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Meet Our Team
President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors
Phil joined Helius Medical Technologies in 2013. He has more than 28 years of experience in pharmaceutical and healthcare commercialization gained at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and as CEO of GSW Worldwide and, later, at MediMedia Health.
Before joining Helius, Phil led MediMedia Health Marketing Services, where he was responsible for strategic development, nurturing the company’s clients and developing nonpersonal products and services in the healthcare industry.
As GSW’s president and CEO, Phil was responsible for worldwide operations in 15 major global markets and a turnover of $160 million with 700 employees globally. His primary work included global marketing, commercialization and new business model development for pharmaceutical, device and diagnostics companies.
Phil’s role as director of neuroscience marketing at BMS saw him serve as a member of several prelaunch global marketing teams in the neuroscience and pain therapeutic areas. He also held marketing positions in the neuroscience, pain, and metabolic therapeutic areas.
He is a leader in developing new global business models for the healthcare industry, including outsourcing solutions that seek to increase commercialization effectiveness and increase resource flexibility while reducing risk and driving efficiency and cost reduction. His experience as a global healthcare commercialization expert will guide Helius in its development and acquisition of noninvasive treatments designed to help patients affected by neurological symptoms caused by disease or trauma. Watch the “CEO Clips” interview with Phil about the growth of Helius and the PoNS technology.
Phil graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Chemistry. He is fluent in French and English. He resides in Newtown, PA, with his wife Nicole and two children.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Sackier joined the Company in December of 2014 as Chief Medical Officer and brings to his role extensive experience in new technologies and treatment methodologies gained over more than 30 years in the healthcare industry. He is widely recognized as one of the leaders of the laparoscopic surgery revolution. A trained surgeon, Jonathan Sackier has collaborated with pharmaceutical and medical device technology partners including ConvaTec, Pfizer, Karl Storz, Applied Medical, Stryker, Siemens, Bayer and Novartis. He helped build several companies including medical technology, research and product-design and medical contract sales organizations. In addition to his role as CMO, Dr. Sackier has been a Visiting Professor of Surgery at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at Oxford University since 2014. From 2005 to 2014, Dr. Sackier was a Visiting Professor of Surgery at University of Virginia and prior to that a Clinical Professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC. from 1995 to 1999 when he ceased clinical affiliation but retained his academic affiliation. Dr. Sackier founded and funded the Washington Institute of Surgical Endoscopy, a center for education, research, innovation and technology transfer in 1995. Prior, he worked to develop and market the AESOP robot with Computer Motion from 1992 to 1998 when that company went through a successful IPO in 1997.
Dr. Sackier currently sits on the board of directors of Kypha (since 2014 and was Chairman of that board from 2014-2016), Clinvue (since 2010), and Brandon Medical (since 2009), is a Trustee of First Star and previously chaired The Larry King Cardiac Foundation Board of Governors. Dr. Sackier was also Director for Hemoshear from 2008 to 2015 and served as Chairman of Adenosine Therapeutics which became part of Clinical Data and then Forest Laboratories from 2002 to 2008. He has also served as a board member of The American College of Surgeons Foundation, The Surgical Fellowship Foundation and Rex Bionics, winner of London’s 2014 Aim Award for outstanding achievement for most successful growth market.
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer
Ms. LaViscount joined Helius Medical Technologies in October 2015 as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer. Ms. LaViscount previously served on Helius’ Board of Directors from March 2015 to December 2015. Prior to Helius, Ms. LaViscount was at MM Health Solutions (formerly MediMedia Health) from July 2012 until August 2015 where she served as Chief Operating Officer and CFO for the marketing services company. Concurrent with her role at MediMedia Health, Ms. LaViscount also served as the CFO for MediMedia Pharmaceutical Solutions from January 2014 until February 2015. Prior to joining MM Health Solutions, Ms. LaViscount was Executive Director/Group Controller North America for Aptalis Pharmaceuticals (2010 to 2012). From 2004 to 2009 Ms. LaViscount worked for Endo Pharmaceuticals in a variety of roles, including Chief Accounting Officer, VP-Investor Relations and Corporate Communications, and VP Finance Operations, as well as operational roles in Sales Operations and Training and Corporate Strategy Development. Ms. LaViscount’s pharmaceutical industry experience also includes more than 15 years in finance at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pharmacia. Ms. LaViscount began her career with Ernst & Young and is a New Jersey Certified Public Accountant and has Bachelor of Arts in Business with a concentration in Accounting from Franklin and Marshall College.
