J. Kelly Ganjei

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Ganjei joined Cognate in 2011 as the Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Ganjei has over 20 years of experience within the life science, venture capital and IT sectors and has lead companies through various stages of development, ranging from the virtual start-up, to the mid-cap restart, through the exponential growth phase, and into a public exit. Prior to joining Cognate, Mr. Ganjei was Principal at an SBA venture capital firm where he was brought on to support deal flow into and out of the fund, with a specific focus on regenerative medicine, immunotherapy and cell therapy investment opportunities. While in this role, he helped the venture capital firm exit the SBA program and was the key driver of several other strategic deals for various portfolio companies. Previously, Mr. Ganjei was the CEO and Co-founder of Remegenix, Inc. which transitioned to public exit with a $5 million funding commitment from Kodiak Capital. Prior to Remegenix, Inc., as the VP of Business Development at TissueGene, Inc., Mr. Ganjei helped close several tranches of TissueGene’s Series A and B funding and was responsible for developing the global informatics infrastructure for the company and its affiliates. Prior to TissueGene, Inc., he served as a Product Marketing Manager for LabVantage where he was the key technical sales and marketing lead for LabVantage’s life science software product offering globally and was responsible for the design of all life science product initiatives. Mr. Ganjei has published numerous scientific, peer-reviewed papers in a number of journals and has been an invited guest speaker and presenter at various business forums.

Mr. Ganjei received his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland College Park in 1995 and began his career at NIH in May of the same year.


Shari Lisa Piré

Chief Legal Officer

Ms. Piré joined Cognate in 2015. A seasoned attorney and member of the Cognate senior management team, Ms. Piré is fully engaged in a wide range of legal and general management matters. Leading all of the legal and corporate affairs of Cognate and its affiliates, Ms. Piré, develops, directs and advises the Board and the CEO, COO, CFO, and other executives on all legal and strategic matters, including the risks and benefits associated with transaction structuring and implementation. More specifically, Ms. Piré implements and manages all legal aspects of Cognate’s business including its growth strategy, acquisitions, manufacturing and development activities. She is further responsible for addressing certain regulatory matters (including securities law, FDA and cGMP matters) and for the strategy, maintenance and prosecution of the Company’s global patent portfolio and all litigation involving the Company. Ms. Piré also provides the same full range of legal services to Cognate’s partners and affiliates, including entities engaged in the development of immunotherapies and related products and services for the regenerative medicine industry.

Prior to joining Cognate, Ms. Piré gained extensive experience at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, practicing for more than a decade in New York and five years in Paris, France, during which time Ms. Piré represented public and private companies operating in a variety of industries and geographies on every nature of corporate matter, including both foreign and domestic mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and private equity financings.

Ms. Piré holds a B.A. from the University of California at Irvine and a J.D., magna cum laude, from New York Law School.


Michael Stella

Chief Business Officer

Mr. Stella joined Cognate in 2007. Mr. Stella has over 22 years of extensive manufacturing and operations experience in the biotech industry. Prior to attaining the role of CBO, Mr. Stella served as Cognate’s Chief Operating Officer, responsible for overseeing the startup, on-going operations, and validation of the Memphis facility and overseas activities. Mr. Stella has been instrumental in the identification and continuing establishment of a number of commercial-ready systems to support the manufacture of cell therapies at commercial scales.

Prior to joining Cognate, Mr. Stella served as Director of Operations at Cell Genesys, Inc. where he held responsibilities for manufacturing, facilities, environmental health and safety and clinical distribution for its Memphis facility. During his tenure at Cell Genesys he was directly responsible for the site operations and clinical manufacturing of the Autologous GVAX Lung Cancer Immunotherapy in NSCLC and BAC. Before joining Cell Genesys, Mr. Stella served as regional manager for The Interstate Companies which was focused on the procurement and utilization of blood and blood components in therapeutic and diagnostic products.


Will James

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. James joined Cognate in 2018 as Chief Financial Officer. A certified public accountant with over twenty-five years in finance and accounting roles, Mr. James has experience in Big 4 public accounting, investment banking, treasury management, financial planning & analysis, corporate development and investor relations. As CFO at Cognate, Mr. James is responsible for all financial, accounting, treasury, corporate compliance and FP&A functions and plays a key role in working with the executive leadership team to facilitate growth and enhance profitability by adding a financial viewpoint to strategic and operational decisions.

