Rajeev Venkayya is the President of the Global Vaccine Business Unit of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. He is responsible for Takeda’s global vaccine business, including a longstanding business in Japan and a global development pipeline that includes vaccine candidates for Norovirus and Dengue, gained through the acquisitions of LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals and Inviragen Inc. He also oversees Takeda’s contract with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop a Zika vaccine, and grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop an affordable inactivated Polio vaccine for developing countries. He is an independent member of the board of CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Dr. Venkayya was previously the Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was responsible for 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, the Vaccine Alliance, and an investment portfolio of approximately $500 million/year. He also served as a member of the Gavi Board.
Prior to the Gates Foundation, Dr. Venkayya was Special Assistant to the U.S. President and Senior Director for Biodefense at the White House where he directed the development of policies to prevent, protect and respond to bioterrorism and naturally occurring biological threats. He led the development and implementation of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, as well as Presidential directives on medical countermeasures and public health preparedness. Prior to his positions at the White House, he was one of thirteen individuals appointed by President Bush to the non-partisan White House Fellowship program.
Dr. Venkayya was previously an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He was Co-Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and Director of the High-Risk Asthma Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, and the principal investigator for a five-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the immunologic mechanisms leading to asthma.
Dr. Venkayya completed his fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSF. Prior to this, 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 six year BS/MD program at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.