Our Core Team

Sam Merchant

Co-Founder, Executive Chairman

Mr. Merchant is the founder of The Merchants Financial Group, Ltd. ("MFG"), a privately held capital investment company founded in 1986 and headquartered in Atlanta.  MFG focuses on identifying and developing international growth opportunities in multiple business sectors including healthcare, biotech, banking, commercial real estate, manufacturing, franchising and underwriting of traditional and alternative financial products.


Mr. Merchant is Chairman of his family’s Capital Trust and Fund, a position he has successfully served since 1982. Mr. Merchant has developed a meaningful network that includes Fortune 500 companies and businesses local to each region of the world.  He has partnered with global companies in complex business transactions and been instrumental in the growth of major franchise brands in multiple regions of the world.


As an active resident of Atlanta for many years, Mr. Merchant served on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board for seven years and was a founding member of Atlanta Vision 20/20. Each experience and position held, expanded Mr. Merchants knowledge and understanding, thus allowing him to easily adapt and prosper in all industries across the spectrum, including his key advisory roles resolving matters for his local governments and municipalities, on a political level.


Mr. Merchant, recognized for his effectiveness in Atlanta, served on President George W. Bush’s Advisory Board for Economic Development and the Small Business Sub-committee, for an outstanding 6 year tenure. Mr. Merchant has interacted with governments throughout the world at the highest levels and is a well-recognized and respected businessman, internationally.


Mr. Merchant also serves on the executive financial board for the World Stem Cell Summit (WSCS), which is regarded as one of the largest stem cell and regenerative medicine conferences, worldwide.


In January 2020, the Board of Directors for the Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) elected Mr. Merchant to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors for RMF.

Cheryl Baker, PhD

Scientific Founder and Director

Dr. Baker received her B.S. summa cum laude, in Chemistry from Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida) in 1994. In 1999, she received her PhD in Biochemistry from Texas Tech University. She then completed her post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Cancer Biology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.


From 2001-2003, she conducted research as an Instructor of Surgery at the Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Subsequently, she was an Assistant Professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.


She holds an Adjunct Professor position at the University of Central Florida Medical School. From 2005-2010, Dr. Baker served as Director of the Cancer Research Institute of MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando (formerly affiliated with Orlando Health). During her time at MD Anderson-Orlando, she established and led a team of master and doctoral students, research scientists, physician-scientists and professors in multi-disciplinary cancer research projects.


Dr. Baker has conducted cancer related research for over 20 years and is the recipient of research funding from local, state, and government agencies. Dr. Baker has published over 45 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and articles.

Nancy Cass, Esq.


Ms. Nancy Cass is a Director of BioCurity and has served in such capacity since June 2016. Ms. Cass received her JD from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Academic Scholarship and a BA with distinction from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a corporate and securities attorney and a FINRA-licensed investment banker - FINRA licenses 79, 7, 24 and 63. She is an active member of the Florida and Illinois bar. She has over 20 years securities law and transactional experience with public and private emerging growth and middle market companies and uses her depth of experience in transactional and securities law to provide added value for investment banking clients. Ms. Cass is Co-Founder and Principal of MerchantCass Advisors, LLC that serves as BioCurity’s Interim COO/President.

Mr. Jim Sergi

BioCurity Clinical Development Lead, President of CSSi LifeSciences

Mr. Jim Sergi is President of CSSi LifeSciences, a global CRO that specializes in advancing drugs and medical technologies from discovery to commercialization. He was the Founder and Managing Partner of Bay Tower Capital, a life sciences merchant bank and the Founder and CEO of ProED Communications, a healthcare services and drug development company. He is directly responsible for over 85 FDA approvals and over 250 medical device approvals. He serves as Director of Experimental Therapeutics at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, Associate Professor of Medical-Surgical Nursing at the Case Western Reserve University and Lecturer for Oncology at Cleveland State University. He serves as scientific reviewer for the NIH SBIR/STTR Programs and a scientific advisor and board member to numerous nonprofits, private equity and venture backed investment firms. He received his MS degree in Health Care Administration from Cleveland State University and MS degree in Nursing from University of Akron.

Heidi Nelson - Keherly, PhD

Vice President, Drug Discovery and Development, CSSi LifeSciences

Dr. Heidi Nelson-Keherly, PhD has over 20 years experience working with small and mid-size pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop their drug programs in support of Investigational New Drug (IND) submission. She has managed over 300 drug development programs spanning preclinical lead optimization, pharmacokinetic and safety studies, bioanalysis, process scale up and development, as well as CMC and GMP. During her career, she has been involved with over 1,000 drug development programs. In addition, Dr. Nelson-Keherly was responsible for several multi-therapeutic clinical research sites that participated in over 80 Phase I-IV clinical trials. Dr. Nelson-Keherly holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin.

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