About Us > Management

Stephen A. Tullman

Managing Member


Steve has 30 years of biopharmaceutical global commercialization and drug development experience.  Mr. Tullman founded NeXeption in 2011 to start and build BioTech companies.  He currently serves as the Chairman of Aclaris Therapeutics, Ralexar Therapeutics, Velicept Therapeutics, Onspira Therapeutics, and NexEos Therapeutics. Previously, he was Chairman & CEO of Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion), Chairman of Vicept Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan), CEO of Ception Therapeutics (acquired by Cephalon), CBO of Trigenesis (acquired by Dr. Reddy's Laboratories).  He also currently serves as the Chairman of Life Science PA, the largest US life sciences association. Mr. Tullman is also a co-founder and board director of two IT driven companies, Zoomi, artificial intelligence for learning, and Myota, data warehouse security.   Mr. Tullman started his career at SmithKline Beecham (GSK) and held positions of increasing responsibility in Finance, Sales, Marketing, and R&D. Mr. Tullman earned a BSc from Rutgers University. 

Dr. Neal Walker


Dr. Walker is President and Chief Executive Officer at Aclaris Therapeutics. He is also a cofounder of NeXeption, LLC, a biopharmaceutical assets management company. He is a board certified dermatologist and serial entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to founding Aclaris, he was co-founder, President and CEO of Vicept Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan). Dr. Walker has co-founded and led a number of life science companies: Octagon Research Solutions, a software and services provider to biopharmaceutical companies (acquired by Accenture); Trigenesis Therapeutics, a specialty dermatology company where he served as Chief Medical Officer (acquired by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories); Cutix Inc., a commercial dermatology company. He began his pharmaceutical industry career at Johnson and Johnson. Dr. Walker co-founded and is Vice Chairman of Ralexar Therapeutics, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors of Alderya Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company, as well as several private companies.  He also co-founded and serves on the Board of Directors of the Dermatology Summit, an Advancing Innovation in Dermatology Conference. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Octagon and the Advisory Board of Flexible Medical Systems. Dr. Walker received his MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Doug Gessl


Mr. Gessl is the Chief Financial Officer of Ralexar as well as Velicept Therapeutics. Previously he served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion) and Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Ception Therapeutics, a bipharma company (acquired by Cephalon). Previously, Mr. Gessl was a Senior Vice President with Einhorn Associates where he acted as financial advisor for mergers and acquisitions as well as lead advisor for Fulcrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a legacy company to Ception, in its first institutional financing. Mr. Gessl’s prior experience covers approximately 20 years completing merger and acquisition transactions, public and private capital and structured finance offerings for clients, as well as roles in international strategic planning and consulting. Mr. Gessl received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.B.A. in Finance, Investments and Banking from the University of Wisconsin.


Kamil Ali-Jackson, Esq.


Ms. Ali-Jackson has more than 30 years of experience as in-house and external legal counsel in the life-sciences industry. She is currently acting in the capacity of Chief Legal Officer for Aclaris Therapeutics Inc.  She previously served as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Ralexar; Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of Ceptaris; General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Ception Therapeutics, Inc.; Vice President, Legal, and Associate General Counsel, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Inc.; Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; legal counsel for the vaccine and human health divisions of Merck & Co., Inc.; and a corporate licensing executive for Merck & Co., Inc. In these roles, she handled various domestic and international commercial transactions, FDA regulatory issues, privacy, securities and corporate governance matters, and commercial and product liability litigation. Ms. Ali-Jackson has an A.B. undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. 


Kelly Copeland


Ms. Copeland has more than 18 years of experience working in the healthcare industry. She currently serves as the Vice President of Product Strategy for Aclaris and Vice President of Commercial Strategy for Velicept Therapeutics as well as Ralexar Therapeutics. Previously, Ms. Copeland was the Vice President of Product Strategy and Marketing for Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion) and Vice President of Product Strategy and Business Development for Ception Therapeutics, a biopharma company (acquired by Cephalon). She spent six years with GlaxoSmithKline providing commercial strategy and product development support. Prior to GlaxoSmithKline, Ms. Copeland held positions at Henry Ford Health System and Provider Partnerships, Inc. Ms. Copeland earned her M.S. in Health Services Administration and a B.S. from the University of Michigan. Additionally, she completed a post-graduate fellowship with Henry Ford Health System. 


Evan G. Dick, Ph.D.


Dr. Dick brings 30 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience to his current position as Senior Vice President Chemistry at Ralexar. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion) and Senior Vice President of Discovery Medicine and Operations at Ception Therapeutics, a biopharma company (acquired by Cephalon). He has held positions with Fulcrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (a legacy company to Ception); Kereos, Inc.; MedStrategy, Inc.; Cytotaxis, Inc.; and G.D. Searle & Company. Dr. Dick is also a former member of the Departments of Ophthalmology and Pharmacology at the Washington University School of Medicine. He earned a B.S. from Cornell University and Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo.


Frank Ruffo


Mr. Ruffo is the Chief Financial Officer of Aclaris. Prior to joining Aclaris, Mr. Ruffo served as the Chief Financial Officer for Vicept Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan). Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Finance and Controller at CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty dermatology company listed on NASDAQ Exchange, from 1996 to 2008, until CollaGenex was acquired by Galderma Laboratories, Inc. Mr. Ruffo served as Finance Manager of Cabot Medical, Inc., a medical device company from 1991 to 1996, and held various positions of increasing responsibility in the Healthcare & Life Sciences Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers from 1987 to 1991. Mr. Ruffo holds a B.S. in Accounting from LaSalle University and attained his CPA in 1990.


Jeffrey S. Shaver, Ph.D.


Dr. Shaver has more than 18 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, encompassing large pharma, generic drug companies as well as biotech companies. He currently serves as the Head of Project Management for Velicept Therapeutics.  Dr. Shaver previously served as Vice President of Project Management and Operations at Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion) and Vice President of Project Management, Alliances and Information Technology for Ception Therapeutics, a bipharma company (acquired by Cephalon). He has held positions with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline, and its predecessor, SmithKline Beecham. Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Shaver also served in positions of increasing responsibility in engineering management, project management and policy in the United States Air Force. Dr. Shaver is a Distinguished Graduate from the United States Air Force Academy, and earned a M.S. from Purdue University and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 


Experienced Management Team with a proven track record, not only in drug development, but also in building companies and executing successful exits.