Interview with the CEO and the President and Chairman: NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN:NNVC)
Irach B. Taraporewala is Chief Executive Officer of NanoViricides, Inc. Dr. Irach B. Taraporewala is a seasoned pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years' experience in drug development and regulatory strategy. He is a hands-on CEO with strong scientific background combined with significant management, leadership, business development and financing experience. Dr. Taraporewala is the Founder and Managing Member of Sitara Pharmaceutical Consulting, LLC, providing consulting services to biotechnology companies on business strategy, regulatory strategic planning for small molecule and biological pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology drugs and drug-device combination products. Dr. Taraporewala was previously the founding CEO and President of Ohr Pharmaceutical, Inc. — “Ohr” — from April 2010 until December 2015. During his five years of leadership at Ohr, he played a critical role in taking the company from preclinical stage through successful Phase II clinical trials. His achievements included technology assessment and opportunity identification, followed by due diligence for potential acquisitions. He led the acquisition of the lead compound Squalamine by Ohr. He was personally involved in successfully formulating the drug as an eye drop, completing FDA IND-enabling preclinical studies, and advancing the drug product through multiple Phase II clinical trials in retinal diseases. Results of human clinical trials in macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions showed positive visual acuity benefits in patients. Additionally, while at Ohr, he managed external contracts and manufacturing relationships, with particular attention to regulatory CMC and QA/QC aspects. Further, he managed the successful acquisition by Ohr of an ophthalmic research company, SKS Ocular, LLC. In addition, he established a joint venture spinoff between Ohr and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, called DepYmed, for further clinical development of certain oncology assets. Throughout his tenure as CEO of Ohr, Dr. Taraporewala ensured that the company was well-capitalized, oversaw the uplisting of the company's common stock to the Nasdaq exchange and completed several successful rounds of financing. Prior to Ohr, Dr. Taraporewala was Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Research at Mystic Pharmaceuticals Inc., Austin, Texas, from April 2008 to March 2010. At Mystic, he led the regulatory strategy for the company's ophthalmic and intranasal drug products, as well as drug delivery systems. He played a key role in advancing the company's technology from lab bench research into clinical trials stage. Earlier, Dr. Taraporewala served at a well-known pharmaceutical consulting and clinical research organization, PAREXEL International Corp., as Senior Consultant in the Drug Development Consulting Division. In this position, he provided technical expertise and regulatory advice to small and large biotechnology and pharmaceutical company clients worldwide. Dr. Taraporewala also has a track record of being awarded multiple Small Business Innovation Research — SBIR — grants from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, in the areas of development of antiviral drugs, DNA-based cancer diagnostics and from the United States Department of Defense, or DoD, for antimalarial drug development, all as the Principal Investigator. Dr. Taraporewala holds a Ph.D. degree in medicinal chemistry from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia — 1984. He holds a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry and a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and microbiology, both from the University of Bombay, India. Profile
Anil R. Diwan, Ph.D., has been President and Chairman of the board of NanoViricides, Inc., since its founding in 2005. Dr. Diwan spearheaded the efforts for the company's 2013 uplisting from the OTC Markets to NYSE American. Dr. Diwan has led several of the company's financing efforts since 2010. Dr. Diwan invented novel polymeric micelle-based nanomedicine technologies as early as 1991. Dr. Diwan is a prolific inventor and a serial entrepreneur. Prior to co-founding NanoViricides, Inc., he has founded TheraCour Pharma, Inc., a privately held company focused in nanomedicines and cell-targeted drug delivery, and AllExcel, Inc., a company with diverse portfolios including nanomedicines, small chemicals, device technologies, as well as informatics. He has won several NIH SBIR — Small Business Innovation Research — grant awards. Dr. Diwan holds a Ph.D. from Rice University, Texas, a B.Tech. from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai — IIT-B — India, and has consistently held high scholastic ranks and honors. Dr. Diwan has over 25 years of biopharmaceutical R&D experience with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. He has several patents issued internationally resulting from three fundamental international patent applications. Under Dr. Diwan's leadership, NanoViricides, Inc., has been able to keep both administrative and R&D costs at extremely low levels while robustly expanding the drug pipeline every year. Dr. Anil R. Diwan was recognized as Researcher of the Year by Business New Haven, a Connecticut-area business journal, in 2014. Profile
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TWST: Dr. Taraporewala, you just came to NanoViricides to be CEO. Could you tell us what brought you to the company?