The Team

The Pack

Grappling with conceptually-challenging new science, working for hours at the bench to complete impossibly-complex experiments designed to illuminate the dark, analyzing pages of data from the laboratory, and then synthesizing all that information into presentations that can be understood by the world; this is our challenge. And while it is one we embrace gladly, it can all be overwhelming if not kept in perspective. Nothing clears the head or brings real perspective more than a relationship with furry friends. Mercaptor takes full advantage of the opportunity to reap the benefits of a symbiotic relationship that began tens-of-thousands of years ago—with our best friends.

We value the team behind the team: Our dogs. They tolerate our quirks in exchange for love, reciprocated 100-fold, occasional treats and long hikes in the hills that rise behind Mercaptor and continue all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Read about our canine companions below:

The Discovery Team

We have a small, dedicated, cross-functional team. We have room to grow the business, but we are not keen to grow the team as we value our autonomy and feel strongly about maintaining scientific integrity. The Mercaptor espirit de corps is rooted in mutual respect and trust that has been cultivated over years of shared effort. Working in relative obscurity from the outside world, we have grown accustomed to drawing strength from within and leaning on each other to make us stronger. Not surprisingly, team members are as committed to each other as they are to the science and the mission. We all wear many hats - proudly.

The Board

Mercaptor has been fortunate in the composition of its Board of Directors. Relying initially on two hapless founders, Mercaptor was mercifully introduced by a friend to Jim Kovach and Ralph O'Rear. Possessed of extraordinary and fortuitously-apt skills for an endeavor like Mercaptor, Jim and Ralph had been a near-legendary managerial duo elsewhere in health science research and remained fast friends. The accession of Jim and Ralph to the Board provided encouragement to a team in need of a little validation and added decades of applicable experience to Mercaptor's managerial team.

The Ambassadors

A tiny company, a remarkable discovery, and a lot to do.  Mercaptor presented some interesting problems.  And not the kind familiar to scientists.  One such problem was in engaging the world and communicating our story; another, related, but more existential problem, was in finding money.  We needed help.  People to show us a way, without ignoring some founding principles:  Avoid reliance on the sclerotic, inefficient approach to drug development common in the modern pharmaceutical industry and, similarly, avoid venture capital and its desire for profits tomorrow.

In short, we weren’t keen on solutions that devalued science in favor of marketing, that made patients and taxpayers foot the bill for the corporate jet. The first step in getting some purchase on these issues and sharing our message, research and ongoing progress with the world, was engaging our Executive Advisory Board (EAB)

Canine

Skills

Master snuggler
100%

Boo

Australian Shepherd

Boo was born on Christmas 2009, was rescued from a ranch on Halloween 2010 and thinks he’s a cat. Boo loves people and lives to be petted. He’s an Australian Shepard that would wag his tail but only can shake his tail-less butt. Boo will take the stuffing and squeakers out of dog toys but gently chews his stuffed squirrel-friends keeping them 100% intact.

Brings to the Table:
Boo brings an always happy attitude!

Favorites

Lobster friends Squirrel-friends

Skills

Porpoising
100%

Buddhist “Bhudda”

Staffordshire Terrier

Buddhist is the newest addition to the Mercaptor family, born September 2017. A hyper-dense force of nature who makes everyone feel as though they’ve never experienced a puppy before, Buddhist astonishes with boundless curiosity, cheeky mischief, and limitless love. Just when you think you’ve taken his measure, this little ball of gumption pulls off a new stunt, like making a pile of food vanishes in a display of voracious abandon.

Brings to the Table:
Puppy love and mayhem!

Favorites

Porpoising on the couch Piles of food Bella (his human sister)

Canine

Skills

Risk assessment
30%
Organizational management
30%
Problem solving
30%

Cassie

Aussie/Samoyed Mix

Cassie is the alpha-dog at Mercaptor, a position secured by an IQ at least 10 points higher than the company average. She is a generous leader, only asserting herself when respect or decorum are unforgivably lacking. She is always vigilant, missing nothing, connecting dots, working angles, calculating odds, doing the math. A formidable example for human and dog alike.

Favorites

Treats Hideouts with easily monitored routes of entry and egress

Canine

Skills

Destroying toys
30%
Giving an hour warning whine before evening treat time
30%
Alerting the household if someone gets too close to the house
30%

Dolce

Rat Terrier

Dolce is quick, smart and seems to have springs for legs. He loves being chased by Emma or his work friends but also jumping up in the laps of his human friends. He is an expert beggar and has his sad dog face mastered. He has his morning routine of going office to office where he knows he can snag a treat and pet.

Favorites

Going from office to office to get treats Laying in the sunshine Snuggling under a blanket Playing tug of war Laying atop multiple plush pillows

My Human Is

Canine

Skills

Tracking by scent
90%
Running and jumping around, all four legs aflail, just for the hell of it
100%

Ellie Rae

Plott Hound Mix

Ellie knows what is important and what is not. Chasing wildlife for miles while shrieking like a Banshee is important. People are not. Thankfully, her prejudices have begun to temper a bit. She will always prefer her normal friends, Cassie especially, Rosie, Chego, and Riley too, but she has started to make some accommodation for Mercaptor’s humans.

Brings to the Table:
Primal canine behavior, a deafening howl.

Favorites

Treats Cassie Memory-foam dog beds

Canine

Skills

Rolls over, will shake your hand, can play dead
50%
Sneaks treats like a ninja, gives puppy dog eyes like you wouldn't believe, can swallow any treat without chewing (as if magic, right before your eyes)
60%
Pretends as though she has never been fed before in her life when you are near the treat bowl
90%
Spins and twirls
40%
Will give you the warmest greeting after not seeing you for 30 seconds
90%

Kahlua “Lulu”

Yorkshire Terrier

Kahula is Mercaptor’s resident Momma’s girl (unless Dad is nearby). She is a ball of energy that loves to play with her tennis ball, squeaky toys, and anything she can eat. She is competitive, and frequently jealous when mom gives any attention to any other dog… Jealousy aside, you can typically find her napping on someone’s lap, dancing or doing tricks to earn treats, or waiting for mom to return from a meeting, the restroom, lunch, etc. She may be a bit asocial, but we all know she loves the pack here at Mercaptor.

Brings to the Table:
Kahlua brings lots of joy and laughter to the team with her quirky personality mixed with her sweet and sassy demeanor. She lives up to the saying, “small dog, big personality.”

Favorites

Her small tennis ball any and all treats warm laundry (fresh out of the dryer) walks food snuggling squeaky toys her house (pet carrier) cuddling under the blankets

Lucy

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Lucy is a big teddy bear who’s heart is as big as her stomach (that says something). She is stubborn, but loyal and loves her humans dearly.

Canine

Skills

Chego knows a lot of tricks, but will only do the ones he really likes, for example if you tell him to roll over he will pretend he didn't hear that and turn around instead. He learns fast, many members of his work and home family have taught him many tricks. He can high-five, speak, whisper and shake among many other tricks.
100%

Manchego “Chego”

Chihuahua Miniature Pincher Mix

Chego is a little prince, you will sometimes catch him being carried in and out of work wrapped in his blanket by mom. He is a sweet and playful boy with the occasional outburst of zoomies. Chego is an independent little man who likes to wander and explore but when he is over that he will search for any lap to sleep in by pawing at you to pick him up into your lap. He is afraid of loud noises and crowded places so if you see him in someone’s arms it’s because he wants to feel protected. He is Esme’s ray of sunshine at all times of the day.

Brings to the Table:
Always on alert, you can always count on Chego to notify you when someone has entered the building. He keeps Mercaptor Discoveries headquarters safe from “evil” birds bouncing and flying around the parking lot. You may catch him looking out the windows warning strangers to stay away. But don’t get him the wrong way he is truly a sweet and kind boy, he won’t ever hurt anyone he just loves to show off his “loud” roar.

