Core Team


JeffrEY Missling

Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Jeff is the founder and CEO of SpineThera. He has built SpineThera as a semi-virtual company with in-house formulation development and pilot plant operations and contracted services for all supporting functions. Jeff has further established a world class team of clinical and regulatory consultants (C-level and FDA director level). Mr. Missling has an extensive background in formulation, preclinical, and clinical development of polymeric, sustained release products including biodegradable microspheres, ophthalmic implants, drug coated medical devices, and biodegradable implants. Before founding SpineThera, Jeff led the formulation development and clinical study manufacturing of a sustained release steroid implant for ocular administration that was licensed to Merck. A chemical engineer trained at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jeff has spent his career developing functional polymeric materials including polymeric batteries, medical devices, and sustained-release drug products.

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Mark Payne

Chief Financial Officer

Mark is a seasoned executive with over 35 years of experience, focusing on financial and operational areas.  He has been the Chief Financial Officer for 3 public companies (after leading the Initial Public Offerings for ValueVision/Evine, Famous Dave’s BBQ and Redline Performance Products), successfully completed secondary offerings and numerous private placements.  His background and experience focuses on emerging businesses in many industries with revenues from $0 to $50 million. He is now consulting as a fractional executive to emerging companies to assist in areas including overall strategy and planning, capital formation, projections/budgets/forecasts, cash flow planning, fund raising guidance including messaging and pitch decks, and operational improvements, including analytics, dashboards and KPI’s.  Mark received his degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota and began his career at Arthur Andersen & Co, leaving as an audit manager.



Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Houghton was formerly the Chief Medical Officer at Xenome, Anesiva, and Orphan Medical, and completed his Anesthesiology residency at Sydney University, Sydney, Australia. Bill provides guidance and insight to optimize SpineThera's pre-clinical and clinical study plans, and defines product requirements from the clinical perspective.

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Executive Business Advisor

Mr. Lopez has over 30 years of leadership experience in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, including public and private companies, and within commercial, development, and financial operations. Prior positions include President, Ophthalmology Division for SurModics, Inc., CEO of Valley Forge Pharmaceuticals, and President, North American Surgical for Bausch and Lomb. Paul's earlier experience includes leadership roles at Pharmacia & Upjohn, Monsanto and Johnson & Johnson.  

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Emily Meyering, M.S.

Vice President of Research & Development

Emily is an experienced formulation and polymer chemist with a focus on drug-eluting coatings, hydrogels and implants. Ms. Meyering is also skilled in small molecule and polymer synthesis for medical applications. She has significant expertise in developing novel animal models for use in new therapy testing both for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Her passions include the Biodesign unmet needs analysis for new technologies and intellectual property. Previously, Emily has led technical teams as a Principal Research Scientist at both Minnetronix and American Medical Systems. Prior experience includes positions as a Senior Scientist at SurModics and Associate Scientist at Medtronic. She has an M.S. Organic Chemistry at the University of California - San Diego and B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of St. Thomas.


Pamela payne

Quality Assurance Manager

Pam is a professional leader in the pharmaceutical industry, with years of experience in analytical development and cGMP stability testing of R&D and commercial products. Her experience includes small molecule orally disintegrating and abuse deterrent formulations. She is also versed in cGMP/ PAI regulatory audits and writing CMC sections for a variety of global submission documents.  Pam is an ASQ certified Quality Auditor (cQA).  Previously, Pam was a group leader and laboratory manager for CIMA Labs, Inc. MN. She holds a BA from St. Olaf in Northfield, MN.


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Celeste has over 12 years of experience with USP testing and quality control in pharmaceuticals for raw materials and finished products. She also has experience with method development and quality assurance. Additionally, she has experience in federal regulation compliance. Celeste has worked as a chemist in several industries including pharmaceuticals, environmental testing, and metallurgy. She graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Minnesota State University, Mankato.


Henry Meyer

Sr. Development Engineer

Henry is an experienced chemical engineer with expertise in polymer synthesis, formulation and structure-property characterization. He also has experience in process development, equipment design and commissioning and scale-up. Henry has a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin.


Lee Hedlund

Manufacturing Engineering Technician II

Lee has 4 years of experience working in an ISO 17025 accredited lab.  He has knowledge in equipment operations and maintenance as well as quality systems.  Lee’s previous roles include a technician III at Valspar where he performed tests and evaluations of coatings, and a research chemist at 3M’s Medical Solution Division where he worked on product development.  Lee has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. 





Board Member

John Foster has more than 30 years of executive management experience and proven expertise in developing and bringing specialty pharmaceuticals and drug-device combination products to market. Mr. Foster is currently CEO and Chairman of NTF Therapeutics. He was previously the founder and CEO of CNS Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and marketing intrathecal drugs for neurological disorders and pain. CNS was sold to Covidien/Mallinckrodt (October 2012). Mr. Foster also serves as Vice Chairman of Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

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Board Member

Jerry is a successful entrepreneur who built and sold a branded food products company valued at over $300 million.

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Board Member

Wayne has spent his career as a business owner and operator in the life science industry and currently owns ProMed Molded Products and ProMed Pharma LLC.