Who We Are

Who We Are We are committed to our vision of transforming lives and making hope a reality for patients with cancer.

Daniel J. O’Connor
Chief Executive Officer & Director

Mr. O’Connor is the Chief Executive Officer of OncoSec Medical, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing intratumoral cancer immunotherapies.

Most recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Advaxis Immunotherapies, Mr. O’Connor successfully turned around the company, raising more than $250 million in funding and transforming it into a patient-focused, leading cancer immunotherapy company.  He was also instrumental in establishing major partnerships with companies that include Amgen Inc., Merck & Co. and Bristol Myers Squibb. In addition, under his leadership, the company advanced four new cancer immunotherapy drug candidates into clinical trials, as well as several PD-1 combination clinical studies with Keytruda® and Opdivo®.  Previously, Mr. O’Connor was Senior Vice President for ImClone Systems where he supported the clinical development, launch, and commercialization of ERBITUX®, and the sale of the company to Eli Lilly in 2008. Mr. O’Connor served as General Counsel at PharmaNet (inventive Health) and was part of the senior leadership team that grew the company from a start-up contract research organization into a leader in clinical research.

Mr. O’Connor is a 1995 graduate of the Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and currently serves as an Entrepreneur Trusted Advisor to its Dean. He graduated from the United States Marines Corps Officer Candidate School in 1988 and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marines, attaining the rank of Captain while serving in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. Mr. O’Connor is currently the Vice Chairman of BioNJ and was a former New Jersey criminal prosecutor.

Avtar Dhillon, M.D.

Founder of OncoSec Medical, Inc. and Vitality Biopharma, Inc., Avtar S. Dhillon is a businessperson who has been the head of 9 different companies.

Dr. Dhillon  holds the position of Non-Executive Chairman for OncoSec Medical, Inc., Executive Chairman & President at Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer at Emerald Health Sciences, Inc., Chairman for Nemus Bioscience, Inc. and Executive Chairman & President at Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Dhillon is also on the board of Arch Biosurgery, Inc., Cannabis Canada Association and Emerald Health Bioceuticals, Inc. and Member of Canadian Medical Association, Member of College of Physicians & Surgeons of BC and Member of College of Family Practitioners.

He previously was Chairman at Vitality Biopharma, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and President & Chief Executive Officer at Genetronics Biomedical Corp. (a subsidiary of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), Chairman for Arch Therapeutics, Inc., Member of Doctors of BC and Vice President & Investment Manager at Lumira Capital Investment Management, Inc.

Dr. Dhillon received a doctorate and an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia.

Punit Dhillon

Mr. Dhillon is the Co-Founder of OncoSec Medical, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing its advanced-stage immunotherapy to treat solid tumors.

He was formerly Vice President of Finance and Operations at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In his management experience, Mr. Dhillon has raised over $160 million through multiple financings and several licensing deals including early stage deals with Merck and Wyeth. His management experience spans corporate finance, M&A, integration, successful in-licensing of key intellectual property, strategy implementation, corporate transactions and collaborations with leading universities and working with several key opinion leaders worldwide. Mr. Dhillon is also the founder of BeCancerPositive.org, an online community where people can share their experiences with cancer and inspire hope for others. Mr. Dhillon holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Jim DeMesa, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. DeMesa has served as a senior executive with several international pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the areas of corporate management, regulatory affairs, and pre-clinical and clinical pharmaceutical and medical device product development.

Most recently, Dr. DeMesa served as President, CEO, and Director of Migenix Inc., a public biotechnology company. Dr. DeMesa was also president, CEO and Director of GenSci Regeneration Sciences Inc., a public biotech company, Vice President of Medical and Regulatory Affairs at Biodynamics International, Inc., and Vice President of Medical and Regulatory Affairs at Bentley Pharmaceuticals. He has been a practicing physician and is a Co-Founder of CommGeniX, a medical communications company, and MedXcel, a medical education company.

Joon Kim

Joon Kim is a highly accomplished attorney and partner in Lee & Ko’s Corporate, International Litigation and Dispute Resolution, and White Collar Crime Practice Groups. Mr. Kim advises clients, both domestic and international, on a broad range of litigation, dispute-resolution and transactional matters.

With a particularly strong background in representing clients in court proceedings, Mr. Kim has a comprehensive understanding of every stage of the litigation process, including all aspects of initial investigatory/discovery proceedings, settlement negotiations, hearings, motions, trials, evidentiary issues and the handling of post-judgment challenges and appeals.

Prior to joining Lee & Ko, Mr. Kim worked for several years as a litigation lawyer and served from 2008 to 2017 as a public prosecutor in California. Mr. Kim has first-chaired both jury and non-jury trials, and has been trained in all aspects of litigation. During his time as a public prosecutor, Mr. Kim also had the experience of serving in 2016 as a research fellow in Korea at the Institute of Justice, under the auspices of the Korea Ministry of Justice, where he worked together with Korean public prosecutors. Joon received his J.D. from Berkeley School of Law and his B.S. from the Berkeley School of Business.

Robert E. Ward

Mr. Ward is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Eloxx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., roles he has held since December 2017. He was a Director and Chair of the Governance Committee of Akari Therapeutics from October 2016 to August 2018.

Mr. Ward previously served as the Chief Executive Officer, President and member of the board of directors at Radius Health, Inc. from December 2013 to July 2017. Prior to joining Radius, Mr. Ward was Vice President for Strategy and External Alliances for the New Opportunities iMed of AstraZeneca from 2011 to December 2013. He has held a series of progressive management and executive roles with established companies such as NPS Pharmaceuticals, Schering-Plough (Merck), Pharmacia (Pfizer), Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech. Mr. Ward has been a Director of Akari Therapeutics, Plc since October 2016. Mr. Ward received a B.A. in Biology and a B.S. in Physiological Psychology, both from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a M.S. in Management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Immunology from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Mr. Ward’s extensive experience and expertise in the biopharmaceuticals industry are the primary qualifications the Board considered in nominating him as a director of the Company

Margaret R. Dalesandro, Ph.D.

Dr. Dalesandro brings more than 25 years of drug development experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostics industries.

She currently serves as the President of Brecon Pharma Consulting, a full-service pharmaceutical and biotech consultancy firm. She previously served as Business Director of Corning Integrative Pharmacology. Before that, Dr. Dalesandro held an executive leadership role at ImClone Systems where she oversaw project management for the clinical development of ERBITUX® (cetuximab), making significant contributions to the sale of ImClone to Eli Lilly in 2008. Prior to that, Dr. Dalesandro served as an Executive Director at GlaxoSmithKline, managing cardiovascular, urology, and oncology drug product commercialization. Earlier in her career, she was a senior consultant at Cambridge Pharma Consultancy and a Director of Immunobiology and Diagnostic Research at Centocor.

Dr. Dalesandro holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Biochemistry from Bryn Mawr College and an A.B. in Biology and Chemistry from Rosemont College, where she graduated summa cum laude.