Executive Team

The ProKidney team averages more than twenty years of experience, with over 150 years cumulative experience in the discovery, development, manufacturing and commercialization of biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and device products.

They are guided by a vision to bring transformational medical technology to patients and are advancing multiple products through clinical development toward commercialization.

Bruce Culleton, MD

Position: Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Culleton joins ProKidney from CVS Kidney Care, a wholly owned subsidiary of CVS Health, where he was most recently Vice President and General Manager. Previously, he served as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at CVS Kidney Care. Before joining CVS Health, he was Vice President, Global Clinical Development and World Wide Vice President, Medical Affairs, Medication and Procedural Solutions at Becton Dickinson; and previously Vice President, Renal Therapeutic Area at Baxter Healthcare. Prior to beginning his industry career in 2007, Dr. Culleton was a Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

 

Dr. Culleton holds a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Science and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland; and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. He completed a specialization in Internal Medicine and Nephrology through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, as well as a fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology at Boston University, Framingham Heart Study.

Bruce Culleton, MD

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Culleton joins ProKidney from CVS Kidney Care, a wholly...

James Coulston, CPA

Position: Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Coulston has served as ProKidney’s Chief Financial Officer since January 2022. Prior to that, Mr. Coulston served as ProKidney’s Senior Vice President, Finance from January 2021 to December 2021 and ProKidney’s Vice President, Finance from February 2019 to December 2020. Before joining ProKidney, from August 2015 to January 2019, Mr. Coulston served as the Executive Director, Finance of Banner Life Sciences LLC, a privately held clinical-stage pharmaceutical company combining a proven history of formulation expertise with proprietary technologies to create specialty pharmaceuticals that solve real unmet clinical needs, where Mr. Coulston oversaw the financial, human resources, and IT activities. From 2007 to 2015, Mr. Coulston held finance roles of increasing responsibility at Targacept Inc. (Nasdaq: TRGT), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel NNR Therapeutics™ before it merged with and into Catalyst Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBIO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on creating and developing novel medicines to address serious medical conditions, including Senior Director, Finance and Controller. Mr. Coulston earned his B.S. and master’s degree in accounting from North Carolina State University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of North Carolina.

James Coulston, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Coulston has served as ProKidney’s Chief Financial Officer since...

Todd C. Girolamo, JD, MBA

Position: Chief Legal Officer and Secretary

Mr. Girolamo joined ProKidney as Chief Legal Officer in March 2022. Prior to that, he spent 11 years at Caladrius Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: CLBS), where he served as Chief Legal Officer, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Corporate Secretary. He began his legal career at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in 1990 and later at Reid & Priest, practicing in the areas of securities law, intellectual property, employment law and general commercial litigation. After private practice, Mr. Girolamo spent 12 years on Wall Street in institutional equities as a series 24, 7 and 63 licensed principal at Oppenheimer & Co., CIBC World Markets, Leerink Swann (now SVB Securities LLC) and Summer Street Research Partners where he specialized in equity research, sales, and trading of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical technology market sectors. Mr. Girolamo then served as an analyst and portfolio manager at Lion’s Path Capital managing a long-short portfolio of biopharma and med-tech equities. Mr. Girolamo received an A.B. with honors from Harvard College, a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Todd C. Girolamo, JD, MBA

Chief Legal Officer and Secretary

Mr. Girolamo joined ProKidney as Chief Legal Officer in March...

Nikhil Pereira-Kamath

Position: Chief Business Officer

Mr. Pereira-Kamath joined ProKidney in 2023 as Vice President of Business Development & Innovative Solutions, bringing with him over a decade of experience as a seasoned entrepreneur in addition to a strong foundation in finance. Prior to joining ProKidney, he was Chief Executive Officer and subsequently Executive Chairman, a role he continues to hold, of Africa Healthcare Network (AHN), the largest independent provider of dialysis and kidney care in sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Pereira-Kamath co-founded AHN in 2015 where he built the organization to over 500 employees at 45 dialysis centers across four countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Pereira-Kamath started his career as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in its Healthcare Investment Banking division covering large pharma, biotech and pharma services. Following that, he worked at Berkshire Partners, a multi-sector specialist investor in private and public equity, where he focused on investing in and growing companies across communications & digital infrastructure, healthcare, consumer, services & industrials and technology.

Mr. Pereira-Kamath received his B.A. in Economics with a Certificate in Finance from Princeton University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the International Society of Nephrology’s inaugural Emerging Leaders Program and is an Endeavor Entrepreneur.

