Raju is a co-founder of Akarna and has served as our Chief Executive Officer since January 2016 and a member of our board of directors since November 2014. Prior to Akarna, Raju co-founded Alexar Therapeutics in 2014, a dermatology-focused specialty pharmaceutical company. From 2006 to 2011, he served as Vice President and head of the San Diego site for Exelixis and Vice President of Chemistry at X-Ceptor Therapeutics (acquired by Exelixis). Raju started his pharmaceutical career at Berlex Biosciences, a subsidiary of Bayer/Schering AG where he held positions of increasing responsibility. Raju is responsible for the discovery of multiple small-molecule candidates that have entered clinical trials, including a FXR agonist and other nuclear receptor drugs. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor on 50 issued US patents. Raju received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and his Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Chris Krueger, J.D., MBA
Chief Business Officer
Chris has served as our Chief Business Officer since January 2016 and as a strategic consultant to the company since November 2014. In addition, Chris also serves as our general counsel. Chris has negotiated and closed a broad range of strategic partnerships, R&D collaborations, technology licenses and mergers and acquisitions. He has completed numerous equity and debt financings, including IPOs, PIPEs, preferred stock financings and convertible debt offerings. Previously, Chris served as a senior executive at Ardea Biosciences (acquired by AstraZeneca), Xencor, X-Ceptor Therapeutics (acquired by Exelixis) and Aurora Biosciences (acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals) with operational responsibility and leadership for multiple functional areas, including business development, legal affairs and corporate finance. Earlier in his career, he was a corporate lawyer at Cooley LLP. Chris holds a J.D. and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California at San Diego.