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Learn about the management team at Segue Therapeutics

the team


James Cardelli, Ph.D.

Founder & President, Segue Therapeutics, LLC; Manager, segue science management

In addition to directing a laboratory that averaged nine personnel for over 25 years, Dr. Cardelli was the Director of Basic and Translational Research for the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center from 1997 to 2012. In this role, he directed five different research programs, promoted a yearly cancer research symposium and organized a biweekly seminar series. Dr. Cardelli was also Co-Director (2005 to 2011) and became Director (2011 to 2014) of the Innovative North Louisiana Experimental Therapeutics program, a drug discovery and development program that successfully aided investigators at schools throughout Louisiana in generating over $7M in grant funding with a budget that totaled $1M over 4 years. Dr. Cardelli has also had productive interactions with other universities, including the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), Louisiana Tech, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans, LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, and LSU Shreveport. Dr. Cardelli was named an Adjunct Professor at Louisiana Tech and ULM and retired at the end of 2015 to start Segue Therapeutics, LLC.

Tony Giordano, Ph.D.

company advisor

Dr. Giordano received a B.A. in Natural Sciences from New College/University of South Florida in 1983, a M.Sc. in Genetics from The Ohio State University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from The Ohio State University in 1988. He then served as Biotechnology Fellow in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute before accepting a Staff Fellowship position at the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Giordano began his career in industry at Abbott Laboratories before moving to biotechnology in 1994, where he accepted a position as Director of Molecular Biology at Symphony Pharmaceuticals, eventually being promoted to Vice President of Research. He subsequently has been involved in founding six different biotechnology companies, serving as VP or President/CEO for each company. He was also Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Research and Business Development at LSUHSC-S.

In his roles as head of Research and President/CEO at various biotechnology companies, Dr. Giordano has been responsible for building the business model, setting objectives and managing staff to achieve results, acquiring funding, executing licenses and moving four programs into clinical development. Dr. Giordano has also consulted for six different venture capitalists on over two dozen projects, chaired a subcommittee on new technologies at Abbott with additional involvement in technology assessment, and increased licensing at LSUHSC-Shreveport from one license prior to his involvement to 19 during his tenure. He has also been an advisor and session chair at numerous national conferences and served as a member of the Governor of LA Innovation Council. Dr. Giordano is an inventor on 15 issued US patents and has published over 50 papers.

john chidlow, ph.d.

company advisor

Dr. Chidlow is the co-founder and CEO of Innolyzer Labs. Dr. Chidlow received his B.A. in Biology at Baylor University (2001), where he was president of the Delta Gamma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, and received his M.S. (2005) and Ph.D. (2010) from LSUHSC-Shreveport. He was then a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University School of Medicine (2012). His research focused on vascular biology examining the relationship between inflammation and angiogenesis and on examining lipid transport across endothelium. He received the Dean’s Award for excellence in graduate studies and a Ruth Kirschstein postdoctoral research award.

He then worked as Operations Manager at Syn Maxx II, LLC, where he was involved in business planning, sales, directing research and development efforts, and financial management. During this time, Dr. Chidlow also created and managed his own company, J. Chidlow Consulting, LLC. Currently at Innolyzer Labs, he is developing breakthrough analytic devices for the marketplace. The initial focus is on analyzing the hydrogen sulfide content of liquids, and he plans on moving into gas detection and the detection of other gaseous molecules for future products.

Ron Ondechek

Company advisor

Mr. Ondechek, a Company Advisor, is an operations focused executive with over fifteen years of experience as a fund manager and entrepreneur. Currently, Mr. Ondechek is the Managing Member of South Highland Ventures LLC, which works for family offices and private equity funds to source, vet and manage private equity investments. Ron specializes in supporting early stage to mid-market companies throughout the growth and exit process.

Mr. Ondechek has a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University and an MBA from Tulane University. Ron began his career as a refinery engineer and project manager for ExxonMobil. After starting several successful service and technology companies, he became an E&P securities analyst for Howard Weil, Inc. and A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. before joining Altira Group LLC, an energy services and technology private equity firm. Most recently, Ron was the fund manager for Shreveport's first and oversubscribed angel investment fund, New Louisiana Angel Fund 1, and he currently is a Principal in the Sustainable Growth Fund, a €550M mezzanine energy efficiency senior convertible debt fund.

At the board level, Ron participated as an active board director or board observer for more than 10 private equity backed companies, which most recently include Embera NeuroTherapeutics, Inc., an addiction cessation pharmaceutical company; DHI Services Inc., an oil and gas services company; and Enerpulse Technologies, Inc. (ENPT: OTC), a fuel ignition technology company. He currently is a board director for Servato Corp, a telecommunications DC power management technology and software company, and a board observer for Optimal Strategix Group, a B2C analytics consulting and software company.

Michael Hetzel

Company advisor

Mr. Hetzel is a company advisor with a diverse business background, including manufacturing CEO, international trade specialist, business broker, preparing companies for sale or purchase, as well as guiding post-acquisition and cross-cultural integrations, start-ups and building high-performance enterprise teams. He has lectured internationally at universities and executive trade conferences on the topics of global manufacturing, quality assurance and trade flows, and he has published articles on these topics in various periodicals. He currently is president of Northern Galaxy Corporation, a consulting firm based in McKinney, Texas, a member of the advisory board of uLogica, LLC, a consultancy for launching pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products, and a member of the Federal Reserve Bank 7th District Industrial and Manufacturing Roundtables.

Erkut Borazanci, M.D.


Dr. Borazanci is a medical oncologist and clinical investigator at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at HonorHealth Research Institute. He is also the Medical Director of the Molecular Medicine Institute at HonorHealth and holds adjunct appointments as a clinical assistant professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the University of Arizona.

