Ron Najafi, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Having founded four companies, Dr. Najafi brings 15 years of leadership in the biopharmaceutical industry to Emery Pharma. In 2000, Dr. Najafi founded NovaBay Pharmaceuticals. During his tenure at NovaBay, he took the company from concept to IPO. Dr. Najafi led NovaBay’s partnership efforts, securing significant collaboration agreements with Galderma S.A., the world’s leading dermatology company, and Alcon Laboratories Inc., the leading ophthalmology company. Dr. Najafi also served in various management positions within NovaBay, including as Chief Scientific Officer.

Prior to founding NovaBay, Dr. Najafi was the President and CEO of CP Lab Safety, Inc., a chemical laboratory safety devices company manufacturing his invention Ecological Funnels and now distributing over 40,000 products worldwide. In addition, Dr. Najafi has held numerous executive and scientific roles at Rhône Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi-Aventis), Perkin Elmer Applied Biosystems (now Thermo Fisher), and Aldrich Chemical Company over the past 25 years.

Dr. Najafi has more than 70 patents and pending patent applications on his inventions. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from the University of San Francisco, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Davis.

Chuck Francavilla, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Vice President of Research and Development

Dr. Francavilla is an accomplished medicinal chemist with over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to co-founding Emery Pharma, Dr. Francavilla was the Senior Director of Medical Devices at NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, leading all research and development activities. While at NovaBay, he designed numerous medical devices and drug candidates, including those to treat viral conjunctivitis and improve contact lens hygiene, and treat infections such as drug-resistant MRSA, impetigo, catheter associated urinary tract infections, and gram positive & gram negative pathogens.

Dr. Francavilla previously held senior scientific roles at Nanosyn and Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, managing several projects while also inventing and synthesizing various analogs for several therapeutic areas, including oncology and neurology. While at the Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research, he patented the total synthesis of (+)-discodermolide, which was placed in clinical trials for its anti-cancer activity. He has also held scientific positions at Catalytica Pharmaceuticals, Clinical Pharmacokinetics Laboratories, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Dr. Francavilla earned his Bachelor’s degree from Canisius College, Master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Sridhar Arumugam, Ph.D.

Director of Cell and Microbiology

Dr. Arumugam is an accomplished scientist with key contributions in vaccine development, establishment of antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST), and investigational new drug (IND) development. Dr. Arumugam has over 15 years of experience in microbiology with vast expertise in parasitology, clinical microbiology, anti-infective development (antibiotics, disinfectants, medical devices), and Quality System Regulations (QSR). He has a thorough history in implementing a variety of assays to identify and develop novel antimicrobial agents against multidrug resistant bacteria and fungi.

At Emery Pharma, Dr. Arumugam leads the Department of Cell and Microbiology and is heavily involved in the development of the AST projects and cytotoxicity testing for fostering clinical stage antibiotic and anti-infective development. Dr. Arumugam manages a team of highly skilled Ph.D. scientists and research associates.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Dr. Arumugam was a postdoctoral researcher and adjunct instructor of microbiology at Louisiana State University (LSU). While at LSU, he designed pre-clinical vaccine trials using an animal model and demonstrated successful screening and selection of efficacious vaccine candidates as well as authored numerous peer-reviewed international publications. Dr. Arumugam has a Ph.D. microbiology from the University of Bonn, Germany and is a former recipient of the prestigious German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) fellowship.

Andrea Lubbe, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Chemistry

Dr. Lubbe is a highly skilled chemist with specialization in analytical chemistry and natural products chemistry.

As Associate Director of Chemistry, Dr. Lubbe leads many R&D projects in the Chemistry Department, supporting clients in a range of industries. She routinely develops analytical methods using HPLC, LC-MS, NMR, and UV/Vis Spectroscopy, and develops strategies for isolation and characterization of small molecules.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Dr. Lubbe was a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). While at LBNL, she used mass spectrometry-based analytical techniques to investigate metabolite exchange between members of synthetic microbial consortia. Additionally, she was a postdoctoral research associate at Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry. Here, she studied the biosynthesis of medicinal alkaloids in plants using high resolution mass spectrometry methods, including mass spectrometry imaging.

Dr. Lubbe received her B.S. in molecular & cellular biology and plant physiology from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in phytochemistry and natural products chemistry from Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Kiran Bijlani, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Cell & Microbiology

Dr. Bijlani has significant experience as a researcher and pharmacologist, having worked in the areas of public health and clinical trials for over a decade. She has an extensive background in nanotoxicology and pharmacology.

As Associate Director of Cell and Microbiology, Dr. Bijlani supports the Cell and Microbiology Department. She manages numerous projects for the development of novel antimicrobial agents and medical devices and the development and implementation of cell-and tissue-based cytotoxicity testing.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Dr. Bijlani was faculty member in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. John’s University, NY where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Clinical Immunology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Human Anatomy and Physiology.

Dr. Bijlani holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical sciences from Principal K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, India. She holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmacology and Toxicology from St. John’s University, New York City, NY. She possesses certifications in Clinical Research and Biostatistics and in Principles and Practice of Clinical Research.

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