Leadership

Our leadership team has been involved in the research, development and commercialization of over 20 global medicines.

Our team’s collective experience, which includes prior leadership roles at leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, positions us to advance and broaden our pipeline not only through clinical evaluation but also through commercial launch.

Mark Iwicki

Chairman

Mark Iwicki has more than 25 years of experience leading all aspects of R&D and commercialization in the biopharmaceutical industry. He is the Chairman and CEO of Kala Pharmaceuticals, and was previously the CEO of Civitas Therapeutics, which was acquired by Acorda Therapeutics. Prior to Civitas, Mark served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Blend Therapeutics, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, and President and Chief Operating Officer at Sepracor, which was acquired in 2009. During his previous tenure at Novartis, Mark served as Business Unit Head and managed the Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Arthritis, Bone, Gastrointestinal, HRT, Infectious Diseases, and Urology therapeutic areas. Preceding these roles, Mark held management positions at Merck and Astra Merck.

Mark serves on the boards of Kala Pharmaceuticals, Aimmune Therapeutics, Merus, Nimbus Therapeutics, and Pulmatrix. Mark holds a BS from Ball State University and an MBA from Loyola University.

Andrew Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Andrew Cheng joined Akero in September 2018 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Akero, Andrew served as Gilead Sciences’ Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. During a nearly 20-year tenure at Gilead in positions of increasing responsibility, Andrew was responsible for the clinical development for the HIV program, resulting in 11 FDA/EMA approved products. His past responsibilities also included medical affairs and the creation of the development operations department, which supported multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, inflammation, respiratory, cardiovascular, HIV, and liver diseases, and encompassed clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, project management, clinical pharmacology, and biometrics. Andrew serves on the board of directors of Arbutus Biopharma and Vera Therapeutics. He holds a B.A. in Biology from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.D. and Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his internal medicine residency at UCLA, and was board certified in internal medicine.

Andrew Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Andrew Cheng joined Akero in September 2018 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Akero, Andrew served as Gilead Sciences’ Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. During a nearly 20-year tenure at Gilead in positions of increasing responsibility, Andrew was responsible for the clinical development for the HIV program, resulting in 11 FDA/EMA approved products. His past responsibilities also included medical affairs and the creation of the development operations department, which supported multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, inflammation, respiratory, cardiovascular, HIV, and liver diseases, and encompassed clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, project management, clinical pharmacology, and biometrics. Andrew serves on the board of directors of Arbutus Biopharma and Vera Therapeutics. He holds a B.A. in Biology from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.D. and Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed his internal medicine residency at UCLA, and was board certified in internal medicine.

Arin Bose, Ph.D.

Vice President for Drug Substance Process Development

Dr. Arindam (“Arin”) Bose is Vice President for Drug Substance Process Development at Akero. Arin retired from Pfizer’s Research & Development team in 2016 after 34 years in leadership roles in bioprocess development and clinical manufacturing. For the last six years of his Pfizer tenure, Arin served as Vice-President, Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences External Affairs and Biosimilar Strategy with responsibility for external sourcing, competitive intelligence and external influencing, as well as for executing the technical development plan for Pfizer’s entry into biosimilars. He was a member of the Bioprocess Leadership Team, Pfizer’s most senior oversight body for technical development and manufacturing of biotechnology products. Arin is widely recognized as a thought leader in the biopharmaceutical industry. He has served as chair of the Biologics and Biotechnology Leadership Committee of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering for innovations in biomanufacturing. Arin holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Purdue University, M.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and B. Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

Catriona (Kitty) Yale

Chief Development Officer

Kitty Yale is Chief Development Officer of Akero. Kitty joined Akero from Gilead Sciences, where she led global clinical operations and management of the company’s oncology, HIV, inflammation, and liver disease trials, and held senior clinical research and operations roles at Gilead and Roche global development. As VP of Clinical Operations at Gilead, her most recent role prior to joining Akero, Kitty led global development programs resulting in eight drug approvals in the US, EMEA, Canada, Korea, Japan, and China.

Dominick Villani, Ph.D.

