Key Management
Swaroop Vakkalanka, Ph.D.: President

Swaroop Vakkalanka is the Founder of Rhizen Pharmaceuticals S.A., serves as President and in Board of Directors. He held several leadership positions in Pharma R&D earlier. He has rich experience of leading the cross functional scientific teams in “ bench to bedside drug discovery and development programs across in diversified therapeutics areas. He shares inventorship on several patents covered globally in the areas of Oncology & Inflammation and presented extensively the research findings at international conferences. He received his Ph.D in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Andhra University, India

Kumar V. Penmetsa, Ph.D.: Corporate Development

Kumar, in his current role serve as Executive Vice President- Corporate Development is responsible for Business Development and Strategy-Operations. Kumar joined Rhizen with 17 years of BioPharma industry experience: 15 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, New Jersey and 2 years at Human Genome Sciences, Rockville, Maryland.

Kumar has extensive experience in drug development, project management, cross-functional matrix-team management and leading individuals with different cultural backgrounds. In addition, Kumar has hands-on experience in establishing brand new R&D functions in Project Management and Strategic Operations in China and India. Kumar obtained his Ph.D. in Toxicology from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

Ajit Nair, Ph.D.: Clinical Research & Development

Ajit leads the clinical development endeavours for Rhizen and is currently serving as Sr. Vice President-Clinical Research & Development. Ajit has more than 22 years of experience in clinical research & development and medical affairs at senior leadership positions. Ajit joined Rhizen from Novartis where he lead global medical operations & research. Ajit has extensive experience in early stage drug development and has in his career also managed and been a part of large multi-centric trials. Ajit has proven skills in leading teams of clinical development professionals covering the entire gamut of activities including protocol development science, clinical operations and clinical data sciences. Ajit also brings with him expertise in managing clinical services and strategy from his past experience in manging global operations with a clinical research organization.

Ajit is a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Bombay, India and is passionate about bridging industry with academia.

Srikant Viswanadha, Ph.D.: Drug Discovery

Srikant Viswanadha has over 15 years of research experience during which he worked in the areas of oncology, metabolic disorders, pain, and inflammation. He joined Rhizen in 2008 and has been with the company ever since. In his current role as Sr. Vice President-Drug Discovery, Srikant is responsible for overseeing the progression of molecules from hit identification to lead generation and subsequent development across programs.

Srikant holds a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine from Acharya, N. G. Ranga Agricultural University –Hyderabad, a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Idaho, a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech.), and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the NIH/NIDDK.

Prashant K Bhavar, M.Pharm, LLB.: IPM & Corporate Legal Affairs

Prashant is currently Vice President -IPM & Corporate Legal Affairs and is responsible for global IP management for Rhizen. Prashant has significant Pharma R & D experience in the areas of Drug Discovery and Intellectual property. Prashant has a Masters degree in Pharmaceutical chemistry and LLB (Law graduation).

As an in-house counsel, Prashant works closely with the research teams, scientific advisors, external attorneys, business development. Prashant devises effective strategies to build and protect intellectual property assets, from initial drafting of patent applications to post-grant proceedings.

S. Uday Kumar, M.Pharm, MBA.: Scientific Affairs

Uday Kumar has served for over 14 years in drug development and in his current role as Vice President- Scientific Affairs he is responsible for Rhizen’s regulatory strategy on its clinical development programs. He is also responsible for alliance management with partnering companies upon research collaborations. He holds a Masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences and in Management.

Satheesh Thappali, Ph.D.: Corporate Quality & Information Systems

Satheesh, has more than 17 years of experience encompassing a wide range of areas in the pharmaceutical industry. He joined Rhizen in 2008 and currently serves as Vice President-Corporate Quality & Information Systems. As QA lead, he has faced several regulatory audit successfully from different regulatory agencies. Satheesh has knowledge over validation, quality management, compliance & audit methodology, regulatory affairs, laboratory management (LIMS, 21CFR compliance) and pharmacokinetic modeling.

Satheesh, holds a Ph.D degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from JNT University, Hyderabad and also holds MBA Degree in General and System Management from Alagappa University, Karaikudi.