Favorites

Anything that will keep him warm Warm blankets Laying under the warm sun and in winter time sleeping next to the heater Kale Carrots Spinach Doggy treats

Canine

Skills

Milo is a master of tricks since he is incredibly treat-motivated
100%
Shake
100%
High-five, leave-it, stay, crawl
70%
Turn around, beg, dance
60%
"Bang" (plays dead)
90%

Milo

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Milo, though not the smartest of the bunch, sure is one of the sweetest. He is always by his Mommy’s side, excited and ready to go on whatever adventure awaits him. He is timid and clumsy, but once he knows and loves you, he trusts you with his whole heart and has plenty of slobbery kisses to prove it!

Brings to the Table:
You can always count on Milo to make you chuckle with his awkwardness. He is a complete goof-ball, though we always say that is part of his charm. His innocence and devotion are refreshing and sweet and a reminder to us all to find joy in the simple things in life. 

Favorites

Going out on hikes/camping Chasing after Daddy and human-bro Tug-o-war Snuggling FOOOOOOD!!! 

Canine

Skills

Though Nani is as smart as they come and can do a variety of tricks, don't think she will do any of them unless she gets something out of it. While you are at it, can you walk the treat to her first?
90%
On second thought, she will just jump on the table while you aren't looking and can help herself- thank you. 
100%

Nani

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Nani is one of the original ‘aptor dogs. She’s incredibly affectionate and sweet, but don’t let that fool you- she’s as naughty as they come in the sneakiest of ways. She loves her human companions (much more than her fur-buddies), especially if you have treats to share. Take her outdoors and she has the energy of a little pup, but at home, she’s our little sloth. She gives the best kisses and snuggles and is more than willing to share the love!

Favorites

She loves jumping onto your face and snuggling into your neck The outdoors Wind in her face Wand on her feet Water in her hair

Oliver

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Oliver is a sweet boy, known for his expert cuddles. He is never far away, ready to take advantage of any available snuggles and treats! 

Canine

Riley

Staffordshire Terrier Mix

Riley is nothing short of a tom girl.  She has a quirky personality with big ears to match.  Riley will greet you with a huge smile on her face, whipping her tale from side to side (watch out!). She is a bit stubborn at times but has so much love for everyone, we cannot help but love her back. Riley has each and everyone of us wrapped around her paws.

Brings to the Table:
Riley’s spunky personality brings pure amusement to us all and brightens our day with her enthusiasm.  She is ready to smother anyone, humans or dogs, with kisses. Riley is genuinely a special girl and has molded into our Mercaptor family perfectly.

Favorites

Riley loves hiking with her fellow dogs and of course her favorite person: Todd   Just as much as she loves running she loves her dog naps Filling her stomach with only the best dog treats As long as she is near her people she is a happy pup

Canine

Skills

Rosie plays dead, shakes your hand, and "goes around" in a circle all on command (for treats only of course)
80%
She can destroy any toy in less than an hour (including the ones claiming to be indestructible) and can injest toy parts faster than you can blink.
90%
By far though she is most skilled at tug-of-war. To date she remains undefeated!
100%
Blowing snot rockets great distances through the air, sometimes even defying gravity (watch out!)
90%

Rosie

English Bulldog

True to her breed Rosie is a stubborn girl, but she has a heart of gold. She wiggles her butt with great enthusiasm when she greets her human friends, however, she can take or leave most dogs. When the other dogs are playing rough and getting rowdy Rosie steps in as regulator. Mostly, though she is content to wait patiently by the treat table for passers-by in hopes they won’t be able to resist her squishy face and sad eyes. 

Brings to the Table:
Rosie brings a personality as sweet as sugar to the Mercaptor family. She loves every single person here to death (although there’s no denying that Todd is her absolute favorite). She also brings copious amounts of slobber to the family! No one gets out without Rosie drool on their legs! 

Favorites

Treats Belly scratches New treats Playing tug-of-war with her rope More treats Playing fetch with her rope Are there any treats? Going for short walks in cold weather Treats

Skills

Vana can jump high with her whippet-like long legs
100%

Vana

Rat Terrier Mix

Vana was rescued at the age of two from the Marin Humane Society around Christmas 2008, so her nickname is Vana White Christmas or Vana Claus. She’s a rat terrier mix, has the legs of a whippet and weighs in at 12 pounds. She loves being a lap dog but scares easily. Vana barks at the birds and stray cats on our property and enjoys laying in the sun.

Brings to the Table:
Vana creates calm when she sits in your lap and curls up for petting.

Favorites

Green bones More green bones

Senior Scientist

Amanda Ko

Amanda has been an integral part of our close-knit team for more than 11 years. As Senior Scientist, she designs, executes and analyzes experiments in support of Mercaptor’s multiple programs. She also develops and performs methods for project advancement, analyzes and interprets data, organizes and presents relevant findings and exploratory research. Her dedication and hard work make her an indispensable part of Mercaptor’s discovery team.

Director, Finance and Administration

Annie Verde

Annie is the consummate caregiver of the team. She handles finance, benefits, accounting and the wide array of day-to-day operations that make this place run seamlessly. Annie is detail-oriented yet doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She supports the entire Mercaptor team, facilitating our research and helping to build a strong infrastructure and foundation for us to thrive and operate optimally.

Jack of All Trades

Chris Rincon

As head of health and safety, Chris keeps us trained and fully compliant, keeps the lab running, and the laboratory equipment maintained. His resourcefulness and versatile skillset support Mercaptor’s mission and lay a solid foundation so that the research team can thrive.

Research Associate II

Esmeralda Ponce

Esme brings unity and calmness to the table. She is quiet, but her sense of humor keeps the team in good spirits throughout the day. Esme develops, performs, and analyzes experiments looking at ROS levels, activity of proteins, and cellular oxidation. Her work ethic is rivaled only by her extreme efficiency and commitment to helping team-members succeed.

Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Co-founder

Kim R. Tsuchimoto

Kim has been integral in building a mere idea into a fully realized company. She is an efficient CFO who is always generous with her time and energy. In short, she’s the glue that keeps this place together.

Ms. Tsuchimoto co-founded Mercaptor Discoveries Inc. and is our part-time Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Tsuchimoto is also the Chief Financial Officer of Monopar Therapeutics since June 2015. Ms. Tsuchimoto has spent over nine years at Raptor Pharmaceuticals, as its Chief Financial Officer from Raptor’s inception in May 2006 until August 2012, as Raptor’s Vice President of International Finance, Tax & Treasury from September 2012 to February 2015, and lastly served as Raptor’s Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis and Internal Controls from February to May 2015. At Raptor, Ms. Tsuchimoto completed: two reverse mergers, one to initially trade on the OTCBB, the second to gain Raptor’s Nasdaq listing; over $100 million of financings (primarily equity); one clinical asset purchase; and one clinical platform asset license, which later became Raptor’s first commercial product and lead program. Ms. Tsuchimoto has drafted numerous SEC mandated reports such as 10-Ks, 10-Qs, Form 4s, S-1s, S-3s and prospectus supplements. Prior to Raptor, Ms. Tsuchimoto spent eight years at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and its predecessor, Glyko, Inc., where she held the positions of Vice President-Treasurer, Vice President-Controller and Controller. At BioMarin, Ms. Tsuchimoto provided due diligence for the company’s IPO in 1999 and helped close BioMarin’s first $500 million of financing between 1997 and 2005. Ms. Tsuchimoto was responsible for BioMarin’s SEC reporting, corporate compliance, 10(b)5-1 trading plans and was BioMarin’s primary liaison with external legal counsel and auditors in the company’s early years. Prior to Glyko, she served as Controller at a few companies outside the biotech industry. She began her career as a staff accountant in a local certified public accounting firm. Ms. Tsuchimoto received a B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She holds an inactive California Certified Public Accountant license.

Research Associate II

Renée Kinkade

Renee has a curious mind and a talent for thinking outside the box. She analyzes Ca+ flux and excitotoxicity, and develops analytic assays, checking for the presence of either oxidized or reduced small molecules in cells. Her tireless questioning of the data and thorough process maintain the highest scientific standards and dynamic dedication has contributed to key milestones of Mercaptor’s success.

