Please join us in welcoming our two newest board members, Dr. Gail Farfel and Dr. Bill Kirshner, who will help guide the foundation’s mission Those who serve on our Board of Directors do so on a voluntary basis, without compensation. We appreciate each of them sharing their gifts and talents with the organization.
Gail Farfel, Phd – Gail brings more than 25 years of pharmaceutical development and regulatory rare disease experience with both large and small pharmaceutical companies. She is the chief executive officer of ProMIS, a biotechnology company focused on the generation of antibody therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. Gail was formerly the executive vice president and global chief development officer at Zogenix, Inc., where she led all product development activities to bring Fintepla (fenfluramine) to market to treat seizures in Dravet syndrome. It was through Zogenix that Gail learned the important work of the DSF, and she is proud to join the board to share her expertise to aid the advance towards better treatments and a cure for Dravet syndrome. Prior to Zogenix, Gail held executive roles at Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Corporation, and Pfizer.
Gail currently serves on the board of directors of DURECT Corporation (Nasdaq: DRRX) and AvroBio (Nasdaq: AVRO) and is a director on the Board of the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics. She holds a PhD in neuropsychopharmacology from the University of Chicago, where she is a director on the Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Board. Gail also holds a BA in biochemistry from the University of Virginia. She and her family consider New Jersey home base, though they spend time in Massachusetts, New York, California and Europe. In her free time, Gail enjoys hiking, skiing, and training her rescue dog Sadie to be a well-behaved member of the community.
Bill Kirshner, MD – After 37 years as a family practitioner, Bill and his wife Ileen enjoyed his retirement over the last 4 years at their home 30 miles east of Seattle. Together they enjoy 5 children and 5 grandchildren. Their youngest grandchild Zoe lives with her parents in San Francisco. She is now 2 years old, but was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome after recurrent seizures at 6 months of age. This all -consuming diagnosis changed the focus of our family. We gathered our bearings and found support, community, and a way forward in the Dravet Syndrome Foundation.
As Bill joins the Dravet Syndrome Foundation team, he hopes his commitment to improvement in care and support of the Dravet community will reduce the isolation and burdens carried by Dravet families. As we all push towards a cure, he will work to bring that day closer.
Bill enjoys outdoor opportunities to appreciate the natural world including working at home under the shadow of Mt Si, hiking, backpacking, biking, cross country skiing, and when possible, adult league and tournament soccer.