From Operating to Investing
Avego was founded in 2015 by healthcare industry veterans with a passion for building high-growth, market-leading companies. Prior to forming Avego, our founders built and led multiple successful pharmaceutical companies, which all culminated with strategic trade sales that generated significant value for their shareholders and management teams.
Our multi-pronged approach to investing allows us to partner with healthcare companies at various stages and provides us significant flexibility in structuring investments. Across all that we do, we are committed to advancing the healthcare industry and benefitting its stakeholders.
Through our foundational strategy, Avego Healthcare Capital, we provide capital to accelerate growth for healthcare companies that are commercializing and developing important therapeutics, medical products, and services for patients, physicians, and other customers in the U.S. and around the world. We launched Avego BioScience Capital in 2020 to partner with leading life sciences companies that are driving critical progress toward successfully developing new products and services. Also established in 2020, Velan Capital pursues a high conviction long/short public equity strategy focused exclusively on the healthcare sector, with the goal of producing superior risk-adjusted returns.
Founder and Managing Partner
Mr. Venkataraman is the Founder of Avego and an experienced operating executive from the pharmaceutical industry. He was also CEO of Amplitude Healthcare Acquisition Corporation, a life sciences focused special purpose acquisition company, until its merger with Jasper Therapeutics in September 2021. Since 2003, Mr. Venkataraman has launched, financially sponsored, and successfully built six pharmaceutical companies. Previously, Mr. Venkataraman was Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Vidara Therapeutics until its sale to Horizon Pharma in September 2014. Prior to founding Vidara Therapeutics, Mr. Venkataraman was the Co-Founder and CEO of Alaven Pharmaceutical from 2003 until its sale to Meda Pharma in October 2010. Mr. Venkataraman also served as COO, CFO, and VP of Business Development, Strategic Planning and Operations at First Horizon Pharmaceutical (now Shionogi Pharma). Mr. Venkataraman completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Madras and holds an MS in Chemistry from Case Western University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Vandervort joined Avego in 2015. His background ranges across numerous positions in the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical services industries, including the 3PL DDN Pharmaceutical Logistics and the ultra-orphan drug specialty pharmacy Centric Health Resources, as well as leadership roles in business development for West-Ward Pharmaceuticals and IGI Laboratories (now Teligent, Inc.). As a sales leader for DDN and Centric, Mr. Vandervort built a brand for each company as the service provider of choice, as evidenced by the rapid growth in new clients and profitability for both companies. Mr. Vandervort led M&A for West-Ward and was part of the team that acquired Baxter’s multi-source injectable business as well as numerous products that expanded West-Ward’s R&D portfolio to include NDAs as well as paragraph IV challenges. With IGI laboratories, Mr. Vandervort led multiple M&A transactions, including deals with Valeant and Concordia, as well as the acquisition of the Canadian generic injectable company, Alveda Pharma, Inc. Mr. Vandervort has a BA from Bethany College in Bethany, WV and an MA from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.
Mr. Flexner joined Avego in 2017. Previously, he was an investment professional with Metalmark Capital, where he focused on leveraged buyout transactions and growth equity investments in healthcare companies. Mr. Flexner began his career as an investment banker in the Global Healthcare Group at Morgan Stanley, where he executed multiple transactions across the life sciences and healthcare services industries. Mr. Flexner graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA degree in Economics and Chemistry.
Partner and CIO of Velan Capital
Mr. Morgan has a career spanning nearly two decades through both the healthcare industry as well as fundamental asset management. From 2018 to 2020, he was a Senior Analyst at healthcare dedicated Broadfin Capital covering the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical sectors. Prior to Broadfin Capital, Mr. Morgan was a Senior Analyst covering Medical Devices and Specialty Pharmaceuticals at Iguana Healthcare from 2015-2017, and from 2014-2015 he was an Analyst at Pura Vida Investments, where he covered global Medical Devices. Mr. Morgan transitioned from the healthcare industry through a sell-side role as a Research Associate at Cowen and Company on the firm’s Medical Supplies & Devices team that bolstered his financial acumen against a strong fundamental understanding of the industry. He also spent over a decade at various medical device companies in expanding leadership roles ranging from engineering to sales and marketing to strategy and brings a deep operational understanding of the sector. Mr. Morgan received his BS in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota and his MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Kapoor joined Avego in 2021. He was also President of Amplitude Healthcare Acquisition Corporation, a life sciences focused special purpose acquisition company, until its merger with Jasper Therapeutics in September 2021. Previously, Mr. Kapoor was Chief Business Officer of Iveric bio (formerly known as Ophthotech). At Iveric, he was responsible for acquiring an industry-leading portfolio of gene therapy and therapeutic assets in ophthalmology. Prior to Iveric, Mr. Kapoor was responsible for business development and portfolio strategy in his role as Director of Corporate Development at NPS Pharma, which was acquired by Shire in 2015 for $5.2 billion. Prior to NPS, Mr. Kapoor spent 9 years at Genentech in a variety of positions, including leading strategy for ophthalmology and CNS pipeline assets, Lucentis marketing, commercial assessments for business development and medical affairs. In addition, Mr. Kapoor has previously worked at Pfizer. Mr. Kapoor holds an MBA in Finance and Management from Columbia Business School and a BA in Biology from Columbia University.
