David G. Watumull
President and CEO, Director
Mr. Watumull has more than twenty years experience as a biotechnology industry executive, analyst, and investment banker. He is co-founder of Cardax and co-inventor of the Cardax technology.
Previously, as CEO of Hawaii Biotech, he led efforts that resulted in more than $25 million in investor financing and $30 million in federal grant and contract funding. Hawaii Biotech’s dengue vaccine, which progressed significantly during his tenure from this funding, is undergoing late stage clinical development at Merck. He also started and led a West Nile virus vaccine program at Hawaii Biotech that achieved success in a human proof of concept study.
Prior to Hawaii Biotech, Mr. Watumull worked at Paine Webber as a biotech money manager and investment executive, First Honolulu Securities as a biotech money manager, biotech industry analyst, and investment banker, and Aquasearch as Executive Vice president, Finance and Strategic Direction. His clients during his analyst career included the Wisconsin Investment Board, the world’s largest biotech investor at that time. While at Paine Webber, Mr. Watumull helped obtain financing for Amgen, Genentech, and Centocor. At Aquasearch, he helped lead a dramatic increase in the company’s public market capitalization.
He was named one of Hawaii’s “Ten Who Made a Difference” by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for 1994. He and/or Cardax have also received several other awards recognizing biotech and small business in Hawaii. Mr. Watumull is also past Vice-Chairman of the Hawaii Science and Technology Council, the industry’s trade association in Hawaii.
Mr. Watumull graduated from Punahou School and attended Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna), majoring in mathematics, and has lectured at Claremont McKenna and the University of Hawaii business school.
David M. Watumull
Chief Operating Officer
With two decades of experience in the life sciences industry, David M. Watumull has extensive operations and project management experience, having served as Chief Operating Officer (2017-Present), Vice President, Operations (2013-2017), Director, Operations and Finance (2009- 2013), Operations Manager (2008-2009), and Program Manager (2006-2008) at Cardax; Program Manager (2005-2006), Project Coordinator (2004-2005), and IT Associate / Manager (2002-2004) at Hawaii Biotech, Inc.; and Medical Information Specialist / IT Associate (2000-2001) at Aquasearch, Inc.
Mr. Watumull oversees Cardax operations with responsibility for product development and manufacturing, sales and marketing, regulatory compliance, finance, and administration.
Mr. Watumull graduated first in his high school class and studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Hawaii.
Paresh N. Soni, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Clinical and Regulatory Strategist & SAB Member
Dr. Soni brings 20+ years of experience working with large and emerging pharmaceutical companies. He has led multidisciplinary teams across the entire drug development spectrum – from translational medicine to successful approval. As Head of Development at Amarin, Dr. Soni led the development of Amarin’s clinical trial and regulatory strategy for its natural product fish oil drug Vascepa. Dr. Soni will guide clinical and regulatory strategy for Cardax’s pharmaceutical platform, interact with the FDA, and advise the Company on a full range of development issues.
Previously, Dr. Soni served as the Chief Medical Officer of Albireo, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel bile acid modulators to treat orphan pediatric liver diseases. Prior to Albireo, Dr. Soni served as Vice President, Global Medical Sciences at Alexion Pharmaceuticals where he advanced Kanuna (sebilipase alpha) for Lysosomal Acid Lipase Deficiency.
Dr. Soni was the former Senior Vice President and Head of Development for Amarin Corporation. As Head of Development at Amarin, Dr. Soni led the development of Amarin’s clinical trial and regulatory strategy for its natural product fish oil drug Vascepa, including its MARINE, ANCHOR, and REDUCE-IT clinical studies. Vascepa was recently approved by the FDA for reduction of triglycerides in adult patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia.
Gilbert M. Rishton, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer
Gilbert M. Rishton, Ph.D. has led drug discovery programs in the pharmaceutical industry for over fifteen years, primarily at Amgen. He was the founding medicinal chemist at Amgen’s Thousand Oaks site, and was repsonsible for initiating and building the Amgen Small Molecule Drug Discovery Group, which has grown to become one of the most formidable in the pharmaceutical industry.
He was also the chemistry manager for Amgen’s Sensipar development program, which spanned several phases from preclinical development to manufacturing and then human clinical trials, resulting in the commercial launch of Sensipar, Amgen’s first orally administered small molecule product. He also led the medicinal chemistry program for Amgen’s Secretase Team, which was among the first to produce small molecule secretase inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Rishton is also Founder and Director of the Channel Islands Alzheimer’s Institute, a nonprofit whose mission is to enable new drug development through the identification of high quality novel drug leads that might become Alzheimer’s disease medicines of the future.
Timothy J. King, Ph.D.
Vice President, Research
Former Staff Scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, Washington, Dr. King has over 25 years of combined academic and private sector scientific research experience including utilizing cell culture and animal model systems to address a wide range of topics including cardiovascular disease, liver disease, thrombosis and cancer. In 1999, he obtained his Ph.D. in Genetics/Molecular Biology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he focused on the tumor suppressor and growth regulatory roles of gap junction proteins using cancer cell culture systems and mouse tumor models. Concurrently, he also studied the influence of retinoids and various carotenoids on normal and tumor cell growth/behavior, carcinogenesis and gene regulation. After graduation, he joined the FHCRC as a post-doctoral researcher where he investigated the combined and separate roles of gap junction proteins and cell cycle regulatory proteins on multi-organ tumorigenesis using several genetically-engineered mouse models. In 2004, he was appointed as a Staff Scientist at the FHCRC where he continued research until joining Hawaii Biotech, Inc. (Aiea, HI) as the Director of Cancer Chemoprevention from 2005-2006. Subsequently, he has served as Director of Biological Research (2006-2007) and Senior Director of Biological Research (2007-2009) at Cardax where as VP of Research he currently leads company scientific endeavors and has guided academic collaborations employing various animal models to evaluate drug efficacy in areas including atherosclerosis, thrombosis and liver disease. Dr. King also possesses an M.S. in Biology (Molecular Virology) from San Diego State University studying Rhadoviral transcription processes.
John B. Russell
Chief Financial Officer
John B. Russell, CPA, has served as our Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since January 2013. Mr. Russell has also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Pharma and Holdings since July 2013.
Mr. Russell is the founder of JBR Business Solutions, LLC and has served as its President since 2010. Mr. Russell has more than 20 years of accounting, finance, operations, and SEC reporting experience in biopharmaceutical and high-tech industries. From 2010 to the present, he has served as Chief Financial Officer for various privately-held start-up companies.
Mr. Russell was in charge of the Business Advisory Services for the Grant Thornton Honolulu office from 2006 to 2010. From 2005 to 2006, Mr. Russell worked at a consulting company as the Operations Consulting – Financial Management lead, advising Cisco Systems, Inc. Mr. Russell was the General Accounting Manager of the publicly traded company Scios Inc. from 2003 to 2005, where he was in charge of SEC reporting and internal controls. Mr. Russell was the Controller for several portfolio companies in the venture capital firm, Raza Foundries, Inc., from 2001 to 2002, and the General Accounting Manager for inSilicon Corporation, a public company, from 2000 to 2001. Previous to that, Mr. Russell was an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP from 1995 to 2000.
Mr. Russell is a licensed CPA in Hawaii and has a B.A. in Economics/Accounting from Claremont McKenna College.