Rajeev Venkayya

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Dr. Rajeev Venkayya is the President of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. In this capacity, he is responsible for Takeda’s longstanding vaccine business in Japan, and the global expansion of this business through R&D and commercial partnerships, including the recent acquisitions of LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals and Inviragen and their candidate vaccines targeting norovirus and dengue.

Dr. Venkayya was previously the Director for Global Health Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he oversaw the foundation’s top two priorities of polio eradication and new vaccine introduction. This included the foundation’s engagement and investments in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and GAVI, and an investment portfolio of approximately $500 million/year. He served as a member of the GAVI Board. He reported to the President of Global Health, Dr. Tachi Yamada.

Previously, Dr. Venkayya was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Biodefense at the White House. He was appointed to this position in May 2005. Dr Venkayya was a member of the White House Homeland Security Council, and reported to Frances Townsend, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. He led the development and implementation of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, as well as several Homeland Security Presidential Directives. He also served as an advisor to Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He has served as one of thirteen non-partisan White House Fellows appointed by President Bush from 2002-03.

Dr. Venkayya was previously an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and board certified in Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine.

Prior to moving to Washington, Dr. Venkayya was an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF. He held his primary appointment at San Francisco General Hospital, where he was Co-Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Founder and Director of the High-Risk Asthma Clinic, and the principal investigator for a five-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the immunologic mechanisms leading to asthma.

Dr. Venkayya founded two companies while at UCSF: Sapient Medical Group, Inc., a physician services corporation, and Neomedicus, LLC, a medical technology consulting and design firm. Through Neomedicus, he created “What’s Asthma All About?”, a web-based movie that has been used for asthma education by people around the globe.

Dr. Venkayya completed his fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF. He was a resident and Chief Medical Resident in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center. He completed his undergraduate and medical school education in the 6 year B.S./M.D. program at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society. He graduated as one of three valedictorians of Fairborn High School in 1985. He is an Eagle Scout. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[1]

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