MORRISVILLE – Paula Brown Stafford, a former senior executive at Quintiles, is now president and chief operating officer at drug development firm Novan.

In a series of executive changes announced Wednesday, Novan said Staffod was moving up from her role as chief development officer. A former president of Quintiles Global Clinical Development, Stafford joined Novan in 2017. She also is a Novan board member.

Among other moves, former CEO Nathan Stasko stepped down as president and also from the board of directors. Stasko was demoted from the CEO job in June 2017 when Novan also announced layoffs affecting 20 percent of its staff. He was replaced as CEO by G. Kelly Martin, who announced Tuesday’s changes.

Other changes include:

  • Dr. Carri Geer promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
  • Dr. Elizabeth Messersmith, Senior Vice President, promoted to Chief Development Officer

“These leadership adjustments provide Novan with a truly exceptional and experienced team,” commented Mr. Martin. “The combination of Paula, Carri, and Liz in their new roles adds depth and real-world experience in several critical areas.”

Further, the company said it was expanding its focus as a company beyond dermatology to include gastroenterology.

“This decision is based on the inherent connection between the multi-factorial pathologies of GI diseases and the demonstrable anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties of Novan’s nitric oxide technology,” the company said.

Novan also said it is “actively engaged in business development discussions around mid to late-stage dermatology assets.”

About Geer and Messersmith, Novan noted in the announcement:

“Dr. Geer will be responsible for integrating formulation and analytical science with clinical translation in order to modify existing molecules and generate new chemical entity (NCE) opportunities. Dr. Geer has more than 10 years of industry experience both from her time at Novan and previously at Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Geer has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina where she was a doctoral student and part of the Schoenfisch Lab, led by Novan co-founder, Dr. Mark Schoenfisch. She will report to Ms. Stafford.”

“Dr. Messersmith, who joined Novan as Head of Clinical Operations in May 2018 from Quark Pharmaceuticals, has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Dr. Messersmith has 25 years of hands-on drug development and biotechnology industry experience. She will also report to Ms. Stafford.”