Vice President, Quality

Dominick Villani is Vice President of Quality Assurance at Akero and. brings more than 22 years of experience in the biotechnology, biodefense vaccines, pharmaceuticals (sterile and non-sterile), and medical device sectors. He has held senior roles with Amgen, Amylin, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bioport and Enable Injections defining, building, and managing global requirements within high volume manufacturing, microbiological quality control, quality assurance, and regulatory affairs programs. Dominick studied general biological sciences, with an emphasis in microbiology, at the California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.

Graham Walmsley, M.D., Ph.D.

Independent Board Member

Dr. Graham Walmsley is a co-founder and managing partner of Logos Capital, a fundamental biotechnology-focused hedge fund that combines in-house data analytics with scientific and clinical expertise to identify transformative therapies in healthcare. Based in San Francisco, Logos combines expertise across medical, scientific, and statistical disciplines to expand the depth of diligence in identifying compelling investment ideas and uncorrelated-market returns.

Before Logos, Graham was a Principal at Versant Ventures where he invested in biotechnology companies across four funds totaling over $1.5 billion in AUM. While at Versant, he served as a board director, built and launched multiple companies, and was head of business development for Jecure Therapeutics through its acquisition by Roche AG.

Graham has more than 60 scientific publications, and holds an MD and PhD from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Kevin Bitterman, Ph.D.

Independent Board Member

Kevin Bitterman focuses on creating and investing in companies that translate groundbreaking science into innovative medicines. Kevin serves on the board of Navitor Pharmaceuticals. He was the founding CEO of Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), Morphic Therapeutic, and Visterra, and co-founded Genocea Biosciences (NASDAQ: GNCA). He previously served as a director of InSeal Medical, Kala Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KALA), Neuronetics, Taris Biomedical (acquired by Allergan), and Vets First Choice, among other ventures. Prior to joining Atlas Venture in 2017, Kevin was a partner at Polaris Partners, where he had been a member of the healthcare team since 2004. Kevin is active in the local life science and healthcare start-up community, serving on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), and as Board Chair of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA). He received a BA in biology, summa cum laude, from Rutgers University before completing his PhD in genetics at Harvard Medical School. He has published numerous scientific articles, and is an inventor on several issued patents.

Jane Pritchett Henderson

Independent Board Member

Jane Pritchett Henderson has more than 28 years of experience in health care life sciences with a unique combination of extensive investment banking, corporate biopharmaceutical senior management, and board director experience, making her a trusted advisor to numerous companies. Jane is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Adagio Therapeutics. Prior to joining Adagio, she served as Chief Financial Officer at Turnstone Biologics, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Voyager Therapeutics, and Chief Financial and Business Officer at Kolltan Pharmaceuticals until its sale to Celldex Therapeutics. Previously, Jane served in various financial and business development leadership roles at ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Axerion Pharmaceuticals, and Panacos Pharmaceuticals. Jane has an extensive healthcare investment banking background in addition to her industry experience, including execution of over 95 M&A, advisory, and financing transactions over a nearly 20-year career at HSBC, CIBC, Lehman Brothers, and Salomon Brothers, collectively. Jane currently serves on the Board of Directors of IVERIC Bio (formerly Ophthotech) and Sesen Bio (formerly Eleven Biotherapeutics). Jane holds a BS from Duke University.

Judy Chou, Ph.D.

Independent Board Member

Judy Chou, Ph.D., is a biotech industry leader with a 25-year track record of driving drug development and biomanufacturing successes in established and emerging growth biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. Chou is currently President & CEO of AltruBio, Inc., a company focused on developing novel therapeutics for immunological diseases. Prior to AltruBio, she was senior vice president and global head of Biotech at Bayer Pharmaceuticals where she oversaw a more than $3 billion biotechnology product portfolio and led drug development and launch activities for the companies’ biologics pipeline. Earlier in her career, Dr. Chou held senior pharmaceutical operations and manufacturing roles at Pfizer, Inc., formerly Medivation, and Tanvex Biopharma, Inc. Before joining the industry, Dr. Chou was a research faculty member at Harvard University Medical School, focused on cell biology and neuroscience research. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and completed her post-doctoral training at Max-Planck Institute in Germany.

