Mr. Palekar was named President and Chief Executive Officer in December 2015. Mr. Palekar joined Avanir in 2012, as Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer and successfully led the sales and marketing organization through dramatic growth and change. In March 2015, Mr. Palekar assumed the role of EVP & Chief Operating Officer, leading the commercial, finance, legal affairs, human resources, business development, and corporate administration functions.
Mr. Palekar has over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to Avanir, Mr. Palekar served as Chief Commercial Officer for Medivation, where he was responsible for commercial, medical affairs and manufacturing. From 1991 to 2008, he held several senior commercial and strategic management roles, the most recently of which was Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Centocor. Prior to that, Mr. Palekar was the Worldwide Vice President of Immunology for J & J and held senior marketing leadership roles at McNeil Consumer and Specialty Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Palekar earned his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration Dartmouth College and his BA/BS in Law and Accounting from the University of Bombay.
Dr. Siffert serves as our executive vice president research & development and chief medical officer. Dr. Siffert joined Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in August 2011 as senior vice president research and development. Dr. Siffert previously served as vice president and chief medical officer at Ceregene, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of neurotrophic gene therapies for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Prior to this position he served as the chief medical officer at Avera Pharmaceuticals, a CNS specialty pharma company. Prior to joining Avera, Dr. Siffert held positions with Pfizer as the worldwide medical team leader of Lyrica and Neurontin focusing in areas of pain and epilepsy and as medical director for Relpax. He was instrumental in the Phase 3b/4 program development and global launch of Lyrica. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Siffert held academic positions at Beth Israel Medical Center, where he served as director of the Adult Neuro-Oncology program, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he was assistant professor of neurology. During his tenure at Beth Israel, Dr. Siffert was actively involved in clinical research of novel therapies for patients with brain and spinal cord tumors. He completed residencies in pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine and in neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Siffert was certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry in 1996. He holds an M.D. degree from the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine as well as an M.B.A. degree from Columbia University Business School.
Jim Beitel leads key business functions of the company including finance, information technology, corporate communications, facilities, business development, and alliance management organizations. In addition, he is responsible for corporate strategy required to enable and sustain Avanir’s leadership position in the neuroscience market.
Mr. Beitel joined Avanir in 2011 as head of business development and played a key role in enabling Avanir’s growth into a multi-product organization and successful acquisition by Otsuka. He has a strong track record in corporate development, sales, marketing, finance and strategy with a variety of companies including Amgen, La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company, Avanir and Zacharon.
Mr. Beitel holds an MBA from Harvard and a degree in Engineering from the University of Kansas.
Ms. Adams joined the Company in October 2015 as Vice President and General Counsel, Law Department. She oversees all aspects legal support for Avanir including providing strategic business advice and working closely with the President and other executive team members to constructively influence and execute decisions and policies. Under her leadership, the Law Department is responsible for counselling Avanir on FDA regulatory matters, product life cycle management, drafting and negotiating commercial and government contracts, employment law, corporate transactions and governance, and assisting the Chief Compliance Officer with the development and enforcement of the company and departmental policies.
Ms. Adams’ experience comprises 16 years of pharmaceutical practice including direct experience on marketing and brand teams. Ms. Adams joins the Company from Onyx Pharmaceuticals, where she was most recently Associate General Counsel and Head of Law. In her role with Onyx Pharmaceuticals, she led the transition of Onyx from an independent company to an Amgen subsidiary with a shared G&A infrastructure while supporting all legal and regulatory matters, and commercial transactions, including contract negotiation, drafting and administration. She served as a member of the senior leadership team and provided strategic legal and business advice in various areas. Prior to joining Onyx, Ms. Adams was Director, Global Commercial Operations at Amgen supporting the Oncology and Nephrology Business Units and supporting the implementation of Amgen’s Corporate Integrity Agreement. Prior to her time at Amgen, she was Senior Corporate Counsel at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and at Eli Lilly and Company.
Ms. Adams graduated from Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis with a Doctor of Law (J.D.) Law and is a member of the American Bar Association.
Mr. Maei was appointed Vice President of Business Planning & Alliance Management in March 2015. Mr. Maei is responsible for all aspects of the Otsuka/Avanir alliance and is additionally responsible for planning international aspects of the business.
Mr. Maei has 17 years of international experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Avanir, Mr. Maei held the role of senior director of business planning and execution for Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Europe. He previously served in marketing leadership roles at Otsuka, Japan and Otsuka America. Mr. Haei started his career as a medical representative for Otsuka in Tokyo.
Mr. Maei graduated from St. Paul University, Tokyo with a degree in Life Science.
Joanna L. Moore joined Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in August 2012 as vice president & chief compliance officer. In this role, Ms. Moore is responsible for leading the company’s ethics and compliance program. Ms. Moore has over 20 years of experience covering areas of compliance, U.S. and international transactions, licensing and risk management.
Most recently, she served as assistant general counsel and senior director compliance at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior roles include positions at Mallinckrodt, Inc. and Arnstein & Lehr.
Ms. Moore earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School and her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois.
Michael E. McFadden is senior vice president of sales and marketing. In this role, Mr. McFadden is responsible for staffing, training and leading the planned NUEDEXTA® specialty sales force as well as leading the development of all strategies and activities related to managed markets; including national health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, state Medicaid, trade relations, long term care, government affairs, and contract administration. Mr McFadden also is responsible for all aspects of marketing NUEDEXTA® in outpatient and institutional healthcare settings to key stakeholders including healthcare providers, patients and payers Mr. McFadden joined Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in May 2010 as vice president of U.S. sales and managed markets.
Mr. McFadden’s 20 years of pharmaceutical commercial experience includes the selling and marketing of several successful blockbuster prescription products. Prior to joining Avanir, Mr. McFadden served in various leadership roles in sales and managed care at Amylin Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for building and leading sales and managed markets teams and launching two first-in-class diabetes products. Prior to his tenure at Amylin, Mr. McFadden held commercial roles at Pharmacia and Eli Lilly and Company.
Mr. McFadden graduated from University of Louisiana at Monroe with a degree in Business Administration.