Management Team

Frank Knuettel II

Interim CEO and CFO

Knuettel has 30 years of management experience, growing early-stage and smallcap public companies. He has spent most of his career as a Chief Financial or Chief Strategic Officer at early-stage companies. He has raised more than $300 million via venture, public equity and debt offerings. He has managed more than 15 mergers and acquisition and has handled large-scale licensing transactions with fortune 50 companies. Mr. Knuettel also holds numerous board positions, at both public and private companies, including 180 Life Sciences (ATNF), ECOM Medical, Murphy Canyon Acquisition Corp. (MURF) and Relativity Acquisition Corp. (RACY). He holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a BA from Tufts University.

Eric Lang

CMO

Dr. Lang is an Anesthesiologist and Pain Management Specialist with over 26 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. During his pharmaceutical career, he has had both broad-based drug and device development expertise in a variety of therapeutic areas. Dr. Lang has experience in designing development programs from early translational stages through phase III including the successful filing of several recent INDs and NDAs.  Dr. Lang began his career with J&J and later worked for Novartis, Javelin Pharmaceuticals, Grunenthal USA, Covance, EnteraBio and Nevakar Inc. Dr. Lang earned his MD from Ben Gurion University, Israel and completed post graduate training at Emory University in Atlanta.

Board of Directors

Todd Davis

Chairman, Board of Directors

Todd Davis is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Ligand. Mr. Davis has nearly 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical and life sciences operations and investing. He has been involved in over $3 billion of healthcare financings including growth equity, public equity turnarounds, structured debt and royalty acquisitions. He has led, structured and closed more than 40 intellectual property licenses, as well as royalty and hybrid royalty-debt transactions. Prior to founding RoyaltyRx Capital, Mr. Davis was a founder and Managing Partner at HealthCare Royalty Partners (formerly Cowen HealthCare Royalty Partners), a global healthcare investment firm. Previously, he was a partner responsible for biopharmaceutical growth equity investments at Apax Partners. Mr. Davis began his career at Abbott Laboratories, where he held multiple sales and marketing positions of increasing responsibility. Subsequently he led corporate development and held strategic planning and general management responsibilities at Elan Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Davis is a navy veteran and holds a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He also serves on the boards of Palvella Therapeutics, a privately held biopharmaceutical company, Vaxart, a publicly traded biotechnology company, and ViroCell Biologics, Ltd., a privately held biotechnology company.

Ezra Friedberg

Board of Directors

Ezra Friedberg has served as a member of our Board since May 2021. Ezra is a seasoned investor with more than twenty years of investing experience in both public and private companies. He invests actively in the biotech space and has served on the board of directors of Humanigen (HGEN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company which develops monoclonal antibodies. Mr. Friedberg is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

Rick Malamut

Board of Directors

Dr. Malamut is currently Chief Medical Officer at MedinCell Inc. He was most recently Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President at Collegium Pharmaceuticals and has also served as Chief Medical Officer for Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was responsible for the company’s medical affairs, non-clinical and clinical development, clinical operations, research and development quality assurance, and pharmacovigilance functions. Prior to that, Dr. Malamut had similar responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals and was Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Development at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd where he was responsible for Pain, Neuropsychiatry, Oncology, and New Therapeutic Entities. His experience also includes roles of increasing responsibility focusing on early clinical development and translational medicine in Neurology, Psychiatry and Analgesia at Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.

Dr. Malamut earned his medical degree from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and completed both a residency in Neurology and a fellowship in Neuromuscular disease. He worked as a board-certified academic and clinical neurologist for 17 years and has more than 50 publications in the fields of pain medicine, neuromuscular disease, autonomic disease, and neurodegenerative disease.

Chia-Lin Simmons

Board of Directors

Ms. Simmons is the CEO of LogicMark, Inc. (Nasdaq: LGMK), the former CEO at LookyLoo and a former executive at Google, Harman International and Amazon.  She is a current Board Member of New Energy Nexus, an international NGO that support clean energy entrepreneurs. Ms. Simmons graduated Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from U.C. San Diego. She received her MBA from Cornell University, where she was a Park Leadership Fellow and her JD from George Mason University School of Law.

Scientific Advisors

Steve Waxman

Chair of Scientific Advisory Board

Stephen Waxman is the Bridget Flaherty Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Pharmacology at Yale University, and served as Chairman of Neurology at Yale from 1986 until 2009. He founded the Neuroscience & Regeneration Research Center at Yale in 1988 and is its Director. Prior to moving to Yale, he worked at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. He is a Visiting Professor at University College London. Dr. Waxman received his BA from Harvard, and his MD and PhD degrees from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is tightly involved in our clinical development and arguably the leading expert in NaV1.7/Erythromelalgia, resulting from his work in leading an international coalition that identified sodium channel mutations as causes of peripheral neuropathy (PNAS, 2012). He has used atomic-level modeling to advance pharmacogenomics, first in the laboratory (Nature Comm., 2012), and then in the clinic in a paper (JAMA Neurology, 2016). His work is the basis for the new class of medications for neuropathic pain, underlying the development of CC8464.

Robert Dworkin

Chair of Scientific Advisory Board

Robert H. Dworkin received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from Harvard University. He is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Neurology, and Psychiatry and Professor in the Center for Health + Technology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Dworkin is Director of the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) public-private partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a Special Government Employee of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. He is an Associate Editor of Pain and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Canadian Journal of Pain and the Journal of Pain. Dr. Dworkin’s major research interests are (1) methodologic aspects of analgesic clinical trials and (2) treatment and prevention of chronic and acute neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. The primary focus of his current research involves the identification of factors that increase the assay sensitivity of clinical trials to detect differences between an active and a placebo control or comparison treatment. In ongoing studies, he and his colleagues are examining the relationships between clinical trial results and their research designs, patient characteristics, statistical methods, and outcome measures.