President and Chief Executive Officer
Tassos Nicolaou serves as our President and Chief Executive Officer. He is responsible for setting the company’s strategic vision, managing its operations, as well as leading Delpor’s corporate development activities. Mr. Nicolaou brings over 25 years of business experience working with life sciences companies as an executive, strategy consultant, and entrepreneur.
Prior to founding Delpor he served as the Chief Executive Officer at AlphaDetail, a rapidly growing online market research company focused on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. During his tenure at AlphaDetail he was responsible for setting the company’s vision, developing and executing its corporate strategy, as well as for corporate development and financial management. Under his leadership, AlphaDetail grew from an idea to an established company with over 50,000 physician members and a long list of blue chip pharmaceutical and biotech clients.
Prior to becoming an industry executive, Mr. Nicolaou spent the first half of his career as a strategy consultant. As a Senior Engagement Manager at Strategic Decisions Group (SDG), Mr. Nicolaou assisted Fortune 500 companies in strategy development and selection. While at SDG, he worked with several large pharmaceutical and biotech companies including Pfizer, Serono (now Merck Serono), and Searle (now Pfizer), and supported senior executives in pipeline portfolio evaluation, marketing optimization, partner negotiations, as well as other key strategic and operational activities. Mr. Nicolaou also led SDG’s client education practice where he structured and delivered strategy seminars to executives worldwide.
In addition to working with large public corporations, Mr. Nicolaou has held several senior management positions at venture-backed, early stage companies where he identified and negotiated key strategic partnerships. During his career as an executive and entrepreneur he has developed the value proposition for many startups and has launched (as well as assisted others to launch) several new ventures.
Mr. Nicolaou holds a BA in Physics from Franklin and Marshall College and a Master’s in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University.
Frank Martin, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Dr. Martin serves as Delpor’s Chief Science Officer. He is responsible for leading the company’s scientific innovation and managing all R&D activities. Dr. Martin has worked in drug delivery for over 30 years and is the inventor of Delpor’s PROZOR technology. Prior to founding Delpor, he held positions at several pharmaceutical companies including ALZA, Johnson and Johnson, and SEQUUS Pharmaceuticals.
As the Chief Science Officer at SEQUUS, Dr. Martin assembled and led the research team which developed long circulating pegylated liposomes (“Stealth Liposomes”). A product derived from this technology is doxorubicin liposome injection (DOXIL). DOXIL is now approved worldwide for the treatment of ovarian and breast carcinoma and generates sales in excess of $800M annually. During his tenure at SEQUUS, Dr. Martin also served as a member of the senior operating management team. His responsibilities included formulation of company-wide research strategy, management of the research unit, and supervision of the Company’s network of extramural investigators (10 academic labs). He also acted as principal technical spokesman with the FDA, Wall Street analysts, key investors, professional organizations, activist groups and commercial partners, and played a key role in setting patent policy and priorities, and in patent prosecution.
Following the acquisition of SEQUUS by ALZA, Dr. Martin served as Distinguished Research Fellow at ALZA Corporation, a company devoted to the development of advanced drug delivery systems. While at ALZA he was responsible for the assessment of new drug delivery technologies.
Dr. Martin has presented to the FDA on multiple occasions and has developed a good working relationship with the Agency. He is the inventor of 45 issued US patents, and several more in prosecution all related to drug delivery systems. He has also been awarded the prestigious NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship award. Dr. Martin holds a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco and a PhD in Biochemistry from Northwestern University.
Chief Commercial Officer
Jay Smith serves as Delpor’s Chief Commercial Officer, (CCO). In this role, Mr. Smith is responsible for leading Delpor’s commercialization efforts, leveraging more than 25 years of global biopharmaceutical leadership and experience. Prior to joining Delpor, he served as Chief Experience Officer at Intarcia Therapeutics where he was responsible for the commercial go-to-market strategy to optimize the customer experience and drive Intarcia’s innovative implant technology platform. While at Intarcia, Mr. Smith led multiple usability studies and oversaw the clinical team responsible for over 23,000 implant insertion and removal procedures in over 30 countries. Before joining Intarcia in 2013, he held senior executive commercial positions at J&J, Novartis, and Sunovion, launching several blockbuster brands. Mr. Smith is known for his customer-centric approach, his ability to access new markets and is considered a thought leader in the implant space.
Mr. Smith earned his B.A. in biology from Westmar College, and completed several executive courses at Harvard, including the 32-week Program for Leadership Development.
Carl Spetzler, PhD
Carl Spetzler serves as a Director on Delpor’s Board of Directors. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Strategic Decisions Group (SDG) and is also the leader of the firm’s North American Strategy Practice.
Over the past three decades, Dr. Spetzler has been a leader in strategy and innovation processes, helping corporate leaders cope with the lack of explicit strategic alternatives, deal with the complexities of uncertainty and risk over long time horizons, and achieve lasting change. He works with top management and boards of directors to improve the quality of decisions and decision-making processes. His methods stress that boards be collaboratively engaged in a few truly strategic decisions rather than simply serve in an approval role on a myriad of items.
