Thought leaders in vaccines, DNA vaccines and electroporation with senior pharmaceutical expertise

Avtar Dhillon, M.D.

Chairman of the Board, Inovio Pharmaceuticals

AVTAR DHILLON has served as Chairman of the Board of Inovio since 2009. Dr. Dhillon was Executive Chairman of Inovio from July 2009 to June 2011, and was the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 2001 until June 2009, when the company merged with VGX Pharmaceuticals.

Beginning in 1989, Dr. Dhillon practiced family medicine for over 12 years. In 1997 and 1998 he consulted to Cardiome Pharma Corp. He was engaged by MDS Capital Corp. (now Lumira Capital Corp.) as a consultant in 1998, and subsequently became an investment manager and vice president. Dr. Dhillon holds a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, in Human Physiology, and M.D. degree, both from the University of British Columbia.

Simon X. Benito

Former Senior Vice President, Vaccine Division, Merck

SIMON BENITO has been a director of Inovio since 2003. Mr. Benito is also a director of Durect Corporation, a specialty pharmaceutical company. Mr. Benito has had a successful and extensive career serving multiple health care companies in senior executive positions, including 25 years at Merck & Co, Inc. where he served as Senior Vice President, Merck Vaccine Division from 1996 to 1999; Executive Vice President, Merck-Medco Managed Care from 1994 to 1996; and Executive Director and Vice President, Merck Human Health, Japan from 1986-1993. Mr. Benito was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for over thirty years until his retirement from Merck in 1999.


George W. Bickerstaff

Partner & Managing Director, M.M. Dillon & Co.

GEORGE BICKERSTAFF joined the Board in March 2017. Mr. Bickerstaff is an internationally recognized expert in finance, healthcare and information technology. He has served Novartis Pharma AG as its chief financial officer and held senior financial positions at IMS Health, Dun & Bradstreet and General Electric. He serves on numerous boards and is currently partner and managing director of M.M. Dillon & Co., an investment bank and financial advisory firm. He brings to the Board operational and international business experience that will be an asset to Inovio as we advance our products to commercialization and enter collaborative arrangements with other companies.


Angel Cabrera, Ph.D.

President, George Mason University

ANGEL CABRERA is President of George Mason University, the largest university in Virginia. Previously he was president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, widely regarded as the world's leading graduate school of international business. At Thunderbird, Dr. Cabrera led a major academic, operational and financial overhaul of the international business school, stemming operating deficits and declining revenues and consolidating Thunderbird's leadership position in global business education. Prior to Thunderbird, Cabrera served as Dean of IE Business School in Madrid, which he helped propel into the top tier of international business schools. Prior to IE he was a change management consultant with Accenture. Dr. Cabrera earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology and cognitive science from the Georgia Institute of Technology -- which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar -- and his B.S. and M.S. in computer and electrical engineering from Madrid's Polytechnic University. His extensive publishing in fields ranging from learning technology to psychology, management and higher education includes a recent book, "Being Global: How to Think, Act and Lead in a Transformed World." Dr. Cabrera is an advocate of corporate social responsibility and managerial professionalism.


Morton Collins, Ph.D.

General Partner, Battelle Ventures

MORTON COLLINS has been a director of Inovio Pharmaceuticals since June 2009. He was a director of VGX Pharmaceuticals, which merged with Inovio in June 2008. Dr. Collins has been a general partner of Battelle Ventures since 2003 and of Innovations Valley Partners since 2005. Over the past 40 years, Dr. Collins has developed broad expertise in venture capital funding of early-stage high-technology companies as a founder and managing partner of five different funds: Developmental Science Ventures I, II, III, and IV, and Cardinal Partners. He was chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and served as a technology policy advisor to President George H. W. Bush. He is a former president, director and chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, and currently serves as a director to Kopin Corporation, a nano-semiconductor company, as well as several private companies.

Dr. Collins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Delaware, and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Engineering from Princeton University.

J. Joseph Kim, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer, Inovio Pharmaceuticals

JOSEPH KIM was appointed President and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals in June 2009. Dr. Kim co-founded VGX Pharmaceuticals, a synthetic vaccine company, in 2000 to develop intellectual property licensed from the University of Pennsylvania. He led that company for nine years and combined VGX with Inovio Biomedical in 2009 to form Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Kim previously led manufacturing and process development programs for several FDA-approved products and developmental therapeutics at Merck & Co. These products included FDA-approved vaccines for hepatitis as well as developmental vaccines and therapeutics for HIV/AIDS. Dr. Kim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a U.S. Senate Honors Scholar. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from the Wharton School. Dr. Kim has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, holds numerous patents and sits on several editorial boards and review panels.

Adel Mahmoud, Ph.D.

Former President, Merck Vaccines and Chief Medical Advisor, Vaccines & Infectious Diseases, Merck

Professor, Dept. of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

ADEL MAHMOUD, a global infectious disease and vaccines expert, was responsible for the development and commercialization of several new important vaccines, including Gardasil®, Zostavax®, Proquad® and Rotateq® during his long tenure at Merck & Co. Dr. Mahmoud is currently Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He was President, Merck Vaccines, from 1999 to 2005 and also served as Merck's Chief Medical Advisor for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases.

More recently, Dr. Mahmoud has been leading strategy development for global health agencies tackling bioterrorism and emerging diseases such as pandemic influenza and SARS. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Mahmoud was Chairman, Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief (1987-1998) at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

David B. Weiner, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President, Director, Vaccine Center

and W.W. Smith Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, The Wistar Institute 

DAVID B. WEINER is Executive Vice President of The Wistar Institute, Director of its Vaccine Center, and the W. W. Smith Charitable Trust Endowed Professorship in Cancer Research. The Wistar Institute is the nation’s first independent biomedical research institute, NCI-designated Cancer Center, and an international leader in cancer, immunology and infectious disease research. Previously, Dr. Weiner was Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the Gene Therapy and Vaccine Program at the University’s Perelman School of Medicine and co-leader of the Tumor Virology Program of the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn. 

Dr. Weiner is a world-renowned leader in immunology as well as gene vaccines and immunotherapy. In scientific circles he is known as the “father of DNA vaccines.” He has more than 350 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, including mainstream scientific journals such as Scientific American, and has been designated by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the top-cited scientists in the world. An inventor of more than 100 issued and pending U.S. patents, Dr. Weiner has received numerous honors including election as a fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 and the International Society for Vaccines in 2012. He was the recipient of the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award and received the Vaccine Industry Excellence Award for Best Academic Research Team in 2015 at the World Vaccine Congress and again in 2016. Weiner was honored with the prestigious Hilleman Lectureship in 2015 at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Grand Rounds session and received a Stone Family Award from Abramson Cancer Center for his groundbreaking work on DNA vaccines for cancer immune therapy.

David Weiner holds a Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, an M.S. in biology from the University of Cincinnati, and a B.S. in biology from SUNY at Stony Brook in Stony Brook, N.Y.