Management Team

Dr. Daniel R. Henderson
Chief Executive Officer, Verndari, Inc.

Dr. Daniel Henderson is a co-founder and chief executive officer of Verndari, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform global health through vaccine science.

Prior to Verndari, Dr. Henderson co-founded and served as president of PaxVax, a company based in Redwood City, California, focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing specialty vaccines to protect against existing and emerging infectious diseases, such as typhoid, cholera and hepatitis A for travelers to countries without adequate water sanitation and anthrax for the U.S. military. While at PaxVax, Dr. Henderson was the named principal investigator on a virus vectored oral bird flu vaccine (H5) with funding of $10 million for a phase one clinical trial (Wellcome Trust HN-#704483, 2008). PaxVax was later sold to Emergent BioSolutions in 2018. In 2016, PaxVax was named Best Early-Stage Vaccine Biotech company at the 16th annual World Vaccine Congress in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Henderson was the founder, president and CEO of Calydon, a private U.S. biotechnology company located in Sunnyvale, California, which focused on developing therapeutics for cancer. At Calydon, which was sold to Cell Genesys in 2004, he patented a method for genetically engineering an adenovirus targeting prostate cancer. Dr. Henderson has been recognized as one of two pioneers in the field of oncolytic virotherapy (Nettelbeck, D., October 2003 and July 2008, Tumor Busting Viruses, Scientific American).

Dr. Henderson was also founder, president and CEO of Microgenics Corporation, now a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientific, which develops, manufactures and markets immunodiagnostic tests. At Microgenics, Dr. Henderson invented the groundbreaking CEDIA ™ immunoassay system, a bioanalytical method that uses the specificity of an antigen-antibody reaction to detect molecules in biological samples. In 2015, Dr. Henderson was awarded the biennial Ullman Prize for Technology Innovation by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry for this groundbreaking work developing the CEDIA ™ system. More than $1 billion of CEDIA ™ tests are now sold annually, the majority by Roche, as well as Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Dr. Henderson received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He was a NIH postdoctoral fellow in molecular virology at Duke University Medical Center and also served as a visiting scholar in oncology cancer biology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Henderson currently holds 34 U.S. patents in medical technology.

 

Dr. Jan A. Van Prooyen, (Major General, U.S. Army, ret.)
Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Verndari, Inc.

Dr. Jan A. Van Prooyen is a co-founder and non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Verndari, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform global healthcare through next generation vaccine science.

Dr. Van Prooyen retired as a U.S. Army Major General. His expertise includes project management, chemical and biological defense, and nuclear technology. His military career included field duty in Viet Nam and Germany and leadership assignments focused on the acquisition of Army weapons systems, major missile defense programs, and chemical and biological research programs. He led two major research and development centers and two national test ranges. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1996 for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service to the Government of the United States.

After his 30-year career in the U.S. Army, Dr. Van Prooyen joined the Bechtel Corporation and became senior vice president and partner. From 2003 to 2006, he led Bechtel’s 5,000-person Defense and Space business as president and founder. He later served as deputy laboratory director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, from 2006 to 2009, where he was responsible for oversight and integration of the daily operations of the laboratory with focus on safety, security, business services, environmental management, and infrastructure.

Dr. Van Prooyen has served as a board member of multiple companies including Bechtel National, Inc., Bechtel Bettis, Inc., and the Armed Services YMCA. He served as board chairman of the Universities Space Research Association and Kwajalein Range Services, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Bechtel.

Dr. Van Prooyen graduated with a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1966 and received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Virginia. He later completed a one-year fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

John H. Brown
President, Verndari, Inc.

John H. Brown is a co-founder and president of Verndari, Inc., a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform global health through next generation vaccine science.

Mr. Brown previously served as president, Europe, Middle East and Africa region, for Bausch & Lomb, a company at the forefront of visionary innovations in eye health care. He oversaw the company’s surgical, pharma and vision care sectors, representing more than $2.5 billion in annual sales.

From 2002 to 2007, Mr. Brown was chief executive officer of Integrated Biosystems, Inc., a manufacturer of production equipment for biopharmaceutical customers including Genentech and Amgen. The company, based in Napa, California, was sold to Stedim, SA in 2004.

Mr. Brown served as CEO of Covance Biotechnology Services, Inc. (CBSI), a company based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and leading in the development and manufacturing of innovative biopharmaceutical substances. CBSI, a subsidiary of Covance, Inc., was later sold to Azko Nobel.

He was co-head of Hamblet & Hayes Co., from 1971 to 1980, which was purchased by CIBA-Geigy. At CIBA-Geigy (later merged with Sandoz to become Novartis AG), Mr. Brown held various senior management roles, including senior vice president of Pharma, head of worldwide sales and marketing for Specialty Chemicals, and member of the Divisional World Managing Committee.

Mr. Brown received a B.S.E. with high honors from Princeton University in 1968 and received a M.B.A. in Finance from Harvard Business School in 1970.