Chief Executive Officer, President, and Co-founder

Sara Isbell

Sara’s passion for neuroscience was sparked at a very young age when she developed a lifelong love of nature and curiosity for the inner workings of the world. Her early enthusiasm led her to pursue and earn a B.S. in Neurochemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology from University of Irvine, Calif. Sara has been a dedicated creative thinker bringing innovation to the bench, developing novel experiments and applying the scientific method to groundbreaking research for more than 22 years.

Research Assistant II

Sheana Nieh

Sheana joined our team as an administrator, but her enthusiasm and competence garnered her a promotion to a key position at the bench. She analyzes mitochondrial health, cellular respiration, and cell toxicity assays and keeps the lab running smoothly and efficiently.

Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder

Todd Zankel PhD

Getting to know him and especially to work with Todd on ideas and experiments he thinks up, is a great honor. This sentiment is shared by all at Mercaptor Discoveries.

Dr. Zankel co-founded and seed-funded Mercaptor Discoveries Inc., a direct descendant of the Discovery group at Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Raptor ceased operations in 2016.  Mercaptor is focused on proprietary molecules conceived to treat neuronal injury and neurodegeneration. Todd also co-founded Raptor Pharmaceuticals and served as its Chief Scientific Officer from 2006 to 2016. From 1997 to 2005, he served as a Senior Director of Research at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. Dr. Zankel was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at both the Plant Gene Expression Center in Berkeley, California, and the Chemistry Department of the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. An author of scientific publications and patents, Todd earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University, New York.

Program Manager

Victoria Mendonca

The heart of keeping the team organized, enthusiastic and strong, Victoria tracks and manages all projects in-house and plays a vital role in fundraising. She also assists in the development of processes for departmental infrastructure, stakeholder management, Gantt chart development, resource management and organizational budgeting, project planning, assists in vendor contract negotiations, leads grant writing initiatives and heads up project team meetings. Victoria also works closely with Jarrod in designing our animal studies.

Board Member

Erich Sager, MBA

Erich Sager is an international private banking executive and has been a strong supporter of biopharma companies over the past 20 years. Currently Chairman at Coupolino AG, Sager previously served on the boards of Holding TwentyOne AG, Calltrade Carrier Services AG, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Raptor Pharmaceuticals Inc. An influential advocate for emerging technologies, Sager also serves on the boards of several companies including Zecotek Photonics Inc.

Mr. Sager received an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the School of Economics and Business Administration in Zurich, Switzerland.

Board Member

James Kovach, MD, JD

James Kovach was introduced to Mercaptor in late 2016 and has since been a key advisor from a medical, R&D and business perspective.  Dr. Kovach serves as Vice President of Business Development for CrowdOptic, a venture-backed company using real-time sensor data from electronic devices and its own patented CrowdOptic algorithms to identify and track where devices are aimed (focus) and to identify groups of people with the same focus (clusters). Dr. Kovach also directs a program in entrepreneurship and innovation at UC Davis Health.

Dr. Kovach is also founder of Beneufit, a start-up company providing a personalized exercise system for people fighting chronic disease, tapping into the body’s natural ability to self-heal through exercise. He received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Kentucky while simultaneously playing in the National Football League.  After playing for seven seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, he attended law school at Stanford University and practiced corporate law in Palo Alto California.

Dr. Kovach has served as Chief Operating Officer of Athersys, Inc., a leading public biotechnology company developing stem cell therapeutics.  Two stem cell products initiated under his tenure now are in Phase II clinical development for inflammatory bowel disease and ischemic stroke. He has also served as President of the Buck Institute for Age Research.  Named by the National Institutes of Health as a national center of excellence, the Buck Institute is an independent research institute dedicated exclusively to research on aging and age-associated disease.  Dr. Kovach also previously served as a member of the NFL Concussion Committee.

Board Member

Ralph O’Rear

Ralph O’Rear provides Mercaptor strategic advice with regards to general business strategy, facilities, and operations.  After 18 years at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and nearly 10 years at Lucasfilm Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts Entertainment, THX), Mr. O’Rear began to independently consult with the goal of doing interesting work with good people working together for noble causes.

His expertise is in the areas of real estate and facility planning, organizational strategic planning, change management, budgeting, development and implementation of corporate facility initiatives and energy efficiency/sustainability measures.  At the Buck Institute, Mr. O’Rear was responsible for the facilities and operations of a research campus comprised of 3 buildings totaling 255,000sf on 417 acres of land.  During his time at the Buck Institute, he initiated and/or was a key player in the acquisition of more than $50,000,000 in grant funding and strategic partnerships to support the research conducted at the Buck Institute.

Vice President of Public Relations and Communications

Carole Barrow

Carole is a widely published writer and editor who has played a vital role in crafting Mercaptor’s voice, developing innovative marketing campaigns and creating our media outreach agenda. She is Editor of an award-winning regional magazine and has been a syndicated columnist for several prominent Bay Area print publications. She has also held key positions in social media marketing and advertising copy-writing for a wide range of industries from high-end event production to corporate finance. Her eclectic range of experience makes her the perfect ambassador to communicate Mercaptor’s mission in an “unbiased, unscripted and unexpected” way.

Executive Advisory Board Member

Dr. Michael Schwartz

Dr. Michael Schwartz is a Board Certified physician specializing in Internal Medicine with a private practice in Darien, Connecticut.

In 1991, Schwartz was appointed as a ringside physician for the State of Connecticut and was named to the Medical Advisory Board in 1995. Two years later, he was named Chief Ringside Physician for the State of Connecticut. Schwartz also serves as the Chief Ringside Physician and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

As Chief Ringside Physician for Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, he was responsible for creating many of the medical protocols utilized in boxing today. In 1997, he founded the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP), the first Medical Association for Professional Ringside Physicians.

In 2000, after the passage of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, he testified on boxing safety at the National Association of Attorneys General Boxing Task Force (NAAG) hearings in New York City and in 2001 for the New York State Assembly on Boxing Reform. In 2005, his Congressional Testimony at the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearings in Washington, DC, helped introduce bill H.R. 1065, the United States Boxing Commission Act, which was designed to establish more national uniformity of safety standards throughout the United States.

Dr. Schwartz has lectured around the world on ringside medicine and has been published extensively in all aspects of ringside care including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). As such, in 2011, Dr. Schwartz was inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Schwartz serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Frank Netter School of Medicine and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College. He also authors a bimonthly health column “House Calls”, which is published in several Hearst Media Newspapers.

 

 

Executive Advisory Board

Murat Akgun

Murat has worked in the capital markets business for twenty-seven years in a variety of areas and roles. He has also played several roles in a number of start-up firms either as a co-founder, adviser or investor, including, formulating business strategy, raising/structuring capital.

Prior to New Tech Haven, he was a senior member of the structured finance business at XL Financial Solutions. He spent six years as a founding member CMET Finance Inc., prior to joining XL. As the lead structured finance professional, he coordinated the launch of two innovative AAA rated broker-dealers, including raising the firm’s capital and securing its AAA rating. From 1994 to 1999, he was with Citicorp Securities Inc. as a senior financial engineer/marketer. He performed a variety of roles in capital markets and derivatives at UBS, Drexel Burnham Lambert, and E.F. Hutton, prior to joining Citicorp.

Canine

Skills

Master snuggler
100%

Boo

Australian Shepherd

Boo was born on Christmas 2009, was rescued from a ranch on Halloween 2010 and thinks he’s a cat. Boo loves people and lives to be petted. He’s an Australian Shepard that would wag his tail but only can shake his tail-less butt. Boo will take the stuffing and squeakers out of dog toys but gently chews his stuffed squirrel-friends keeping them 100% intact.

Brings to the Table:
Boo brings an always happy attitude!

Favorites

Lobster friends Squirrel-friends

Skills

Porpoising
100%

Buddhist “Bhudda”

Staffordshire Terrier

Buddhist is the newest addition to the Mercaptor family, born September 2017. A hyper-dense force of nature who makes everyone feel as though they’ve never experienced a puppy before, Buddhist astonishes with boundless curiosity, cheeky mischief, and limitless love. Just when you think you’ve taken his measure, this little ball of gumption pulls off a new stunt, like making a pile of food vanishes in a display of voracious abandon.

Brings to the Table:
Puppy love and mayhem!

