Executive Vice President
Shepherding scientific discoveries through a complex gauntlet of research, validation, funding, patent protection, government approvals, and manufacturing is nothing new for Jason West. Before he co-founded Genzada Pharmaceuticals, West served as the vice president and general counsel of Jacam Chemical Company after completing his law degree in 2002. It was a natural fit after watching his chemist and entrepreneur father—Jacam founder Gene Zaid—disrupt the oil and gas industry with his novel inventions.
In 2009, West assumed the mantle of president and guided the company through dramatic 430 percent revenue growth. Later, he was instrumental in the $300-million acquisition of Jacam by Calgary-based CES Energy Solutions.
In 2010, West and Zaid started Genzada Pharmaceuticals to investigate promising plant-based therapeutics that target difficult-to-treat cancers. As Genzada’s executive vice president, West is instrumental in the development and commercialization of novel oncology-focused therapies the company hopes will ease human suffering, including the development of the company’s first novel agent—GZ17-6.02.
Since 2015, West has helped raise over $45 million in equity capital to support Genzada’s efforts.
In addition to his role at Genzada, West serves as the chief executive officer of Hyatt Life Sciences, a nutraceutical manufacturing and sales company with proprietary formulations intended for health, wellness and dietary support. He is also currently chairman of the board of GeoChemicals, LLC.
West holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Sterling College. He earned his juris doctor degree from Vermont Law School.
Chief Scientific Officer
With more than two decades of experience helping shepherd promising news drugs through development, Dr. Proniuk remembers what first drew him to the high-risk, high-reward world of global drug development. “At university, I became interested with the design, formulation and efficacy of the drugs we buy at the pharmacy,” he says. “I found it quite interesting because it is so cross-disciplinary—it involves material sciences, biology, medicine, and working with some of the top clinicians in the world. Every day, it is something different, and the caliber of people I have the opportunity to deal with on a regular basis makes it so interesting.”
During his tenure as chief development officer at New Jersey-based Arno Therapeutics, he became particularly interested in oncology drug development.
His interest to develop novel oncology therapies motivated Dr. Proniuk to lend his expertise to drug investigators like Genzada—helping them navigate the scientific rigors and scope of drug development from technical operations and clinical trials to regulatory guidance and the scale-up and launch of next-generation dosage forms.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Proniuk has held leadership positions at Neuraptive, Arno Therapeutics, Neurocrine Bioscience and Cima Labs. He holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Arizona, an MBA in Entrepreneurship from San Diego State University, and a Diplom (FH) in Chemical Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Isny, Germany.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Born and raised in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Gene Zaid was determined to make his way to the United States to pursue an education. Seeing the suffering and rudimentary medical care in the camp, he was drawn to medicine and had a keen interest in the traditional, age-old remedies to treat a host of ailments—even cancer.
His long-held dream of coming to U.S. to pursue an education came true, and he wasted no time pursuing two of his passions, chemistry and math—earning a bachelor’s degree in both from Kansas Wesleyan, followed by a master’s degree and PhD in chemistry from Wichita State University.
In 1983, Zaid founded JACAM Chemicals. Like many other disruptors (Apple, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Disney, and Dell), his start-up venture began in his garage and quickly grew into one of the most respected companies in the oil and gas industry. Over the next 20 years, he earned more than 50 patents for his unique inventions.
Despite his success, Zaid never lost his passion for medicine and its ability to ease human suffering. Remembering the medicinal plants of his youth—plants that have been used for centuries throughout the Middle East—he began to investigate them. Extracting components from plants known for their healing properties such a black calla lily, he synthesized them and combined them in a unique formulation that has shown efficacy against many types of cancer in preclinical studies.
After selling his oil and gas company, Zaid formed Genzada Pharmaceuticals in 2010. Today, he devotes his time, knowledge and resources to eliminating cancer and other serious diseases. He currently holds eight patents for his novel pharmaceutical applications, and under his leadership, the company’s first anti-cancer agent, GZ17-6.02, is now undergoing Phase I clinical trials.