OUR Advisory Board

Ali Ardakani


Ali Ardakani is a technical and entrepreneurial corporate development and operations biotech executive with 20 years of experience in managing life science projects and companies. His experience includes managing R&D projects in the areas of oncology, respiratory, infectious disease, CNS therapeutics and medical devices, as well as fundraising, licensing and M&A. Ali is the Founder & Managing Director of Novateur Ventures. Until recently he was Senior Vice President Device & Business Development for Beyond Air (NASDAQ:XAIR), where he was involved with the company from early stage until Nasdaq public offering and several rounds of financing and licensing. He is the CEO and co-founder of Optigo Biotherapeutics, an ophthalmology R&D company, the Vice Chair of LifeSciences BC, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Innovate Calgary. He is also an Associate at Creative Destruction Labs. He was the Co-Founder and COO of Niiki Pharma, which was acquired in 2013 by Intezyne Technologies, of which he became the Vice President. To date, Ali has taken several projects from concept to FDA approval, with two 510(k) approvals for medical devices and two FDA IND approvals. He has also worked on commercialization and pharma partnerships, as well as several global mergers and acquisitions.

Bruce cohen,mba

Financial Advisor

Mr. Cohen is an Advisor to Xeraya Capital. He has more 30 years of management, marketing and business development experience in life sciences and high technology companies.  Mr. Cohen was the founding President and CEO of three early-stage biotechnology companies: Acacia Biosciences (acquired by Rosetta Inpharmatics), Cellerant Therapeutics and VitaPath Genetics. He served as CFO at GeneSoft Pharmaceuticals and has also held senior positions in business development and marketing at SEQUUS Pharmaceuticals and in the International, Management Services, and Information Technology business units at Baxter International.  Mr. Cohen was the President and COO of ViTel International Inc., a pre-internet electronic messaging company. He also served as a management consultant with Monitor Company, working in the healthcare and high technology sectors. He was a member of the founding team of the Tufts Veterinary School and a regional manager of the National Health Professions Placement Network.  Mr. Cohen is currently serving as CEO of Prime Biologics, a Xeraya portfolio company. He represents Xeraya on the boards of Chrono Therapeutics and Rapid Micro Biosystems.  He holds a BA and an MA from Tufts University, and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.

Afshin Doust,mba

Business Advisor

Afshin Doust is a seasoned entrepreneur with professional experience in technology, finance, consulting and strategic management with a keen interest in assembling teams to resolve business challenges.  Afshin took the role of CEO at AIS, a robotics company with a RaaS business model, in 2016, with the goal to lead the team towards the vision of creating innovations in autonomous robotic solutions for a wide range of applications. Prior to AIS, Afshin was actively advising several businesses, held a business development position with Xerox, and served as Regional Sales and Relationship Manager with HSBC finance. A contributor to Forbes Technology Council, Afshin is a thought leader in the robotics industry, and is inspired by people, numbers and business challenges.


regulatory Advisor

Robyn Meurant has more than 30 years of experience in the field of IVDs, as a laboratory scientist and as a regulator with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and with World Health Organization (WHO) Prequalification. Ms. Meurant began her career working in several large diagnostic laboratories in the role of senior scientist. In her position at TGA, Ms. Meurant assisted in developing the new regulatory framework for IVDs. With WHO, she served as the lead technical officer for application evaluation and dossier assessment, and as lead for the development of guidance and technical specifications for IVDs in the scope of WHO Prequalification. In addition, she has contributed to standards development and has been a source of expert advice to the Australian government on IVDs. In 2009 she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Australian Society for Microbiology

Caroline rhim,phd

regulatory Advisor

Caroline received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. She brings over 10 years of experience in the medical device and public health sectors to NSF International, where she focuses on providing strategic and hands-on consulting services for clients looking to develop and market innovative medical devices. Caroline is an expert in navigating the U.S. regulatory landscape, tackling challenging premarket submissions and developing efficient regulatory strategies. Prior to joining NSF International, she served as Chief of the Anterior Spine Devices Branch at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). She was also a lead scientific reviewer for premarket submissions (premarket approval (PMA), 510(k) premarket notification, investigational device exemption (IDE) submissions, etc.) in both the Divisions of Orthopedic Devices and Cardiovascular Devices. During her career at the FDA, she was involved in streamlining pre-market and post-market review processes as well as the classification efforts for posterior cervical screw systems

Michael Damiani,PHD, jd

regulatory Advisor

Michael received his PhD in biochemistry from the Department of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University. While completing his research, Michael also attended law school at the University of Alberta. Following graduation from law school and defending his JD thesis, Michael was called to the British Columbia bar in and also passed the Canadian Patent Agent. Michael specializes in drafting and prosecuting patent applications. He focuses his work in fields related to biotechnology, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, medical devices, chemistry, and oil and gas. Michael’s knowledge extends to patentability, validity, infringement and freedom-to-operate issues. He is currently a partner at BLG.