Krishnan (Nandu) Nandabalan Ph.D.
President and CEO
Over the past decade, Dr. Nandabalan has pioneered the application of big data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) to monitor emerging healthcare innovation through the assimilation and query of large data sets. He successfully led the spinout of BioXcel Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BTAI), and InveniAI, from parent company BioXcel LLC. InveniAI has successfully created an AI- and ML-powered platform that monitors drug targets, drugs, and healthcare products and technologies. Dr. Nandabalan is a serial entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including R&D, operations, and business development. He has extensive experience in M&A and in- and out-licensing. He has completed deals with key industry players such as AstraZeneca, Biogen, BMS, Daiichi Sankyo, GSK, J&J, Kyowa Kirin, Merck KGaA, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Organon, Otsuka, Pfizer, Pharmacia, Shionogi, and Takeda, among others.
He served as VP of Corporate Development at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, a trailblazer in pharmacogenomics and its widespread cceptance. Before this, he was Group Leader of the Functional Genomics Group at CuraGen Corp. He has 12 issued patents and published in leading journals such as Cell and Science. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Indian Institute of Science, India, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University, Connecticut.
Chief Business Officer
Mr. Kant is a passionate leader with over 15 years of experience driving organizational strategy, productivity and efficiency, P&L, competitive strategy, and building and leading global, cross-functional teams. Mr. Kant is responsible for managing external partners including IR/PR, marketing agencies for branding and positioning, and designing and implementing best practices and strategy to drive value for corporate stakeholders via industry collaborations. His extensive knowledge of competitive strategy, deal-making, and alliance management has led to the consummation of more than two-dozen significant transactions across the US, EU and Asian markets. He is highly focused and adept at delivering value to partners through technology solutions with a depth and breadth of knowledge spanning all major therapeutic areas and modalities impacting biopharma innovation. Mr. Kant has expert knowledge across adjacencies such as consumer healthcare, vaccines, animal therapeutics, and nutrition. He also played a key role raising both private and public capital for BioXcel LLC and its subsidiaries.
Prior to joining InveniAI, Mr. Kant played a significant role in the parent Company, BioXcel LLC, where he led the assessment and negotiation of numerous collaborations that expanded and strengthened the value proposition of big data analytics and AI tools across the pharmaceutical R&D value chain. Mr. Kant has forged strong relationships with key opinion leaders and industry executives with a focus on bringing people together to ultimately impact human health and wellness. Mr. Kant holds a B.Tech in Biotechnology.
Salvatore Alesci, MD, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Alesci has over 15 years of biopharma industry experience and is a highly regarded physician-scientist, science policy, and advocacy influencer. A dynamic and visionary enterprise leader, he has distinguished himself by transforming organizations, championing and managing complex projects, building high-performing cross-functional teams, and nurturing long-lasting relationships with leaders from various sectors of the healthcare ecosystem. He is currently serving as Chief Scientist and Strategy Officer for Beyond Celiac – the leading patient advocacy and research-driven celiac disease organization working to drive diagnosis, advance research, and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and a cure for a disease that affects approximately 1% of the world’s population, including his older daughter, Asia. Before joining InveniAI, he was Vice President and Head of R&D Global Patient and Scientific Affairs at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he enabled effective partnering with patients and their organizations throughout the drug life-cycle and drove plans to evolve the Shonan Research Center into a health innovation park. Dr. Alesci served in several Translational Medicine leadership roles at Wyeth, Pfizer, and Merck overseeing large and diverse drug portfolios spanning multiple therapeutic areas, including women’s health, musculoskeletal biology, immunology and rheumatology, and respiratory diseases. He also served on several executive committees, playing a pivotal role in portfolio review and prioritization, and facilitating scientific and medical alignment between research and business units to evaluate commercial opportunities. Dr. Alesci also worked at PhRMA as Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, to lead the association’s science advocacy and engagement efforts, serving as Chief Scientific and Medical Expert for input on biomedical policy issues.
Throughout his career, Dr. Alesci has provided expert scientific and medical advice to multiple organizations, authored over 50 publications and book chapters, presented at prestigious national and international meetings, and received recognition for research excellence, including two Special Acts of Service Awards by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Alesci received his M.D. (cum laude) and a Ph.D. in Experimental Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences from the University of Messina, School of Medicine (Italy), where he also did his clinical training in Endocrinology. He completed a Research Fellowship in Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Georgetown University. After his postgraduate training, Dr. Alesci spent almost a decade conducting cutting-edge basic and translational research on the interplay between the neuroendocrine and immune systems at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Sameer Sharma, M.Pharm., Ph.D.
