Steve Peterson, Chief Executive Officer

Steve brings over 40 years of experience in drug development and commercialization to Trana Discovery. His career spans several major pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly, Glaxo and GlaxoWellcome where he held positions in sales, marketing, product development and as liaison with key opinion leaders. He launched or assisted in the development of 16 separate brands including Ceftin, Epivir, Relenza, Epivir-HBV, Zinacef and Fortaz. As an independent consultant Steve has worked with key opinion leaders to assist companies in assimilating complex medical issues and distilling development plans for maximizing product potential.

Winnell Newman, Co-Founder


Former Director of the Nucleic Acid Synthesis Facility at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Winnell co-developed the drug-discovery technology with her expertise in oligonucleotide synthesis. She has 25 years of laboratory management experience, nine years specializing in DNA and RNA oligonucleotide synthesis, and has published eight scientific articles. Prior to her work at NCSU, Winnell held biochemistry laboratory and instrumentation management positions at Ciba-Geigy and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dick Guenther, Co-Founder; Chief Technical Officer; Vice President, Research


Co-inventor of the Trana Discovery technology, Dick is a leader in the design and performance of critical experiments establishing the anti-infective technology targeting tRNA functions. He is a biochemist and expert on tRNA structure and function with more than 25 years of scientific project and laboratory management experience. Prior to working at NCSU, Dick worked in research at the University of Missouri Columbia and as a scientist for a contract research organization. He has published over thirty publications on RNA.

Michael Ossi, Chief Scientific Officer


Dr. Michael Ossi earned his MD degree from the University of Maryland and is board certified in pediatric and adolescent medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. After residency training, he completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Beginning in 1977, Dr. Ossi built and maintained a large pediatric practice while concurrently serving as a faculty advisor for the University of Massachusetts Medical School residency program. In 1988, he accepted a position at Glaxo Inc. and spent the next 18 years in clinical drug development at the director and VP levels, managing programs in various viral and bacterial diseases and several oncology programs. During that time, Dr. Ossi held a faculty appointment at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC and served as an attending physician in the pediatric acute care clinic. Dr. Ossi was Vice President, Infectious Diseases, Medicine Development at GlaxoSmithKline before retiring in 2007.


Michael Gallucci, Chief Financial Officer


Michael began his career as a staff auditor with Arthur Andersen prior to joining Meyer Laboratories (the precursor to Glaxo Inc.) as Controller. During his 27-year tenure with Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome, and GlaxoSmithKline, Michael’s financial responsibilities included all accounting aspects of the rapidly growing organization, including all internal and external financial reporting, internal audit and US corporate taxation. By the time he retired as Vice President and Treasurer, Michael had direct responsibility for banking relationships, debt and equity management, corporate investing, defined benefit and defined contribution plans, risk management and insurance, corporate travel, capital projects, fleet services, corporate aviation, and the Glaxo Wellcome Credit Union. He served as a corporate officer of Glaxo Wellcome Inc. and as an officer and director of many of its subsidiaries.

Ed Gallagher, Vice President of Intellectual Property


Ed brings more than 25 years in the healthcare industry with positions at Glaxo, GlaxoWellcome, GlaxoSmithKline, and Ethicon, a J&J company. He has extensive experience combining quantitative tools with information to frame marketing problems and develop strategic responses in Pricing and Managed Care contracting, Sales Operations, New Product Marketing and Market Research and Forecasting all major therapeutic areas. This included brands with sales from less than $100 million to those exceeding $2 Billion.


Sam Yenne, Chief Development Officer


Sam has over 25 years of experience in the discovery and development of biologically active compounds. He started his career at Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company (now Bayer Crop Science) in metabolism chemistry where he was responsible for screening compounds for toxic side effects and conducting preclinical experiments. Sam was quickly promoted to Technical Development Manager of Insecticides responsible for expanding market share by launching new products and expanding the label of existing products. At Paradigm Genetics, Sam was responsible for target discovery and the development of high-throughput screening assays for these targets in addition to several preclinical projects for anti-infective compounds. More recently, He has been responsible for identifying active anti-infective compounds and their subsequent preclinical development along with the development of a new virus detection system.

Dan Mitchell, Vice President, Strategic Services


Dan has over 25 years of pharmacy practice, teaching, and pharmaceutical industry experience that included patient care, clinical research, and drug information.  Prior to joining Trana Discovery, he directed the competitive intelligence department for Glaxo, Glaxo Wellcome, and GlaxoSmithKline, a position he held for more than 15 years.  Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Drake University and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Creighton University and completed a pharmacy residency in infectious diseases at Mercer University/Georgia Baptist Medical Center.

Daniel Sternbach, Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry


Dan worked at GlaxoSmithKline for 21 years in cancer and metabolic diseases. He was one of the founding members of Glaxo’s US chemical research division and played a major role in the growth of this division. During his time at GSK Dan led projects that resulted in four clinical candidates (one in cancer, three in metabolic diseases). Before joining Glaxo he was a chemistry professor at Duke University for six years. Dan received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Rochester (1971) and his Ph.D. (Organic Chemistry), from Brandeis University. He is the coauthor of more than 60 papers and patents.

Leigh Ann Gallucci, Vice President of Financial Reporting and Accounting


Leigh Ann began her career as a staff accountant with Ernst and Young before joining Glaxo in 1986. During her 15 years with Glaxo, GlaxoWellcome, and GlaxoSmithKline, she held positions in Treasury and Commercial Operations including District Sales Manager and Product Manager for Valtrex. Prior to leaving GlaxoSmithKline in 2001, Leigh Ann held the position of Director, Corporate Business Strategy. Leigh Ann earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Cash Manager. In addition to her responsibilities with Trana, Leigh Ann also provides consulting services in financial reporting and market analysis to other pharmaceutical companies.


Chris Ellis, Vice President of Bioinformatics, tRNA Database


Chris earned his B.S. in Microbiology and shortly thereafter joined Eli Lilly where he worked for 4 years. Chris left Eli Lilly to pursue his Ph.D. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University where he was an NIH-Biotechnology fellow. As a graduate student Chris’s primary research focus was RNA biochemistry with research interests in non-coding RNAs such as: snoRNAs, RNase P, small ribosomal subunits, and 6S RNA. Following graduate school Chris was an IRTA postdoctoral fellowship at the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, NC. Chris has a strong computational biology background that complements his training in microbiology. He has used this unique skill set to develop novel scripts for tRNA modification prediction, microRNA binding sites, snoRNA database, microbial community research, metagenomic analysis, and other molecular biology tools.



Trana Discovery, Inc. | 2054-260 Kildaire Farm Road Cary, NC 27518 | | (919) 295-6116