John Schembri

Vice President, Finance & Controller

John Schembri is Vice President, Finance of Akero. For more than 20 years, John has served as a finance and accounting officer to many successful biotechnology companies since 1998. Prior to joining Akero, John was the Vice President of Finance at Global Blood Therapeutics, where he facilitated the company’s IPO, the Chief Financial Officer of BiPar Sciences, where he helped sell the company to Sanofi-Aventis, and the Vice President & Controller of Sirna Therapeutics, where he aided the sale of the company to Merck. He holds a BBA from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is a Certified Equity Professional and a licensed CPA in California (inactive).

Jonathan Young, Ph.D., J.D.

Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder

Jonathan Young is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Akero. Prior to co-founding Akero, Jonathan held roles as a Venture Partner at Apple Tree Partners (ATP) and General Counsel and Vice President of Policy/Advocacy at Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an ATP portfolio company. He previously worked as Partner and General Counsel of FoxKiser, a Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in regulatory approval and life cycle management for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Jonathan is an advocate for policies that empower patients and people with disabilities to reach their life goals. In 2009, he was appointed by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, to serve as Chairman of the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency advising the President and Congress on disability policy; he previously coordinated White House disability policy for President Bill Clinton. He currently serves on the board of directors of the MedStar Health Research Institute. Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Mariana Dimitrova, Ph.D.

Vice President, Product & Device Development

Mariana Dimitrova is Vice President of Product & Device Development at Akero. She comes to Akero with over 18 years of biopharmaceutical development experience at Amgen Inc., MedImmune (Astra Zeneca) and Biogen. Mariana most recently served as Senior Director, Biologics Drug Product and Device Development at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, where her leadership spanned formulation, fill finish process, device development, and drug delivery for injectable biologics. During her career, Mariana has contributed to the development and commercialization of nine patient convenient drug/device combination products for the treatment of autoimmune, respiratory, neurodegenerative, hematology and infectious diseases. Prior to her industry work, Mariana spent five years in academia, including at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan. Mariana holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Biological Sciences from the Institute of Biophysics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the AIST, and a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Kliment Ohridski in Bulgaria.

Reshma Shringarpure, Ph.D.

Vice President, Clinical Research & Medical Affairs

Reshma Shringarpure is Vice President of Clinical Research and Medical Affairs at Akero. She brings over 15 years of experience in clinical and medical affairs across multiple therapeutic areas including GI, non-viral liver disease, and metabolic disease. Reshma joins Akero from Intercept Pharmaceuticals, where she was the clinical lead for the company’s late-stage NASH program and was integral to achieving several company milestones towards registrational filings in the US and Europe. Prior to joining Intercept, she was the director of medical affairs at Santarus, which was subsequently acquired by Salix Pharmaceuticals. Leading up to this role, Reshma held several scientific positions at Prometheus Therapeutics and Diagnostics as the clinical and medical affairs lead focused on Prometheus’ GI portfolio. She started her pharmaceutical career at Amylin Pharmaceuticals focusing on metabolic diseases and is a co-author of several peer-reviewed publications. Reshma holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California and completed her post-doctoral training at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School.

Seth L. Harrison, M.D.

Independent Board Member

Seth Harrison is founder and managing partner of ATP (Apple Tree Partners), a leading life sciences venture capital firm with $2.65 billion in committed capital. To date, ATP has launched or invested in over 30 transformative companies focused on delivering cutting-edge therapies for unmet medical needs, out of which 19 so far have gone public or been acquired. Prior to starting ATP in 1999, Seth was a general partner at Oak Investment Partners, and before that a venture partner at Sevin Rosen Funds. From 2002 to 2010, Seth also served on the board of the International Partnership for Microbicides.

Seth received an A.B. from Princeton University, an M.D. and MBA both from Columbia University, and completed a surgery internship at the Presbyterian Hospital in the City of New York.

Steve Cockrill, Ph.D.

