Our Team

Tergus is more than a team of people, it is a family. We believe in understanding each individual’s requirements and provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow. Employees are encouraged to engage in continuous learning and be ahead of the curve. Training is provided on a regular basis to facilitate professional growth. Our focus is to learn every day and produce quality work. In addition to maintaining strong technical acumen, Tergus peers guide each other every step of the way. We have key people in each business unit who work towards making Tergus a leader in topical product development.

Duffy McDonald – Sr. Director Human Resources & Organization Effectiveness

Duffy leads the human resource and organization effectiveness strategy with Tergus. In this capacity, the core focus aligns human resources with the business strategy. This alignment focuses on turning Tergus’ human resources into a sustainable competitive advantage to optimize organizational effectiveness and deliver operational excellence and value creation for Tergus’ customer base.

The human resource systems deployed in this process are:

  • Talent identification and capabilities assessment
  • Leadership and work force development
  • Encouraging cross function communication and collaboration
  • Performance measurement, reward and recognition systems for high performance
  • Total compensation and benefits
  • Succession planning

This systems focus will ensure that Tergus continues to be an employer of preference and world class in its competitive market space.

Duffy began his career with the 3M Company in manufacturing, quality systems and human resources. His most recent experience was with LipoScience of Raleigh, NC, an in-vitro diagnostic cardiovascular test, technology platform, and CRO. During his twelve years with LipoScience, Duffy provided leadership in human resources, laboratory operations and quality assurance and regulatory systems. LipoScience was acquired by the Laboratory Corporation of America in 2014.

Bethany Stewart

In Bethany’s experience with Tergus Pharma, project management and work flow are the key components to leading the IVRT team. Working with the IVRT team has taught her how a successful group of people can work in concert with one another to achieve quality and compliance together.

With over 15 years of experience in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Bethany began her career as a QC Chemist running stock methods for stock products in large Pharma. For the last 10 years, she has spent her career in CROs which lent her the ability to learn about and analyze multiple forms of pharmaceutical dosing.

D'Andre Payne

D’Andre, Associate Director of Manufacturing, leads activities such as sourcing raw materials, manufacturing operations and supply chain logistics. He comes with 15+ years of experience in the pharmaceutical contract manufacturing industry. He has a firm understanding of the technical challenges the industry poses combined with the business acumen to solve them.

He has worked at various companies and his roles have included quality control chemistry, formulation and process development and project management. He earned a B.S. Chemistry from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Outside of work, his passions include traveling the world and pursuing new adventures.

Jeff Reynolds

Jeffrey Reynolds heads the product development and clinical supplies manufacturing groups at Tergus. Jeff has supported many phases of drug product development including early phase pre-IND to phase I/II/II clinicals, and life cycle management and post approval support. He has worked with small, medium, and large companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Church & Dwight, and KIK Custom Products. He is co-inventor on two patents, a number of patents-pending and has co-authored one article. His professional experience includes research and development of many types of pharmaceutical dosage forms including, solid and semi-solid across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas (dermatology, GI, CNS, URT). Jeff brings a broad base of practical knowledge and experience with close to 30 years of professional experience combined with a strong academic background, which enables him to drive for solutions in both the scientific and management arenas. Jeff is a member of the AAPS, the SCC, and Delta Mu Delta as well as having served as an executive board member for the aerosol products division of the CSPA.

Kailas Thakker

Dr. Thakker is Co-Founder Emeritus of Tergus and is a pioneer in functional testing for semi-solids. Under her leadership, Tergus has emerged as the recognized global leader in developing release rate methods for semi-solid dosage forms.

She was involved in the development of in Vitro Release Testing (IVRT), recognized as an essential testing protocol for Semi-solid dosage forms. Her work led to the development of the SUPAC-SS guidance document that the pharmaceutical industry follows. She was also a member of the USP’s Advisory Panel from 2010-2015, and helped draft chapters 3 and 1724, and also a member of USP’s Expert Committee on Dosage forms.

Dr. Thakker earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kansas. She worked at US Pharmacopeia for 12 years, where she specialized in the development and validation of dissolution methods in the Drug Research and Testing Laboratory. Dr. Thakker has also held leadership positions at Sphinx Pharmaceuticals and BioAnalytika Laboratories.