 

Durga Bobba
Member of the Board of Directors, Verndari, Inc.

Durga Bobba is a member of the board of directors of Verndari, Inc., a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform global healthcare through a new generation of vaccines.

He currently serves as vice president, global franchise general manager, Cardiovascular, of Cytokinetics. Mr. Bobba has more than 25 years of global commercial biopharmaceutical experience and brings extraordinary depth of business development experience and collaboration with the world’s leading healthcare thought leaders.

Mr. Bobba began his marketing career at Merck and contributed significantly to the success of Merck’s vast cardiovascular and vaccine portfolios in his more than 15 years at the company. In Merck’s Vaccine Division, he served as senior director of International Commercial Operations and later as executive director for the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He helped Merck Vaccines quadruple annual sales to $4 billion and become the world’s foremost vaccine company. After Merck, he held leadership roles at Genentech, Amgen and MyoKardia, where he was the first commercial hire and interim vice president, HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) Project Team.

In addition, Mr. Bobba currently serves on the board of directors of the American Heart Association and the Health Sector Advisory Committee of Duke University.

Mr. Bobba received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the George Washington University and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University, where he earned the Dean’s Citation for distinguished service and leadership.

 

Marc Gurwith, MD, JD
Chief Medical Officer, Verndari Inc.

Dr. Marc Gurwith is chief medical officer for Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform global healthcare through next generation vaccine science.

Prior to Verndari, Dr. Gurwith was chief medical officer for PaxVax, Inc., a company based in Redwood City, California, focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing specialty vaccines that protect against existing and emerging infectious diseases.  PaxVax was later sold to Emergent BioSolutions in 2018. 

Dr. Gurwith previously served as senior vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer of VaxGen, a biopharmaceutical company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that engaged in the development of vaccines that immunize against infectious disease.  At VaxGen, Dr. Gurwith ran clinical trials for vaccines aimed at influenza, anthrax, small pox and HIV. 

He has also served as chief medical officer of Genelabs; vice president at Sequus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; vice president of medical and scientific affairs at Boeheringer-Mannheim; and senior director of clinical research at Wyeth-Ayerst Research.

Dr. Gurwith received a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University in 1961.  He received a M.D. from Harvard University Medical School in 1965.  He received a J.D. from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University in 1991.

 

David W. Dillon
Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Verndari Inc.

David W. Dillon is vice president and chief financial officer of Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform global health through next generation vaccine science.

Mr. Dillon is the president and founder of Wesley Capital Holdings, LLC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Wesley Capital Holdings provides advisory services, valuations and analysis of investment opportunities.  In addition, it provides private companies with assistance on merger and acquisition transactions, joint venture organization and structure, and capital structure issues.

From 1993 to 2008, Mr. Dillon was the co-founder, executive vice president and chief financial officer of MED3000 Group, Inc., a management and information technology company serving more than 10,500 multi-specialty physicians through 12 operating centers nationwide.  During his tenure at MED3000, he also was a member of the executive committee and board of directors.  MED3000 grew to more than 1,400 employees with revenues exceeding $150 million and EBITDA in excess of $16 million.  MED3000 Group won numerous awards, including being listed in the Pittsburgh Business Times Top 100 fastest growing companies in the Pittsburgh Region for seven years, and being named one of the largest healthcare technology companies by Healthcare Informatics.  MED3000 was later sold to McKesson.

Prior to MED3000, Mr. Dillon was an investment banker with Mid-Atlantic Capital Group, Inc., in Pittsburgh.  He served as the lead advisor on numerous debt placements, mergers and acquisitions and valuations for middle market clients.

Mr. Dillon received a B.S. in Finance and Accounting from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia in 1985.  He received an M.B.A. with concentrations in strategy and finance from Harvard University in 1990.

 

Dr. Paul Sartori
Vice President, Organizational Development, Verndari, Inc.

Dr. Paul Sartori is vice president of Organizational Development at Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform vaccines through next generation science.

Dr. Sartori has deep experience with startup companies and was recently the vice president of Organization and Strategy for Cavion LLC, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company based in Charlottesville, Virginia developing therapies aimed at modulating the T-type calcium channel for the treatment of chronic and rare neurological diseases.  Cavion was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc in 2019.  He was formerly a vice president at Integrated Biosystems, Focus Technologies and BioTrove.  He currently serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for CvilleBioHub in Charlottesville, Virginia, advising several early stage companies.

Dr. Sartori has served as a senior executive and corporate officer in a variety of challenging global roles for large corporations.  After starting his career at Corning, he served as the chief human resources officer for CIBA Corning Diagnostics, a global joint venture between Corning and CIBA-Geigy of Switzerland, then senior vice president and later executive vice president of CIBA prior to the merger of CIBA and Sandoz forming Novartis.  At Novartis, he was named executive vice president, Human Resources and Public Affairs, and served in Basel, Switzerland on the global integration teams. Prior to working almost exclusively with early stage companies, Dr. Sartori also served as an officer and global head of Human Resources at Covance and Bausch & Lomb.  Dr. Sartori’s operational experience includes marketing, communications, public and government affairs, and leading organizational change.

