Frontage Leadership


1 Song

Song Li, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Song Li founded Frontage Laboratories in 2001 with the ambition of building a client-focused organization to help solve the most complex drug development challenges. Prior to Frontage, Dr. Li held management positions at Great Valley Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth. During this time, he led numerous projects related to the development of pharmaceutical products.

Dr. Li has authored more than 15 scientific publications spanning a wide range of topics, including chiral separations, drug-protein interactions, pharmacokinetics, and analytical chemistry. Importantly, Dr. Li has been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the "Realizing the American Dream" award from the Pennsylvania Welcoming Society and the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award from the AABDC.

Dr. Li earned a doctor of philosophy degree in analytical chemistry from McGill University and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Zhengzhou University in China.

1 Zeke

Zeke Li, MD, Senior Vice President, China Operations

Dr. Zeke Li is responsible for global project management functions and the company’s corporate strategy.  As one of the founders and board members of Frontage, Dr. Li has more than 20 years of related experience that began with post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to Frontage, he served as Group Leader, Preclinical and Pharmacology for Scios Inc., a Johnson and Johnson company. In recent years, Dr. Li has interacted extensively with Chinese biopharmaceutical companies on novel and generic development projects. With in-depth experience in research and development of small molecules, peptides and protein drugs, he has authored and co-authored more than 40 scientific papers and patents.

Dr. Li received his medical degree and a master’s degree in pathology from Norman Bethune University of Medical Sciences in China. He earned a doctor of philosophy degree in pathology from McGill University.

1 Ron

Ron Connolly, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development

As Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Mr. Connolly oversees the company’s growth initiatives through acquisition of new technologies and services, partnerships with clients and service providers, and business development efforts. He has been closely involved with the company’s business, technical and regulatory operations since joining the company shortly after its inception, serving in management roles of increasing responsibility. Ron has been instrumental in helping clients to develop new drug candidates throughout the IND process and facilitating the technical transfer of formulation processes from Frontage.  

Prior to Frontage, Mr. Connolly was Technical Affairs Manager for Flavine North America, where he provided technical and GMP oversight to active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers in Europe, China and India developing products and regulatory filings for US FDA submission, including significant new API manufacturer approvals for critical care products. Ron helped companies prepare for FDA pre-approval inspections and resolve inspection findings and application deficiency letters. He also worked for more than 5 years at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ ESI Lederle division as a product development engineer and project manager for injectable solution, suspension and emulsion formulations. As part of his efforts at Wyeth, Ron served on GMP task forces that solved significant regulatory hurdles for GMP manufacturing operations.

Mr. Connolly began his career in active pharmaceutical ingredient development and GMP manufacturing at Rhone-Poulenc Rhorer. Ron is a recognized CMC expert, supporting FDA pre-IND meetings, regulatory interactions and facility inspections, providing training and consultation to Frontage’s clients. He earned a bachelors of science degree in Chemical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

1 Azhar

Azhar Kalim, Vice President of Business Development, Strategic Client Management, Marketing

Azhar Kalim is Vice President of Business Development. Bringing nearly 20 years of experience in global contract research services, he leads the company’s business development efforts and oversees the team responsible for this area.

Before joining Frontage in 2012, Mr. Kalim was Vice President of Global Business Development for Lambda Therapeutic Research. There, he led global sales, bids, contracts and proposals teams and managed the company’s key accounts. Prior to Lambda, Mr. Kalim served as General Manager and Vice President of Global Business Development for Qualia Clinical Services. Mr. Kalim began his career at MDS Pharma Services, where he spent 12 years holding scientific, project management and business development roles that spanned clinical, bioanalytical, central laboratory and data management functions.

Mr. Kalim is currently a masters of business administration candidate at Creighton University. He earned a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of Montreal.

1 Dongmei

Dongmei Wang, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and General Manager, CMC Services

Dr. Dongmei Wang is General Manager of Frontage’s CMC services group. With more than 20 years of pharmaceutical development experience, Dr. Wang’s CMC oversight spans organic synthesis, formulation development, GMP analytical testing, and GMP manufacturing of clinical trial materials. Prior to joining Frontage, Dr. Wang served as the Director of Analytical at NovaDel Pharma Inc., where she led teams in providing support for NDA product development, clinical supplies manufacturing, CMC sections of regulatory filings, and technology transfer to commercial manufacturing sites.

