Coulter Partners Recruits CEO for ArunA Bio

January 22, 2019 – Persistent talent shortages and the need to develop and retain employees with critical business and technology skill-sets will continue to challenge global life sciences companies for the foreseeable future, according to Deloitte’s global sector outlook on life sciences.

Navigating this new world of work requires a dramatic change in strategies for leadership, talent and human resources. What’s more, the global life sciences sector in the midst of a turbulent transformation, making the need for innovative leaders more important than ever.

Chris Palatucci of life sciences-focused executive search firm Coulter Partners recently placed Mark Sirgo as the CEO of ArunA Bio, a leader in the development of exosomes for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) and neurodegenerative disorders. He takes over from co-founder, current CEO and chief scientific officer Steven Stice, who will now fully focus on directing the company’s research and scientific development efforts.

“Mark is joining ArunA Bio at a pivotal time in the company’s evolution as we move toward clinical trials and industry collaborations,” said Dr. Stice. “Mark brings a wealth of pharmaceutical industry experience and a proven track record of successfully building a portfolio of products, raising capital, securing industry partnerships and progressing products through FDA approval and commercialization.”

Pharmaceutical Veteran

Dr. Sirgo joins the company with more than 35 years of pharmaceutical industry experience and is most recognized for building BioDelivery Sciences International, a fully integrated pharmaceutical company. He most recently served as president and CEO of the business, which is a publicly listed specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus in pain/CNS drug development and commercialization. In this role, he raised over $600 million through equity, debt and partnerships and utilized the company’s drug delivery platform to help move three products through FDA approval and commercialization. Prior to joining BioDelivery Services, Dr. Sirgo spent 16 years in a variety of clinical and commercial leadership positions at Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome and GlaxoSmithKline, including VP of international over-the-counter development and vice president of new product marketing.

“I look forward to working closely with Steve, the ArunA team and the board in raising the visibility of the company by advancing their exciting and novel neural exosome technology into a portfolio of therapeutics both internally and through industry partnerships,” Dr. Sirgo said. “ArunA Bio has the opportunity to dramatically improve the outcomes for patients suffering from serious and debilitating CNS diseases and cancers by overcoming the challenges of delivering products across the blood brain barrier. I look forward to contributing to the growth and expansion of the company.”

Headquartered in Athens, GA, ArunA continues the development of its novel neural exosome platform to optimize the delivery of siRNAs, antibodies, genes and small molecules across the blood brain barrier to improve outcomes for patients with CNS and neurodegenerative disorders including genetic and rare diseases.

Life Sciences Specialists

Coulter Partners is a senior-level executive search boutique focused exclusively on identifying global life sciences leaders and board directors. The firm serves clients in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, CRO and services sectors.


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For these top 50 executive recruiters working in the life science and healthcare sectors, the last decade has been one of transformation. Pressure on pricing, regulatory changes, emerging innovations, growth and an uncertain political environment have all helped shape a new field of play.

Top 50 Ranking

Coulter operates overseas offices in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. In the U.S., the firm has offices in Cambridge, MA; Princeton, NJ; Pittsburgh; Los Angeles; and Short Hills, NJ.

Dr. Palatucci, who is based in the firm’s Cambridge office, focuses on board-level and senior roles across a broad range of functions, with emphasis on technical appointments – CTO, CSO, CMO, VP, R&D. Clients range from start-ups through major pharmaceutical companies. He joined Coulter Partners in 2014. Previously, he started and grew the life sciences practice for an established Boston boutique executive search firm before starting his own search practice. Before entering executive search Dr. Palatucci had a 15-year career in the life sciences industry, including senior management roles at Interleukin Genetics and the Athena Diagnostics division of Elan Pharmaceuticals.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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