Prior to joining Cognate, Mr. James served for three years as CFO of Veraction, a leading provider of transportation spend management solutions. Mr. James previously served as Vice President of Corporate Development at MRC Global (NYSE:MRC), where he was a key member of the team responsible for the strategic positioning and execution of MRC’s $477 million IPO. While at MRC, Mr. James served on the Financial Disclosure and Risk Management Committees and assisted in preparation of SEC filings including Forms S-1, 10-K and 10-Q. In addition, Mr. James spent eleven years with investment banking firm Morgan Keegan, where he worked on numerous M&A and public offering engagements. Mr. James also served in a treasury and FP&A role with Mueller Industries, and he began his career at Ernst & Young, where he spent four years assisting audit and tax clients.

Mr. James is a certified public accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from the University of Mississippi.


Jaehyung Yoon

Sr. VP of Finance & Strategy

Mr. Yoon joined Cognate in 2014 as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, but has been an advisor to the Company since 2008 when he joined a venture capital firm that had invested in Cognate. In addition to being involved in the daily management of the Company as it pertains to the overall growth of our business, he also oversees intellectual property management and relationships with academic and industry R&D partners and affiliates. Mr. Yoon has over 10 years of biotechnology industry experience ranging from venture capital to bench research. Prior to joining Cognate, Mr. Yoon served as Senior Associate at a venture capital firm where he focused on seed to early stage regenerative medicine, immune technologies and cell therapies. At the venture capital firm, Mr. Yoon was involved with portfolio management, providing operational support to portfolio companies and to fund transactions. Until 2008, Mr. Yoon also served as a biomedical engineer at TissueGene, Inc., a clinical-stage biotech company developing cellular therapies, where he was involved in new product development. Mr. Yoon was also a lab member at the Johns Hopkins Neuroengineering & Biomedical Instrumentation Lab until 2005.

Mr. Yoon holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, an M.S. in Bioinformatics from Johns Hopkins University and an M.B.A. from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.


Scott Law

VP of Manufacturing & Operations

Mr. Law joined Cognate in August of 2017 as VP of Manufacturing. Mr. Law has 20+ years of extensive experience in commercial manufacturing, including hands-on development and management of the Quality, Manufacturing and Operations branches of the organization, spanning the Pharma and Biotech industries. Scott most recently worked at Pfizer in St. Louis, MO and prior to that Baxter in Bloomington, IN. Leveraging his experience as an engineering project manager for CRB Consulting Engineers supporting design projects for the Pharma and Biotech industries and as a Quality Assurance/Systems consultant supporting quality improvement initiatives for several clients, with his operations background, Mr. Law was an instrumental hire for Cognate’s recent commercial expansion and roll out.

Mr. Law received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Wayne State University and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification from Villanova.


Margaret “Peggy” Owens

VP of Quality & Regulatory Affairs

Peggy joined Cognate in December of 2017. Peggy has 20+ years of experience in Quality Assurance and Quality Assurance Management. Peggy has worked in the Quality realm for Cell and Gene Therapy for the past 10 years and prior to that worked in the Biopharmaceutical space in Quality Assurance and Quality Control roles. Peggy worked most recently at Unum Therapeutics in Cambridge , MA and OvaScience in Waltham, Ma. Previous to these positions Peggy worked for 7 years at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, WA an Alliance of the Seattle Cancer Care Clinic, Fred Hutchinson Research Center, the University of WA and Seattle Children’s Hospital Immunotherapy Programs building the Quality department and systems to support the second largest transplant center for hematological cancer therapy.

Prior to being recruited to Seattle Peggy worked at both Amgen RI supporting the manufacturing and commercial approval of Enbrel including supporting the PAI and biennial inspections and Abbott Bioresearch Center in Worcester, MA supporting the manufacturing and commercial approval of Humira including support of the PAI and biennial inspection.

