Halia Therapeutics Team
David J. Bearss, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. David J. Bearss is an experienced entrepreneur and drug developer with 20 plus years’ experience in the academic and industry settings. He is an expert in small molecule drug development and in the use of genetic model systems in drug discovery and has deep experience in translational research focused on drug development and the use of genetic markers to predict drug sensitivity. Dave has discovered 16 compounds that have had INDs accepted and moved forward in clinical development and has been a founder of eight biotech companies.
Prior to becoming Halia’s Chief Scientific Officer in January 2021 and CEO in March 2022, Dave was the CEO of Tolero Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma in 2017. He also served as Chief Scientific Officer at Montigen Pharmaceuticals prior to it’s acquisition by SuperGen Inc., and stayed on as Chief Scientific Officer at SuperGen to have oversight on early drug discovery and development. He was the founding Co-Director of the Center for Investigational Therapeutics at the Huntsman Cancer Institute; Associate Professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah; and Associate Professor of Physiology & Developmental Biology at Brigham Young University. Dave received a PhD in cellular biology from University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX.
Jared Bearss, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Jared Bearss co-founded Halia Therapeutics in 2017. His prior industry experience includes co-founding Wasatch Scientific and managing the genomic biology department and projects for Code Nutrition. Jared also has experience working in the academic field of life sciences and was Sr. Research Analyst, Lab Manager at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Jared’s experience in both industry and academic sectors of the life sciences field provided him with many areas of expertise including genomics, cell biology, cell culture, western blotting, and molecular biology. His science background and entrepreneurial spirit got him interested in scaling pharmaceutical startups and managing technical and organizational aspects of company development.
Jared has Bachelor of Science in neuropsychology/neurophysiology from Utah Valley University and is an MBA Business Executive from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.
Margit Janat-Amsbury, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Janát-Amsbury is an experienced leader of cross-functional early development teams in oncology. With 20+ years of experience in academic and industry settings, she has guided numerous oncology assets through Phase 1/2 development and has extensive experience in translational research focused on drug delivery and disease modeling.
Prior to joining Halia Therapeutics as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Janát-Amsbury served as an Executive Medical Director in Early Oncology Development at Amgen and was also the Product Team Lead for Amgen’s prostate portfolio. Before joining Amgen, she oversaw the development of multiple small molecules at Tolero Pharmaceuticals, which Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma acquired in 2017. Dr. Janát-Amsbury has held faculty appointments with the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, as well as the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah, where she also served as Co-Director of the Center for Nanomedicine. Dr. Janát-Amsbury received her MD and Ph.D. from the Albertus Magnus University in Cologne, Germany.
Jeff Burton, CPA/MAcc
Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Burton joined Halia Therapeutics as the Chief Financial Officer in December 2020.
Prior to coming to Halia, Jeff was with Tolero Pharmaceuticals where he helped guide the company through several rounds of funding, the acquisition of Tolero by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma for $200 million upfront and $500 million in milestones, and provided support for the successful filing of five INDs and completion of nine clinical trials.
Prior to Tolero, Jeff was at Fusion-io, where he helped the company successfully complete its IPO, secondary offering, several acquisitions, key system implementations, and the eventual acquisition of Fusion-io by SanDisk for more than $1.1 billion.
Jeff holds Bachelor and Master of Accounting degrees from the University of Utah.