Berwyn biopharm firm names new CEO

Tuesday, September 17

A Chester County biopharmaceutical company working on treatments for a variety of fibrotic and inflammatory diseases has a new chief executive officer.

Complexa Inc. of Berwyn, Pa., said Monday that Francisco D. Salva has taken over as president and CEO of the company effective immediately.

He takes over the posts from Josh Tarnoff, who has served as CEO since 2011. Tarnoff has accepted the role of CEO at NephCure Kidney International, a nonprofit organization based in King of Prussia that is committed exclusively to identifying the cause for and improving the treatment of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and the diseases that cause Nephrotic Syndrome.

Complexa was involved in one of the largest private equity deals in the Philadelphia region's life sciences industry last year when it raised $62 million in a series C financing led by New Enterprise Associates and PfizerVenture Investments LLC.

The company is developing a novel class of compounds, called nitrated fatty acids, which have demonstrated broad potential to be effective therapeutic agents in multiple disease indications in which oxidative stress, inflammation, fibrosis and/or direct tissue toxicity play significant roles.  

Salva most recently served as a founder and vice president of operations for Acerta Pharma, a San Francisco company working on new cancer treatments. AstraZeneca acquired the controlling interest in Acerta in 2015 following a $4 billion investment in the company. Prior to his job at Acerta, Salva was senior director of corporate development at Pharmacyclics. Earlier in his career, Salva spent almost a decade as a life sciences venture capitalist at CIBC Capital Partners, Invesco Funds Group and Patricof & Co. Ventures.  

Francisco Salva


David Mott, Complexa's board chairman, noted Salva has a "distinguished track record as a leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector, with a strong emphasis on finance and operations."

At Complexa, Salva will be responsible for further advancing the company's clinical development of its lead compound, CXA-10, which is now in mid-stage testing in two orphan indications: pulmonary arterial hypertension, a type of high blood pressure that affects arteries in the lungs and in the heart; and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a rare disease that attacks the kidney's filtering units.  He will also focus on the development of the next-generation of nitrated fatty acid compounds.