Mr. McNeill joined Avego in 2018. Previously, he was a Vice President at Leerink Partners, a healthcare-only investment bank. Mr. McNeill began his career at Lazard where he also advised middle-market healthcare companies. During his investment banking career, Mr. McNeill executed over 15 strategic transactions for companies in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. Mr. McNeill graduated from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BS degree in Business Administration.
David Liu, PhD
Senior Analyst, Velan Capital
Dr. Liu joined Velan in 2023. He has nearly a decade of healthcare investing experience, focusing on small and midcap therapeutics. Previously, he was an Analyst at Altium Capital covering the biotech sector. Prior to Altium, he was as a Senior Analyst at Iguana Healthcare covering biopharma. Dr. Liu began his career as an equity research associate covering Biotechnology at RBC Capital Markets. Dr. Liu received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and did his thesis work in cell cycle regulation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Biological Sciences with honors.
Mr. Liao joined Avego in 2021. Previously, he was a Vice President at Signet Healthcare Partners, where he focused on growth equity and venture investments in pharmaceutical products (branded and generics), pharmaceutical services, and medical device companies. Mr. Liao’s notable investment experience includes Vigene Biosciences, Goodwin Biotechnology, and Leading Pharma. Mr. Liao began his career as an investment banker in the healthcare groups at Nomura and Jefferies after graduating from The Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business with an MS degree in Accounting and a BS degree in Finance, Accounting, and Economics.
Analyst, Velan Capital
Mr. Steckler joined Velan in 2023. Previously, he was a Vice President at Gurnet Point Capital, where he focused on investments in pharmaceutical products. Mr. Steckler’s notable investment experience includes Paratek Pharmaceuticals and Radius Health. Mr. Steckler began his career as an investment banker in the Global Healthcare Group at Lazard, where he executed multiple transactions across the life sciences and healthcare services industries. Mr. Steckler graduated from Cornell University with a BS degree in Biological Sciences & Applied Economics and Management.
Mr. Savani joined Avego in 2020. Previously, he was an investment banker at Piper Sandler, where he executed multiple transactions in the life science tools & diagnostics and healthcare services sectors. Mr. Savani holds an BS in Business Administration from North Carolina State University and an MS in Finance from Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
Minh Vong, PhD
Dr. Vong joined Avego in 2021. Previously, he was an equity research analyst covering biotechnology at Truist Securities. Prior to Truist Securities, Dr. Vong covered biotechnology at Beacon VP Capital. Dr. Vong is a published scientist, having studied different aspects of virology over eight years. Dr. Vong received his PhD in Biochemistry from Harvard University and his BS in Biology from The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
Anna Park, PhD
Dr. Park joined Avego in 2022. Within Avego, she focuses on venture investments in novel therapeutics and diagnostic platforms. She transitioned to healthcare investing from life sciences consulting and previously was a core member of L.E.K. Consulting’s Global Life Sciences practice in New York and San Francisco. Prior, she was a co-op in Genentech’s gRED Pipeline and Portfolio Planning group, where she executed portfolio analyses of key competitors and supported acceleration of early-stage clinical programs. Dr. Park completed her PhD in Cancer Biology at the University of California, Berkeley by characterizing apoptotic mechanisms in a breast cancer stem cell model. She also graduated with honors in Molecular and Cell Biology and Economics from the same institution for her undergraduate studies.
Mr. Jo joined Avego in 2022. Previously, he was an investment banking Associate in the healthcare group at Nomura Securities. While at Nomura, Mr. Jo executed multiple transactions for companies in the life sciences and healthcare services sectors. Mr. Jo graduated from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School with a BBA in Finance & Accounting.
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer
Ms. Romano joined Avego in 2023. Previously, she worked at Pura Vida Investments, a healthcare-focused investment firm, where she served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer since 2018. From 2008 to 2017, Ms. Romano worked at Arrowstreet Capital, a quantitative equity firm in Boston that manages global equity portfolios for institutional investors around the world. At Arrowstreet, she was the Partner in charge of the Fund Group, which was responsible for fund structuring, formation, launch and ongoing operations and administration of investment funds with $23 billion in assets under management. Prior to Arrowstreet, she was Vice President of Operations in the Alternative Investment Group at Bank of America, an Assistant Controller at TA Associates Realty, and a Manager in the Alternative Investment Group at PwC. Ms. Romano received her M.S./M.B.A in Accounting from Northeastern University.