Favorites

Porpoising on the couch Piles of food Bella (his human sister)

Canine

Skills

Risk assessment
30%
Organizational management
30%
Problem solving
30%

Cassie

Aussie/Samoyed Mix

Cassie is the alpha-dog at Mercaptor, a position secured by an IQ at least 10 points higher than the company average. She is a generous leader, only asserting herself when respect or decorum are unforgivably lacking. She is always vigilant, missing nothing, connecting dots, working angles, calculating odds, doing the math. A formidable example for human and dog alike.

Favorites

Treats Hideouts with easily monitored routes of entry and egress

Canine

Skills

Destroying toys
30%
Giving an hour warning whine before evening treat time
30%
Alerting the household if someone gets too close to the house
30%

Dolce

Rat Terrier

Dolce is quick, smart and seems to have springs for legs. He loves being chased by Emma or his work friends but also jumping up in the laps of his human friends. He is an expert beggar and has his sad dog face mastered. He has his morning routine of going office to office where he knows he can snag a treat and pet.

Favorites

Going from office to office to get treats Laying in the sunshine Snuggling under a blanket Playing tug of war Laying atop multiple plush pillows

My Human Is

Canine

Skills

Tracking by scent
90%
Running and jumping around, all four legs aflail, just for the hell of it
100%

Ellie Rae

Plott Hound Mix

Ellie knows what is important and what is not. Chasing wildlife for miles while shrieking like a Banshee is important. People are not. Thankfully, her prejudices have begun to temper a bit. She will always prefer her normal friends, Cassie especially, Rosie, Chego, and Riley too, but she has started to make some accommodation for Mercaptor’s humans.

Brings to the Table:
Primal canine behavior, a deafening howl.

Favorites

Treats Cassie Memory-foam dog beds

Canine

Skills

Rolls over, will shake your hand, can play dead
50%
Sneaks treats like a ninja, gives puppy dog eyes like you wouldn't believe, can swallow any treat without chewing (as if magic, right before your eyes)
60%
Pretends as though she has never been fed before in her life when you are near the treat bowl
90%
Spins and twirls
40%
Will give you the warmest greeting after not seeing you for 30 seconds
90%

Kahlua “Lulu”

Yorkshire Terrier

Kahula is Mercaptor’s resident Momma’s girl (unless Dad is nearby). She is a ball of energy that loves to play with her tennis ball, squeaky toys, and anything she can eat. She is competitive, and frequently jealous when mom gives any attention to any other dog… Jealousy aside, you can typically find her napping on someone’s lap, dancing or doing tricks to earn treats, or waiting for mom to return from a meeting, the restroom, lunch, etc. She may be a bit asocial, but we all know she loves the pack here at Mercaptor.

Brings to the Table:
Kahlua brings lots of joy and laughter to the team with her quirky personality mixed with her sweet and sassy demeanor. She lives up to the saying, “small dog, big personality.”

Favorites

Her small tennis ball any and all treats warm laundry (fresh out of the dryer) walks food snuggling squeaky toys her house (pet carrier) cuddling under the blankets

Lucy

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Lucy is a big teddy bear who’s heart is as big as her stomach (that says something). She is stubborn, but loyal and loves her humans dearly.

Canine

Skills

Chego knows a lot of tricks, but will only do the ones he really likes, for example if you tell him to roll over he will pretend he didn't hear that and turn around instead. He learns fast, many members of his work and home family have taught him many tricks. He can high-five, speak, whisper and shake among many other tricks.
100%

Manchego “Chego”

Chihuahua Miniature Pincher Mix

Chego is a little prince, you will sometimes catch him being carried in and out of work wrapped in his blanket by mom. He is a sweet and playful boy with the occasional outburst of zoomies. Chego is an independent little man who likes to wander and explore but when he is over that he will search for any lap to sleep in by pawing at you to pick him up into your lap. He is afraid of loud noises and crowded places so if you see him in someone’s arms it’s because he wants to feel protected. He is Esme’s ray of sunshine at all times of the day.

Brings to the Table:
Always on alert, you can always count on Chego to notify you when someone has entered the building. He keeps Mercaptor Discoveries headquarters safe from “evil” birds bouncing and flying around the parking lot. You may catch him looking out the windows warning strangers to stay away. But don’t get him the wrong way he is truly a sweet and kind boy, he won’t ever hurt anyone he just loves to show off his “loud” roar.

Favorites

Anything that will keep him warm Warm blankets Laying under the warm sun and in winter time sleeping next to the heater Kale Carrots Spinach Doggy treats

Canine

Skills

Milo is a master of tricks since he is incredibly treat-motivated
100%
Shake
100%
High-five, leave-it, stay, crawl
70%
Turn around, beg, dance
60%
"Bang" (plays dead)
90%

Milo

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Milo, though not the smartest of the bunch, sure is one of the sweetest. He is always by his Mommy’s side, excited and ready to go on whatever adventure awaits him. He is timid and clumsy, but once he knows and loves you, he trusts you with his whole heart and has plenty of slobbery kisses to prove it!

Brings to the Table:
You can always count on Milo to make you chuckle with his awkwardness. He is a complete goof-ball, though we always say that is part of his charm. His innocence and devotion are refreshing and sweet and a reminder to us all to find joy in the simple things in life. 

Favorites

Going out on hikes/camping Chasing after Daddy and human-bro Tug-o-war Snuggling FOOOOOOD!!! 

Canine

Skills

Though Nani is as smart as they come and can do a variety of tricks, don't think she will do any of them unless she gets something out of it. While you are at it, can you walk the treat to her first?
90%
On second thought, she will just jump on the table while you aren't looking and can help herself- thank you. 
100%

Nani

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Nani is one of the original ‘aptor dogs. She’s incredibly affectionate and sweet, but don’t let that fool you- she’s as naughty as they come in the sneakiest of ways. She loves her human companions (much more than her fur-buddies), especially if you have treats to share. Take her outdoors and she has the energy of a little pup, but at home, she’s our little sloth. She gives the best kisses and snuggles and is more than willing to share the love!

Favorites

She loves jumping onto your face and snuggling into your neck The outdoors Wind in her face Wand on her feet Water in her hair

Oliver

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Oliver is a sweet boy, known for his expert cuddles. He is never far away, ready to take advantage of any available snuggles and treats! 

Canine

Riley

Staffordshire Terrier Mix

Riley is nothing short of a tom girl.  She has a quirky personality with big ears to match.  Riley will greet you with a huge smile on her face, whipping her tale from side to side (watch out!). She is a bit stubborn at times but has so much love for everyone, we cannot help but love her back. Riley has each and everyone of us wrapped around her paws.

Brings to the Table:
Riley’s spunky personality brings pure amusement to us all and brightens our day with her enthusiasm.  She is ready to smother anyone, humans or dogs, with kisses. Riley is genuinely a special girl and has molded into our Mercaptor family perfectly.

Favorites

Riley loves hiking with her fellow dogs and of course her favorite person: Todd   Just as much as she loves running she loves her dog naps Filling her stomach with only the best dog treats As long as she is near her people she is a happy pup

Canine

Skills

Rosie plays dead, shakes your hand, and "goes around" in a circle all on command (for treats only of course)
80%
She can destroy any toy in less than an hour (including the ones claiming to be indestructible) and can injest toy parts faster than you can blink.
90%
By far though she is most skilled at tug-of-war. To date she remains undefeated!
100%
Blowing snot rockets great distances through the air, sometimes even defying gravity (watch out!)
90%

Rosie

English Bulldog

True to her breed Rosie is a stubborn girl, but she has a heart of gold. She wiggles her butt with great enthusiasm when she greets her human friends, however, she can take or leave most dogs. When the other dogs are playing rough and getting rowdy Rosie steps in as regulator. Mostly, though she is content to wait patiently by the treat table for passers-by in hopes they won’t be able to resist her squishy face and sad eyes. 

Brings to the Table:
Rosie brings a personality as sweet as sugar to the Mercaptor family. She loves every single person here to death (although there’s no denying that Todd is her absolute favorite). She also brings copious amounts of slobber to the family! No one gets out without Rosie drool on their legs! 

Favorites

Treats Belly scratches New treats Playing tug-of-war with her rope More treats Playing fetch with her rope Are there any treats? Going for short walks in cold weather Treats

Skills

Vana can jump high with her whippet-like long legs
100%

Vana

Rat Terrier Mix

Vana was rescued at the age of two from the Marin Humane Society around Christmas 2008, so her nickname is Vana White Christmas or Vana Claus. She’s a rat terrier mix, has the legs of a whippet and weighs in at 12 pounds. She loves being a lap dog but scares easily. Vana barks at the birds and stray cats on our property and enjoys laying in the sun.

Brings to the Table:
Vana creates calm when she sits in your lap and curls up for petting.

Favorites

Green bones More green bones

Senior Scientist

Amanda Ko

Amanda has been an integral part of our close-knit team for more than 11 years. As Senior Scientist, she designs, executes and analyzes experiments in support of Mercaptor’s multiple programs. She also develops and performs methods for project advancement, analyzes and interprets data, organizes and presents relevant findings and exploratory research. Her dedication and hard work make her an indispensable part of Mercaptor’s discovery team.

Director, Finance and Administration

Annie Verde

Annie is the consummate caregiver of the team. She handles finance, benefits, accounting and the wide array of day-to-day operations that make this place run seamlessly. Annie is detail-oriented yet doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She supports the entire Mercaptor team, facilitating our research and helping to build a strong infrastructure and foundation for us to thrive and operate optimally.

Jack of All Trades

Chris Rincon

As head of health and safety, Chris keeps us trained and fully compliant, keeps the lab running, and the laboratory equipment maintained. His resourcefulness and versatile skillset support Mercaptor’s mission and lay a solid foundation so that the research team can thrive.

Research Associate II

Esmeralda Ponce

Esme brings unity and calmness to the table. She is quiet, but her sense of humor keeps the team in good spirits throughout the day. Esme develops, performs, and analyzes experiments looking at ROS levels, activity of proteins, and cellular oxidation. Her work ethic is rivaled only by her extreme efficiency and commitment to helping team-members succeed.

Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Co-founder

Kim R. Tsuchimoto

Kim has been integral in building a mere idea into a fully realized company. She is an efficient CFO who is always generous with her time and energy. In short, she’s the glue that keeps this place together.

Ms. Tsuchimoto co-founded Mercaptor Discoveries Inc. and is our part-time Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Tsuchimoto is also the Chief Financial Officer of Monopar Therapeutics since June 2015. Ms. Tsuchimoto has spent over nine years at Raptor Pharmaceuticals, as its Chief Financial Officer from Raptor’s inception in May 2006 until August 2012, as Raptor’s Vice President of International Finance, Tax & Treasury from September 2012 to February 2015, and lastly served as Raptor’s Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis and Internal Controls from February to May 2015. At Raptor, Ms. Tsuchimoto completed: two reverse mergers, one to initially trade on the OTCBB, the second to gain Raptor’s Nasdaq listing; over $100 million of financings (primarily equity); one clinical asset purchase; and one clinical platform asset license, which later became Raptor’s first commercial product and lead program. Ms. Tsuchimoto has drafted numerous SEC mandated reports such as 10-Ks, 10-Qs, Form 4s, S-1s, S-3s and prospectus supplements. Prior to Raptor, Ms. Tsuchimoto spent eight years at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and its predecessor, Glyko, Inc., where she held the positions of Vice President-Treasurer, Vice President-Controller and Controller. At BioMarin, Ms. Tsuchimoto provided due diligence for the company’s IPO in 1999 and helped close BioMarin’s first $500 million of financing between 1997 and 2005. Ms. Tsuchimoto was responsible for BioMarin’s SEC reporting, corporate compliance, 10(b)5-1 trading plans and was BioMarin’s primary liaison with external legal counsel and auditors in the company’s early years. Prior to Glyko, she served as Controller at a few companies outside the biotech industry. She began her career as a staff accountant in a local certified public accounting firm. Ms. Tsuchimoto received a B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She holds an inactive California Certified Public Accountant license.

Research Associate II

Renée Kinkade

Renee has a curious mind and a talent for thinking outside the box. She analyzes Ca+ flux and excitotoxicity, and develops analytic assays, checking for the presence of either oxidized or reduced small molecules in cells. Her tireless questioning of the data and thorough process maintain the highest scientific standards and dynamic dedication has contributed to key milestones of Mercaptor’s success.

Chief Executive Officer, President, and Co-founder

Sara Isbell

Sara’s passion for neuroscience was sparked at a very young age when she developed a lifelong love of nature and curiosity for the inner workings of the world. Her early enthusiasm led her to pursue and earn a B.S. in Neurochemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology from University of Irvine, Calif. Sara has been a dedicated creative thinker bringing innovation to the bench, developing novel experiments and applying the scientific method to groundbreaking research for more than 22 years.

Research Assistant II

Sheana Nieh

Sheana joined our team as an administrator, but her enthusiasm and competence garnered her a promotion to a key position at the bench. She analyzes mitochondrial health, cellular respiration, and cell toxicity assays and keeps the lab running smoothly and efficiently.

Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder

Todd Zankel PhD

Getting to know him and especially to work with Todd on ideas and experiments he thinks up, is a great honor. This sentiment is shared by all at Mercaptor Discoveries.

Dr. Zankel co-founded and seed-funded Mercaptor Discoveries Inc., a direct descendant of the Discovery group at Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Raptor ceased operations in 2016.  Mercaptor is focused on proprietary molecules conceived to treat neuronal injury and neurodegeneration. Todd also co-founded Raptor Pharmaceuticals and served as its Chief Scientific Officer from 2006 to 2016. From 1997 to 2005, he served as a Senior Director of Research at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. Dr. Zankel was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at both the Plant Gene Expression Center in Berkeley, California, and the Chemistry Department of the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. An author of scientific publications and patents, Todd earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University, New York.

Program Manager

Victoria Mendonca

The heart of keeping the team organized, enthusiastic and strong, Victoria tracks and manages all projects in-house and plays a vital role in fundraising. She also assists in the development of processes for departmental infrastructure, stakeholder management, Gantt chart development, resource management and organizational budgeting, project planning, assists in vendor contract negotiations, leads grant writing initiatives and heads up project team meetings. Victoria also works closely with Jarrod in designing our animal studies.

Board Member

Erich Sager, MBA

Erich Sager is an international private banking executive and has been a strong supporter of biopharma companies over the past 20 years. Currently Chairman at Coupolino AG, Sager previously served on the boards of Holding TwentyOne AG, Calltrade Carrier Services AG, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Raptor Pharmaceuticals Inc. An influential advocate for emerging technologies, Sager also serves on the boards of several companies including Zecotek Photonics Inc.

Mr. Sager received an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the School of Economics and Business Administration in Zurich, Switzerland.

Board Member

James Kovach, MD, JD

James Kovach was introduced to Mercaptor in late 2016 and has since been a key advisor from a medical, R&D and business perspective.  Dr. Kovach serves as Vice President of Business Development for CrowdOptic, a venture-backed company using real-time sensor data from electronic devices and its own patented CrowdOptic algorithms to identify and track where devices are aimed (focus) and to identify groups of people with the same focus (clusters). Dr. Kovach also directs a program in entrepreneurship and innovation at UC Davis Health.

Dr. Kovach is also founder of Beneufit, a start-up company providing a personalized exercise system for people fighting chronic disease, tapping into the body’s natural ability to self-heal through exercise. He received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Kentucky while simultaneously playing in the National Football League.  After playing for seven seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, he attended law school at Stanford University and practiced corporate law in Palo Alto California.

Dr. Kovach has served as Chief Operating Officer of Athersys, Inc., a leading public biotechnology company developing stem cell therapeutics.  Two stem cell products initiated under his tenure now are in Phase II clinical development for inflammatory bowel disease and ischemic stroke. He has also served as President of the Buck Institute for Age Research.  Named by the National Institutes of Health as a national center of excellence, the Buck Institute is an independent research institute dedicated exclusively to research on aging and age-associated disease.  Dr. Kovach also previously served as a member of the NFL Concussion Committee.

Board Member

Ralph O’Rear

Ralph O’Rear provides Mercaptor strategic advice with regards to general business strategy, facilities, and operations.  After 18 years at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and nearly 10 years at Lucasfilm Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts Entertainment, THX), Mr. O’Rear began to independently consult with the goal of doing interesting work with good people working together for noble causes.

His expertise is in the areas of real estate and facility planning, organizational strategic planning, change management, budgeting, development and implementation of corporate facility initiatives and energy efficiency/sustainability measures.  At the Buck Institute, Mr. O’Rear was responsible for the facilities and operations of a research campus comprised of 3 buildings totaling 255,000sf on 417 acres of land.  During his time at the Buck Institute, he initiated and/or was a key player in the acquisition of more than $50,000,000 in grant funding and strategic partnerships to support the research conducted at the Buck Institute.

Vice President of Public Relations and Communications

Carole Barrow

Carole is a widely published writer and editor who has played a vital role in crafting Mercaptor’s voice, developing innovative marketing campaigns and creating our media outreach agenda. She is Editor of an award-winning regional magazine and has been a syndicated columnist for several prominent Bay Area print publications. She has also held key positions in social media marketing and advertising copy-writing for a wide range of industries from high-end event production to corporate finance. Her eclectic range of experience makes her the perfect ambassador to communicate Mercaptor’s mission in an “unbiased, unscripted and unexpected” way.

Executive Advisory Board Member

Dr. Michael Schwartz

Dr. Michael Schwartz is a Board Certified physician specializing in Internal Medicine with a private practice in Darien, Connecticut.

In 1991, Schwartz was appointed as a ringside physician for the State of Connecticut and was named to the Medical Advisory Board in 1995. Two years later, he was named Chief Ringside Physician for the State of Connecticut. Schwartz also serves as the Chief Ringside Physician and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

As Chief Ringside Physician for Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, he was responsible for creating many of the medical protocols utilized in boxing today. In 1997, he founded the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP), the first Medical Association for Professional Ringside Physicians.

In 2000, after the passage of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, he testified on boxing safety at the National Association of Attorneys General Boxing Task Force (NAAG) hearings in New York City and in 2001 for the New York State Assembly on Boxing Reform. In 2005, his Congressional Testimony at the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearings in Washington, DC, helped introduce bill H.R. 1065, the United States Boxing Commission Act, which was designed to establish more national uniformity of safety standards throughout the United States.

Dr. Schwartz has lectured around the world on ringside medicine and has been published extensively in all aspects of ringside care including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). As such, in 2011, Dr. Schwartz was inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Schwartz serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Frank Netter School of Medicine and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College. He also authors a bimonthly health column “House Calls”, which is published in several Hearst Media Newspapers.

 

 

Executive Advisory Board

Murat Akgun

Murat has worked in the capital markets business for twenty-seven years in a variety of areas and roles. He has also played several roles in a number of start-up firms either as a co-founder, adviser or investor, including, formulating business strategy, raising/structuring capital.

Prior to New Tech Haven, he was a senior member of the structured finance business at XL Financial Solutions. He spent six years as a founding member CMET Finance Inc., prior to joining XL. As the lead structured finance professional, he coordinated the launch of two innovative AAA rated broker-dealers, including raising the firm’s capital and securing its AAA rating. From 1994 to 1999, he was with Citicorp Securities Inc. as a senior financial engineer/marketer. He performed a variety of roles in capital markets and derivatives at UBS, Drexel Burnham Lambert, and E.F. Hutton, prior to joining Citicorp.

Canine

Skills

Master snuggler
100%

Boo

Australian Shepherd

Boo was born on Christmas 2009, was rescued from a ranch on Halloween 2010 and thinks he’s a cat. Boo loves people and lives to be petted. He’s an Australian Shepard that would wag his tail but only can shake his tail-less butt. Boo will take the stuffing and squeakers out of dog toys but gently chews his stuffed squirrel-friends keeping them 100% intact.

Brings to the Table:
Boo brings an always happy attitude!

Favorites

Lobster friends Squirrel-friends

Skills

Porpoising
100%

Buddhist “Bhudda”

Staffordshire Terrier

Buddhist is the newest addition to the Mercaptor family, born September 2017. A hyper-dense force of nature who makes everyone feel as though they’ve never experienced a puppy before, Buddhist astonishes with boundless curiosity, cheeky mischief, and limitless love. Just when you think you’ve taken his measure, this little ball of gumption pulls off a new stunt, like making a pile of food vanishes in a display of voracious abandon.

Brings to the Table:
Puppy love and mayhem!

Favorites

Porpoising on the couch Piles of food Bella (his human sister)

Canine

Skills

Risk assessment
30%
Organizational management
30%
Problem solving
30%

Cassie

Aussie/Samoyed Mix

Cassie is the alpha-dog at Mercaptor, a position secured by an IQ at least 10 points higher than the company average. She is a generous leader, only asserting herself when respect or decorum are unforgivably lacking. She is always vigilant, missing nothing, connecting dots, working angles, calculating odds, doing the math. A formidable example for human and dog alike.

Favorites

Treats Hideouts with easily monitored routes of entry and egress

Canine

Skills

Destroying toys
30%
Giving an hour warning whine before evening treat time
30%
Alerting the household if someone gets too close to the house
30%

Dolce

Rat Terrier

Dolce is quick, smart and seems to have springs for legs. He loves being chased by Emma or his work friends but also jumping up in the laps of his human friends. He is an expert beggar and has his sad dog face mastered. He has his morning routine of going office to office where he knows he can snag a treat and pet.

Favorites

Going from office to office to get treats Laying in the sunshine Snuggling under a blanket Playing tug of war Laying atop multiple plush pillows

My Human Is

Canine

Skills

Tracking by scent
90%
Running and jumping around, all four legs aflail, just for the hell of it
100%

Ellie Rae

Plott Hound Mix

Ellie knows what is important and what is not. Chasing wildlife for miles while shrieking like a Banshee is important. People are not. Thankfully, her prejudices have begun to temper a bit. She will always prefer her normal friends, Cassie especially, Rosie, Chego, and Riley too, but she has started to make some accommodation for Mercaptor’s humans.

Brings to the Table:
Primal canine behavior, a deafening howl.

Favorites

Treats Cassie Memory-foam dog beds

Canine

Skills

Rolls over, will shake your hand, can play dead
50%
Sneaks treats like a ninja, gives puppy dog eyes like you wouldn't believe, can swallow any treat without chewing (as if magic, right before your eyes)
60%
Pretends as though she has never been fed before in her life when you are near the treat bowl
90%
Spins and twirls
40%
Will give you the warmest greeting after not seeing you for 30 seconds
90%

Kahlua “Lulu”

Yorkshire Terrier

Kahula is Mercaptor’s resident Momma’s girl (unless Dad is nearby). She is a ball of energy that loves to play with her tennis ball, squeaky toys, and anything she can eat. She is competitive, and frequently jealous when mom gives any attention to any other dog… Jealousy aside, you can typically find her napping on someone’s lap, dancing or doing tricks to earn treats, or waiting for mom to return from a meeting, the restroom, lunch, etc. She may be a bit asocial, but we all know she loves the pack here at Mercaptor.

Brings to the Table:
Kahlua brings lots of joy and laughter to the team with her quirky personality mixed with her sweet and sassy demeanor. She lives up to the saying, “small dog, big personality.”

Favorites

Her small tennis ball any and all treats warm laundry (fresh out of the dryer) walks food snuggling squeaky toys her house (pet carrier) cuddling under the blankets

Lucy

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Lucy is a big teddy bear who’s heart is as big as her stomach (that says something). She is stubborn, but loyal and loves her humans dearly.

Canine

Skills

Chego knows a lot of tricks, but will only do the ones he really likes, for example if you tell him to roll over he will pretend he didn't hear that and turn around instead. He learns fast, many members of his work and home family have taught him many tricks. He can high-five, speak, whisper and shake among many other tricks.
100%

Manchego “Chego”

Chihuahua Miniature Pincher Mix

Chego is a little prince, you will sometimes catch him being carried in and out of work wrapped in his blanket by mom. He is a sweet and playful boy with the occasional outburst of zoomies. Chego is an independent little man who likes to wander and explore but when he is over that he will search for any lap to sleep in by pawing at you to pick him up into your lap. He is afraid of loud noises and crowded places so if you see him in someone’s arms it’s because he wants to feel protected. He is Esme’s ray of sunshine at all times of the day.

