Board of Directors

Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD

Executive Chair, Co-founder

Dr. Cleland has 25 years of industry experience in research and development, including more than a decade at Genentech, Inc. His experience in startups includes major roles in obtaining more than $450 million in capital at stages from Series A through D and exit via IPO including over $300 million in capital raised as CEO. As the founding CEO of Versartis (VSAR), he led one of top biotech IPOs of all time. He held executive management positions at BaroFold, Novacea and Targesome, and has managed directly all aspects of pharmaceutical development and late-stage research. While at Genentech, Dr. Cleland served in product development and manufacturing roles. He held important leadership roles in the successful approval of two drugs, Herceptin® and Nutropin Depot®, as well as in early work on Lucentis®, Avastin®, and Omnitarg®. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Cleland has authored more than 100 articles and four books, and holds several issued patents.

Neil K. Warma

Board Member

Neil K. Warma was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Opexa Therapeutics, Inc. in June 2008, and oversaw the successful sale and merger of Opexa with Acer Therapeutics in 2017. He has more than 25 years of executive level experience in the life sciences industry in the U.S., Europe and Canada. Prior to joining Opexa, Mr. Warma served as President & CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Viron Therapeutics Inc., a privately-held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a novel class of protein therapeutics. While at Viron, Mr. Warma positioned the company as a leader in the treatment of serious inflammatory disorders. Previously, Mr. Warma held several senior management positions at Novartis Pharmaceuticals at its corporate headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, in international policy and advocacy and in global marketing. In addition, Mr. Warma was co-founder and President of MedExact USA, Inc., an Internet company providing clinical information and services to physicians and pharmaceutical companies, which was ultimately sold to a large public European firm. Mr. Warma obtained an honors degree specializing in neuroscience from the University of Toronto and an International M.B.A. from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Orpheris, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for neurological diseases and is a member of the Board of Directors of BioHouston.

Kannan Rangaramanujam, PhD

Chief Technology Officer, Co-founder

Dr. Rangaramanujam is a professor of ophthalmology and co-director of center for nanomedicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, and a post-doc from the University of Minnesota. He is a key inventor of the dendrimer platform for targeting neuroinflammation, leading translational efforts through collaboration with more than 20 PI-level researchers at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Rangaramanujam is an author of many patents (issued and pending), more than 85 peer-reviewed publications. He has won several recognitions, including the NSF CAREER and Unilever awards. His research is primarily funded by NIH. He serves at the Chief Technology Officer of Ashvattha Therapeutics and Orpheris Inc., two spinoffs from his team's patented dendrimer technologies.

Sujatha Kannan, MD


Dr. Kannan is an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency and pediatric critical care fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Michigan/Wayne State University. She is the co-director of the Pediatric Neurocritical Care Program at the Charlotte Bloomberg Children's Center. In addition to her role at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Kannan is affiliated with the Hugo Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  Her research focuses on imaging and targeted therapy for pediatric brain disorders using nanotechnology, with a special emphasis on pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy. She has received awards for her research and has authored several patents related to the dendrimer technology. Her research is primarily funded by the NIH. She is also the CMO of Ashvattha Therapeutics, LLC and Orpheris Inc. that is focused on taking the dendrimer nanomedicine platform to the clinic for neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disorders and orphan indications.