Board of Directors

Cristina Csimma, PharmD, MHP Executive Chair

Cristina Csimma, PharmD, MHP, is a biopharmaceutical executive and former CEO, with fund raising, new company formation and drug development expertise in the biopharmaceutical industry, venture capital and academic settings. Her other current appointments include the Board of Directors of Juniper Pharmaceuticals and Neuralstem, Inc.; the Muscular Dystrophy Association Venture Philanthropy Scientific Advisory Committee; the Executive Oversight Board to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) NeuroNext Network; the External Oversight Committee of NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network; and the Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital MRCT Center External Advisory Board. She also served as Board Director at Vtesse Inc., a rare disease company acquired by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and Cydan where she was also President and founding CEO She was previously Vice President of Drug Development at Virdante Pharmaceuticals Inc., Principal at Clarus Ventures LLC, held roles in Clinical Development and Translational Research at Wyeth (now Pfizer), Genetics Institute, Inc., and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Csimma received her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and a Master of Health Professions from Northeastern University.

John Edwards, MBA Board member

John Edwards, MBA, has 30+ years of experience in discovery, development, and global commercialization of biopharmaceuticals, involving more than 10 U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved biologics at a series of successful biotechnology companies. Most recently, John helped F-star grow from a small technology company to a leading bispecific-development firm, raising more than $200 million in non-dilutive capital over three years. Previously, John held a leadership role at Adnexus, where the company grew from a start-up to a $450 million acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb within four years. He then continued with the company for next three years as President. Earlier, John served as Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Medical Affairs at Transkaryotic Therapies and had a 15-year tenure with Genetics Institute/Wyeth, where he held senior-level positions in R&D, manufacturing and marketing. Currently, John serves as executive chairman at F-star and Tilos. He began his career in R&D at Genzyme. He received his MBA from Boston University and his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Debra Miller Board member

Debra Miller co-founded CureDuchenne in 2003 with her husband, Paul, after their only son was diagnosed with Duchenne. Debra relies on her extensive background in sales and marketing to lead CureDuchenne. Her role includes overseeing all operations, research and financial resources as well as serving as the primary liaison to the Board of Directors. She is the decision maker, leader and manager in carrying out the mission of the organization. She works closely with the Scientific Board of Advisors in designing and implementing CureDuchenne’s medical research strategic plan. Debra earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to CureDuchenne, she had a career in publishing with positions in advertising sales and was an independent stock trader.

John Ripple Chief Executive Officer

John Ripple joined Exonics Therapeutics as Chief Executive Officer in 2017. Prior to Exonics, John served as CEO of Ensemble Therapeutics, Permeon Biologics, Virdante Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Momenta Pharmaceuticals in 2011), and Syntonix Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biogen  in 2007). He also founded Ripple Biotech to advise biopharmaceutical companies on strategy, business development and capital fundraising activities. John previously held positions as entrepreneur-in-residence at the venture capital arm of Partners Healthcare as well as positions in business development at Genetics Institute and Wyeth (now Pfizer), medical device marketing, and management consulting. He started his career as an aerospace engineer at NASA. John currently serves as a member on the Board of Overseers at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, and as an advisor to the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.  John received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Frank Grassler, JD Board Observer

Frank Grassler is an intellectual property and regulatory attorney and licensing executive with over 30 years of biopharma industry experience in law and business, covering preparation/prosecution, licensing, technology transfer, start-ups, acquisitions, portfolio management, and people management, as well as patent litigation, for IP and technology transfer departments. His technical areas have included chemical, biological, genetic, and mechanical inventions, including pharmaceuticals, biologicals, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, clinical trial outcomes, novel materials, and mechanical & electromechanical devices. His regulatory work has covered university & hospital research, development, and clinical programs and compliance with FDA, HIPAA, and FCPA. His affiliations include Gates Corporation, G. D. Searle, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead Sciences, Genentech/Roche and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where he currently serves as Vice President for Technology Development.

Eric Olson, PhD Scientific Founder and Board Observer

Eric Olson, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he also holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science, the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research, and the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects. Dr. Olson has dedicated his career to deciphering the mechanisms that control development and disease of the heart, cardiovascular system and skeletal muscle tissue. Dr. Olson has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to translate basic discoveries into new therapeutics for muscle disease, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.