Bala Venkataraman, Partner

Mr. Venkataraman is an experienced operating executive in the specialty pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Mr. Venkataraman was Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Vidara Therapeutics until its sale to Horizon Pharma in September 2014. Prior to founding Vidara Therapeutics, Mr. Venkataraman was the Co-Founder and CEO of Alaven Pharmaceutical from 2003 until its sale to Meda Pharma in October 2010. Mr. Venkataraman also served as COO, CFO, and VP of Business Development, Strategic Planning and Operations at First Horizon Pharmaceutical (now Shionogi Pharma). Mr. Venkataraman has authored several papers in research publications related to medicinal chemistry and holds numerous drug and formulation patents. Mr. Venkataraman holds an MS in Chemistry from Case Western University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas Vandervort, Partner

Mr. Vandervort’s background ranges from numerous positions in the pharmaceutical services industry including the 3PL DDN Pharmaceutical Logistics and the ultra-orphan drug specialty pharmacy Centric Health Resources to leadership roles in business development for West-Ward Pharmaceuticals and IGI Laboratories (now Teligent, Inc.).  As a sales leader for DDN and Centric, Mr. Vandervort built a brand for each company as the service provider of choice, as seen in the rapid growth in new clients and profitability for both companies.  Mr. Vandervort ran M&A for West-Ward and was part of the team that acquired Baxter’s multi-source injectable business as well as numerous products that expanded West-Ward’s R&D portfolio to include NDAs as well as paragraph IV challenges.  With IGI laboratories, Mr. Vandervort led multiple M&A transactions, including deals with Valeant and Concordia as well as the acquisition of the Canadian generic injectable company, Alveda Pharma, Inc.  Mr. Vandervort has a BA from Bethany College in Bethany, WV and an MA from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Raffaele Pereno, Principal

Dr. Pereno is leading Avego’s efforts in Europe via our office in Basel, Switzerland.  Dr. Pereno has over 20 years’ experience in research and lifecycle management of new medicines.  Most recently, Dr. Pereno oversaw the divestment of over 43 brands as the Senior Project/Alliance Manager of the Business Development and Licensing team at Novartis.  Prior to working in BD&L, Dr. Pereno served as the Global Clinical Trial Head of Novartis’s oncology clinical development unit during which time he executed the phase III study for Telesto.  Dr. Pereno's clinical development experience also includes respiratory, dermatology, and immunology.  Dr. Pereno received a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Biological Science in Genoa, Italy, a Masters of Microbiology and Virology from the University of Medicine in Genoa, a “Diplome d’Etude Approfondie” from Paris VI in Cellular and Molecular Biology, a Diploma of Clinical Research Associate from Sup-Sante in Paris, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Paris VI, and his MBA from the Swiss Business School in Zurich.

James Flexner, Vice President

Prior to joining Avego, Mr. Flexner was an investment professional with Metalmark Capital, where he focused on leveraged buyout transactions across multiple industries. Mr. Flexner began his career as an investment banker in the Global Healthcare Group at Morgan Stanley, where he executed multiple transactions across the life sciences and healthcare services industries. Mr. Flexner graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA degree in Economics and Chemistry.

Reid Petersen, Vice President

Mr. Petersen is leading Avego's pharma and healthcare services initiatives.  Prior to joining Avego, Mr. Petersen was a Vice President at Edgemont Capital Partners, a healthcare-focused investment bank, where he executed mergers and acquisitions for companies in the pharmaceutical and healthcare services sectors. Prior to this, he served as an Associate at Newstone Capital Partners, a mezzanine debt investment fund, where he made private debt and equity investments across industries to support leveraged buyout transactions. Mr. Petersen began his career as an investment banker in the Global Financial Institutions Group at Citi, where he executed mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity raises for insurance companies. Mr. Petersen graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business with a BS degree in Finance.