Chief Communications Officer
Jennifer joined Helius Medical Technologies in 2018 and brings extensive experience in building successful global franchises and developing corporate strategy to drive growth of life science companies. Her experience ranges from leading multi-billion dollar businesses at large health care companies to developing initial commercialization and launch plans for biotech start-ups. In every role, Jennifer's passion is to improve the health and well-being of patients and their caregivers, by understanding their needs and developing innovative products and services to address them.
Prior to joining Helius, Jennifer was Vice President at Inovio, a clinical stage biotech that is applying its combination drug/device platform to develop immunotherapies to prevent and treat cancer and infectious disease. At Inovio, Jennifer headed commercial, launch, and new product strategy and was instrumental in prioritizing the portfolio of commercial assets and developing the lead candidate’s go-to-market strategy. Before joining Inovio in 2013, Jennifer was Vice-President of marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim, where she directed strategy execution, brand planning, and sales for the company’s flagship cardiovascular brand. Prior to this, Jennifer served for 17 years at Merck & Co., Inc., where she held numerous marketing leadership positions in Merck’s cardiovascular, oncology, women’s health, and specialty franchises. Jennifer has led multiple product launches and has held P&L responsibility for three blockbuster brands. She began her career as a strategy consultant with Bain & Company and has held international marketing positions at Procter & Gamble in Brussels and Elizabeth Arden in Paris.
Jennifer earned a B.A. in International Studies and English from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. and M.A. in Marketing and International Studies from the Wharton School and Lauder H. Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
Member, Board of Directors, Member, Audit Committee
Blane is a Partner at Talisman Capital Partners, a private investment partnership located in Columbus, Ohio.
Blane was the founder of inChord Communications, Inc., which he built into the largest independently-owned, healthcare communications company in the world. In 2005, inChord was acquired by Ventiv Health, the largest provider of outsourced sales and clinical services serving the pharmaceutical industry to create inVentiv Health. In 2008, Blane became CEO of the combined public company. Through organic growth and more than 20 acquisitions, inVentiv Health became the leading provider of outsourced product development and commercialization services to the global pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. inVentiv’s client roster consists of more than 350 leading pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences and healthcare payer companies. In 2010, Mr. Walter led the successful $1.2 billion buyout of inVentiv Health by Thomas H. Lee Partners. Blane presently serves as Vice Chairman of inVentiv Health and also serves as Chairman of the Governor of Ohio’s Executive Workforce Board.
Prior to joining inChord, Mr. Walter worked as a Financial Analyst in New York City for Smith Barney in mergers and acquisitions specialty group. Blane actively pursues and over-sees investments in healthcare, information technology and marketing/professional services.
Mr. Walter graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Finance from Boston College.
Mitchell E. Tyler
Member, Board of Directors
Mitch is a biomedical engineer and scientist with over 30 years of experience in research and development of visual and tactile displays for human-machine interfaces. He has been with TCNL since 1992 and was cofounder of Wicab, Inc., (with Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita), and Vice President of Research and Development. He is the lead inventor of the BrainPort™ Balance device, and codiscoverer of the retention effect and the neurorehabilitation potential of tongue electrotactile stimulation. He was principal investigator on NIH SBIR grants developing balance, vision and auditory substitution applications, and on a DARPA contract for an underwater navigation and orientation system. After serving in the US Navy, Mitch received a BS in mechanical with a minor in electrical engineering from San Jose State University in California in 1980, and an MS in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985. He is a senior lecturer in the UW Department of Biomedical Engineering, where he teaches biomedical engineering design, biomechanics, bioinstrumentation and neuromotor control. His research interests include cutaneous and tongue-based electrotactile displays, human-machine interaction, and in clinical applications of noninvasive neuromodulation for rehabilitation. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Wisconsin.
Huaizheng Peng, Ph D
Member, Board of Directors
Dr. Peng is a General Manager of China Medical System Holdings, a specialty pharmaceutical company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. He is in charge of international operations for the Company, including pharmaceutical asset acquisition/product licensing-in/out, international business development, outbound investment and asset management, among others. Dr. Peng served as an independent Non-executive Director of China Medical System Holdings Ltd for three years, and the Company was admitted to trading on AIM (between 2007 and 2010).
Dr. Peng was a partner of Northland Bancorp, a private equity firm. Before that, he worked as a head of life sciences and as a director of corporate finance at Seymour Pierce, a London-based investment bank and stockbroker. In addition, he was a Non-executive Director of China Medstar, an AIM listed medical device company. Earlier in his career, Dr. Peng was a senior portfolio manager, specialising in global life science and Asian technology investment at Reabourne Technology Investment Management Limited.
