EXECUTIVE PROFILES

Dr. Michael Luther, President and CEO of Bantam Pharmaceutical, has over 25 years of experience in successfully leading bio-pharmaceutical organizations and companies at the interface of science and business.

Prior to joining Bantam, Dr. Luther was most recently the Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for Albany Molecular Research (AMRI). In this role, he was responsible for AMRI’s global discovery and development businesses. Before AMRI, Michael was the Corporate Vice President of Global Discovery Research for Charles River Laboratories.

Dr. Luther has spent 25 years in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, including serving as the Vice President and Site Head at the Merck-Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research in Montreal. In this role, he led drug discovery to proof of concept efforts for Inflammation and Metabolic Disease. Dr. Luther was also with GlaxoSmithKline for over 16 years in a number of positions of increasing responsibility including his last role as a Vice President in Discovery Research. In his various roles at GSK, he was responsible for leading several successful discovery teams that led to launch of new medicines as well as leading some of the pharmaceutical industry’s initial efforts in both personalized/precision medicine and drug repositioning.

Dr. Luther holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry from North Carolina State University, a doctorate degree in Biochemistry from the St. Louis University School of Medicine, and an MBA from Duke University. He is the author of over 45 scientific publications, and holds issued patents in diagnostics and pharmaceutical discovery and development.

Dr. Luther was one of the founding board members for both the College of Life Sciences Research Foundation at North Carolina State University, and the Quebec Drug Discovery Consortium. He is a board member at Transgenomic Inc. In addition, he is on the board of directors for The Chagas Disease Foundation, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the North Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Dr. Matthew J. Kostura, Chief Scientific Officer, received his PhD in Biology from the University of Maryland followed with post-doctoral research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. His graduate and post-doctoral research interests were in translational regulation by small molecules and by viral RNA. Dr. Kostura has gained over 25 years of experience in drug discovery and early development from target validation through clinical proof of concept in scientific and management roles in large pharma while at Merck Research Labs and GlaxoSmithKline. In addition, he has significant experience in more entrepreneurial roles in start-up ventures. While at TransTech Pharma, he served as the SVP of R&D, directing a research team of 35 scientists conducting drug discovery and development research in oncology, immunology and inflammation, metabolic disease and neurodegenerative disorders.   That effort resulted in the progression of four compounds into first-in-human studies.   Dr. Kostura possesses an in-depth knowledge of the development and use of high-content, multi-modal, phenotypic screening models that are increasingly being used to discover compound mechanism of action as well as biomarkers useful for compound evaluation from bench to clinic. Currently, Dr. Kostura is the CSO at Inanovate, Inc. a startup venture developing technology to discover and bring to market diagnostic and prognostic tests for breast cancer.

Michael Stocum, Head of Business Development: In his 25-plus year industry career, Michael has impacted products across several therapeutic areas, holding corporate roles in pharmaceuticals with GlaxoWellcome/GSK, biologics at Organon (now Merck) and molecular diagnostics at Organon Teknika (now bioMerieux) plus three biotech start-ups.  He has also operated a life sciences consulting services company he founded in 2004.

A two-time CEO (Inivata and On-Q-ity), his roles have spanned bench research to product, business and commercial development.  Throughout his career, he has delivered to market or enhanced the development of numerous medicines in several disease areas including cancer (Onco-TICE BCG, Tykerb/Tyverb and Votrient), infectious diseases (abacavir in multiple fixed-dose drug formulations) and cardiometabolic diseases (Avandia) along with multiple innovative molecular testing products such circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) liquid biopsy, circulating tumor cells (CTCs), HIV-1 RNA and HBV DNA viral load tests. In 2004 Michael founded Personalized Medicine Partners (PMP) to provide global strategic business consulting and operational capabilities for biopharmaceutical, diagnostic and research/clinical services companies, specializing in product development and commercialization of integrated therapeutic and biomarker/companion diagnostic programs.  Michael and his network that supports PMP has been instrumental in founding and providing executive management to several companies, including most recently, Inivata, a company spun out of the University of Cambridge (UK) in 2014 that is currently commercializing its lung cancer product in the US market.  He is currently exploring opportunities to create a new innovative cancer therapeutic company to transform patient care.

Michael is the founding and past chair of the Personalized Medicine Division of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and has been dedicated to advancing the field of Personalized Medicine. He has also served or is currently serving on several Company Boards, is an industry advisor to the Professional Sciences Masters in Microbial Biotechnology program at NC State University (NCSU) and recently joined the Center for Innovation Management Studies at NCSU as an Industrial Fellow.

Michael earned dual B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Microbiology from NCSU, with a minor in Genetics and a Masters in Biotech Management, now a cornerstone of the MBA program in the College of Management that was created in the years following his graduation in 1992.

Dr. Alan Cooper, Head of Chemistry, is a medicinal chemistry leader with over 38 years of experience leading preclinical drug discovery research and early stage clinical trials at both Schering-Plough Research Institute and Merck Research. His areas of expertise are in oncology, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and immunology (rheumatoid arthritis) drug discovery. He participated in the discovery of several marketed drugs such as Posaconazole®, Noxafil®, Isepamicin®, Lonafarnib® and Netilmicin®. Additionally, he directed the development of a second generation farnesyl protein transferase inhibitor (backup to Lonafarnib®) for the inhibition of tumor cell growth while at Schering-Plough Research Institute. More recently Dr. Cooper led a multidisciplinary/multisite team to develop an ERK kinase inhibitor for the treatment of cancer that is presently in clinical trials.

Dr. Cooper holds a PhD in Chemistry from Rutgers University and is the author of over 100 publications and patents and patent applications. At present, Dr. Cooper is principal at Cooper MedChem Consulting, LLC. He is also an adjunct professor at Montclair State University teaching medicinal and organic chemistry.

Dr. Cooper is an ACS Fellow and very active within the American Chemical Society. He is presently a national councilor for the last 20 years representing the North Jersey Section and is a past chair of that Section. He has served on numerous committees nationally, regionally and locally and is presently serving on the Committee on Committees (ConC) which is one of three council elected committees. He has also served on a number of ACS Presidential Task forces.

Dr. Andy Anantha, Head of CMC, is the President of AVA Pharma Consultants and has over 30 years of experience in successfully conducting research and development in bio-pharmaceutical organizations and companies in the CMC space for both NCEs and Generics.

Prior to AVA Pharma Consultants, Dr. Anantha was most recently the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development & Quality at vTv Therapeutics. In this role, he was responsible for complete CMC development and regulatory filings. Several lead candidates were taken to IND, Phase 1, 2 and Phase 3 stage. Before vTv Therapeutics, Dr. Anantha was the General Manager of Research at Torrent Pharma, India on both NCE and ANDA fronts. Responsibilities included API, formulation and Analytical development activities and Regulatory filings.  Dr. Anantha has spent 30 years in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, including serving as a Manager/Principal Scientist at Wyeth Research for 9 and 1/2 years. of In this role, in addition to research and development in Analytical and Quality, he led interdisciplinary team of scientists on projects from CMC side. Other experience includes 7 years in the Generics research and development area at G & W labs.

​Dr. Anantha is an author of several peer reviewed publications and was a secretary and is a member at the API manufacturing division of American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences.