Imran Alibhai, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Prior to becoming CEO of Tvardi, Imran Alibhai, Ph.D. was a Senior Vice President and Managing Director of DNAtrix, a clinical stage biotech company developing oncolytic viruses for cancer. Previously, Dr. Alibhai was an investment banker in PJ Solomon’s Healthcare Advisory Group, focused on M&A transactions in science-based markets including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices/diagnostics and life science tools. Formerly, he was the Senior Director at Alexandria Venture Investments, where he was responsible for investments in emerging companies and funds in the healthcare sector. He also directed investments for PIPE’s and long/short positions in MPM Capital’s BioEquities hedge fund. Dr. Alibhai began his career in early stage venture capital at the Accelerator Corp., where he was involved in every facet of company/project formation and management. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for NASA’s Translational Research Institute for Space Health. Dr. Alibhai holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and a BS in Biology from Duke University.
Dan Conn, J.D., M.B.A.
Chief Financial Officer
Dan Conn, J.D., M.B.A. is a seasoned executive with an extensive background in corporate law, finance, and business management. Mr. Conn began his career as an M&A and securities lawyer before moving to investment banking. As a banker, he was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley and a Director at PJ Solomon, focusing on M&A, restructuring, and financing transactions in the life sciences and other industries. Mr. Conn transitioned to the buy side, investing in multiple industries including life sciences, as a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at DE Shaw & Co and then Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Brookfield Asset Management. Most recently, Mr. Conn’s focus became more operational, directing the development and monetization of intellectual property rights. Mr. Conn holds a BA and JD from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, where he was an International Management Fellow.
John Kauh, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
John Kauh, M.D., is a board-certified medical oncologist with proven leadership in early- and late-phase drug development including US and EU regulatory submissions for drug approval. Before joining Tvardi, Dr. Kauh most recently served as Vice President of Clinical Development at HUTCHMED where he oversaw clinical development of agents ranging from Phase 1 to Phase 3. He provided medical oversight to various global clinical trials evaluating small-molecule inhibitors in oncology and personally led the NDA and MAA regulatory submissions for surufatinib. Previously, he led early-phase oncology development for Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. He began his career in industry at Eli Lilly where he oversaw clinical development of multiple early-phase oncology assets as well as late-stage trials of ramucirumab (CYRAMZA®). Dr. Kauh was an Associate Professor at Emory University School of Medicine with a focus in gastrointestinal medical oncology and early-phase drug development. He holds an M.D. from Kimmel College of Medicine (formerly known as Jefferson Medical College) and a B.S. from Penn State University. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, followed by a Hematology and Oncology fellowship at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University.
Jeff Larson, Ph.D., DABT
Senior Vice President, R&D
Jeffrey Larson Ph.D., DABT is a board certified toxicologist with 25+ years of broad experience in drug development, primarily across nonclinical research, safety toxicology and clinical/nonclinical pharmacokinetics. His career has spanned a range of clinical therapeutic areas includes oncology, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, respiratory, dermatology and ophthalmic indications. Previously, Dr. Larson was the Vice President of Product Development for Iterion Therapeutics and held senior positions at Beta Cat Pharmaceuticals, and Salarius Pharmaceuticals. He has held a number of positions within the pharmaceutical industry, with increasing responsibilities and scope of activities including at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi Aventis), Allergan, and Tanox. Dr. Larson earned a Ph.D. in Toxicology/Pharmacology from Washington State University and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Sofia de Achaval, M.S., Ph.D.
Vice President, Development
Sofia de Achaval, M.S., Ph.D. has leadership experience in clinical research spanning multiple indications including oncology and inflammation. During her time at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center she has had integral roles establishing basic, translational, and clinical research collaborations within and outside of the institution. For those collaborations she was responsible for regulatory and compliance, clinical research, and data management teams. Dr. de Achaval led the development of the IND of TTI-101 in cancer and spearheaded the planning and initiation of the first-in-man Phase 1 studies. She holds Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in public health – epidemiology from The University of Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health and BS in Biology from Texas A&M University.
Kari Anne Rowland, M.S.
Vice President, Clinical Operations
Kari Anne Rowland, M.S. brings twenty years of industry and life sciences experience mostly dedicated to clinical stage development of biological and small molecule therapeutics across multiple indications including oncology, autoimmune disorders, rare disease, pancreatobiliary, and infectious disease. Prior to Tvardi, she directed operations and project delivery for multiple global biotech-sponsored programs at ICON plc. (previously PRA Health Sciences, Inc.). She has served in various leadership and operational support roles for small to mid-size biotech companies including Head of Clinical Operations at CNS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Director of Clinical Operations at DNAtrix, Inc., and project management at MedImmune, Inc. She began her career as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Washington University School of Medicine. Kari Anne also served as an adjunct professor of pre-nursing Microbiology. She holds a M.S. in Biotechnology from The Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Microbiology from Auburn University.
Yixin "Joseph" Chen, Ph.D.
Vice President, CMC
Joseph Chen, Ph.D. brings 25 years of experience in CMC development of drug substances and products. Dr. Chen has extensive expertise in both technical leadership and management oversight in CMC development and manufacturing in-house and/or at CMO’s. Prior to joining Tvardi, he worked at Boehringer Ingelheim, Tanox, Johnson-Johnson, and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals in positions of increasing responsibilities, leading CMC development for multiple pharmaceutical/biological products. He has provided leadership and strategic planning for all aspects of CMC development including technical, manufacturing, and regulatory aspects of pharmaceutical development of drug substances and drug products at all phases. Dr. Chen holds B.S. and M.S degrees in chemical engineering from Tianjin University, China, and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Memphis, Tennessee.