Raymond Debbane has been a director since August 2007 and became chairman of our board of directors in February 2012. Mr. Debbane is president and chief executive officer of The Invus Group, LLC, which he founded in New York in 1985 as the exclusive investment advisor of Benelux-based Artal Group S.A. Mr. Debbane serves as chairman of the board of directors of WW, Inc. and as chairman or director of a number of private companies in which Invus and Artal Group S.A. have invested. He previously served as a director of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. from 2007 until April 2018 when Blue Buffalo was acquired by General Mills, Inc. Before founding The Invus Group, Mr. Debbane was a manager in the Paris office of The Boston Consulting Group, Inc., where he did consulting work for a number of major European and international companies. Mr. Debbane holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University, an M.S. in food science and technology from the University of California at Davis, and a B.S in agricultural sciences and agricultural engineering from American University of Beirut.
Philippe J. Amouyal has been a director since August 2007 and is a managing director of The Invus Group, LLC, a position he has held since 1999. Previously, Mr. Amouyal was a vice president and director of The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, where he coordinated the global technology and electronics practice through most of the 1990s. Mr. Amouyal is a director of WW, Inc., as well as a number of private companies in which Invus has invested. He previously served as a director of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. from 2007 until April 2018 when Blue Buffalo was acquired by General Mills, Inc. Mr. Amouyal holds an M.S. in engineering and a DEA in management from Ecole Centrale de Paris and was a research fellow at the Center for Policy Alternatives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Samuel L. Barker, Ph.D. has been a director since March 2000 and served as chairman of our board of directors from 2005 to 2012. Dr. Barker previously co-founded and served as president and chief executive officer of Clearview Projects, Inc., a provider of partnering and transaction services to biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. Barker served in a series of leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company until his retirement in 1999. His positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb included service as executive vice president, Worldwide Franchise Management and Strategy; president, United States Pharmaceuticals; and president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Intercontinental Commercial Operations. Dr. Barker also previously held executive positions in research and development, manufacturing, finance, business development and sales and marketing at Squibb Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Barker currently serves as a director of Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Barker received his B.S. from Henderson State College, his M.S. from the University of Arkansas and his Ph.D. from Purdue University.
Lonnel Coats has been our president and chief executive officer and a director since July 2014. Mr. Coats previously served in a series of executive leadership positions at Eisai Inc. and Eisai Corporation of North America, where he worked for 18 years before joining our company, most recently as chief executive officer from 2010 to 2014. Prior to joining Eisai, Mr. Coats spent eight years with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson, where he held a variety of management and sales positions. Mr. Coats serves as a director of Blueprint Medicines Corporation and holds a B.S. from Oakland University.
Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D. has been a director since February 2001. Dr. Lefkowitz is the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, professor of biochemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Duke University Medical Center, where he has served on the faculty since 1973. Dr. Lefkowitz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received more than 50 major awards for his research, including the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Shaw Prize, the Albany Medical Center Prize and the 2007 National Medal of Science. Dr. Lefkowitz received his B.A. from Columbia University and his M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Alan S. Nies, M.D. has been a director since November 2003. Dr. Nies served in a series of senior management positions during ten years at Merck & Co. Inc. until his retirement in 2002, including senior vice president, clinical sciences. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Nies spent fifteen years as professor of medicine and pharmacology and head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Nies holds a B.S. from Stanford University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Frank P. Palantoni has been a director since November 2004. Mr. Palantoni is chief executive officer of Laboratory M2, a clean technology company involved in animal health, crop protection and retail sectors. Mr. Palantoni was president of Palantoni & Partners LLC, an advisory firm for the consumer and health care industries, from 2013 to 2016. He previously served as president of the pet and animal health division of Central Garden & Pet Company, was a partner at P3 Capital Management LLC, an early stage consumer products equity fund, served as chief operating officer and chief executive officer of Prestige Brands Holding, Inc. and held a variety of senior management positions with Novartis AG, including president and chief executive officer, worldwide of the Gerber Products Company, and chief executive officer for North American operations of the Consumer Health Division. Prior to joining Novartis, he held a series of senior management positions with The Danone Group. He holds a B.S. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Christopher J. Sobecki has been a director since August 2007 and is a managing director of The Invus Group, LLC, which he joined in 1989. Mr. Sobecki is currently a director of WW, Inc., as well as a number of private companies in which Invus has invested. He holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.
Judith L. Swain, M.D. has been a director since September 2007. Dr. Swain is a visiting professor of medicine at the National University of Singapore and chief medical officer of Physiowave, Inc. She previously served as founding director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, dean for translational medicine at the University of California, San Diego, chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, and on the medical faculties of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University. She has previously served in a number of national and international leadership roles and as a director or member of the scientific advisory boards for a number of biomedical technology companies and is co-founder of Synecor, LLC. Dr. Swain received her B.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her M.D. from the University of California, San Diego.