Vice President, Analytical Development & Quality Control

Steve Cockrill is Vice President, Analytical Development & Quality Control at Akero. Steve previously served as Executive Director of Drug Substance Development, Analytical Development, and Quality Control organizations at Assembly Biosciences, where he established internal functional capabilities for microbiome therapeutics. His responsibilities included strategic and tactical direction of process development, method lifecycle management, product characterization, GMP testing for in-process, release, and stability studies, and CMC activities in support of regulatory filings. Additionally, he directed activities at domestic and international CRO and CDMO partners for scale up and GMP production of drug substance clinical supply. Steve’s previous responsibilities included establishment and direction of Analytical Development and Quality Control functions at Ophthotech (now Iveric Bio) for commercialization of PEGylated oligonucleotide compounds targeting age-related macular degeneration. Prior to Ophthotech, he led strategic efforts to develop and optimize analytical strategies and global implementation of technologies to support Amgen’s future state aspirations for Quality Control. Before joining Corporate Quality Control at Amgen, Steve provided oversight of commercialization activities for late-stage biologic therapeutics as a lead in Analytical Sciences and functional representative on process teams. His role included direction of a group of scientists responsible for primary structure characterization and mass analysis, including assessment of post-translational modifications. In addition, Steve played a pivotal role in establishing analytical strategies for late-stage recombinant protein therapeutics through commercialization and post-marketing support, impacting several blockbuster therapies including Aranesp, Epogen, Neupogen/Neulasta, Enbrel, Vectibix, Nplate, and Prolia/XGEVA. Steve holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University and a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of York, England.

Tim Rolph, D.Phil.

Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder

Tim Rolph is Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Akero. Prior to co-founding Akero, Tim led Pfizer’s Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease Research Unit as Chief Scientific Officer. In his 22 years at Pfizer, Tim led anti-infective research at the company’s Sandwich (UK) laboratories, directing the team that discovered the prototype CCR5 antagonist, maraviroc, launched as a novel antiretroviral for HIV (Celzentry™), before becoming Head of Research in Sandwich and then at Pfizer’s Groton, Conn., laboratories. Under his leadership at Pfizer, Steglatro™ (ertugliflozin) was discovered and developed in partnership with Merck, and launched as a fixed-dose combination with sitagliptin (Steglujan™), a leading oral medication for diabetes. Prior to Pfizer, Tim worked in Glaxo’s veterinary R&D group, initially studying the modulation of growth for food production and then moving into anti-parasitic research for veterinary applications. Tim holds a B.Sc in Biochemistry from the University of London and a D.Phil from the Faculty of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford. His pre- and post-doctoral training was at the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research, where he studied the metabolic adaptations of skeletal and cardiac muscle during development.

Tom Heyman

Independent Board Member

Tom Heyman has a long-standing track record of leadership and management in the biopharmaceutical industry, with particular experience in business development and venture capital. Spanning his 37-year career with Johnson & Johnson, Tom held a diverse range of leadership roles across legal, R&D, business development, general corporate management and equity investments. Previously, he served as president of JJDC, the venture capital group within Johnson & Johnson, where he managed approximately $1.5 billion of capital and oversaw investments in over 120 companies. Prior to his time at JJDC, Mr. Heyman spent 23 years leading business development for Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical group, Janssen. Tom currently serves on the Board of Directors of Adagio Therapeutics.

Tom graduated as Master of Law from the K.U. Leuven in Belgium. He continued with post-graduate studies in International Law in Geneva, Switzerland, and post-graduate studies in business management at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

William White

Chief Financial Officer & Head of Corporate Development

Bill White is the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Corporate Development at Akero. Prior to joining Akero, Bill spent 18 years as a life science-focused investment banker. He was most recently head of U.S. Life Sciences Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank, and previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Prior to his time on Wall Street, Bill was an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell, and a law clerk to the Honorable Kimba M. Wood of the Southern District of New York. He holds an A.B. from Princeton, M.P.P. from Harvard, and a J.D. from Columbia.

Yuan Xu, Ph.D.

Independent Board Member

Yuan Xu, Ph.D., has a long-standing track record of executive and scientific leadership in biopharmaceutical research, development, manufacturing, commercialization and life-cycle management. Most recently, she served as a board member and chief executive officer for Legend Biotech Co., playing a leading role in its successful IPO. Dr. Xu’s prior career as a senior executive includes heading up Merck’s Biologics & Vaccines subdivision, as well leading biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing groups for Novartis, Gilead and GlaxoSmithKline. Yuan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Fate Therapeutics and the Scientific Advisory Board and Manufacturing Advisory Board of National Reslience, Inc.

Dr. Xu received a B.S. in biochemistry from Nanjing University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Maryland, and she completed her post-doctoral training in virology and gene therapy at the University of California, San Diego.

We’re looking for talented individuals driven to make a difference for patients.

We’re looking for talented individuals driven to make a difference for patients.