Company

Leadership

Travis C. Mickle, Ph.D.
President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board; Co-Founder

Dr. Mickle co-founded KemPharm Inc. in 2006 with the invention of the company’s LAT (Ligand Activated Therapy) prodrug platform. As President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board he oversees KemPharm’s business and scientific strategy and is instrumental in the ongoing development of the company’s pipeline of proprietary prodrugs.

Prior to founding KemPharm, Dr. Mickle served as Director of Drug Discovery and CMC at New River Pharmaceuticals where he was the principal inventor of Vyvanse®, a prodrug of amphetamine for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Today, Vyvanse is the branded market share leader in the estimated $15 billion plus ADHD market. The success of Vyvanse along with a robust pipeline of prodrugs targeting ADHD, pain and thyroid dysfunctions, which Dr. Mickle was responsible for creating, led to New River Pharmaceuticals being acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals, PLC for $2.6 billion.

 

During his career, Dr. Mickle has been granted 44 US patents, 21 EP (Europe) patents and has authored more than 100 patent applications US and worldwide, primarily focused on abuse-deterrent prodrugs in pain management and mental health, including multiple patents for prodrugs of hydrocodone and methyphendiate. He is also the principal or secondary investigator on several published abstracts and publications.

 

Dr. Mickle received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa and his B.A. degree from Simpson College.

R. LaDuane Clifton, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer

As Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer, Mr. Clifton is responsible for the company's financial, operating and compliance activities. Mr. Clifton brings to KemPharm significant public company experience, along with expertise in managed care contracting and strategic leadership covering operations, compliance, investor relations and business development.

 

Prior to joining KemPharm, Mr. Clifton served as the Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer of The LGL Group, Inc., a publicly-held global producer of highly-engineered electronic components and services. Mr. Clifton also previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of a21, Inc., a publicly-held holding company with businesses in stock photography and the online retail and manufacture of framed art, as well as a variety of finance, medical cost analysis, and managed care provider contracting roles with Aetna, Inc.

 

Mr. Clifton was an auditor with KPMG, LLP, and received his B.B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of North Florida. Mr. Clifton is a certified public accountant licensed in the state of Florida.

Gordon K. “Rusty” Johnson
Chief Business Officer

As Chief Business Officer, Mr. Johnson leverages his more than 30 years of life sciences investment banking experience at firms that include Rodman & Renshaw; Piper Jaffray & Co.; WR Hambrecht + Co; Deutsche Bank; Kidder, Peabody & Co. and Credit Suisse First Boston. Prior to becoming Chief Business Officer, Mr. Johnson served as KemPharm’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer where he was instrumental in leading the company’s IPO and, prior to that, its first institutional private financing.

Immediately prior to joining KemPharm, Mr. Johnson was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Citius Pharmaceuticals, and before that he was Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Direct Markets, Inc.

Mr. Johnson has led a wide variety of public offerings, private financings and strategic advisory assignments for life sciences companies including, most recently, ADMA Biologics, Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Avalon Pharmaceuticals, and Clinical Data. For New River Pharmaceuticals he led both the company’s IPO and its global strategic partnering process which resulted in the partnering of New River’s lead compound, NRP-104 (later Vyvanse®), with Shire PLC in a $500 million transaction that ultimately led to New River being acquired by Shire for $2.6 billion. Mr. Johnson’s direct healthcare industry experience includes both pharmaceutical marketing for The Upjohn Company as well as consulting to several life sciences companies.

Mr. Johnson received his B.A. degree in Biology from the University of Missouri and his M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.

Sven Guenther, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Research and Development

As Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Guenther leads KemPharm’s research team and plays a central role in the advancement of the company’s pipeline of NME prodrugs and the development of new products that utilize KemPharm’s proprietary LAT discovery platform to improve one or more of the attributes of approved drugs.

Prior to joining KemPharm, Dr. Guenther served as a research scientist for New River Pharmaceuticals, where he was part of the development team for Vyvanse®. He is inventor on a number of patents and patent applications and author of several research papers.

Dr. Guenther received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa.

Daniel L. Cohen
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Relations

As Executive Vice President, Government and Public Relations, Mr. Cohen is responsible for leading KemPharm’s public policy and public communications strategies. With nearly 40 years’ experience, Mr. Cohen is widely regarded as an influential thought leader in the abuse deterrent formulation (ADF) industry, currently serving as the Forum Chair of the Abuse Deterrent Coalition, representing nearly 30 ADF manufacturers, patient advocates and related organizations seeking to expand access to ADF technologies. In addition, he is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital Network, a 129 bed, $105m annual revenue specialty hospital.

 

Prior to joining KemPharm, Mr. Cohen was the consulting Head of North American Government Relations for Grünenthal USA, a biopharmaceutical company that is developing abuse deterrent formulations for opioid analgesics, and was Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Health Policy with the obesity medical device manufacturer, EnteroMedics, Inc. During his tenure at EnteroMedics, Mr. Cohen was part of the senior management team that led the successful 2015 FDA approval of the first new obesity medical device for consumer health since 2001.

 

Mr. Cohen has worked in Washington, D.C. since 1979 and has led legislative policy and governmental regulatory relations programs for multiple companies and organizations, managing public policy, investor relations, and political functions at the state, national and global levels. Career highlights include serving as Managing Director, Global Government Relations for The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, as the senior legislative liaison for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an Alternate Delegate of the United States to the United Nations, and earlier served as Legislative Director for two Congressmen on Capitol Hill and in various campaign positions at the Presidential, Congressional, State and local levels. He has held senior executive positions with several medical device and healthcare corporations, including US Oncology, Allergan Corporation, and Inamed Corp (acquired by Allergan in 2006).

 

Mr. Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Willamette University and received a master’s degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University.

Christal M.M. Mickle
Vice President, Operations and Product Development; Co-Founder

Ms. Mickle co-founded KemPharm Inc. in 2006 and has held a variety of positions at the company including Vice President and Group Leader, Secretary, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and her current position as Vice President Operations and Product Development.

Since KemPharm's inception, Ms. Mickle has played an integral part in the start-up and ongoing growth and operations of the company.  Today, as Vice President Operations and Product Development, Ms. Mickle oversees the development of each of KemPharm’s products through strategic collaboration across the various drug development disciplines including clinical, regulatory, non-clinical, and manufacturing enabling efficient use of funds and the ability to meet timelines and milestones.

 

Prior to founding KemPharm, she served as a Research Associate for New River Pharmaceuticals preparing compounds in the areas of ADHD, pain, and thyroid dysfunctions for further study.

 

Ms. Mickle received her M.A. degree from the University of Virginia and her B.A. and B.S. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Andrew Barrett, Ph.D.
Vice President, Scientific Affairs

As Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Dr. Barrett is responsible for leading KemPharm’s medical communications strategies and contributing to the clinical/regulatory development of the company’s pipeline assets. Widely regarded as an expert in CNS pharmacology and therapeutics, Dr. Barrett brings nearly 20 years’ experience in academia and industry to KemPharm, having joined the company in February 2016 as Senior Director, Scientific Affairs.

 

Prior to joining KemPharm, Dr. Barrett was Senior Director, Medical Affairs at Chimerix, Inc., Director, Medical Affairs at Salix Pharmaceuticals and Medical Director at Synchrony Healthcare. Previous to that he worked at Cephalon, Inc. for more than five years in several positions of escalating seniority from Medical Science Liaison to Director, Medical Science Liaisons.

 

Dr. Barrett earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital where he studied the abuse-related effects of stimulants and opioids.

Rene A. Braeckman, Ph.D.
Vice President, Clinical Development
Dr. Braeckman has served as KemPharm's Vice President, Clinical Development since April 2016. Prior to joining KemPharm, Dr. Braeckman was Vice President of Clinical Development for Amarin Pharma, Inc. where he led multiple successful IND and NDA filings and managed the strategic planning and design of two pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials. Prior to Amarin Pharma, Dr. Braeckman was Chief Scientific Officer and Senior VP of Operations for Reliance Clinical Research Services (RCRS), the U.S. subsidiary of Reliance Life Sciences. Additional career accomplishments include executive and senior level positions with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, RABpharma LLC, Pan Pacific Pharmaceuticals, Ceptyr, Inc., Chiron Corporation and Abbott Laboratories. Dr. Braeckman earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Pharmacology/Pharmacokinetics from the University of Gent in Belgium.
Christopher M. Lauderback, Ph.D.
Vice President, Manufacturing

Dr. Lauderback has served as KemPharm’s Vice President, Manufacturing since March 2016, having previously held the position of Vice President, Commercial Operations since September 2012. Prior to joining KemPharm, Dr. Lauderback was the Senior Manager of CMC Scientific Affairs at Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, from June 2009 to September 2012.  From 2008 to 2009, Dr. Lauderback worked as the Director of Product Development at AirBase Therapeutics, LLC.  Dr. Lauderback started his career at New River Pharmaceuticals, where he served as a Senior Scientist from 2001 to 2006 and as the Associate Director, CMC Development from 2006 to 2007. Dr. Lauderback received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Kentucky and his B.S. degree from Emory and Henry College.

Timothy Sangiovanni, CPA
Vice President, Corporate Controller
Mr. Sangiovanni has served as KemPharm's Vice President, Corporate Controller since February 2017, having previously held the position of Director, Financial Reporting since August 2015. Prior to joining KemPharm, Mr. Sangiovanni was Manager Internal Audit Manager at Tupperware Brands Corporation, a leading publicly-held marketer of home and personal care products, Audit Manager at KPMG LLP, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services, and Billing Analyst at Switch and Data Facilities Company, Inc. (today, Equinix, Inc.), a leading publicly-held provider of global colocation data center services.  Mr. Sangiovanni is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Florida and earned his B.A. in Accounting from the University of South Florida.