Agilvax Team


Board of Directors

Advisory Board

Federica Pericle, PhD, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Pericle is an accomplished entrepreneur and senior manager in the biotech industry with over 20 years of experience in scientific, strategic and leadership positions. She has a track record of management experience in research & clinical development and business units in biotech companies and comprehensive life science analyst experience within financial institutions.

Dr Pericle is also the founder of several biotechnology companies including SeneXta Therapeutics, SA and EP Pharma, Inc., dedicated to the treatment of CNS and oncology.

Previously, Dr. Pericle has worked as scientific advisor for Agennix, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing protein-based drugs for oncology and as Director of the Oncology Program at Valentis, in Houston, Texas. She has also worked as Senior Scientist at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Pericle has 20 years of research experience in the fields of immunology, cancer gene therapy, tumor biology, signal transduction and cancer immunotherapy.

She has led the development of 10 product candidates for the treatment of cancer/CNS and has published over 40 scientific articles in peer-review journals.

Dr. Pericle is well acquainted with FDA regulations, clinical trial design and the overall strategy on how to move a product from research into clinical development.

She received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Turin University in Italy with a specialization in Immunology/Cancer Immunotherapy from the University of South Florida. She also holds an MBA from Texas A&M University.


Michael Perrine, MS, MBA

Director of Business Development

Michael Perrine has most recently overseen the development and transition of Azano Biotech into an organization focused on providing the scientific community with essential research use tools to promote biomedical discoveries and breakthroughs.

Mr. Perrine is excited to bring his talents to Agilvax to aid in the commercialization efforts of the unique VLP technology platform.

Mr. Perrine has attained an extensive technical and business understanding of the biotechnology industry through his research and development work at Azano Biotech, Exagen Diagnostics, nanoMR, and Physiogenix.

Mr. Perrine was part of research teams that developed a novel breast cancer prognostic assay, a noninvasive assay for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases, a rapid assay for the detection of sepsis, and performed preclinical pharmaceutical screening of early stage hypertension and diabetes therapeutics.

Mr. Perrine holds an MBA from the University of New Mexico's Anderson School of Management and an MS in Physiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin.


Dee Brescia,


Dee Brescia has served as Agilvax’s Chief Financial Officer since 2013. Prior to joining Agilvax, Ms. Brescia served as Vice President of Operations and Chief Financial Officer for PhDx Systems, a company that develops proprietary clinical study software, for 12 years.

Ms. Brescia has also held the title of Director of Accounting at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and Accountant for Southwest Medical Ventures.

Ms. Brescia has a BS in accounting from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, an MBA in accounting from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, and is a Certified Public Accountant in New Mexico and Colorado.


Brad H. Vale, PhD, DVM

CEO and Founder of Calaveras Creek Capital (Former Head Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation)

Brad is the CEO and Founder of Calaveras Creek Capital, collaborating with strategic partners in equity investing to facilitate innovation. He is a member of the board of directors at Nevro (NVRO), Cleveland Clinic Innovations, and on a corporate venture advisory board for Silicon Valley Bank, along with sitting on the board of several private companies.

Brad was Head of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) from 2012 to 2015. JJDC is Johnson & Johnson’s venture investing arm and has investors based in Si-Valley, Boston, Shanghai, London and Tel Aviv. He established JJDC’s west coast office in 1997 and was an investor in medical devices, healthtech, and biotech from 1992-2012.

Prior to joining JJDC, Dr. Vale supported Johnson & Johnson’s medical device businesses at the Corporate Office of Science and Technology, leading exploratory efforts in several areas, including biomaterials, intra-operative diagnostics, and lasers in medicine. He began his JNJ career at Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, working on preclinical studies in wound closure, microsurgery, new business development, and a coronary artery bypass graft internal venture that was spun out of Ethicon. Dr. Vale has other experience in medical device research and development, including blood-compatible polymers, novel methods for tissue closure, and hyaluronic acid for post-operative adhesion prevention.

Dr. Vale received a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Iowa State University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University.


