Management Team

William E. Yelle, Chief Executive Officer

Bill Yelle has 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry, including positions in corporate and business development, strategic planning, portfolio management, commercial operations and R&D.

Bill was previously Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Licensing for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc (formerly Sepracor Inc). In this role, he was responsible for overseeing all business development initiatives, as well as the alliance management function. Bill joined Sepracor in 1995 and was instrumental in the company’s transition from an early clinical stage organization into a fully-integrated pharmaceutical company, with involvement in key strategic and product development activities. This included the sale of Sepracor to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma for $2.6 billion in 2009.

Prior to joining Sepracor in 1995, Bill held positions of increasing responsibility in Pfizer’s U.S. Pharmaceuticals group, including business development, new product planning, and organized customer marketing. He formerly worked in immunodiagnostic assay development at PB Diagnostics.

Bill received an MBA from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business Administration, a Masters of Science in Organic Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Richard S. Shames, M.D., Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Shames has over 25 years of experience in the medical field and life sciences industry, including positions in academic medicine and clinical drug development.

Rich was previously Distinguished Scientist, Clinical Research at Merck & Co., Inc., where he led the early stage development of novel biologics and biosimilar programs in Respiratory and Autoimmune/ Inflammatory diseases.  In this role, he was responsible for the strategic planning and execution of clinical programs across multiple indications, conducting scientific advisory boards and providing clinical guidance to discovery and translational medicine functions. 

Prior to joining Merck (formerly Schering Plough Corp.) in 2009, Rich held positions of increasing responsibility at Facet Biotech / PDL Biopharma, Inc. over the course of ten years. As Therapeutic Area Head of Immunology, he managed the Immunology development pipeline and provided scientific oversight of research and development programs.  He also led the development of biologics and small molecule programs in Respiratory, Cardiovascular and Immune indications.

Before moving to the life sciences industry, Rich held full time faculty positions in Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco Schools of Medicine.

Rich completed post-doctoral training in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at U.C.S.F. and a residency in Pediatrics at Montefiore Hospital-Albert Einstein School of Medicine.  He received an M.D. from University of California, Davis School of Medicine and a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University.  He currently maintains an active clinical teaching appointment at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Vernon Jiang, PhD, Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development

Dr. Jiang is the Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development. He has 20 years of broad experience in drug development and manufacturing from research stage to commercialization.

Prior to joining Aldea Pharmaceuticals‚ Dr. Jiang was a Co-founder and Senior Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development, of Kalidex Pharmaceuticals, a company which developed novel broad-spectrum antibacterials with emphasis on infections caused by drug-resistant gram-negative bacteria. Prior to Kalidex, he was Vice President, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Process Development of Calixa Therapeutics, and played a key role in the product development and manufacturing of Ceftolozane/Tazobactam, an anti-pseudomonal cephalosporin combination product acquired by Cubist Pharmaceuticals.

Prior to Calixa, he was Director of Formulation Development and Head of CMC at Cerexa and played a key role in the product development and manufacturing of Ceftaroline, an anti-MRSA cephalosporin product acquired by Forest laboratories. Prior to Cerexa, he held positions with increasing responsibilities in CMC at Roche Carolina, Roche Palo Alto, and Genesoft Pharamceuticals. Dr. Jiang has a Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Duke University.

Wenjin Yang, Co-Founder and VP Research

Dr. Yang has over 20 years of industry experience in drug discovery and pre-clinical development of small molecules related to target selection through development candidate selection for antiviral, anti-inflammatory and oncology therapeutic indications.

Prior to joining Aldea, Dr. Yang was Vice President of Chemistry at Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, where he oversaw research and manufacturing functions. He previously served as Director and Head of Medicinal Chemistry at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for scientific team management and multiple medicinal chemistry programs, including new technology development, hit identification and lead optimization to development candidate selection.

Before joining Sunesis, Dr. Yang was a Research Scientist at Gilead Sciences, responsible for design and synthesis of antiviral and antiretroviral compounds and a postdoctoral research associate at The Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Yang holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Riverside.

Anthony M. Rimac, Chief Financial Officer

Anthony M. Rimac, Chief Financial Officer

Tony Rimac has over 25 years of broad operating and finance experience including 18 years in the life sciences industry ranging from biotech, specialty pharmaceuticals, drug delivery and medical devices and has raised in excess of $400M in equity and debt capital and partnership financing to support development of lead therapeutic and device candidates.

Tony was previously Chief Financial Officer of Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADMS), a neurology focused specialty pharmaceutical company. He was responsible for overseeing all finance and financial reporting functions, corporate operating and strategic business planning, corporate development activities, corporate administration, investor relations, human resources, information technology, contracts management and capital raising including Adamas’ initial public offering.

Prior to joining Adamas, Tony was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Aerovance, Inc., A privately held biopharmaceutical company, spun off from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2004, focused on development and commercialization of clinical-stage products for respiratory and allergic diseases. Tony has also held senior financial positions at Artemis Medical, Inc., Aradigm Corporation and Aesculap, Inc.

Tony received an MBA from Santa Clara University's Graduate School of Business Administration, and a B.A. in Business Economic – Accounting Emphasis from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Tony is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the State of California (inactive).