Executive Leadership Team
Abdullah Baaj, M.D., Pharm. D.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
An internationally recognized pioneer in the fields of medicine and business, Dr. Abdullah Baaj serves as our chief executive officer. He founded Boston Oncology in 2003 after witnessing firsthand the healthcare inequities among people in developing nations. Since then, his mission as an entrepreneur has been to help patients fighting cancer and immunodeficiencies to access safe, high-quality drugs at an affordable cost.
As a business executive, Dr. Baaj has raised millions of dollars in capital, overseen the submission of more than 30 drug registrations, and fostered relationships with oncologists, surgeons, and public health officials to transform Boston Oncology from a regional start-up to an elaborate enterprise poised to enter markets around the globe. Prior to launching the company, Dr. Baaj contributed to the start-up of Biopharm Pharmaceuticals, based in Cairo. He also worked as a medical marketing executive for seven years in Massachusetts, USA, at Serono Laboratories, the world’s third largest biotechnology company.
Dr. Baaj earned his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine and his Pharm. D. from Northeastern University – both schools are in Boston – and he has published extensively on the pharmacology of HIV and AIDS therapies. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Baaj enjoys worldwide travel, white-water rafting, and hiking the forest trails of New England.
Zeshawn Beg, D.B.A., C.M.A.
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
A certified management accountant and doctor of business administration from Harvard Business School, Zeshawn Beg is a founding director of Boston Oncology and chief financial officer. He is responsible for financial planning, controllership, and organizational design.
Dr. Beg has extensive experience in finance and accounting, including financial planning analysis. Prior to joining Boston Oncology, he was a lead financial analyst at General Electric, USA, where he oversaw income and working capital analysis of a $100 million equipment group and general accounting practices for a $3 billion subsidiary.
In addition to his doctorate of business administration in accounting and management from Harvard Business School, Dr. Beg holds a B.A. in accounting, summa cum laude, from Michigan State University. He is a member of the Accounting Association of America and the Institute of Management Accountants and serves as a Professor of Practice at Cornell University.
Martin J. Joyce
Chairman of the Board
For more than 30 years, Martin J. Joyce has built a reputation for improving operations, growing brands sustainably, and maximizing value for stakeholders within the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. A veteran of Serono Laboratories, he plays an integral role with Boston Oncology as chairman of our board of directors.
From 1987 to 2001, Mr. Joyce assumed increasingly responsible positions at the U.S. affiliate of Ares-Serono International (today known as Merck Serono), concluding his tenure as vice president of finance and administration. Since that time, he has lent his experience to several start-ups and high-growth biotechnology companies as an independent consultant. He also previously served as chief financial officer of Lucid, Inc., a publicly traded medical device company in New York, which he helped bring public in 2011.
From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Joyce worked as executive vice president and chief financial officer of BioSphere Medical, Inc., a NASDAQ-traded world leader in bioengineered technology to treat tumors. At BioSphere, he implemented a comprehensive investor relations campaign, upgraded the company’s shareholder base, and, ultimately, executed the plan to sell the company at a 54-percent premium. Prior to that, he founded and led Stratex Group LLC, offering biopharmaceutical executive services to early-stage companies and venture investors.
Mr. Joyce holds an M.B.A. from Suffolk University and a B.A. from Northeastern University.
Hisham Samra, M.D., M.S.M.
Dr. Hisham Samra is a renowned pharmaceutical executive whose 35-year career has included the top post at Serono Laboratories, the U.S. subsidiary of one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies. As a member of our board of directors, he counsels Boston Oncology on regulatory strategy and execution in emerging markets.
Dr. Samra served as president of Serono Laboratories from 1992 to 2000 during a period of rapid growth and profitability. Under his leadership, the North American affiliate of Ares-Serono International (today known as Merck Serono) tripled its sales volume and delivered for its Swiss parent 35 percent of global sales and 60 percent of global profits. Dr. Samra also oversaw the development, manufacture, and marketing of Serostim® growth hormone, a drug used to treat AIDS wasting syndrome. This successful product broke a rival company’s patent under the Orphan Drug Act of 1983.
As Ares-Serono’s director of product development from 1988 to 1991, Dr. Samra designed and implemented the clinical development plans for several biotechnology products. He began his business career in 1979 with Upjohn International, where, as medical director, he designed and implemented the European clinical studies used for worldwide registration of Rogaine®.
Currently, Dr. Samra is an integral leader in the burgeoning manufacturing industry of his native Egypt. He earned his medical degree from Cairo University and a M.S. in management from Boston University. He speaks English, Arabic, and French.
Technical Advisory Board
Susan Dexter brings to Boston Oncology her more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology science and business development. She is principal consultant at Latham Biopharm Group, a Massachusetts-based group of life-sciences advisers, where she has supported strategic business development, mergers and acquisitions, and technology licensing for many start-up and established biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and technology companies.
Prior to joining Latham Biopharm Group, Ms. Dexter was chief business officer at Xcellerex, responsible for all aspects of business development for contract manufacturing services (CMO) and the sale of disposable technologies and integrated modular manufacturing facilities. She also worked as vice president of business development at The Dow Chemical Company, which she joined after selling to Dow a $7.0 million CMO business that she developed at the Collaborative BioAlliance. In addition, she held the post of associate director of business development (and was the first U.S. employee) of Celltech, then Lonza, where she identified and closed commercial supply agreements in excess of $650 million and negotiated more than 20 gene expression technology licenses worth more than $250 million. Before moving into the business of science, Ms. Dexter began her career as a scientist doing cell culture and small-scale manufacturing.
Ms. Dexter holds joint degrees with honors in immunology and marketing from American University, and she has completed a negotiation for lawyers course at Harvard University. She lectures annually at University College London and presents at various industry conferences. When not traveling internationally for work or pleasure, Ms. Dexter enjoys vacationing in the New Hampshire wilderness.
Elizabeth Fowler, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Fowler has nearly twenty years of experience in the technical, quality and regulatory aspects of the process development and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and biologics from early development to commercial registration. Trained as a protein chemist, she has a wide variety of basic science and biopharmaceutical development, quality, compliance and regulatory experiences, including process and analytical development for biotherapeutics and vaccines, quality assurance for single use (disposable) equipment, facilities qualification, quality control and quality assurance and preparation of regulatory submissions. Dr. Fowler served as Vice-President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Xcellerex, Inc. where she had responsibilities for cGMP compliance of contract manufacturing operations and facilities, and for ensuring the quality of disposables and equipment sold to customers for use in cGMP manufacturing. Her interactions with regulatory agencies informed the design and validation of Xcellerex’s FlexFactory® concept. At Xcellerex she was responsible for preparing regulatory submissions including INDs for biopharmaceuticals and biologics.
Prior to joining Xcellerex, Dr. Fowler was Director, Analytical Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge Massachusetts (1999-2003) and led the Analytical Development teams for Velcade and several protein drug candidates. She was responsible for the CMC sections of the BLA and MAA for Campath, the NDA for Velcade and numerous INDs. Prior to Millennium, Dr. Fowler served as Director, Biochemistry and Process Development at AutoImmune, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts (1993-1999) where she headed the team validating the manufacturing process and test methods in preparation for BLA submission and pre-approval inspections.
Dr. Fowler has lectured on virology, microbiology and immunology as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and University of South Alabama and currently teaches on-line graduate courses in Quality Aspects of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey.
Dr. Fowler received an A.B. (Chemistry) from Cornell University and a Ph.D. (Biological Chemistry) from Harvard University in the Medical Sciences program. She performed post-doctoral work in the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Oliver Smithies.