With the emergence of newer, alternative dosage forms over the past 10 years, she has surfaced as a well-recognized global leader in the development of topical drug products, providing expertise in the development and validation of performance tests used to evaluate the transport of drugs across skin and other membranes (e.g., buccal, sublingual, vaginal, rectal). Working with compendial and regulatory organizations, Dr. Thakker continues to strive toward improving public standards for topical and other dosage forms.

Meera Patel

Meera serves as a technical lead for the pharmaceutical sciences group, focusing on development of branded products and NCEs. She has authored/co-authored several scientific publications and book chapters related to topical and transdermal drug delivery, and presented scientific posters at various national meetings.

Meera earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology with an initial interest to pursue medicine. Pursuing a doctoral degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Mercer University, her graduate research focused on topical drug delivery of small molecules through intact and compromised skin models.

Outside of work, Meera enjoys cooking, traveling, and dance performances.

Michelle Otte

Michelle heads the project management team and oversees the R&D program progress. She is a forerunner in building client relations who uses her skills for improvement efforts for testing and workflow efficiency, as well as change management and training processes.

Michelle graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Chemistry. She has over a dozen years of experience in the pharmaceutical/medical device industry managing small to medium scale non-GMP/GMP development projects, pre-formulation/formulation development techniques for various dosage forms and analytical testing.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, volunteering (SPCA) and the lack of snow in Raleigh during the winter months.

Raviteja Meduri

Ravi leads a team of analytical scientists on multiple projects for providing pre-formulation/formulation support with studies including solubility, Drug-Excipient Compatibility, DOE, and prototype stabilities. He is an analytical point of contact for clients and represent the group in client meetings. He is very proficient in the development of stability-indicating HPLC methods, phase-appropriate validations, and method transfers to support topical drug product development. Apart from early R&D, his team occasionally provides support for GLP/GMP manufacturing campaigns with release and stability.

He has a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Campbell University with a focus in Industrial Pharmacy. He was inducted in Rho-Chi Pharmaceutical Honor Society for his academic excellence. With his pharmaceutical background, he takes interest in formulation development as well.

Outside work, Ravi is a foodie, plays ping-pong and an aspiring runner. He loves to travel and learn about different cultures.

Tammy Payne

Tammy leads the Analytical and R&D team and insures that they consistently produce accurate, sound analytical data by inspiring them to execute laboratory analyses precisely and efficiently in accordance with GMP/GLP standards. She comes to Tergus with 12+ years of experience in analytical services and method development/validation in the pharmaceutical contract manufacturing industry providing strong leadership to drive quality results.

Tammy earned a B.S in Chemistry from the University of Houston and began pursuing a fast-growing career in the pharmaceutical industry. Her continuous drive to help others by providing mentorship, fostering academic growth and excellence in the scientific community has made her a tremendous asset.

Bindu Upadhyay

Bindu coordinates and manages the IVPT team and projects including effective and cordial interaction between internal departments and external clients. She is an enthusiastic professional who strategizes, supervises biological and analytical lab work by managing direct reports.

Bindu comes with 15 years of industry experience. Her expertise is in both analytical chemistry and cell/molecular/skin biology which includes HPLC MS/MS, skin penetration, molecular and immunoassays. Bindu has created, developed and implemented robust analytical methods for 40+ parent/metabolite compounds.

She loves traveling has visited almost all continents and enjoys watching any genre of movies especially thrillers with her husband and Disney movies with her young children!

Heather Weisbrot

Heather contributes to the Company’s success by serving as the most senior quality representative at Tergus Pharma for the clients, alliances, and regulatory authorities in conducting the Company business for maintaining efficient regulatory compliance and continuous improvement.

Heather has over 15 years of progressive experience within the pharmaceutical industry as well as accomplished and motivated leader with extensive knowledge of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Heather has often led high-performing, cross-functional teams, and is known for identifying individual strengths and motivating team members to exceed expectations.

Jing Fu

Jing Fu is a pharmaceutical scientist working in the formulation development, with extensive knowledge and technical skills that able to design, conduct and interpret pre-formulation and formulation experiments as well as collaborate with analytical R&D, IVRT, IVPT and manufacture department to facilitate topical product development.