Waneta Tuttle, PhD, MBA

Owner and CEO of Southwest Medical Ventures (SMV)

Waneta C. Tuttle, Ph.D., M.B.A. is the owner and CEO of Southwest Medical Ventures (SMV), a life sciences and health care venture development company. Through SMV, she was the founding CEO of Indigo Medical, (acquired by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endosurgery), PhDx Systems, Inc. and Exagen Diagnostics, Inc.

SMV is the managing member of Puente Partners, LLC and Southwest Medical Technologies, LLC (SMT). The Puente Partners portfolio includes nanoMR, Inc. and Azano Pharma, Inc. SMT was organized in 2010 to create new ventures focused on technology spin-offs and roll-ups. SMT's first company is AgilVax, Inc.

Until its sale to Eisai Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in January of 2008, Dr. Tuttle served as a Director of NASDAQ listed MGI Pharma, Inc., an oncology and acute care focused biopharmaceutical company. She is a Director of Health Care Service Corporation, a mutual legal reserve company operating Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and is a Member of the Corporation at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratories in Boston. She serves as Southwest Regional Advisor to Tullis Health Investors and to the Tullis-Dickerson funds.

Prior to founding SMV in 1992, Dr. Tuttle held positions of increasing responsibility over 23 years at the Lovelace Medical Foundation in Albuquerque. She began her career at the Foundation as a research scientist, and then served for many years as its Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. She was also a member of the management committee for the integrated health care delivery system at Lovelace and served on the Boards of Directors for several of the Lovelace organizations.

Dr. Tuttle’s Ph.D. is in biology with a concentration in physiology. She also holds an M.B.A. from the R.O. Anderson Schools of Management at the University of New Mexico and has been inducted into the Anderson Schools Hall of Fame.


Faith L. Charles

Partner in Thompson Hine's Corporate Transactions & Securities

Faith Charles, a corporate and securities specialist and law firm partner, has a 25+ year track record of results for public and private companies.

Her specialties include corporate counseling and strategic advice in the biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics and health care information space including:

  • U.S. and global business transactions and technology transfers;
  • Angel and venture capital financings;
  • Private placements;
  • Public offerings (equity and debt);
  • Mergers and acquisitions;
  • Spin-offs, joint ventures, licensing and other strategic collaborations;
  • Alternative financings;
  • Corporate governance; and
  • Compliance with SEC, Amex, Nasdaq and securities regulatory issues.

Faith has authored articles and presents on topics including Alternative Financing Strategies, Strategic Collaborations and Biotech Entrepreneurs. She has been featured in Crain’s New York and profiled in The New York Times.

She has earned recognition as a BTI Client Service All-Stars for service excellence, and from LMG Life Sciences for transactional and Life Sciences expertise.

Faith is on the board of several early stage companies.

Faith has spoken for and served as a panelist and moderator for such organizations as Advamed, Springboard, and North Carolina Biotechnology Center. She has authored articles on topics including Alternative Financing Strategies, Strategic Collaborations and Biotech Entrepreneurs.


Ebetuel (Beto) Pallares, PhD

Chairman of the Board, founded Joseph Advisory Services (JAS) and co-founded Cottonwood Capital Partners

Dr. Ebetuel Pallares founded Joseph Advisory Services (JAS) in 2006. He brings extensive domestic and international start-up experience as an entrepreneur and in conducting due diligence for both start-ups and late stage companies. His professional experience spans working for top-tier strategy consulting firms, co-founding start-ups, international business development, nonprofit management, venture capital and military service.

In the summer of 2009, he co-founded Cottonwood Capital Partners, the general partner of Cottonwood Technology Fund, a seed and early-stage venture fund with headquarters in El Paso, TX. He serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards.

He is also an advisor to the UT Horizon Fund, the venture capital investment fund of the University of Texas System, he is the Investor in Residence for NMSU's Arrowhead Center, and serves on the limited partnership advisory committees of several venture funds.

