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Our Team

Founder and Chair

Dr Sophie Chandauka MBE

Sophie Chandauka is Founder and Chair of Nandi Life Sciences LLC. She is a senior attorney with over 20 years of experience leading corporate finance, M&A, legal, compliance and operations functions for complex, systemically important and highly regulated global corporations including Meta, Morgan Stanley and Virgin. This followed early career years as an award-winning attorney at Baker McKenzie.

At Virgin Money, Sophie led the UK Listing Authority prospectus approval process for the company’s IPO as a FTSE 250 within an impressive three years. During this time at Virgin Money, Sophie also led the legal aspects of other corporate finance deals in excess of £13BN in four years.

She is a Founding Member of Women Innovating Together in Healthcare, Boston Chapter, Advisory Board Member at the University of Notre Dame Kellogg Institute for International Studies and Chair of Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and Prince Seeiso to support children and young people affected by poverty, inequality and HIV/AIDS in southern Africa.

Founder and CEO

Dr Tinashe Chandauka MD PhD

Entrepreneur in Residence, Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics – Texas Medical Centre

Tinashe Chandauka is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nandi Life Sciences LLC. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Texas Medical Center Innovation’s Accelerating Cancer Therapeutics (ACT), an initiative funded by the Texas government’s US$6B Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas.

Prior to this, he was the Director of Early Pipeline Development at NASDAQ listed Tarsus Pharmaceuticals. Before this, he was at Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE) where he participated in over $350M of early stage venture capital investments, supported the growth and financing 55 early stage and supported the $160M Series B fundraise and preparations for the NASDAQ IPO of Vaccitech, inventor of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as a founding member of the OSE portfolio management team.

He holds a PhD from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar and a medical degree from the University of Cape Town (distinction and honours). He holds medical licenses in the United Kingdom and South Africa. He is a member of the board of directors of AMREF, a global Africa focused healthcare charity.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr Geoff Down MD MCCP FFPM

Geoff is the Chief Medical Officer at Nandi Life Sciences LLC. He qualified in medicine in London, UK and undertook post-graduate practice for 10 years in the Kings College and Imperial College London hospitals. He has 30 years’ experience in industry, working with both large and small biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

His experience covers the full range of drug development in a wide range of therapeutic areas; focusing on the transition from laboratory research to early clinical development. He has been principal investigator or sponsor of more than 100 clinical studies and expert contributor to approximately 20 marketing licence applications.

Employed roles have included Chief Medical Officer at Adiga Life Sciences and at Prosonix, both Oxford, UK; European Medical Leader and Global Safety Expert, Johnson and Johnson Corporate R&D; Global Program Director, Clinical Pharmacology & Discovery Medicine, GlaxoSmithKline Corporate R&D. He is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians and a Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, Royal Colleges of Physicians, UK.

Chief Financial Officer

Julia Jones

Julia is the Chief Financial Officer at Nandi Life Sciences LLC. After graduating from Loughborough University in 1997, Julia joined PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001. Julia then gained a broad range of experience with key finance positions in Industry. For the last fifteen years, as the founder and Managing Director of Archangel Accounting Ltd, Julia has provided tailor-made services to many companies, including IPO and fundraising support.

Julia has over 24 years of experience as a finance professional with an established record of supporting biotech companies from start up through to exit, assisting in securing and then the management of over £200M of venture capital funds, strong skills in software implementation and accounting processes to aid the performance of ambitious businesses.

Since 2012, Julia has assisted the Institute of Manufacturing at Cambridge University by delivering a finance module for senior managers within a large global manufacturing business as part of a tailor-made MBA management programme.

Chief Business Officer

Sarah Essien

Sarah is the Chief Business Officer at Nandi Life Sciences LLC. Sarah has a wealth of expertise in finance, strategy and operations with over 15 years of experience driving success in banking, healthcare, energy and telecommunications.

