Neil Desai, PhD

Neil Desai, PhD, is the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Aanastra, Inc., and cofounder of Divincell SAS, companies that are pioneering novel peptide-based RNA therapeutic drug delivery for the treatment of cancer and genetic diseases.  

Dr. Desai is also the founder, Executive Chairman and former CEO (2014-Dec 2022) of Aadi Bioscience, which he steered to the public market (AADI: Nasdaq) in August 2021, and to the approval as well as commercialization of its flagship drug FYARRO, the first FDA approved therapy for advanced malignant perivascular epithelioid cell tumor (PEComa). He was responsible for building Aadi from a single person to over 80 employees and raised multiple financing rounds (private and public) totalling over $265M.  

He is the inventor of the foundational nab technology (nab-sirolimus (FYARRO) and nab-paclitaxel (ABRAXANE)). Dr. Desai was previously the SVP of global R&D at Abraxis Bioscience, where he invented the nab technology and grew and led the Abraxane team through all drug development stages and approvals in Breast, Lung and Pancreatic cancer. He was part of the team that was responsible for the acquisition of Abraxis by Celgene Corp for appromimately $3B in 2010 and was subsequently VP of Strategic Platforms at Celgene until 2016. Prior roles during his 25+ year career include senior positions at American BioScience, Inc., VivoRx, Inc. and VivoRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (predecessor companies of Abraxis), where he worked on the early discovery and development of Abraxane, developed novel encapsulation systems for living cells and was part of the team that performed the world’s first successful encapsulated islet cell transplant in a diabetic patient. 

Dr. Desai has over 100 issued patents, over 40 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and over 200 presentations at scientific meetings. He was an active participant in FDA and EU Nanotechnology initiatives and a member of the Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. 

Dr. Desai recieved a M.S and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, USA, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, India.