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Merakris is – Science-led and Patient-focused.

Who We Are.

Merakris Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company singularly focused on the research, development and commercialization of regenerative healthcare products.

Founded in 2016, Merakris builds on its years of scientific research to develop cutting-edge precision, cell-free regenerative therapies across multiple indications.

Learn About Our Science

Our Vision

To pioneer first-of-its-kind wound care with cell-free therapeutics

The three pillars that guide our work everyday


Fueled by boundary-pushing science


Built on strong ethics and transparency


Through partnerships to transform patient lives

Our Board of Directors

T. Christopher Broderick

Director & Chief Executive Officer
Chris Broderick brings over 15 years of biotechnology industry experience to his role as Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merakris Therapeutics. Since founding Merakris in 2016, Mr. Broderick has leveraged his deep expertise across business development, sales management, product launches, quality and regulatory affairs, and market access to lead the company's pioneering investigational drug development program. This program received FDA clearance in 2021. Prior to launching Merakris, Mr. Broderick held various leadership positions in the human tissue technologies sector before expanding into regulatory and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Appalachian State University and is currently a Master of Science in biomanufacturing candidate from North Carolina State University with a research focus in bioprocess optimization of cell-free therapeutics. A co-author on several peer-reviewed publications in leading journals, Mr. Broderick completed additional regulatory affairs training at Duke University. His vision and leadership have been instrumental in building Merakris into an emerging leader in novel therapeutics development.

Walter E. Daniels

Walter E. Daniels joins Merakris Therapeutics as a Director, with over four decades of legal experience advising high-growth technology and life sciences companies. Mr. Daniels is a principal of Daniels & Daniels, P.A. where he represents companies across corporate finance, venture capital, licensing, intellectual property, and complex transactions. Mr. Daniels also served as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for Capitol Broadband and its 17 subsidiaries from 2007-2012. In this capacity, he provided pivotal guidance as the telecommunications holding company raised $700M+ in financing. As a Director, Mr. Daniels leverages his vast transactional experience and expertise advising early-stage life sciences ventures to provide invaluable oversight as Merakris advances its transformative regenerative medicines. His specialized knowledge across capital formation, IP strategy, and venture transactions make him a key addition to the leadership team. Mr. Daniels holds a Juris Doctor from UNC Chapel Hill and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy Sciences from Duke University. Daniels & Daniels, P.A. does not serve as legal counsel to the Merakris Therapeutics, Inc.

Our Executive Leadership

Roger Ilagan, PhD

VP of R&D
Dr. Roger Ilagan joins Merakris as Vice President of Research and Development, bringing over 15 years of experience advancing cell, gene, and biological therapies from concept to early phase clinical trials. Prior to joining Merakris, Dr. Ilagan served as Vice President of Research and Chief Scientist at Tavanta Therapeutics, leading pharmacology and mechanism of action studies for novel peptide-small molecule conjugates. Previously, he spent close to a decade at United Therapeutics leading R&D programs targeting rare and orphan diseases. Highlights from his tenure include securing one of the first US IND clearances for an exosome product and leading the first-in-human clinical trial in preterm newborns at high risk for developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). An inventor on multiple issued patents for biological product innovations, Dr. Ilagan earned his PhD in Cell Biology from Duke University, after receiving his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Missouri. His extensive expertise in translating pioneering science into promising new medicines makes him an excellent fit to advance Merakris’ vision to bring transformative regenerative therapies to patients.

Mark Rogers, MBA, CTBS

VP of Quality and Regulatory Affairs
Mark Rogers brings over 30 years of quality and regulatory leadership in the cell, gene, and regenerative medicine space to his role as VP of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Merakris. Most recently, Mr. Rogers served as Chief Quality and Regulatory Officer at Surgenex, and a Senior Director of Quality Technical Services for a cell and gene therapy company where he led the validation of QC analytical methods, facility expansions, and process validations to support a Biologics License Application (BLA) for synovial sarcoma. Mr. Rogers spent eight years as Vice President of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at MiMedx. He provided critical quality and compliance oversight during a period of tremendous growth, with the company's regenerative tissue products expanding from $40 million to over $400 million in annual sales. Mr. Rogers also led MiMedx's IND submissions to initiate Phase II and III trials across multiple indications including plantar fasciitis, knee osteoarthritis, and Achilles tendinosis. Leveraging over two decades of experience spanning vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, small molecule pharmaceuticals and regenerative medicines, Mr. Rogers is exceptionally qualified to lead Merakris' quality and regulatory operations. This includes providing expert guidance on IND-enabling activities, clinical trial governance, and preparing future BLAs as Merakris advances its pipeline of novel therapeutics for wound healing. Mr. Rogers holds an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill and a BS in Chemistry from North Carolina State University. His deep technical knowledge paired with quality excellence makes him an outstanding fit to steer Merakris’ growth while ensuring patient safety remains paramount.

