Valisure’s mission is to bring transparency and increased quality to the pharmaceutical industry, and to deliver these benefits direct to consumers. We hope to achieve this through focusing on patient advocacy, consumer protection, and performing advanced research and development.
Founders Adam Clark-Joseph and David Light reconnected after Adam suffered serious complications caused by batch variability of his anticonvulsant medication. Upon further research, they began to grasp the magnitude and pervasiveness of the problem throughout the pharmaceutical industry. Adam and David brought together a team of like-minded scientists and pharmacy experts to develop and deploy a solution. The result was Valisure, a company dedicated to preventing anyone from suffering adverse effects from low quality medications.
Meet the Team
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David Light FOUNDER AND CEO
David Light, Founder and CEO of Valisure, is a biotech entrepreneur and scientist with over 10 years of broad experience in the field. A graduate of Yale University, David studied molecular biology and has worked in a variety of scientific and business roles at start-ups like Synthetic Genomics, Ion Torrent, and Valisure. At Ion Torrent, David developed key technologies that directly led to the semiconductor DNA sequencing company's $725M acquisition and ran its flagship technology programs through development and global commercialization. David helped found, fund, and invent the core technology at Valisure. David is named inventor on numerous patents, published in journals including Nature and the cover of Electrophoresis, has been invited to submit testimony at congressional hearings as well as speak at the U.S. Capitol Building on the introduction of critical bills regarding medication safety and quality.
Kaury Kucera, PhD CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
Dr. Kaury Kucera is Valisure’s Chief Scientific Officer, where she oversees all lab activities including medication testing and test design. She is a pharmaceutical biochemist with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from the University of Chicago and Yale University. Her studies included natural product medicinal chemistry in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and structure-based drug development and screening in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University. Prior to joining Valisure, Dr. Kucera led a large-scale and multi-year effort by Yale University aimed at discovering new organic compounds from the Amazon rain forest; in that context, Dr. Kucera oversaw the development of hundreds of unique assays.
Deanna Akinbajo, PharmD, MPH Chief Pharmacist
Dr. Deanna Akinbajo received her Pharmacy doctorate (PharmD) from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She completed a pharmacy residency (PGY-1) at Waterbury Hospital where she conducted research and mentored students while holding a position as an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts. As Valisure’s Chief Pharmacist, Dr. Akinbajo brings her numerous years of experience working in retail pharmacies, long term care facilities, and hospital systems as a Clinical Pharmacist. Dr. Akinbajo received her BA in Communications with a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from the University at Albany.
Brian Tse, PharmD Staff Pharmacist
Dr. Brian Tse, PharmD is a graduate of the University of Connecticut passionate about patient safety and medication therapy management. He started his career at a large retail chain where he held leadership positions including pharmacy manager, and community pharmacy preceptor. Dr. Tse currently practices at Valisure as a staff pharmacist where he is responsible for overseeing pharmacy workflow and assisting the pharmacy manager
Paul Barry, MBA, RPh Staff Pharmacist
Paul has 30+ years diverse experience in operations and finance of retail and wholesale pharmacy both at the local and national level. Paul has a BS in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a Master of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Paul is a Registered Pharmacist in the state of Connecticut.
Amber Jessop, MSc Data Scientist
Amber is a data scientist and former adjunct instructor of physics. She holds a Masters of Science from Yale University and two Bachelor’s degrees, in Applied Mathematics and in Physics from the University of Montana. As a research assistant in Montana, Amber modeled and analyzed data obtained by an ion mass spectrometer as it flew through the coma of comet 19P/Borrelly. Her research at Yale was in computational biology and bioinformatics, where she modeled high resolution protein and crystal structures as well as in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, where she used conductive atomic force microscopy to measure electron transfer in bacteria pili.
Nicola Zenzola Heimbach, MSc Senior Research Associate
Nicola is a Research Associate in the field of biopharma who holds a Professional Science Master’s in biotechnology from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Science degree in marine science with a biology focus, from Eckerd College. His research focused on investigating the bioactivity of collagen peptides extracted from cod skin on murine chondrocyte cell mineralization.
Nicola has also contributed to research projects involving stable isotopes and chemical fingerprinting investigations, examining the impacts caused by oil spills on fish and the benthic environment as recorded in deep sea sediment.
Daniel O'Neill Lab Manager/Research Associate
Dan is an experienced Research Associate with six years of DNA sequencing at the Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases. During his time at The Rothberg Institute he worked on a wide variety of projects from cell culture, to DNA and RNA extraction and sequencing with Ion Torrent systems. He also trained new staff and managed the equipment and supplies for the lab. A Western Connecticut grad, he has worked in a variety of fields outside of science and has brought a wide spectrum of knowledge to his tasks.
Adam Clark-Joseph, PhD Founder
Adam is an assistant professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard, a master’s degree from Cambridge, and bachelor’s degrees in math and economics from Yale. Adam was the recipient of a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. His academic research focuses on algorithmic trading, and empirical applications of high-performance computing and novel statistical methods.
