Jingjun “Jim” Huang, Ph.D. - CEO

Dr. Huang founded Ascendia in 2012 after a career in pharmaceutical R&D and management at Pfizer, Baxter, AstraZeneca, and most recently Roche. He has led the formulation development efforts for the successful transition of several oral and parenteral dosage forms from discovery through formulation, manufacturing, technical transfer and ultimately commercialization. Dr. Huang holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (formerly Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Sciences) where he worked with Joseph B. Schwartz.

Dr. Huang’s research interests are centered on improvement of solubility and dissolution for, and controlled delivery of, poorly water soluble drugs through nano-emulsion, nano-particle and amorphous solid dispersion technologies. His publications include studies on drug solubilization and controlled delivery in polymeric solid dispersion systems, amorphous drug delivery systems, controlled release, modeling and simulation, thermal and spectroscopic characterization of amorphous molecular dispersions, drug-polymer interactions and its significance on physical stability of amorphous drug, and micro/nano particulates for use in parenteral dosage forms. He has been a reviewer for the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Journal of Controlled Release, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Molecular Pharmaceutics, and Pharmaceutical Research. Currently, he is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and the American Chemical Society (ACS).


Edward Orton, Ph.D. - Senior Vice President, R&D

Dr. Orton joined Ascendia in 2013 after a twenty year career in pharmaceutical research and development at Rhone-Poulenc Pharma and its successor Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, where he was most recently leader of the Discovery Pharmaceutics team. Dr. Orton has expertise in areas that include discovery stage formulations, pre-formulation, advanced drug delivery technologies, and intellectual property.

Dr. Orton holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Washington and subsequently worked as a Staff Scientist II at The Laboratory of Chemical Biodynamics at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley CA for eight years prior to joining Rhone-Poulenc Pharma. In 2012, Dr. Orton founded Prescient Drug Delivery Consultants. He is also the director and founder of the non-profit Society for Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia, as well as a member of the board of directors at the non-profit The Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland since 2007.

Donald Pennino, Ph.D.-Vice President, Quality

Dr. Pennino has over 45 years experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. He  holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. He has managed, designed and built many analytical, quality control, and aseptic operation controlled areas over his career. He has extensive validation expertise, as well as practical drug development, helping to bring to market many products by companies such as Novartis, Warner-Lambert, Schering-Plough, Pfizer, Stryker BioTech, CR Bard, Chiron and Celator. He used to work on DoD projects to develop prophylactic vaccines as defense to potential bioterrorism threats in the US. He also had served as an expert to industry providing regulatory solutions in the area of quality, remediation and compliance.

Troy Harmon, M.S., MBA-Senior Vice President, Business Development

Troy Harmon joined Ascendia in 2014 as Vice President, Business Development. Prior to Ascendia, Mr. Harmon was Vice President, Business Development at Eurand - a drug delivery company that developed, manufactured and commercialized enhanced pharmaceutical products based on the company’s proprietary drug formulation technologies. Mr. Harmon joined Eurand in 2002 and was responsible for Eurand’s business development, licensing, alliance management and commercial sales efforts in North America. Prior to Eurand, Mr. Harmon was Director, Business Development at Delsys Pharmaceutical in Princeton, NJ, where he was responsible for marketing and partnering the company’s electrostatic powder deposition technologies worldwide. In addition, Mr. Harmon has served as Director, Business and Product Development at FEI Technologies, a company specializing in implantable, silicone-based drug delivery systems, and as Sr. Scientist at Summit Technology, the original innovator in laser vision correction procedures.

Mr. Harmon received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kentucky, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received the University’s first prize for undergraduate academic research. Mr. Harmon also holds a Master of Science degree in Physical Chemistry from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Villanova University.

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