Tomi Sawyer, PhD

Tomi Sawyer, Ph. D. is Founding Chief Drug Hunter and President of Maestro Therapeutics. Previously, Tomi was a Distinguished Scientist at Merck & Company, Founding Chief Scientific Officer at Aileron Therapeutics and Senior Vice-President of Drug Discovery at Ariad Pharmaceuticals (now Takeda). He is a peptide, peptidomimetic, de novo nonpeptide, small molecule and natural product drug hunter and has contributed to the discovery of three marketed drugs (Scenesse®, Iclusig® and Ridaforolimus), a Phase II clinical candidate (ALRN-6924) and past preclinical development of renin inhibitors, HIV protease inhibitors, Src SH2 antagonists and dual Src/Bcr-Abl kinase inhibitors. Tomi is credited with >600 scientific publications, patents, and presentations.

Luisa Salter-Cid, PhD

Luisa Salter-Cid, Ph.D. is the Chief Scientific officer (CSO) at Pioneering Medicines, where she is responsible for spearheading a portfolio of groundbreaking treatments. Dr. Salter-Cid is a highly respected scientist, and drug discovery and development leader, with more than 20 years of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Luisa was previously the CSO at Gossamer Bio, and spent more than a decade at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), where she most recently served as Vice President and Head of Immunology, Small Molecule Immuno- Oncology and Genomics Discovery. At BMS she oversaw the development of several therapeutics for autoimmune diseases and cancer. Luisa is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Anaptys, GPCR, Imimidomics and Attovia, and was previously on the SAB of Prometheus, Ambrx and Ventyx Bio and on the Board of Directors of Jounce Therapeutics. She has authored over 90 publications and patents.

Joel Gelfand, MD MSCE

Joel Gelfand, M.D. M.S.C.E. is the James J. Leyden Professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He is a globally recognized expert in psoriasis, clinical epidemiology, drug safety, and clinical trials. Dr. Gelfand is the author of over 330 scientific publications, editorials, reviews, and textbook chapters. He is a past Associate Editor of Pharmaco-epidemiology and Drug Safety and is currently Deputy Editor for Clinical Research of the Journal Investigative Dermatology. He is the recipient of many awards, and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. His research redefined psoriasis as a systemic inflammatory disease that enhances the risk of cardiovascular events and premature mortality resulting in changes in standard of care guidelines. The overarching goal of his research and clinical practice is to improve psoriasis patient outcomes in the skin and joints, while lowering the risk of diabetes, CV disease and mortality.

David Brayden, PhD

David Brayden, Ph. D. is Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery at University College Dublin (UCD) School of Veterinary Medicine and a Senior Fellow of the UCD Conway Institute. David is a Co-Principal Investigator of the Science Foundation Ireland Centre Medical Devices and is the coordinator of BUCCAL-PEP, an EU Horizon Consortium working on buccal peptide delivery. David is the author or co-author of more than three hundred research publications and patents in the area of delivery of peptides and proteins. In 2021 he was appointed the first Chief Editor of Frontiers in Drug Delivery. David was elected as a Fellow of the CRS (2012) and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (2017), and as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (2024). He was appointed by the Minister of Health as Chairperson of Ireland’s National Research Ethics Clinical Trials Committee D in 2024.

Joel Barrish, PhD

Joel Barrish, Ph.D., is a Venture Partner at RA Capital focusing on new company creation in addition to his role at Avilar Therapeutics. Prior to his current roles, Joel was co-founder, President & CSO at Jnana Therapeutics and EVP & CSO at Achillion Pharmaceuticals, where he led research efforts on Factor D inhibitors leading to the discovery of vemircopan in hematology and nephrology. Most of Joel’s career was spent as a medicinal chemist in pharma, primarily at BMS where he was VP & Global Head of Discovery Chemistry. During his time there, Joel led teams responsible for advancing more than 50 compounds into clinical development including SPRYCEL® (dasatinib) in CML which he co-invented, as well as SOTYKTU® (deucravacitinib) for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Joel was also instrumental in developing the dual-acting endothelin angiotensin receptor antagonist (DARA) concept which resulted in FILSPARI® (sparsentan) for the treatment of IgA Nephropathy. He is a co-author on over 140 publications and co-inventor on 40 issued U.S. patents.