Dr. William Sweatt is a valued member of the Board of Directors for Vivacelle Bio Inc. He is a native Texan with a strong interest in science and business and over 27 years of experience in the medical field, with his specialty in Gastroenterology. He is board certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine from Lake Jackson, Texas. He partnered to develop and build an Endoscopy Center offering such clinical services as endoscopic, laboratory, infusion, and pathology. In addition, he provides lifestyle and preventive medicine, wellness programs geared toward improving general health for the community, specific diseases, and developing cooking/gardening skills.
Dr. Sweatt holds a biology degree from Amherst College in Massachusetts and has completed management training programs with Merrill Lynch in New York City, Princeton in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He acquired professional experiences from Merrill Lynch Pacific Fund and Merrill Lynch International Economics section. He attended Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and went on to a subsequent residency in internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Other accolades include completing a fellowship in Gastroenterology from the University of Chicago. He has extensive laboratory experience with companies such as Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda Maryland, National Institute on Aging at the NIH in Baltimore, Xerox Lab in Dallas, Texas, becoming a Xerox Minority Technician. In addition, he became a Scholar at Howard Hughes Medical Institute while working jointly with the immunology lab at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and a Fogarty International Clinical Fellow at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, Africa.
Mr. Damper is the President & CEO of DAMRON Corporation which he founded in 1985. DAMRON Corporation manufactures and distributes a variety of private label and branded products for the food service and retail industry. DAMRON was McDonald's first national minority supplier. It continues to provide McDonald's tea products and the McFlurry plastic spoon. Mr. Damper is actively engaged in supporting VBI in the area of capital raising and general management. In fact, his generous efforts ensured a very successful conclusion to our Friends and Family round of financing. He is actively engaged as VBI’s Corporate Development Lead.
Mrs. Diane Simpkins serves as Co-Founder and Treasurer of Vivacelle Bio Inc. in Kansas City Missouri. As Co-Founder and member of the Board of Directors, she currently dedicates her time to the development of the company. Mrs. Simpkins is a native of New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has traveled extensively to such places as Ghana, London UK, Belgium, China, Haiti, Cuba, and Nigeria. Elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington D.C., she organized and led a successful Anti-Violence Campaign, and served as Director of the African American Writers Guild Writer’s Workshop. In addition to all her other accomplishments, she was a book reviewer with WUDC radio in Washington D.C. Mrs. Simpkins has received various awards and accolades for the donation of her time and support given to the promotion and enhancement of countless programs and services to diverse organizations.
Thomas A. Fitzgerald has served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Velico Medical, Inc. since August 2006 and, for seven months in 2013, as Interim President and CEO. Mr. Fitzgerald has over 30 years of extensive financial management experience, including with life sciences companies both as an investment banker and chief financial officer, as well as a consultant to emerging growth companies. He was founding Managing Director for the healthcare investment banking firm of Leerink Swann, where he raised capital in both the private and public markets and completed mergers, acquisitions and other strategic transactions. As a chief financial officer, he has managed financial reporting, upgraded reporting systems and processes, improved working capital and cash flow, and led corporate financing as well as corporate governance activities.
Mr. Fitzgerald graduated with an M.B.A. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration and an A.B. in Economics from Stanford University. Mr. Fitzgerald served in the U.S. Army for nearly four years, initially as an enlisted man and, subsequently, an airborne-qualified infantry officer.
Stephen N. Keith, M.D., M.S.P.H. is a business leader, pharmaceutical and a biotech executive, entrepreneur and clinician. Dr. Keith has been instrumental in launching VBI and is experienced in raising capital for public private life science companies, investment banking venture capital. He is a board -certified pediatrician with over 20 years of considerable clinical experience in academic, hospital and outpatient settings. Former Chief Executive Officer of Vivacelle Bio, Inc. Former President, Antex Biologies (Vaccines and Antibodies), now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE;2015: Total Revenue US$523 Million & EBITDA US$130 Million) and Panacea Pharmaceuticals (Cancer and Central Nervous System Drugs)(Series E 15 US $15 Million closed in December 2015.
Dr. Hill has over fifteen years' experience as a licensed physician. He is a physician of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery. Dr. Hill has been involved in biomedical research and his efforts and contributions in both residency and fellowship have lead to multiple publications. He has helped VBI to focus on the safety profile of the active ingredients of Vivacelle in humans.
Dr. Hurt has several years of experience as a licensed physician. He is an Anesthesiologist and Intensivist. He is the CEO and Founder of GM4L, LLC. His firm brings medicine and entertainment together.