Kacee Johnson

VP of Finance
Kacee Johnson serves as the Vice President of Finance at Merakris Therapeutics bringing over 15 years of operational and financial excellence at high-growth manufacturing organizations. Most recently, she served as Corporate Controller at Creative Liquid Coatings where she was the finance lead for the acquisition of four new manufacturing locations. Previously, Ms. Johnson held senior finance positions at several manufacturing leaders including Techniplas, American Copper & Brass, Paragon Metals, and Douglas Autotech.  Ms. Johnson holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration.  As VP of Finance at Merakris, Ms. Johnson oversees financial operations, planning, and analysis.

Matt Murray

Director of Commercial Operations
Matt Murray is the Director of Commercial Operations at Merakris Therapeutics bringing leadership experience across go-to-market strategy, benefits verifications,  revenue enablement, and team management. Matt began his career in medical recruiting and  building high-performing teams for companies like Microsoft, Stryker, KCI, and Integra Life Sciences. As a business leader, Matt has experience across regenerative biologics within the orthopedics, ophthalmology, and advanced wound care fields.  As Director of Commercial Operations, Matt oversees Merakris’ domestic and international  functions including market access, marketing, and distribution partnerships.

Our Advisory Team

W. Sam Fagg, MSc, PhD

Scientific & Medical Affairs Advisor
Dr. W. Sam Fagg is an Assistant Professor and Distinguished University Chair of Transplant Surgery at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Dr. Fagg directs a lab that is investigating systems-level evidence, down to specific gene/nucleotide sequences that can influence gene expression changes during development and disease.  Through diverse experimental approaches combining genomics, molecular genetics, computation and cell biology, his group’s discoveries have shed light on new strategies to enhance tissue repair. After receiving his PhD under eminent molecular biologist Dr. Manny Ares at UC Santa Cruz, investigating alternative splicing regulation, Dr. Fagg continued his work into understanding how regulated RNA processing can influence cell fate decisions. His ambitious research has expanded into numerous areas of high medical need – spanning development/stem cell differentiation, heart and liver disease, and regenerative medicine. Dr. Fagg’s research vision makes him an expert voice to support Merkaris’ mission to deliver transformative medicines. 

Sean O’Connell, PhD

Scientific & Medical Affairs Advisor
Dr. Sean O'Connell is a seasoned healthcare professional with 35 years of expertise spanning immunology, cell biology, regenerative medicine, and tissue repair. As Founder and President of O'Connell Consultants, LLC - Dr. O’ Connell has advised dozens of leading biopharmaceutical, medical technology, and tissue engineering companies on R&D strategy, clinical translation, compliance, and commercial planning for innovative cell therapies and healthcare services. Through this work, he has provided interim leadership and direction to startups and large cap companies alike, accelerating the bench-to-bedside transition of breakthrough technologies. Additionally, as Chief Scientist at Aegle Research/ICIG, Dr. O’Connell currently spearheads commercialization efforts for pioneering immune cell cancer therapies, regenerative medicines, and global healthcare centers. His prior leadership roles include Chief Science Officer at Vertical Spine, Chief Medical Officer at Cascade Medical Enterprises, and Director of Medical Affairs for Novartis’ Transplantation/Tissue Engineering Business Unit. Dr. O’Connell has also served as SVP, Medical Direction, for Integrated Communications Corp. (ICC/IPG) and was COO and Co-Founder of Heartland BioTechnologies, LLC, a drug discovery start-up. Dr. O’Connell received his PhD in cancer immunology and molecular biology from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at New Brunswick (now Rutgers Medical school). With 65+ peer-reviewed academic papers and extensive research funding from organizations including NJ Cancer Commission and Sandoz, Dr. O’Connell is a recognized expert in his areas of focus. Through his sizable industry accomplishments, consulting experience at companies of all stages, and commitment to advancing healthcare technologies from ideas into patient impact, Dr. O’Connell delivers demonstrated capabilities that make him an outstanding addition to guide Merakris’ pioneering pipeline forward.

