Acasti’s main mission and top priority is to research and develop innovative and proprietary pharmaceutical products designed to better manage cardiometabolic disorders
Since 2008, Acasti Pharma’s scientists have focused on the research and development of new krill oil-based forms of omega-3 phospholipid therapies for the treatment of cardiometabolic diseases.
Acasti’s lead drug candidate, CaPre, is a krill oil-derived mixture of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), primarily composed of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are present as a combination of phospholipid esters and free fatty acids.
CaPre is a krill oil derived mixture containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), primarily composed of omega-3 fatty acids, principally eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are well known to be beneficial for human health, and may promote healthy heart, brain and visual function¹, and may contribute to reducing inflammation, and blood triglycerides.² Krill is a natural source of phospholipids and omega-3 fatty acids. The EPA and DHA contained in CaPre are delivered as free fatty acids or bound to phospholipid esters, allowing these PUFAs to reach the small intestine where they undergo rapid absorption and transformation into complex fat molecules that are required for transport in the bloodstream. Acasti believes that EPA and DHA are more efficiently transported by phospholipids sourced from krill oil than the EPA and DHA contained in fish oil that are transported either by triglycerides (as in dietary supplements) or as ethyl esters in other prescription omega-3 drugs, which must then undergo additional digestion before they are ready for transport in the bloodstream.
CaPre is intended to be used as a therapy in conjunction with positive lifestyle changes including diet, and is to be administered either alone or with other drug treatment regimens such as statins (a class of drug used to reduce cholesterol levels). CaPre is intended to be taken orally once per day in capsule form.
President and CEO, Director
Ms. D'Alvise has extensive experience the life science industry, having held executive positions in companies commercializing pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, and drug discovery research tools. Prior to joining Acasti in mid-2016, Ms. D'Alvise was the President and Chairman of Pediatric Bioscience. Before that, she was the CEO of Gish Biomedical, a cardiopulmonary medical device company. Prior to Gish, Ms. D'Alvise was the CEO of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC), a drug discovery research institute, the Co-Founder/President/CEO/Chairman of NuGEN, Inc., and the Co-Founder and Executive VP/COO of Metrika Inc. Ms. D'Alvise built NuGEN and Metrika from technology concept through to successful regulatory approvals, product introduction and sustainable revenue growth. Prior to her experience as an entrepreneur, Ms. D'Alvise held the positions of VP of Drug Development at Syntex/Roche and Business Unit Director of their Pain and Inflammation business, and VP of Commercial Operations at SYVA (Syntex's clinical diagnostics division). She began her career with Diagnostic Products Corporation where she ran global sales, marketing and service. Ms. D'Alvise has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Michigan Technological University. She has completed post-graduate work at the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and the Wharton Business Schools. Ms. D'Alvise has served on the board of numerous private companies and non-profits, and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the von Liebig Institute for Entrepreneurship at the University of California, San Diego.
Pierre Lemieux, Ph.D.
Chief Operating and Scientific Officer, Co-Founder
Dr. Lemieux has been our Chief Operating Officer since April 2010 and was named Chief Scientific Officer in July 2018. Previously, Mr. Lemieux was CEO, Co-Founder and Chairman of BiolActis Inc. which he sold in 2009 to interests affiliated with the Nestlé multinational group. Mr. Lemieux joined Suprateck Pharma in 1999 as Director and Vice-President involved in the development of formulations for gene therapy on behalf of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Genzyme, which today are under the Sanofi banner. Prior to this, Mr. Lemieux was involved in the development of cardiovascular products at Angiotech Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Lemieux has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Université Laval (Québec). He holds 16 patents and has authored over 50 publications. Mr. Lemieux's research was conducted at Université Laval as well as at the anti-cancer center Paul Papin D'Angers (France) and the University of Nottingham (England). His research focused on ovarian cancer and its treatment with monoclonal antibodies used to target cancer drugs. After completing his graduate studies, Mr. Lemieux joined the Oncology division of the Center for Health Research, University of Texas (U.S.). He obtained a postdoctoral fellowship from the Susan G. Komen Foundation (Breast Cancer). Mr. Lemieux has served on the boards of BioQuébec, Montreal in vivo and PharmaBio Development.
Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Groch joined Acasti Pharma in June 2018. He brings over 25 years of senior experience in the healthcare and life science industries, including product commercialization, developing and executing global sales strategies, business development, and operations. Most recently, Mr. Groch served as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Veru Inc., a urology, oncology and female health products company, where he was responsible for leading the development and execution of the company's long-term commercial strategy. Under his leadership, Veru experienced rapid growth in sales of the Company's women's health product. Mr. Groch also served as Chief Commercial Officer for Telesta Therapeutics, where he led the development and implementation of the global commercial strategy. Previously, Mr. Groch served as Vice President of Commercial Operations and Market Access for Horizon Therapeutics, where he oversaw global operations including the integration of two acquisitions valued over $1.5 billion. Mr. Groch has also served as CEO and President of Exsto Therapeutics, Head of Market Access for Dendreon, and Director of Health Policy for Phadia. He has held senior management roles with Novartis and Merck & Co. He holds an M.S. in Healthcare Administration and Marketing from Central Michigan University, as well as a B.S. in Physiology from Central Michigan University.
Jean-François Boily, CPA, CA
Prior to joining Acasti, Jean-François Boily served as a Director of Finance & Information Technology (IT) at Innovaderm Research Inc., a large North American contract research organization (CRO) specialized in dermatology. At Innovaderm he worked closely with the President and Chief Medical Officer and founder, where he was responsible for all aspects of Finance and IT. He undertook a major financial, IT and growth mandate where he increased revenues and profits over 25%. Prior to that, Mr. Boily was a Director of Finance at Teva Canada, a generic drug products manufacturer, where he oversaw manufacturing of generics, managing branded product launches and clinical R&D activities. At Teva, Mr. Boily worked closely with the CFO, where he had oversight of four production sites that generated more than four billion doses. Most recently, Mr. Boily worked as a consultant and Vice President of Finance and IT for a pharmaceutical start-up led by a US-based investor, where he helped raise seed capital in advance of a planned initial public offering in Canada and the US. Mr. Boily holds a BS in Accounting from HEC Montreal, a top ranked Canadian business school, and is a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA).
Board of Directors
Roderick Carter, MD
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Carter has a strong history of contributions to healthcare through clinical, research, business and people leadership. He has significant experience developing and commercializing nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products and has successfully led clinical research and business development strategies for cardiovascular and inflammation related diseases. Dr. Carter is currently Principal at Aquila Life Sciences LLC, a consulting firm he founded in April 2008 focusing on pharmaceutical development and commercialization. Prior to this, he was Vice President of Clinical Development at Reliant Pharmaceuticals, which developed the OM3 cardiovascular drug LOVAZA, and today is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline. He also served as Executive Director at Merck and Co., USA, President and Chief Executive Officer of WellGen and Senior Medical Director at Pfizer Inc., USA. Dr. Carter received his Medical Degree from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, along with a Master of Science degree in Sports Medicine from Trinity College, Dublin.
Mr. Canan is an accomplished business executive with over 34 years of strategic, business development and financial leadership experience. Mr. Canan recently retired from Merck & Co., Inc. where his last senior position was as Senior Vice-President, Global Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer for Merck from November 2009 to March 2014. He has managed all interactions with the audit committee of the Merck board of directors, while participating extensively with the main board and the compensation & benefits committee. Mr. Canan serves as a director of REV Group, a public company, where he chairs the audit committee. Mr. Canan also provides consulting services to Willow BioPharma, a Canadian start-up, engaged in the acquisition and development of legacy pharmaceutical assets. He also serves on the board of trustees of Angkor Hospital for Children, where he also chairs the audit & risk committee. Mr. Canan is a graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and is a Canadian Chartered Accountant.
Mr. Olds is President and Chief Executive Officer of the NEOMED Institute, an R&D organization dedicated to advancing Canadian research discoveries to commercial success. Prior to NEOMED, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Telesta Therapeutics Inc., a TSX-listed biotechnology company. In 2016, he led the successful sale of Telesta to a larger public biotechnology company. Prior to Telesta, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Presagia Corp., and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Aegera Therapeutics. At both Telesta and Aegera, Mr. Olds was responsible for raising more than $100 million in equity financing and leading regional and global licensing transactions with life sciences companies.
Mr. Olds is currently Lead Director of Goodfood Market Corp (TSX:FOOD), Chairman of Oxfam Quebec and Director of Presagia Corp. He has extensive past corporate governance experience serving on the boards of private and public for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He holds an MBA (Finance & Strategy) and M.Sc. (Renewable Resources) from McGill University.