Niranjan Y. Sardesai, PhD
Dr. Sardesai founded Geneos after building Inovio Pharmaceuticals into a Phase III cancer and infectious disease immunotherapy company serving as its Chief Operating Officer. He held positions of increasing responsibility after joining the company in 2006 where he helped formulate the company’s product development and growth strategies and reorganized the company into a DNA vaccine and immunotherapies company. For Inovio, Dr. Sardesai drove multiple M&A and licensing transactions to consolidate key technologies, establish the corporate footprint, and develop its immunotherapies platform and product pipeline. He led the strategic out-licensing of Inovio’s pipeline products to secure major licensing deals totaling over $1 Bn with pharma partners.
Dr. Sardesai was previously the founder and President of NVision Consulting Inc., a firm providing strategic counsel to entrepreneurial life sciences companies. He served as Director of Research and Development at Fujirebio Diagnostics, Inc., where he oversaw the expansion of the company’s oncology portfolio. Products developed under his leadership include groundbreaking new tests for mesothelioma (MESOMARKTM), bladder cancer and a multi-marker test for ovarian cancer (HE4).
Dr. Sardesai received a PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the recipient of the Shils-Zeidman Award in Entrepreneurship. He was awarded fellowships at the Scripps Research Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Sardesai received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Dr. Sardesai has authored over 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts and was recognized by PharmaVoice magazine as one of the top 100 most influential and inspirational leaders across the life sciences industry (2015).
Hakim Hammach, PhD, MBA
Dr. Hakim Hammach joined Geneos as the Vice President of Business Development, bringing with him over 20 years of leadership experience as a venture capital investor in health and life sciences, a strategy consultant for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and a drug discovery scientist. He previously served as an advisor to early stage investors to identify investment opportunities and grow their portfolio in life sciences. Prior to joining Geneos, Dr. Hammach led the investment team at Riyadh Valley Company (RVC), as the Managing Director of Investments, from its founding in 2010 to 2018. At RVC he led multiple successful investments in emerging biotech/life science companies through deal initiation, diligence, structuring, board engagement, and exit – including notably, investments in Avidity Biosciences (NASDAQ: RNA) and Prokarium.
Previously, Dr. Hammach served as Senior Strategy Consultant with Accenture, providing growth strategy and management consulting services to large Pharmaceutical and Biotech Companies in the US and Europe. While at Accenture, his engagements focused on M&A, business development strategy, and R&D portfolio evaluation/prioritization. He was a Duke Venture Fellow with Aurora Funds where he served with the Life Science and Healthcare Investment team. Dr. Hammach was a Principal Scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (BIPI) where he led several drug discovery programs in the area of immunology and inflammation. Under Dr. Hammach’s leadership, his teams advanced several programs to the clinical development stage.
Dr. Hammach served as a Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania after having earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Vermont. In addition, he holds a MBA from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business. He is an inventor with 18 issued US patents and has co-authored numerous scientific articles in leading international journals.
Presently Freddi is President of CFO’Brien Consulting, LLC, for which she provides executive level strategic and financial consulting services. Freddi has previously held the roles of Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Controller and Director of Financial Reporting and has been integral in the growth and financing of both private and public companies ranging from preclinical through commercial stage. Collaborating with the Genova Group, a boutique accounting advisory firm, Freddi leads the technical accounting and financial reporting functions of Geneos.
Freddi’s corporate experience includes senior leadership roles at several life sciences companies including Complexa Inc., Cerecor Inc., Cervilenz Inc., Cardiokine Inc., Barrier Therapeutics, Inc. and at Infonautics, Inc., a technology company. Freddi currently serves on the Board of Directors of TELA Bio, Inc., a publicly held commercial-stage medical technology company, where she also chairs the Audit Committee. She is also on the Board of Directors of MacroGenics, Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Before specializing in life sciences and technology, Freddi spent over a decade in professional service accounting firms, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she was focused on high growth companies in multiple industries. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Rutgers University and is a Certified Public Accountant – Inactive.
Alfredo Perales-Puchalt, MD, PhD
Alfredo Perales-Puchalt joined Geneos as Director of Research & Development bringing his experience in Immuno-Oncology and DNA-based therapeutics in both the scientific and the clinical development space. He led, in collaboration with Geneos, the preclinical development of DNA-encoded neoantigen-targeting vaccines at the Wistar Institute. Prior to joining Geneos, Dr. Perales-Puchalt was leading clinical development of DNA-encoded CD3 bispecific antibodies for oncology, of which he is also co-inventor. His extensive preclinical training, focused on the research of novel immunotherapies, along with his clinical work as physician and director of clinical development in pharmaceutical industry has equipped Dr. Perales-Puchalt to become a translational scientist in the field of tumor immunology and specifically in the development and implementation of immunotherapies for cancer.
Dr. Perales-Puchalt received his MD with honors from the University of Valencia and completed residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at La Fe University Hospital (Spain). He received his PhD with honors from the University of Valencia, developing at the Wistar Institute a novel adoptive T cell transfer immunotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Three of the immunotherapies that he has invented have been licensed and are currently in clinical development, including chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bispecific antibodies, and cancer vaccines. Dr. Perales-Puchalt has authored over 42 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has received grants and awards from funding bodies such as the Department of Defense, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and Fundación Alonso Martin Escudero. He also holds a Bachelors Degree in Statistics in Health Sciences, a Masters Degree in Methodology in Research in Health Sciences, and a Masters Degree in Human Reproduction. He also served as Clinical Research Fellow at the PennState Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Joann Peters, MHA
Joann Peters joined Geneos after a successful 19-year career working in the Contract Research Organization (CRO) industry where she supported the growth strategy of companies and effectively led oncology focused study teams. She is bringing her strong oncology clinical operations experience to Geneos and will play a pivotal role in the company’s growth by leading the execution of the clinical and development strategy. She leads all facets of Geneos Clinical and Business Operations, providing oversight to clinical trials and implementing operations strategy and structure.
Prior to joining Geneos, Joann served in roles of increasing responsibility at PRA, Chiltern and INC Research. Most recently, Joann served as the Vice President of Clinical Operations and Project Delivery at Linical Accelovance. At Linical Accelovance, she held multiple leadership roles spanning global, operational and investigative site relationship responsibilities with a focus in immuno-oncology, solid tumor and hematology. She was responsible for the design and clinical implementation of 30+ protocols spanning Phase I-IV clinical studies and ensuring that projects were delivered effectively and with transparency.
Joann received her B.S. from Iowa State University in Dietetics and a Master’s in Health Care Administration at Webster University.