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Management

Rory Riggs
Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman
Rory Riggs

Mr. Riggs is a co-founder and board member of Cibus; CEO & founder of Locus Analytics LLC and Syntax LLC; chairman and co-founder of Royalty Pharma, the largest investor in revenue producing intellectual property (principally royalty interests in marketed and late stage development biopharmaceutical products); and co-founder and board member of Fibrogen. In addition, he is a board member of Intra-Cellular Therapeutics, Inc., Nuredis, GeneNews and eReceivables. He is the former president and board member of Biomatrix, Inc., a NYSE-listed biotechnology company that developed and launched Synvisc®, an injection used to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis and a partner in New Ventures, LLC.

Mr. Riggs received an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College.

Peter Beetham, PhD
Co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer
Peter Beetham, PhD

As a key part of Cibus’ founding team, Peter took a lead role in developing the core technologies associated with the Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS®). He led the research and product development teams at Cibus before taking on the role of CEO in July 2014.

Possessing a passion for moving technology to commercial application, Peter has over 30 years of experience in agriculture. Prior to joining Cibus, Peter was Research Director of the Plant and Industrial Products Division at ValiGen. Part of his extensive research experience was at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, where he was a postdoctoral scientist and one of the pioneers of the early work that led to the Cibus RTDS technology.

During his eight-year tenure at the Victorian Department of Agriculture (Australia), Peter led a team that provided clean planting materials for root crops for many countries in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. His efforts helped increase crop yields and improve farmer economics.

Greg Gocal, PhD
Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer & Executive Vice President
Greg Gocal, PhD

Greg Gocal, PhD is a co-founder and serves as Chief Scientific Officer & Executive Vice President. In 2000, Dr. Gocal joined an innovative cross disciplinary team at ValiGen, Cibus’ predecessor, as the lead molecular biologist. Within the Plant and Industrial Products Division, his team began developing the RTDS suite of technologies in plant and microbial systems in what was then the nascent field that has become gene editing. Continuing this focus and enabling our technologies and product pipeline, at Cibus, Dr. Gocal has held various research management positions. Dr. Gocal has studied many aspects of plant biology.

He was awarded undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Calgary. He worked at CSIRO Plant Industry in Canberra, Australia where he received his PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from the Australian National University, then continued studying in this field as a postdoctoral scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.

Noel Sauer, PhD
Senior Vice President, Research
Noel Sauer, PhD

Noel is responsible for leading the Research and Development team towards the development of non-transgenic traits in commercially relevant crops through advancements in the field of precision plant breeding.

Noel was a Postdoctoral Fellow studying host-pathogen interactions at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Noel received a PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California.

Wade King, MD
Chief Financial Officer
Wade King, MD

Wade King joined Cibus in January, 2021, bringing a background of highly successful C-suite roles across multiple facets of the healthcare industry.

Before joining Cibus, Wade was CEO of Prota Therapeutics, an oral immunotherapy company based in Melbourne, Australia. Before Prota, Wade led Corporate Development and Strategy and served on the management team of Insmed, a multi-billion-dollar public rare disease company, leading global licensing deals and exploring numerous gene therapy opportunities. Wade also led both finance and business development for Neomend, a surgical sealant company that was acquired by CR Bard, now part of Becton Dickinson.

Prior to his work in the corporate sector, Wade was Chief of Anesthesiology for a 20-physician practice in Silicon Valley. During his clinical years, Wade consulted frequently to the venture capital community. Following Stanford Business School, Wade went on to become a repeat Wall Street Journal All Star Health Care Analyst and Director of Investment Research for multiple investment banks. Subsequently, Wade was Senior Portfolio Manager and COO at several investment management firms

Wade is a board-certified anesthesiologist and completed residencies in Surgery and Anesthesiology at UCSF. Wade holds an M.S.M. from Stanford Business School, M.D. and M.P.H. degrees from UNC Chapel Hill Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and a B.A. cum laude from Princeton University.

Rosa Cheuk Kim, JD
Senior Vice President, Legal
Rosa Cheuk Kim, JD

Rosa joined Cibus in 2011 as Internal Counsel, overseeing all Intellectual Property activities. In this role, she was instrumental in positioning Cibus as a leading gene editing company for agricultural and microorganism traits, developing and extending Cibus’ extensive IP portfolio. In 2020 Rosa was promoted to Vice President, Legal, overseeing all legal activities, including intellectual property (IP), contracts and litigation.

Prior to joining Cibus, Rosa served as patent attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP. She also spent eight valuable years at the Salk Institute, doing molecular biology research with Dr. Joseph Ecker.

Rosa holds a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law, as well as Master’s Degree in Biotechnology and a Bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sean O'Connor, PhD
Senior Vice President, Cibus - President & CEO, Nucelis
Sean O'Connor, PhD

Sean has 35 years of management and research experience in the specialty chemicals industry. Before joining Nucelis in 2012, he held several key leadership positions with Chemtura Corporation, including Vice President, Plastic Additives Group; Vice President, Strategy; and President, Petroleum Additives.

Sean’s impressive career includes a position at Adibis, a subsidiary of BP Chemicals in the United Kingdom, which he held for several years before relocating in 1994 to join Witco at its U.S. World Headquarters. Afterwards, he worked at Crompton Corporation prior to its merger with Great Lakes Corporation (forming Chemtura).

He is an inventor with his name on over 25 US patents, and has authored countless scientific and product promotional papers.

Sean received a PhD in Organic Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Bristol.