Brings to the Table:
Always on alert, you can always count on Chego to notify you when someone has entered the building. He keeps Mercaptor Discoveries headquarters safe from “evil” birds bouncing and flying around the parking lot. You may catch him looking out the windows warning strangers to stay away. But don’t get him the wrong way he is truly a sweet and kind boy, he won’t ever hurt anyone he just loves to show off his “loud” roar.

Favorites

Anything that will keep him warm Warm blankets Laying under the warm sun and in winter time sleeping next to the heater Kale Carrots Spinach Doggy treats

Canine

Skills

Milo is a master of tricks since he is incredibly treat-motivated
100%
Shake
100%
High-five, leave-it, stay, crawl
70%
Turn around, beg, dance
60%
"Bang" (plays dead)
90%

Milo

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Milo, though not the smartest of the bunch, sure is one of the sweetest. He is always by his Mommy’s side, excited and ready to go on whatever adventure awaits him. He is timid and clumsy, but once he knows and loves you, he trusts you with his whole heart and has plenty of slobbery kisses to prove it!

Brings to the Table:
You can always count on Milo to make you chuckle with his awkwardness. He is a complete goof-ball, though we always say that is part of his charm. His innocence and devotion are refreshing and sweet and a reminder to us all to find joy in the simple things in life. 

Favorites

Going out on hikes/camping Chasing after Daddy and human-bro Tug-o-war Snuggling FOOOOOOD!!! 

Canine

Skills

Though Nani is as smart as they come and can do a variety of tricks, don't think she will do any of them unless she gets something out of it. While you are at it, can you walk the treat to her first?
90%
On second thought, she will just jump on the table while you aren't looking and can help herself- thank you. 
100%

Nani

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Nani is one of the original ‘aptor dogs. She’s incredibly affectionate and sweet, but don’t let that fool you- she’s as naughty as they come in the sneakiest of ways. She loves her human companions (much more than her fur-buddies), especially if you have treats to share. Take her outdoors and she has the energy of a little pup, but at home, she’s our little sloth. She gives the best kisses and snuggles and is more than willing to share the love!

Favorites

She loves jumping onto your face and snuggling into your neck The outdoors Wind in her face Wand on her feet Water in her hair

Oliver

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Oliver is a sweet boy, known for his expert cuddles. He is never far away, ready to take advantage of any available snuggles and treats! 

Canine

Riley

Staffordshire Terrier Mix

Riley is nothing short of a tom girl.  She has a quirky personality with big ears to match.  Riley will greet you with a huge smile on her face, whipping her tale from side to side (watch out!). She is a bit stubborn at times but has so much love for everyone, we cannot help but love her back. Riley has each and everyone of us wrapped around her paws.

Brings to the Table:
Riley’s spunky personality brings pure amusement to us all and brightens our day with her enthusiasm.  She is ready to smother anyone, humans or dogs, with kisses. Riley is genuinely a special girl and has molded into our Mercaptor family perfectly.

Favorites

Riley loves hiking with her fellow dogs and of course her favorite person: Todd   Just as much as she loves running she loves her dog naps Filling her stomach with only the best dog treats As long as she is near her people she is a happy pup

Canine

Skills

Rosie plays dead, shakes your hand, and "goes around" in a circle all on command (for treats only of course)
80%
She can destroy any toy in less than an hour (including the ones claiming to be indestructible) and can injest toy parts faster than you can blink.
90%
By far though she is most skilled at tug-of-war. To date she remains undefeated!
100%
Blowing snot rockets great distances through the air, sometimes even defying gravity (watch out!)
90%

Rosie

English Bulldog

True to her breed Rosie is a stubborn girl, but she has a heart of gold. She wiggles her butt with great enthusiasm when she greets her human friends, however, she can take or leave most dogs. When the other dogs are playing rough and getting rowdy Rosie steps in as regulator. Mostly, though she is content to wait patiently by the treat table for passers-by in hopes they won’t be able to resist her squishy face and sad eyes. 

Brings to the Table:
Rosie brings a personality as sweet as sugar to the Mercaptor family. She loves every single person here to death (although there’s no denying that Todd is her absolute favorite). She also brings copious amounts of slobber to the family! No one gets out without Rosie drool on their legs! 

Favorites

Treats Belly scratches New treats Playing tug-of-war with her rope More treats Playing fetch with her rope Are there any treats? Going for short walks in cold weather Treats

Skills

Vana can jump high with her whippet-like long legs
100%

Vana

Rat Terrier Mix

Vana was rescued at the age of two from the Marin Humane Society around Christmas 2008, so her nickname is Vana White Christmas or Vana Claus. She’s a rat terrier mix, has the legs of a whippet and weighs in at 12 pounds. She loves being a lap dog but scares easily. Vana barks at the birds and stray cats on our property and enjoys laying in the sun.

Brings to the Table:
Vana creates calm when she sits in your lap and curls up for petting.

Favorites

Green bones More green bones

Senior Scientist

Amanda Ko

Amanda has been an integral part of our close-knit team for more than 11 years. As Senior Scientist, she designs, executes and analyzes experiments in support of Mercaptor’s multiple programs. She also develops and performs methods for project advancement, analyzes and interprets data, organizes and presents relevant findings and exploratory research. Her dedication and hard work make her an indispensable part of Mercaptor’s discovery team.

Director, Finance and Administration

Annie Verde

Annie is the consummate caregiver of the team. She handles finance, benefits, accounting and the wide array of day-to-day operations that make this place run seamlessly. Annie is detail-oriented yet doesn’t sweat the small stuff. She supports the entire Mercaptor team, facilitating our research and helping to build a strong infrastructure and foundation for us to thrive and operate optimally.

Jack of All Trades

Chris Rincon

As head of health and safety, Chris keeps us trained and fully compliant, keeps the lab running, and the laboratory equipment maintained. His resourcefulness and versatile skillset support Mercaptor’s mission and lay a solid foundation so that the research team can thrive.

Research Associate II

Esmeralda Ponce

Esme brings unity and calmness to the table. She is quiet, but her sense of humor keeps the team in good spirits throughout the day. Esme develops, performs, and analyzes experiments looking at ROS levels, activity of proteins, and cellular oxidation. Her work ethic is rivaled only by her extreme efficiency and commitment to helping team-members succeed.

Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Co-founder

Kim R. Tsuchimoto

Kim has been integral in building a mere idea into a fully realized company. She is an efficient CFO who is always generous with her time and energy. In short, she’s the glue that keeps this place together.

Ms. Tsuchimoto co-founded Mercaptor Discoveries Inc. and is our part-time Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Tsuchimoto is also the Chief Financial Officer of Monopar Therapeutics since June 2015. Ms. Tsuchimoto has spent over nine years at Raptor Pharmaceuticals, as its Chief Financial Officer from Raptor’s inception in May 2006 until August 2012, as Raptor’s Vice President of International Finance, Tax & Treasury from September 2012 to February 2015, and lastly served as Raptor’s Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis and Internal Controls from February to May 2015. At Raptor, Ms. Tsuchimoto completed: two reverse mergers, one to initially trade on the OTCBB, the second to gain Raptor’s Nasdaq listing; over $100 million of financings (primarily equity); one clinical asset purchase; and one clinical platform asset license, which later became Raptor’s first commercial product and lead program. Ms. Tsuchimoto has drafted numerous SEC mandated reports such as 10-Ks, 10-Qs, Form 4s, S-1s, S-3s and prospectus supplements. Prior to Raptor, Ms. Tsuchimoto spent eight years at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and its predecessor, Glyko, Inc., where she held the positions of Vice President-Treasurer, Vice President-Controller and Controller. At BioMarin, Ms. Tsuchimoto provided due diligence for the company’s IPO in 1999 and helped close BioMarin’s first $500 million of financing between 1997 and 2005. Ms. Tsuchimoto was responsible for BioMarin’s SEC reporting, corporate compliance, 10(b)5-1 trading plans and was BioMarin’s primary liaison with external legal counsel and auditors in the company’s early years. Prior to Glyko, she served as Controller at a few companies outside the biotech industry. She began her career as a staff accountant in a local certified public accounting firm. Ms. Tsuchimoto received a B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She holds an inactive California Certified Public Accountant license.

