TEAM

FOUNDED ON A PASSION TO BRING PRECISE DRUGS TO PATIENTS WHO NEED THEM MOST

From the beginning, our team of scientists, engineers, drug developers and senior leaders in pharma set out to build a new type of biopharma company — one founded on our shared passion for saving lives.

We apply our collective and deep industry knowledge to address unmet needs for cancer and neurological disease treatments. We believe in the power of using molecular data to understand the biology of disease. Together we are building a new kind of biopharma company — one that will address the needs of many to save more lives and improve health.

Our team has developed and commercialized novel drugs, diagnostics and deep analytics software.

Leadership

Co-founder and CEO

Pek Lum, PhD

Pek Lum has more than 20 years of genomics and drug discovery experience. She is the chief architect of the science behind Auransa’s technology, combining her deep understanding of genomics and her vast experience in applying data science in the pharmaceutical industry.

Before founding Auransa, Pek was an early employee and vice president of Product and chief data scientist for Ayasdi, where she created early business verticals and helped grow the company from a few people to several dozen employees. Pek started off her career at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a pioneer in genomics and microarray technology. When Rosetta was acquired by Merck, Pek continued to champion the integration of data science into traditional biology, contributing to Merck’s development pipeline. While at Merck, Pek held roles of increasing responsibility, including leading molecular profiling for the diabetes, cardiovascular and obesity franchises. Pek received her Ph.D. in yeast genetics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has been widely published in scientific and medical journals, such as Nature and Cell, and her research has contributed to discoveries in drug development and the understanding of complex diseases. She has previously served as an advisor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Resolution Bioscience, and is currently an advisor for Sequence Bio and Bayes Impact.

Co-founder and COO

Viwat Visuthikraisee, PhD

Viwat Visuthikraisee has more than 20 years of experience in software engineering, algorithm development and operations management. He oversees all aspects of operations at Auransa.

Viwat is a physicist turned entrepreneur. Before founding Auransa, he was a consulting operations manager and software architect specializing in supply chain logistics. He spent his early career at RAF Technology Inc., a computer vision and intelligent software company, where he learned to appreciate software design, algorithm development and building specialized databases for intelligent applications. Winning the prestigious Japanese Monbusho Scholarship, Viwat studied in Japan and received his B.S. and M.S. in Applied Physics from Hokkaido University and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Chief Scientific Officer

Andy Protter, PhD

Andy Protter has more than 35 years of pharmaceutical industry experience working on preclinical research and development projects involving proteins, peptides and small molecules. At Auransa, he is responsible for all research, discovery and preclinical development activities.

Before joining Auransa, Andy held various R&D and business development leadership roles at Medivation and Scios Inc. (acquired by Johnson & Johnson), where he won the Johnson Medal for his work on Natrecor, a product approved for decompensated congestive heart failure. While at Medivation, Andy was responsible for preclinical pharmacology and toxicology of Enzalutamide, a drug approved for advanced prostate cancer, and he participated in the in-licensing of the phase III PARPx inhibitor Talazoparib. He also led the first successful cloning of apoB, the primary protein on LDL, and has participated in work described in more than 84 published papers, four book chapters and 28 patents. Andy earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Medicinal Chemistry

Greg Luedtke, PhD

Greg has more than 20 years of small molecule drug discovery and development experience in a diverse range of disease areas. At Auransa he oversees all chemistry related activities.

Prior to joining Auransa Greg held leadership roles at Scios, Inc. (acquired by Johnson and Johnson) and Sai Life Sciences. While at Scios he was the Research Team Leader for their p38 kinase inhibitor program, which advanced two molecules into clinical trials (SCIO-469 and SCIO-323). At Sai Life Sciences he helped to establish their medicinal chemistry facility in Pune, India, managing 175 chemists engaged in a variety of drug discovery projects for global biotech and pharma companies. These outsourced drug discovery collaborations led to the advancement of numerous pre-clinical candidates.

Greg received his PhD in organic chemistry from Montana State University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University under the tutelage of Prof. W. S. Johnson.

Board of Directors

Co-founder and CEO

Pek Lum, PhD

Pek Lum has more than 20 years of genomics and drug discovery experience. She is the chief architect of the science behind Auransa’s technology, combining her deep understanding of genomics and her vast experience in applying data science in the pharmaceutical industry.

