Executive Summaries

Ron Najafi, Ph.D.

Ron Najafi, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

We live in the age of continuous advancement in chemistry, biology, and medicine.  Today’s instrumentations have enabled us to go where no man/woman has gone before.  From discovery of PCR and explosion of genetic analysis to synthetic biology and development of advanced instrumentations such as Mass Spectroscopy.  Emery Pharma aims to be a catalyst in helping our client-partners advancing this age of discovery. We are excited about the prospect of being able to help “save lives and save our planet”.  I am truly honored to be working with such a talented and innovative team at Emery Pharma.

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.

Katie Guggenheim, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry; Group Leader

Dr. Katie Guggenheim is an experienced chemist with an interdisciplinary background. Her specialties include synthetic organic chemistry, protein science, enzyme engineering and analytical chemistry.

In her role as Associate Director of Medicinal Chemistry, she oversees R&D and cGMP/GLP projects in the Medicinal Chemistry department, including analytical methods development, transfer, and validation, utilizing HPLC, LC-MS, NMR and UV/Vis spectroscopy. Dr. Guggenheim also works on structure elucidation of small molecules, supporting clients across many different industries.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Dr. Guggenheim was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis where she worked on enzyme and protein engineering campaigns. The projects she led included discovering and computationally engineering enzymes for application in food processing development, natural dye synthesis, glycan analysis methods development, and drug delivery systems development.  She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications encompassing these fields.

Dr. Guggenheim received her B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and her Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of California, Davis. She worked on developing synthetic methodologies to produce novel small molecule heterocycles for application in medicine and agrochemicals. She also synthesized chemicals to probe the pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis and developed chorismite-utilizing enzyme inhibitors for antimicrobial development.

Neelanjan (Neel) Bose, Ph.D.

Director of Bioanalytical Chemistry; Group Leader

Dr. Neelanjan (Neel) Bose is an experienced analytical chemist and chemical biologist with a diverse background in biomedical sciences. His specializations include mass spectrometry, small molecule analysis, 2D NMR, metabolic diseases, natural products, and drug discovery.

In his role as Director of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Dr. Bose oversees R&D and cGMP/GLP projects in the Chemistry department, including analytical methods development, transfer, and validation, utilizing UPLC, Prep-HPLC, LC-MS/MS, NMR, CAD, UV/Vis, spectroscopy; as well as structural characterization of natural products, metabolites, and pharmaceuticals.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Dr. Bose was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco working on developing new analytical workflows in conjunction with invertebrate and vertebrate model systems for studying disease pathways and drug discovery in the metabolic disease space. Notably, he developed models for studying diabetic complications that is amenable to rapid discovery, which ultimately led to identifying new pathways, several new natural product drugs, and an orthogonal way of treating diabetes. Also, he led the small molecule analyses sub-group that helped advance a new drug from conception to clinical trials for cystinuria, a rare genetic kidney stone disease.

Dr. Bose received his B.S. in Chemistry from Presidency College, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India, M.S. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India and his Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Cornell University. His studies resulted in the discovery of 300+ novel signaling molecules from nematodes that control various aspects of organismal development and aging.

Ryan Cheu, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Bioanalytical Chemistry; Group Leader

Dr. Ryan Cheu is an experienced biochemist and pharmacokineticist with a focus on mass spectrometry, small molecule analysis, infectious diseases, pharmacomicrobiomics, pharmacokinetics, and drug metabolizing enzymes.

In his role as Associate Director of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Dr. Cheu helps oversee R&D and cGMP/GLP projects in the Bioanalytical Chemistry department, including analytical methods development, transfer, and validation utilizing HPLC, LC-MS/MS, NMR, and UV/Vis spectroscopy. Dr. Cheu also works on formulating research and product development proposals for the company and helps to ensure the department reaches project goals and budget targets.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Dr. Cheu was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Miami working on developing new methodologies to evaluate the impact of microbiome dysbiosis on host health, immunity, and xenobiotics. His projects led to understanding the role female reproductive tract dysbiosis plays in impacting HIV transmission. The projects he led included developing novel assays elucidating mechanisms of drug PK variability.