Jordan McLean, Associate

Prior to joining Avego, Mr. McLean was an investment banker at Leerink Partners, where he focused on M&A across specialty brand and generic pharmaceutical sectors. Mr. McLean’s notable transaction experience includes Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals’ sale to Tailwind Capital, the sale of Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp. to Horizon Pharma and the successful defense of Depomed against Horizon Pharma’s attempted hostile takeover. Mr. McLean began his career in the Healthcare Group at Lazard Middle Market after graduating from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in Business, Organizations & Society.

Dr. Virinder Nohria, Advisor

Dr. Nohria is an experienced biotechnology entrepreneur and drug developer with a track record of success in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. Dr. Nohria is a board-certified neurologist with special qualification in child neurology. Dr. Nohria co-founded Vidara Therapeutics in 2011 and most recently served as its President and Chief Medical Officer. In the past, Dr. Nohria was part of the founding team of Alaven Pharmaceutical and Alaven Consumer Health LLC and served as its Chief Medical Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Executive Vice President from 2008 until its sale to Meda Pharma in October 2010. Additionally, Dr. Nohria worked for Eli Lilly on Zyprexa and at UCB, where he was clinical lead for submission and commercialization of Keppra in the United States. Between 2003 and 2005, he was Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Xcel Pharmaceuticals where he led development of retigabine (ezogabine) for the treatment of epilepsy. Dr. Nohria currently sits on the board of directors of Horizon Pharma plc, Promentis Pharmaceuticals and Sebela Pharmaceuticals.Dr. Nohria’s medical training was conducted at the University of Cambridge in England. His postgraduate training was completed in the United Kingdom and the United States at Duke University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology and has authored many publications and book chapters.

Dr. John Devane, Advisor

Dr. Devane currently serves as a scientific advisor to Saol Therapeutics and as a board member to Sebela Pharmaceuticals.  His other current board positions include Dignity Sciences Ltd. and Incereb Ltd.  Most recently, Dr. Devane was Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) with Horizon Pharma Ireland Ltd. and previously (2012-2014) served as CSO to Vidara Therapeutics Research Ltd.  In the past, Dr. Devane was part of the founding team of AGI Therapeutics plc. and served as its CEO from 2004-2012.  Additionally, Dr. Devane founded and led Athpharma Ltd. as CEO from 2002-2005.  Dr. Devane worked for Elan Corporation from 1981 to 2001 and held various senior leadership positions, including Executive Vice President R&D (1993-2001) and Senior Vice President Clinical & Regulatory, where he led key clinical trial programs in the USA and negotiated NDA approvals directly with FDA.  During the period 1990 to 2001, Dr. Devane and his team were responsible for 6 NDA and 3 ANDA approvals. Dr. Devane has had a long career designing and successfully delivering major product development programs spanning activities in preclinical, clinical, manufacturing, regulatory, and intellectual property.  He has a deep knowledge in pharmacology, drug delivery, clinical development, regulatory affairs and intellectual property.  Dr. Devane is the inventor/co-inventor on many granted and pending patent applications and has also been widely published in scientific/medical literature.  His graduate and post-graduate scientific training was conducted at University College in Dublin, Ireland.  He received a diploma in Accounting & Finance (ACCA) by exam and received a certificate and diploma from the Institute of Directors (UK) by exam relating to their Chartered Director Program. 

Keith Carter, Advisor

Mr. Carter is an experienced business leader with a strong background and knowledge of (bio)pharmaceuticals, healthcare, IP development, and investment banking.  Previous employers include Drexel Burnham Lambert, Carter Edwards and Partners, NatWest Markets, Allergy Therapeutics plc, and is now a consultant for Isalis Ltd.  Mr. Carter has experience as CEO of Allergy Therapeutics and led the successful IPO of the company.  Mr. Carter is currently an advisor for Avego, focused on looking for, analyzing, and executing investment opportunities outside of the United States.  Mr. Carter has an MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge and also completed the London Business School Corporate Finance Programme.