Board of Directors

Dr. Lars Ekman / Chairman


Dr. Ekman has been our Chairman since September 2012 and prior to that was our Executive Chairman from April 2011 to August 2012. Dr. Ekman has been a member of our Board since November 2010. He served as our President from April 2011 to August 2012. Dr. Ekman also currently serves as an executive partner of Sofinnova, a venture capital fund, a position he has held since April 2008. From January 2001 to December 2007, Dr. Ekman was Executive Vice President and President of Research & Development at Elan Pharmaceuticals, a neuroscience-focused biotechnology company.

Prior to joining Elan, Dr. Ekman was Executive Vice President, Research and Development at Schwartz Pharma AG, a biopharmaceutical company, from February 1997 to January 2001. Prior to joining Schwartz, Dr. Ekman served in various senior executive roles at Pharmacia (now Pfizer), a pharmaceutical company, for over 16 years. Dr. Ekman is the Chairman of Prothena Biosciences Limited and Amarin Corporation plc.  He serves on the Board of Directors of Spark Therapeutics, Inc and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. Dr. Ekman is a board certified surgeon with a Ph.D. in experimental biology. He obtained his Ph.D. and M.D. from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  

Dr. John (Jack) Geltosky / Director


Dr. Geltosky has served on our Board since September 2008. He is currently Managing Director of JEG and Associates, LLC, a business development consultancy firm focused on biotech and pharmaceuticals, a position he has held since September 2011.

From October 2007 to September 2011, Dr. Geltosky served as Senior Vice President of Business Development for Arizona Technology Enterprises, the technology transfer arm of Arizona State University. Prior to Arizona Technology Enterprises, Dr. Geltosky was Vice President of External Science, Technology and Licensing at Bristol Myers Squibb, or BMS, a public pharmaceuticals company, where he was responsible for the acquisition and licensing of, as well as coordinating due diligence efforts on, potential in- and out-licensing candidates. Prior to joining BMS, Dr. Geltosky was President and Chief Executive Officer of Message Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company. Prior to Message Pharmaceuticals, he was Vice President, Scientific Licensing, Worldwide Business Development at SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline). For 10 years, Dr. Geltosky held roles of increasing responsibility within Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Geltosky began his career as a research scientist at E.I. DuPont.

Dr. Geltosky serves on the Board of Directors of Sitka Biopharma, Inc. and ZOETIC Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Geltosky holds a B.S. in chemistry from Memphis State University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

Jim Heppell / Director


Mr. Heppell was our founding Chief Executive Officer and President and has served on our Board since May 2003. He is the past President and co-founder of BC Advantage Funds (VCC) Ltd., a venture capital corporation located in British Columbia. Prior to his involvement with BC Advantage Funds, Mr. Heppell was co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of Catalyst Corporate Finance Lawyers, a boutique corporate finance law firm representing life science and technology companies. Mr. Heppell currently serves as a director of a number of public and private life science companies. Mr. Heppell has a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Allison Hulme / Chief Operating Officer and Head of Research and Development


Dr. Hulme has been our Chief Operating Officer and Head of Research and Development since April 2011 and a member of our board of directors since October 2016. Dr. Hulme brings over 20 years of drug development experience to the company.  From January 2005 to October 2009, Dr. Hulme served as Executive Vice President of Autoimmune, Tysabri, Global Development and Head of Autoimmune and Tysabri Franchise at Elan Corporation, plc (also known as Elan Pharmaceuticals), a neuroscience-focused biotechnology company. She served as Executive Vice President and head of global development at Elan Pharmaceuticals from October 1995 to January 2005. Previously, Dr. Hulme held several positions in clinical research at Glaxo Wellcome Pharmaceuticals and served as lecturer at Luton University.  Dr. Hulme holds a first class honors Degree in Science from Luton University and a Ph.D. from Cranfield Institute of Technology.

Gerald T. Proehl / Director


Mr. Proehl has served on our Board since March 2014. He is currently director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dermata Therapeutics, LLC, a privately held company targeting diseases in dermatology. From January 2002, until its acquisition by Salix Pharmaceuticals, in January 2014, Mr. Proehl served as the President, Chief Executive Officer and director of Santarus, Inc. From March 2000 through December 2001, Mr. Proehl was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Santarus. From April 1999 to March 2000, Mr. Proehl served as Vice President, Marketing and Business Development of Santarus. Prior to joining Santarus, Mr. Proehl was with Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc., a global pharmaceutical company, for 14 years. At Hoechst Marion Roussel, Mr. Phoehl served in various capacities in multiple therapeutic areas and was responsible for the marketing of gastrointestinal products Carafate and Pentasa, among products in several other therapeutic areas. Mr. Proehl serves on the Board of Directors of Dermata Therapeutics, LLC, Tenax Therapeutics, Inc., Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Patara Pharma, LLC and Kinetek Sports, Inc. Mr. Proehl holds a B.S. in education from the State University of New York at Cortland, an M.A. in exercise physiology from Wake Forest University and an M.B.A. from Rockhurst College.

Randall E. Woods / Chief Executive Officer and President


Mr. Woods has been our Chief Executive Officer and President since August 2012 and a member of our board of directors since October 2012 and brings with him more than 40 years of biotech and pharmaceutical leadership experience.

Prior to joining Sophiris, Mr. Woods was serving as a consultant to a number of private biotechnology companies. From September 2007 until September 2011, Mr. Woods was President and Chief Executive Officer of Sequel Pharmaceuticals, a private biotechnology company.

Mr. Woods was the President and Chief Executive Officer of NovaCardia, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on cardiovascular diseases, until its acquisition by Merck & Co. From May 1996 until July 2003 and prior to NovaCardia, Mr. Woods was President and Chief Executive Officer of Corvas International, Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company focused on cardiovascular disease and cancer, until its acquisition by Dendreon Corporation in July 2003.

Before joining Corvas, he served as President of Boehringer Mannheim’s U.S. pharmaceutical operations from March 1994 until March 1996 and was Vice President of marketing and sales at Boehringer Mannheim from December 1993 to February 1994. Prior to that he spent 20 years at Eli Lilly & Company, a pharmaceutical company, in various sales and marketing positions from 1973 to December 1993. Mr. Woods is a past Chairman for the advisory board of UC San Diego’s Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center and is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors for BIOCOM, a life science industry association in Southern California.

Mr. Woods serves on the Board of Arena Pharmaceuticals. He received his B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Ball State University and an MBA in Marketing from Western Michigan University.