JYAC

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Jiya Acquisition Corp.

Raised
$100M
CIK
1824119
Focus
Biopharmaceuticals
External link: SEC Filings

SPAC Team

Leadership

Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D. , is Founder and Managing General Partner at Samsara BioCapital since he founded the firm in 2017, and is our Chairman. Dr. Akkaraju previously served as a General Partner of Sofinnova Ventures from 2013 – 2017. Prior to Sofinnova, Dr. Akkaraju served as Managing Director of New Leaf Venture Partners from 2009 – 2013. Previously, he served as a Managing Director at Panorama Capital, LLC, a private equity firm from 2006 – 2008. Prior to co-founding Panorama Capital, from 2001 – 2008, he was with J.P. Morgan Partners, which he joined in 2001 and of which he became a Partner in 2005. Prior to J.P. Morgan Partners, from 1998 – 2001, Dr. Akkaraju was in Business and Corporate Development at Genentech, Inc. (now a wholly owned member of The Roche Group), a biotechnology company, most recently as Senior Manager. Dr. Akkaraju serves as a director of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ICPT), Syros Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SYRS), Chinook Therapeutics, Tentarix Biotherapeutics, Graphite Bio, Dewpoint Therapeutics, and several other private companies. Previously, Dr. Akkaraju served as a director on the Boards of Seattle Genetics (Nasdaq: SGEN), Principia Biopharma (Nasdaq: PRNB announced sale to Sanofi for $3.7 billion), Aravive, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARAV), Barrier Therapeutics (Nasdaq: BTRX sold to Stiefel Laboratories for $148 million), Eyetech Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ETEX sold to OSIP for $935 million), ZS Pharma (Nasdaq: ZSPH sold to AstraZeneca for $2.7 billion), Synageva Biopharma Corp. (Nasdaq: GEVA sold to ALXN for $8.4 billion) and Amarin Corporation (Nasdaq: AMRN). Dr. Akkaraju received his M.D. and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University, and holds undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Computer Science from Rice University.

Rekha Hemrajani has been our Chief Executive Officer since our inception in August 2020 and serves on our Board of Directors . Ms. Hemrajani is an experienced strategic leader helping biotech companies with corporate strategy and corporate finance, as well as building product pipelines through corporate development. She has extensive senior management experience within public and private biopharmaceutical companies, and bulge bracket investment banks. Ms. Hemrajani recently served as President & Chief Executive Officer of Aravive, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARAV) from Jan 2020 – April 2020. Ms. Hemrajani previously served as Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer of Arcus Biosciences in 2019, leading finance, investor relations, corporate communications, business and corporate development, strategic planning and human resources. Prior to Arcus, from 2016 – 2019, Ms. Hemrajani served as Chief Operating Officer of RAPT Therapeutics (Nasdaq: RAPT), Chief Financial Officer of Sagimet Biosciences from 2015 – 2016, consultant to biopharma companies and investment funds during 2014, VP - Head of Licensing and M&A at Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX, acquired by Amgen in 2013 for $10.4 billion) from 2012 – 2013, and VP of Business Development at Exelixis (Nasdaq: EXEL) from 2003 – 2011. Ms. Hemrajani is currently on the Board of ALX Oncology (Nasdaq: ALXO) and Adverum Biotechnologies (Nasdaq: ADVM). Ms. Hemrajani holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science from University of Michigan.

Richard Van Doren has been our Chief Financial Officer and Secretary since our inception in August 2020 and serves on our Board of Directors . Mr. Van Doren has been the Chief Financial Officer of Samsara BioCapital since joining the firm in 2016. He oversees accounting and finance for Samsara as well the fund’s day-to-day trade operations. Prior to joining Samsara, Mr. Van Doren was the Chief Operating Office and Chief Financial Officer of Pacific Grove Capital from 2014 – 2016. Prior to Pacific Grove, Mr. Van Doren was the Chief Financial Officer of Marcato Capital Management from 2010 – 2014 where he was responsible for building out the front and back office, accounting & finance, trade operations, and the firm’s compliance program. From 2002 to 2010, Mr. Van Doren was the Chief Financial Officer of Cannell Capital where he was responsible for multi-state business operations, finance, compliance, and investor relations. Mr. Van Doren graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.S. in Finance and earned a Graduate Certificate in Tax from Golden Gate University. He serves on the Board of Regents at Saint Junipero Serra High School and is a member of the Dean’s Circle at the University of San Francisco School of Business Management.

Cory S. Freedland, Ph.D. has been our Chief Investment Officer since our inception in August 2020 and serves on our Board of Directors . Dr. Freedland joined Samsara BioCapital in 2017 where he currently serves as a Principal. At Samsara, he has led several of the firm’s investments in the biotechnology sector and serves as a director on a number of private company boards. Dr. Freedland was previously a Principal at Sofinnova Ventures from 2014 – 2017, Principal at Novo Ventures in 2013, and a Vice President in the healthcare investment banking practice at Morgan Stanley from 2010 – 2013. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Dr. Freedland led a preclinical research group focused on novel targets for central nervous system diseases at Roche Palo Alto. Dr. Freedland received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a B.A. in Psychology and Religious Studies from Connecticut College.

