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Dr. Alan Lewis

Chair Scientific Advisory Board - San Diego Operations

Dr. Lewis is currently CEO and Director of DiaVacs, Inc., a private biotechnology company focused on reversing Type 1 Diabetes. From October 2012 to March 2014, Dr. Lewis was CEO of Medistem, Inc., a public biotechnology company and developer of stem cell therapies that was acquired by Intrexon Corporation. From July 2010 until November 2011, Dr. Lewis was Chairman, President and CEO of cancer drug developer Ambit Biosciences, Inc. which was subsequently acquired by Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited. From January 2009 until June 2010, Dr. Lewis was President and CEO of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. From February 2006 until December 2008 he was President and CEO of Novocell (aka Viacyte) a regenerative disease biotechnology company.

Prior to that Dr. Lewis served as CEO and Director of Signal Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Celgene corporation. He was named President of Celgene's Signal Research  Division in San Diego, where he directed its drug discovery programs in oncology and inflammation. He had previously been Vice President of Research of Wyeth in Princeton, NJ. Dr. Lewis holds a BSc. in Physiology and Biochemistry from Southampton University and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Wales in Cardiff and completed his postdoctoral training at Yale University. He is on the board of directors for Biomarin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he chairs the science and technology committee, and Assembly Biosciences and Scancell.

Dr. Emma S. Tomlinson Guns

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Guns is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urologic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at UBC. She co-directs the Pharmacology and Drug Design Core at the Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) and has completed pharmacokinetic analyses for numerous local clinical trials with conventional therapeutics for the treatment of prostate cancer (PCa). Her research group has received >$4 million in research funding during the past 10 years for research focused on several areas pertaining to the development, treatment and progression of PCa and she has published >50 original articles. In conjunction with her core responsibilities at VPC, Dr Guns’ research group recently helped redefine an important resistance phenomena involved in castration resistant progression, i.e. tumour derived steroid formation. Her lab has also more recently developed an interest in microvesicles as conveyors of treatment resistance and cell survival signaling during cancer progression.

Another significant aspect of her research is orientated around the use of natural health products (NHPs) and dietary supplements by prostate cancer patients and, in addition to her being a current board member for the Society for Integrative Oncology (, she is a co-founder and former President (2011-2013) of the Natural Health Products Research Society of Canada ( The concurrent use of NHPs with conventional chemotherapeutics/treatment strategies have been an important focus and interest of her lab - to help patients and caregivers to discern both beneficial and adverse interactions with NHPs. Dr. Guns has served/sits on a number of grant review panels including the US DoD, CCSRI, PCF/Movember UK, CIHR, PCFRC and MSFHR.


Dr. Sanjeev Thohan

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Thohan is a Senior Director of preclinical safety at Xeris Pharmaceuticals. He holds MS and PhD degrees in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Arizona and University of Maryland with concentrations in interspecies drug metabolism mechanisms, bioactivation, and systems toxicology. Sanjeev has extensive experience in Oncology drug discovery and development from his time at Novartis and Exelixis. He was a Senior Research Fellow in Preclinical/Translational Sciences at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in the Oncology, Anti-infectives and Cardiovascular medicines therapeutic areas. Dr. Thohan has held positions in increasing responsibility in ADME, DMPK and TOX areas of preclinical research with small and large organizations (Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, Covance, AstraZeneca, ViroPharma, Exelixis and Novartis). Sanjeev continues to be a contributing member of several national/international scientific societies. He actively serves on the advisory boards for several entrepreneurial corporations including an NIH collaborative platform with the centers for Advancing Innovation.