Before founding Auransa, Pek was an early employee and vice president of Product and chief data scientist for Ayasdi, where she created early business verticals and helped grow the company from a few people to several dozen employees. Pek started off her career at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a pioneer in genomics and microarray technology. When Rosetta was acquired by Merck, Pek continued to champion the integration of data science into traditional biology, contributing to Merck’s development pipeline. While at Merck, Pek held roles of increasing responsibility, including leading molecular profiling for the diabetes, cardiovascular and obesity franchises. Pek received her Ph.D. in yeast genetics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has been widely published in scientific and medical journals, such as Nature and Cell, and her research has contributed to discoveries in drug development and the understanding of complex diseases. She has previously served as an advisor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Resolution Bioscience, and is currently an advisor for Sequence Bio and Bayes Impact.

Co-founder and COO

Viwat Visuthikraisee, PhD

Viwat Visuthikraisee has more than 20 years of experience in software engineering, algorithm development and operations management. He oversees all aspects of operations at Auransa.

Viwat is a physicist turned entrepreneur. Before founding Auransa, he was a consulting operations manager and software architect specializing in supply chain logistics. He spent his early career at RAF Technology Inc., a computer vision and intelligent software company, where he learned to appreciate software design, algorithm development and building specialized databases for intelligent applications. Winning the prestigious Japanese Monbusho Scholarship, Viwat studied in Japan and received his B.S. and M.S. in Applied Physics from Hokkaido University and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Independent Director

Patrick Machado

Patrick Machado is a co-founder of Medivation Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2016. Prior to his retirement in April 2014, Patrick served as Medivation’s CFO since its inception in September 2003, and became its chief business officer in December 2009.

Patrick currently serves on the board of directors of biopharmaceutical companies Endocyte Inc., Adverum Biotechnologies Inc., Chimerix Inc., SCYNEXIS Inc., Roivant Sciences Ltd. and Armaron Bio Pty, Ltd., where he also serves as chair of the board. Patrick earned B.A. and B.S. degrees in German and Economics from Santa Clara University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Board Observer - Partner, Lux Capital

Zavain Dar

Zavain Dar has led Lux’s investments in Auransa, Primer, Clarifai, Recursion, Tempo Automation, Rigetti Computing, Visor, Visla and Blockstack. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, he was an entrepreneur and computer scientist. At Discovery Engine (acquired by Twitter), he engineered machine learning and AI systems across a proprietary distributed computing framework to build web scale-ranking algorithms. Zavain also co-founded Fountainhop, one of the first hyper-local social networks. Zavain earned a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, where he was a researcher in the AI Lab. He is currently a lecturer at Stanford and has taught quarter-long seminars in Cryptocurrencies, Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy, and Venture Capital.

Board Observer • Managing Director, AME Cloud Ventures

Jeff Chung

Jeff Chung joined AME Cloud Ventures in 2013. Before that invested in growth-stage tech companies at Silver Lake. His select portfolio companies include Nervana Systems, Freenome, Elementum, Synthego and Rigetti Computing. He is currently a board observer for Savioke, which deploys autonomous service robots. Jeff earned a B.S. degree from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Harvard University.

Managing Director, AME Cloud Ventures:

Founder, President and CEO RePharmation, Inc.

David Hung, M.D.

David Hung founded Medivation Inc. in 2003, raising $440 million in public offerings over the life of the company to generate a market cap of more than $14 billion. Medivation was sold to Pfizer in 2016 for $14.3 billion in an all-cash deal, one of the largest biopharma sales ever by a founding CEO. For his role in creating Medivation, David was named the U.S. winner of the 2014 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

At Medivation, David identified, in-licensed and led the bench-to-bedside development of enzalutamide (XTANDI®) for advanced prostate cancer, which was taken from first in vitro laboratory experiment to FDA approval in just seven years, and is now approved in 60+ countries, reaching blockbuster drug status exceeding $2 billion in global annual sales in 2015. In 2015, David also identified and in-licensed talazoparib, a novel PARP inhibitor, from Biomarin, and led its Phase 3 development. In 2017, talazoparib met its primary endpoints in Phase 3 and will now be approved for BRCA+ advanced breast cancer. Earlier in his career, he was president and CEO of ProDuct Health Inc., which he sold to Cytyc Corporation for $168 million in 2001. David earned a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and an M.D. from University of California, San Francisco – School of Medicine.