Dr. Cheu received his B.S. in biochemistry from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California and his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Washington. His research focused primarily on pharmacomicrobiomics, highlighted by the novel discovery and characterization of numerous host microbe-drug metabolic events as a means of altering drug PK.

Aya Kubo, Ph.D.

Acting Director of Cell & Microbiology; Group Leader

Dr. Aya Kubo is an experienced microbiologist with a background in antimicrobial discovery and development. She has extensive experience profiling potential antimicrobial compounds against a wide variety of clinical pathogens, especially highly resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

As the Acting Director of Cell and Microbiology, Dr. Kubo is responsible for R&D and cGMP/GLP projects involving antimicrobial discovery, profiling, and feasibility assessment.

Before joining Emery Pharma, Dr. Kubo worked at various Bay Area biotech companies including Achaogen, where she supported the research and development of the aminoglycoside plazomycin (ZEMDRIT™) and other programs such as the LpxC inhibitor, ACHN-975, the first inhibitor in its class to enter clinical trials. At Vicuron her diverse microbiology and molecular biology skills contributed to the advancement of lead compounds in multiple discovery programs, and also supported the advancement of the antifungal anidulafungin (ERAXIS™) toward regulatory approval.

Dr. Kubo received her Ph.D. in Infectious Diseases from the University of California, Berkeley, where she discovered and characterized a novel porin, PorB, in Chlamydia trachomatis. She obtained her B.A. in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Janet Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Cell and Microbiology

Dr. Janet Liu is a skilled microbiologist who has worked extensively with a wide range of bacterial pathogens. She specializes in in-vitro assays and has extensive experience in novel assay development.

As Associate Director of Cell and Microbiology, Dr. Liu is responsible for R&D and cGMP/GLP projects involving antimicrobial susceptibility testing, antimicrobial synergy, biofilm testing, time-kill assays, and cytotoxicity testing.

Before joining Emery Pharma, Dr. Liu was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego where she worked on bacteria/host innate-immune interactions. Her work led to important insights into the role of innate immune cells in limiting bacterial infections, as well as elucidating mechanisms of bacterial infections. Dr. Liu has an extensive publication record in the field of microbiology and immunology, with numerous first and co-author articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Liu received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. She received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis.

Alan Ewing

Sr. Analytical Chemist

Alan Ewing is an accomplished analytical chemist with over 30 years of industry chemistry experience including managing analytical labs, in QC and in bio-analytical development. Additionally, he has experience in directing compliant operations, with a strong emphasis on quality production and technical lab detail. He has led R&D and cGMP projects in large and small biotechnology companies. His focus includes both small molecule and biological assays, including glycoprotein assays, HPLC, GC-MS, ELISA, natural product assays, and integrated lab and data automation via robotic systems. Alan is experienced in cGMP analysis, validation, and discrepancy management related to laboratory operations. He has extensive regulatory experience specializing in laboratory and site audits.

Prior to Emery Pharma, Alan served as the head of QC Chemistry at Bayer HealthCare in Berkeley; leading projects and teams related to protein biologics. He spent an additional 8 years at Lynx Therapeutics focused on genomics analytical support. Prior to that, he worked at Cygnus Therapeutics supporting small molecule drug delivery and glucose monitoring device development.

Alan founded LabSense Technologies LLC, supporting client’s efficient and quality laboratory analytics and automation development. His work at LabSense has included a diverse range of cGMP analytical projects, spanning bio-pharmaceuticals, new cancer agents, immuno-therapies, new drug delivery devices, natural products, and gene therapy.

His educational experience includes graduate studies in Physical Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley, and graduate studies in Pesticide, Drug Metabolism, and Toxicology from University of Kentucky.  He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

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