Jo-Anna Reems, PhD

Scientific & Medical Affairs Advisor
Dr. Jo-Anna Reems has over 30 years of experience spearheading the translation of pioneering cell therapies and regenerative medicines from bench to bedside. Dr. Reems had a distinguished tenure as Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine Program at the University of Utah. Her accomplishments include: 1) establishing public umbilical cord blood banks to supply hematopoietic stem cells for blood disorders, 2) pioneering a cGMP manufacturing method for cadaveric islet cell transplantation in type 1 diabetes, 3) developing a proprietary cGMP platelet lysate formulation for use as a cell culture supplement, 4) spearheading a patented amniotic fluid-based biotherapeutic (US Patent No. 10,555,973), and 5) producing CD34+ cells, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and regulatory T cells amnion membranes for therapeutic use. Beyond these achievements, Dr. Reems has been instrumental in steering national regulatory policies and clinical translation of cell therapies through advisory board participation. Highlights include serving as Project Director on the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, helping implement the National Cord Blood Inventory, as well as taking part in an NIH-led international trial administering cadaveric islets using the Edmonton protocol. Dr. Reems has been an inspector for the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapies (FACT), a Scientific Member of the Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) research group, and a long-term member of the Association for Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB). With numerous peer-reviewed publications and invited presentations at leading conferences, Dr. Reems is widely recognized as an expert driving the adoption and advancement of cell and regenerative therapies from research into life-changing new medicines. 

Sandra Foster, PhD

Scientific & Medical Affairs Advisor
Dr. Foster brings a unique blend of scientific knowledge and Quality/Regulatory experience to the Merakris team. From her scientific beginnings as a Medical Technologist, she transitioned to research before going to graduate school. Dr. Foster earned a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University. She then spent 12 years in clinical-phase biotechnology companies in roles of increasing responsibility from pre-clinical research and product development to directing the manufacture of clinical trial material to leading Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance. She designed ISO 14644-compliant clean room facilities for the manufacture of cellular therapy products for clinical trials and implemented quality systems to support those activities. During her years in biotechnology, she served on medical device design control teams and has extensive experience in medical and regulatory writing. She has designed, written, and implemented process validations, operator qualifications, aseptic process simulations, comparability protocols, and has authored multiple CMC sections for INDs and briefing documents for FDA meetings.  Dr. Foster then started her own consulting company to leverage her scientific, Quality, and Regulatory skills. Over the past dozen years she has helped clients develop Quality Systems and implement electronic document control systems, led design teams for medical device product development, and authored DHF deliverables, potency assay development, stability studies, equipment qualifications, cGMP and GLP training. She’s translated R&D projects into cGMP-compliant manufacturing, and overseen SOP writing, gap analyses, supplier audits and preparing for pre-approval inspections. Recent projects included managing design controls for a successful 510(k) clearance, managing a CRO for the device side of a biologics/device combination product, leading the CMC team for a BLA, and working with a pharmaceutical CMO on pre-approval inspection readiness.

Sharon Hook, DO

Medical Director
Dr. Sharon Hook is a nearly lifelong Floridian, born and raised in Tampa. She attended the University of South Florida for an undergraduate degree in Biology, medical school in North Miami Beach at Nova Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, followed by an internship at Suncoast Hospital in Largo. Her residency took her to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and she then spent a year at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx for cytopathology. She has worked at the Cleveland Clinic, University of Miami, Malcolm Randall Veterans Administration in Gainesville and, finally, for the last 21 years at North Florida Regional Medical Center. At North Florida she works as a general pathologist, cytopathologist and director of the blood bank. She has a total of 16 years in the Tissue Banking industry and now lends her expertise to Merakris where she will serve as Medical Director.

T. Che Jarrell, RAC

Scientific & Medical Affairs Advisor
Che has worked in the biotech sector for nearly 30 years. His career began as a SAS statistical programmer and clinical data analyst in the private sector after earning an undergraduate Biostatistics degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then broadened his quantitative foundation with an international relations graduate degree (UC San Diego) and then Regulator Affairs Certification (RAC). Che then worked for the Johns Hopkins Health System over a nine-year period, culminating in recognition in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. Most recently Che founded Milestone Regulatory Experts, LLC in 2017 to serve clients seeking assistance with regulatory affairs, regulatory submissions, GCP auditing/monitoring/compliance, project management, training/curriculum development, or professional speaking services. Che’s regulatory, submission, and compliance experience will thoughtfully guide Merakris’ continued growth.
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