on the proposed business combination with Humacyte, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology platform company developing universally implantable bioengineered human tissue at commercial scale.

The post-combination Board will be comprised of 11 directors, including seven independent directors.

  • Gordon Binder, former CEO of Amgen; Trustee of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology
  • Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
  • Mike Constantino, Director, 9 Meters Biopharma, Inc.; retired partner, Ernst & Young
  • Todd M. Pope, CEO of WellAir; former CEO of TransEnterix and J&J Cordis
  • Rajiv Shukla, Chairman and CEO of Alpha Healthcare Acquisition Corp.
  • Sue Windham-Bannister, Director, St. Jude Medical Center; past President, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
  • Laura Niklason, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of Humacyte
  • Kathleen Sebelius, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Brady Dougan, CEO of Exos Financial
  • Max Wallace, JD, former CEO of Trimeris Inc.
  • Jeffrey Lawson, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Surgical Officer of Humacyte

“Humacyte has an impressive platform and vision for producing revolutionary medical products for patients,” said Mr. Binder. “I am looking forward to participating in Humacyte’s Board and helping to guide the company through its next phase of growth.”

Mr. Shukla notes that “Humacyte has the potential to radically improve clinical care for patients and physicians across multiple indications while reducing overall costs for payors. I am excited to work with the Humacyte Board and Team to fulfill this vision.”

Subject to approval by the AHAC stockholders, the changes to the Board of Directors will be effective at the closing of the business combination between Humacyte and AHAC, expected in the third quarter of 2021.

“The post-merger Board composition will provide an important balance of continuity, along with expert commercial and financial perspectives, that will be invaluable as we enter the public markets,” said Dr. Niklason. “We are grateful to all our current and future directors for their support of Humacyte’s universally implantable human tissues, which we believe will transform medicine and improve patient care.”

On February 17, 2021, AHAC, a special purpose acquisition company, and Humacyte announced the execution of a definitive business combination agreement along with a fully committed $175 million PIPE financing agreement.

Additional Information on Humacyte’s Director Nominees:

Gordon M. Binder – Mr. Binder served as the Chief Executive Officer of Amgen, Inc. from 1998 through 2000. Mr. Binder joined Amgen in 1982 as Chief Financial Officer, having previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of System Development Corporation, a computer system and software company, and in financial management positions at Litton Industries and Ford Motor Company. After retiring from Amgen, Mr. Binder founded Coastview Capital LLC, a biotech venture capital firm. Mr. Binder currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEUVOGEN, Inc., a private immunoncology company. Mr. Binder has also served as the Chairman of BIO, the biotechnology industry trade association, and as Chairman of PHRMA, the pharmaceutical industry trade association. He has served as a member of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, the American Enterprise Institute and Pepperdine University. Mr. Binder is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the author of Science Lessons: What the Business of Biotech Taught Me About Management. Mr. Binder holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar.

Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Brown currently serves as the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and MIT since May 1992 and October 2005, respectively. Dr. Brown has also served as an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital since May 1992. Dr. Brown currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the Simmons Foundation, the National Academy of Medicine Forum on Neurological Disorders and the board of PASCALL Systems, Inc., an early-stage medical device startup. Dr. Brown is a member of the National Academy of Inventors, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Brown holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, a Ph.D. and M.A. in Statistics from Harvard University and a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College.

Michael T. Constantino – Mr. Constantino is a retired Ernst & Young LLP assurance partner who served in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina for over 30 years. From 2009 to 2012, he served as the Office Managing Partner for the combined Raleigh/Greensboro office of Ernst & Young with over 200 employees. Currently, Mr. Constantino serves as the member of the Board and the Chairman of the Audit Committee of 9 Meters Biopharma, Inc., a Nasdaq-listed clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. He is also the Chair of the Board for the NC State Foundation and Chair of the Board of The Green Chair Project, and serves on the Advisory Board for CREO, Inc., an RTP-based consultancy focused on growth management and data transformation services. Mr. Constantino holds a B.A. in both Accounting and Business Management from NC State University and is a North Carolina Certified Public Accountant, or CPA. If elected, Mr. Constantino is expected to serve as Chair of Humacyte’s Audit Committee.

Brady W. Dougan – Mr. Dougan has served as the chair of the Humacyte Board since March 2019 and as a member of its Board of Directors since 2005. Since July 2015, Mr. Dougan has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exos. From May 2007 through June 2015, Mr. Dougan served as Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Board of Credit Suisse Group AG and Credit Suisse AG, steering the bank through the financial crisis of 2008 and various reforms and changes in the banking industry. Prior to that time, Mr. Dougan served in various leadership positions at Credit Suisse. Mr. Dougan currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Chicago. Mr. Dougan holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago. Mr. Dougan has been a member of Humacyte’s Board since the Company’s founding.

Jeffrey H. Lawson, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Lawson has served as Humacyte’s Chief Surgical Officer since November 2020 and as a member of Humacyte’s Board of Directors since July 2018. Dr. Lawson also is an Adjunct Professor of Surgery and Pathology at Duke University. Prior to Dr. Lawson’s appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer, he served as Humacyte’s Chief Medical Officer from October 2015 to January 2019. Prior to joining Humacyte, Dr. Lawson held various professorships in surgery and pathology at Duke University Medical Center beginning in 1999. Dr. Lawson is an active physician-surgeon-scientist and is an internationally recognized leader in the areas of peripheral vascular surgery, hemodialysis access, blood coagulation, and cardiovascular device innovation. Dr. Lawson has worked closely with Humacyte since its founding. He has successfully developed a number of molecular, cellular, and tissue engineered technologies through basic science, translational animal research, first-in-man and large-scale human clinical trials. In this regard, Dr. Lawson has been directly involved with a number of cardiovascular technologies gaining both FDA approval and successful commercial launch in both the vascular biologics and the medical device space. Dr. Lawson has over 20 years of surgical experience in treating complex vascular surgery and arteriovenous access patients. Dr. Lawson also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Kidney Health Initiative (KHI), the American Board of Vascular Surgery (ABVS), the Vascular Access Society for the Americas (VASA), InnAVasc, and the Foundation for Women and Girls with Blood Disorders (FWGBD).

