Dr. Rao joins Axial Biotherapeutics with over 17 years of professional experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President and CMO at DepoMed, Inc. (NASDAQ: DEPO), where he oversaw the company’s entire clinical and regulatory development activities. He was responsible for designing and implementing the complete development program for DepoMed’s next generation analgesic, cebranopadol. Prior to this, Dr. Rao was the founder and CEO of Kyalin Biosciences, a privately held biotechnology company developing a potential breakthrough therapy for autism. Before joining Kyalin, Dr. Rao served as CMO and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of three companies through his association with Avalon Ventures. For 10 years, Dr. Rao was the CSO of Cypress Bioscience with broad responsibilities ranging from business development, intellectual property portfolio management, clinical trial execution and oversight of the company’s diagnostic and chemical formulation programs. He was the innovator behind Savella™, postulating that this drug’s unique pharmacology would be effective for fibromyalgia. Savella™ was approved by the FDA for this indication in 2009. Dr. Rao received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Yale Graduate School and his M.D. from Yale School of Medicine. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Yale College and Yale Graduate School respectively.