Management

Molly Dir Senior Vice President, HR & Administration
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Ms. Dir joined Assertio in August 2023 as Vice President, Human Resources and has served as Vice President, Human Resources, IT and Facilities since November 2023. In her current role, Ms. Dir is responsible for leading the human resource department, developing Assertio’s talent and organization strategy while shaping the company culture. She also oversees all the IT department and manages facilities.

Prior to joining Assertio, she served in the position of Vice President of Human Resources at Aptinyx, where she was responsible for all employee related activities including talent strategy and development, diversity and inclusion, recruitment, compensation, benefits and for delivering an exceptional employee experience.

Previously, she held multiple roles of increasing responsibility at Takeda, where she served as Chief of Staff to the president of the U.S. commercial business unit, helping to facilitate the integration of Takeda and Shire as well as the company’s relocation to Boston. While at Takeda, Ms. Dir also worked as Vice President and Head of Strategic Talent, Diversity & Inclusion and was responsible for the development and execution of all talent programs within the US commercial business unit. She served as Vice President and Head of Global R&D HR, supporting Takeda’s global research and development organization. Ms. Dir began her career in life sciences HR in the Pharmaceutical Development Division of Abbott Laboratories.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational and Interpersonal Communications from Loyola University of Chicago.

Dr. Howard Franklin, M.D. Senior Vice President, Medical
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Dr. Franklin has served as Senior Vice President, Medical, of Assertio since March 2023. He oversees Assertio’s medical and clinical scientific leadership for development programs, product assessments and life cycle management.

Dr. Franklin was previously Chief Medical Officer at Finch Therapeutics, a microbiome-based biotechnology firm applying new technologies to the treatment of immuno-oncology, IBD and autism spectrum disorder. He was previously Chief Medical Officer of Salix Pharmaceuticals, a $2 billion division of Bausch Healthcare Corporation with a focus on gastrointestinal medicine, where he shaped and executed clinical, regulatory and medical affairs strategies for a suite of GI-related assets with a focus on lifecycle management. He previously held senior roles at Icon Bioscience, Oceana Therapeutics, The Medicines Company, Esprit Pharmaceuticals and Odyssey Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Franklin holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Pre-Medical Studies, from Lehigh University, and a Doctor of Medicine from Drexel University College Medicine. He completed his medical residency in general surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in lapro-endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He completed a Master of Business Administration degree at LaSalle University.

Ajay Patel Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
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Mr. Patel has served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of Assertio since November 2023. Mr. Patel joined Assertio as Vice President, Controller in July 2019 with responsibility for all accounting policies and practices, internal controls, income taxes and reporting. In March of 2021, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer.

Most recently he served in the position of Director, Technical Accounting & Accounting Policy at US Foods, where he oversaw implementation of company-wide accounting policies and helped lead acquisition financial due diligence, with a focus on quality of earnings review and accounting integration activities. Prior to this, he spent 11 years with Ernst & Young holding multiple positions of increasing responsibility in its Assurance practice leading financial statement audits of strategic key clients.

Mr. Patel holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia and is a certified public accountant (CPA).

Paul Schwichtenberg Senior Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer
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Mr. Schwichtenberg has served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of Assertio since March 2021. Mr. Schwichtenberg joined Assertio as Vice President, Finance in April 2018 and has been instrumental in leading Assertio’s financial planning and analysis, financial reporting and controls, gross-to-net planning, risk management, business development due diligence, and modeling.

Most recently he served in the position of Director, Pricing and Planning at AbbVie, where he led the US Commercial Pricing Team of 63 professionals responsible for commercial, institutional and government contracting, government price reporting, financial reporting, and financial planning.

Prior to this, he was a Controller for Radio Flyer, Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he executed numerous enhancements to reporting technology to identify margin opportunities as well as integrated acquisitions across the consumer and pharmaceutical space.

Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry, he was a senior auditor at Wolf & Company LLP. Mr. Schwichtenberg holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Roosevelt University and is a certified public accountant (CPA).

Vanessa Fox Vice President, Business Development
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Ms. Fox has served as Vice President, Business Development and Commercial Analytics of Assertio since December 2021. Ms. Fox joined Assertio as Director of Market Research & Forecasting in May 2018 and previously held the progressive roles of Director, Revenue and Executive Director, Trade and Distribution. In her current role, Ms. Fox oversees Assertio’s business development strategy and planning and commercial analytics.

Most recently she served in the position of Director, Business Development for Kastle Therapeutics, where she developed product forecasts and valuation models for potential product and company acquisitions and provided strategic and analytical support for a commercialized ultra-orphan product.

Prior to this, she held several successive roles at ZS Associates, a management consulting and analytics firm, lastly as Business Consulting Manager, where she resolved strategic sales and marketing issues for pharmaceutical companies through analytical modeling and qualitative research approaches.

Ms. Fox holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, psychology, and violin performance from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in quantitative methods of psychology from Arizona State University.

Bill Iskos Senior Vice President, Operations
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Mr. Iskos has served as Senior Vice President, Operations of Assertio since August 2021. Mr. Iskos is responsible for manufacturing, quality, supply chain, regulatory, business development related diligence, and alliance management of contracted services.

Mr. Iskos brings more than 28 years of diverse experience in pharmaceutical process research and development, clinical and commercial manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, and quality assurance of potent, specialty/orphan, generic, and biologic pharmaceutical products that incorporated several drug delivery technologies and devices. Prior to rejoining Assertio, Mr. Iskos served as a Principal CMC consultant for numerous life sciences companies, and held roles of increasing responsibility at Horizon Therapeutics, Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer, Pharmacia, and Searle. Throughout his career spanning the pharmaceutical life cycle, Mr. Iskos has built a proven ability to strategically develop and lead highly successful global operations groups across several operating models.

Mr. Iskos holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sam Schlessinger Senior Vice President, General Counsel
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Mr. Schlessinger has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Assertio since July 2021. Mr. Schlessinger joined Assertio as Senior Corporate Counsel in May 2020 and more recently served as Vice President, Legal, overseeing SEC reporting, corporate governance, due diligence and new business development, capital markets and licensing transactions, litigation, intellectual property, and compliance.

Most recently he served in the position of Corporate Partner for Dentons, LLP where he advised public and privately held clients in mergers and acquisitions, buyouts and recapitalizations, and securities transactions. In this role, he had significant transactional experience representing private equity and other clients in acquisitions and divestitures in regulated industries, with a specialty in healthcare.

Prior to this, he was a Corporate Associate at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, where he focused on pharmaceutical monetization agreements, private equity transactions, leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and reorganizations.

Mr. Schlessinger holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Pomona College and a juris doctorate from the University of Illinois.