Rain Team

Select Team Member
  • Vijaya Tirunagaru
  • Lucio Tozzi
  • Robert Doebele
  • Trevor Wolfe
  • Avanish Vellanki
  • Lisa Buck
  • Allan Wagman
  • Theresa O’Connell

Vijaya Tirunagaru, PhD VP, Head of Biology and Non-Clinical Development

Vijaya Tirunagaru joined Rain Therapeutics in 2018 as vice president, head of biology and non-clinical development. Vijaya brings more than 18 years of experience working in the pharmaceutical industry across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Rain, she was associate vice president and head of discovery biology at GVK Biosciences, where she was responsible for overseeing a portfolio of 10 discovery programs across oncology, metabolic disorders and pain therapeutic areas. She began her pharmaceutical career at AstraZeneca where she was biology leader for project teams from concept to Phase 2, led discovery programs and was a member of psychiatry disease area strategy team.

Vijaya received her PhD in biochemistry from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India.

Lucio Tozzi, VP, Head of Clinical Operations

Lucio Tozzi is Vice President, Head of Clinical Operations at Rain Therapeutics.  He has over 27 years of experience in global clinical trials spanning pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the therapeutic areas of oncology, gastrointestinal, renal, surgical morbidities, respiratory and CNS diseases.

He has led clinical operations teams with responsibilities for outsourcing, medical writing, project and data management.  Prior to joining Rain Therapeutics, he was Vice President and Head of Clinical Operations at Protagonist Therapeutics Inc. for almost 4 years.  Before that he was Senior Director and Head of Clinical Operations at Astex Pharmaceuticals, an oncology company (part of Otsuka). Prior to Astex, he was Director Clinical Operations at Baxter Healthcare for 9 years, based in Belgium before moving to the USA in 2010.

He also led clinical operations teams at ILEX Oncology and ConvaTec.  He started his clinical research career in the United Kingdom managing international trials with ICON Clinical Research.

He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biology from London University, Royal Holloway College, and holds a post-graduate Diploma (DipM) in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Robert Doebele, MD, PhD EVP, Chief Scientific Officer and Cofounder

Dr. Robert Doebele cofounded Rain Therapeutics in April 2017 and serves as the executive vice president, chief scientific officer and is the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board.  Prior to joining Rain full time, Dr Doebele was an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He also served as the Director of the Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative at the University of Colorado Cancer Center; and was the principle investigator of the University of Colorado Lung Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence.  He is also a Senior Editor of the AACR journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Bob received his AB in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, and received his MD, PhD in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania.  He conducted his internal medicine residency and a medical oncology fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Trevor Wolfe, Finance

Trevor Wolfe started with Rain in January 2019 as Director of Corporate Finance. He joined from Centerview Partners where he advised public and private life science companies on a broad range of complex strategic and financial issues and transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, partnerships, defense, and structured financings. Notable transactions include Ironwood Pharmaceutical’s separation of their pipeline assets (Cyclerion) and commercial assets, XenoPort’s $467mm sale to Arbor Pharmaceuticals and Ultragenyx’s $151mm acquisition of Dimension Therapeutics. Prior to his time at Centerview, Mr. Wolfe spent a year executing financing transactions at Cowen Group for life science companies. He holds a B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University and lives in San Francisco. 

Avanish Vellanki, MBA CEO and Cofounder

Avanish Vellanki co-founded Rain Therapeutics in April 2017 and serves as chief executive officer and the chairman of the board. Avanish has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare and investment banking sectors, advising and executing several mergers and acquisitions, and equity and debt financings. Avanish began his career at Bear, Stearns & Co. in 2004 in equity research, covering small/mid-cap biotechnology stocks prior to transitioning to Global Healthcare Biopharma Investment Banking at Citigroup. At Citigroup, Avanish served as a vice president and focused on large cap global biopharmaceutical strategic and financing transactions including serving on the team that was the exclusive advisors to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Avanish joined Proteolix in 2009 as a senior director in corporate development (acquired by Onyx Pharmaceuticals). Prior to founding Rain, Avanish was senior vice president and chief business officer at Aptose Biosciences.

Avanish holds a BA from Carleton College, an MBS in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Lisa Buck, Office Manager

Lisa Buck joined Rain Therapeutics in January 2019 as Executive Assistant to the CEO and Founder, and Office Manager handling Human Resources and Facilities. Lisa brings more than 20 years of experience in office management and supporting CEOs in startups and publicly held companies.  Prior to joining Rain, she was Director, Administrative Services and EA to the CEO of Espresa. Lisa received her BA in Business Economics from U.C. Santa Barbara.

Allan Wagman, PhD EVP, Head of Chemistry & Technical Operations

Allan Wagman joined Rain Therapeutics in 2018 and is the executive vice president, head of chemistry and technical operations where he leads chemistry research and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC). Previously, he was senior director, head of chemistry and CMC at 3-V Biosciences which advanced a novel FASN inhibitor TVB-2640 into Phase 2 oncology and NASH studies. Allan began his pharmaceutical industry career at Chiron, which became a division of Novartis, where he worked on oncology, metabolism and infectious disease programsand then joined Achaogen as director of chemistry.

Allan earned a BS in organic chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University, a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry and natural product synthesis at University of Texas at Austin, and performed postdoctoral research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Theresa O’Connell, MS Director of Corporate Development & Operations

Theresa O’Connell is director of corporate development & operations and has been with Rain since its inception. Prior to joining Rain, she has held business development positions in Canadian biotech for 20 years, most recently with Aptose Biosciences. She was also an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, a global research and consulting organization, covering primarily the oncology space.

Theresa received her BS and MS in Biochemistry from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and her MBA from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

  • Vijaya TirunagaruBiology
  • Lucio TozziClinical Operations
  • Robert DoebeleEVP, CSO and Cofounder
  • Trevor WolfeFinance
  • Avanish VellankiCEO and Cofounder
  • Lisa BuckOffice Manager
  • Allan WagmanChemistry and Technical Operations
  • Theresa O’ConnellCorporate Development