Perry Karsen has agreed to serve on our Board of Directors following the completion of this offering. Mr. Karsen retired from Celgene at the end of 2015 and currently is a Venture Partner at Samsara BioCapital as well as the Executive Chair of Autobahn Labs. He also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Jounce Therapeutics (Nasdaq: JNCE), Executive Chair of the Board of Directors at Nitrome Biosciences, and a member of the Boards of Directors for Intellia Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NTLA), ESCAPE Bio, Graphite Bio and the Gladstone Foundation. He also has been a Board member and a member of the Executive Committee of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM). From 2013 – 2015, Mr. Karsen served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Celgene Cellular Therapeutics division (CCT) of Celgene Corporation, a global biopharmaceutical company and from 2010 – 2013 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Celgene Corporation. Mr. Karsen was also the President and Chief Executive Officer of Pearl Therapeutics from 2009 - 2010, Inc., a private biotechnology company acquired by AstraZeneca plc. From 2004 – 2009, Mr. Karsen was Senior Vice President of Business Development and President of Asia, Pacific at Celgene Corporation. Mr. Karsen previously held executive positions at Human Genome Sciences, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Genentech, Inc. (a member of the Roche Group) and Abbott Laboratories. He previously served as a general partner at Pequot Ventures, a venture capital firm. Mr. Karsen earned a Master of Management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, an M.A. in the teaching of Biology from Duke University and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Pamela Klein has agreed to serve on our Board of Directors following the completion of this offering. Since 2008, Dr. Klein has been Founder and Principal of PMK BioResearch offering advisory and strategic consulting for the biotechnology industry and venture firms. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Argenx, Patrys, Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals and I-Mab Biopharma as well as a member of several Scientific Advisory Boards. Since 2018, Dr. Klein has served as Chief Medical Officer of Olema Oncology and previously served in that role for multiple successful biotech companies including Intellikine (from 2008 – 2011) which was acquired by Takeda. From 2001 – 2008, Dr. Klein held increasing positions of responsibility at Genentech lastly as Vice President, Development, where she led the development for a portfolio of drugs including trastuzumab (Herceptin), Rituximab, (Rituxan), pertuzumab (Perjeta) and erlotinib (Tarceva). Prior to this, Dr. Klein was Research Director for the National Cancer Institute-Navy Breast Care Center that she co-founded and led until leaving the NCI. Dr. Klein received her bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University and her Medical Degree from Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago. She trained in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland where she served as Chief Fellow.

Daniel Spiegelman has agreed to serve on our Board of Directors following the completion of this offering. Mr. Spiegelman currently provides consulting and board services to various life sciences companies, including Tizona Therapeutics, where he is Board Chairman and Myriad Genetics, Spruce Biosciences and Opthea Limited where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Audit Committee Chairman. From May 2012 to January 2020, Mr. Spiegelman was the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of BioMarin Pharmaceutical, during its growth to $2 Billion in annual revenues and a $15 Billion market capitalization. From January 1998 to May 2009, Mr. Spiegelman was the Chief Financial Officer of CV Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that developed and marketed novel Cardiovascular drugs prior to its sale to Gilead Sciences. From July 1991 to January 1998, Mr. Spiegelman served in various roles at Genentech, Inc., (now a member of the Roche Group) most recently as Treasurer. Mr. Spiegelman has been a director of a number of other biopharmaceutical companies, including Cascadian Therapeutics, Inc. (formerly Oncothyreon, Inc.) from October 2008 until its merger with Seattle Genetics, Inc. in March 2018, Relypsa, Inc. from June 2014 until its merger with Galenica AG in September, 2016, Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from February 2010 to June 2014, Affymax, Inc. from October 2006 to June 2013, Omeros Corporation from December 2009 to June 2012, and Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from September 2004 to June 2012. Mr. Spiegelman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Dr. Steve Kelsey has agreed to serve on our Board of Directors following the completion of this offering. Since 2017, Dr. Kelsey has been the President of Research and Development at Revolution Medicines, a precision oncology company based in Redwood City, California. Dr. Kelsey has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, working with conventional small molecules, beyond rule of five molecules, antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, DNA oligonucleotides and mRNA platforms, and has driven multiple industry and industry-academia collaborations to provide better drugs for patients with cancer. Prior to joining Revolution Medicines, he was President of Onkaido Therapeutics, a Moderna Venture focused on the discovery and development of mRNA therapeutics for cancer from 2014 – 2017. Dr. Kelsey is the former Head of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer of Geron, where he led the development of imetelstat, a first-in-class telomerase inhibitor for hematologic myeloid malignancies. He previously served as Vice President of Hematology/Oncology at Genentech where he played a significant role in the development of key products including Perjeta®, Kadcyla® and Erivedge® as well as other molecules in the company’s oncology portfolio; and led clinical development for Pharmacia/SUGEN’s Sutent®. Kelsey graduated with a bachelor of medicine and a bachelor of surgery degrees (MB ChB), as well as a doctorate of medicine (MD) from the University of Birmingham, U.K. He is a fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP) of London and the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath), U.K. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications spanning cell biology, drug discovery, drug development and patient care, and is a named inventor on several patents.

Mayank Gandhi, M.D. joined us in September 2020 as VP, Corporate Development. Mayank brings with him nearly 15 years of biopharmaceutical industry and capital markets experience. From April 2013 to May 2020, Mayank worked at Genentech/Roche in several strategic and operational roles spanning business development, commercial operations and medical affairs. Prior to joining Genentech, Mayank was an equity research analyst covering biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies at Citigroup (May 2006 – Mar 2009), Cowen & Co. (Mar 2009 – Mar 2011) and Avet Capital (Nov 2011 – Mar 2013). Mayank earned his medical degree from University of Mumbai, India in 2001 and MBA from Case Western Reserve University in 2003.