CIO, Founder & President Dr. Simpkins is the inventor of Vivacelle, Founder, member of the board of directors, and the President of Vivacelle Bio, Inc. He is a trauma surgeon and scientist. He is currently serving as the Sosland Missouri Endowed Chair in Trauma Services at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine. Dr. Simpkins has over thirty years of experience as a surgeon including serving as Director of the Trauma Program at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, LA. He finished his undergraduate studies at Amherst College with honors in Chemistry and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1974. Dr. Simpkins completed his surgical training in 1980 at St. Luke Hospital in New York City, and Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. He did research fellowships at Boston University School of Medicine and the Naval Medical Research Institute. He received the rank of Commander and received two commendations for excellence in research while serving in the U.S Navy which included several scientific discoveries and publications. While at LSU Health Sciences Center of Shreveport, Dr. Simpkins led the trauma program in regaining its previously lost Level One verification by the American College of Surgeons in adult trauma and adding Level One verification in pediatric trauma - a designation that no other hospital in the state had. Dr. Simpkins is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
PhD, JD, MSc
CEO, Co-Founder Harven DeShield, Ph.D., JD, MSc., joined Vivacelle Bio, Inc. in 2014 as Chief Legal and Operations Officer and was promoted to CEO in 2018. During Dr. DeShield’s tenure, he and his team have advanced Vivacelle’s lead asset into a Phase 3 ready clinical trial. He is also a member of the board of directors. He also has pharma executive experience as Head, Corporate and Strategic Development and Head, Intellectual Property and Corporate Strategy at an oncology holding company and Vice President of Commercialization and Business Development at a biomedical device company developing next generation novel wound healing medical device technologies and therapies. His professional experience has spanned a wide range of life sciences consulting, advisory, operations and head of strategy and corporate, commercialization and business development roles. In these positions, Dr. DeShield developed and implemented corporate and business development strategies, management of intellectual property and evaluation, vetting and selection of preclinical assets for clinical and regulatory development for biotech and/or pharma companies, which focused on commercializing numerous therapeutic categories including oncology, CNS disorders (Parkinson’s disease) and treatments for COVID-19 using anti-viral therapeutics, vaccine technology to protect against respiratory viruses , surgical robots and age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis , etc. Dr. DeShield is also a pharmaceutical, biomedical, and life sciences intellectual property attorney licensed to practice law since 2008 where he worked in large international law firms as well his own private practice. He has experience in fund raising, patent litigation and prosecution, intellectual property transactions encompassing licensing and assignments of patents and trademarks, due diligence and/or review of mergers and acquisitions including De-Spac transactions and reverse mergers, restricted stock purchase agreements and convertible notes, FDA law, drafting and review of wide variety of contracts and business agreements, discovery, research and joint development collaborative agreements, joint venture and partnering agreements, service, manufacturing and quality control agreements, material transfer agreements, clinical trial agreements and confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Dr. DeShield earned a doctorate in Biochemistry from SUNY, Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where he was a recipient of the prestigious Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship, a Masters in Biological Sciences from SUNY, Buffalo Department of Biological Sciences and a Juris Doctorate from SUNY, Buffalo Law School, (University of Buffalo Law School Dean's Scholarship Recipient and Phillips Lytle Law Firm Award Recipient) with a concentration in Intellectual Property and Technology Law. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology with honors from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and a Minor in Chemistry where he was a recipient of the Ida Leadbetter Biology Award and the A. R. Smith Chemistry Award. Dr. DeShield was born in Liberia, West Africa and is also a dual US and Canadian citizen.
CMO, Co-Founder Dr. Talluri is the Chief Medical Officer for Vivacelle Bio, Inc. and is a licensed physician with experience in patient management in general medicine, emergency medicine and psychiatry. She completed her residency training at Duke University Medical Center and has over 20 years of global drug and device development experience in multiple therapeutic areas from preclinical to post-marketing stages, safety monitoring, and pharmacovigilance with in-depth knowledge of regulatory FDA, EMA, PMDA, OPDP and HIPAA guidelines. Dr. Talluri has several successful INDs and NDA submissions and approvals to her credit with a wide experience in electronic clinical data management and safety management systems. She has experience from the perspective of investigator and CRO. In addition, Dr. Talluri has multiple publications in peer review journals.
