Hanadie Yousef, PhD

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Juvena Therapeutics

Dr. Hanadie Yousef is a leading expert on the biology of aging and mechanisms underlying tissue degeneration with over two decades of experience in biomedical research. In 2018, she launched Juvena Therapeutics, a venture-backed biotechnology company mapping the therapeutic potential of secreted proteins and accelerating their translation into engineered biologics that promote tissue repair and restoration of function and health to treat degenerative diseases.

Under Dr. Yousef’s leadership, Juvena has leveraged its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled platform to develop a proprietary, pro-regenerative protein library that enabled the discovery and development of a growing pipeline of biologics for myopathy and metabolic diseases. The company’s lead asset, JUV-161, promotes muscle regeneration and metabolism. It is in IND-enabling studies for the treatment of orphan disease Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 and is expected to enter the clinic in 2024. In addition, Juvena is progressing multiple preclinical programs across metabolic and fibrotic disease areas, including a novel preclinical obesity asset, JUV-112, that uniquely enhances lipid metabolism to induce weight loss through a non appetite-suppressing mechanism.

Dr. Yousef’s high-impact published research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation, SPARK, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and led to multiple issued and pending patents. She has received multiple awards and recognition for her entrepreneurship and innovation, including FierceBiotech’s “Fiercest Women in Life Sciences,” Business Insider’s “30 Leaders Under 40 Changing Healthcare in 2023,” Endpoints’ “The 20(+2) under 40,” and Pharmaceutical Executive’s“Emerging Pharma Leader”in 2023, San Francisco Business Times’ 2024 Women Who Lead in Life Sciences , and the 2022 Biocom Catalyst award. She is also a regularly invited speaker at industry and innovation events.

Dr. Yousef earned her B.S., summa cum laude from Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD from UC Berkeley as an NSF graduate research fellow then completed a 5-year postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford School of Medicine as an NIH fellow and SPARK scholar.

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Jeremy O’Connell, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder

As Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Juvena Therapeutics, Dr. O’Connell oversees research strategy, pre-clinical science and manufacturing, and intellectual property efforts. Dr. O’Connell’s expertise in proteomics and systems biology was accrued during a PhD from UT Austin, a postdoc at Harvard, and his time in industry.

Prior to Juvena Therapeutics, in his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical school in the lab of Steven Gygi, he leveraged large proteomics datasets to build machine learning classifiers to improve protein-protein interaction predictions within the ubiquitin system.

He has spearheaded research projects in multiple tier-one research institutions, including Harvard and Stanford, employing a combination of mass spectrometry, high throughput imaging, and computational approaches. His work has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications, approved and pending patents, millions in award grant funding as the primary PI, fellowships, and awards.

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Steven James has over 35 years of biopharmaceutical experience and has been involved in building and leading numerous successful companies and the discovery and development of important approved drug products. Mr. James was most recently president, Chief Executive Officer and director of Pionyr Immunotherapeutics until it was acquired by Ikena Oncology. Previously, he was president, Chief Executive Officer and director of Labrys Biologics until it was acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Labrys, Mr. James was president, Chief Executive Officer and director of KAI Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Amgen. He has held leadership positions at Exelixis, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and began his career at Eli Lilly. He holds a Masters in Management from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Brown University. Mr. James is currently a director of Allakos Inc. Ventus Therapeutics and Lyterian Therapeutics. He was formerly the chairman of Antiva Biosciences, and a director of Ocera Inc. (acquired by Mallinkrodt) and Cascadian Therapeutics (acquired by Seattle Genetics).

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Stephen Juelsgaard, DVM, JD

Former EVP Genentech

Stephen Juelsgaard is the former executive vice president, secretary and chief compliance officer of Genentech, Inc. His career at Genentech spanned 24 years. In that role, Dr. Juelsgaard reported to Genentech’s CEO, Art Levinson, and was responsible for Genentech’s Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Government Affairs (Federal and State), Human Resources, and Healthcare Compliance groups, as well as the Business Services group, which included Strategic Facilities Planning, Corporate Security, Business Continuity, and Environment, Health & Safety. He also chaired Genentech’s Capital Governance Committee, which oversaw major capital expenditures at the company, and was a member of Genentech’s executive committee, the most senior management committee at the company. He had oversight responsibility for more than 600 employees and an annual budget of approximately $250 million.