Co-Managing Partner and co-founder Data Collective (DCVC)

Matt Ocko

Matt Ocko has more than three decades of experience as a hands-on technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist, both in the U.S. and globally. In addition to large IPO outcomes, many of Matt’s prior investments were acquired to become core capabilities of companies such as Illumina Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Google, IBM, Amazon and Akamai Technologies Inc. Matt’s current investments on behalf of DCVC span computational drug discovery and synthetic biology to robotics, AI and large-scale enterprise platforms, including quantum computers.

Matt founded Da Vinci Systems, a pioneering e-mail software vendor with more than 1 million users worldwide prior to its acquisition, and was an active contributor to the development of China’s venture capital industry and regulatory infrastructure starting in the mid 1990s. Matt, an inventor of more than 70 granted or in-process patents, earned a degree in Physics from Yale University.

Advisors

Advisor

Jennifer Miller, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Miller has more than 20 years of life science experience spanning both public and private companies. Jennifer’s current role is advising C-suite life science executives on business and strategy initiatives, leveraging her deep experience in managing growth, from scaling R&D to navigating the R&D-to-commercial transformation. She previously held the position of vice president of Corporate Development at Depomed, playing a pivotal role in driving the company’s growth from a pre-commercial to a commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company. Prior to this, Jennifer was executive director of Corporate Development and Technology at Amphora Discovery Corporation. She began her career as a scientist and held R&D leadership roles of increasing responsibility at Signature Bioscience, DuPont Pharma Research Labs and CombiChem.

During her career, Jennifer has contributed to multiple licensing and M&A transactions totaling more than $1.5 billion in value. She has led or navigated the development of a portfolio of six marketed drugs in pain and neurology, pre-launch marketing plans for a women’s health product and consecutive long-term strategic plans for a public specialty pharmaceutical company. Jennifer serves as a “Big Data in Health” NIH SBIR grant program reviewer, is a Stanford SPARK committee member and a member of MyoKardia’s Digital Health Steering Committee. Jennifer received a B.S. in Computer Science from San Diego State University and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from University of California, San Francisco.

Advisor

Michael Green, PhD

Dr. Mike Green has more than 40 years of experience in the discovery and development of novel small molecule drugs for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Currently an independent consultant, Mike was senior vice president for R&D at Virobay, vice president of Chemistry at Celera Genomics, vice president of Chemistry at Trega BioSciences and director of Chemistry at Schering-Plough Research Institute (SPRI). Among his notable discoveries was the topical anti-inflammatory corticosteroid and alclometasone diproprionate (Aclovate®). He also was part of the team that discovered loratadine (Claritin®) and ezetimibe (Zetia®) at SPRI.

Mike’s career goal has been to use his understanding and experience of organic chemistry to discover new therapies for the diseases that plague humankind. He is author or co-author of more than 90 publications and patent applications. He earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from The University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Mike also did post-doctoral work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Chicago and Biological Chemistry at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Advisor

Andrew Wong, MBA

Andrew currently serves as vice president of transactions for the Asia Pacific region at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, where he oversees business development transactions across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer sectors.  He has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with a strong background in business development, investment banking and venture capital activities. He previously served as senior vice president of corporate business development at Auransa. Andrew has also held senior business development roles with Alexza Pharmaceuticals, and SciClone Pharmaceuticals, where he secured numerous licensing and promotional collaborations with partners such as Pfizer Inc., Baxter International Inc., The Medicines Company, Theravance Biopharma and BTG plc.

Earlier in his career, Andrew was with healthcare venture capital firm ProQuest Investments, a member of the healthcare investment banking and equity research groups at Lehman Brothers, and in business development at Dendreon Corp. Andrew earned a B.A. in Biology with a concentration in immunology from Occidental College and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Auransa

THE INSIDE STORY OF OUR NAME AND LOGO DESIGN

Our logo was given its name, Auransa rosalinus, by our founder Pek Lum. The name is derived from Latin; Au taken from aurum (gold) combined with ansa (opening or opportunity). Rosalinus is a tribute to Dr. Rosalind Franklin, a pioneering scientist best known for her X-ray diffraction studies of DNA, which led to the discovery of the molecule’s double-helix structure.