Officers & Directors
Mario Castellanos, MD
Co-Founder, President, Chairman
Role in Innovene: Dr. Castellanos drives all aspects of Research and Development, build and manage the business team, work to establish a regulatory path for product development, lay foundation and empower scientific and clinical collaborations. A multifaceted visionary and inspirer for Innovene team who fuses the tangible virtues of a physician, a researcher, an innovator, and serial entrepreneur into a unique and powerful leader for the company.
As a researcher, Dr. Castellanos has remained focused on the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and associated cancers. He has had several discoveries include the identification of synthetic peptides that can induce a cytotoxic T-cell immune response against HPV type 18 targets, and a novel method to improve the histopathologic classification of HPV (+) cervical precancers, advancing both therapeutics and diagnostics. Most recently he is one of the lead inventors for Innovene’s first therapeutic TriCurin.
Origin and education: Ecuador, educated in the USA, The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York: 7 year B.S./M.D. Program. Albany Medical College. Degree: M.D
Positions Held: Director of Medical Women’s Health Division, Staten Island University Hospital – Northwell Health. Clinical Director of Research – Department of Medicine, Staten Island University Hospital – Northwell Health.
Academic Appointment: Research Associate Professor of Medicine, SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.
Chief Executive Officer
Mike Wassil is an accomplished senior management executive with over 25 years in the Life Science, Finance and Manufacturing sectors. Currently he the co-founder and principal in MacroArray Technologies, LLC – a company engaged in the development of diagnostic tests for cancer.
During his career Michael Wassil acquired a profound expertise in exit strategy execution for the companies under his management, participating in over 50 M&A, licensing and research transactions, managing two IPO’s and negotiating business transactions with Siemens Medical, GE HealthCare, Abbott Diagnostics, Bristol Myers, Centocor, Aventis, Norsk Hydro, DuPont Pharma. During his career Mr. Wassil has raised in excess of $150 million in equity capital,
Mr. Wassil served as the Executive Vice President for 3Dimensional Pharmaceuticals and successfully managed its financial, business development activities and capital sourcing requirements. He is a co-founder of the Eastern Technology Council “ETC”, a business organization with over 400 members. He also held Board positions with Moberg Medical, Telefactor, ETC and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
His startup exposure is manifested in the management of the financial requirements for Interspec, Inc. a company engaged in the development, manufacturing and distribution of medical ultrasound systems and software. He was driving the company’s IPO and was subsequently appointed General Manager for Interspec’s International operations. After twelve years, he guided the merger of Interspec with ATL which created the world’s largest independent ultrasound company with revenues in excess of $400 million.
Alia Kozlova, PhD
Director, Business Development
Alia has pursued an ex-patriot career in a big multinational company (BAT, one of the leading companies in its business sector – more than 57,000 people worldwide, contributing approximately £30 billion to governments worldwide in excise and other taxes in 2014). Alia has started from the Head of Marketing Research and Information Department on the end market level (Russia) progressing to Director for Business Information at a regional level (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa). Her area of expertise covers market intelligence, strategic and operational planning, project office, knowledge management in various geographies across Europe.
Her startup experience, incldues running and leading the business in the position of General Manager of CIS subdivision of MEMRB International, the leading international marketing research agency, a business owned by the third President of The Republic of Cyprus George Vasiliou. Alia has successfully built and subsequently expanded the business to cover seven more countries: The Baltic States, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Belarus. Is a co-founder of originally a strat company Richmond Green, based in Montenegro.
Alia is business leader with a talent for creating new business functions and developing high performance teams in the challenging business areas like strategic and operational planning, business information, consumer insights. Strong track record in big business projects, including running own business and investments. Used to working in challenging business environments (complex countries, price wars), leading people through business transformation.
Education: Alia Kozlova is a graduate of St. Petersburg University of Education, with a MA degree in linguistics (Roman languages and literature), and a PhD in psychology from St. Petersburg State University.
Positions Held: Currently works as a business consultant in InReach Global Consulting, a consulting company based in London, UK. Is a co-owner of Richmond Green, DOO.
Anita Szerszen, DO
Co-Founder, Director of Clinical Development
Role in Innovene: In collaboration with other key team members, Dr. Szerszen takes part in defining the overall business strategy and direction of the company. In particular, she is directing the clinical trial design to translate preclinical findings into the clinical setting. In addition, Dr. Szerszen expertise has provided a regulatory path for Innovene’s therapeutics. She leads efforts to secure the IND and function as a liaison between Innovene, FDA, and the clinical site IRB’s, being directly involved in planning and execution of future clinical trials.
As a Researcher she has worked on the frontiers of the discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein, the most recognizable reporter of gene expression when working in Dr. William W. Ward’s lab, developing and characterizing mutant green fluorescent protein (GFP). Her lab collaborated with Dr. Chalfie a Nobel prize laureate in Chemistry 2008. He background as a scientist and work in biochemistry make her a key inventor to development TriCurin.
Origin and education: Poland, educated in the USA, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, PhD program in Developmental Biology and Molecular Genetics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Positions Held: A Board Certified Attending physician in internal medicine and geriatrics, Chair of the Institutional Review Board Northwell Health, Director of Research, Geriatric Medicine Division, Staten Island University Hospital-Northwell Health System
Academic Appointment: Assistant Professor of Medicine, SUNY Health Center at Brooklyn