Executive Director, Preclinical Development

Yi Zhao, MD, PhD

Dr. Zhao joined AiViva in 2018 as the head of preclinical development. Dr. Zhao has more than 20 years of applied research experience, gaining critical proficiency in translating drug discovery findings in the laboratory to initiation of human clinical trials. In his current position, he performs a pivotal role in the translation of drug discovery, development planning, and regulatory submissions. His contributions are instrumental in planning and leading AiViva’s IND-enabling programs and IND submissions in dermatology, oncology, and ophthalmology.

Dr. Zhao’s innovative contribution spans across multiple therapeutic areas including indications in endocrinology, dermatology, neurodegeneration, immunology, oncology, and viral disorders. His experience was gained through his 20 years with Allergan and Vitae Pharmaceuticals, where he played a principal role in making critical contributions in disease-related mechanism of action proof of principal discoveries and compound selection. Over the span of his career, he has been a lead contributor in the translation of research with increasing responsibilities. These contributions led to the development into clinical phases for P450 RAI Inhibitor, 11β-HSD1 inhibitor, BACE inhibitor, RORγt inverse agonist, selective LXRβ agonist, and menin inhibitor for the treatment of dermatological, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disorders, and leukemias. Dr. Zhao is a dedicated team player bringing proven skills in both large and small company environments with scientific expertise in biochemistry, molecular/cellular biology, and pharmacology.

Dr. Zhao earned his M.D. from Shanghai Medical University and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Biocenter of the University of Basel. He received post-doctoral trainings at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Michigan.