Meet The Team
Akash Bakshi, MsC MBA
Co-Founder & CEO
Akash is a creative, quick thinking, and detail oriented life science professional. Akash completed his undergraduate work in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at UC San Diego and then went on to pursue his graduate degree at the University of Queensland. Upon completing his research career he began his professional career in commercialization of research at various organizations including UniQuest, UC Davis, and most recently at UC Berkeley has resulted in numerous collaborations valued at over $10M.
Nadja Mannowetz, PhD
Co-Founder & CSO
Nadja is an expert in reproductive biology and fertilization, with over ten years of research experience and publications in top journals. She started her career in Germany focusing on studying sperm cell motility. In 2012, she joined Polina Lishko’s lab to become an expert in sperm ion channels and their implications in fertilization. She is a critical thinker and creative problem solver.
Polina Lishko, PhD
Polina is Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Berkeley. Research in her lab is focused on the cell biology of mammalian fertilization. Her lab uses a variety of biophysical and biochemical techniques, as well as human genetics, to study the role of ion channels and transporters in the physiology of mammalian gametes. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate fertilization and embryo development is required to design effective tools to control and preserve male and female fertility, improve the reproductive health of the human population worldwide and advance family planning.
Advisors & Mentors
Regine’s work at the Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research is revolutionizing how men and women prevent unwanted pregnancies. In August, the FDA approved Annovera, a single vaginal ring that is inserted and removed painlessly by the patient and provides a full year of birth control. Now Sitruk-Ware is leading research into male birth control: a daily gel for men to lower sperm count and prevent pregnancy.
Gunda Georg, PhD
Professor Georg and her group have published over 200 scientific articles and are involved in the design, semisynthesis, total synthesis, and evaluation of biologically active agents. Current therapeutic areas include cancer, male and female non-hormonal contraception, cancer, and epilepsy.
These projects require the development of synthetic methods, synthesis of natural products, and structure-activity studies aimed at improving the therapeutic efficacy of lead compounds, including natural products, and hits from high throughput screening.
Gregory S. Kopf
Greg is the Director, Research and Development, Contraceptive Technology Innovation at FHI 360. Prior to this position he was AVP of Contraception at Wyeth (now Pfizer). At Wyeth, his group was searching for potential novel targets for non-hormonal contraception. He also served as an adjunct professor of OB/GYN at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His academic research interests focused on signal transduction in gamete activation, fertilization, and preimplantation embryo development.
Joe was the primary technical founder of hardware/software startup OQO which entered the Guinness Book of World Records for building the smallest full-featured PC. His experience spans from biotech research to electronics design. Very experienced in invention, prosecution and monetization of intellectual property, he has over 80 Patents granted and pending in fields ranging from biophysics and safety systems to antennas, thermal systems, user interfaces and analog electronics. He has written numerous peer-reviewed publications in fields such as biophysics, genetics, electronics and robotics. Joe holds a Harvard A.B., MIT S.M. and Caltech research fellowship.