Peggy began her career at University of Massachusetts Medical Center in a clinical quality control role performing therapeutic drug level monitoring and toxicological sample analysis using various methods of detection.


Karim Khoury

VP of Information Systems

Mr. Khoury joined Cognate in 2014 as Vice President of Information Systems, but has been an advisor to the Company since 2006. He is responsible for the design, development and implementation of organizational information systems, software applications, infrastructure systems and Information Technology support. He also oversees the development of mission-critical applications and technology to support the Company’s long-term goals.

Mr. Khoury has over 15 years of experience in IT operations and strategy. Prior to joining Cognate, Mr. Khoury served as Director of Information Technology at a venture capital firm focused on seed and early-stage life sciences and advanced technology investments. While at this venture capital firm, he was responsible for designing and implementing a robust IT infrastructure capable of serving both the firm and its various portfolio companies.

Mr. Khoury received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Balamand in Lebanon, and M.Eng. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland. Mr. Khoury has also received an Executive Certificate in Delivering Information Systems from Harvard Business School.


Scott Broughton

VP of Sales & Marketing

Mr. Broughton joined Cognate in 2017 and has 30 years of valuable business experience. Prior to Cognate, Mr. Broughton served in a Business Development position at Cook Medical’s Regentec Division providing tools and technologies for manufacturing in the cellular therapy field. Mr. Broughton also served as Director of North American sales at CellGenix GmbH, a leading protein and media manufacturer serving cell therapy academics and biotech companies. At CellGenix, Mr. Broughton successfully grew sales, building the North American office, logistics and sales team. Prior to working in the cell therapy field, Mr. Broughton worked in leadership positions in several companies including the Biotech Division of Baxter. During his ten years with Baxter, Mr. Broughton was responsible for marketing and supplying medical devices and disposables for blood collection, processing and delivery including immunotherapies to the Northeast region of blood centers and hospitals. In addition, Mr. Broughton was responsible for marketing Baxter’s Bioscience plasma derived products. Prior to his medical device and cell therapy experience, Mr. Broughton worked with companies in the manufacturing and computer software industries.

Mr. Broughton holds a B.S. from Indiana University with a concentration in Economics


Lori Noffsinger

VP of Process Development

Ms. Noffsinger, the VP of Process Development, joined Cognate in 2002. Ms. Noffsinger manages the transition of technologies from research and development through scale up to manufacturing with a focus on clinical and commercial application. Ms. Noffsinger assists in designing and conducting validation and optimization experiments. She also assists in writing and reviewing controlled documents and in technology transfer as well as technical consulting for certain of Cognate’s partners and affiliates.

Prior to joining Cognate, Ms. Noffsinger served most recently as an implementation and product specialist for Stemsoft Software Inc., Vancouver, BC. Ms. Noffsinger spent a year traveling to cell processing laboratories, implementing, validating, training and installing laboratory-oriented database software. Ms. Noffsinger is an accomplished Medical Technologist with 14 years of experience in transfusion medicine, beginning with blood bank positions. She also has 7 years of experience in bone marrow cell processing and graft engineering from Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. Ms. Noffsinger worked at Johns Hopkins University from 1996-2001 as a Research and Development Specialist for Oncology/Hematalogic Malignancies. In the Development Immunotherapy Lab, Ms. Noffsinger assisted in effective management of projects and resources to achieve Phase I and Phase II trials for graft engineering, cellular immunotherapy and gene therapy. While at Johns Hopkins (University and Hospital), Ms. Noffsinger collaborated with companies on development of prototypes, verification and validation of several devices, processes, and reagents/drugs. She gained general experience in the areas of immunology, hematopoietic stem cell processing, graft engineering, cell cryopreservation, quality assurance, process validation, regulatory issues, molecular biology, GMP processing and translating research from “bench to clinic.” Her skills include cell selection, elutriation, flow cytometry, designing, performing and validating immunologic assays, writing controlled documents and the training of clinical personnel. She also has experience with ex vivo expansion of bone marrow, cytotoxic T-cells, dendritic cells and other cell types for therapeutic use as well as for clinical research activities for the university and hospital.

Ms. Noffsinger earned her B.S. in Medical Technology/Computer Science from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI.