Michael Derby

Michael Derby is the Founder and CEO of Castle Creek Pharmaceuticals, which he has built from a complete startup to one of the fastest growing specialty pharmaceutical companies in the industry. Castle Creek has rapidly assembled a robust portfolio of products backed by strong science and focused on meeting patient needs in the treatment of rare and debilitating dermatologic conditions.

Mr. Derby is a successful entrepreneur, operating executive and investor, with 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and broader life sciences sector. He has founded or co-founded four specialty pharmaceutical companies, and has a passion for developing and commercializing innovative drugs for patients with rare diseases and other serious medical conditions.

Mr. Derby holds advanced degrees in business and science, with an M.B.A., with distinction, from New York University’s Stern School of Business, an M.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester, and a B.S., with honors, from Johns Hopkins University, where he was a Beneficial Hodson merit scholar and member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.

John Koconis

John Koconis, Executive Vice President at Castle Creek Pharma, has a highly accomplished career as both a strategic and operational leader with over 25 years in the pharmaceutical sector and direct experience in five different countries. As CEO, he opened a successful U.S. affiliate for a European based parent company by leveraging his strengths in strategic leadership, portfolio management, business development and innovative commercial execution.

As Global Vice President, Dermatology and Respiratory Disease at Sanofi Genzyme, John had overall responsibility for the global Launch of Dupilumab, the first biologic treatment for Moderate to Severe Atopic Dermatitis. John played an active role in the setting of the corporate strategy within the area of Dermatology and Respiratory Diseases (Asthma and Nasal Polyposis). Other specific career accomplishments include developing patient-centric strategies/cultures, turning around underperforming business models, effectively managing lifecycles of both strategic and non-strategic brands, and developing businesses from preclinical through to commercialization/go-to-market strategy. He also has effectively managed in-licensing/out-licensing activities, led due diligence teams, expanded multiple product portfolios, and acquired a solid understanding of managed care markets in the US and Europe. During his tenure, John had overall responsibility for the global Launch of Dupilumab, the first biologic treatment for Moderate to Severe Atopic Dermatitis. John played an active role in the setting of the corporate strategy within the area of Dermatology and Respiratory Diseases (Asthma and Nasal Polyposis).

John was also the President and CEO of LEO Pharma U.S., a $300 million privately held affiliate of Denmark based, $1.4 billion+, LEO Pharma A/S. John had full P&L responsibility leading efforts to design and build-out a diverse and cross-cultural U.S. organization from initial stages to a premier Dermatology company in the U.S. In this role he orchestrated the turnaround of the Psoriasis Franchise and established the Actinic Keratosis Franchise in U.S. with the market leading lead brand, Picato®, championed a new patient-centric vision/strategy across all LEO activities, and raised the profit level and revenue by optimizing payer and market access strategies.

In his previous positions with LEO, John was the Divisional Director, Critical Care and Dermatology at LEO Pharma/UK where with overall P&L accountability for both of the major commercial Divisions, including directing sales, marketing and medical/KOL liaison functions, he led both divisions to double digit growth, launched new products, and expanded/re-tooled the field force. In prior internationally based roles, John was Director, Corporate Licensing and Business Development, North America at LEO Pharma/Canada, where he successfully launched the North American business development function, including broad responsibilities for strategy development, opportunity identification and assessment, and process development; International Marketing Manager, Critical Care at LEO Pharma A/S – Denmark, where he led global marketing of the Critical Care portfolio in areas of international strategy, coordination of affiliate activities, optimization of product profiles, identification of new opportunities for expansion and overall product profitability.

Rajesh brings extensive experience in entrepreneurial biotechnology, midsize and large pharmaceutical companies with proven institutional stewardship, developing strategic alliances with global corporate, academic, regulatory, and defense entities. Rajesh’s depth in scientific, engineering, clinical, medical and regulatory management of large and complex clinical development programs with academic clinical centers, alliance partners, HHS and DoD/MoD agencies has attracted more than $100MM in external clinical development funding. He has more than 60 peer reviewed publications, global patents and presentations in drug design, medical devices and clinical research.

Rajesh began his pharmaceutical career at Bristol Myers-Squibb leveraging novel approaches in drug design and development in oncology and immunology such as chemokine receptor and proinflammatory cytokine antagonists and PLA2 inhibitors. Subsequently he led R&D programs designing novel agents targeting glioblastomas funded through NIH grants at start-up biotechnology companies. During his recent tenure at Pfizer, Rajesh led advances in the treatment of acute immune system diseases and epilepsies.

Prior to joining Castle Creek, Rajesh led clinical affairs and development, medical and regulatory affairs at Motif Biosciences, Acorda therapeutics and Pfizer with a primary focus on global Orphan disease trials. His trial design and execution experience cover conventional, complex innovative designs, interventional, non-interventional, nation-wide community consent and human factors engineering trials. The breadth of his drug and drug/device clinical development expertise spans from Phase I through Phase 3, post-approval and registry trials. Rajesh has led global medical advisory boards in immunology, CNS, infectious diseases, hepatology and nephrology for strategic oversight of medical affairs and clinical development resulting in numerous NDA submissions and approvals.

Rajesh’s R&D career began after completing his postdoctoral tenure at Yale University. As an Easton, Pennsylvania native, he completed bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Lehigh University and his PhD from Carnegie-Mellon University.