Noel Fong, PhD
Director, Strain Development
Noel Fong, PhD

As Director of Strain Development at Nucelis, Dr. Fong oversees all the ASAP™ (Accelerated Strain Advancement Platform) partner projects. In addition to leading her project teams on existing projects, she works closely with business development and research to identify new product opportunities and partners.

Noel has been at Nucelis since its founding in 2012, and prior to that, she was a member of the research team at Cibus since 2007. Prior to joining Cibus, Noel was at Zymogenetics/Novo Nordisk (now Bristol-Myers Squibb) in Seattle, where she engineered the production strain for making FXIII clotting factor in S. cerevisiae. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan Medical School and Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer), where she studied insulin signaling pathways and associated yeast applications. Prior to that, she was at Chiron (now Novartis), where she expressed human growth factors in yeast.

She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and M.S. in Food Science in the Dept. of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, and her A.B. in Chemistry and Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley.

As an active 30+ year member of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, she was named President in August, 2020, after serving as the Conference Chair for the 2018 General Meeting. In service to her field, she is a reviewer for two publications: Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, and Enzyme and Microbial Technology.

James Radtke, PhD
Senior Vice President, Product Development
James Radtke, PhD

With over 30 years of seed industry experience in both research and management roles, Jim oversees product development for Cibus. Prior to joining Cibus, Jim served as Global Temperate Corn Breeding Leader for Dow AgroSciences. He was also a member of the Mycogen Seeds management team, where he led the plant breeding programs of multiple crops.

Earlier in his career, Jim created a work plan for Agrigenetics, leading the effort to develop the first corn Bt transgenic product sold in the United States. His career has included developing competitive corn inbred lines and commercially significant hybrids for Sungene Technologies.

Jim has been active in the American Seed Trade Association, and is a past president of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders (NCCPB).

Jim received a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Science in Plant Breeding from the University of Wisconsin.

Tony Moran
Senior Vice President, International Development
Tony Moran

Since joining Cibus in 2011, Tony has been responsible for product, business, and commercial development for non-US territories and regulatory interactions.

Before joining Cibus, Tony spent 7 years in portfolio management and project leadership for pharmaceutical multinational Pfizer. Prior to this he worked at Syngenta AG and Zeneca, where he held a range of technical and leadership roles.

Tony received a Master’s Degree in Natural Sciences - Applied Biology from the University of Cambridge.

Norm Sissons
Senior Vice President, Seed and Traits
Norm Sissons

Norm joined Cibus in 2019 and brings over 20 years of experience in agriculture seed and crop inputs.

Norm has extensive experience in international business, strategic planning, product marketing and commercializing new agricultural seed products. Prior to joining Cibus, Norm was Global Crop Head for Syngenta based in Switzerland. In this role, Norm was responsible for leading the tomato and pepper crop strategy development and implementation from R&D to commercialization. Norm also spent 16 years with Monsanto Company in the US and Canada, initially in product development, and then leading commercial and marketing efforts for herbicide tolerance traits in canola, vegetable seed and soybean.

Norm received an MBA and a Master’s of Science in agronomy from the University of Manitoba.

Dave Voss
Vice President, Business Development
Dave Voss

Dave serves as Vice President, Business Development with over 30 years’ experience in the seed and biotechnology industry.

Dave’s expertise includes business development and commercialization of new biotechnology products within the plant and life science industries. Dave has a successful track record of identifying strategic partners, negotiating, and closing complex technical / commercial agreements with major agricultural companies. He has extensive experience in commercialization of new disruptive technologies using seed and plant–based products as a technology delivery platform.

Prior to joining Cibus Dave served as Director of Commercial Development for the Plant and Industrial Products Division of ValiGen, following service to Mycogen Seeds where he oversaw the soybean and sunflower crop portfolio. Earlier in his career, Dave also held various high-level sales and marketing positions with Dekalb Genetics Corporation.

Dave received his MBA from Northern Illinois University and his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business from Iowa State University.

Christian Schöpke, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, Cell Biology
Christian Schöpke, PhD

Dr. Schöpke has worked in the field of plant biotechnology for over 28 years. His past research includes many aspects of plant developmental physiology (cytodifferentiation, somatic embryogenesis, plant regeneration from protoplasts) and genetic transformation of plants. From 1993 - 1999 Dr. Schöpke held a position as Senior Researcher at ORSTOM (Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Dévéloppement en Coopération). In collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla he led a group of scientists, technicians and trainees involved in the genetic transformation of cassava, rice, tomato, and tobacco. Before joining Cibus, from 1999 - 2000 Dr. Schöpke was employed at the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, where he worked on the genetic transformation of Citrus. He joined Cibus (then Valigen) in 2000. For the last 18 years he directed efforts to create and implement protocols for the application of RTDS to plants. His current focus is on the improvement of cell culture processes through automation. Dr. Schöpke received an M.Sc. in Biology from the Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the same institution. His doctoral thesis focused on the establishment of a method for the regeneration of plants from protoplasts of Coffea.

Andrew Walker
Vice President, Production
Andrew Walker

Andrew leads the gene editing Production Operations team that is responsible for implementing the Cibus Trait Machine™ — an end-to-end crop specific gene editing platform based on Cibus core RTDS® technologies.

In his 20+ year career with Cibus, he has had the pleasure of developing and advancing Cibus’ vision of accelerated plant breeding using the Trait Machine™ both inside and outside of the laboratory, serving in a variety of roles across Cell Biology, Product Development, Breeding and Commercial.

With a background in systems engineering, Andrew has spearheaded the development and implementation of proprietary, custom automation hardware solutions, which are a core component of the Trait Machine.

Andrew earned a BS degree in electrical engineering with a focus in integrated systems from the University of Southern California.