Notable achievements include: leading procurement and financial modelling for winning medical screening and drug supply tenders worth over £100m within the UK National Health Service; and, as COO at a tech start-up, leading operational excellence, driving growth, expansion, and go-to-market efforts across 3 jurisdictions in 9 months.

Sarah holds a BSc in Business Economics from Brunel University, an MSc in Accounting and Financial Management from the University of London in addition to several qualifications in accounting and project management. She is currently pursuing an Executive MBA at London Business School.

Sarah is passionate about start-ups with a strong focus on organisational effectiveness, quality management, and client success. She serves as an investor and Non-Executive Director at a UK fintech start-up focused on simplifying crossborder payments.

Senior Associate

Dr Richard Burman

Richard is a Senior Associate at Nandi Life Sciences. At Nandi, Richard brings a decade of experience in the design and implementation of animal and clinical studies to our research and development team. Prior to Nandi, he supported the seed fund raise and pilot of a medical device for a UK-based biotechnology company, Aparito.

His research on electrical signalling in the brain and pharmacological treatment of life-threatening seizures has garnered international recognition through publications in top tier academic journals. He is also the recipient of several competitive funding awards and noteworthy research awards from International Epilepsy societies.

Richard has held research roles of increasing seniority at the University Hospital of Bern in Zürich, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. He completed his PhD at the University of Oxford as a prestigious Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholar. Prior to that, Richard completed advanced degrees in physiology, neuroscience, medical biochemistry and medicine concurrently as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar at the University of Cape Town.

Senior Associate

Ranan Fattal

Ranan is a Senior Associate at Nandi Life Sciences LLC. She is the Broad Institute’s first and sole competitive intelligence specialist and business development analyst. She also serves as Vice President of Global Partnerships at the non-profit, Nucleate. In these roles, Ranan is committed to enabling inventors to translate their science for the public good.

Prior to these roles, she was a scientist at a Broad Institute synthetic biology lab, where she harnessed ribosomes to help discover novel antibiotics and led the development of a tool that minimizes large biological molecules while retaining their function.

Ranan holds a BA from the University of Iowa and is currently an MS/MBA candidate at Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Senior Associate

Dr Rachel Leung

Rachel is a Senior Associate at Nandi Life Sciences. She is a UK and Hong Kong registered research physician. She received medical education in the Chinese University of Hong Kong under the Global Physician Leadership stream and undertook biostatistics and epidemiological research training at Brown University and the University of Oxford.

Rachel has also worked in digital healthcare technology companies and studied digital health solutions in the Asia Pacific Region. She worked with an international think-tank to develop a regional health policy framework in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Rachel is passionate about the intersection of clinical medicine, technology, and policy to improve healthcare outcomes broadly. She was selected as Rhodes Scholar to pursue a PhD in cerebrovascular medicine under supervision by thought leaders Professor Peter Rothwell and Mr Dominic Howard.


Alicia Ngo

Alicia is an Associate at Nandi Life Sciences. She is currently a PharmD candidate at Purdue University College of Pharmacy and is a Lilly Scholar.

During her internship at NASDAQ listed Tarsus Pharmaceuticals in 2022, she supported indications across ophthalmology, as well as early pipeline assets. She enjoyed serving multiple internal strategic priorities and initiatives dedicated to vendor sourcing and technological platform advancement.

She is also currently a Strategic Research Intern at The Network of Networks (TNON) where she supports diversity equity and inclusion initiatives for employee network and resource group leaders for over 120 global corporations. At TNON, she is a key contributor to the strategic partnership with Women Innovating Together in Healthcare – Boston Chapter.

Get in touch with Nandi

Nandi Life Sciences LLC,
Houston Headquarters

Texas Medical Center Innovation
2450 Holcombe Blvd.
Suite X, Entrance 81
Texas 77021

Nandi Life Sciences LLC, New York Investor Relations Office

The ARO on 242 West 53rd
New York
New York 10019