Laura E. Niklason, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Niklason is the founder of Humacyte and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since November 2020 and as a member of the Humacyte Board since 2004, and has served in a senior scientist capacity from 2005 through 2020. Dr. Niklason has served as an adjunct professor at Yale University since November 2020 and previously served as the Nicholas M. Greene Professor of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering at Yale University from 2006 to November 2020. She was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2014 and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering in 2015 and 2020, respectively. Dr. Niklason is currently on the board of directors of Self Study Inc., a private learning optimization technology company. Dr. Niklason holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Chicago and an M.D. from the University of Michigan. Dr. Niklason completed her residency training in anesthesia and intensive care unit medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and completed post-doctoral scientific training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Niklason has been a member of Humacyte’s Board since the Company’s founding.

Todd M. Pope – Mr. Pope has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of WellAir Group Ltd., a leading clean air solutions company, since February 2021. Prior to its acquisition by WellAir, Mr. Pope served as the Executive Chairman of UV Innovators, LLC, a developer of medical-grade handheld UVC disinfection technology, from February 2017 to February 2021. From 2008 to 2019, Mr. Pope served as the Chief Executive Officer of TransEnterix, Inc. (now Asensus Surgical, Inc.), a medical device company. He also previously served as worldwide president of Cordis, a multi-billion-dollar division within Johnson & Johnson’s medical device business. Mr. Pope currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of AdvaMed ACCEL and as a member of the Board of Directors of WELL Co, a private digital health company. Mr. Pope also serves on the Kenan-Flagler Board of Visitors and the Educational Foundation for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is the immediate past Executive Chairman of the Board. Time Magazine named Mr. Pope one of the “50 most influential people in healthcare 2018.” Mr. Pope holds a B.A. in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of North Carolina.

Kathleen Sebelius – Ms. Sebelius has served as a member of the Humacyte Board since September 2015. From April 2009 to June 2014, Ms. Sebelius served as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS. Prior to serving as Secretary of HHS, Ms. Sebelius was the Governor of Kansas and served two terms as the Kansas insurance commissioner and four terms in the Kansas Legislature. Ms. Sebelius currently serves on the board of directors of the following public companies: Devoted Health, Inc., Myovant Sciences Ltd., Grand Rounds Inc. and Exact Sciences Corporation. She also serves as a director of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Ms. Sebelius co-chairs the Aspen Institute Health Strategy Group and serves on advisory boards for the Dole Institute of Politics, Solera Health, Out Leadership, the Estee Lauder Foundation, and the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Ms. Sebelius holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas and a B.A. in Political Science from Trinity Washington University.

Rajiv Shukla – Mr. Shukla has served as AHAC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since inception and has two decades of buyouts, investments and operations experience in the healthcare industry. Mr. Shukla served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CNAC, a Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company, from June 2017 to August 2019. CNAC raised $144 million in proceeds from a Nasdaq initial public offering and successfully closed its initial business combination with DermTech, Inc., or DermTech, in August 2019. Since August 2019, Mr. Shukla has served as an independent director on the board of directors of InflammX Therapeutics, formerly known as Ocunexus Therapeutics, a clinical stage biotech company. From June 2013 to May 2015, Mr. Shukla served as Chief Executive Officer of Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Company (now Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd.), an Indian listed shipbuilding and defense manufacturing company. Between 2008 and 2013, Mr. Shukla worked as an investor at ICICI Venture, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Citi Venture Capital International. From 2001 to 2006, Mr. Shukla served as Senior Director at Pfizer, Inc. Mr. Shukla holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelors in Pharmaceutics from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Max Wallace, JD – Mr. Wallace has served as a member of the Humacyte Board since June 2005. Mr. Wallace served as Chief Executive Officer of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, or ABC, a not-for-profit corporation seeking to drive research and treatments for brain tumors, from August 2008 to December 2019. Prior to joining ABC, Mr. Wallace served as the Chief Executive Officer of TheraLogics, Inc. an early-stage biopharmaceutical company, and as President of Trimeris, Inc., a formerly public biopharmaceutical company founded by Mr. Wallace that created and brought to market a new class of drugs for the treatment of HIV, AIDS and other viral diseases and is now a part of Synageva BioPharma Corp. Mr. Wallace also founded and developed several other biopharmaceutical companies, including Cogent Neuroscience, Sphinx Pharmaceuticals Corporation, now a division of Eli Lilly & Company, and SARCO, Inc., now a part of PPD/Pharmaco, and co-founded and served as President of the North Carolina Bioscience Organization, the biotechnology industry’s trade organization in North Carolina. Mr. Wallace holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Florida. Mr. Wallace has been a member of Humacyte’s Board since the Company’s founding.

Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D. – Dr. Windham-Bannister has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC, a strategic advisory firm serving the life sciences and healthcare industries, since September 2015. From 2008 to 2015, Dr. Windham-Bannister served as founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, a $1 billion life sciences-dedicated investment fund. Dr. Windham-Bannister currently serves on the board of directors of Aridis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public late-stage biopharmaceutical company. She is the Chair of the National Board of Directors of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), serves on the board of directors of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Chairs the board of BioscienceLA, a nonprofit independent innovation catalyst organization. Dr. Windham-Bannister holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School and a Fellow in the Center for Science and Policy (CSAP) at Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.

 

 

 





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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.