Board of Directors

John Climax PhD, DSc
Executive Chairman

Dr John Climax is the co-founder of DS Biopharma, a dermatology biotech where he is Executive Chairman, and Afimmune, a biotech specialising in metabolic diseases where he is the CEO.  He is also co-founder of the world leading Clinical Research Organisation (CRO), ICON plc in 1990. He was the previous Chairman and CEO and current non-executive Director of ICON plc.

He is a founding member of Science Gallery International and Human Dignity Foundation. He is also affiliated with the boards of a number of private companies, Universities and foundations.

Dr Climax received his primary degree in Pharmacy from the University of Singapore, his Masters in Applied Pharmacology from the University of Wales and his Doctorate in Clinical Pharmacology from the University of Ireland. He was also awarded a Doctorate in Science by Trinity College Dublin.

He is Adjunct Professor of Pharmaceutics at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and Honorary Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmacy at National University of Singapore. He is also an honorary fellow of St Hilda’s, University of Oxford.

Ronan Lambe PhD, DSc
Non-Executive Director

Dr. Lambe is co-founder of DS Biopharma, a dermatology research company and Afimmune, a biotech specialising in metabolic diseases.  Dr. Lambe is also a co-founder of ICON plc, one of the world’s largest contract clinical research organizations where he served as Executive Chairman. Previous to this, Dr. Lambe held the position of Chief Scientist and Head of European Clinical Research at the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology (ICP). He has over 35 years experience in the contract research industry.

Dr. Lambe attended the National University of Ireland where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, his masters in biochemistry and his PhD. in pharmacology.

As the primary donor Dr. Lambe was instrumental in setting up the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at the National University of Ireland (Galway) in 2015.

Brendan Buckley MD, PhD
Non-Executive Director

Professor Brendan Buckley co-founded Open Orphan plc, a pharma services company focused on rare disease which he took public in 2019 whilst Chairman. He was also a co-founder of Minerva Medical Ltd, acquired by Quintiles and Firecrest Clinical Ltd, acquired by ICON plc where he held the position of Chief Medical Officer.

Professor Buckley was previously a Board member of the Health Products Regulatory Authority in Ireland and is currently non-executive director of a number of companies including Afimmune, DS Biopharma, Open Orphan and Imutex. Professor Buckley is presently serving as Chief Medical Officer of Teckro Ltd.

A medical graduate of University College Cork and a doctoral graduate in Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at Oxford University, he worked for over 40 years in clinical practice as a Physician in endocrinology, diabetes and in academic clinical pharmacology. He is Honorary Clinical Professor at University College Cork and Adjunct Professor at University College Dublin in the respective medical faculties. He has published over 200 scientific papers, mainly on metabolic disease, as well as the recent key opinion-leading book ‘Re-Engineering Clinical Trials’.

Jane H. Hollingsworth J.D.
Non-Executive Director

Jane is the founding Managing Partner of Militia Hill Ventures (MHV), a US based organization that creates, builds and invests in life sciences companies.  While at MHV, Jane has co-founded and served as Executive Chair of Spirovant Sciences (formerly Talee Bio), a gene therapy company focused on cystic fibrosis and other pulmonary diseases, sold to Roivant Sciences in 2019 and then to Sumitomo Dainippon in 2020. Jane also served as Executive Chair and CEO of Immunome Inc., a cancer immunotherapy company.

Prior to MHV, Jane was co-founder and CEO of NuPathe Inc. (NASDAQ: PATH), a biopharmaceutical company focused on diseases of the central nervous system which was sold to Teva. She also co-founded and served as EVP of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AUXL), a biopharmaceutical company focused on urology which was sold to Endo Pharmaceuticals.  Prior to founding and leading multiple biopharmaceutical companies, Ms. Hollingsworth was VP, Secretary & General Counsel of IBAH, Inc. (NASDAQ: IBAH), a multinational clinical research organization.

Jane practiced law at the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads and served as law clerk to the Honorable Jane R. Roth of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

Alan Cooke FCA
Non-Executive Director

Alan Cooke serves as a non-executive director of Afimmune and DS Biopharma.  He is Chief Executive Officer, President and member of the Board of Directors of Sebela, a commercial pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology, gastroenterology and women’s health products.

Prior to Sebela, Alan held a number of executive-level positions in healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, including Chief Financial Officer and subsequently Chief Executive Officer of Trulife Group; Chief Financial Officer and subsequently President and Chief Operating Officer of Amarin Corporation, plc; and Vice President, global strategic planning of Elan Corporation, plc.

Alan also served as Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin.  Alan is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ireland), having qualified with KPMG.

Leopoldo Zambeletti
Non-Executive Director

Mr. Zambeletti is a highly respected figure within the life sciences sector. During a 19 year career as an investment banker, he led the European Healthcare Investment team at JP Morgan for eight years before taking up the same position at Credit Suisse for a further five years.

Since 2013 Mr Zambeletti has been an independent strategic advisor to life science companies on Merger and Acquisitions, out-licensing deals and financing strategy. He is a Non-Executive Director of Nogra Pharma, Advanced Accelerator Applications, Faron Pharmaceuticals, Summit Therapeutics plc. and an advisor and co-founder to the US medtech company Qardio.

He serves as a trustee to Barts and the London Charity, which helps to fund the hospitals of the Barts NHS Trust including St. Bartholomew, the Royal London and the London Chest Hospitals, and he is a founder of the cultural initiative 5×15 Italy. Mr Zambeletti started his career at KPMG as an accountant.


