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Yukari Y. Perrella, Founder & President

Yukari is a founder of Yuma. Yukari has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare field, including operations, business development, finance and research. Previously, Yukari was vice president of business development of Alseres Pharmaceuticals, a public neuroscience biotech company where she was responsible for the business development activities of the company. Prior to Alseres, Yukari was executive director of business development for CombinatoRx. Prior to CombinatoRx, Yukari was head of U.S. operations at Xerion Pharmaceuticals where she ran North American operations and business development for a European biopharmaceutical company. Yukari also held positions of increasing responsibilities at Hybridon, V.I. Technologies, and Imperial Bank. Yukari worked in research laboratories at Harvard School of Public Health, Children’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Yukari holds an M.B.A. from Boston University School of Management and a B.A. in biology from Reed College.

Martin D. Williams, Founder

Martin is a founder of Yuma. Martin has more than 25 years of experience in the global biopharmaceutical business. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Tokai Pharmaceuticals, a venture-backed oncology company.  He has closed more than $3 billion worth of corporate transactions, including numerous partnerships, M&A, and public and private financings. Prior to Dicerna, Martin was chief business officer and senior vice president for commercial and business development at Synta Pharmaceuticals, with responsibility for corporate development, sales and marketing, corporate communications and medical affairs. There, he completed the company’s IPO in 2007 and negotiated a $1 billion collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline for its lead oncology product. Prior to joining Synta, Martin was head of corporate development for Altus Pharmaceuticals, where he led all strategic partnering activities. Before joining Altus, he was senior vice president, corporate development and marketing at Oscient Pharmaceuticals. Martin held various leadership positions and directed the development, commercialization and launch of several flagship brands for Glaxo, Hoffmann-La Roche, American Cyanamid and Wyeth. These brands included Glaxo's blockbuster Zantac® and Zofran®; Hoffmann La-Roche's Xenical®; and Lederle/Wyeth's global anti-infective portfolio, including Zosyn®/Tazocin®.

Martin holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an M.S. from the University of Manchester, England, and a B.A. in biology from the University of Humberside in Hull, England.

Michael Grundman, M.D., MPH, Scientific Advisor

Dr.Grundman is President and CEO at Global R&D Partners, LLC, a consulting firm that works closely with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop novel agents for the diagnosis and treatment of serious and life threatening diseases. Dr. Grundman currently is an Adjunct Professor of Neurosciences at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Grundman previously served as Vice President of Clinical Development at Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, LLC and Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Grundman was Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Neurosciences at UCSD. He received his BA from New York University with Honors in Biochemistry. He obtained an MD and Neurology training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. Dr. Grundman previously served on the FDA Peripheral and Central Nervous System Advisory Committee and is an inventor on a number of patents related to Alzheimer’s disease therapy. He lectures frequently at national and international scientific meetings and has published over 60 articles related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Debomoy Lahiri, PhD, Scientific Advisor

Dr.Lahiri is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and of Medical & Molecular Genetics and full member of the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine, Indianapolis. Currently, he is Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Neurogenetics and Associate Director of INBRAIN (Indiana Center for Biomarker Research in Neuropsychiatry) at the Institute of Psychiatric Research of IU School of Medicine. Prior to joining Indiana University, Dr. Lahiri was a faculty member at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY. His particular research interest is in understanding the mechanism of aging; origin and biogenesis of the amyloid plaque and gene regulation of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Dr. Lahiri has been awarded multiple research grants as a Principal Investigator from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Alzheimer's Association. Dr. Lahiri is a current member of the NIH study section, of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Institute for the Study of Aging, New York and a consultant to Forest Research Labs, NY. He has published over 200 scientific papers in the field of neurobiology, genetics and AD (including high impact factor journals, such as JBC, PNAS, FASEB J, JPET, and Nature Neurosci Rev). Dr. Lahiri is the Editor-In-Chief of the international journal, ‘Current Alzheimer Research', which is listed in MEDLINE/PubMed (www.bentham.org). He has also edited books, such as ‘Protective Strategies for Neurodegenerative Diseases' published by the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Lahiri's honors include the listing in Marquis' ‘Who's Who in the World', and receiving the prestigious ‘Zenith Award' from Alzheimer's Association.

Lijun Sun, PhD, Scientific Advisor

Dr. Sun is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Center for Drug Discovery and Translational Research at the Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Previously, Dr. Sun held executive positions in a number of emerging biotech companies where he led anticancer and antiinflammation drug discovery and development programs. His major achievement includes the creation of multiple clinical development candidates, including ganetespib, a small molecule HSP90 inhibitor currently in phase-3 clinical trials for lung cancer and leukemia. Dr. Sun is a co-inventorship of more than 100 issued or pending US patents. He has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in chemistry and biology. He received his Ph.D degree in chemistry from Emory University and trained as a postdoctoral research fellow at Emory Medical School.

Manfred Windisch, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor

After graduating from the University of Graz, Dr. Windisch led a neurobiology group in the field of brain metabolism and animal model development at the institution and industrial research programs in Europe, North America and Asia. He established a global network of research collaborations and stimulated intensive scientific information exchange. Dr. Windisch spearheaded several international clinical studies in Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia and ischemic stroke from 1989 onwards. He founded his first company, JSW-Lifesciences, in 1999, with research activities focused on the role of alpha and beta-synuclein in pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and AD; to explore therapeutic possibilities for preventing alpha-synuclein pathology and the interaction with amyloid deposition. He created and standardized improved transgenic and induced rodent models of neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Windisch gained significant experience in the use of such models and was involved in about 60-80 pharmacological studies in the field of neurodegeneration every year, allowing him to define experimental standards to increase the predictive value of preclinical drug testing. In parallel, he was involved in clinical research in AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), PD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and cerebrovascular diseases, organizing and conducting approximately 25 international trials from Phase 1 to Phase 3. This clinical trial experience includes complex study design using state of the art imaging techniques and CSF biomarkers.


As a member of several scientific advisory boards Dr. Windisch is helping to coordinate preclinical and clinical research activities in the neurodegenerative field on an international level. He is a highly active member of the scientific community, has authored about 100 original research articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has organized conferences on drug development for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including the AD-PD conference, a leading scientific meeting in the field. In August 2013, Dr. Windisch founded “NeuroScios – Neuroscience Optimized Solutions” and took over the position as CEO. The company is specialized in consulting for drug development programs in neurological indications and provides premier research services for clinical trials in dementia (AD, MCI and others).  In collaboration with Psychogenics, one of the world leading companies in neurobiology research, with expertise in animal behavior, electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry he continues to provide this expertise for preclinical CNS drug development.”


Copyright 2011, Yuma Therapeutics Corporation