Maria Villani, Inventor, Founder, CEO/President

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Maria Villani received her Medical Doctor degree from the world-renowned Russian State Medical University and her MBA degree from the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI. She is a member of the International Society of Dermatology,  Society for Investigative Dermatology, World Society of Anti-Aging Medicine, and Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures Society.

Maria Villani has dedicated her life to researching the effects of bioactive compounds and secondary metabolites of aquatic sponges. Her research and discoveries led to her expertise in harvesting and processing a rare variant of a fresh-water sponge into therapeutic compounds and products with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. She developed a patented platform technology used in products that address variety of skin and hair conditions. The novelty of her discovery and inventions were validated by 19 patents that were granted and are recognized and protected in 17 countries.


Scientific and Medical Advisory Board


William Fenical, Ph. D., Scientific Adviser

Distinguished Professor in CMBB at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Prof. Fenical is world-renown expert in chemistry of marine organisms and utilization of marine-derived compounds for the treatment of various human diseases.

Professor Fenical conducted several studies with the Villani's VSM, VPT300 and DMT310 compounds in powder and liquid extracts forms at Center for Marine Biotechnology & Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California. The studies included taxonomical evaluation, chemical analysis with a goal to identify the individual components of the extracts and to perform semi-quantitative analysis of the major groups of compounds present in the powder as well as to investigate batch-to-batch chemical consistency of sponge compounds harvested in different years. 


Lorrie Klein, M.D., Medical Adviser

Dr. Klein is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in cosmetic dermatology and is among the top 1% of all physicians in the Black Diamond level with Allergan. She also ranks among the top 50 of all types of physicians in the United States using these treatments. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, chaired the Orange County Skin Cancer Task Force of the American Cancer Society, and is a member of the Dermatology Society of Orange County and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.

Dr. Klein has served as assistant clinical professor in dermatology at the UCI Medical School. 

Dr. Klein has earned a reputation that sets her apart as a board-certified dermatologist.

In her medical practice,  she has been offering the Villani Treatment to her patients since 2010. 


John Garruto, Ph. D., Formulating Chemist

John Garruto is a former Vice President of Formulation Development at SkinMedica, Inc., (Div. of Allergan) and is the developer of SkinMedica’s successful TNS line. John has worked as a formulating chemist and technical consultant to the personal care industry for 40 years, and is also the founder of Free Radical Technology. He has been a featured lecturer to the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, HBA, Beauty Industry West, Nutracon, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, The International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference (IECSC) and other professional and private organizations. John is a past chairman of the California Chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and recipient of their National Chapter Merit Award. He is also a Charter Member and one of the founding Board Members of the Beauty Industry West. John Garruto has been working with Maria Villani as a formulating chemist since 2003.


Business Advisory Board

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David F. Hale

David Hale is Chairman and CEO of Hale BioPharma Ventures, LLC, a private company focused on the formation and development of biotechnology, specialty pharma, diagnostic and medical device companies.   He is also a Founder and Managing Director of Dermata Therpeutics, LLC, a development stage biotechnology company founded in late 2014 focused on making major advancements in the treatment of serious diseases treated by dermatologists, with a focus on inflammation and immunology.  . He was involved in the formation and development of SkinMedica and served as Executive Chairman and Chairman from 2001 through the Company’s significant revenue growth and the sale of the Company to Allergan in 2012.

Mr. Hale served as Chairman of Santarus, Inc. prior to its sale to Salix Pharmaceuticals in 2014, Micromet prior to its sale to Amgen in 2012 and Somaxon Pharmaceuticals prior to its sale to Pernix in 2013.

Mr. Hale is a serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the formation and/or development of a number of life sciences companies.  In addition to the companies above, these include Hybritech, Viagene, Gensia Sicor, CancerVax, Neurelis, MDRejuvena, Clarify Medical, Adigica Health, Oncternal and Neurana.  He serves on the board of three public companies, Conatus, BIOCEPT and Cassiopea. 

David Hale, with his extensive knowledge of dermatology space and track record of successful business, brings invaluable expertise to Villani.


Margarethe F. Wiersema, Ph. D.

Margarethe Wiersema holds the Dean’s Professorship in Strategic Management at The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine. She has an MBA and Ph.D. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.  

Professor Wiersema is internationally recognized as one of the leading experts on corporate strategy, CEO succession, and corporate governance with more than 50 publications and over 7000 citations and her research has appeared in the New York Times, The Financial Times, The Economist, Fortune, Business Week, the Washington Post, and The Economist Intelligence Unit for their “Executive Briefing”.  She has published extensively in the premier journals in the field including the Harvard Business Review, Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, and Administrative Science Quarterly.  She serves as Associate Editor of the Strategic Management Journal, the premier academic journal in the strategy field and on the Senior Editorial Board of the Global Strategy Journal.  She served on the board of directors of the Strategic Management Society (2006-2010) and was Past President of the Corporate Strategy and Governance Group of the Strategic Management Society (2006-2008).  She was elected as a Strategic Management Society Fellow in 2012 for making significant contributions to the theory and practice of strategic management. 

Margarethe Wiersema has been involved with Villani advising on corporate strategy since 2010.

Todd R. Smith

Todd Smith is an International Tax Services Partner with KPMG, LLP, and also serves as a Director of Picotes, Inc.  His areas of focus at KPMG include assisting global multi-national corporations with their international supply chains from an indirect tax compliance and cost savings perspective. 

Todd Smith has assisted numerous companies in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and health and beauty industries with their global expansion, market entry and supply chain from an operational, systems and tax efficiency standpoint.  He is actively involved in global trade policy through his committee involvement at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, France, and the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior to joining KPMG Todd worked in the finance, technology and operational functions for several private and publicly traded healthcare companies.  He also was a co-founder and held c-level positions at three venture capital backed companies.

Todd Smith, with his global perspective and operating experience brings great value to Villani.