Executive Team

Bud Thompson

Bud Thompson is a successful leader with over 30 years of executive leadership experience in health services. Prior CEO roles include a community hospital, a super-regional clinical and anatomical lab company and a genetic testing lab company servicing clients in 40 countries. In addition, he has held an executive role with Carilion Clinic, a large, not-for-profit health care system where he provided executive leadership to several community based hospitals. He was responsible for home based services to include Home Healthcare and Hospice, as well as Carilion Labs and various strategic initiatives of the health system. Over the course of his career he had enterprise wide responsibility for Imaging Services, Long Term Care, Rehabilitation Services, and Behavioral Healthcare services.

Key accomplishments include developing innovative solutions to financing hospital growth; the development of a Medicare approved research study to expand genetic testing services; developing a nationally recognized for-profit lab company within a not for profit health care system whose service area included four states; worked with Third Security, VA Tech and Carilion Clinic to develop a venture fund to create better access to capital within the Roanoke, VA-Blacksburg ,Va region; and, facilitating a merger between Carilion Labs and Spectrum Lab, a lab owned by Welsh Carson, to form Solstas Lab Partners. Solstas Lab Partners supported physician and hospital lab testing throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic including clinical, anatomical and esoteric/specialty testing services. Solstas was subsequently acquired by Quest Diagnostics.

George Nichols

Mr. Nichols is responsible for financial and operations activities for Techulon. He has extensive experience managing large organizations and providing accounting oversight, contract management, legal coordination, and audit management. Mr. Nichols was previously the Vice President of Finance for VTLS Inc., a Blacksburg technology firm employing over 150 and serving global customers in 44 countries. Mr. Nichols directed all financial activities and navigated the company through a private equity acquisition transaction in 2014. After the acquisition, Mr. Nichols joined Techulon. Prior to VTLS, Mr. Nichols was in the Internal Audit Department at Virginia Tech. Mr. Nichols is a long time member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Virginia Society of Public Accountants.

Board of Directors

Leo Harris
Mr. Harris is an original founding investor in Techulon and has extensive technology commercialization experience in both defense sectors as well as pharmaceutical development. Mr. Harris has led the funding activity for numerous biotech startups, including Protea, a publically traded biotherapeutics company. Mr. Harris has experience in securing federal funding and assists in the development of the company’s grant strategy as well as working with DoD agencies such as DARPA.
John Engel
Engel specializes in food and drug, public health, and administrative law, and health information technology and science policy and legislation. He provides founder-level advice to the company on a wide range of legal/regulatory, intellectual property, and marketing initiatives affecting pharmaceutical and biotech. Mr. Engel's work includes collaborative research and license agreements, human subject protections and related bioethical considerations in the clinical development process including IRB review. Mr. Engel was awarded his J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. magna cum laude from The Catholic University of America.
Patricia Caldwell
Caldwell is the co-founder of Gordian Group and is recognized as one of the country’s leading experts in structured finance. Formerly with Citibank, Ms. Caldwell founded Citibank’s 60-person Corporate Finance and Analysis Department. She played an integral role in numerous restructurings, workouts and recapitalizations. During her 13 years at Citibank, she also worked as a lending officer and senior member of the petroleum, metals and mining department.
Marni Byrum
Marni Byrum of McQuade Byrum is a practicing attorney focusing on labor, employment and personnel law. She has litigated cases before state and federal courts, as well as the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Ms. Byrum is Chair of the Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Ethics and has also chaired the VSB's Judicial Selection Committee and Multi-jurisdictional Practice Task Force. She is a Past President of the Arlington Bar Association, the Northern Virginia Legal Services Board and the Virginia Women Attorneys Association.
David Henderson
Henderson is currently President of WBH Energy Partners, LLC, a privately held company developing resource opportunities in the energy sectors. Prior to this, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for EEX Corporation and also served as Senior Vice President International of Pennzoil Corporation
Marcus D. Wilson, Pharm.D.
Marcus Wilson is President of HealthCore, a subsidiary of Anthem, Inc., one of the nation’s largest health plans. Acquired by Anthem in 2003, HealthCore utilizes Anthem’s rich data environment which includes claims and clinical data that is generated from more than 39 million members from across the United States to meet the evidence development needs of a broad array of healthcare stakeholders including Anthem, FDA, CDC and the Life Sciences industry. He has been extensively involved in efforts to utilize electronic healthcare data environments to accelerate healthcare evidence development and to facilitate clinical decision support for more than 20 years. Prior to co-founding HealthCore in 1996, Dr Wilson spent seven years within an integrated delivery system owned by BCBS of Delaware where he oversaw the physician and patient clinical decision support, pharmacy policy and clinical trials programs.