Director of Finance
Mr. Berk joined Avego in 2022. Previously, he was the Assistant Controller at ZMC Advisors, where he gained experience working on all aspects of the firm’s funds and management company. Prior to joining ZMC, Mr. Berk worked for Ernst & Young as an Assurance Manager in their Wealth and Asset Management practice, where he audited a variety of unregistered and registered investment companies. Mr. Berk graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University, earning his Bachelor of Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and International Business. Mr. Berk also earned an MS in Biomedical Sciences from Tufts University School of Medicine and an MS in Accounting from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. Mr. Berk is a Certified Public Accountant.
Head of Business Development
Mr. Martin joined the firm in 2023. He has nearly two decades in private fund capital raising and investor relations. Previously, he was Principal and Head of Business Development at Newbrook Capital, a long/short and long-only equity fund manager. Previously, Mr. Martin was Head of Business Development at Arrow Capital, an event-driven fund manager, and was a Principal at Atlantic-Pacific Capital. Previously, Mr. Martin was a Vice President at Credit Suisse in the Private Fund Group. Prior to Credit Suisse, he previously spent six years in investment banking at J.P. Morgan. Mr. Martin received an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a BBA degree in Finance from James Madison University.
Office Manager and Executive Assistant
Ms. Lucky joined Avego in 2022. Previously, she was an administrative assistant/office manager at Gage Spencer and Fleming LLP, where she oversaw daily operations in the office. She has over six years of experience in customer service and sales. In her prior roles, Ms. Lucky was responsible for leading teams, including providing development and training, while also understanding and addressing the needs of a wide variety of clients. Ms. Lucky graduated from the University of Tampa – John Sykes College of Business with a BA degree in Business Management.
Virinder Nohria, MD, PhD
Dr. Nohria currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Saol Therapeutics and Sebela Pharmaceuticals. He is an experienced biotechnology entrepreneur and drug developer with a track record of success in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. Dr. Nohria is a board-certified neurologist with special qualification in child neurology. Dr. Nohria co-founded Vidara Therapeutics in 2011 and served as its President and Chief Medical Officer until the company’s sale to Horizon Therapeutics in 2014. In the past, Dr. Nohria was part of the founding team of Alaven Pharmaceutical and Alaven Consumer Health LLC and served as its Chief Medical Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Executive Vice President from 2008 until its sale to Meda Pharma in 2010. Additionally, Dr. Nohria worked for Eli Lilly on Zyprexa and at UCB, where he was clinical lead for submission and commercialization of Keppra in the United States. Between 2003 and 2005, he was Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Xcel Pharmaceuticals where he led development of retigabine (ezogabine) for the treatment of epilepsy. Dr. Nohria’s medical training was conducted at the University of Cambridge in England. His postgraduate training was completed in the United Kingdom and the United States at Duke University. He also holds a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology and has authored many publications and book chapters.
John Devane, PhD
Dr. Devane currently serves as a board member to Saol Therapeutics and Sebela Pharmaceuticals. Most recently, Dr. Devane was Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) with Horizon Pharma Ireland Ltd. and previously (2012-2014) served as CSO to Vidara Therapeutics Research Ltd. In the past, Dr. Devane was part of the founding team of AGI Therapeutics plc. and served as its CEO from 2004-2012. Additionally, Dr. Devane founded and led Athpharma Ltd. as CEO from 2002-2005. Dr. Devane worked for Elan Corporation from 1981 to 2001 and held various senior leadership positions, including Executive Vice President R&D (1993-2001) and Senior Vice President Clinical & Regulatory, where he led key clinical trial programs in the USA and negotiated NDA approvals directly with FDA. During the period 1990 to 2001, Dr. Devane and his team were responsible for 6 NDA and 3 ANDA approvals. Dr. Devane has had a long career designing and successfully delivering major product development programs spanning activities in preclinical, clinical, manufacturing, regulatory, and intellectual property. He has a deep knowledge in pharmacology, drug delivery, clinical development, regulatory affairs and intellectual property. Dr. Devane is the inventor/co-inventor on many granted and pending patent applications and has also been widely published in scientific/medical literature. His graduate and post-graduate scientific training was conducted at University College in Dublin, Ireland. He received a diploma in Accounting & Finance (ACCA) by exam and received a certificate and diploma from the Institute of Directors (UK) by exam relating to their Chartered Director Program.