William G. Rice, Ph.D.

Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer

Through a rich blend of leadership roles in industry, government, and academic sectors, Dr. William Rice has accrued more than 25 years of know-how and forged a diverse set of skills, including executive, operational, business development, financial, product research, and development. Before Aptose, Dr. Rice served as the president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Cylene Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In that role he led the company’s strategic, financing, and business development activities, resulting in the development and sale of small molecule therapeutic programs designed to exploit CK2-mediated pathways and non-genotoxic mechanisms for activating p53 to kill cancer cells. Before Cylene, Dr. Rice was the founder, president, chief executive officer, and director of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He also served as a senior scientist and head of the Drug Mechanism Laboratory at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center and served as a faculty member in the division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Throughout his career, Dr. Rice has identified multiple new molecular drug targets, delivered multiple first-in-class drugs to the clinic, and published peer-reviewed findings in Science, Nature, Cancer Cell, Nature Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among other prestigious journals. Dr. Rice holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry from Emory University and was a postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Rafael Bejar, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Rafael Bejar is an internationally recognized physician scientist with extensive research and clinical experience in the area of hematologic malignancies. Dr. Bejar joined Aptose from UC San Diego where continues to serves as an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, cares for patients, and maintains a research laboratory focused on translational studies of myeloid malignancies. At UCSD, he founded the MDS Center of Excellence and led the Hematology Disease Team. There he has directed several clinical studies and served as an advisor for numerous companies including Celgene, Takeda, AbbVie, Astex, Genoptix, Forty Seven, PersImmune, and Daiichi-Sankyo. Outside UCSD, Dr. Bejar sits on the Scientific Advisory Board for the MDS Foundation, is a prior member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines Committee, and has led projects for the International Working Group for MDS. He is frequently invited to speak at national and international meetings and has published articles in a variety of journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Leukemia, Blood, and Blood Advances. Dr. Bejar has been board certified in Hematology and Oncology since completing his fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago followed by his residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where he later served a Medical Chief Resident and an Instructor in Hematology. He holds an MD degree and Neuroscience PhD from UCSD and a BS in Physics from MIT.

Fletcher Payne

Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Business Officer

With a healthcare tenure of more than two decades, Mr. Payne most recently served as CFO of Syapse, where he completed several financing transactions and oversaw accounting, finance, corporate development, and legal functions. Prior, he served as CFO at Catalyst Bioscience, a publicly traded biotech company. He served in a CFO capacity and senior financial positions at CytomX Therapeutics, Plexxikon Inc., Rinat Neuroscience Corporation, Dynavax Technologies Corporation, and Cell Genesys, among others. Mr. Payne holds a B.S. in Finance from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

Marc Wiles, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Dr. Wiles brings more than 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in the U.S.A., United Kingdom (UK), European Union (EU), Latin America and Asia Pacific regions to Aptose; with direct contributions and oversight of successful small molecule, liposomal, biologics, biosimilars, and oligonucleotides product approvals.  Therapeutics approvals to which Dr. Wiles has contributed include oncology, antibiotic, antiviral, anesthetic, and protein replacement treatments; including tenofovir, adefovir, NX1838 (Macugen), DaunoXome, AmBisome, Idursulfase, Replagal, products for other orphan indications, as well as biosimilar, new chemical entity, and generic drug product approvals.  Dr. Wiles brings a combination of decades of experience as both a bench scientist and regulatory affairs professional with expertise in US drug development and regulatory experience in drug development and regulatory affairs, gained from living and working in the EU and UK.  His experience includes hands on activities in both biotech and large pharma settings (Gilead, Shire, OSI, Baxter, NeXstar, Novexel (EU), Agenus Biosciences), as well as US and international regulatory consulting activities (ERA (UK), NDA Regulatory (UK), and Camargo).  Finally, Dr. Wiles has multiple years of experience as an educator at both undergraduate and graduate levels and holds a BA (Biology, Highest Honors) from Macalester College and a Ph.D. (Cell Biology and Microvascular Physiology) from Boston University.

Brooks Ensign, M.B.A., M.Acc.

Vice President, Controller

Mr. Ensign has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in accounting, finance and corporate development.  Having served as controller for multiple public and private companies, he also has consulted in audit and IPO preparations, SEC reporting, technical accounting, and strategic finance.  Mr. Ensign served in finance roles with Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, ISTA Pharmaceuticals and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, having begun his career with Valeant Pharmaceuticals (now known as Bausch Health) in corporate development.  He  holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Master’s in Accountancy from National University. Mr. Ensign is a combat veteran, having served as a U.S. Navy officer in the Persian Gulf.

Jia Hu, Ph.D.

Vice President, Biometrics

Dr. Jia Hu brings to Aptose more than 14 years of experience across biotech and contract research organizations (CROs). Most recently she served as Senior Director of Biostatistics and Programming at Heron Therapeutics, overseeing biostatistical and programming functions and providing statistical strategies for drug development across various therapeutic indications. Jia has served as lead statistician for multiple US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA) submissions and global approvals, including Lesinurad and Zynrelef. She has participated in interactions with multiple regulatory agencies, including the Chinese Ministry of Public Health (CMPH) and an FDA Advisory Committee meeting. She holds a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience and a M.S. degree in biostatistics from the University of Southern California.

Robert B. Killion Jr., Ph.D.

Vice President, CMC

Dr. Killion has been named to the newly established position of Vice President of Chemistry, Manufacture and Control (CMC) after having joined Aptose in 2020 as Senior Director, CMC. In this role, he assumes oversight of manufacturing, quality control and formulation development for CG-806 and APTO-253. Dr. Killion’s more than 20 years of CMC experience span roles in Relypsa, Gilead, Genentech, Roche and Syntex, and include responsibilities in developing, validating, and implementing quality control processes for clinical stage and commercial programs, oversight of stability management for commercial drug products and pharmaceutical ingredients, as well as responsibility for solid and liquid oral dosage formulation development.

Victor Montalvo-Lugo, B.S., M.Sc.

Vice President, Clinical Operations

Victor Montalvo-Lugo joined Aptose, in 2019,  as the Vice President of Clinical Operations with 25 years of biopharmaceutical experience and 11 years of academic and scientific research experience. Before joining Aptose, his increasing responsibilities across large pharma companies (Eli Lilly, Novartis) and biotechnology companies (Amgen, MedImmune, and Emergent BioSolutions) led to his role as Senior Director of Global Clinical Operations. In addition, Mr. Montalvo-Lugo worked in university, medical, and community hospital research for 11 years in the fields of oncology, coagulation, CNS, orthopedics, and inflammation. He has contributed to peer reviewed articles, clinical study reports, and presentations at corporate and national meetings. Mr. Montalvo-Lugo’s strategic leadership includes clinical research, monitoring, biologics, life sciences, vaccines, oncology, devices, infectious diseases, GCP compliance, global co-development registrations, management of cross-functional teams, merger & acquisitions, government clinical proposals, and strategic operational planning.  His industry experience includes planning and execution of clinical studies (national and international), process improvement, application of best practices, management experience, and collaboration with clinical research organizations/vendors. His passion is to spearhead cultural changes across organizations with the goal of improving communication and efficiencies across all functions and teams. Mr. Montalvo-Lugo obtained a Master's degree from Texas Tech University and a Bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Puerto Rico.