Prior to NovaDel, Dr. Wang headed pharmaceutical analysis and control functions at Therics Inc. in product development for 510(k) and IND filings. Earlier in her career, Dr. Wang was a lecturer at the Chinese Academy of Science.

Dr. Wang earned a doctor of philosophy degree in chemistry with honors from Iowa State University. She received a master’s of science degree in chemical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Peking University in China.

1 John

John Lin, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Bioanalytical and Biologics Services

As Senior Vice President, Bioanalytical and Biologics Services, Dr. John Lin leads operations for the company's global bioanalytical labs. Before joining Frontage, he served as a business leader in AstraZeneca’s global drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) division. Prior to AstraZeneca, Dr. Lin was Laboratory Director for Avantix Laboratories.

With more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Lin's current research focus is in the area of bioanalytical method development and validation, dry blood spot (DBS) sampling with LC-MS/MS analysis, and biomarker quantification using LC-MS/MS. He has contributed to more than 20 research publications covering the development and validation of LC-MS/MS methods for the determination of small and large molecules in biological matrices, four book chapters and one technical patent. He is the invited reviewer for several international journals including the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biomedical Analysis (JPBA) and Journal of Chromatography B (JCB).

Dr. Lin earned a doctor of philosophy degree in analytical chemistry from Dalhousie University in Canada. He received a master’s degree in analytical chemistry from Yunnan University and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Fuzhou Branch School of Jiangxi Normal College.  Dr. Lin completed post-doctoral research in pharmacokinetics and metabolism at the College of Pharmacy and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Ohio State University.

1 Abdul

Abdul Mutlib, Ph.D., Vice President of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

Dr. Abdul Mutlib is Vice President of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, and leads operations for this service group.  Prior to joining Frontage in 2010, he held director-level roles within drug metabolism teams at Wyeth and Pfizer. Earlier in his career, he held scientific positions on the drug metabolism teams at Hoechst-Roussel and DuPont-Merck.  With more than 20 years of experience in drug metabolism and analytical chemistry, Dr. Mutlib’s research includes application of various analytical techniques and stable isotope labeled compounds in elucidating structures of metabolites and metabolic pathways; mass spectrometry; qualitative and quantitative NMR; metabolism-mediated toxicities; reactive metabolites; phase II metabolism; drug-drug interactions; and toxicogenomics. He has published more than sixty papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Mutlib earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a doctor of philosophy degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Sydney in Australia. He completed post-doctoral fellowships at Universities of Washington and British Columbia.

1 Harry

Harry Zhao, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Bioanalytical Services

Dr. Zhao is Senior Vice President, Bioanalytical Services. A Frontage employee since its founding, Dr. Zhao established the company’s bioanalytical laboratory functions and currently manages the information technology infrastructure, facilities and service of bioanalytical laboratories. He is responsible for assuring facilities and instrumentation are maintained and operated under the highest standards and meet international compliance standards.

Prior to Frontage, Dr. Zhao was as senior scientist working on the development of mass spectrometers for Spectru Medix Corporation. Earlier, he worked for Ames Laboratory in the research department. Dr. Zhao began his career as a chemistry instructor at Zhengzhou University in China.

Dr. Zhao received a doctor of philosophy degree in chemistry from Iowa State University. He earned a masters and bachelor’s degree of science in physical chemistry from Zhengzhou University.

MW Headshot

Michael S. Willett, PharmD, RAC, President of Clinical Services

Dr. Willett, President of Frontage’s Clinical Services, is responsible for the company’s US clinical operations. In 1994, he established Advanced Biomedical Research, Inc. (ABR), a Phase I-II clinical CRO which was later acquired by Frontage in 2008. He left Frontage in 2009 to start a clinical and research consultancy, Ready Clinical LLC, where he provided strategic regulatory, clinical and pharmacokinetic consultation and analysis services in support of early phase clinical development programs.

Dr. Willett has authored more than 20 scientific publications and has been an invited speaker internationally on regulatory and clinical research topics. He has been a sub-investigator on more than 400 Phase I-II clinical trials involving a wide range of compounds and has been involved in regulatory submissions for multiple new product approvals. Prior to working within contract research organizations, Dr. Willett held clinical research positions and was involved in major cardiovascular and metabolic product approvals and launches at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Marion Laboratories.

Dr. Willett earned his Doctorate in Pharmacy and Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degrees with Honors from the University of Illinois, and completed a post-PharmD residency in adult internal medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas School of Medicine and Truman Medical Center.