January 7, 2022 – Although boards of directors are considered the backbones of organizations, director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging, say recruiters who conduct searches in that area. As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help find new board members. ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, recently assisted in the recruitment of Kamil Ali-Jackson as a member of the board of directors at Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Managing director Lisa McCann led the assignment.
“Kamil is a savvy businessperson, has a sharp transactional mind, and is a serial entrepreneur who brings immense experience to our board,” said Raul Rodriguez, president and CEO of Rigel. “Her experience as an international transaction attorney, litigator, biotech founder, and pharmaceutical executive makes her a valuable addition to the Rigel team as we focus our business on mid to late-stage hematology, oncology, and immunology therapies for the patients we serve.”
Ms. Ali-Jackson brings nearly four decades of biopharmaceutical industry experience to Rigel, including expertise in negotiating licensing, joint-venture, and M&A transactions to drive strategic growth. She currently serves as the chief legal officer, chief compliance officer, and corporate secretary for publicly traded Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that she co-founded in 2012 and led the team which took the company public in 2015. She will be retired from her role at Aclaris on January 3, 2022.
Ms. Ali-Jackson also has extensive transaction experience with companies such as Merck & Co., Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc., including negotiating acquisitions of intellectual property assets and licensing agreements for drug products in various stages of development across multiple therapeutic areas. She was the lead negotiator for the acquisition of intellectual property rights for Merck’s billion-dollar human papillomavirus vaccine and legal counsel for its gastroenterology product franchise, which led to the creation of a multi-billion joint venture between Merck and Astra AB that then became part of AstraZeneca. Previously, Ms. Ali-Jackson co-founded and served as chief legal officer, chief compliance officer, and general counsel for several other private biopharmaceutical or specialty pharmaceutical companies, including Ceptaris Therapeutics, Inc. and Ception Therapeutics, Inc., both of which were acquired in multimillion-dollar acquisitions.
Ms. Ali-Jackson is currently a member of the board of directors, audit and compensation committees, and is the chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee of PDS Biotechnology Corporation, a publicly-traded clinical-stage immunotherapy company, as well as on the board of other private companies. She is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.
“Throughout my career, my goal has always been to be a significant contributor to the success of the businesses and projects I touch,” said Ms. Ali-Jackson. “I’m excited to work with the Rigel management team and other board members in supporting the growth of a therapeutic portfolio that is singularly focused on addressing the needs of patients.”
Rigel Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing novel small molecule drugs that significantly improve the lives of patients with hematologic disorders, cancer and rare immune diseases. The company is headquartered in South San Francisco.
ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive mid-sized global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle-management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology.
Ms. McCann is a managing director for Toft Group,, which ZRG acquired in 2019. Based in San Diego, and working nationally with customers at the intersection between high tech and biotech, she brings more than 25 years of search experience to the team, having managed her own, independently held executive search firm as well as leading in-house, corporate recruiting functions for high tech companies. Ms. McCann has extensive experience working with venture-backed, private equity-owned, and public companies in the technology space, including healthcare IT. She has executed 500+ executive-level searches throughout her career. Toft Group operates as a ZRG company, focused on supporting client needs for senior life science professionals.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media