He graduated from Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA, with a degree in economics, and received his MBA from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He also went on to attain a Ph.D. in International Business from UTEP.

Dr. Pallares' research has focused on confluence of high tech emerging market firms, incubators and technology commercialization. Dr. Pallares is married, and enjoys fatherhood. When not watching his kids while his wife, a professional photographer, is on assignment, he engages in reading, writing and community service, including service in Rotary International and Gideons International.


Joseph Patti, PhD

Executive Chairman

Dr. Patti has over two decades of drug development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has been a successful entrepreneur and scientific leader. Dr. Patti was co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Inhibitex, Inc., which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in a deal worth $2.5 billion. The purchase price was a 163% premium over the last trading day’s price and at that time was the largest premium ever paid for a biotech company.

Most recently, Dr. Patti served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviragen Therapeutics, Inc. and was responsible for successfully merging the organization with Vaxart Inc. in a transaction that valued the company at a premium to its market capitalization. During his tenure in the industry, he has been directly involved in raising over $300 million in private and public capital and has spearheaded strategic transactions with both pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Dr. Patti received a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh, a M.S.P.H. from the University of Miami, School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Brian Birk

Managing Partner and 2006 co-founder of Sun Mountain Capital

Brian Birk is Managing Partner and 2006 co-founder of Sun Mountain Capital and has over 20 years experience as an operating executive and investor.

Prior to forming Sun Mountain Capital, Birk was Vice President and Director of Private Equity at Fort Washington Capital Partners where he helped the firm establish and manage a number of private equity direct investment funds, secondary investment funds, and fund of funds programs.

Birk has held a senior manager position at the Boston Consulting Group and finance manager positions at General Electric and GE Capital. Birk has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a BS in economics from Carleton College.


David Peabody, PhD

Professor in the University of New Mexico's Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and a co-inventor of the Agilvax technology

Dr. David Peabody is a Professor in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and a co-inventor of the Agilvax technology.

He was trained at Stanford University in the laboratory of Paul Berg (Nobel Prize, 1980) and has been associated with the University of New Mexico since 1984.

For a number of years he studied RNA viruses of bacteria as model systems to understand gene regulation, but in recent years has focused on adapting the virus-like particles of these bacteriophages as platforms for vaccine development and targeted drug delivery.


Bryce Chackerian, PhD

Professor in the University of New Mexico's Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and co-inventor of the Agilvax Technology

Dr. Bryce Chackerian is a Professor in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and co-inventor of the Agilvax Technology.

As a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. John Schiller’s laboratory at the National Cancer Institute he began his work on using Virus-like particles (VLPs) as platform for antigen display.

Since moving to the University of New Mexico in 2004 his laboratory has shown that VLP presentation can enhance the immunogenicity of numerous target epitopes, including epitopes derived from self-antigens, which are normally subject to the mechanisms of B cell tolerance.

His work has focused on the development of new vaccines against infectious agents, as well as self-antigens involved in chronic diseases.


Federica Cavallo, PhD

Associate Professor of Immunology (General Pathology) at the University of Turin Medical School

Dr. Cavallo is an Associate Professor of Immunology (General Pathology) at the University of Turin Medical School. Dr. Cavallo has a wealth of experience in basic and translational cancer immunotherapy and has extensive expertise in transgenic mouse models of cancer and DNA vaccination. Dr. Cavallo has a PhD in immunology from the University of Turin. She is also a member of numerous scientific associations, which include the European Society for Cancer Research, the American Association for Cancer Research, the European Society for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, and the American Association of Immunologists.


Enrico Braglia, M.Sc (Economics)

ONELIFE Ventures Founder

Enrico Braglia, M.Sc (Economics), ONELIFE founder in 2006, received a degree from the Commercial University Bocconi in Milan (Italy). He joined the Swiss pharmaceutical group Helsinn in 1991, from a previous tenure with Fininvest Financial Services, formerly a Mediaset company, where he was responsible for the International Treasury and Finance Office. In Helsinn, he served as Co-CEO and was responsible for all operations including the manufacturing, R&D, regulatory and finance. He also led the business development group in-licensing several new chemical entities. The strategic design and project management of complex international scientific programs was also part of his responsibilities. He is involved in several professional and no profit International organizations and boards.


