Rain Team

Rain Leadership Vijaya TirunagaruThomas TremblayRobert DoebeleTrevor WolfeAvanish VellankiLisa BuckAllan WagmanTheresa O’Connell
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  • Vijaya Tirunagaru
  • Thomas Tremblay
  • 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.

Thomas M. Tremblay, RN, BSN VP, Head of Clinical Operations

Thomas Tremblay is vice president, head of clinical operations at Rain Therapeutics. He is a registered nurse with clinical experience in critical care, oncology, hematology and HIV. In addition to his medical professional background he has over 25 years experience in pharmaceutical development in small to mid-size companies involved in a variety of therapeutic areas. His background includes clinical operations, clinical science, development and strategy, as well as oversight of data management, biometrics, drug safety and pharmacovigilance. He has been head of clinical operations for companies such as POINT Biomedical, TheraVida, Inc., KaloBios, Inc, and Apexigen, Inc.

Thomas is currently an adjunct faculty member in the San Francisco State University College of Extended Learning, Clinical Trials Design and Management Certificate Program where he teaches classes in Clinical Trials Monitoring and GCP Compliance Audits and FDA Inspections.

Robert Doebele, MD, PhD Acting Chief Science Officer and Cofounder

Dr. Robert Doebele co-founded Rain Therapeutics in April 2017. He is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is the Director of the Thoracic Oncology Research Initiative at the University of Colorado Cancer Center co-founded and 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, an 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 VP, Head of Technical Operations

Allan Wagman joined Rain Therapeutics in 2018 as vice president, head of 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
  • Thomas TremblayClinical Operations
  • Robert DoebeleActing CSO and Cofounder
  • Trevor WolfeFinance
  • Avanish VellankiCEO and Cofounder
  • Lisa BuckOffice Manager
  • Allan WagmanTechnical Operations
  • Theresa O’ConnellCorporate Development