SVP, Regulatory Affairs Dr. Mukesh Kumar is an accomplished serial entrepreneur, senior executive, author, thought leader, public speaker, and advisor to management teams and BODs with more than 18 years of across healthcare industry success. He is the founder of Akan Biosciences and FDAMap, two Maryland-origin companies. He is also a member of the board of directors. His latest company, Akan Biosciences, is developing state-of-the-art regenerative and reparative cell therapies, where he serves as the Chairman of the Board. Akan Biosciences is one of the only companies in the world to get FDA approval for INDs for use of non-expanded native SVF for osteoarthritis. Akan Bio also launched allograft HCT/P products in 2021 at more than 200 clinics nationwide with contracts to be the preferred allograft product for more than 5000 clinics in the US alone by 2022. In addition, Akan Bio is developing products for the treatment of autism and Crohn’s disease. Another of his companies, FDAMap, has worked with more than 1100 companies or all sizes over the last 6 years including several Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 pharmaceutical, biotech, medical devices and digital health, and healthcare companies. He is one of world’s top experts in US regulatory affairs, compliance, clinical trials, and smart product development strategies. His clients are in more than 50 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. He has been pivotal in the development of more than 100 medicinal and diagnostic products with more than 200 clinical trials, thousands of submissions to the US FDA, European Medicines Agency, and regulators in about 34 countries. His approach of disruptive product development is based on using novel, smart, out-of-the-box regulatory approaches that expedite patient access while reducing development cost. Dr. Kumar sits on the Board of several small and medium size companies developing innovative products prominent among which are Vivacelle Bio, Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri, ResQ Pharma, Inc, of Illinois, Kibow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Pennsylvania, Amarex Biosciences, Pvt Ltd of New Delhi, India, and Pepfactor, Inc. of Sydney, Australia. In addition to running companies, Dr. Kumar is an accomplished author and thought leader in healthcare related topics having written numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and other professional publications. His weekly blog, FDA Puran, is subscribed by over 100,000 readers globally, and he has authored more than 800 blogs on US and worldwide healthcare regulations. Mukesh loves to teach and mentor upcoming talent. He created a Certificate in Clinical Project Management at the Montgomery College, Maryland, where he trained 100s of budding clinical research professionals over 8 years. He is currently a Professor (Adjunct), Regulatory Sciences, at the School of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington DC, and the lead trainer for FDAMap where he delivers about 50 lectures every year on various topics related to product development and entrepreneurship to students at all levels. He has trained more than 10,000 students over the last 20 years and personally mentored more than 100 budding scientists, developers, regulators, entrepreneurs, and policy wonks most of who have developed into successful professionals and his life-long network of experts. Dr. Kumar is a PhD in Biochemistry, a certified regulatory professional by the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, USA, a certified clinical trialist by The Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University, a Diplomate of the American Board of Regenerative Medicine, a compliance inspector, and a certifier.
Meet the Team
Our team is composed of dedicated doctors and business leaders focusing on advancing the field of shock and trauma treatments to save the lives of millions.
Dr. Epting is a physician - scientist at Northwestern University. He is an associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, Northwestern University, and an attending Pediatric and Cardiac ICU physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. He is a founding member of Vivacelle Bio Team, sharing and appreciating the vision of the paradigm-shifting properties of micellar colloids, and has served as a contributing scientific consultant since April of 2013. Dr. Epting brings expertise in experimental design and interpretation , animal modeling and critical care physiologic principles underlying resuscitation.
Presently, he studies the epigenetic modifications regulating stem cell phenotype following exposure to end-stage heart failure. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and has received funding from the March of Dimes, the NICHD, the Children’s Heart and Mend A Heart Foundations, the Mathews Center for Cellular Therapy and from multiple other intramural sources.
Dr. Siffring is a Trauma, Critical Care, and General Surgeon who resides in Kingsport, Tennessee. From 2006 to 2016 he worked at the Level 1 Trauma Center at Holston Valley Medical Center and taught surgical residents as a Professor of Surgery at East Tennessee State University. He has over twenty-four years of experience as a surgeon and medical researcher focused on trauma care. He is currently serving in multiple understaffed Trauma Programs throughout the Midwest and East Coast as a Locum Tenens Surgeon with Weatherby Healthcare.
Dr. Siffring retired from the Army Reserves after 22 years of service, including three tours of active duty with Forward Surgical Teams in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2003-2010.
Dr. Williams is Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Trauma, Critical Care, and Surgical Nutrition in the Department of Surgery at Howard University a Level I Trauma Center in Washington, D.C. He is an academic traumatologist with a very busy practice in all three components of acute care surgery including, trauma surgery, emergency general surgery and surgical critical care.
He has served our nation as a combat surgeon and the Chief of Surgery at the 345th Combat Support Hospital in Al Asad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and as the senior officer of the Mobile Surgical Team of the Medical Element of Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras. He currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Medical Corps. As an academic trauma surgeon, he was previously the Associate Director of Trauma & Critical Care at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport where he helped train providers and built capacity at the trauma center level. He served on the Louisiana Emergency Response Network, a state commission with the mission of building an inclusive trauma system. He is also the former Chief of Trauma, Critical Care & Acute Care Surgery at the University of Toledo.
He is a member of several professional trauma societies. As a result of a wealth of clinical experience in busy urban and rural trauma centers, active duty service in the military and academic contributions, and he is considered a subject matter expert in resuscitation of multisystem trauma.
Dr. Rodriguez is a professor of physics at the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, where he divides his time between teaching physics and conducting biophysics research. His interest in biophysics was developed while a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, where he investigated the optical properties of metalloporphyrins, a class of molecules that includes the O2 carrying active site in hemoglobin known as heme. His work on metalloporphyrins continued at Centenary College of Louisiana where he investigated how light can be used to monitor brain oxygenation non-invasively. His research interests later expanded to nitric oxide (NO) biology, where his work shed light on the biological actions elicited by secondary products of NO synthesis. He also contributed to the development of NO assays, especially the one that was later used to characterize the NO and O2 carrying capacity of Vivacelle’s first products. His work has been funded by a variety of foundations, including the NSF. Dr. Rodriguez is also affiliated with the Vision Sciences and Mechanobiology centers at Washington University in St. Louis.