Robert Cunningham Founder & Chief Business Officer
Bob is responsible for Valisure’s corporate alliances and strategic planning activities. He is the past Director of Platform Development at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, where he was responsible for the implementation of commercialization and technology translation strategies. His industry experience with Haemonetics, endoVia Medical, RainDance Technologies, and Hemocell includes founder, CEO and other executive roles in companies commercializing innovative technologies. He holds a degree in Biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego and is a member of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Industry Council.
Wolfgang Hinz, PhD FOUNDER
Dr. Wolfgang Hinz is a medicinal chemist and is a Senior Director in the Clinical Sequencing Division of Thermo Fisher Scientific. At Valisure, Dr. Hinz focuses on ongoing technology development and implementation. Dr. Hinz completed his bachelor's and graduate training at the University of Cape Town as well as postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and Yale School of Medicine in Physical Organic Chemistry and Pharmacology. Dr. Hinz was previously the Senior Research Scientist at the Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases and Raindance Technologies. Dr. Hinz is passionate about the use of technology to solve problems in public health, and is the named inventor on 86 granted U.S. patents and an additional 144 U.S. patent applications.
Jessica Williston, MA Director of Operations / Pharmacy Technician
Jessica has worked as a Human Resources Assistant at Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. for 7 years, where she conducted candidate interviews, on-boarded personnel, and administered the day-to-day operations of the office. She holds a Master’s Degree in education and a Bachelor’s Degree in media studies, both of which are from Sacred Heart University. For the past 4 years Jessica has taught English at a local high school.
Julia Angelico Client Services Manager / Pharmacy Technician / Notary
Julia has worked in the client service industry for 15+ years. She worked at a startup company for 5+ years, Peddle.com which moved her from CT to ATX. She managed several 501(c)(3) companies and managed a call center team. Since being back in CT she has continued in the service industry and delved into some event coordination for Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill along with bar tending. She attended Southern CT State University and Gateway Community College. She is a CT appointed Notary Public.
David Gortler, PharmD, FCCP Founder, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. David Gortler is a professor of pharmacology, a former FDA medical officer/senior medical analyst and an expert in the area of drug safety, FDA policy, and drug importation. Dr. Gortler has been invited to testify in front of the U.S. Senate as a drug policy expert, FDA expert and pharmacology expert. He has two decades of investigational medicine and drug safety experience, and over a decade of teaching and research at top-tiered medical schools (Yale University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University).
Alexandra Jirstrand Chief Communications Officer Government Affairs
Alexandra Jirstrand, Chief Communications Officer and Government Affairs at Valisure, is a communications and public relations executive with more than 20 years of strategy, corporate communications, and media relations experience. Prior to joining Valisure, Alexandra was a vice president of the consumer division at Rubenstein Public Relations. At Edelman Public Relations, Alexandra was the vice president responsible for the global branding, public relations, and social mission for Dove and Unilever. She led the team that created the 10th Anniversary of Dove’s groundbreaking Campaign for Real Beauty. Alexandra conceived Dove’s documentary short-film Selfie, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival; the film won a Clio Award and was nominated for a Cannes Lion Award. Alexandra has worked for healthcare non-profit organizations including The National Council for Behavioral Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and on consumer brands including Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Bloomingdale’s and HINT Water. She graduated Fairleigh Dickinson University with a BA in English Literature and art history with a minor in media studies.
Daniel Berkal Chief Marketing Officer
Daniel has managed marketing challenges with extensive experience on both the agency and the vendor side. He has hands-on experience leading work on world class brands like Nike, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and many others in North America, Central America, Europe and Asia. Daniel is SVP at The Palmerston Group, a regular instructor at Miami Ad School and a frequent speaker at industry conferences. Daniel holds a BA in psychology from McGill University and a masters in advertising from The University of Texas at Austin.
Peter Propp Director of Marketing
Peter is responsible for Valisure’s demand generation, consumer marketing, business development and strategic initiatives. Peter spent 15 years at IBM Software Group where he helped lead the launch and success of the WebSphere product family, which at its peak was a multi-billion business unit. In 2012 he helped launch the Stamford Innovation Center, where he was Chief Marketing Officer and strategy lead. As a consultant, Peter has advised a variety of companies including Reed Elsevier, TextSpeak, Architectural Designs, ODINText, Data-Mail, Intelisent, Social Shield, Inbound Writer, Neurolingo, Hershey’s, GE, The Alexander Group and Whitmyer IP Group. Peter holds a BA in English Literature from Kenyon College.
Dr. Qian Wu Director for Mass Spectrometry
Dr. Qian Wu is Valisure's Director for Mass Spectrometry, where he oversees routine and research-based testing of impurities, including carcinogens, in pharmaceutical samples using mass spectrometry technology. Qian has a passion in developing and executing high-quality analytical methods with an implication to resolve real-world public health problems. Prior to joining Valisure, Qian was a research scientist at the Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and led the laboratory effort in investigations of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in public drinking water and their human exposure, which assisted New York State to set the most stringent drinking water PFAS standards in the nation. Qian earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, and has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles to date.