Nader Z. Pourhassan, PhD
Director, President and CEO
Dr. Pourhassan received his Bachelor of Science from Utah State University in 1985, his Masters of Science from Brigham Young University in 1990 and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah in 1998. Dr. Pourhassan has authored three books.
His 20 years of business development experience set the stage for him to transform a publicly traded biotech company on the brink of bankruptcy, into a company on the cusp of potentially obtaining FDA approval for its first drug. If granted approval, the drug called leronlimab (PRO 140) could change the treatment paradigms in both HIV and metastatic cancer.
Dr. Pourhassan joined CytoDyn (CYDY) in 2008 as Chief Operating Officer and by September, 2012, was appointed President and CEO. He was responsible for identifying significant opportunities for leronlimab, and single handedly raised enough capital for CytoDyn to complete an acquisition of PRO 140 from Progenics Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Pourhassan has overseen the rapid preclinical and clinical developments of leronlimab (PRO 140) as a therapy for HIV, from Phase 2 development into successful completion of Phase 3 trials. This includes the oversight of the development of trial protocols and interaction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Pourhassan also opened the door for exploring leronlimab (PRO 140) for other indications, most notably, he has been involved in the preclinical and clinical developments of leronlimab in indications for triple-negative breast cancer, colon cancer, GvHD, and NASH.
To advance the drug development of leronlimab, Dr. Pourhassan raised capital for CytoDyn of approximately $200 million over the last 5 years.
Craig S. Eastwood, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Eastwood is a licensed CPA and has more than 25 years of financial management experience. Prior to joining CytoDyn, he was a CFO for two publicly traded startup companies, advancing their financial and strategic missions. He started his career as an auditor at Deloitte, and held a variety of senior financial roles in a mix of public and private companies in manufacturing and life sciences, focusing on technical accounting, investor relations, systems implementations and restructurings. His experience includes over three years at PPD, a formerly publicly traded global Contract Research Organization, where he served as Director of Accounting and later led the Investor Relations function.
Nitya G. Ray, PhD
Chief Technology Officer - Head of Process Sciences, Manufacturing & Supply Chain
Dr. Ray rejoined CytoDyn in December 2018 and previously served as the company's Senior Vice President of Manufacturing from November 2015 to June 2017. Most recently, Dr. Ray served as Executive Vice-President, Head of Product Development, Manufacturing and Supply Chain of Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prior to joining CytoDyn in 2015, Dr. Ray was Senior Vice President at Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. During his 14-year tenure at Progenics he was responsible for manufacturing, process & analytical sciences & quality control. He possesses extensive knowledge of leronlimab (PRO 140) development. Dr. Ray successfully manufactured the first 10 batches of leronlimab at Progenics under GMP, which was approved by the FDA for use in all clinical trials.
Dr. Ray’s return to CytoDyn brings 30 years of progressive, hands-on experience in strategic planning and execution of process development and manufacturing of biologics, engineered tissue therapeutics, antibody drug conjugates, and small molecule and radiopharmaceutical drugs. He has demonstrated expertise in diverse technology platforms, product development, pre-clinical, clinical and commercial manufacturing, process and analytical sciences, quality control, global supply chain, quality systems and regulatory affairs. Dr. Ray holds a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering and a M.S. degree in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University and a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University.
Jacob P. Lalezari, MD
Interim Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Lalezari joined CytoDyn as Interim Chief Medical Officer in March 2020. He serves in a leadership role to advance the Company’s clinical trials with leronlimab for coronavirus and multiple cancer indications. He also has several years of experience with leronlimab and patient data from the Company’s HIV clinical trials for combination therapy and monotherapy. Dr. Lalezari also currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Director of Quest Clinical Research in San Francisco, and has served as a principal investigator for Phase I, II, and III clinical studies of new therapies for viral diseases including HIV/AIDS, CMV, HPV, HSV, Hepatitis B &C, Influenza, RSV and cancer. Dr. Lalezari also serves as a leading clinician for CytoDyn’s HIV and mTNBC trials with leronlimab. Prior to joining Quest Clinical Research, Dr. Lalezari was Co-Director, HIV Clinical Research Center, Mt. Zion Medical Center at University of California, San Francisco. He has published several research papers and presented research at numerous international conferences. Dr. Lalezari holds a M.A. degree from the University of Virginia and earned his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.
Brendan P. Rae, PhD, JD
Senior Vice President of Business Development
Dr. Rae is an accomplished licensing and business development executive with a proven track record of deal-making. Dr. Rae comes to CytoDyn from Serina Therapeutics where he was Chief Business Officer, responsible for partnering, out licensing and overall company strategy. Previously, Dr. Rae was the Executive Director of NPS Pharmaceuticals and Head of GI and Endocrinology Business Development until the acquisition by Shire Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion in 2015. Prior to NPS, Dr. Rae held the role of Chief Business Officer at Arrowhead Research and Vivaldi Biosciences, as well as senior leadership roles at VIA Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma and Hoffman-La Roche. Prior to entering the biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Rae was an attorney specializing in biopharmaceutical intellectual property law and, earlier in his career was a research scientist focusing on metastasis and the molecular basis of cellular transformation. Dr. Rae holds a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall Law School and a Ph.D. in Virology from Glasgow University (Scotland) and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.