Mark O'Neill FCA
Chief Executive Officer

Mark has a wealth of experience in bringing products to market and company financing. Prior to joining DS Biopharma, he held a number of senior financial and operational positions in organisations ranging from start-up enterprises to large global established companies. Mark represents DS Biopharma as a Director on the Board of Nuvothera Inc. a commercial dermatology company based in the United States.

In addition to being Chief Executive Officer of DS Biopharma, Mark is the Chief Financial Officer of related company, Afimmune and Chairman of the Human Dignity Foundation Audit and Investment Committee.

Mark is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ireland), having qualified in Deloitte. A Commerce graduate from University College Dublin, Mark also holds a Masters of Accounting from the Smurfit School of Business and a Diploma in Corporate Finance from the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Markus Weissbach, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer

Dr Markus Weissbach has more than 25 years working experience in the international pharmaceutical, biotech and CRO industry. His previous appointments include Chief Medical Officer Europe at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics; Executive Chairman, CEO and President of Averion International Corp; President of ICON Clinical Research Plc., Europe; Director Clinical Research and Development at Takeda Euro R&D and International Medical Director at Knoll AG.

Dr. Weissbach has served as advisory/supervisory board member for companies such as CytoTools Biotech AG, Vasopharm, Cardiorentis, BernaBiotech, Sunesis, Merck KGaA, and Otsuka. He has been instrumental in the successful NDAs and market launch of several NCEs and biologics in different indications.

Dr. Weissbach is very well connected to academia & KOLs in different therapeutic areas such as, cardiology, vaccines, oncology, CNS, infectious and autoimmune diseases and has profound experience in dealing and negotiating with regulatory authorities in Europe and the USA.

In addition to being Chief Medical Officer of DS Biopharma, Markus is also Chief Medical Officer of related company, Afimmune.

David Coughlan PhD
Chief Technical Officer

Dr. David Coughlan has over 20 years experience in pharmaceutical research and development.  He joined DS Biopharma from Merrion Pharmaceuticals plc where he held a number of senior technical and management positions in the product development arena including Director of Formulations. Dr. Coughlan has significant experience in the management of international drug development and product life cycle management programmes with both biotech and multinational pharma leading to successful NDAs and market launch, including NCEs/biologics and generic drug reformulations.  He began his career with Élan Corporation plc.

Dr. Coughlan holds a B.Sc. in Pharmacy and PhD in Pharmaceutics from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, as well as holding Postgraduate Diplomas in Quality Improvement and Financial Management.  He is a registered pharmacist and has authored numerous research papers and abstracts within the pharmaceutical field. He is a named inventor on a number of patents.

In addition to being Chief Technical Officer of DS Biopharma, David is also Chief Technical Officer of related company, Afimmune.

Mehar Manku PhD
Scientific Advisor

Dr. Mehar S. Manku has been active in lipid research for more than thirty years. During his lengthy career, Dr. Manku has authored some 250 scientific and technical papers and is the named inventor on 65 patents. Dr. Manku served for 35 years as an executive editor of the fatty acid journal Prostaglandin, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. (PLEFAs). He was appointed editor in 2003 and held the position until late 2010, when he stood down to become Emeritus Editor. Recently, he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of Medical Hypotheses.

Dr. Manku worked in several research and development roles at Amarin Corporation from November 2004 to April 2010. Prior to Amarin, Dr. Manku worked in various scientific and technical roles at Scotia Pharmaceuticals Ltd and later at Laxdale Ltd (1979 – 2001).

Tien Nghiem M.Sc.
Senior Director of Product Development and IP

Mr Tien Nghiem has over 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical sector. He has held senior technical and management positions at multinational pharma companies and start-ups. Prior to joining DS Biopharma/Afimmune, Tien served as Head of Operations and IP at another Irish pharmaceutical company, managing complex drug development and exclusivity programmes. Tien is a named inventor for a number of novel pharmaceutical compositions and drug delivery technologies.

A qualified pharmacist, Tien also holds a Masters’ degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from Trinity College Dublin, a Diploma in Quality Systems from NUI Galway, a Masters’ in Business Management from Dublin City University and earned his Diploma in Technology Law at the Law Society of Ireland.

Tien holds the same position in related company, Afimmune.

Moayed Hamza MD
Senior Medical Director

Dr. Moayed Hamza is a physician with broad clinical and translational research and therapeutic experience. Moayed contributes to all aspects of clinical strategy, research and development. He leads the design and implementation of clinical trials. Prior to joining DS Biopharma, Moayed conceived and led several large health system improvement initiatives.

Moayed is a medical graduate and holds a MB BCh BAO degree from the National University of Ireland Galway. He has authored numerous research papers and presented extensively at international conferences. He is a named inventor on a number of patents.

In addition to being Senior Medical Director of DS Biopharma, Moayed is also Senior Medical Director of related company, Afimmune.

Kirsty Kelly M.Sc.
Associate Director of Clinical Operations

Ms. Kirsty Kelly is Associate Director of Clinical Operations at DS Biopharma and has over 10 years’ clinical research experience. Prior to joining DS, Kirsty worked in ICON plc as a senior clinical monitor across many therapeutic areas. Kirsty leads the trial management team at DS Biopharma.

Kirsty holds a B.A.(Mod) in Microbiology from Trinity College Dublin, a M.Sc. in Management from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Ireland, as well as holding a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Research.