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.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Ledru brings to Aptose more than 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in the U.S. and Europe, including innovative drug development and commercial and strategic experience at two top global oncology companies. Most recently, he served as Associate Vice President and Head of Oncology New Products at Merck & Co, where he was responsible for commercial leadership over the entire Merck oncology pipeline, over 25 assets from discovery to mid-stage clinical development, across major solid tumors and hematological malignancies. At Merck, he also provided leadership on all licensing and M&A activities, including the Peloton Therapeutics and Arqule acquisitions in 2019. Prior, Mr. Ledru spent a 20+ year career at Novartis in the U.S. and France, most recently as Senior Director of Early Commercial Strategy focused on oncology products. There he also was part of the brand team and had early commercial development and global marketing responsibilities for several new compounds, including midostaurin. Earlier at Novartis Oncologie, he helped lead launches of several oncology products, including imatinib (Gleevec), a landmark drug that has greatly improved the outcomes of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Mr. Ledru also held oncology product management and business development positions at Zeneca Pharma France/ICI Pharma.
Roger Davies, B.Sc., M.Phil
Vice President, Operations
Roger Davies joined Aptose in 2021 as Vice-President of Operations. He has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, in positions of increasing responsibility in both CROs and pharmaceutical companies. Mr. Davies started his clinical research career at a CRO, developing and managing health-care product studies, Phase I and II studies in healthy volunteers and patients, and studies that led to EU-wide approval of a polyvalent immunoglobulin for treatment of primary immune deficiency (PID) and immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). Later, Mr. Davies continued his career in the US, both at major CROs (IQVIA, Syneos, and ICON), where he was responsible for project management teams and large, complex, global Phase III studies, and at small and large biotechnology companies (Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Celgene, Novartis). During this time, Mr. Davies focused on oncology for more than 10 contiguous years, covering both solid and hematological tumors, and for the last five years also gained expertise in metabolic diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Mr. Davies’ research passion is oncology, and he is pleased to be involved in this therapeutic area again at Aptose. Mr. Davies gained a degree in Physiology from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, and a Master of Philosophy degree (M.Phil.) in physiology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
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 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.