Senior Management

Lisa Conte, Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Lisa ConteLisa has been a pioneer in the biotech/emerging pharmaceutical industry for 20 years. She is founder and CEO of Napo Pharmaceuticals, which brings proprietary products to the global marketplace through local partnerships. Napo embraces the “triple bottom line” goals of enhancing financial return by addressing global health needs in its development strategy and environmental sustainability in sourcing its lead product, which is harvested from rain forest areas. Prior to founding Napo, she founded Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a natural product pharmaceutical company, in 1989. As CEO, she has raised >$250 million (including leading two IPOs). 1987 to 1989 Ms. Conte was a Vice President at Technology Funding, Inc., a venture capital firm. From 1985 to 1987 she conducted risk and strategy audits for start-up companies at Strategic Decisions Group. Lisa received her AB in Biochemistry from Dartmouth College, her MS in Physiology/Pharmacology from the University of California at San Diego and her MBA from the Amos Tuck School, Dartmouth College. She is the recipient of several entrepreneurship awards, including the 1994 E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has sat on several industry and academic boards, and was a nominee for the 2009 BIO Humanitarian Award.


Karen Wright, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer

Ms. Wright joined Jaguar Health in December 2015. She brings more than 30 years of financial experience with a number of international biotech companies. Prior to joining Jaguar Health, Ms. Wright most recently was head of finance for Clene Nanomedicine. She also served as vice president of finance and corporate controller at multiple other private and public companies, including Veracyte and Intermune, which was acquired by Roche. Early in her career, Ms. Wright spent 13 years at Genentech building a strong foundation in the biotech industry. Ms. Wright has been responsible for financial reporting and operational financial planning and analysis, including R&D, clinical, marketing and sales, G&A and manufacturing; as well as tax and treasury planning. She has participated in three IPOs and numerous offerings. Ms. Wright holds a BS in Accounting and Marketing from the University of California Walter A. Haas School Of Business.


Steven King, PhD, Executive Vice President of Sustainable Supply, Ethnobotanical Research & Intellectual Property

Steven King, PhDDr. King has been an integral member of the Napo team since 2002 and prior to that, Dr. King served as the Vice President of Ethnobotany and Conservation at Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. King has been recognized by the International Natural Products and Conservation Community for the creation and dissemination of research on the long-term sustainable harvest and management of Croton lechleri, the widespread source of crofelemer. Dr. King is currently a member of the board of directors of Healing Forest Conservatory, a California not-for-profit public benefit corporation. Dr. King holds a PhD in Biology from the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden and an MS in Biology from the City University of New York.


Pravin Chaturvedi, PhD, Chair, Scientific Advisory Board

In his role as the chair of our Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Chaturvedi is responsible for providing direction on strategy, tactics and oversight to the leadership team regarding advancing the development and commercialization of the Napo drug pipeline, including, but not limited to, Mytesi and SB-300. Dr. Chaturvedi has co-founded and led multiple biotech enterprises including Scion, IndUS and Oceanyx, and has served as the CEO or CSO for Scion, IndUS, Napo, Oceanyx and Pivot Pharmaceuticals. Over his 25+ year career, Dr. Chaturvedi has led the discovery and/or the development activities for several new chemical entities (NCEs) including the successful development of crofelemer (Mytesi) and has participated in the discovery and/or development of novel drugs for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis C, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Earlier in his career, Dr. Chaturvedi was the Head of Lead Evaluation at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and was in the preclinical group at Alkermes. He started his career in the Product Development group at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert Company (now Pfizer). Dr. Chaturvedi holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from West Virginia University and a Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from the University of Bombay.


David Sesin, PhD, Chief Manufacturing Officer

David is a pharmaceutical scientist with more than 30 years of experience ranging from drug discovery through manufacturing. He is the developer of the crofelemer manufacturing process. Previously, he has held positions as the Director of Chemistry and QHSE at Bayer CropScience, Director of Chemistry at AgraQuest, Inc., and he spent nine years with Shaman Pharmaceuticals.



Katie MacFarlane, PharmD, Senior Vice President, Commercial Development

Katie MacFarlane, PharmDKatie MacFarlane is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years in the industry, including senior level roles in drug development, marketing, and sales management. Katie played a key role in the launch of many pharmaceutical brands, most notably Lipitor®, Celexa®, and Loestrin® 24. Katie’s GI experience includes clinical research in IBS (Librax®) and obesity (Xenical®), as well as consultation on Amitiza® (constipation and IBS) and crofelemer. Katie has held senior roles including Chief Commercial Officer of Agile Therapeutics, Vice President of Women’s Health and New Product Planning at Warner Chilcott, and Sr. Director of Marketing at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert. Katie received her BS and PharmD degrees from Purdue University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship with Rutgers University and Hoffmann-LaRoche. She was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1999 and was awarded the Eaton Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by the Purdue University School of Pharmacy. Katie currently serves on the Purdue Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Council, is a Founding Member and Advisor to IPhO, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Purdue University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of RespireRx Pharmaceuticals and of INMED Partnerships for Children.


Brian Zorn, PharmD, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales

BZbioPicBrian Zorn has 23 years experience in pharmaceutical marketing, advertising, and sales. He held marketing resposibilities for key brands such as Accupril®, Omnicef®, Neurontin®, Bextra®, Menopur®, Euflexxa®, Endometrin®, PreCrea®, and PreLipid®. He was the General Manager at Trio Advertising, and at Parke-Davis, he was the Senior-Director of Marketing as well as a New Product Planner.



David Upchurch, Vice President, Supply Chain Management & Quality Assurance

David Upchurch is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years in the industry, and joined Jaguar’s team in 2016.  Prior to Jaguar Health, Mr. Upchurch held positions of increasing seniority in pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain management for Agouron Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences.  Mr. Upchurch served key roles in authoring global marketing submissions, securing approvals, launch, and lifecycle management for over a dozen novel pharmaceutical products, and managed international health authority site inspections on a regular basis.  Mr. Upchurch holds a BS from The University of the South, an MS from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and an MBA from the University of San Diego.


Pete Riojas, National Sales Director

Prior to joining Napo, Mr. Riojas served as a regional sales director with Sanofi, and as a national sales director with UCB Pharma. He spent nearly nine years in a sales leadership role with Boehringer Ingelheim, and 13 years in sales with Pharmacia Corporation. During his career, he has worked closely with populations living with HIV/AIDS and addressed diversity considerations in patient populations with unmet needs. Mr. Riojas graduated from the University of Texas–Pan American with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, and attended the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. Pete currently manages nine sales representatives for Napo.

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