He has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey; the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Rochester, New York; and the Curry School of Education Foundation at the University of Virginia.  He led the establishment of the Pediatric Cataract Initiative, an innovative global combined effort between Bausch & Lomb and Lion’s Club International Foundation, with an emphasis on improving healthcare for children in the developing world.  He was among the founders of the Partnership for Leaders in Education, a joint effort between the Curry School of Education and the Darden School of Business at University of Virginia.  Currently, he is on the Board of the Council of Foreign Relations in Charlottesville and the Advisory Board for the Children’s Hospital at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Sartori received a B.A. with honors from Northeastern University.  He received a M.A. in Teaching History, a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Virginia, as well as a M.B.A. from the Darden Graduate School of Business.  In 2002, Mr. Sartori was elected into the Raven Society, the University of Virginia’s oldest honorary society.

 

Elaine W. Snowhill, Ph.D.
Vice President, Clinical Operations, Verndari, Inc.

Elaine W. Snowhill, Ph.D. is vice president of clinical operations for Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California, that aims to transform vaccines through next generation science.

Prior to joining Verndari, Dr. Snowhill was vice president at Life Technologies Corporation (previously Invitrogen Corp. / Molecular Probes, Inc.) in Eugene, Oregon.  Dr. Snowhill established project and portfolio management processes and led creation of new products and improvements to existing platforms.  She served as chief of staff for the Cellular Analysis Business Unit and led integration of several corporate acquisitions, developing cultural integration principles and practices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. 

At Diosynth RTP, Inc. (previously Covance Biotechnology Services) based in Cary, North Carolina, Dr. Snowhill created and led the Program Management team and facilitated collaboration across biomanufacturing project teams, executive leadership, and customers to deliver quality active pharmaceutical ingredients at development and commercial scale. 

Dr. Snowhill held various roles at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (previously CIBA-Geigy Corp.), in Summit/East Hanover, New Jersey. She served as vice president in the areas Project and Portfolio Management, U.S. Strategic Planning, and Global Portfolio Management.  Dr. Snowhill directed change initiatives across global drug development processes, reducing the average cycle time to bring a new drug to the market by as much as 50 percent. Dr. Snowhill also led Central Nervous System (CNS) Clinical Research, conducting Phase II clinical trials for new drug candidates in epilepsy, and CNS Regulatory Affairs, with responsibility for submissions to and collaboration with the FDA to obtain new drug approvals. 

Dr. Snowhill has volunteered in her community as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and as a mediator for the State of Oregon Circuit Court as well as Lane County Family Mediation Services. She advised on the creation of the South Willamette Valley Technology Business Accelerator and implementation of the Coordinated Care Organization healthcare model for the State of Oregon. Dr. Snowhill also coached direct care nursing staff in utilizing collaborative problem solving with patients at the Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital.

Dr. Snowhill received a B.A. in Psychology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Utah.  She attended the Stanford Executive Program and received a M.S. in Conflict and Dispute Resolution from the Knight School of Law, University of Oregon.

 

Amy Van Prooyen, Esq.
Vice President, Corporate Communications and Legal Affairs Verndari, Inc.

Amy Van Prooyen, Esq. is vice president and head of Corporate Communications and Legal Affairs at Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in Napa, California that aims to transform global healthcare through next generation vaccine science. 

Ms. Van Prooyen was the founder and managing partner of Van Prooyen Greenfield LLP, a law firm that specialized in corporate reputation and crisis communications counsel, with offices in New York and San Francisco.  She has provided strategic communications support to mitigate and manage a range of issues for leading law firms, high-profile individuals and global companies.  In addition, she has worked to develop, protect and evolve business objectives for leading organizations through integrated legal and communications campaigns. 

Prior to founding Van Prooyen Greenfield LLP, Ms. Van Prooyen was a vice president in the Crisis and Reputation Risk practice for Edelman in New York City, where she oversaw litigation communications for a wide scope of issues.  She previously worked for FleishmanHillard and FHP International. 

Ms. Van Prooyen was named the 2018 – 2019 Perry D. Sorenson Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Utah, where she served as adjunct faculty.  She is co-author of “Litigation Communications: Providing Context and Protecting Legal Privilege,” a chapter in PR News Crisis Management Guidebook and “Litigation Communications,” a chapter in Reputation Management for Law Firms.  Her work was awarded “Legal Media Event of the Year” by PR News

In 2009, she was the recipient of The Distinguished Alumna Award by the University of Utah College of Humanities, where she is a member of the College of Humanities Partnership Board.  She was previously a member of the Board of Counselors and the Dean’s Circle at the University of San Francisco School of Law.  She is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. 

Ms. Van Prooyen received a B.A. and an M.A, summa cum laude, in Communications from the University of Utah, Phi Kappa Phi.  She received a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.