About Us

Discovering Breakthrough Treatments for Human Disease

Board of Directors


Raymond Debbane, Chairman

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.  In 1999, Artal became the controlling shareholder of Weight Watchers International, Inc., for which Mr. Debbane serves as chairman of the board of directors. He also serves as chairman or director of a number of other companies in which Invus and Artal Group S.A. have invested. 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.

Lonnel Coats

Mr. Coats has been our president and chief executive officer and a director since July 2014.  Mr. Coats served for eighteen years in a series of senior leadership positions at Eisai Inc., the United States subsidiary of Eisai Co., Ltd., most recently as president and chief executive officer from 2010 to June 2014.  As president and chief executive officer, Mr. Coats oversaw the commercialization of Eisai products in the therapeutic areas of oncology, neurology, gastrointestinal disorders, epilepsy and metabolic disorders and the expansion of Eisai’s business across the Americas.  Mr. Coats’ previous positions with Eisai included president and chief operating officer from 2004 to 2010, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing from 2003 to 2004 and vice president of human resources from 2001 to 2003.  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 holds a B.S. in public administration from Oakland University.

Philippe J. Amouyal

Philippe J. Amouyal has been a director since August 2007.  Mr. Amouyal has been a managing director of The Invus Group, LLC 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 Weight Watchers International, Inc., as well as a number of other companies in which Invus has invested.  He 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.

Samuel L. Barker, Ph.D. has been a director since March 2000 and served as chairman of our board of directors from March 2005 to February 2012.  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 during 1998; president, United States Pharmaceuticals from 1992 to 1997; and president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Intercontinental Commercial Operations from 1990 to 1992. Prior to 1990, Dr. Barker held executive positions in research and development, manufacturing, finance, business development and sales and marketing at Squibb Pharmaceuticals.  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.

Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D.

Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D. has been a director since February 2001 and a consultant to our company since March 2003.  Dr. Lefkowitz, 2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 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 was an established investigator of the American Heart Association from 1973-76 and has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1976. With hundreds of publications, Dr. Lefkowitz is one of the world's most cited authors in the fields of biology and biochemistry.  In 1988, he was inducted into both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1994, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.  He has also served on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology boards of a number of organizations.  Dr. Lefkowitz earned his B.A. in chemistry from New York's Columbia College in 1962 and his M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1966.  He completed an internship and a general medical residency at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Alan S. Nies, M.D.

Alan S. Nies, M.D. has been a director since November 2003 and chairman of our medical advisory board since March 2003.  Dr. Nies has more than 40 years of clinical and pharmacological experience and plays an integral advisory role in the development of our clinical programs.  From 1992 until his retirement in September 2002, Dr. Nies served in a series of senior management positions at Merck & Co. Inc., including senior vice president of clinical sciences from 1999 to 2002.  During his tenure at Merck, Dr. Nies was responsible for worldwide clinical development and clinical research and was involved in the development of several drugs including Fosamax, Singulair, Emend, Zetia and Vioxx.  Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Nies spent 15 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 received his B.S. in Chemistry from Stanford University and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.  He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Washington and a Clinical Pharmacology fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco. 

Frank P. Palantoni

Frank P. Palantoni has been a director since November 2004.  Mr. Palantoni is president of the pet and animal health division of Central Garden & Pet Company.  Previously, he was a partner at P3 Capital Management, an early stage consumer products equity fund.  From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Palantoni held a variety of senior management positions with Novartis AG, including president and chief executive officer, worldwide of its Gerber Products Company, Novartis Infant and Baby Division. Mr. Palantoni also served as president and chief executive officer for North American operations of Novartis Consumer Health Division from 2000 to 2001. Prior to joining Novartis, he held a series of senior management positions with The Danone Group.  Mr. Palantoni received his B.S. from Tufts University and his M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Christopher J. Sobecki

Christopher J. Sobecki has been a director since August 2007.  Mr. Sobecki is a managing director of The Invus Group, LLC, which he joined in 1989.  Mr. Sobecki has served on the board of directors of numerous companies in which Invus has invested and is currently a member of the board of directors of Weight Watchers International, Inc.  Mr. Sobecki holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

Judith L. Swain, M.D.

Judith L. Swain, M.D. has been a director since September 2007.  Dr. Swain is the executive director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences within A*STAR, and the Lien Chow Professor of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.  From 2005 to 2006, she was the dean for translational medicine at the University of California, San Diego.  Dr. Swain previously served as chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, and on the medical faculties of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University.  Dr. Swain is currently a director of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and a member of the Council of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science.  Dr. Swain received her B.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.D. from the University of California, San Diego.