Our management team has an extensive track record and experience in the research, development and delivery of RNA therapeutics, with over 50 years of combined experience in RNA delivery technologies and RNA therapeutics.

Robert W. Overell, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Read Bio

Michael Houston, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Read Bio

Gordon Brandt, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Read Bio

Mary G. Prieve, Ph.D.

Vice President of Biology

Read Bio

Helen Tsui

Senior Vice President, Finance

Read Bio


Spencer Lemons

Head of Business Development

Read Bio

Robert W. Overell, Ph.D. has served as our president and member of our board of directors since 2006 and our chief executive officer since 2009. Prior to our first institutional financing in 2008, Dr. Overell was president of Foundation BioVentures LLC, which provided company formation and consulting services to startup companies, including us. Prior to that, Dr. Overell was a consultant, venture partner, then general partner, with Frazier Healthcare Ventures from 1996 to 2005, where he participated in raising over $600 million of venture capital and invested over $60 million in early-stage biotechnology companies. Dr. Overell has served on numerous corporate boards, including Array Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRY) from 1998 to 2002, XenoPort, Inc. (NASDAQ: XNPT), which he co-founded in 1999, from 1999 to 2005, and Chimerix, Inc. (NASDAQ: CMRX) from 2004 to 2005.

Dr. Overell helped found Immunex Corporation’s gene therapy spinout, Targeted Genetics Corp., where he led product development and gene delivery programs from 1992 to 1996. Dr. Overell joined Immunex Corporation in 1984, where led programs in cell and molecular biology. He also led development of the first human immunodeficiency virus gene therapy trial in the world, which was approved by the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health and the FDA in 1991. Dr. Overell obtained a B.Sc. in biological sciences from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London, United Kingdom.

Michael Houston, Ph.D., was appointed chief scientific officer of PhaseRx in December 2015. Dr. Houston joined us as vice president, therapeutics development, in January 2014. From 2012 to 2013, Dr. Houston provided consulting services at Solid-Phase Consulting, focused on peptide and oligonucleotide-based research and development activities as well as due diligence services for venture capital firms. From 2009 to 2012, Dr. Houston served as vice president of chemistry and formulations for Marina Biotech, Inc. (OTCQB: MRNA), where he led a team developing novel amino acid-based lipids and peptides developing nanoparticle-based formulations to deliver siRNAs and miRNAs. Prior to that, Dr. Houston served as vice president of preclinical chemistry and chemistry, manufacturing and control for Anchor Therapeutics, Inc. (previously Ascent Therapeutics, Inc.) developing chemistry, analytical methods and formulations for the pepducin peptide technology.

From 2008 to 2009, Dr. Houston served as vice president, chemistry & formulations at MDRNA, Inc., overseeing drug product processes and managing preclinical development. From 2004 to 2008, Dr. Houston served at Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. in various leadership positions including senior director of chemistry and formulations. Prior to that, Dr. Houston served at Cytovax Biotechnologies, Inc. as director of chemistry and senior scientist, focusing on the development of peptide-protein conjugate vaccines. Dr. Houston received a B.Sc. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in bio-organic chemistry from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and completed his post-doctoral fellowships in protein engineering at the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Brandt previously served as PhaseRx's chief clinical advisor, and has been working with the company for five years. Prior to this, he served as president and executive vice president of clinical research and medical affairs for Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. (which became MDRNA Inc.), where he worked to develop nucleic acid therapeutics. Previously, Dr. Brandt worked at Sonus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a developer of oncology drugs, where he held the positions of vice president, clinical and regulatory affairs, and director of medical affairs. Dr. Brandt graduated from Yale University with a B.S. degree in engineering science, received an M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his residency training in internal medicine at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. He has worked in the medical device, biologic, and drug fields for more than 30 years, and has successfully led both US and EU drug approval programs.

Mary G. Prieve, Ph.D., joined PhaseRx in February 2008 as director of biology. Dr. Prieve leads the biology and formulation teams to develop polymer based nanoparticles for the delivery of siRNA and mRNA to target tissues of interest. Dr. Prieve has over a decade of experience in biochemical, cell-based, and molecular assay development as well as animal pharmacology. Therapeutic applications have focused in the areas of cancer and orphan liver disease at PhaseRx. From 2004 – 2007 she was a senior research scientist at Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. In this role she led the in vivo pharmacology team which centered on peptide and lipid based delivery of siRNA for the treatment of inflammatory, infectious (influenza), and metabolic diseases.

From 2003 to 2004, Dr. Prieve was a visiting assistant professor at Smith College and a lecturer in cell and general biology courses at University of Washington and Seattle University. From 1999 – 2003 she did her post-doctoral training at the University of Washington in Dr. Randall Moon’s Laboratory in the area of Wnt signal transduction. She received a B.S. degree in chemistry from University of California, Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in biological sciences from University of California, Irvine.

Helen Tsui, has served as our vice president, finance since December 2015. Prior to joining us, Ms. Tsui served in various accounting positions at Dendreon Corporation, a biotechnology company, including serving as vice president, corporate controller from 2014 to 2015, as senior director, corporate controller from 2013 to 2014, as senior director, accounting operations and enterprise applications from 2011 to 2013 and as corporate controller from 1999 to 2011.

At Dendreon Corporation, Ms. Tsui managed the accounting department, including preparing publicly-filed documents in connection with the initial public offering and secondary public offerings by Dendreon Corporation and implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance program. Ms. Tsui has over 20 years of financial management experience in Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, conducting mergers and acquisitions due diligence and accounting operations. Ms. Tsui holds a B.A. in business administration from the University of Washington and has passed the certified public accountant exam.

Spencer Lemons, founded Spira Consulting in Seattle in 2007 and has since helped create two dozen new high tech companies, including Agios Pharmaceuticals [NASDAQ:AGIO], Receptos [NASDAQ:RCPT] , Fate Therapeutics [NASDAQ:FATE] , Syros Pharmaceuticals [NASDAQ:SYRS] and Sapphire Energy. He has also negotiated $350MM in strategic relationships for biotechnology companies and non-profit institutions. Prior to founding Spira, Spencer was vice president of industry relations at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center working for Nobel Laureate, Leland Hartwell. Spencer previously directed similar efforts at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and NC State University. Spencer has served as vice president of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and on the AUTM Board.