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AJK Biopharmaceutical was founded in 2018 with a mission to combat life–threatening infectious diseases. We are focused on the clinical development of novel anti-infective drugs with emphasis on developing broad-spectrum antimicrobial cyclic peptides with activity against multi-drug resistant bacteria, anti-fungal and antiviral peptides.

Our Mission

AJK Biopharmaceutical is committed to discovering and developing antimicrobial agents that are effective against several drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, thus providing health care practitioners with critical new approaches to infections disease therapy.



Assad Kazeminy, PhD.


Assad J. Kazeminy, PhD: Founder and former CEO of Irvine Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (CRO) and Avrio Biopharmaceutical LLC (CMO) – Successful life sciences entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in CMC and drug development.   


Rakesh Kumar Tiwari, PhD.

Academic Collaborator of NIH Grant (Medicinal Chemist)

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Tiwari is an assistant professor at the Chapman University School of Pharmacy. He has subject matter expertise in the development of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) to combat antimicrobial resistance.

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Jeremy Middleton


Jeremy D. Middleton is an accomplished biopharmaceutical executive with over 30 years of experience and has held senior leadership roles at both large and entrepreneurial companies.  He joined AJK Biopharmaceutical, LLC as Chief Executive Officer in
October of 2022.

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Zahra Mahdieh, PhD.

Research Scientist

Zahra has extensive experience in biomaterials for drug delivery, tissue engineering, and disease modeling. At AJK Biopharmaceutical, Zahra is responsible for the preclinical research. She brings her interdisciplinary knowledge of materials science and biological systems to develop novel approaches to infections disease therapy.

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Robert Gundel, PhD.

Head of Preclinical Development

Robert Gundel, PhD, MBA is a seasoned executive and former CEO and Board Member with more than 30 years of experience in both large pharmaceutical organizations as well as smaller biotech companies.  He joined AJK Biopharmaceuticals as a consultant and scientific advisor in July 2023.  


Sandeep Lohan, PhD.

Senior Scientist

Sandeep is a Senior Scientist at Infextious Therapeutics. The research themes underpinning his interests are of a multidisciplinary nature and fall broadly under the umbrella of medicinal chemistry. His current research is focused on the development of cationic macrocyclic peptides as novel antimicrobial agents.

Board of Directors


David Pruitt, Esq.

David Pruitt provides leadership on legal affairs, business development, risk management, and innovative finance initiative at AJK Biopharmaceutical. He advises the board of directors and CEO on governance and strategy, and he is responsible for structuring collaboration with industry and public sector partners.


Assad Kazeminy, PhD.

Assad J. Kazeminy is founder and former CEO of Irvine Pharmaceutical Services Inc. (CRO) and Avrio Biopharmaceutical LLC (CMO). He has more than 30 years of research experience in Analytical Chemistry and Biochemistry. 


Feyzi Fatehi, PhD.

Feyzi Fatehi is a technology visionary, inventor, innovator, and entrepreneur. He was the recipient of the 2019 CODiE Lifetime Achievement Award, an award previously bestowed on Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and Paul Allen, among others.


Phil Brancazio

Phillip J. Brancazio - Retired Senior Vice President and General Manager of Par Pharmaceutical, Irvine CA an Endo International Company. Mr. Brancazio has over 40 years of pharmaceutical and medical device industry experience. 

Scientific Advisors


Keykavous Parang, PhD.

Dr. Keykavous Parang, associate dean of research, graduate studies, and global affairs and a full professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology at the Chapman University School of Pharmacy in Irvine, California. He is also a member of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Irvine.


Dominique Gouty, PhD.

Dr. Dominique Gouty brings over 25 years of business leadership experience in multi-national Pharmaceutical / Healthcare and Services industries, spanning, clinical operations, diagnostics, manufacturing of Biologics and Bioanalytical testing of Protein Drugs, Cell Therapies and Gene Therapies.


James Wade, PhD.

James is a clinical and academic leader, as well as a clinician-scientist, an educator, a nationally recognized and excellent cancer and infectious diseases physician, with extensive clinical care, research and healthcare technology experience and a long history of clinical and academic success.


Michael Ibba, PhD.

Dr. Michael Ibba is the dean of Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University, and also maintains a research group at The Ohio State University where he is a professor of microbiology.


Greg Weiss, PhD.

Gregory Weiss is a Professor of Chemical Biology and Faculty Innovation Fellow at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in the Departments of Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He earned a BS from UC Berkeley and a PhD from Harvard. 


Michael Buchmeier, PhD.

I am virologist and immunologist and with a strong career focus on RNA Viruses. I will bring to the project more than 35 years of experience with the Coronaviruses including the feline, FIP Virus, Mouse hepatitis virus, and most recently SARS CoV. 

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