Senior Management Team

Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD

Chairman, president and CEO

Dr. Cleland has 30 years of industry experience in research and development, including more than a decade at Genentech, Inc. His experience in startups includes major roles in obtaining more than $450 million in capital at stages from Series A through D and exit via IPO including over $300 million in capital raised as CEO. As the founding CEO of Versartis (VSAR), he led one of top biotech IPOs of all time.  After Versartis, he led the Series B financing and clinical translation of novel Johns Hopkins University technology as CEO of Graybug Vision (GRAY).  He held executive management positions at BaroFold, Novacea and Targesome, and has managed directly all aspects of drug development and late-stage research. While at Genentech, Dr. Cleland served in product development and manufacturing roles. He held important leadership roles in the successful approval of two drugs, Herceptin® and Nutropin Depot®, as well as in early work on Lucentis®, Avastin®, and Kadcyla®. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Cleland has authored more than 100 articles and four books, and holds several issued patents. He serves on the Boards of BIO, Exicure, and Zylem and has advisory roles with small emerging biotechnology companies.

Matthew Brewer


 Mr. Brewer has over 15 years of life science business development, operations, and finance experience. Matt most recently founded a digital start-up focused on developing technologies to collect, extract and transform unstructured health data from disparate sources into a coherent picture of longitudinal information. Previously, he served as Vice President of Business Development at Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ: XON) where he focused on licensing programs leveraging Intrexon’s suite of gene regulation technologies to attenuate the in-vivo expression of aberrant proteins. Prior to Intrexon, Matt was the Founder and CEO of BaroFold whereby he led the turnaround and management buyout of the predecessor company, successfully raising venture capital, closing numerous non-dilutive licensing arrangements with industry partners, and out-licensing BaroFold’s protein therapeutic clinical asset for treating multiple sclerosis. As Founder and Managing Partner of Crest Asset Management, Matt managed a private equity healthcare portfolio consistently outperforming industry benchmarks and generating a 2.5x return on paid in capital over four years. Matt received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Oregon, where he was a two starter on the Oregon football team, and received a Master’s in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Kannan Rangaramanujam, PhD


Dr. Kannan Rangaramanujam is the Arnall Patz distinguished professor of ophthalmology and co-director of center for nanomedicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from California Institute of Technology. He plays a key role in Ashvattha from a scientific perspective, helping with identifying high value therapeutic opportunities, product development, preclinical studies, and chemistry. He played a leading role in the development and validation of the dendrimer platform over the last 15 years, with >20 issued and 50 pending patents, licensed to Ashvattha. His research group at Hopkins Medicine works on translational nanomedicine centered on the unique hydroxyl dendrimer platform technology to develop treatments for inflammatory disorders. Targeted therapeutic approaches are being developed and validated in CNS, ocular and liver disorders, and oncology. He collaborates with more than 30 PI-level researchers at Hopkins on this platform, and has >100 peer-reviewed publications, with significant, sustained funding support from NIH. He has won several recognitions, including fellowship of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE) and NSF CAREER award.

Sujatha Kannan, MD


Dr. Sujatha Kannan is the Richard J. Traystman Professor and Vice chair of research in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Sujatha completed her pediatrics residency and pediatric critical care fellowship at the Children’s hospital of Michigan/Wayne State University, and her MBBS from JIPMER, India. She plays a key role in Ashvattha, providing a clinical/translational perspective, and helps with clinical trials. At Hopkins, she co-led the creation of the Neurocritical Care Program, and leads a significant NIH-funded research program on neuroinflammation and glial dysregulation, with more than 20 collaborators. She played a key role in the development and validation of dendrimer platform, especially through preclinical studies in many animal models. She has co-invented more than 40 patents (issued and pending), licensed to Ashvattha. She has received awards for her research including the Pfizer Pain Scholar, Society of Critical Care Research Excellence award and has been elected as fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE).