Management


Dinesh V. Patel, Ph.D.
President & CEO

Dr. Patel has served as a member of our board of directors and as our President and Chief Executive Officer since December 2008. Dr. Patel has more than 30 years of executive, entrepreneurial, and scientific experience spanning the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining Protagonist, Dr. Patel served from 2006 to 2008 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Arête Therapeutics, a privately held company focused on the development of drugs for metabolic syndrome. Prior to that, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Miikana Therapeutics, an oncology based company, from 2003 until it was acquired by Entremed (later renamed CASI Pharmaceuticals) in 2005. Prior to Miikana, Dr. Patel held positions of increasing responsibility at Versicor from 1996 to 2003 (later renamed Vicuron and which was acquired by Pfizer in 2005 for $1.9 billion), most recently as Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery and Licensing. Prior to Vicuron, Dr. Patel was a director of chemistry at the combinatorial chemistry company Affymax, from 1993 to 1996. Dr. Patel was a medicinal chemist at Bristol-Myers Squibb from 1985 to 1993. Dr. Patel received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Rutgers University, New Jersey and his B.S. in Industrial Chemistry from S. P. University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, India.

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David Y. Liu, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research & Development

Dr. Liu has served as our Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) since May 2013 and has served as CSO and Head of Research and Development since February 2016. Prior to Protagonist, Dr. Liu was the Chief Operating Officer and a co-founder of Trenovus, Inc., from 2010 to 2012. Prior to Trenovus, Dr. Liu was Vice President of Research at FibroGen Inc., from 2002 to 2010. Prior to Fibrogen, Dr. Liu served as Director of Inflammation Research at Scios, Inc., now part of Johnson & Johnson, from 1992 to 2002. Dr. Liu held a position as an academic researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and was Instructor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, from 1976 to 1986. Dr. Liu received his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Michigan State University, and his B.S. in chemistry from The University of Chicago.

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Richard S. Shames, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Shames has served as our Chief Medical Officer since August 2015. He currently also serves as Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University. Prior to joining Protagonist, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Aldea Pharmaceuticals, from 2013 to 2015. Prior to Aldea, Dr. Shames was Distinguished Scientist, Clinical Research and Early Biologics Lead (Immunology) at Merck & Co., Inc., from 2009 to 2013. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Shames held positions of increasing responsibility at Facet Biotech (formerly PDL BioPharma), from 1999 to 2009, most recently as Therapeutic Head of Immunology and Senior Medical Director. Prior to Facet, Dr. Shames held full time clinical faculty positions in Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Stanford University, from 1996 to 1999, and the University of California, San Francisco Schools of Medicine, from 1993 to 1996. Dr. Shames received his M.D. from University of California, Davis School of Medicine and received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University.

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Tom O’Neil
Chief Financial Officer

Mr. O’Neil has served as our Chief Financial Officer since February 2016. From March 2015 to October 2015, Mr. O’Neil served as Chief Financial Officer of Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. From January 2014 to July 2014, Mr. O’Neil served as Chief Financial Officer of Sorbent Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. From September 2011 to December 2013, Mr. O’Neil served as a consultant to Sorbent and a variety of health care and technology companies. From December 2009 to August 2011, Mr. O’Neil served as Vice President of Finance & Administration of ChemGenex Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company. From March 2007 to May 2009, Mr. O’Neil served as Vice President of Finance & Administration of Nodality, Inc., a biotechnology company. Mr. O’Neil holds a B.A. from Pomona College in International Relations and an M.B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles.

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William Hodder
Senior Vice President of Corporate Development

Mr. Hodder has served as our Senior Vice President of Corporate Development since 2014. Prior to Protagonist, Mr. Hodder was Vice President, Business Development of Promedior, Inc. a clinical stage biotechnology company developing therapeutics for the treatment of fibrosis, from December 2013 to July 2014. Prior to joining Promedior, Mr. Hodder was a founder and CEO of start-up biotechnology company Trenovus, Inc., from 2010 to 2012. Previously, Mr. Hodder was Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Officer at FibroGen, Inc. Prior to joining FibroGen, he served a Director of Business Development and Marketing at Aradigm, a drug delivery company. Mr. Hodder received an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and received a B.S. in biology from Oakland University.

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Ashok Bhandari, Ph.D.
Vice President of Chemistry

Dr. Bhandari joined Protagonist in 2011 and has served as our Vice President of Chemistry since February 2016. He has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry with expertise in peptide, medicinal, and combinatorial chemistry. Prior to joining Protagonist, Dr. Bhandari served as Associate Director of Chemistry at Affymax from 1994 to 2008. Dr. Bhandari has extensive experience with different peptide drug discovery and pre-clinical development programs on targets of protein-protein interactions. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, India and conducted post-doctoral research at University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Larry Mattheakis, Ph.D.
Vice President of Biology

Dr. Mattheakis joined Protagonist in 2012 and has served as our Vice President of Biology since 2016. Prior to joining Protagonist, Dr. Mattheakis served as the Associate Director at Exelixis, a publicly traded biotechnology company, from 2007 to 2011. Prior to Exelixis, he served as Senior Scientist at Cytokinetics from 2002 to 2007. Dr. Mattheakis began his career at Affymax Research Institute, where he served in a variety of roles, from 1992 to 2000, most recently as Research Fellow. Dr. Mattheakis received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis. He trained as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

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Mark Smythe, Ph.D.
Vice President of Technology

Dr. Smythe is the founder of Protagonist and has served as our Vice President of Technology since 2013, having previously served as our Chief Scientific Officer from 2009 to 2010 and our Chief Executive Officer from 2001 to 2009. He has extensive experience in industry-based research management and technology commercialization. Prior to Protagonist, he was Principal Investigator at the Centre for Drug Design and Development, now the Institute for Molecular Bioscience in Brisbane, Australia, from 1994 to 2001. Dr. Smythe earned a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Melbourne University and a B.Sc (Hons) in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from James Cook University.

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Thamil Annamalai, M.S.
Vice President of Preclinical Development

Ms. Annamalai joined Protagonist in 2014 and has served as our Vice President of Preclinical Development since February 2017. Ms. Annamalai has 25 years of research and development experience including more than a decade of drug discovery. From 2001 to 2013, Ms. Annamalai served as Manager, Director, and Senior Director for the In Vivo Evaluations group in Pre-clinical Development at Xenoport and was a member of the development team for its flagship product Horizant®. Ms. Annamalai was previously Manager of Pre-clinical Research at Intrabiotics Pharmaceuticals from 1997 to 2001, a biotechnology company focused on novel antimicrobial peptides. Prior to that, she was a Research Pharmacologist at Microcide pharmaceuticals from 1994 to 1997, Research Scientist at Nycomed Salutar from 1991 to 1994, and Toxicologist at Sola Barnes-Hind from 1989 to 1990. Ms. Annamalai received an M. Phil in Human Physiology from the Institute of Basic Medical Science, an M.Sc. in Zoology from Pachaiyappas College, and B.Sc. in Zoology from Stella Maris College, all institutions affiliated with University of Madras, India.

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Lucio Tozzi
Vice President of Clinical Operations

Mr. Tozzi joined Protagonist in 2015 and has served as our Vice President of Clinical Operations since February 2017. Mr. Tozzi has over 24 years of experience in global clinical trials spanning pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the therapeutic areas of infections, surgical morbidities, oncology, respiratory and CNS diseases. He has led clinical operations teams with responsibilities for clinical development, outsourcing, and project management. Prior to joining Protagonist, Mr. Tozzi was Senior Director and Head of Clinical Operations at Astex Pharmaceuticals, an oncology company (part of Otsuka), from August 2014 to July 2015. Prior to joining Astex, Mr. Tozzi was Director Clinical Operations at Baxter Healthcare from April 2005 to January 2014. Mr. Tozzi graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biology from London University, Royal Holloway College, and holds a post-graduate Diploma (DipM) and Membership (MCIM) in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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