Executive Management

Howard S. Jonas

Howard S. Jonas


Mr. Jonas is the Founder and Chairman of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT), Genie Energy (NYSE: GNE), and IDW Media (OTC: IDWM). He was also the Founder and controlling shareholder of Straight Path Communications, Inc (NYSE: STRP), which was acquired by Verizon for $3.1 Billion. Mr. Jonas has extensive leadership experience in founding and growing public companies, and has sold multiple businesses in deals worth both hundreds of millions and billions of dollars. He received his B.A. in economics from Harvard University.

Sanjeev Luther

President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors

Sanjeev Luther joined Rafael Pharmaceuticals in 2015 and is the President and CEO, bringing  more than 30 years of experience to the team. Sanjeev has held positions in business development, strategic alliances, commercialization and operations with Fortune 500 corporations, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Bausch and Lomb, GE Healthcare and Mallinckrodt. 

Leveraging his expertise in pharmaceuticals and biotech, Sanjeev has shepherded Rafael as it continues to refine its corporate strategy and elevates its business portfolio. 

Robert Shorr, Ph.D., DIC

Chief Scientist and Co-founder

Dr. Shorr has a 40-year track record in drug discovery from concept through approval and market launch. As Rafael’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Shorr’s primary focus is on the discovery and development of safe and effective novel drugs and delivery technology. He has previously served as VP of Science and Technology at Enzon Pharma, VP of Science and Technology and Chief Scientist at United Therapeutics, and Associate Director of Molecular Pharmacology at SmithKline Beecham. At Enzon, Dr. Shorr was responsible for co-development with Schering-Plough of the blockbuster drug, PEG INTRON A, for the treatment of hepatitis and certain forms of melanoma. Dr. Shorr has authored more than 250 technical articles, abstracts, book chapters and conference proceedings and has more than 150 inventions with more than 300 issued and pending patents worldwide. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of London, and a DIC from the University of London Imperial College of Science and Technology.

Mike Hu, Ph.D.

Mike Hu, Ph.D.

Chief Development Officer

Dr. Hu has 20+ years of experience in clinical and pre-clinical research and development (R&D) in pharmaceutical industry and academia. He has previously held leadership and management roles at Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Over his career, Dr. Hu has primarily focused on building pipelines for big pharma and small biotech companies in oncology and hematology. He has contributed to clinical and pre-clinical R&D, global submissions, regulatory approvals, and life cycle management of 18 drugs in various indications with multi-billion dollar franchises. Dr. Hu earned Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University.

José Octávio Costa Filho, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Costa has 30+ years’ experience in clinical development, clinical operations, strategy and global medical affairs, with several years’ experience in clinical practice. Dr. Costa has previously worked with companies like Merck & Co., Celgene, Novartis and more recently at Servier Pharmaceuticals. Over his career, he has extensive experience in phase I-IV clinical development and regulatory experience with all major regulatory agencies. He has played important role in development and life-cycle management for several blockbuster products including Revlimid in entire Latin American region. He earned his Doctor of Medicine from The Medical College of Sorocaba, Sao Paulo.

Timothy S. Pardee, M.D., Ph.D.

Timothy S. Pardee, M.D., Ph.D.

Co-Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Pardee is an Associate professor and the Director of Leukemia Translational Research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He heads an NCI-funded research program focused on the role of cellular metabolism in cancer cell survival and resistance to therapy as well as novel therapeutics. Dr. Pardee has played a lead role in the development of the novel metabolism-targeting agent CPI-613® (devimistat). He earned his M.D. and his Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo.

Arshad Haque, M.D., MBBS, MPH

Vice President, Head of Global Drug Safety & Pharmacovigilance

Dr. Haque provides leadership and oversight of all global safety risk management and pharmacovigilance activities for Rafael Pharmaceuticals. Previously, he held leadership roles in several pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Sanofi Genzyme, Abbott, AbbVie, Alexion and Baxalta/Shire (currently Takeda). Dr. Haque has extensive experience in Phases 1 through 4 clinical development, successful global approval of several pharmaceutical therapies, and fulfillment of postmarketing drug safety and regulatory commitments. He is a physician with clinical practice in cardiology and anesthesiology/critical care. He is also an epidemiologist with experience as a surveillance medical officer in poliomyelitis eradication for the World Health Organization, West Virginia Bureau for Public Health – Division of Immunization Service. He also served as a senior epidemiologist at Wyeth.

Paul Bingham, Ph.D.

Paul Bingham, Ph.D.

Vice President, Research

Prof. Bingham is a molecular biologist, an evolutionary biologist, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University. He was the co-discoverer of the first Altered Metabolism Directed (AMD) compounds. Prof. Bingham has published numerous papers, peer-reviewed articles, and book chapters on molecular and evolutionary biology. In 2008, Prof. Bingham and his colleague, Prof. Zuzana Zachar, received the Michael Maffetone Award for Cancer Research from the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. He earned a M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University.

Wendy McDermott

Chief People Officer

Wendy brings over 25 years of experience in a variety of human resources roles. Wendy joins us from Sanofi, where she spent the past 11 years, most recently serving as Vice President, Human Resources supporting North America Specialty Care (Sanofi Genzyme), Medical, and Support Functions. Wendy has held other HR positions at Schering-Plough, Vivendi Universal and International Management Group. Throughout her career, Wendy has particularly focused on culture, people development and talent management. Wendy earned her B.A. in Communications from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Jenna Vadas

Head, Finance

Jenna brings nearly two decades of experience in finance from the pharmaceuticals industry. Prior to joining Rafael, she spent 10 years on the research and development finance team at Daiichi Sankyo. Jenna grew her role from back-office support into a true business partner, as she integrated herself as a key member of the clinical projects team. She was instrumental in transforming the finance department at Daiichi Sankyo, creating cost saving measures that supported the company’s goals and growth. Given her experience and strong technical expertise, Jenna will ensure that Rafael allocates its financial resources most efficiently and productively, allowing the company to focus on its top priority: the patients it serves.

Priya Marreddy

Head, Clinical Operations

Priya brings nearly 20 years of clinical research and development experience to Rafael. Previously, Priya led the hematology clinical operations team in gene therapy trials at Spark Therapeutics. Prior to Spark, Priya worked in clinical operations roles with increasing responsibility at Jazz Pharmaceuticals and at Teva Pharmaceuticals. Priya also has experience working in the CRO environment from both PharmaNet (now Syneos) and PRA Health Sciences. Priya earned her undergraduate degree from George Washington University and completed her Master’s Degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Deepak Tiwari, Ph.D.

Head, CMC

Deepak Tiwari has over 25 years of CMC experience in drug substance and drug product manufacturing. Deepak joins Rafael from ZyVersa Therapeutics, where he led CMC operations and product development activities. Prior to ZyVersa, Deepak worked at Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Mallinckrodt. Throughout his career, he held various roles in the CMC area, both at small and big pharmaceutical companies. Deepak earned his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy and his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences from St. John’s University.