Nikhil Pereira-Kamath

Chief Business Officer

Mr. Pereira-Kamath joined ProKidney in 2023 as Vice President of...

Darin J. Weber, PhD

Position: Chief Regulatory Officer

Dr. Weber joined ProKidney as Senior Vice President of Regulatory Development in September 2020, and was promoted to Chief Regulatory Officer, SVP and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Quality Management, Biometrics and Market Access. He is responsible for leading the development and implementation of ProKidney’s regulatory strategy in all markets, worldwide, interfacing with regulatory authorities and oversight of quality management, market access, pricing and reimbursement. Dr. Weber has over 25 years of experience in cellular and tissue-based regenerative medicine products, with previous roles as Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality at Medeor Therapeutics, from February 2016 to December 2019; Executive Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs and Quality Management at Mesoblast, from June 2011 to February 2016; Senior Consultant for Cell and Gene Therapies at Biologics Consulting Group from February 2004 to May 2011, and positions of increasing responsibility at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, including as Chief of Cellular Therapies Branch in the Office of Cellular, Tissues and Gene Therapies, (now known as the Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies) from September 1996 to January 2004. He is a long-serving member of United States Pharmacopeia (USP) expert committees for human tissues and advanced therapies. Dr. Weber received his B.S. in Molecular Biology from The Evergreen State College and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University.

Darin J. Weber, PhD

Chief Regulatory Officer

Dr. Weber joined ProKidney as Senior Vice President of Regulatory...

Carla Poulson

Position: Chief People Officer

Carla Poulson is a strategic Senior Human Resources Leader with 25 years of experience in the US and Europe. She has experience with a variety of operations (building a European operation, company in hyper-growth phase) in which HR played a critical role in ensuring organizational capability and structure, as well as building the culture. Carla has excellent ability to partner with people at all levels and work collaboratively to provide innovative business solutions. She values and nurtures an organization with diverse perspectives, recognizing that is where an enterprise gets the most out of its people.

Carla is a strategic thinker with a deep passion for ensuring HR is a key force for creating and implementing strategies to drive efficient operations and culture. Recognized for building long lasting relationships with business partners, vendors, key clients, and executives, she consults with senior executives to assess organizational capabilities, designing operating and governance models, integrating talent strategies, and building performance cultures.

Prior to ProKidney, She has worked at Uniqure, Mersana Therapeutics and Akcea Therapeutics as Chief People Officer. Prior to that she spent 10 years at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a variety of HR leadership roles, including the role as Head of International HR in London, UK. Carla has a BS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a MS in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign.

Carla Poulson

Chief People Officer

Carla Poulson is a strategic Senior Human Resources Leader with...

Ulrich Ernst, PhD

Position: EVP, Technical Operations

Ulrich Ernst, PhD, joins ProKidney from Iovance Biotherapeutics, where he most recently served as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and where he helped gain FDA approval of a first-in-class TIL (tumor infiltrating lymphocyte) cell therapy product for treatment of solid tumors.  Before joining Iovance, he served as COO and SVP Technical Operations at Amunix Operating Inc, a development-stage company engaged in the application of a novel half-life extension platform over a wide array of biotherapeutic products, including clotting factors, endocrinal therapeutics and immuno-oncology products. In earlier roles, he has served as manufacturing site head at Cytovance Biologics and at Alexion.

Mr. Ernst holds a Bachelors degree in chemical engineering from University of Minnesota and a PhD in chemical engineering with an emphasis in bioengineering from Lehigh University. He is widely published and holder of two patents.

Ulrich Ernst, PhD

EVP, Technical Operations

Ulrich Ernst, PhD, joins ProKidney from Iovance Biotherapeutics, where he...

Emily Butler, PhD

Position: SVP, Biometrics

Dr. Butler joined ProKidney in April 2021 as Director, Biostatistics. She was promoted to Vice President, Biometrics in 2022 and built the Biostatistics, Data Management, Statistical Programming and Data Science functions. She is responsible for owning, managing, analyzing and reporting data across the portfolio and has served as Senior Vice President, Biometrics since 2023. Prior to ProKidney, Dr. Butler worked at GlaxoSmithKline supporting the oncology therapeutic area. She led the early phase development of the cell therapy asset in both solid tumor and hematological malignancies. Dr. Butler has a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BS in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Emily Butler, PhD

SVP, Biometrics

Dr. Butler joined ProKidney in April 2021 as Director, Biostatistics....