Vice President, Translational Drug Discovery
Dr. Sharma is a seasoned drug discovery professional with over 18 years of rich experience spanning the development of therapeutics for multiple human disorders. He has expertise in AI-augmented scientific analysis and drug re-innovation and has been instrumental in applying big data tools to identify novel disease-drug combinations across major therapeutic areas, including rare diseases. Most recently, he was involved with the preclinical, translational research and development of BXCL501, which is the most advanced neuroscience clinical program for sister company BioXcel Therapeutics. He has a strong background in identifying novel therapeutic targets in a disease through the application of AI technology and validating targets through cell line and animal models leading to the generation of Proof of Concept (POC), IND filing, and further generating early clinical POCs. In addition to neuroscience, he has extensive experience conducting multi-year research focussed on auto-immune disorders, and respiratory and metabolic diseases. As a translational expert with a proven track record, he has provided high-level strategic insights and recommendations to the biopharma industry for developing novel drugs and prioritizing target-indication programs across multiple therapeutic areas. In his previous roles at Ranbaxy Research Laboratories and Daiichi Sankyo as Senior Group Leader, he has led and delivered various projects and collaborations and has provided scientific insights for multi-disciplinary drug discovery teams. He has four issued patents, authored two book chapters, has 17 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals to his credit, and is the referee for various international journals of repute. He holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Pharmacology and has been a recipient of several awards in the past for his outstanding achievements in his field.
Michael Aiello, CPA
Vice President, Finance and Accounting
Having worked for several life-science companies, he brings diverse financial management experience in executing financial plans with consistent success in improving performance and company value. He has a history of starting, growing, and improving profitability in small and medium-sized companies while positioning them for the next phase of growth. Mr Aiello began his career in public accounting with KPMG followed by financial leadership roles, most notably as CFO of Precision X-Ray, a manufacturer of biological lab equipment, where he helped achieve double digit revenue growth resulting in a substantial increase in enterprise value. As Corporate Controller of SurgiQuest, a medical device start-up, he helped to lead a $265 million acquisition of SurgiQuest after an initial public offering. Prior to that, he served in several financial leadership roles working for both private and publicly traded companies where he honed his skillset as a financial leader. He earned his degree in Accounting from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut. Michael is a Certified Public Accountant.
Anita Ganjoo, Ph.D.
Dr. Ganjoo is a marketing and corporate communications specialist with 10 years of experience. She has created, developed, and managed content for all corporate functions, including marketing, media, and investor relations, as well as developing and implementing corporate communications goals and strategies. She has primarily worked for start-ups that have grown through to IPO. She previously worked for BioXcel LLC, where she headed their corporate communications, and prior to this, she worked in scientific communications at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, a trailblazer in pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. She completed two Post-Doctoral Fellowships at Lund University, Sweden, and at The University of Reading, UK, where she also received her Ph.D. in Biotechnology. She is the author of numerous publications and a book chapter on the applications of aqueous two-phase systems in protein purification.
Himani Sharma, Ph.D.
VP, Discovery Collaborations
Dr. Himani Sharma has over a decade of experience in the area of strategic consulting, drug discovery, and creating artificial intelligence (AI) based platforms. At InveniAI, she has been instrumental in developing first-in-class analytical tools and AI based platforms including AlphaMeldTM to support biopharma and healthcare companies in making important strategic decisions. She has managed several projects that involve mapping future opportunities and life cycle management through reformulation and repurposing using real world data. She has successfully delivered on various projects for providing customized solutions for global licensing for both drug candidates and technology. She has over 30 publications and received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India and has been a recipient of several awards from organizations such as UNESCO, IUBMB, ASCB among others.
Amit Agrawal, Ph.D.
Global Head of Portfolio Strategy and Management, Novartis
Dr. Agrawal drives pharma industry’s largest clinical development portfolio. He joined Novartis in 2018 from Amgen where he was Head of Corporate Strategy. At Amgen, he was responsible for managing strategic planning processes and communications to the Board, company-wide resource allocation planning and transformation, and driving M&A (e.g., Amgen’s acquisition of Onyx) and capital investment projects. Prior to Amgen, he was at McKinsey and finished a postdoc from MIT, where he developed and tested siRNA delivery formulations in ovarian cancer and Glioblastoma mouse models. He finished his graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering/nanotechnology from Georgia Tech, where he developed reagents, assays, and instruments for ultrasensitive biological detection/ imaging at Georgia Tech. He has an undergraduate and master’s degree in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has also worked at two startups, one of which was a small, public biotech company where he served as chief operating officer. He is an author on over 20 research articles, and in his spare time, he plays percussions for charitable causes.
