Hawaii Biotech

Executive Management

D. Elliot Parks, PhD
President and CEO

Dr. Elliot Parks brings over thirty years in biomedical research, product development, executive management, and international venture capital experience to the company. During that time he has had extensive experience in successfully and repeatedly translating important basic research science into commercial products. He was the founding CEO of Myelos Neurosciences a venture-backed, clinical stage biologics company sold to Savient, a NASDAQ listed firm. Prior to Myelos, Dr. Parks was the Director of the Johnson & Johnson Biotechnology Center for ten years, where he was responsible for guiding several biomedical products through clinical trials and regulatory approval. Following receipt of his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Dr. Parks assumed research and leadership positions at the Scripps Research Institute during his twelve year tenure there. He also served under the Surgeon General of the Army at Letterman Army Institute of Research in the Presidio in San Francisco.

Richard Sherman

Richard L. Sherman, JD
Vice President, Business Development and General Counsel

Mr. Sherman has twenty-five years of experience as a licensing executive, attorney, consultant, and venture capitalist in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. As a licensing executive and Deputy General Counsel in a thirteen year career at SmithKline-Beckman Corporation, Mr. Sherman participated as counsel and negotiator in hundreds of international and domestic transactions; including hostile and friendly acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, limited partnerships, research and development collaborations, venture capital investments, joint marketing relationships, distribution arrangements, and licensing transactions. Mr. Sherman also founded QED Technologies, Inc., a consulting firm that provides science-based companies with experienced advice and counsel in developing and implementing strategies to maximize their business and technology assets. QED's clients include pharmaceutical, biotechnological, chemical, diagnostic and medical device firms; universities and independent research centers; investment groups and funds. QED was purchased by The Omnicom Group, Inc., a NYSE listed firm.

Laurence Knutson

Laurence Knutson, MBA
Chief Operations Officer

Larry Knutson has 30 years of experience in executive and financial management positions in private and public U.S. and international corporations. Combined with this experience, Mr. Knutson has owned and assisted in start-up, high growth and initial IPO companies. His areas of expertise include mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, financial planning and financial turn-around assistance. Mr. Knutson has also served as Director of Acquisitions for a private investment fund responsible for all due diligence, analysis and investment documentation. Mr. Knutson has served as VP Finance for a Life Science venture capital firm and also as chief financial / administrative officer for an early stage biotechnology company.   

Jennifer Murata

Jennifer Murata, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Jennifer Murata has over 20 years of experience in accounting and finance, and has held executive and financial management positions in small, privately owned corporations as well as larger, private and public companies in various industries. Ms. Murata received her B.B.A. degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1992. She then joined Big Four firm, KPMG LLP, where she worked for nearly five years as an external auditor, earning her CPA license, before accepting an Assistant Controller position from a client. In 2000, Ms. Murata moved to California where she worked initially for a publicly-traded, internet software and services company and later for a global consulting firm. Since returning to Hawaii in 2003, Ms. Murata has held various positions at Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Biotech and Royal State Financial Corporation/DTRIC Insurance. Just prior to rejoining Hawaii Biotech as its CFO, Ms. Murata served for five years as CFO for RSFC, DTRIC and its subsidiaries and was an active member of the company’s ERM, investment, 401(k) and ESOP committees. Ms. Murata’s experience includes overseeing treasury and accounting operations, internal controls, reporting, strategic planning, risk analysis, financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, system implementations, and project management.    

David Clements

David E. Clements, MS
Director, Vaccine Research

Mr. Clements has over 20 years of experience in molecular biology and the development of recombinant protein expression systems.  Mr. Clements received his M.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his studies focused on the molecular genetics of toxin production in plant pathogenic bacteria.  He then joined Hawaii Biotech in 1987.  Since then he has worked on a variety of projects involving molecular genetics and has extensive experience in the expression of recombinant proteins in heterologous host cell systems. He has been actively involved in HBI’s efforts to develop recombinant subunit vaccines against flaviviruses such as dengue, West Nile and Tick-borne encephalitis using insect cell expression systems.   Since 2001, he has been responsible for the development of the necessary cell lines and large scale cell culture processes needed for cGMP production of the dengue and West Nile vaccines. Mr. Clements has also directed the develop of recombinant subunit vaccines for malaria, which were funded by a series of SBIR grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) agency at NIH.  Mr. Clements became the Director of the Molecular Biology and Cell Culture Group in 2004. 

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson, PhD
Director, Chemistry & Anthrax Antitoxin Therapeutics Program

Dr. Johnson has been the Director of Chemistry at Hawaii Biotech Inc since 2013. Previously, he was the Director of Chemistry at PanThera Biopharma from 2006 to 2013. During this time he has been the Principal Investigator for several NIH grants involved with the discovery of small molecule therapeutics to treat diseases related to Biodefense. Prior to this, Dr. Johnson was a Group Leader at X-Ceptor Therapeutics where he focused on the discovery of small molecule modulators of the nuclear receptor LXR to treat metabolic disease. He began his professional career at Allergan Inc. working in the area of the nuclear receptors where his work led to the identification of RAR subtype specific agonists and antagonists. He has coauthored numerous articles in the area of organic and medicinal chemistry, and is a coauthor on multiple issued patents. Dr. Johnson completed an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester after obtaining his Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry at Oregon State University, a M.S in physical organic chemistry at San Diego State University, and his B.A. in chemistry at UC San Diego.    

Sean O'Malley

Sean O'Malley, PhD
Director, Botulinum Antitoxin Therapeutics Program

Dr. O’Malley has served as Principal Investigator on eight NIH/NIAID SBIR research grants and four DoD contracts with a combined value of over $13 million. Projects included antibody-directed prodrug therapy against cancer and fungal infections, synthetic enzymes, and current work in small molecule antitoxin countermeasures for counter bioterrorism targets. Dr. O’Malley’s initial focus in synthetic organic chemistry and bioconjugate chemistry led to work in medicinal chemistry and more recently to molecular modeling and computational chemistry. As Director of Chemistry at Hawaii Biotech, Dr. O’Malley was an inventor on key patents that enabled formation of a new company (Cardax Pharmaceuticals, Honolulu). Cardax’s lead candidate, currently in preclinical toxicity studies and kilogram scale manufacturing (by BASF), has shown robust animal efficacy in multiple models and is intended for inflammatory indications such as cardiovascular and liver diseases. Dr. O’Malley served for eight years as Hawaii Biotech’s Safety Officer, creating a DoD-compliant safety program from scratch. His principal duties are currently focused on scientific direction and management of the Botulinum Toxin Therapeutics Program.


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