Chief Executive Officer
Mr. John Bencich is an experienced financial executive who has spent over 20 years guiding financial and corporate strategy in the life sciences and technology industries. Before his appointment to Chief Executive Officer in 2020, Mr. Bencich served as Achieve Life Sciences Chief Financial and Operating Officer. Prior to joining Achieve Life Sciences in 2017, John served as CFO of OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded biotechnology company. Before joining OncoGenex in 2014, John served as CFO of Integrated Diagnostics and Allozyne, both private VC-backed companies. Earlier he served as the CFO and Treasurer of Trubion Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded biotechnology company where he helped complete the successful sale of the company to Emergent BioSolutions. Prior to his role at Trubion, he led the global financial operations for Onyx Software Corporation, a publicly traded software company through its sale to Battery Ventures. John started his career at Ernst & Young LLP. He graduated from the University of San Diego with a BA in Accounting, earned his MBA from Seattle University and was a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Washington for 17 years.
Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mr. Stewart has served as Achieve’s Chairman and as a director since Achieve was founded in May 2015. Mr. Stewart is also a founder and a director of Ricanto Limited, a pharmaceutical asset optimization company, since 2009. Mr. Stewart has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Renown Pharma Limited, a central nervous system company focused on Parkinson’s disease, since 2016. Prior to Achieve, Mr. Stewart was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Huxley Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a single-purpose central nervous system company, during 2009, prior to Huxley Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s acquisition by BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.
Mr. Stewart was Chief Executive Officer of Brabant Pharma Limited, a single-purpose central nervous system company, from 2013 to 2014 prior to Brabant Pharma’s acquisition by Zogenix Inc. He was a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Amarin Corporation plc, a central nervous system company focused on Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, from 2000 to 2007. Mr. Stewart was a co-founder and Chief Financial Officer, and later Chief Business Officer, of SkyePharma plc, a drug delivery company specializing in controlled release formulations, and held such positions from 1995 to 1998. Mr. Stewart holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Bath.
Cindy Jacobs, Ph.D., M.D.
President and Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Jacobs is an experienced executive in drug development with expertise in several indications and over 30 years’ experience in Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Jacobs has achieved regulatory success in several product approvals. Dr. Jacobs currently serves on the Board of Directors of Achieve Life Sciences, Inc., Pacylex Pharmaceuticals Inc., and HiberCell Inc. Prior to joining Achieve Life Sciences as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer in 2017, Dr. Jacobs served as OncoGenex’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer since August 2008, and had been Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of OncoGenex Technologies Inc. from September 2005 to August 2008. From 1999 to July 2005, Dr. Jacobs served as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Clinical Development of Corixa Corporation. Prior to 1999, Dr. Jacobs held Vice President, Clinical Research positions at two other biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. Jacobs received her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Montana State University, her Master’s degree and Ph.D. degree in Veterinary Pathology/Microbiology from Washington State University and an M.D. degree from the University of Washington Medical School. She has in-depth biotechnology experience in preclinical development, pharmacokinetic/drug metabolism studies, toxicology studies, clinical operations, Phase 1-4 trials in a variety of therapeutic areas, regulatory affairs, biostatistics, data management, medical information and quality assurance. Based on her preclinical work at Immunex Corporation, she is one of two inventors on the patent for Enbrel.
Dr. Anthony Clarke
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Clarke has served as Achieve’s Chief Scientific Officer and as a member of Achieve’s board of directors since 2015. Dr. Clarke is a founder and director of Ricanto Limited since 2009. From 2016 to the present, Dr. Clarke has been Chief Scientific Officer of Renown Pharma Limited. Dr. Clarke was Chief Scientific Officer of Huxley Pharmaceuticals, Inc. during 2009, prior to Huxley Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s acquisition by BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. Prior to Achieve, Dr. Clarke served as Chief Scientific Officer of Brabant Pharma Limited from 2013 to 2014 prior to Brabant Pharma’s acquisition by Zogenix Inc. Dr. Clarke served as Company Secretary of Alexza UK Ltd. and as Vice President International Development Operations of Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc., a pharmaceutical development company, holding both positions from 2008 to 2009. Dr. Clarke served as the Vice President, Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs at Amarin Corporation from 2005 to 2008. In addition, Dr. Clarke was Senior Director, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, of Cephalon Europe and as Senior Director, Worldwide Pain Management, of Cephalon, Inc. from 2000 to 2004. Dr. Clarke held a number of management roles in other pharmaceutical companies prior to 2000 as well as academic posts and honorary academic posts. Dr. Clarke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and a Ph.D. in psychopharmacology from the University of London. He was a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (UK) and is a current Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (UK).
Executive VP, Commercial
Ms. Jaime Xinos has more than 20 years of commercial experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. She is an inspirational thought leader highly skilled in translating science into business as well as developing commercial strategies for specialty products across all stages of the product development continuum. Jaime currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Commercial at Achieve Life Sciences, which she joined in 2017. Prior to her current role, Ms. Xinos was Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications at OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, an oncology biopharmaceutical company she initially joined as Senior Director, Global Oncology Commercial Development in 2010. Prior to OncoGenex, Ms. Xinos held various commercial roles in marketing, commercial development, and sales at Pfizer, Novartis, and Abbott Laboratories. She holds an undergraduate degree in Communications and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) both from the University of Illinois.