Jerri Caldeira, PhD

Director of Platform Technology

Dr. Jerri Caldeira obtained his PhD in Physiology from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil where he studied the neuro-endocrinology of the stress response. He was previously a professor at the School of Medicine of Sao Jose do Rio Preto in Brazil. He received post-doctoral training at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Neuroscience, where he investigated how Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects the physiology of neurosteroids. He also received postdoctoral training in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology where worked on investigating the molecular basis of protein-RNA recognition. More recently he has studied RNA-phage VLPs as platforms for vaccine development, focusing on affinity-selection (on neutralizing antibody targets) of vaccine candidates from random sequence peptide libraries displayed on RNA phage VLPs. Dr. Calderia has multiple years of experience working with Agilvax’s virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology and has published multiple articles detailing the utility VLP technology.


Les Stewart, MBA

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Stewart is seasoned senior executive in biotechnology with over 20 years of experience in creating growth strategies, developing new markets and new products, and cultivating strong partnerships. He has been recognized for achievements in building and leading high performance, cross-functional operations with start-up and established companies to attain critical mission goals.

Mr. Stewart is also the President and CEO of Solaranrx, Inc., a start-up biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel treatments and companion imaging agents for melanoma.

Previously, Mr. Stewart served as the Vice President of global marketing for C. R. BARD, a leading developer and manufacturer of life-enhancing medical devices in the fields of Vascular, Urology, Oncology and Surgical Specialty products. Further, he served as the General Manager of the drug coated balloon business for Medrad, Inc. and Bayer Healthcare.

Mr. Stewart has obtained four patents for technology platforms, delivered successful strategic plans to grow company revenues, and heads his own strategic consulting business.

He holds an MBA in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Cum Laude) from the General Motors Institute.


Naoto Tada Ueno, MD, PhD

Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dr. Ueno has a strong background in translational breast cancer research in the areas of cancer biology and molecular therapeutics. Dr. Ueno trained as a Medical Oncologist at MD Anderson and simultaneously learned how to conduct clinical research and perform data analysis related to breast cancer. He is now a practicing physician who has experience in conducting both targeted and gene therapy clinical trials. Dr. Ueno currently serves as the executive director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic and Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research. Dr. Ueno did his medical training at Wakayama Medical College in Japan and obtained a PhD in Cancer Biology from The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.


George Peoples, MD

Founder and Director of Cancer insight and the Cancer Vaccine Development Program

Dr. Peoples is the Founder and Director of Cancer Insight and the Cancer Vaccine Development Program. Dr. Peoples has over 15 years of experience discovering, developing, and clinical testing of cancer vaccines. Dr. Peoples has led multiple Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials in cancer. Dr. Peoples is the former Deputy Director of the US Military Cancer Institute and served as the Chief of Surgical Oncology at Walter Reed Medical Center. Dr. Peoples is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Peoples has over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters.


Saira Ramasastry, MS

Managing Partner, Life Sciences Advisory, LLC

Saira Ramasastry, Managing Partner of Life Sciences Advisory, is a seasoned industry insider with over 20 years of transaction and advisory experience.

Prior to working for LSA, Ms. Ramasastry helped to establish the leading life sciences franchise on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch, and was responsible for biotech coverage for a decade. Her clients have included Vertex, Medivation (now Pfizer), Theravance, CV Therapeutics (now Gilead), ZymoGenetics (now BMS), and ICOS (now Eli Lilly).

Ms. Ramasastry is a successful leader in the field of life sciences public-private alliances and is often called upon as a speaker. She serves on the boards of several public and private life sciences companies, philanthropic organizations and foundations, including the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

She has a B.A. in Economics with Honors and Distinction from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa), and advanced degrees in Management Science & Engineering and Management Studies from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge. In 2011, Ms. Ramasastry was included on the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list.