Having a passion for pharmaceutical research development, she completed her doctorate degree in pharmaceutical science from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Apart from focusing on her scientific career, she likes to perform music instrument, ballroom dance, and give back to the community.

Katrina Travis

Katrina Travis leads the Client Service and Strategic Planning functions at Tergus. Her expertise includes quality systems and project management, as well as optimal business, manufacturing and laboratory operations. Katrina contributes materially to the company-wide commitment to quality and customer satisfaction that Tergus is known for.

Katrina graduated from Barton College, with a BS in Chemistry and Math. She brings more than 20 years of experience to Tergus, helping to drive a client oriented and quality culture. Prior experience includes manager to director-level work in quality, project management and laboratory operations for non-regulated to GLP and GMP projects.

She enjoys spending time with family and traveling in her spare time. Katrina also serves on the board of directors for a local non-profit (House of Hope NC) for which she enjoys volunteering.

Mengmeng Niu

Mengmeng Niu works in the IVPT team. As a principal scientist, she has comprehensive knowledge of topical and transdermal formulation in vitro characterization. she has conducted IVPT method development and validation to supported formulation screening and BA/BE study for variety of projects. She is also responsible for analytical method development and validation using chromatographic method including LC-MS, UPLC and HPLC-fluorescence. She contributed to the IVPT data analysis, report and study protocol and SOP draft following FDA regulations and training junior scientists in experimental skills and troubleshooting.

She got her PhD in one of the best university in China in pharmaceutics in 2011 followed by 4 years’ postdoctoral training in novel drug delivery platform design and development before she joined Tergus. In vitro and in vivo therapeutic evaluation including pharmacokinetics is another one of her strength. She has published 21 high-level peer-reviewed scientific papers before joining Tergus, and contributed 2 additional international meeting abstracts presenting Tergus outcomes in IVPT study.

In everyday life, she is an easy-going person and good team player, self-motivated and organized person. Reading and travelling are her hobbies.

Monica Germann

Monica Germann works as the Senior Manager of IVPT. She works towards providing bioanalytical results for client studies. She has a strong LC-MS/MS background, and she has enjoyed working on developing novel methods for her clients.

Monica has been active in the bioanalytical business for the past 15 years, working in all areas from sample management through data reporting. Her experience has ranged from non-regulated to GLP and GMP regulated work, including method development, method validation, and routine sample analysis.

She enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. Trips to the library and travel in the area are her weakness.

Srikanth Manne

Srikanth Manne works as Principal Scientist at Tergus Pharma leading a team with a focus towards development of various Topical dosage forms in branded NCE and complex Topical Generic formulations. He is an expert in materializing the design of experiments, QbD and in the development of the strategies for biowaiver during the development of formulations.

He has over 10 years of experience in formulation and development of 505(b)(2) and complex generics (ANDA), having been associated with Dermatology R&D, Dr. Reddys Laboratories and Martindale Pharma.

Srikanth Manne obtained his Masters in Industrial Pharmaceutics from University of Greenwich and Bachelors in Pharmacy from India.

Theresa Isbell

Theresa is a Scientist III in the Analytical, R&D Department. With over 3 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, she continues to expand her knowledge base in this industry by providing solutions to challenging issues.

Dr. Isbell earned her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Westminster College and her doctoral degree from Wake Forest University. She developed an interest in pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry in which she could use her analytical expertise to help bring new drugs to the market.

In her spare time Theresa enjoys taking her daughter to various museums and love cheering on the Steelers during the Football season.

Vijendra Nalamothu

Dr. Nalamothu is CEO & Co-Founder of Tergus Pharma and has been a leader in topical pharmaceutical development for more than two decades. He holds several patents and his efforts have led to a number of successful commercial products. His passion is to develop products that speak for themselves, leading him to be a co-founder of Tergus, shepherding the company to its industry leading position in the marketplace.

After earning his PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of the Science’s Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, he worked at Sanofi-aventis Worldwide Dermatology (Dermik) as the Head of the Early Compound Assessment and Preclinical Group. He has also served as Global Head of Dermatology R&D at Promius Pharma, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, where he spearheaded the development of specialty branded dermatological products from concept to commercialization.

Dr. