Chad Costley, MD, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Chad Costley became the President and Chief Executive Officer of BlueWillow Biologics in 2020 after serving on the Board of Directors for several years. Dr. Costley has 20 years of clinical practice experience and has advised and served on the Boards of Directors of several technology companies. As the managing director of Waubascon Capital and Line Moon Ventures, he’s led investment in and supported BlueWillow’s advancement for many years. He earned his MD at the University of Michigan where he also completed medical residency training. He holds a MBA with distinction from Emory University as a Woodruff Scholar.
Ali Fattom, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Fattom joined BlueWillow Biologics in November 2010 with 25 years of experience in vaccine research and development. He initiated his career as a vaccinologist at the National Institutes of Health, where he helped develop several vaccines including Pneumococcus conjugate vaccine, and headed the effort for developing a S. aureus vaccine. He later joined Univax Biologics to pursue the development of conjugate vaccines against bacterial infections including Staphylococci. Following the merger between Univax and North American Biologics to form Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, Dr. Fattom assumed responsibility for other research activities and served as Vice President of Research from 2003 to 2010. He earned a B.S. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a M.S. in microbiology from Tel-Aviv University, and a Ph.D. in Microbial Ecology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 1983–1986 he held an assistant professorship at Bir-Zeit University, West Bank. Dr. Fattom is author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications, and holds more than 10 patents.
George Arida, MBA
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
George Arida joined BlueWillow in an operating role in May 2020, after serving on the Board of Directors since 2009. He previously founded 30 Ventures, a Madison-based early-stage venture capital firm focused on early-stage opportunities in digital health, biotechnology research tools, and diagnostics. George was previously a partner at Venture Investors LLC where he led investments in seed and early-stage biotech and medtech opportunities. He was a founding director of the Mid-America Healthcare Investors Network, an association of over forty regional venture capital firms active in early-stage healthcare investing, and has served as an advisor to various incubators, accelerators, venture conferences, and to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. George previously served as CFO for Capital Resource Advisors, a financial firm in Chicago, and prior to that he spent 12 years in the specialty chemicals and industrial water industries at U.S. Filter, Betz Laboratories and Alar Engineering Corp. George has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA with high honors from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Vira Bitko, Ph.D.
Vice President of Vaccine R&D
Dr. Bitko joined BlueWillow Biologics in November 2020 with over 20 years of experience in virology, immunology and vaccine research and development. Prior to joining BlueWillow, she served as an executive director of pre-clinical R&D at Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation. Before AGTC, she held a series of roles with increasing responsibilities at Emergent BioSolutions where she was involved in the development of universal flu, Zika and emerging infectious diseases vaccines, Meridian LifeScience and provided consultative services to AstraZeneca on the development of nirsevimab. Prior to joining biotech industry Dr. Bitko held a faculty position at the University of South Alabama. She is an author of numerous scientific publications covering virus-host interactions, anti-infectives and vaccine research and is an inventor on five patents. Dr. Bitko has a M.S. in biochemistry from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Chebotarev State Institute of Gerontology of National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine.
Tarek Hamouda, MD, Ph.D., MBA
Senior Director of Clinical Research
Dr. Hamouda has over 20 years of experience in vaccine and antimicrobial drug development, including leading pre-clinical research programs and directing Phase 1 through Phase 3 vaccine clinical trials. Prior to joining BlueWillow, he served as the medical director and medical monitor for Pfenex, Inc., a clinical stage vaccine and biosimilar company. Dr. Hamouda has expertise in immunology, microbiology, and molecular biology techniques with experience in GLP labs, GMP manufacturing, and extensive knowledge in pre-clinical research, clinical research and regulatory affairs. He is an inventor on 17 patents and an author of numerous scientific publications covering anti-infective and vaccine research. He received a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology as well as an MD in medicine and surgery from Cairo University in Egypt, and an MBA from Michigan State University.
Shyamala Ganesan, Ph.D.
Senior Manager of Vaccine Operations
Dr. Ganesan has over 16 years of combined academic and industrial experience in immunology, microbiology, biochemistry, and cell signaling. She joined BlueWillow Biologics after having served as a Principal Research Scientist at TSRL, Inc., where she worked on the development of antiviral therapeutics. Her technical expertise includes vaccine formulation, assay development, molecular biology/biochemistry techniques, purification and production of viral and cellular proteins under non-GMP conditions, analytical test method development, and validation. At BlueWillow Biologics, Dr. Ganesan is involved in the development of nanoemulsion adjuvanted vaccines against infectious diseases and peanut allergy. She received a B.Sc in Microbiology from University of Madras, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Microbiology from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. She is the author of over 25 peer-reviewed publications.
Kishna Kalicharran, Ph.D., MBA
Corporate Strategy Advisor
Dr. Kalicharran brings a strong track record with over twenty years of experience in vaccines and biopharma, combining a unique blend of corporate strategy, business development, finance, R&D, commercial, investment management, IP, management consulting and entrepreneurship based on roles at small, medium and large companies, including global vaccine strategy at Merck and incubating two companies.
Kishna completed a BSc., in Biology at Acadia University, MSc., in Virology at University of Ottawa, PhD in Virology at Western University, MBA at Johns Hopkins University and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Virology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is Registered US Patent Agent.
Frances Kivel, M.S.
Clinical Operations Consultant
Francie Kivel serves as a clinical consultant to BlueWillow, bringing expertise in clinical development, clinical operations, and project management. She has over 30 years of experience across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and device industries, drawing from her roles at Parke-Davis, Pfizer, Aastrom (now Vericel) and her last 7 years of consulting with small and start-up companies. Francie’s expertise ranges from development of corporate strategy to management of clinical programs to operationalizing clinical trials. She participated in the successful global clinical development of atorvastatin (Lipitor) and pregabalin (Lyrica) and has contributed to several successful INDs as a consultant.