Management Team

Jeffrey Stein, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Stein has been President, CEO and Director of Cidara since January 2014. Previously he was CEO of Trius Therapeutics, Inc. from 2007 until its acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in September 2013. During his tenure, Trius developed the antibacterial drug tedizolid, which received marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2014. Tedizolid is now marketed by Merck under the name Sivextro. Dr. Stein currently serves as a Director of Paratek Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PRTK) and Ideaya Biosciences. He is also founding Chairman and President of the Antimicrobials Working Group, an industry leading 501(c)(6) organization. Previously, Dr. Stein was a Venture Partner and Kauffman Fellow with Sofinnova Ventures and opened the firm’s San Diego office in 2005. Prior to joining Sofinnova Ventures, Dr. Stein was co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Quorex Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in 2005. He has also served as a Principal Scientist with Diversa Corporation and the Agouron Institute. Dr. Stein conducted his postdoctoral research as an Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and his graduate work as a NASA Graduate Student Researcher Fellow at the University of California, San Diego.

Taylor Sandison, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Sandison has been with Cidara since October 2015. He has extensive experience in anti-infective clinical trials and drug development in both academia and industry. Prior to joining the company, he served as senior medical director at Merck and prior to that held the same position at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Sandison has also held positions at Trius Therapeutics and Novartis Diagnostics, and served as a member of the faculty in the Department of Medicine at both Stanford University and the University of Washington. He received B.S. and B.A. degrees from Dartmouth College, M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from the University of Washington, and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Colorado and infectious diseases fellowship training at the University of Washington. Dr. Sandison currently holds board certifications in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine.

Ken Bartizal, Ph.D., Chief Development Officer

Dr. Bartizal has over 30 years of anti-infective drug discovery, evaluation and development experience in the pharmaceutical industry. From 2007 to 2013, he served as the Chief Development Officer of Trius Therapeutics, where he led the development of tedizolid phosphate (SIVEXTRO) from pre-IND to NDA filing, until the acquisition of Trius by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining Trius, Dr. Bartizal was the Executive Director and Head of Infectious Diseases at Merck. While at Merck, Dr. Bartizal contributed to the development of caspofungin acetate (CANCIDAS), the first echinocandin antifungal, from discovery to market. Similarly, he oversaw nonclinical developmental for ertapenem (INVANZ), Merck’s carbapenem antibiotic for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and was a major contributor to IND and NDA filings. At Merck he also brought to Clinical Development an azalide antibiotic gamithromycin (ZACTRAN) for animal health treatment of Bovine Respiratory Disease, and a semisynthetic insecticide for oral treatment of flea and tick infestations in companion animals. Dr. Bartizal started his pharmaceutical career at Pfizer Central Research in Antibiotic Drug Discovery. Dr. Bartizal received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame.

Paul Daruwala, Chief Commercial Officer

Mr. Daruwala has over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and leads Cidara’s commercial strategy, medical affairs and corporate communications. Prior to joining Cidara, Mr. Daruwala was at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, where he served as Vice President of the U.S. Viral Hepatitis Franchise and was responsible for leading the U.S. launch in HCV and running the HBV business for BARACLUDE. Prior to Bristol-Myers Squibb, Mr. Daruwala served as Vice President Commercial & Strategic Management at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he helped lead the U.S. launch of INCIVEK for HCV. At the time, INCIVEK became the fastest drug launch to achieve blockbuster status. Mr. Daruwala had previously spent 18 years at Merck in U.S. and global commercial leadership roles in antivirals, antifungals, anti-inflammatory products, business development, managed markets and sales management. Among these, he led the global commercialization efforts for the first approved echinocandin antifungal drug, caspofungin acetate (CANCIDAS). Paul received his degree in pharmacy from the University of Kentucky.

Kevin Forrest, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer

Dr. Forrest was founding CFO and COO and is a co-founder of Cidara Therapeutics as well as co-inventor of the company’s Cloudbreak™ anti-infective immunotherapy platform. From 2005 to 2014, Dr. Forrest held positions of increasing responsibility at 5AM Ventures, an early stage life science venture capital firm. While at 5AM, Dr. Forrest led or supported investments in Relypsa, Flexion Therapeutics, Semprus Biosciences (acquired by Teleflex) and Marcadia Biotechnologies (acquired by Roche), among others. Dr. Forrest has served as a review member of the Princeton University IP Accelerator Fund, and leads organization of the rEvolution Symposium, a leading meeting for heads of life science R&D. Dr. Forrest holds a B.S. in biology from Boston College and Ph.D. in molecular biology from Princeton University.

Neil Abdollahian, Chief Business Officer

Mr. Abdollahian has over 16 years of corporate strategy, partnering and M&A experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and leads Cidara’s business development strategy and execution. Prior to joining Cidara, Mr. Abdollahian was Managing Director of Clarity Point Partners, a strategic advisory firm focused on managing corporate licensing efforts, product acquisitions and technology spin-outs for a number of biopharmaceutical companies. From 2008 to 2013, he served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Trius Therapeutics, where he led the corporate partnering initiatives that resulted in the Asia-Pacific and emerging markets strategic partnership with Bayer Healthcare, and ultimately, the acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceuticals in 2013. In 2008, Mr. Abdollahian served as Director of Special Projects in a biopharmaceutical focused investment bank in Sydney, Australia, and from 2001 to 2007, he held various business development positions focused on closing high-value transactions while at Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Isis Pharmaceuticals and Neurogen Corporation. Mr. Abdollahian holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, an M.S. in the biomedical sciences from the University of New Mexico Medical School and a B.S. in biology from the George Washington University.

Matt Onaitis, J.D., Chief Financial Officer, General Counsel and Secretary

Mr. Onaitis brings a wealth of public company general counsel experience to Cidara. Prior to joining Cidara, Mr. Onaitis was General Counsel and Secretary of Ignyta. Previously, he was General Counsel and Secretary of Trius Therapeutics, Inc. from May 2013 through its acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in September 2013. Following the acquisition Mr. Onaitis remained with Cubist assisting with the integration through December 2013. Mr. Onaitis was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Somaxon Pharmaceuticals from May 2006 through Somaxon’s acquisition by Pernix Therapeutics Holdings in March 2013. Prior to Somaxon, Mr. Onaitis served as Associate General Counsel at Biogen Idec, as Director, Legal Affairs at Elan Corporation, and in private practice specializing in corporate and commercial law. Mr. Onaitis is a director of SNP Bio, Inc. Mr. Onaitis holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

James M. Balkovec, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research

Dr. Balkovec has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and has a broad background in drug discovery. Prior to joining Cidara, he was an industry consultant in early stage programs, specializing in anti-infectives. At Merck Laboratories, he was Senior Scientific Director and Team Leader, overseeing programs in infectious disease, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory and thrombosis disease. During his tenure, he brought forward over a dozen development candidates. Dr. Balkovec led the discovery efforts and is a co-inventor of the first approved echinocandin antifungal, caspofungin acetate (CANCIDAS), and is responsible for the first orally active GS inhibitor currently in clinical development. Dr. Balkovec led a number of early stage discovery programs and is an author or inventor on over 50 publications and patents. Dr. Balkovec has received several prestigious awards including the American Chemical Society’s Heroes of Chemistry Award. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of a private company focused on small molecule therapeutics and as a Local Councilor for the American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Balkovec received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in Madison working under Barry Trost and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow with Gilbert Stork at Columbia University.