Management Team

Karoly Nikolich

Karoly Nikolich

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

Karoly led Genentech’s entry into neuroscience during the 1980s and led and participated in the development of numerous protein therapeutics. He was Vice President of Research at Lynx Therapeutics, co-founder of AGY Therapeutics, Amnestix, Neurofluidics, Chase Pharmaceuticals, Circuit Therapeutics, and Alkahest. He has served on the boards and scientific advisory boards at a number of neurotherapeutics and biotech companies, as well as investment funds. Dr. Nikolich is a graduate of Eotvos University in Budapest and worked as postdoctoral fellow at Tulane University and UCSF before joining Genentech. He has been Consulting Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School.

Steven Braithwaite

Steven Braithwaite

Chief Scientific Officer

Steven has extensive experience in therapeutic development in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He previously led research at Circuit Therapeutics, drug discovery at Signum Biosciences, headed the cellular neurodegeneration group at Wyeth/Pfizer, and was a program leader at AGY Therapeutics. In these roles he has led both small molecule and biological research and development programs across a diverse range of indications in the field of neuroscience. Steven is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, UK, received his PhD from the University of Bristol, UK and performed postdoctoral work at Stanford University. He is actively involved with the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Michael Byrnes

Michael Byrnes

Chief Financial Officer

Michael has over 20 years of corporate finance and accounting experience, 15 of which have been in publicly-traded companies in the life science industry. Most recently, Michael was the Chief Financial Officer of Ocera Therapeutics, which was acquired by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in 2017. Prior to that, Michael held finance positions of increasing responsibility at Maxygen, NeurogesX, Lipid Sciences and ADAC Labs. Michael received his B.S.C. in Finance from Santa Clara University and his M.B.A. from California State University, Hayward.

Jonas Hannestad

Jonas Hannestad

Vice President of Clinical Development

Jonas has more than 20 years of experience in the field of neuroscience at both academic and biopharmaceutical organizations and is a noted authority in PET imaging in neuroinflammatory and other neurological disorders including the effect of systemic factors on the brain. Jonas joined Alkahest from Denali Therapeutics and held previous positions at UCB Pharma and Yale University. He received his M.D. from Universidad de Oviedo and a Ph.D. from the University of Messina, and then completed a fellowship at UCLA and residency training in internal medicine and psychiatry at Duke University and Yale University. In addition to his role at Alkahest, Dr. Hannestad also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Joseph S. McCracken

Joseph S. McCracken

Vice President of Business Development

Joe has more than 25 years of experience in research, business development and commercial development roles in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies Joe was previously Vice President and Global Head of Business Development & Licensing for Roche Pharma, where he was responsible for Roche Pharma’s global in-licensing and out-licensing activities. Prior to joining Roche Pharma, Joe held the position of Vice President, Business Development at Genentech for more than 10 years, and previously held similar positions at Aventis Pharma and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer. Dr. McCracken holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, a Master of Science in Pharmacology and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Bruce Morimoto

Bruce Morimoto

Vice President of Drug Development Operations

Bruce has more than 20 years of experience in both biotechnology and clinical research companies, leading project teams in the development of innovative medicines, as well as providing strategic guidance, designing preclinical and clinical development programs, and advancing the development of new therapies. Bruce joined Alkahest from Celerion, where he served as Vice President, Scientific Affairs, having previously served as Vice President, Drug Development at Allon Therapeutics. Dr. Morimoto started his career on the faculty of the Chemistry Department at Purdue University where his independent research focused on neuronal signal transduction. Bruce earned his doctorate in biochemistry from UCLA and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California Berkeley.

Tammy Kent

Tammy Kent

Vice President Human Resources and Operations

Tammy has nearly twenty years of experience working with small start up biotechnology companies providing Human Resources, Accounting, Facilities, and General Administrative leadership. She was most recently Director of HR at Circuit Therapeutics, Inc. Tammy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is a Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources and has been a member of HR organizations for nearly two decades.