Before co-founding SDG, Dr. Spetzler directed the Financial Industries and Strategic Methodologies Center at SRI International. One of his many achievements while at SRI was a consulting engagement that changed the landscape of American financial services. Dr. Spetzler and the SRI team persuaded Merrill Lynch that the time was right to offer a one-stop financial service, called the Cash Management Account (CMA). Merrill Lynch finally pursued this opportunity and by the mid-1980s more than 1 million customers used CMAs.
Dr. Spetzler serves on the boards of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Decision Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the decision-making skills of youth. In 2004, he received The Ramsey Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS for lifetime contributions to the field. In 2006, he was elected to the SRI Hall of Fame for his leadership in the growth of decision analysis at SRI and for his key role in instigating a fundamental change in the US financial service industry. In 2008, Dr. Spetzler was named by Treasury & Risk magazine one of the 100 most influential people in finance for his work in Enterprise Risk Management.
Dr. Spetzler holds a BS in chemical engineering as well as an MBA and a PhD in economics and business administration and from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Todd Thomson serves as a Director on Delpor’s Board of Directors. He is currently Chief Operating and Financial Officer at Kairos Ventures. Mr. Thomson is an accomplished operating executive and entrepreneur, having served as Citigroup CFO for 5 years and as CEO of Citigroup’s $10 Billion Global Wealth Management division for 2.5 years. He is a leading practitioner on M&A and business strategy, having led the acquisition and strategy efforts for Citigroup and GE Capital, as well as serving as advisor to Fortune 500 firms while at Bain & Co., Booz Allen Hamilton, and Barents Group. He has extensive investing experience as CEO of Citigroup Alternative investments, Chairman of the Citi Pension investment Committee, Chairman of the Dynasty Investment Committee, and a member of the Investment Committees for the Davidson College and World Resources Institute endowments.
Just prior to joining Kairos, Mr. Thomson has been Co-Founder and Chairman of Dynasty Financial Partners, the leading investment and technology platform for sophisticated independent advisors. Founded by him and his colleagues in 2010, Dynasty serves nearly 50 RIA firms nationally, with $50 billion under management. In addition to serving as Chairman, Mr. Thomson has served in several
operating roles since the firm’s founding, including Chairing the Investment Committee, serving as CIO, and designing and leading Dynasty Capital Strategies.
Mr. Thomson received his MBA with Distinction from the Wharton School of Business and his BA in Economics from Davidson College.
Ernest Mario, PhD
Advisor and Former Director
Dr. Ernest Mario served as a director for over 8 years (until 2020) and has been a company advisor since then. He is an industry veteran that brings a wealth of business experience in several areas including biotech and drug delivery. Dr. Mario has served as CEO, Chairman, and Director at a variety of large life sciences companies where he has created billions of dollars in shareholder value.
From 1989 to 1993, he served as Chief Executive of Glaxo, then the second-largest drug company in the world. After leaving Glaxo, he became Chairman and CEO of Alza Corporation, a major drug delivery company sold to Johnson & Johnson for $10.5 Billion in 2001. Dr. Mario subsequently served as Chairman and CEO of Reliant Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2007 for $1.65 Billion. He currently is Chairman and CEO of Capnia, a private pharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic products to treat migraine and allergic rhinitis using a proprietary gas delivery system. He is also a Venture Partner with Pappas Ventures and serves on a number of corporate boards.
Dr. Mario is also active in numerous educational and healthcare organizations. He is Chairman of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education, a Director of the Gladstone Foundation, and past Chairman of the Duke University Health System. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Rhode Island and Rutgers University, the latter of which in 2001 renamed its pharmacy school the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.
Douglas Crawford, PhD
Advisor and Former Director
Dr. Douglas Crawford served as a director for over 6 years (until 2018) and has been a company advisor since then. Dr. Crawford’s goal is to help entrepreneurial scientists create successful startups. To this end, he and his colleagues have systematically lowered the barriers between great ideas and successful companies. For instance, Dr. Crawford created and manages MBC BioLabs. This state-of-the-art co-working laboratory network in San Francisco and San Carlos allows entrepreneurs to rapidly generate data without getting bogged down in facility management. Rather than spending months getting a facility up and running, MBC BioLabs startups can generate important data in their first week.
In the first 6 years, this program has helped launch 210 companies that have brought 53 programs to the clinic and have raised over $4.75B. This incubator program reflects Dr. Crawford’s passion for startups and his eagerness to help entrepreneurs overcome challenges.
Dr. Crawford is also the Managing Partner of Mission BioCapital and has overseen the investment in 52 companies, 11 of which have already enjoyed successful liquidity events (Alector, Atreca, Calithera, Cell Design Labs, iPierian, Pionyr, Principia, Redwood Biosciences, True North, Vedere, and Zephyrus). He is a board member of Avexegen, Alessa, Epiodyne, Graphwear, Invenio, Magnamosis, Magnap, Mitokinin, SiteOne (observer), and Tangible Sciences.
Dr. Crawford received his PhD in biochemistry from UCSF.