President & CBO, R-Pharm U.S.
Mr. Kydonieus is a senior pharmaceutical executive with proven success leading small, medium, and large Biopharma companies in executing their corporate strategies, resulting in significant growth and shareholder value. Today, heis leading R-Pharm US, a differentiated specialty BioPharma company focused on Oncology and Immunology. R-Pharm US has marketed products in Oncology and assets in development for oncology and immunology.
In 2014, Mr. Kydonieus partnered with Mark Pavao to create a differentiated specialty BioPharma company. The opportunity to work with Russia's premier pharmaceutical company, R-Pharm JSC, presented a unique opportunity to accelerate the growth and importance of the BioPharma start-up (R-PHARM US). Prior to R-Pharm US, he was the Vice President, Strategy, Alliances and Transactions (SAT) at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) where he was instrumental in helping BMS implement the BioPharma transformation and execute the String of Pearls strategy.
Mr. Kydonieus began working at BMS in 1998 as Director, Worldwide Regulatory Affairs in the Health Care Group. After leaving the Health Care Group, he joined the Corporate Strategy and Issues Management Group as Director, Business Risk Management, where he identified and helped manage the largest risks to the BMS strategy. He later moved with his family to Boston to be General Counsel for BMS Medical Imaging, where he was a member of the business unit's Executive Team and helped lead the divestiture of the business to private equity.
Mr. Kydonieus earned his Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law and his Masters of Business Administration from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business.
Jonathan Zalevsky PH.D.
SVP, Nektar Therapeutics
Dr. Zalevsky has over 15 years of research and discovery experience in large pharmaceutical and biotech. Dr. Zalevsky joined Nektar in 2015 to lead biological and translational research and guide strategy for the Nektar discovery portfolio. Dr. Zalevsky’s expertise in immunology, as well as his experience across biological modalities and therapeutic areas, have helped fuel the growth of the company’s immuno-oncology and immunology pipeline. He led the discovery and preclinical development for NKTR-358 (a T regulatory cell stimulatory agent developed for auto-immune diseases with partner Eli Lilly & Co.) and NKTR-262 (a small molecule TLR agonist developed in combination with NKTR-214). Before joining Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky was Global Vice President and Head of the Inflammation Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. At Takeda, he was responsible for an immunology pipeline that spanned from early target discovery to late-stage development. Before this, Dr. Zalevsky held several research and development positions at Xencor, where he was responsible for the discovery and development of Xencor's first four clinical-stage assets. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Tetrad Program at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).
Krishnan (Nandu) Nandabalan, Ph.D.
President and CEO, InveniAI and Co-Founder BioXcel LLC
Over the past decade, Dr. Nandabalan has pioneered the application of big data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) to monitor emerging healthcare innovation through the assimilation and query of large data sets. He successfully created two spinouts from the parent company, BioXcel (Est. 2005), a therapeutics company, BioXcel Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BTAI), and an AI applications company, InveniAI, where he is now President and CEO. InveniAI has successfully created an AI- and ML-powered platform that monitors drug targets, drugs, and healthcare products and technologies. A serial entrepreneur, Dr. Nandabalan, has over two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including R&D, operations, and business development. He has extensive experience in M&A and in- and out-licensing. He has completed deals with key industry players such as AstraZeneca, Biogen, BMS, Daiichi Sankyo, GSK, J&J, Kyowa Kirin, Merck KGaA, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Organon, Otsuka, Pfizer, Pharmacia, Takeda, among others.
He has served as VP, Corporate Development at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals - a trailblazer in pharmacogenomics and its widespread acceptance. Before this, he was Group Leader of the Functional Genomics Group at CuraGen Corp. He has 12 issued patents and published in leading journals such as Cell and Science. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Indian Institute of Science, India, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Yale University.
Vimal Mehta Ph.D.
CEO and Founder, BioXcel Therapeutics
Dr. Mehta brings over two decades of experience in the pharma and biotech industry, during which he has successfully designed and implemented innovative solutions, established global commercial operations, and led cross-functional teams. During his career, he has garnered a deep understanding of the biopharma and healthcare ecosystem and is actively involved in generating a range of value creation initiatives in corporate strategy and planning, global business development, and corporate fundraising. He is a Co-founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of BioXcel LLC. Dr. Mehta has held various senior scientific and business development positions, including Senior Vice President of Business Development at Inpharmatica Ltd. and Jubilant Life Sciences. Previously, Dr. Mehta served as Business Development Manager at CuraGen Corporation. Dr. Mehta holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Delhi, India, and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Chemistry at the University of Montpellier, France.