In addition to his role as Protagenic Therapeutics’ Executive Chairman, Dr. Armen is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agenus Inc., the biotechnology company he co-founded in 1994. From mid-2002 through 2004, he also served as chairman of the board of directors of Elan Corporation, where he successfully engineered the restructuring of the company.
Prior to Agenus Inc., Dr. Armen established Armen Partners, a money management firm specializing in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and was the architect of the widely publicized creation of the Immunex Lederle oncology business in 1993. Earlier, he was a senior vice president of research at Dean Witter Reynolds, having begun his career on Wall Street as an analyst and investment banker at EF Hutton.
In 2002, Dr. Armen founded the Children of Armenia Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to significantly rebuilding and revitalizing impoverished rural Armenian towns to provide immediate and sustainable benefits to children and youth. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2004 for his humanitarian efforts, and received the Sabin Humanitarian Award from the Sabin Vaccine Institute in 2006 for his achievements in biotechnology and progressing medical research. Dr. Armen was also the Ernst & Young 2002 New York City Biotechnology Entrepreneur of the Year, and received a Wings of Hope Award in 2005 from The Melanoma Research Foundation for his ongoing commitment to the melanoma community. Dr. Armen received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, after which he worked as a research fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratories in Long Island, NY.
Chief Operating Officer
Andy Slee has taken several drugs from inception through all their pre-clinical and clinical testing, through commercial launches. During his 36 year pharmaceutical career he has worked with some of the most effective drug development teams. Spreading his influence beyond a single company, he created and ran his own Clinical Research Organization (CRO), VivoSource Laboratories, which for ten years provided preclinical proof of concept catering to biopharmaceutical companies. For the 16 years before that, Mr. Slee shepherded multiple pharma targets from inception onward at DuPont Pharmaceuticals. He is a graduate of Syracuse University.
Chief Medical Officer
In addition to his role as the Chief Medical Officer of Protagenic, Dr. Robert B. Stein is Senior Advisor, R&D for Agenus, Inc. and its cell therapy subsidiary AgenTus. He leads Agenus’ Research, Preclinical Development and Translational Medicine functions. He helps shape clinical development strategy for vaccines and adjuvants. Additionally, he lead integration of the 4-Antibody, PhosImmune, and Xoma Pilot Plant acquisitions, which includes the company’s fully human antibody drug discovery and optimization technology platform, and portfolio of immune checkpoint antibody programs. Over his 35 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry he played a pivotal role in bringing to the market Sustiva®, Fablyn®, Viviant®, PanRetin®, TargRetin®, Promacta® and Eliquis®. Prior to joining Agenus, he held executive management positions at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, DuPont Merck, Incyte Pharmaceuticals, Roche Palo Alto and KineMed. Dr. Stein began his career at Merck, Sharp and Dohme. He holds an MD and a PhD in Physiology & Pharmacology from Duke University.
Chief Financial Officer
In addition to his role as CFO of Protagenic, Dr. Arrow is the CFO of Carlsmed, Inc., a commercial-stage medical technology company leveraging machine learning technologies and prior outcomes data to personalize the treatment of complex adult spinal deformities. He also serves on the Boards of Zelegent, Inc., which sells a minimally-invasive tool for otolaryngologist sleep specialists to treat snoring, and Paragonix Technologies, which manufactures and sells the leading solid organ transport device. He previously served on the Board of Neumedicines, Inc., an immuno-oncology company developing a first-in-class broad-spectrum anti-cancer agent, and was a Director and the President and Chief Operating Officer of Biolase, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOL), the world’s lead manufacturer of dental lasers, where he also served as Chair of the Audit and Compensation committees of the Board of Directors. Prior to Biolase, Dr. Arrow was the Chief Medical Officer of Stanford-affiliated neuroscience company Circuit Therapeutics, Inc. Prior to that he spent five years as the Chief Financial Officer of cardiovascular device manufacturer Arstasis, Inc. As CFO of Arstasis, he was part of a team that raised over $100 million in five rounds and launched a first-in-class arterial access technology for interventional cardiologists. Before entering medical technology operating roles, Dr. Arrow spent nine years running medical technology equity research at three Wall Street firms, the last five years as the head of medical technology research at Lazard, Ltd. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Patent & License Exchange, Inc. He began his surgical residency at the UCLA Medical Center in 1996 before leaving to go into business. He has an MD from Harvard Medical School and a BA in Biophysics, magna cum laude, from Cornell University.
A founder of the company from the beginning in September 2004, Dr. Lovejoy holds a Ph.D. in Neuroendocrinology from the University of Victoria (Victoria, BC) and spent three years at the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology at the Salk Institute (San Diego, CA) as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Lovejoy took his first academic appointment at the University of Manchester (Manchester, UK), one of the United Kingdom’s top-ranking research universities. He joined the University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario) in 2000 and is currently Professor of Neuroendocrinology in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto. He is the author of more than 210 scientific publications including 3 books in the field and an Associate Editor for a scientific journal and is inventor or co-inventor on all of our intellectual property.
Dr. Barsyte received her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Manchester, UK. Her postdoctoral training at the University of Manchester and Ontario Cancer Institute, Canada focused on characterizing cellular signaling mechanisms. Dr. Barsyte is an inventor on one of the key Protagenic Therapeutics patents and author of over 50 scientific publications in oncology and neuroscience. Dr. Barsyte’s scientific interests include exploring chemical biology in therapeutic target validation through peptide or small molecule chemical probe compounds as well as novel in vitro models of disease based on patient derived cell culture.