Dr. Peng received his Bachelor´s degree in medicine from Hunan Medical College (now Central South University Siangya School of Medicine) in Changsha, Hunan Province, China and subsequently he obtained a Master´s degree in medicine from Hunan Medical College. Dr. Peng was awarded his PhD in molecular pathology from University College London (UCL) Medical School and subsequently practiced as a clinical lecturer there.
Edward M. Straw
Member, Board of Directors, Member, Audit Committee
Ed is the founder and managing partner of Osprey Venture Partners—a firm that finds investment capital and assists with business development for startup entrepreneurs. He is the retired president, global operations of The Estee Lauder Companies, and currently sits on the boards of the following companies: Performance Equity Management, Odyssey Logistics, Helius Medical Technologies, Capital Teas and Document Capture Technologies. He is the chairman of Odyssey Logistics.
As president, global operations for Estee Lauder, Ed centralized and led Lauder’s R&D, package engineering, acquisition, manufacturing, distribution, inventory management, and information systems organizations which supported 20 Estee Lauder Companies around the world. In his 5 years at Estee Lauder, he is credited with directing significant improvements in their global supply chain and driving major stock price impactful savings to the bottom line.
Prior to joining the Estee Lauder Companies, he was senior vice president, global manufacturing and supply chain management at the $40 billion Compaq Computer Corporation in Houston.
Before joining Compaq in late 1998, Ed was president of Miami-based Ryder Integrated Logistics—then the leading provider of third-party supply chain services in North America.
Prior to joining the private sector, Ed had a distinguished career in the US Navy, retiring as a three-star admiral in 1996. He culminated his military service from 1992-1996 as the director of the Defense Logistics Agency, the nation’s only combat logistics support agency and primary provider of global supply chain material and services support for America’s armed forces. He reported directly to the under secretary of defense (AT&L), Dr. Paul Kaminski, and General Colin Powell, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He also held numerous operational and policy leadership positions at the Navy’s major logistics commands—and was Navy’s lead for logistics planning and execution of material and ordnance support to Navy and Marine Corps forces during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-1991.
Ed received multiple awards throughout his career, including Defense, Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, the Ford Foundation’s Innovations in American Government Award and the Society of Logistics Engineers’ Founders Medal. He is a distinguished graduate of the United States Navy Supply Corps School and recipient of the Navy Supply Corps’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ed holds an MBA from The George Washington University and a BS from the US Naval Academy, and is a graduate of the National War College.
In addition to the boards listed above, he is a Trustee of the US Naval Academy Foundation, a member of the Department of Defense Science Board (with TS/SCI clearance,) and has served on the Board of Directors of Eddie Bauer, MeadWestvaco, Panther Expedited Services, the Navy Federal Credit Union, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Boy Scouts of America. He has also served in an advisory role to the IBM Federal Group and PWC/PRTM Management Consultants.
Ed is currently working with a group of patriots to regain medical benefits for “Blue Water” Viet Nam veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related diseases.
He has three daughters—Silvana, Meg and Katie. Ed resides in New York City and Annapolis, Maryland with his wife, Christine.
Member, Board of Directors. Chairman, Audit Committee
Tom is currently Chief Financial Officer for Avedro, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical and medical device company advancing the science and technology of corneal cross-linking and refractive correction. Tom is a veteran finance executive who has spent his entire career in financial operations at medical technology and biotechnology companies. Most recently, Tom served as Chief Financial Officer of Entellus Medical, Inc., a medical technology company that designs products for the treatment of chronic and recurrent sinusitis, for 10 years including during the company’s initial public offering before transitioning to vice president of finance in May 2016. Prior to this, he served in a variety of executive level financial positions at several organizations, including Digital Gene Technologies, Inc., Centerpulse Spine-Tech, Inc. (now Zimmer Spine, Inc.), and CIMA Labs Inc. (now owned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.). Tom holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, an MBA in Management from the University of St. Thomas, and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Dane C. Andreeff
Member, Board of Directors
Mr. Andreeff is the General Partner and Portfolio Manager of Maple Leaf Partners, L.P. and the President of Andreeff Equity Advisors, L.L.C. Mr. Andreeff has managed investment portfolios since 1996 for Andreeff Equity, L.P., Andreeff Overseas Ltd. and Clover Partners, LP. Prior to managing portfolios, Mr. Andreeff worked as an associate analyst at Furman Selz and Granite Capital International Group. Currently, Mr. Andreeff serves as a Director of TraceSecurity Inc., HDL Therapeutics, Inc. and Myocardial Solutions, Ltd.
Mr. Andreeff received his Master's degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1991 and Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1989.