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.
Jotin Marango, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Chief Business Officer
Prior to joining Aptose, Dr. Jotin Marango was a managing director, senior research analyst at Roth Capital Partners covering biotechnology and therapeutics. Dr. Marango joined Roth from H.C. Wainwright & Co., where he covered hematology, oncology, and pulmonary therapeutics, with a focus on epigenetic and molecularly targeted therapies. Dr. Marango began his career in equity research with Collins Stewart/Canaccord Genuity. Previously, Dr. Marango also served as Chief Operating Officer at the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, where he oversaw academic collaborations in translational therapeutics, as well as venture philanthropy initiatives in drug development. Dr. Marango studied theoretical chemistry and classical literature at Harvard University and later received his Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
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.
George P. Melko, Pharm.D
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Dr. Melko brings more than 20 years of senior regulatory experience to Aptose, with a strong focus on oncology. Most recently he served as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for biotechnology companies Tmunity Therapeutics and Tessa Therapeutics, which included developing regulatory strategy operations, policy and procedure design, serving as an FDA liaison and document preparation/submission. Prior, he held senior regulatory positions with Incyte Corporation, where he oversaw the preparation and submission of Investigational New Drug (IND), European Medicines Agency (EMA), and FDA applications, led NDA preparations, as well as managed a collaboration with Merck on a combination therapy. A decade of regulatory experience at large pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi) further contributes to his extensive knowledge of drug development, medical and regulatory affairs in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the United States and Europe.
Victor Montalvo-Lugo, B.S., M.Sc.
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Victor Montalvo-Lugo joined Aptose as the Vice President of Clinical Operations, with more than 22 years of biopharmaceutical experience and 11 years of academic and scientific research experience. He demonstrated increased responsibilities across large pharma companies (Eli Lilly, Novartis) and biotechnology companies (Amgen, MedImmune, and Emergent BioSolutions), ranging from Clinical Research Associate to Senior Director. 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 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.