Dr. Borazanci obtained his M.S. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry at LSUHSC-Shreveport. He then earned an M.D. and completed fellowships in internal medicine and oncology at the same institution. He was as recruited as the drug development scholar there from 2013 to 2015. His specialty is gastrointestinal oncology, particularly pancreatic cancer, and he has worked closely with leaders in the field including Dr. Dan Von Hoff and Dr. Ramesh Ramanathan.

Dr. Borazanci is the principal investigator for over 26 clinical trials, many of which are phase I and are first-in-human studies. Dr. Borazanci is one of the principal clinical investigators with the latest Stand Up to Cancer pancreatic cancer Dream Team, which is an international collaboration of several institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is also a member of the pancreatic cancer research team (PCRT), which is composed of over 50 institutions throughout the world conducting early phase clinical trials in pancreatic cancer. As Clinical Science Advisor for Segue Therapeutics, Dr. Borazanci will help plan clinical trials to test lead combinations of drugs that target pancreatic cancer. 

matthew woolard, ph.d.

scientific advisor

Dr. Woolard brings experience in stromal cell biology to the team. Dr. Woolard earned his BA at Austin College in Texas and his Ph.D. at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. He was trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina. He joined the faculty at LSUHSC-Shreveport in the Department of Microbiology in 2009. His major research interest is to understand how immune cell function can contribute to disease progression. He is well versed in understanding the importance of immune cells (e.g., macrophages, T cells) and non-immune cells (e.g., fibroblasts) in cancer progression. His research has been funded by both the state of Louisiana, including the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, as well as by private and federal granting agencies. He has published over 30 papers in his career to date.

Khalid El Sayed, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. El Sayed serves as the company’s medicinal chemist. He earned a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 1983 from Mansoura University, Egypt. He also earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in natural products chemistry from the same institute in 1989 and 1993, respectively. Dr. El Sayed had his postdoctoral training in marine natural products at the University of Mississippi (1995-1998 and 2000-2001). Dr. El Sayed joined the University of Louisiana-Monroe in 2001 where he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and to full Professor in 2013.

Dr. El Sayed’s research is focused on natural products as possible breast cancer inhibitory scaffolds. Nature has been and still is the single most important source of drugs and precursors, and more than 50% of today’s pharmaceuticals are either direct natural products or based on natural product parent. Dr. El Sayed’s group is focusing on discovery of natural product-based chemical scaffolds. Projects include plant, microbe, and marine invertebrate directions. Dr. El Sayed currently has National Cancer Institute funding on the use of extra-virgin olive oil phenolics as breast cancer inhibitors through inhibition of c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase activity. Dr. El Sayed’s laboratory is using computer-assisted modeling, cell-free and cell cultures, and animal models to discover and optimize natural novel c-Met inhibitors.

Among of Dr. El Sayed's most notable achievements was patenting fresh tobacco flavor compounds as potential inhibitors of breast and prostate cancers. Several ongoing projects are currently optimizing the anticancer activities of tobacco cembranoids. Dr. El Sayed has more than 125 peer-reviewed papers, 5 book chapters and 9 patents.

Sami Nazzal, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Dr. Nazzal is a formulation and drug product development scientist. He will assist the company in its effort to develop viable formulations for pre-clinical and clinical testing. Dr. Nazzal earned his Bachelor in Pharmacy from Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan, and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmaceutics) from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Between 2002 adn 2004, Dr. Nazzal served as a senior scientist at Cardinal Health (currently Catalent Pharma Solution) where he led projects on liquid/lipid fill formulation development and soft gelatin capsule manufacture from pilot to commercial scale.

In 2004, Dr. Nazzal joined the faculty at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. His research is in the broad areas of industrial pharmacy where his team is actively engaged in formulating challenging active molecules for oral and non-oral delivery and developing processes for drug product manufacture. His research has been funded by state and private granting agencies and he has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers, 4 book chapters and 3 patents.

Imre noth, M.D.

Clinical Advisor

Dr. Imre Noth will aid the company in the planning and execution of clinical trials for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Dr. Noth received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. He then received a Master’s of Science in Human Physiology at Georgetown University, followed by his M.D. at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. Dr. Noth pursued a Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Chicago, where upon completion in 1999, he joined the faculty. Dr. Noth rose to the rank of Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago in 2012.

Dr. Noth is a premier translational researcher in interstitial lung disease. His more than 15 years of research concentrated in this area has included a special emphasis on IPF. His translational work has focused on genetics and genomics of IPF. His lab completed the first of its kind pharmacogenomics study in the field. Dr. Noth continues to participate as principal investigator in numerous clinical trials funded by industry and the NHLBI/NIH that focus predominantly on IPF. As the principal investigator for a U10 award, he was a member of the National Institutes of Health sponsored IPF clinical research network (IPF-net) and served on the executive committee. He has also collaborated on other RO1 and UO1 awards.

retained administrative support

  • Claire Adkins with Heard, McElroy & Vestal, LLP, Corporate Finance
  • Brian Cowan with Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea, LLC, Contracts Counsel
  • Alana Gray, Ph.D., Scientific Development
  • Charles Holoubek with Davis & Bujold, PLLC, Patent Counsel
  • Rich Lamb with Wiener, Weiss & Madison, APLC, Corporate Counsel
  • Christy Melville, MBA, Project Management

Other Support

The Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program at Biomedical Research Foundation is comprised of high growth startup experts offering a suite of services to analyze the product viability, match startup companies with informed investors and nurture the companies through the critical steps toward market. STX receives assistance with financial analysis and modeling, funding applications, finding investors, market and industry research, and business plans.