Board of Directors and Executives
The company’s CEO, Dr. Thomas Koch, is a founding member of the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association and the Immediate Past Chair. He is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, from which he obtained his Ph.D. in the area of equine stem cells.
Dr. Koch was first to report the presence of stem cells within the umbilical cord blood of new born foals. Dr. Koch’s research focus for the past 15 years has been on how these and other stem cells can be utilized to treat joint pain and damaged joint cartilage. Studies on equine, canine and human stem cells, joint cartilage and synovial joint health are pursued in parallel, along with tendon and ligament repair, and the regulatory roles of microRNA.
Within this applied research approach basic mechanistic insights of joint homeostasis and the chondrogenic cell fate is sought including studies in the area of cell mechanobiology. Emerging research areas of interest include novel therapies applied in horses and dogs with natural spontaneous disease that serve as important translational pre-clinical animal models of similar human diseases.
He currently holds two research awards; Special Recognition Research Excellence Award, University of Guelph; Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and is the awardee of a number of recognitions for his work in veterinary stem cells.
His work has been recognized by over $6,000,000 in grants from local, provincial, national and international sources of importance to animal as well as human health. These include Equine Guelph and Pet-Trust at OVC, Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Innovation, The Leaders Opportunity Fund (Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Innovation), the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Morris Animal Foundation, US, and the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation, US.
He received his Veterinary degree from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark, and completed a rotational internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College followed a residency in large animal medicine.
David Allan is the recipient of the 2017 Julia Levy Award recognizing successful commercialization of innovation in the field of Bio-medical Science and Engineering, the 2016 Leadership Award from Life Sciences Ontario and the 2012 Gold Leaf Award for Industry Leadership from Canada's industry association BIOTECanada.
In addition to his finance and biotech industry background, David Allan is an Advisory Board member at Haygain Ltd, the world’s leading producer of devices for the maintenance of equine health, adopted by competitive and recreational riders worldwide, selected by Olympic teams, and partnered with both the United States and British Equine Federations.
He is currently an Advisory Board member at Inteligex Inc. developing novel stem cell therapies for the treatment of traumatic spinal cord injuries and other diseases of the Central Nervous System.
He was the Founding Chairman and CEO of YM BioSciences, acquired by Gilead Sciences, 2013; Founding Chairman of Formation Biologics acquired by Bristol-Myers, 2020; and Executive Chairman of Stem Cell Therapeutics that acquired Trillium Therapeutics, itself acquired by Pfizer, 2021.
Previously a Governor of the Toronto Stock Exchange, he has been a member of the Ontario Biotechnology Advisory Board, the Awards Selection Committee of Canada's Network of Centers of Excellence and the Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Lisa A. Fortier is the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and The American Journal of Veterinary Research and Publications Division Director at the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is also the James Law Professor of Surgery at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She is a boarded surgeon and practices at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and at the Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists in Elmont, New York.
She has received the Jaques Lemans Award, the New Investigator Research Award, the Pfizer Research Award for Research Excellence, and the SUNY Chancellors Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities, the Kappa Delta Award, and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians Faculty Achievement Award. Dr. Fortier has served as the Vice President of the International Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Society, and President of the International Cartilage Repair Society.
Ben Legge has over 30 years of experience in the Investment Management industry investing on behalf of pension funds, endowments, and family offices, helping each reach their global investment objectives. His diverse investment management capabilities span public and private equities, fixed income, hedging strategies, endowment model, and multi-asset portfolio construction.
A dedicated investment manager, Ben’s spent much of his professional career in the UK, where he worked at several prominent institutions including RIT Capital Partners in London, UK, and sister company Windmill Hill Asset Management, where most recently he served as Chief Investment Officer. Windmill Hill is one of Europe’s largest and oldest endowments. Previously, Ben has held progressively senior investment management roles at Invesco Asset Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management in the UK, and Highstreet Asset Management.
Today, Ben is CEO, CIO, and co-founder of Tall Oak Capital Advisors, an independent investment management firm based in London Ontario. Ben is responsible for overseeing the firm’s investment strategy and plays a key role in the strategic direction of the firm. Ben is also a partner at Ag Capital Canada, a private equity fund providing investors an opportunity to invest in a wide range of small Canadian agriculture companies.
In Ben’s spare time, he is very involved in the community. Currently, Ben sits on the Investment Committees of the Diocese of London, and the Walter J Blackburn Foundation - two local not-for-profit organizations based in his hometown of London, Ontario. Previously, while in the UK, Ben volunteered his time as an Investment Committee member of the Courtauld Institute, an endowment supporting Education and the Arts in the UK.
Ben is married with two children who are in university. He resides in London, Ontario.
Clinton A. Lewis, Jr., has over 30 years of commercial, general management and senior leadership experience across the life sciences, pharmaceutical and agribusiness sectors. Mr. Lewis currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors for AgroFresh (Nasdaq: AGFS) an agribusiness leader in the post harvest fresh fruit and produce sector. Prior to assuming this role, he most recently served in a series of senior executive roles at Zoetis, the global leader in the animal health industry including executive vice president and group president responsible for international operations, commercial development and global genetics from 2018 to 2019, president of international operations from 2015 to 2018 and as president of U.S. operations from 2013 to 2015.
Prior to the formation of Zoetis (IPO from Pfizer in 2013), Mr. Lewis served as president of U.S. operations at Pfizer Animal Health, which he joined in 2007. Mr. Lewis first joined Pfizer in 1988 in the human health pharmaceutical segment and held positions of increasing responsibility in various commercial operations and general management roles.
Mr. Lewis currently serves on the Board of Directors of International Paper (NYSE: IP). He also serves on the Board of United Veterinary Care.
Mr. Lewis formerly served as chairman of the board for the Animal Health Institute (AHI), an industry trade association in the U.S., and served as treasurer for International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH), an industry trade association in Europe.
Mr. Lewis has also served on the Dean’s Advisory Board for both Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Western University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The National Agri-Marketing Association recognized Mr. Lewis as the top Agri-Business Leader in the U.S. in 2015.
Mr. Lewis holds a B.S. in Biology from Fairfield University and an M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Dr. McIlwraith is the Founding Director of Colorado State University’s Orthopaedic Research Center, Founding Director of CSU’s Musculoskeletal Research Program, and a University Distinguished Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences. The CSU’s Translational Medicine Institute is named in his honour in part because of his translation into therapeutic advancements for humans his extensive orthopedic findings in diagnosing, preventing, and treating equine joint injury and disease – the process known as “translational medicine".
He holds the Barbara Cox Anthony University Endowed Chair in Orthopaedics and is the recipient of the Orthopaedic Research Society’s Marshall R. Urist Award for Excellence in Tissue Regeneration Research.
Dr. McIlwraith is noted for his achievements in the fields of osteoarthritic cartilage injury, regenerative therapies, and contributions on understanding of joint pathology and repair, the development and validation of equine models of joint diseases, surgical technologies, intra-articular therapies, cartilage resurfacing, tissue engineering, and gene therapies for osteoarthritis, many of which have been, or are, translatable to human joint disease.
Dr. McIlwraith is a consultant and surgeon in equine remediation in the US, Ireland, England, France and New Zealand. He obtained his veterinary degree from Massey University, New Zealand, interned at University of Guelph, Canada and in a surgical residency at Purdue University, from which latter he obtained his MS and PhD degrees.