James Breitmeyer, MD, PhD
President and CEO
Dr. Breitmeyer has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Oncternal Therapeutics, Inc. since September 2015. Dr. Breitmeyer is a veteran biotech executive with experience successfully starting and growing biotechnology organizations. He has been responsible for both the development and implementation of both operational and drug development strategies, as well as supervising and managing both large organizations and emerging biotechnology companies. Dr. Breitmeyer served as President of Bavarian Nordic, Inc. and Executive Vice President of Bavarian Nordic A/S, a multinational corporation headquartered in Denmark, from February 2013 to July 2015 where he oversaw business operations and development strategy both for Bavarian Nordic, Inc. and Bavarian Nordic A/S. He served as a director of Zogenix, Inc., then a public pharmaceutical company, from March 2014 until it was acquired by UCB S.A. in March 2022 and was the acting Chief Medical Officer of Zogenix from August 2012 to February 2013 where he was responsible for clinical development and regulatory strategy. He previously served as the Executive Vice President of Development and Chief Medical Officer of Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc., a public pharmaceutical company, from August 2006 to August 2012, and the Chief Medical Officer of Applied Molecular Evolution Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Co., a global pharmaceutical company, from December 2001 to August 2006. Dr. Breitmeyer was also the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Harvard Clinical Research Institute, and Chief Medical Officer and Head of Research & Development for North America at Serono Laboratories Inc., an international biopharmaceutical company. Dr. Breitmeyer served as a founding collaborator and scientific advisor to Immunogen Inc., a biotechnology company, and held clinical and teaching positions at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Breitmeyer earned his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University School of Medicine and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Oncology. He holds an active California medical license.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Vincent has served as Oncternal’s Chief Financial Officer since April 2017. Mr. Vincent served as an independent Chief Financial Officer to multiple pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, including Avalyn Pharma (co-founder), Meritage Pharma, and Elevation Pharmaceuticals from 2012 through 2017. Mr. Vincent was the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Sorrento Therapeutics from January 2011 through February 2015. Mr. Vincent served as Chief Financial Officer for Verus Pharmaceuticals from 2004 to 2008, and Women First Healthcare from 2003 to 2005. Mr. Vincent’s areas of responsibility have spanned all areas of finance, treasury, investor and public relations, human resources, information technology, facilities and project management. From 1987 to 1995, Mr. Vincent held a number of positions with Deloitte & Touche LLP, the last of which was senior manager, where he specialized in emerging growth and publicly-reporting companies. Mr. Vincent became a Certified Public Accountant in California in 1989 and holds a B.S. degree in business with an emphasis in accounting from San Diego State University.
Salim Yazji, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Yazji brings to Oncternal over 20 years of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, including successful registrations. Most recently, he was the co-founder and CEO of Ajuta Therapeutics, Inc. and the founder of Elpida Therapeutics. Dr. Yazji held multiple seats as a board member and scientific advisory board member at several biotech companies. Past leadership roles include Chief Medical Officer at PMV Pharma, Inc. and Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Calimmune, Inc., Vice president and Global Therapeutics Head at Baxalta, Inc., and Vice President and Therapeutic Area Head of Oncology at Baxter. Dr. Yazji has also held multiple leadership positions at Novartis Pharmaceutical, Exelixis, Inc., PDL BioPharma, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Yazji obtained his medical degree from the Pavlov School of Medicine, University of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia, and completed his postgraduate training at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Park Plaza Hospital, Houston and Almozov Hospital, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Rajesh Krishnan, PhD
Chief Technical Officer
Dr. Krishnan has over 20 years of experience across CMC, technology transfer, and manufacturing sciences for U.S. and international manufacturing sites, involving both internal and partnered programs. From 2018 until 2019, he served as Vice President, Process Development and Manufacturing Sciences at Dynavax Technologies Corporation, where he led manufacturing, drug process development, process validation, analytical sciences and technology transfer efforts for commercial and clinical development programs. From 2012 through 2017, Dr. Krishnan served in several positions at Gilead Sciences, Inc., most recently as Head, Biologics Drug Substance Process Development, leading upstream and downstream process development for multiple clinical biologics programs. From 2000 to 2012, he served in positions of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co., Inc., Amgen Inc. and Pfizer, with a consistent leadership role across process development, technology transfer and CMC for clinical and commercial biologics programs. Dr. Krishnan holds a B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, a M.S. degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. degree in Biochemical Engineering from the University of California, Davis.