President: Mark Robbins, J.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Robbins is a biopharmaceutical drug development professional with over 30 years of broad-based drug development and commercialization experience in both start-up and fully integrated pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies. His therapeutic area expertise includes CNS, cardiovascular, oncology, endocrine/metabolic, women’s heath, and diagnostics. Dr. Robbins is President of Kodiak Strategic Consultants and serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Bullet Biotechnology, an immunotherapy company. Prior to these roles, he served in senior management positions at Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Certus International, and Mallinckrodt and has had management responsibility overseeing all areas of Research and Development, Clinical Development, Regulatory Affairs, manufacturing, and supply chain functions. He has also implemented regulatory/clinical strategies leading to many successful NDA/BLA approvals. His business development expertise includes conducting pharmaceutical due diligence activities for in-licensing and out-licensing new pharmaceutical products as well as negotiation of licensing agreements. Dr. Robbins is a past Chair of the Food and Drug Law section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and taught Food and Drug law at various law schools. He received his B.S. degree in Biochemistry from UCLA, his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and his J.D. magna cum laude from Saint Louis University.
Vice President of R&D: Steve Elrod, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.
Dr. Elrod is an accomplished executive with extensive scientific and management experience in complex domestic and multinational pharmaceutical organizations. His expertise spans all areas of drug discovery and development including preclinical, clinical, project management, CMC, technical assessment, and strategic planning. He also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions. Dr. Elrod has managed drug discovery, drug development, and lifecycle management programs in both fully integrated and semi-virtual drug development environments. He has provided leadership, technical input, and oversight in the design and execution of multiple drug development programs resulting in the submission of 28 New Drug Applications (NDAs) and 20+ currently marketed products. These product span multiple therapeutic areas including CNS, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, ophthalmology, endocrine, and oncology. He has 35+ years of pharmaceutical leadership experience including tenures at Bristol-Myers, Alcon Laboratories, 3M Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Laboratories, and Upsher-Smith Laboratories. Dr. Elrod is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Chief Financial Officer: Kathleen Larrimer Beckmann, M.B.A.
Ms. Beckmann has been a project management and business development consultant for sixteen years. She has experience in finance, operations, marketing, strategic planning, and training. Her clients have included a leading subscription health website, a start-up telecommunications firm, a global insurance provider, the managed care arm of a major metropolitan hospital, and the city of New York. Most recently, she has worked with BioGenerator in St. Louis in several capacities including budget analysis, grant administration, and the creation of a document management system. Prior to consulting, Ms. Beckmann worked in product management and financial analysis in the consumer banking industry. She received her M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991 and her B.A. (Honors) from Princeton University in 1985.
Director of R&D: Arvind Raghavan, Ph.D.
Dr. Raghavan brings several years of experience managing preclinical safety and efficacy studies for biologicals and small molecule therapeutics and managing strategic alliances with biotech and pharmaceutical companies. His expertise includes postdoctoral research in opioid receptor pharmacology and early-stage development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. His most recent positions include Director of R&D and Strategic Alliances at Diamedica, Advisor to the University of Minnesota’s Venture Center, and Director of Strategic Alliances at Signum Biosciences.
Advisor and Board Member: Rajesh Devraj, Ph.D.
Dr. Devraj has over 18 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in drug discovery and development, business development, and R&D strategy. His expertise ranges the spectrum of the drug discovery and development process, including discovery research, preclinical development, IND preparation, design and conduct of early-stage clinical trials, business development, and negotiating/closing new collaborative agreements and asset deals. Dr. Devraj is currently CSO of Padlock Therapeutics and Advisor for Atlas Ventures and serves as a board member and advisor for early-stage biotech companies. He was previously President & CEO of Euclises Pharmaceuticals and has also served as Senior Vice President of Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, where he had responsibility for the company’s strategic planning and business development for its kinase cancer drug pipeline. Prior to Deciphera, he was Senior Vice President, Head of Global Scientific & Portfolio Strategy, at Jubilant Drug Discovery & Development. Dr. Devraj spent 14 years in positions of increasing responsibility within Global R&D at Pfizer and at legacy Pharmacia and Searle companies. He has led multiple teams that have advanced eight drug candidates to clinical trials. He received his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Duquesne University and completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship at Purdue University.
Co-Founder, Advisor and Board Member: Max Baker, Ph.D.
Dr. Baker serves as Associate Professor (with tenure 1994-present) in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. He is the inventor of Tansna’s technology. His research interests involve the metabolism, synthesis, and stabilities of drug compounds having anesthetic/sedative effects. His expertise centers on the application of fluorine substituents on drug molecules where such substituents have known advantages for the central nervous system (CNS). This has included work on the fluorinated anesthetic sevoflurane and the synthesis of fluorinated ether compounds. Currently, he is applying his efforts to the creation of novel CNS drugs with improved anticonvulsant activity. Dr. Baker has consulted for AstraZeneca and American Biosciences and has prior experience with start-up formation. He previously served as Assistant Professor (1989-1994) and Associate Research Scientist (1984-1989) within the University of Iowa Department of Anesthesia. From 1983-1984 he was a Research Associate, and from 1980-1983 he served as a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Anesthesiology at the Mayo College of Medicine. He obtained his M.S. (1978) and Ph.D. (1980) in Pharmacology from the University of Georgia, Athens, and his B.S. in Biology (1975) from Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA.
Board Member: Robert Karr, M.D.
Dr. Karr has broad experience in the drug discovery and development process, including discovery/preclinical research, IND preparation, interactions with the FDA, the design and conduct of clinical trials, and investor relations. He is currently President and CEO of Vasculox, Inc., and of Antegrin Therapeutics, Inc. Previously, he served as President of Idera Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MA) from 2005-2007, and he continues to serve on Idera’s Board of Directors. From 2005-2011, he was a Director of GTx, Inc., a biotechnology company based in Memphis, TN. From 2000-2004, he was a senior executive in Global Research and Development for Pfizer, where he served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Management from 2003-2004. Prior to joining Pfizer, he served as Vice President of Research and Development Strategy for Warner-Lambert Company. From 1991-1999, he held roles of increasing responsibility in Discovery Research at G.D. Searle, including project leader, department leader, and co-interim leader of Discovery Research. Dr. Karr completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and served as a faculty member at both the University of Iowa College of Medicine and Washington University School of Medicine. He received his B.S. (Honors) from Southwestern University in 1971 and his M.D (with highest honors) from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1975.
Board Member: Charles Bolten
Mr. Bolten is a Vice President at BioGenerator, a seed stage investment group in St. Louis. He has worked in research at Monsanto, G.D. Searle, Pharmacia Corporation, and Pfizer. Mr. Bolten has held positions on projects in all phases of drug discovery, from new target validation to first in human. At the time of his recruitment to BioGenerator, Mr. Bolten held the position of Principal Scientist and Project Leader in the Pfizer Exploratory Immunobiology group. He holds a B.A. from the University of Missouri, Columbia.