At our February lunch, President and CEO Cedric Francois, MD, PhD, shared the inspiring success story of Crestwood, Ky.-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. He talked about his experiences with taking the pharmaceutical company public, as well as finding/attracting talent and securing funding.

Apellis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of a broad range of life-threatening or debilitating autoimmune diseases. Dr. Francois co-founded the company in September 2009, and it now has clinical and manufacturing operations all over the world. He also co-founded Potentia Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biotechnology company that operates as a subsidiary of Apellis, and has served as its President and CEO since 2001.

Dr. Francois earned his medical degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium and his PhD in physiology from the University of Louisville. Following postgraduate training in pediatric and transplant surgery, Dr. Francois served on the research team that performed the first successful hand transplant, of the Louisville Face Transplant Team, whose work supported hand transplantation in Lyon, France in 2005.