Ravi T. Achar
Ravi is the Founder and Chief Executive Oﬃcer of Semler Research Center, a leading Pharmaceutical R&D and Clinical Trials company based in Bangalore, India. He is also the Chief Executive Oﬃcer of Associated Industries, a long standing U.S. defense company, based in Los Angeles, CA.
With a diverse entrepreneurial background in M&A, Strategic Partnerships, Finance and International Business; Ravi has successfully led the establishment and growth of two very distinct and successful organizations. He is a global entrepreneur having conducted business in over 50 countries, establishing key government partnerships for Associated Industries in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. In 2008, he led the funding and launch of Semler Research Center, a leading drug development and clinical trials CRO, which under Ravi’s guidance and leadership employs over 300 of the brightest minds in Pharmaceutical drug development and clinical research. Since founding Semler Research Center, the company has received multiple FDA approvals and has been acknowledge by the scientific community for its leading research in the area of Stem Cell and Oncology.
Ravi is also an investor in a number of private and public companies. He was an early investor and served on the board of Innopharma for 6 years prior to its acquisition by Pfizer in 2014. He is also a advisory board member to Ocugen, a leading ophthalmic biotech company. He also currently sits on the board of Genzum Life Sciences a specialized generic drug development company.
Ravi holds a Bachelors of Mechanical and Electronics Engineering from RV College Bangalore and an MBA from Pace University School of Business New York. In 2014 Ravi was featured in an Executive Interview feature in CSQ Magazine and is a regular panelist at industry conferences.
Uday B. Kompella, PhD
Dr. Kompella is an Ocugen Co-founder and a member of the board. He is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ophthalmology, and Bioengineering at University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, with research interests in the areas of drug discovery, drug delivery, and nanotechnology for treating a variety of degenerative, neovascular, and inflammatory disorders including retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and cancers. Dr. Kompella is a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery. Also, he is an editor for the journals, Pharmaceutical Research and the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Dr. Kompella is a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Distinguished Teacher Award (University of Nebraska Medical Center), and Dean’s Mentoring Award (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus). He is also a recipient of the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research/Pfizer Ophthalmics/Carl Camras Translational Research Award in Ophthalmology. Dr. Kompella obtained his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Southern California.
Frank N. Leo
Mr. Leo is a consultant specializing in the pharmaceutical industry and private equity with over 30 years of experience in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Leo served as President and Group President of Sterile Technologies and Life Sciences at Cardinal Health. He joined Cardinal Health following its acquisition of the sterile pharmaceutical contract manufacturing company Automatic Liquid Packing (ALP), where he held various senior level positions including Chief Operating Officer during his 16-year career. At Cardinal Health he oversaw the growth of the biotechnology and life sciences group, which was later spun out to form Catalent Inc. Mr. Leo left Cardinal Health in 2004, but continued to serve as a retained advisor through 2005. Mr. Leo joined Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals where he served as CEO from 2006 to 2007, overseeing its sale for its Private Equity owners in 2007. Mr. Leo served as a Board Member of Rx Elite, Monogen, GeneraMedix, and Iogenetics and Capsugel. Mr. Leo is a serial Entrepreneur having been involved in business value creation and start-ups in the Sterile Drug, Biotechnology and Healthcare technology space.
Shankar Musunuri, PhD, MBA
Dr. Musunuri is the Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Ocugen, Inc. Dr. Musunuri is a seasoned biotech veteran with over 24 years of results-driven experience that includes advancing and commercializing a diverse portfolio of products for numerous companies ranging from “Big Pharma” to novel start-up biotechs. As a serial entrepreneur, Dr. Musunuri has raised upwards of $180 million in capital. Dr. Musunuri was the former President, Chief Executive Officer and board member of ioGenetics, Inc. Prior to ioGenetics, Dr. Musunuri was a Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer, and a board member of Nuron Biotech, Inc. Previously, Dr. Musunuri spent nearly fifteen years at Pfizer where he had held various positions of increasing leadership and responsibility. At Pfizer, his extensive experience in product launches and product life-cycle management included the most successful launch in vaccine history, Prevnar 13®, where he was played a key role as the Global Operations Team Leader. Prior to Pfizer, Dr. Musunuri worked for Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Musunuri has won numerous company, society and organizational awards.
Dr. Musunuri obtained his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy. He serves on the Advisory Board of Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Manish is Co-Founder and President of Innogenix Pharma, a generic pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing company focused on solid oral dosage formulations, based in Long Island, New York.
He was previously Director of Business Development at Epic Pharma, a generic pharmaceutical company and CMO. While at Epic Pharma, he lead the M&A sale process in which the company was sold to Humanwell Healthcare of China in 2016.
Manish is actively involved in middle market private equity and venture capital investing, in his capacity as CIO for a multi-family office. Areas of investment focus include: Generic pharmaceutical injectable, ophthalmic, topical, liquid, nasal, and solid oral dosage forms; Biotech from startup to public equity; Tech and consumer product industries.
Prior to his experience in pharmaceuticals, Manish spent several years in finance as an analyst and trader, working in investment banking and hedge funds. He has experience investing across a variety of asset classes and strategies.
Manish hold a Bachelors of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology from The Johns Hopkins University, and a Masters Degree in Financial Engineering from New York University.
Suha Taspolatoglu, MD
Dr. Taspolatoglu is the chief executive officer of the 105 years old Abdi Ibrahim Ilac Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., a market leader of the pharmaceutical sector in Turkey for nearly two decades. Dr. Taspolatoglu joined Abdi Ibrahim as the head of sales and marketing division in 2001 and became managing director of sales and marketing division six short years later. Prior to Abdi Ibrahim, he worked as the General Manager of Roche Turkey. Dr. Taspolatoglu, is a graduate of Ankara University Faculty of Medicine and served three years as a physician in the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Taspolatoglu, is a graduate of Ankara University Faculty of Medicine and served as a Physician in the Ministry of Health between 1986 and 1989.
Junge (John) Zhang, PhD
Dr. Junge (John) Zhang is the Founder, President, and CEO of Biopeptek, a company that specializes in the research and development of peptides. Since its founding in 2010, Dr. Zhang has established a company with over 50 experienced scientists and a state-of-the-art facility that is capable of producing high quality custom peptides for research and therapeutic uses. Through his many collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, Dr. Zhang is passionate about research to improve human health.
Prior to founding Biopeptek, Dr. Zhang was with the Janssen Pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson. During his 9-year tenure at J&J, Dr. Zhang held numerous scientific and management positions and led multiple development projects related to three antibody drugs that received FDA approval. Prior to J&J, Dr. Zhang was a Senior Chemist at Eisai USA.
Dr. Zhang earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Drexel University, a M.S. in chemistry from University of Louisiana, and a B.S. in material science from Wuhan University of Technology in China. Dr. Zhang was born and raised in Qingdao China and immigrated to the United States to pursue his graduate education.