“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.
Laurence Hurley, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Laurence Hurley is leading Reglagene’s application of quadruplex gene expression control to the discovery and development of medicines that combat serious diseases. He has built a distinguished academic career in the study of DNA structure and function, leading to the creation and development of therapeutic agents that interact with DNA as anticancer agents and one kinase inhibitor. Three products have been discovered in his first company Cylene or in his academic lab that went into human clinical trials (Quarfloxin, CX-5461, Amuvatinib). In addition, sponsored research programs with pharmaceutical companies resulted in three more clinical stage products with reaching the market (Vadastuximab Talirine, Bizelesin, Yondelis [marketed]). Laurence was the first to report that DNA quadruplex structures serve as control elements for gene expression. After obtaining his PhD at Purdue University, he completed postdoctoral studies in the Chemistry Department at the University of British Columbia. He has held appointments at the Universities of Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas (Austin), and since 2000 has been at the University of Arizona, where he has served as Associate Director of the BIO5 Collaborative Research Institute and Co-Director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at the Arizona Cancer Center.
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.
Betty R. Weaver, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Mrs. Betty Weaver has 18 years in public accounting with a regional firm in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and as principal of accounting with firms in Texas and Arizona. Her significant focus has been on providing early and expansion-stage companies in Biotech and Life Sciences with planning, analysis, and full CFO services. She also provides state and federal tax planning and preparation services, review services, and consulting services. Clients include domestic and international companies in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, veterinary clinics, medical practices, and commercial real estate development and construction.