Our Team

Yow-Pin Lim, MD, PhD

Yow-Pin Lim, MD, PhD is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ProThera Biologics. He is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Brown University. Yow-Pin graduated from the Medical School at the Free University in Berlin, Germany. His dissertation research focused on the purification and characterization of the annexin family of calcium binding proteins in rat liver and hepatocellular carcinoma. This work earned him the doctoral degree (MD/PhD equivalent in the U.S.) magna cum laude. He came to the United States in 1990 for post-doctoral training in the Division of Medical Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Hixson. His training included the use of a variety of methods for protein study and immunochemistry, including purification and characterization of novel biomolecules in serum and liver. During his tenure at Rhode Island Hospital he generated unique monoclonal antibodies against plasma proteins and initiated research on a plasma serine protease inhibitor in inflammation and cancer. In 2001 he co-founded ProThera Biologics which is dedicated to the development of Inter-alpha Inhibitor Proteins (IAIP) as a prognostic biomarker and novel therapeutic for treating acute, severe inflammatory diseases.

During the past 15 years, he has made major contributions to the understanding of the role of IAIP in human physiology and in human disease. Through a series of collaborative studies, he has demonstrated the potential of IAIP for treating acute systemic inflammation/shock syndrome triggered by agents such as anthrax, dengue hemorrhagic fever and influenza and developed proprietary manufacturing processes for IAIP. Recently he has focused on the potential of the beneficial effects of IAIP in treating acute lung diseases such as severe pneumonia, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, ischemic stroke and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Denice Spero, PhD

Denice Spero, Ph.D. is the President and Chief Business Officer of ProThera Biologics. She started her career at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals where she led programs developing new drugs for Multiple Sclerosis. Her tenure at Boehringer led to the position of Vice President in the therapeutic areas of Immunology, Inflammation and Cardiovascular diseases. In this capacity she established and built an organization, at the interface of discovery and development, to assess and refine the developability of therapeutics prior to entering clinical development. Other subsequent positions include: Co-founder and President of Developing World Cures Inc.; Research Professor and co-Director of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics; and Vice President of Strategic Alliances at NsGene, Inc., a Danish and US-based biotechnology company developing an implantable technology producing therapeutic proteins for the treatment of severe neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Denice co-founded and leads the Rhode Island BioScience Leaders (BSL), a consortium of 30 biotechnology company CEOs. She has been recognized for her contributions to the biotherapeutic industry by both the business and academic community including: The Rhode Island BioScience Leaders Award, Rhode Island Women in Higher Education Award, The Women’s Industry Leader Award and “Women to Watch” by the Rhode Island Business Quarterly. Denice and her BSL co-founder were primarily responsible for initiating the first RI legislation that awarded state matching funding to bioscience and engineering company recipients of SBIR federal grants.

Denice holds a BA degree from Wheaton College, Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, an  MS degree from MIT in organic chemistry, a PhD from Brown University followed by completion of a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University.

Richard G. Horan

Richard Horan serves as Chairman of ProThera Biologics’ board of directors, having been involved with the company since inception by way of investment through the Slater Technology Fund. In 2018, Mr. Horan established Biograph Venture Development LLC. Based in Providence, RI, the firm is focused on seed/early stage, venture development in life sciences and biomedical technology. From 2002-2017, he was with the Slater Technology Fund, a state-sponsored venture capital fund, also based in Providence, where he served as Senior Managing Director and led Slater’s practice in life sciences. From 1986-2001, he was with Johnston Associates, based in Princeton, NJ, one of the early venture investors in life sciences and biotechnology. He began his career in the investment banking business in 1980, when he joined the Capital Markets Group of BankAmerica, San Francisco, CA.

While with Slater, Mr. Horan led the fund’s investments in numerous seed/early stage investments, typically serving as board member or observer, including: NABsys; Medrobotics; IlluminOss Medical; Cadent Therapeutics (formerly Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals); Tivorsan Pharmaceuticals; ProThera Biologics; CytoSolv (acquired by Semma Therapeutics); MindImmune Therapeutics; Medley Genomics; and CRE Medical. Previous portfolio companies have included: Afferent Corp.; EpiVax Inc.; Concordia Medical; and Genome Corp.

During his tenure in the venture capital business, Mr. Horan has served as CEO of several portfolio companies, including: Immunicon Corp. (acquired by Johnson & Johnson); Praelux Corp. (acquired by GE Healthcare); and M2S Inc. (acquired by Altaris Capital Partners).

Mr. Horan received his A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth.

Key Collaborators and Advisors


Steven Opal, MD: Professor of Medicine, Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University and former Chief of Infectious Diseases at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

Stavros Garantziotis, MD: National Institutes of Health/NIEHS/Medical Director Clinical Research Unit. Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center

Jay Steingrub, MD: Baystate Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine, Director Medical ICU, Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of medicine.

Gregory Jay, MD: Professor and Vice Chair for Research in Emergency Medicine, Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University and Rhode Island and Miriam Hospitals

Neuro inflammation: Stroke and Neonatal Brain Injury

Barbara Stonestreet, MD: Neonatologist, Women & Infants Hospital/ Professor, Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University

Neonatal inflammation

James F. Padbury, MD: Women & Infants Hospital/ Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. Chief of Neonatal Medicine

Hala Chaaban, MD: Assistant Professor in Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine.

Board of Directors

Richard Horan- ProThera Biologics Chairman and founder of Biograph Venture Development

Richard Andrews- CEO Azitra Inc.

Yow-Pin Lim- Founder, CEO ProThera Biologics

Douglas Hixson- Co-Founder ProThera Biologics