Dr. Wilson serves as chair of the Innovations in Medical Evidence Development (IMEDS) Steering Committee, Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA, is chair of the Research Committee for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) & the AMCP Foundation, is a member of the FDA Sentinel Initiative Planning Board, the Green Park Collaborative Real World Evidence Project Advisory Committee, the Dean’s Roundtable, College of Science, Virginia Tech and the Board of Visitors for the Mayes College of Healthcare Business & Policy at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. He is a past member of the Board of Directors for the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) and the eHealth Initiative and is a reviewer for multiple journals.

Dr. Wilson received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech and his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed a residency in Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina prior to joining the faculty at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy where he taught didactic and experiential courses in therapeutics and clinical decision support. His experiential site within the HMO of Delaware eventually served as the foundational assets for HealthCore. HealthCore was eventually acquired by WellPoint in 2003 just prior to the WellPoint-Anthem merger.

Science Team

Nrusingh Mohapatra, Ph.D., Chief Scientist
Dr. Mohapatra has extensive experience in microbial pathogenesis. He has been involved in the development and discovery of new therapeutics and vaccines against clinically important pathogens including BSL-3 select agents and BSL-2 human pathogens. Further, Dr. Mohapatra was involved in the synthesis of various polymeric platforms and nanoplatforms for delivery of RNA as a vaccine candidate against biothreat agents. Currently, Dr. Mohapatra is leading Techulon’s two DoD funded projects to develop antimicrobial drugs against multiple human pathogens.
Mel Affrime, Clinical Planning
Dr. Affrime has 35 years of demonstrated experience in the global pharmaceutical industry, including Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Schering-Plough Research Institute, and WCCT. He possess the unique combination of leadership skills and scientific knowledge to successfully manage high teams of scientists with diverse backgrounds working together to produce submissions for worldwide regulatory approval in line with identified marketing needs. Dr. Affrime’s contributions include, drug candidate clinical-readiness evaluation, human drug safety assessment, and clinical pharmacology development requirements.
Denis Guenette, Senior Scientist, Discovery Programs
Mr. Guenette brings over 20 years of in vitro assay experience to the Techulon team. He has extensive experience working with bio-hazardous materials in a BSL2 setting. He is fluent in a wide-array of molecular biology assaying techniques in both mammalian cells and bacteria. Mr. Guenette is in charge of handling, propagating and assaying the bacteria targets and managing both microbiology and mammalian tissue culture facility at Techulon.
Jeremy Heidel, Chemistry and Manufacturing
Dr. Heidel leads Techulon’s drug chemistry and manufacturing activities and coordinates synthesis of the company’s peptide structures. Dr. Heidel has extensive peptide chemistry experience, including leading the science team of Calando Pharmaceuticals through preclinical development and successful IND submission for CALAA-01, the first formulated siRNA in the clinic and the first siRNA drug candidate for oncology in the clinic. Dr. Heidel was also a member of a team that was first to demonstrate RNAi mechanism of action in humans. He has written and reviewed pre-IND and IND packages for nanoparticle formulations of nucleic acids, participated in several pre-IND meetings and written CMC sections of DSURs for open INDs.