Joseph Stavas, MD, MPH

Position: SVP, Interventional Procedures and Patient Safety

Dr. Stavas has served as ProKidney’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Development and Interventional Procedures since December 2022. He joined ProKidney as Senior Vice President of Clinical Development in October 2019 and led the strategic advancement of clinical trials and scientific discovery and development. He brings over 30 years of experience in medical practice, academics and research endeavors and has been affiliated with ProKidney since 2012. He also serves as liaison between consultants, clinical investigators and scientists, and is actively involved in trial implementation and medical oversight. From May 2016 to October 2019, Dr. Stavas served as the Chairman of the Department of Radiology and was responsible for clinical and academic operations, research, and healthcare system strategy at Creighton University School of Medicine, an academic university and a healthcare system provider. From October 2005 to December 2008, Dr. Stavas served as the Division Chief for Clinical Interventional Radiology Procedures and was responsible for research trials and division operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Hospital. Dr. Stavas holds a M.D. degree from Creighton University School of Medicine and completed his Radiology Residency at the University of Minnesota—Minneapolis. He attended the University of California San Diego for subspecialty training in Interventional Radiology at UCSD Hospital. Dr. Stavas also earned a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Joseph Stavas, MD, MPH

SVP, Interventional Procedures and Patient Safety

Dr. Stavas has served as ProKidney’s Senior Vice President of...

Lucio Tozzi

Position: SVP, Global Clinical Operations

Mr. Tozzi joined ProKidney in January 2024 as Senior Vice President of Global Clinical Operations providing clinical operational leadership to drive the execution of ProKidney’s global clinical trial portfolio.

From 2019 – 2023 he was Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at Rain Oncology Inc., and from 2014 – 2019 he was Vice President, Head of Clinical Operations at Protagonist Therapeutics Inc., and Senior Director, Clinical Operations at Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. From 2005 – 2014 he was Director, Clinical Operations Renal at Baxter Healthcare Corp. Mr. Tozzi also held previous positions at Chiron Biopharmaceuticals and ILEX Oncology Inc.

He brings 30+ years of international expertise in drug development, designing and executing successful Phase I-IV trials across multiple therapeutic areas. Mr. Tozzi has a record of delivering patient centric trials and building high performing organizations.

Mr. Tozzi has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biology from London University, and a post-graduate diploma in Marketing (MCIM) from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Lucio Tozzi

SVP, Global Clinical Operations

Mr. Tozzi joined ProKidney in January 2024 as Senior Vice...

Richard Williams

Position: SVP, Information Technology

Mr. Williams joined ProKidney in 2023 as SVP, Information Technology bringing over 30 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical, health and consumer industries.  Most recently, Mr. Williams was SVP and Chief Information Officer for Celgene Corporation.  Mr. Williams joined Celgene as its first Chief Information Officer and led the company’s global information technology organization including the development of patient/consumer digital services, product risk management, cybersecurity and established the global cell and gene therapy platforms.  These technology capabilities transformed the US-based organization into a global enterprise with operations in more than 85 countries.

Prior to joining Celgene, Mr. Williams served as Senior Vice President and Group Chief Information Officer of AstraZeneca PLC responsible for information services and operations worldwide.  In his 19-year career at AstraZeneca, he served in senior management positions of increasing responsibility in product development, commercialization and information technology.  Before the AstraZeneca merger, he was a founding member of the Astra/Merck joint venture.  Mr. Williams also serves as a Senior Technology Advisor to Bain & Co. and Triton Capital.

Mr. Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Temple University and his MBA from St. Joseph’s University Haub School of Business.

Richard Williams

SVP, Information Technology

Mr. Williams joined ProKidney in 2023 as SVP, Information Technology...

Aparna Sahoo, MD

Position: VP, Head of Global Clinical Development

Dr. Sahoo is a board-certified internist and nephrologist joining ProKidney in 2023 as Vice President, Head of Clinical Development.  Aparna brings extensive experience in global clinical development in Nephrology and Immunology from prior leadership roles at Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Allergan, and Parexel.

Most recently, Aparna led a large Phase 3 global clinical development program for Tremfya®, including combination biologic and device development, in inflammatory bowel disease as a Senior Director within the Immunology division of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine.  Prior to her career in clinical research, Aparna spent 12 years in clinical practice as a nephrologist and internist primarily in central New Jersey in academia and private practice.  She completed her medical residency in internal medicine at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, NJ and nephrology fellowship at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY.

Aparna Sahoo, MD

VP, Head of Global Clinical Development

Dr. Sahoo is a board-certified internist and nephrologist joining ProKidney...