Juelsgaard joined Genentech in 1985 as corporate counsel and became senior corporate counsel in 1989. In 1992 he became vice president, Corporate Law and in 1994 was named general counsel, a role he served in through 2007. Juelsgaard was named secretary to the Board of Directors in 1997 and a senior vice president in 1998. In 2002, he was appointed executive vice president, in 2005 was named chief compliance officer, and in 2007 he became responsible for oversight of the Government Affairs group. Juelsgaard was the company’s representative on the board of directors of the California Healthcare Institute from 2005 until 2009.

Prior to joining Genentech, Juelsgaard was an associate for three years with the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto, California. Prior to attending law school, Juelsgaard was engaged for three years in a private veterinary medical practice.

Juelsgaard currently teaches at the Stanford Law School. He currently serves on the board of directors of Altrubio, an antibody-drug conjugate company targeting a variety of autoimmune and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. He is a past member of the board of directors of Ivivi Health Sciences LLC, a private medical device company, and of Rio Grande Neurosciences, Inc., a private company engaged in the development of pulsed electromagnetic field technology as well as transcranial electrical stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation technologies.

Juelsgaard received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from Iowa State University in 1972 and a Masters Degree in Veterinary Clinical Sciences in 1975 from Iowa State University, and in 1982 he received a law degree from Stanford Law School.

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Christopher Kirk, PhD

Co-Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Kezar Life Sciences

Christopher Kirk, PhD is an independent director, scientific and strategic advisor to Juvena Therapeutics. He is the  co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Kezar Life Sciences, a publicly traded company developing first-in-class, small molecule therapies designed to inhibit multiple disease-driving cellular pathways by targeting key intracellular proteins. Dr. Kirk is an immunologist and tumor biologist by training. Prior to founding Kezar, he was the Vice President of Research at Onyx Pharmaceuticals where he played a key leadership role in the discovery and development of 2 proteasome inhibitors, including carfilzomib (KYPROLIS™), currently approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Dr. Kirk has authored multiple publications in several select journals including Cell, Nature Medicine, and Nature Reviews and is listed as an inventor on over 40 patents. He sits on the scientific advisory board at C4 Therapeutics, Avidity Biosciences, Rain Therapeutics, the Institute of Applied Clinical Science at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as well as the leadership council of the Life Sciences Institute of the University of Michigan.

Dr. Kirk received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.

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Former SVP, Research Sciences, at Merck

Joseph Miletich, MD, PhD, is a former SVP, Research Sciences, at Merck. He has more than 20 years of combined experience at Merck and Amgen leading programs through Discovery Research, Preclinical Development and Translational Medicine/Early Development. At both companies, Dr. Miletich focused on building teams and investing in technologies, partnerships and acquisitions to enable capitalizing on new insights into biology regardless of therapeutic area or modality. Dr. Miletech currently serves as advisor and board director to several companies and firms. Most recently, Dr. Miletich was Merck Research Laboratories’ senior vice president of research sciences and is currently senior scientific advisor to Merck’s CEO, an advisor to Recursion, and a director to Flame Biosciences, among other roles. . Prior to his last 8+  years at Merck Research Laboratories, Dr. Miletich served as senior vice president of research and development at Amgen. 

Dr. Miletich received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and pursued clinical training in internal medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. Subsequently he joined the faculty at Washington University, pursued subspecialty training in clinical hematology and in laboratory medicine, and developed a leading research effort in hemostasis and thrombosis. Over a 17 year career, he rose through the ranks to become Professor of Medicine and Pathology and Head of the Division of Laboratory Medicine at Washington University, in which capacity he was responsible for the combined laboratories of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital system, one of the nation’s largest clinical laboratories.

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