“It’s a great honor to lead a team of incredibly talented individuals who share the vision of developing next-generation cancer medicines. It’s never easy to bring ideas from concept into the clinic. But with the right team, a lot of perseverance, and taking a leap into something once thought impossible, you can change the world.” —Richard Austin, Chief Executive Officer
Meet the Team
Richard Austin, PhD, MBA
Chief Executive Officer/President
Dr. Richard Austin is a Pharmaceutical R&D veteran with 25 years of experience ranging from the laboratory bench to management. His professional career began as a medicinal chemist with Burroughs Wellcome (eventually Glaxo SmithKline) in 1993 at its site in Research Triangle Park, NC. He took a similar role with Selectide (eventually Sanofi) in 1997. Richard moved into a research operations role in 2011, responsible for managing the operational aspects of Sanofi’s science at its Tucson Research Center. As a member of the site leadership team, he managed R&D operational and capital spending, laboratory equipment maintenance and repair, R&D contract creation, and budget creation. He holds an Organic Chemistry PhD (University of Texas at Austin) and an MBA in Pharmaceutical Management (Drexel University). Richard completed postdoctoral training in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. He is an angel investor with Tucson’s Desert Angels and a commercialization partner with the University of Arizona’s technology transfer office.
Brandon von Tobel, MD, MBE
Chief Financial Officer
Dr. Brandon von Tobel joins Reglagene as a healthcare veteran with almost 20 years of executive experience at companies ranging from early-stage startups to publicly traded organizations. After foregoing a neurosurgery residency and based upon previous stints at McKinsey & Company, Morgan Stanley, Salomon Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch, and Innovation Philadelphia, Brandon joined the venture capital firm WFD Ventures, an evergreen healthcare fund focused on med-tech, healthcare IT, and medical devices. Brandon helped the WFD Ventures portfolio company ImaCor Inc. achieve FDA clearance for its hTEE ultrasound probe and secured a $25MM investment led by Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) based upon his go-to-market commercialization strategy. Brandon subsequently joined ImaCor Inc. as its operational and financial executive and helped build it from a pre-revenue startup into a global critical care brand, ultimately running its west coast sales team, leading international distribution, and becoming the company’s CFO and President. After the private equity acquisition of ImaCor, Brandon joined Cadit Health as its CFO/COO to help this healthcare IT Zocdoc competitor grow and diversify its call center-based business model into lucrative pharmaceutical company partnerships. While negotiating the sale of Cadit Health, Brandon launched the family office advisory firm D-Ink Inc. to continue his passion to build and fund healthcare solutions. Throughout his career, Brandon has built and sold businesses worth almost a billion dollars and raised over $375 million in capital in order to accomplish those goals. Brandon is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University where he received a BA in premedical studies with concentrations in French, Biology, and Economics; he received a master’s degree in Bioethics from The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and he received his medical doctorate on a trustee scholarship from The University of Miami School of Medicine. He is a Venture Partner at the Cancer Fund.
Vijay Gokhale, PhD
Vice President of Discovery
Dr. Vijay Gokhale manages Reglagene’s therapeutics discovery operations. He joined Dr. Laurence Hurley as a postdoctoral student at the University of Arizona in 2003 and contributed to the early discoveries of quadruplex drug targeting. Since that time he has managed the University of Arizona’s campus-wide medicinal chemistry activities, while continuing to discover candidate therapeutic agents that interact with quadruplex systems. His efforts at the University have also provided the intellectual property resulting in the formation of several commercial ventures (e.g., Regulonix, Fibronox). Vijay's primary technical expertise is the application of molecular modeling and computational chemistry techniques in the design and development of therapeutic agents. He was a co-founder of Tetragene and is a non-participating founder of Regulonix.
Teri Suzuki, PhD
Vice President of Preclinical Biology
Dr. Teri Suzuki has more than 20 years of Pharmaceutical R&D experience. She began her career at Selectide (later Sanofi), where she led pharmaceutical lead discovery projects that culminated in multiple advanced lead compounds, international patents, and clinical candidate compounds. She forged and led several innovative collaborations with academic groups, biotech companies, and larger partners, all based on the vision of mutual benefit. Her areas of expertise are the identification of drug leads and lead compound progression. She holds undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biochemistry and a PhD in biochemistry (University of Arizona). She is an Angel Investor with Tucson’s Desert Angels and serves on the External Advocacy Board for the University of Arizona’s Mathematics Department and the External Advisory Board for the University of Arizona’s Undergraduate Biology Research Program.
Michael Abrahamson, PharmD
Director of Operations
Dr. Michael Abrahamson is responsible for managing communications with prospective investors and pharmaceutical company partners, developing slide deck and marketing materials, contract negotiation, market research & analysis, and daily operations. Michael has years of start-up experience working at SinfoniaRx (eventually Tabula Rasa Healthcare). He then took a role at the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, consulting healthcare professionals on complex toxicology patients, improving patient outcomes, and reducing healthcare costs. Michael is a clinical pharmacist by training and has multiple publications in early drug development, along with rotational experiences in regulatory science and phase I clinical trials. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where he received his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the College of Pharmacy, a Bachelor of Science in Physiology from the College of Medicine, and a Graduate Certificate in Regulatory Science from the College of Law.