Advancing Discovery

Bright ideas, Brilliant Solutions

C. David (Dave) Weaver, Ph.d.

President & Chief Science Officer

Dr. Weaver is President and Chief Science Officer of ION Biosciences. Previously, he was the Lead Investigator of Drug Discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). He was also part of the Senior Leadership Team, New Leads Biology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute and received the BMS Pharmaceutical Research Institute President’s Award.

Dr. Weaver currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Pharmacology at the Vanderbilt University Medical School where he was the former Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology High-throughput Screening Facility and former Director of Molecular Pharmacology, Vanderbilt Program in Drug Discovery.

Dr. Weaver is the President and Founder, WaveFront Biosciences. He is the principal architect and driver of WaveFront’s Panoptic kinetic imaging plate reader platform.

Dr. Weaver has over 20 years of combined industrial and academic drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical industry and over 20 years of experience using kinetic imaging plate readers. He is also the Inventor of the thallium flux assay used worldwide for potassium channel research and drug discovery.

Francisco Conti

CEO & Founder

Successful entrepreneur and financier, Mr. Conti has an extensive history of recognizing opportunity, making strategic investments and bringing numerous startups to fruition. Mr. Conti’s global investment background includes real estate development, technology, services and life science.

Akwasi Minta, Ph.d.
Research Scientist

Dr. Akwasi Minta, a research organic chemist, has been involved in design, synthesis and production of fluorescent ion indicators for calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and chloride since 1983:

Specifically, Dr. Minta has worked with ion indicators as applied to ion channels, biological and pharmaceutical research. Working with the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Roger Tsien at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1980s, Dr. Minta invented the first visible wavelength indicators (Fluo-1, Fluo-2, Fluo-3, Rhod-1, Rhod-2), the first Sodium indicator (SBFI), and the first Potassium indicator (PBFI). Dr. Minta proceeded to invent the visible wavelength versions of the Sodium and Potassium indicators Asante Natrium Green (ANG-1 and ANG-2), and Asante Potassium Green (APG-1, APG-2, APG-3, and APG-4) respectively at Teflabs in Austin, Texas in the 2000s.

Dr. Minta's research at Ion Biosciences has produced his previous research projects with publications including enzyme stereochemical studies, synthesis of cardiotonic steroids, biosynthesis and synthesis of Hasubanonine, and isolation and synthesis of natural products (Rubesamide). He started research as an I.A.E.S.T.E (International Association for Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) student (Ghana) at Nuclear Research Center, Julich, West Germany.

Rogelio Escamilla
Head of Production

Mr. Escamilla is head of production for ION. His background includes design and production of synthetic fluorescent ion indicators for cellular research and pharmaceutical screening (particularly, to probe intracellular Ca, Na, and K ion levels).

Gabe Escalante
Production Chemist

Mr. Escalante is a production chemist at ION and all around good guy, has your back and knows how to make a serious iron skillet steak.

Taylor Pahnke

Ms. Pahnke is the Administrator coordinator for ION. In addition to making sure all the behind the scenes functions run smoothly, she is also an important point of contact for client services.

Mark Huggans
Business Development

Mr. Huggans is the Director of Business Development for ION Biosciences. His background includes President & CFO of TEF Labs, Inc. Austin Texas. TEF Labs focus was small molecule design and Manufacturer of drug discovery tools for major pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Mr. Huggans led the company to significant growth in sales before personally negotiating the sale of the company’s IP to publicly traded Invitrogen (NASDAQ: IVGN)

Mr. Huggans is the former Founder of a medical device manufacturer, Tubemaster, Inc which designed and manufactured radiographic and fluoroscopic imaging devices. As its president and CFO, Mr. Huggans led the company to significant sales before personally negotiating the sale of the company to publicly traded Richardson Electronics (NASDAQ: RELL)