Research Associate II

Renée Kinkade

Renee has a curious mind and a talent for thinking outside the box. She analyzes Ca+ flux and excitotoxicity, and develops analytic assays, checking for the presence of either oxidized or reduced small molecules in cells. Her tireless questioning of the data and thorough process maintain the highest scientific standards and dynamic dedication has contributed to key milestones of Mercaptor’s success.

Chief Executive Officer, President, and Co-founder

Sara Isbell

Sara’s passion for neuroscience was sparked at a very young age when she developed a lifelong love of nature and curiosity for the inner workings of the world. Her early enthusiasm led her to pursue and earn a B.S. in Neurochemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology from University of Irvine, Calif. Sara has been a dedicated creative thinker bringing innovation to the bench, developing novel experiments and applying the scientific method to groundbreaking research for more than 22 years.

Research Assistant II

Sheana Nieh

Sheana joined our team as an administrator, but her enthusiasm and competence garnered her a promotion to a key position at the bench. She analyzes mitochondrial health, cellular respiration, and cell toxicity assays and keeps the lab running smoothly and efficiently.

Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder

Todd Zankel PhD

Getting to know him and especially to work with Todd on ideas and experiments he thinks up, is a great honor. This sentiment is shared by all at Mercaptor Discoveries.

Dr. Zankel co-founded and seed-funded Mercaptor Discoveries Inc., a direct descendant of the Discovery group at Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Raptor ceased operations in 2016.  Mercaptor is focused on proprietary molecules conceived to treat neuronal injury and neurodegeneration. Todd also co-founded Raptor Pharmaceuticals and served as its Chief Scientific Officer from 2006 to 2016. From 1997 to 2005, he served as a Senior Director of Research at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. Dr. Zankel was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at both the Plant Gene Expression Center in Berkeley, California, and the Chemistry Department of the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. An author of scientific publications and patents, Todd earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University, New York.

Program Manager

Victoria Mendonca

The heart of keeping the team organized, enthusiastic and strong, Victoria tracks and manages all projects in-house and plays a vital role in fundraising. She also assists in the development of processes for departmental infrastructure, stakeholder management, Gantt chart development, resource management and organizational budgeting, project planning, assists in vendor contract negotiations, leads grant writing initiatives and heads up project team meetings. Victoria also works closely with Jarrod in designing our animal studies.

Board Member

Erich Sager, MBA

Erich Sager is an international private banking executive and has been a strong supporter of biopharma companies over the past 20 years. Currently Chairman at Coupolino AG, Sager previously served on the boards of Holding TwentyOne AG, Calltrade Carrier Services AG, BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Raptor Pharmaceuticals Inc. An influential advocate for emerging technologies, Sager also serves on the boards of several companies including Zecotek Photonics Inc.

Mr. Sager received an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the School of Economics and Business Administration in Zurich, Switzerland.

Board Member

James Kovach, MD, JD

James Kovach was introduced to Mercaptor in late 2016 and has since been a key advisor from a medical, R&D and business perspective.  Dr. Kovach serves as Vice President of Business Development for CrowdOptic, a venture-backed company using real-time sensor data from electronic devices and its own patented CrowdOptic algorithms to identify and track where devices are aimed (focus) and to identify groups of people with the same focus (clusters). Dr. Kovach also directs a program in entrepreneurship and innovation at UC Davis Health.

Dr. Kovach is also founder of Beneufit, a start-up company providing a personalized exercise system for people fighting chronic disease, tapping into the body’s natural ability to self-heal through exercise. He received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Kentucky while simultaneously playing in the National Football League.  After playing for seven seasons in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, he attended law school at Stanford University and practiced corporate law in Palo Alto California.

Dr. Kovach has served as Chief Operating Officer of Athersys, Inc., a leading public biotechnology company developing stem cell therapeutics.  Two stem cell products initiated under his tenure now are in Phase II clinical development for inflammatory bowel disease and ischemic stroke. He has also served as President of the Buck Institute for Age Research.  Named by the National Institutes of Health as a national center of excellence, the Buck Institute is an independent research institute dedicated exclusively to research on aging and age-associated disease.  Dr. Kovach also previously served as a member of the NFL Concussion Committee.

Board Member

Ralph O’Rear

Ralph O’Rear provides Mercaptor strategic advice with regards to general business strategy, facilities, and operations.  After 18 years at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and nearly 10 years at Lucasfilm Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts Entertainment, THX), Mr. O’Rear began to independently consult with the goal of doing interesting work with good people working together for noble causes.

His expertise is in the areas of real estate and facility planning, organizational strategic planning, change management, budgeting, development and implementation of corporate facility initiatives and energy efficiency/sustainability measures.  At the Buck Institute, Mr. O’Rear was responsible for the facilities and operations of a research campus comprised of 3 buildings totaling 255,000sf on 417 acres of land.  During his time at the Buck Institute, he initiated and/or was a key player in the acquisition of more than $50,000,000 in grant funding and strategic partnerships to support the research conducted at the Buck Institute.

Vice President of Public Relations and Communications

Carole Barrow

Carole is a widely published writer and editor who has played a vital role in crafting Mercaptor’s voice, developing innovative marketing campaigns and creating our media outreach agenda. She is Editor of an award-winning regional magazine and has been a syndicated columnist for several prominent Bay Area print publications. She has also held key positions in social media marketing and advertising copy-writing for a wide range of industries from high-end event production to corporate finance. Her eclectic range of experience makes her the perfect ambassador to communicate Mercaptor’s mission in an “unbiased, unscripted and unexpected” way.

Executive Advisory Board Member

Dr. Michael Schwartz

Dr. Michael Schwartz is a Board Certified physician specializing in Internal Medicine with a private practice in Darien, Connecticut.

In 1991, Schwartz was appointed as a ringside physician for the State of Connecticut and was named to the Medical Advisory Board in 1995. Two years later, he was named Chief Ringside Physician for the State of Connecticut. Schwartz also serves as the Chief Ringside Physician and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

As Chief Ringside Physician for Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, he was responsible for creating many of the medical protocols utilized in boxing today. In 1997, he founded the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians (AAPRP), the first Medical Association for Professional Ringside Physicians.

In 2000, after the passage of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, he testified on boxing safety at the National Association of Attorneys General Boxing Task Force (NAAG) hearings in New York City and in 2001 for the New York State Assembly on Boxing Reform. In 2005, his Congressional Testimony at the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearings in Washington, DC, helped introduce bill H.R. 1065, the United States Boxing Commission Act, which was designed to establish more national uniformity of safety standards throughout the United States.

Dr. Schwartz has lectured around the world on ringside medicine and has been published extensively in all aspects of ringside care including traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). As such, in 2011, Dr. Schwartz was inducted into the Connecticut Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Schwartz serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Frank Netter School of Medicine and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College. He also authors a bimonthly health column “House Calls”, which is published in several Hearst Media Newspapers.

 

 

Executive Advisory Board

Murat Akgun

Murat has worked in the capital markets business for twenty-seven years in a variety of areas and roles. He has also played several roles in a number of start-up firms either as a co-founder, adviser or investor, including, formulating business strategy, raising/structuring capital.

Prior to New Tech Haven, he was a senior member of the structured finance business at XL Financial Solutions. He spent six years as a founding member CMET Finance Inc., prior to joining XL. As the lead structured finance professional, he coordinated the launch of two innovative AAA rated broker-dealers, including raising the firm’s capital and securing its AAA rating. From 1994 to 1999, he was with Citicorp Securities Inc. as a senior financial engineer/marketer. He performed a variety of roles in capital markets and derivatives at UBS, Drexel Burnham Lambert, and E.F. Hutton, prior to joining Citicorp.