Board of Directors
Ira E. Ritter, Chairman
Co-Founder & Chief Strategic Officer
Former President & Vice-Chairman, QualityKing
Mr. Ritter has extensive experience creating, building and managing diverse business enterprises. His success has been his ability to take ideas and grow major businesses. He currently serves as Chairman of Ritter Pharmaceuticals. In addition, he provides corporate management, strategic planning and financial consulting for a wide range of market segments. In the health and beauty sector, Mr. Ritter was President and Vice-Chairman of Quality King Inc, the nation’s largest wholesale distributor for health care products with $5 billion in annual revenues (ranked the 18th largest privately held company, Forbes Top 100 List). Simultaneously, he worked as President and Chairman of Rockwood, a business he developed that produced private label HBA products for major national retailers including GNC and K-Mart. In the entertainment sector he served as Chairman of ON-TV, a division of Oak Industries (NYSE Company), where he managed the television division initiating exclusive broadcasts of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York professional baseball, basketball, and hockey games. During 1980-1985, he produced the first televised home shopping program and directed development of the largest “pay-per-view” channel system for its time. In the personal services market, Mr. Ritter grew a people-to-people business, Elite Personal Search and Lifemates personal matchmaking service, in the U.S. and Canada. In the finance field, Mr. Ritter served on the board of directors for the Martin Lawrence Art Galleries (NYSE Company). During his 20 years as a publisher, he produced monthly national consumer magazines including Playgirl. and released books that included It’s OK to Say No children's series and Patti Regan Davis’ Homefront. Mr. Ritter also has a long history of public service that includes appointments by three Governors to several State of California Commissions, including eight years served as Commissioner on the California Prison Industry Authority. In 1981, Mr. Ritter was honored with the City of Hope’s Man of the Year award.
Matthew W. Foehr
President and Chief Operating Officer, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Matthew W. Foehr currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer at Ligand Pharmaceuticals. He has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having managed global operations and research and development programs. Prior to joining Ligand in 2011, he was Vice President and Head of Consumer Dermatology R&D, as well as Acting Chief Scientific Officer of Dermatology, in the Stiefel division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Following GSK’s $3.6 billion acquisition of Stiefel in 2009, Mr. Foehr led the R&D integration of Stiefel into GSK. At Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., Mr. Foehr served as Senior Vice President of Global R&D Operations, Senior Vice President of Product Development & Support, and Vice President of Global Supply Chain Technical Services. Prior to Stiefel, Mr. Foehr held various executive roles at Connetics Corporation including Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and Vice President of Manufacturing. Currently, he is a Director on the Board of Viking Therapeutics Inc. Mr. Foehr is the author of multiple scientific publications and is named on numerous U.S. patents. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Santa Clara University.
Gerald T. Proehl
Founder, President, CEO and Director of Dermata Therapeutics, LLC.
Currently, Mr. Proehl is a Founder, President, CEO and Director of Dermata Therapeutics, LLC, a private biotechnology company focused on the treatment of serious dermatological diseases. From January 2002 to January 2014, Mr. Proehl was the President, CEO and a Director of Santarus, Inc. (“Santarus”), a company that he helped to found in 1999. From March 2000 through December 2001, Mr. Proehl was President and Chief Operating Officer of Santarus, and from April 1999 to March 2000, Mr. Proehl was Vice President, Marketing and Business Development of Santarus. Mr. Proehl helped lead the sale of Santarus to Salix Pharmaceuticals for $2.6 billion in January of 2014. Prior to joining Santarus, Mr. Proehl was with Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc. (“Hoechst”), a global pharmaceutical company, for 14 years, where he served in various capacities, including Vice President of Global Marketing. During his career at Hoechst he worked across numerous therapeutic areas, including CNS, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal. Mr. Proehl currently serves on the Board of Directors of two public companies in addition to Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Tenax Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing a portfolio of products for critical care patients. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Sophiris Bio Inc., a publicly traded company developing a late-stage, targeted treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Mr. Proehl also serves on a number of private company boards including Kinetek Sports, Patara Pharma LLC, MDRejuvena, Inc. and Dermata Therapeutics, LLC. Mr. Proehl holds a B.S. in Education from the State University of New York at Cortland, an M.A. in Exercise Physiology from Wake Forest University and an M.B.A. from Rockhurst College.
Paul V. Maier
Former Chief Financial Officer, Sequenom, Inc.
Paul V. Maier has over 25 years of experience as a senior executive in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. From November 2009 through June 2014, Mr. Maier served as the Chief Financial Officer of Sequenom Inc., a publicly held company serving the discovery, clinical research, and diagnostics market. From February 2007 until November 2009, he served as an independent financial consultant. Previously, Mr. Maier was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company, a position he held from 1992 through 2007. From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Maier served as Vice President, Finance of DFS West, a division of DFS Group LP, a private multinational retailer. From 1984 to 1990, Mr. Maier was employed by ICN Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology research products company, where he held various executive positions in finance and general management in ICN as well as SPI Pharmaceuticals, a publicly held subsidiary. Mr. Maier currently serves on the Board of Directors of International Stem Cell Corporation, Apricus Biosciences, MabVax Therapeutics, and Biological Dynamics. Mr. Maier received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from Pennsylvania State University.
Michael D. Step
Chief Executive Officer
Former Sr. Vice President Corporate Development, Santarus, Inc.
