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.

Team

Diagnostics

Chris Armour, BS

Chris holds a BS degree in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the University of Washington. He has more than 20 years of experience developing genomic technologies to address unmet needs in biomedical research, drug development and molecular diagnostics for cancer and other human diseases. When not at work, Chris enjoys fly fishing.

Data Science

Sid Elmer, PhD

Sid earned his PhD in computational chemistry from Stanford University, focusing on the application of protein folding principles to non-biological folding polymers (foldamers). He then held a post-doctoral appointment at Sandia National Laboratories, studying the effect of stapled peptides on enzyme dynamics and activity. Prior to joining Auransa, Sid was an application engineer at Rescale. Raised in Utah, he is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BS in physical chemistry.

Software Engineering

Sheeba George, BE

Sheeba holds a BS degree in electrical engineering and has more than 15 years of experience in the software industry. She specializes in software design and development for enterprise grade projects and has served as the technical project lead for several software development teams. When not at work, Sheeba enjoys listening to podcasts, cooking, Zumba, and spending time with her family.

Administrative Assistant

Sennait Ghebreab, LVN

Hailing from San Jose, CA, Sennait is a licensed nurse. In addition to nursing, she has also worked in a variety of administrative roles including management. She enjoys keeping things in order and being organized. During her free time, Sennait likes spending time with friends and relaxing at the beach.

Data Science

Jingyu Guo, PhD

Jingyu has a PhD in genetics from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, an MS degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and MS and BS degrees in biology from Sichuan University, China. His research has focused on the gene interactions and buffering mechanisms in cystic fibrosis using yeast cell models. He believes that one day biologists and doctors will use machine learning and other quantitative methods as tools just like pipettes and stethoscopes.

Preclinical Development

Dana Gwinn, PhD

Dana earned her Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences. She then conducted her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University. At Auransa, Dana serves as a scientist in the preclinical group, where she uses her background in biochemistry and cancer biology to design studies to evaluate current and potential programs. When not at work, Dana enjoys cycling.

Data Science

James Hart, PhD

James grew up in Massachusetts, and earned a BS in computational biology from Brown University. He went on to a PhD in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley, studying the evolution of gene regulation underlying changes in skeletal morphology. When not working, James enjoys spending time exploring the wild mountains of California.

Preclinical Development

Robert Hauptschein, MD, PhD

Rob is a Duke University alum and earned MD and PhD degrees from Columbia University, where he studied cancer molecular pathogenesis, biology, and genomics.  He continued his scientific training at Tufts University, creating an innovative functional proteomics platform for drug target identification.  Rob has also held drug discovery and development positions with global pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and JW Theriac Pharmaceuticals.  He enjoys swimming, hiking, traveling, reading, and spending time with his family.

Operations

Maurice Henry, BS

Maurice is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and earned his BS degree in health science from San Francisco State University. His background includes more than ten years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in various human resource and operation roles. When not at work, Maurice enjoys biking on a trail or spending time with his family.

Data Science

Sumudu Leelananda, PhD

Sumudu has a PhD in biophysics from Iowa State University and a BS degree in physics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She has worked on a wide range of protein-related research projects and has experience in protein structure prediction, molecular dynamics simulations and computer-aided drug discovery. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, gardening and spending time with her family and dog.

Data Science

Amy Leonardson, MS

Amy is a data scientist with extensive experience in bioinformatics and genomics.  She received her MS in applied math from the University of Washington.  Prior to joining Auransa, she worked in the biostatistics department at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and has also been a research scientist for companies in the biopharma industry. A native of Seattle, she enjoys cross country skiing with her family.

Data Science

Brent Louie, PhD

Brent has a PhD in biomedical informatics from the University of Washington.  He has held computational scientist positions at several organizations in the biomedical field including Incyte Genomics, Seattle Children’s Research Center, and Nodality.  Brent is very interested in the intersection between computer science and biology.  When not at work you can find him spending time with his family doing things like playing sports, fishing, or generally just having fun.

Medicinal Chemistry

Greg Luedtke, PhD

Greg earned his PhD in organic chemistry from Montana State University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University.  His industrial career includes more than ten years at Scios Inc., where he was the research team leader for the company’s p38 kinase inhibitor program, advancing two molecules into clinical trials. Greg’s interests include efficiently managing virtual resources to bring about successful drug discovery outcomes. When not working, he spends time with his Belgian Malinois.

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.

Diagnostics

Mike Meyer, BS

Mike received his BS degree in molecular and cellular biology from Haverford College in Haver, PA. He possesses more than 20 years of molecular biology experience, with broad ranging expertise that spans genomics and biodetection applications, rapid prototyping of fluidic devices and consumables, and development of complex sample-to-answer processes for biodetection and diagnostics.  When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family in Seattle and fly fishing and skiing in the Northwest.  

Preclinical Development

Anna Nowak, PhD

Hailing from San Diego, Anna earned a PhD in biochemistry, molecular, cellular and developmental biology from UC Davis.  She holds a BS degree from UC Berkeley with a double major in molecular and cell biology & integrative biology. When not working, Anna enjoys horseback riding and hiking.

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.

Data Science

Zhewei Shen, PhD

Zhewei is trained as a molecular biologist with a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS from UCLA. She has studied the role of the Hippo signaling pathway in liver cancer and regeneration. Zhewei also worked as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University understanding chromatin remodeling in pancreatic cancer and prostate diseases with NGS tools. With a love for science, particularly precision medicine, she is very excited to find new therapeutic options with molecular biology and machine learning.

Data Science

Victor Solovyev, PhD

Victor has a PhD in computational genetics from the Institute of Cytology & Genetics, Russian Academy of Science and a BS degree in physics from Novosibirsk State University, Russia. He possesses decades of scientific experience in computer science, data analytics and computational biology. During his career, Victor has developed HMM-based gene finding algorithms and software to annotate the first draft of the human genome. When not at work, he enjoys developing gaming apps for kids and fishing.

Software Engineering

Gavin Song, BE

Gavin holds a BS degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from South Korea, he possesses a love for music and enjoys playing the drums.

Preclinical Development

Rajaa Sukhun, PhD

Rajaa earned her PhD in pharmaceutical science/pharmacokinetic from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining Auransa, she worked at Genentech and at Protagonist Therapeutics, and served for many years as the Bio-equivalence Chairman at the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration. In her free time, Rajaa is a volunteer in several non-profit organization that are promoting charity and other important causes.

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.

Operations

Beverly Yeh, MBA, CPA

Born in Taiwan, Beverly earned her MS degree in finance from Penn State University. She has broad accounting experience spanning the areas of tax, accounts payable and accounts receivable. When not at work, Beverly enjoys spending time with her family and friends. 

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.