Executive Management

Sanjeev Luther

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

Sanjeev Luther is credited with significant growth and performance in domestic and international markets. Strategic, pragmatic and results-driven, Sanjeev has led successful business-building and fundraising strategies and increased ROI for both Fortune 500 corporations and startups in pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical devices and diagnostics, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, Bausch and Lomb, GE Healthcare and Mallinckrodt. He has a proven track record in driving productivity and reducing costs, with expertise across a range of therapeutic areas and stages, from R&D through commercialization.

Most recently, advancing from CBO to COO to CEO, Sanjeev turned Rafael Pharmaceuticals around from near bankruptcy to its current financial and clinical health. Rafael was an early-stage pharmaceutical company when he joined, and he transformed it into an advanced organization with a robust pipeline in hard-to-treat cancers.

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.

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.

Shuhe Wang

Vice President, Head of Global Drug Safety & Pharmacovigilance

Shuhe Wang has been in the pharmaceutical industry for over 15 years. His experience in the field includes clinical safety for drug development in early and late phases and post-approval pharmacovigilance, and covers various therapeutic areas, including oncology, immune-oncology, immunology and others. Over the years, he has led and contributed to a couple of small and large molecular products filing and approval. Shuhe has previously held positions of increasing responsibility with some multinational corporations, including Abbott Lab, AstraZeneca, and GSK. Shuhe was trained as an internist as well a combined surgical and clinical pathologist. He has a medical degree from Southeast University and a master’s degree in clinical investigation from Vanderbilt University. He received the additional research fellowship training at NIH and clinical pharmacology training at Vanderbilt.

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.

Mike Stelmah

Vice President, QA/CQA

Mike is a strong entrepreneurial leader who over the years spearheaded multiple departments at Rafael pharmaceuticals, including Quality Assurance, Manufacturing and CMC Regulatory Affairs. Now, Mike is focused on Rafael’s uncompromising commitment to quality and patient care. Over his career, he worked with innovative medicine organizations, like Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, resulting in commercialization of leading products: Praluent, Eylea, Kavzara, Dupixent, Onpattro and other. Mike holds a BioMedical Engineering degree and M.B.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago. He also achieved RAC (US & Global), Six Sigma and PMP certifications.