Board of Directors
Dr. Xu has served on Cesca’s board of directors since March 2016, and was appointed chairman and interim chief executive officer in November 2016. He brings to Cesca over 15 years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has contributed to numerous successful product launches. In 2009, Dr. Xu founded Boyalife Group, a China-based diversified life sciences holding company and is currently the principal shareholder of Cesca. Prior to founding Boyalife, Dr. Xu served as a project leader at Pfizer, as a director of research at two publicly-traded companies and as a vice president at Founder Group, a Chinese technology conglomerate focused on information technology, pharmaceuticals, real estate, finance, and commodities trading. Dr. Xu’s expertise spans several diverse therapeutic areas, including arthritis & inflammation, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, oncology and diabetes. He has authored over forty publications and has been recognized by numerous professional societies for his contributions to biomedical research. Dr. Xu received his Ph.D. in immunology from Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, USA) and an executive MBA from Emory University (Atlanta, USA).
Ms. Liu has served on Cesca’s board of directors since November 2016 and was appointed chief operating officer in February 2017. She has over 20 years of experience in finance, operations and M&A at both public and private biopharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining Cesca, Ms. Liu served as managing director at OxOnc Services Company, an oncology product development company. From 1994 to 2010, she served in various executive roles at NexMed, Inc., later renamed Apricus Biosciences Inc., which she co-founded. Ms. Liu obtained her MPA in international finance from the University of Southern California and her B.A. from the University of California, Berkley.
Dr. Rao is widely recognized as one of the world’s top stem cell researchers. He serves as a scientific advisor to the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) and has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of the stem cell field including government, academia, and business. Before joining NYSCF, Dr. Rao served as the director of the NIH Center for Regenerative Medicine since its founding in 2010. Prior to joining the NIH, Dr. Rao spent six years as the vice president of regenerative medicine at Life Technologies, Inc. (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) and, before that, served as the chief of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. He also co-founded Q Therapeutics, a neural stem cell company based in Utah. Dr. Rao is tenured at the University of Utah School of Medicine in both neurobiology and anatomy and has over 20 submitted and 10 issued patents. He holds an MBBS degree in medicine from the University of Mumbai and a Ph.D. in biology from Caltech.
Mr. Westgate joined Cesca’s Board of Directors in May 2017, and brings more than 20 years of finance and accounting experience working with both public and private life sciences companies. He currently serves as vice president, finance at PCT Cell Therapy Services, LLC, a Hitachi Group Company, which he joined in 2011. From 2002 to 2011, he was chief financial officer, treasurer and assistant secretary for NexMed, Inc., later renamed Apricus Biosciences, Inc. From 1998-2002, Mr. Westgate was group controller and treasurer of Lavipharm Corp., an international pharmaceutical research and development company. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in public accounting from Pace University.
Mr. Xu was appointed to the Board of Directors in November 2016. He is a practicing attorney and licensed CPA in the State of Illinois with over 18 year of experience in corporate operations strategy and litigation, including patent prosecution and litigation, intellectual property licensing, corporate strategic taxation planning, corporate restructurings and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Xu has served as general counsel of the Boyalife Group since January 2010, and has also served on the boards of various Boyalife subsidiaries and related companies since January 2012. Mr. Xu received an M.S. in electrical engineering and an MBA from the University of Mississippi. He received a J.D. and a Master of Laws (LLM) in taxation from DePaul Law School, as well as an LLM in intellectual property and an LLM in information technologies from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Xu is a patent lawyer licensed by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is licensed to practice in the U.S. Court of International Trade, as well as the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Illinois Supreme Court.
Dr. Thomis was appointed to the Board of Directors in January 2017. He brings more than 40 years of experience in drug discovery, clinical development and commercialization. After a short period in academia, Dr. Thomis played a major role in the development and registration of eight commercially successful cardiovascular and infectious disease products while at Bristol-Myers Squibb. He has also held senior clinical development roles at Quintiles, a global provider of pharmaceutical services, where he was instrumental in the growth of clinical research in Europe. He also specialized in designing and implementing effective regional and global clinical strategies as well as repositioning and restructuring organizations. Dr. Thomis is currently non-executive director at NovaQuest LLC, a private equity company and chairman of the board of Quotient Clinical, a translational pharmaceutics company. He previously served on the EMEA and American management boards of Quintiles as well as on the board of PDP Courier Services and Idis Group Holdings.
Dr. Medford was appointed to the board in February 2017. He is a managing partner of the Salutramed Group, LLC, a life sciences management consultancy, and has extensive private and public company expertise. He also serves as chief executive officer of healthEgames, Inc., a digital healthcare company and serves as the executive chairman of ViaMune, Inc., an immuno-oncology company. Dr. Medford has served as the co-founder, president, chief executive officer and director of AtheroGenics, Inc. and was a founding board member of Inhibitex, Inc., serving on its board until its acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2012. He has led companies through multiple stages of research and development, advancing novel, first-in-man clinical candidates for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. Dr. Medford obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.