The Aeterna Zentaris leadership team is comprised of senior executives with extensive acquisition, financial, clinical development, marketing and commercial experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries.  


Michael V. Ward

President & Chief Executive Officer, Aeterna Zentaris
Managing Director, Aeterna Zentaris

Michael has over thirty years of executive and legal experience in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and technology industries. Most recently, he served as an executive officer for Sagent Pharmaceuticals, a NASDAQ-listed global specialty generic pharmaceutical company, and led its sale to Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for $736 million. Michael has served as Strategic Advisor to Benevolent Capital Partners for the last five years. Michael has also served in several executive roles and was responsible for business development, compliance, legal and operational matters in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and technology industries during his career. 

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James Clavijo

Chief Financial Officer, Aeterna Zentaris

James has been a key member in raising over $1 billion in equity, pipes, factoring, bonds, debt and grant financing. Most recently, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for Tri-source Pharma, a pharmaceutical company focused on procuring pharmaceutical products facing supply issues and supplying pharmaceutical products to veterinary markets. James was founder and principal of Capital View Partners, a consulting firm that provided Chief Financial Officer services, including regulatory and SEC filings, business brokering, buy/sell transactions and consulting services for public, private, ipo, pre-ipo, and start-up companies. He also served as the Chief Accounting Officer at Soligenix (NASDAQ:SNGX), a public biopharmaceutical company. In addition, he worked with Deloitte and Touche and was an Officer in the U.S. Army serving for 13 years in active and reserve duty. James received his license as a Certified Public Accountant from the state of Florida, a bachelor’s in Chemistry (Pre-Medicine) from the University of Florida, a bachelor’s, magna cum laude in Accounting from the University of Nebraska, and a master’s degree in Accounting from Florida International University.

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Brian Garrison

Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Operations, Aeterna Zentaris

Brian brings almost 20 years of pharmaceutical sales, marketing and commercialization experience to Aeterna Zentaris. While at the company, he has held the roles of National Sales Director, managing the co-promotion efforts for two endocrinology products and a urology diagnostic and as the Marketing Director for Macrilen™. Before joining Aeterna Zentaris, he served as the Oncology Reimbursement Marketing Director at Amgen, Inc. in charge of the Field Reimbursement Team and the Oncology Call Center for all of its oncology brands. While at Amgen, Brian also worked on the access strategy for several of the key brands including: Neulasta®, Neupogen®, Vectibix® and Imlygic® and Enbrel® for which he earned top marketing honors for his work. Prior to his work on Enbrel®, Brian was a Sales Manager for the Bone Health Business Unit, launching the first-in-class biologic therapy for osteoporosis, Prolia®.  He began his career at Merck & Co., winning top national sales honors, both as a representative and sales manager. Brian is a combat veteran, leading an infantry platoon with the 10th Mountain Division through combat operations in the Horn of Africa. Brian is a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, where he was commissioned as an Infantry officer, serving 10 years active duty in the U.S. Army.  


Eckhard G. Guenther, Ph.D

Vice President, Alliance Management

Dr. Guenther holds a degree in organic chemistry from the Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, in Germany. With more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry, he has gained extensive experience in research coordination, project management, intellectual properties and business development. Dr. Guenther started his industrial career in 1985 at Fahlberg-List Magdeburg before joining ASTA Medica AG in Frankfurt in 1990 where he held various management positions, including head of Research Coordination and head of Medicinal Chemistry Oncology. After the foundation of Aeterna Zentaris in 2002, he was appointed Vice President of Drug Discovery and Preclinical Research. In 2008 he was promoted to Vice President Alliance Management & Intellectual Property and later on, to Vice President of Business Development. Dr. Guenther has been responsible for the initiation and execution of several R&D and licensing deals for Aeterna Zentaris with midsize and large international pharmaceutical companies, like Schering Pharma, Solvay, Yakult Honsha, Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Sinopharm A-Think.


Michael Teifel, Ph.D

Vice President, Non-Clinical Sciences

 Over the last 20 years, Dr. Teifel has gained wide-ranging experience in translating fundamental research into clinical development in various therapeutic areas, mainly in oncology and endocrinology. He is particularly experienced in the design and implementation of non-clinical development programs for small molecule drugs, targeted therapies, and biologics, as well as in the continued non-clinical evaluation of drug candidates supporting global registration. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1996 from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Dr. Teifel started his career at Roche Diagnostics in the area of drug delivery systems. In 1999, he co-founded Munich Biotech, before joining Aeterna Zentaris in 2004.


Nicola Ammer, M.D

Vice President, Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Nicola Ammer was appointed as our Vice President, Clinical Development and as Chief Medical Officer in February 2018. She serves as one of our executive officers. Dr. Ammer, who is based in the Frankfurt, Germany, office of our German subsidiary, began her career in the pharmaceutical medicine environment in the CRO business in 2002 and gained profound knowledge of all aspects of clinical research & development in various positions with increasing responsibility, including a Director of Clinical Operations. She joined Aeterna Zentaris GmbH in March 2015 as Clinical Program Director and took over the role of the Head of Clinical Development in January 2016. She possesses numerous skills in the area of pharmaceutical medicine and contributed significantly to the successful completion of the macimorelin clinical development program in the adult indication. Dr. Ammer obtained the license to practice medicine in 1995 after completion of her academic studies at the University of Essen. She was awarded a doctorate diploma in medicine by the University of Münster in 2004 and a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Medicine by the University Duisburg-Essen in 2009.