Prior to joining Ritter, Mr. Step was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Santarus, Inc., now a wholly owned subsidiary of Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Step served in this role for nine years up until the 2014 sale of Santarus to Salix. Mr. Step was responsible for leading all licensing and M&A activities at Santarus and was a member of its executive team. Prior to his tenure at Santarus, Mr. Step held various commercial and business development roles at Amylin Pharmaceuticals for 5 years, culminating in the role of Vice President of Corporate Development and was responsible for leading Amylin’s license of Byetta to Eli Lilly. Before joining Amylin, Mr. Step was Sr. Director of Business Development at Dura Pharmaceuticals and served in licensing, management and sales roles at Hoffmann-La Roche and Syntex Labs. Mr. Step has an MBA degree in marketing and finance from the USC Marshall School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University.
Andrew J. Ritter
Co-Founder & President
Former President, Ritter Natural Sciences, LLL.
Mr. Ritter co-founded Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc., upon his own personal affliction with lactose intolerance and spearheaded a global team of cross-functional, clinical, manufacturing, and regulatory experts to design and develop its first novel therapeutic called, RP-G28. The product has the potential to become the first FDA-approved treatment for lactose intolerance. The company was originally launched out of Ritter Naturals Sciences, a direct-to-consumer healthcare marketing company, founded by Mr. Ritter in 2004, which developed and commercialized digestive healthcare products: Lactagen®, Health Essentials™ and Better Digestion™. Mr. Ritter holds six patents and over fifteen additional international patents are pending. In addition, he has co-published articles in the following journals: Nutrition Journal, Gastroenterology, and Food Technology. He has also given presentations at major healthcare and medical conferences such as Digestive Disease Week, among others.
Since 2010, Mr. Ritter has also acted as Managing Partner of Stonehenge Partners, a private investment fund, which provides working capital and executive leadership to a variety of businesses and industries including, real estate, technology, biotechnology, entertainment and service businesses. In addition, he is a guest lecturer of entrepreneurship at various graduate and undergraduate academic institutions throughout Los Angeles including: University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, University of California at Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, and Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Mr. Ritter has been an active leader in his community, including being appointed as a Los Angeles City Commissioner to the Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families from 2000-2002 (the youngest appointed Commissioner in Los Angeles history). Mr. Ritter holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a minor in Business from the University of Southern California and was a member of the 2002 Pac-10 Champion baseball team.
Noah J. Doyle
Managing Director, Javelin Ventures
Mr. Doyle has been an entrepreneur and investor for over 20 years. As an angel investor prior to forming Javelin Venture Partners, Noah has supported over a dozen start-ups including Keyhole (Google), Cantametrix (Gracenote), Amae Software (Verint), Nuvon, Aquea Scientific, Emdigo, Magnacash (Yaga), and i-mint India. Mr. Doyle most recently directed the enterprise product line for Google’s geospatial products, Google Earth and Google Maps. Prior to Google, he managed the Sales and Corporate Development functions at Keyhole, Inc., the venture capital backed company that created the first Web hosted digital earth model and was acquired by Google in 2004.Prior to Keyhole, Mr. Doyle helped establish the Internet loyalty rewards marketplace as a co-founder of MyPoints.com, the largest Internet loyalty program with over 6 million active members, where he led product management and business development functions from the company’s inception through an initial public offering and subsequent acquisition by United Airlines. Prior to MyPoints, Noah was based in Tokyo where he managed overseas sales and marketing for the OEM channel of Matsushita’s (Panasonic) communications equipment subsidiary in Japan. In other roles, he was chairman of the management board of the University of California, Berkeley’s campus bookstore, a $17 million retail operation, and also held product management and operations management roles at IBM/Rational (Pure Atria) and Oracle. Mr. Doyle holds M.B.A. and B.A. Economics degrees, as well as certificates in Management of Technology and Global Management from University of California – Berkeley.
William M. Merino, Ph.D.
Former Sr. Vice President of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs, Warner Lambert Pharmaceuticals
Dr. William M. Merino is a former pharmaceutical senior executive with experience in worldwide drug and device registration, quality assurance, quality control, and drug safety. During his tenure as a senior executive, Dr. Merino had extensive interaction, and conducted negotiations, with senior members of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and foreign regulatory authorities. Dr. Merino’s skills also include drug development and the resolution of development issues. Most recently, Dr. Merino served as the Sr. Vice President of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs for Warner Lambert Pharmaceuticals (1987-2000). While at Warner Lambert, Dr. Merino was responsible for the registration and approval of pharmaceuticals products with the FDA and external regulatory authorities. He was also tasked with ensuring quality assurance, quality control, and drug safety. Additionally, during his time at Warner Lambert, Dr. Merino served as a member of the Office of the Chairman, where his advice and experience were relied upon in making decisions regarding research direction and drug development. Dr. Merino developed a one year plan to expedite the registration of Lipitor in the US and 20 other countries. Moreover, Dr. Merino served as the President of the Regulatory Affairs Committee (RAC) within the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PMA), where he worked closely with senior FDA officials, as well as Congress. Previously, Dr. Merino was the Director of International Regulatory Affairs for Alcon Pharmaceuticals (1985-1987), where he was responsible for the registration of devices and pharmaceutical drugs in international countries. Prior to that, Dr. Merino was the Vice President of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs at G.D. Searle & Co., (1975-1985), where he worked with the FDA and regulatory agencies worldwide for the registration and approval of drugs both nationally and internationally. Before that, he was the Director of Regulatory Affairs at Riker Laboratories (1967-1975), where he was in charge of new drug registrations in the US. Dr. Merino received his PhD in Pharmacology from Purdue University.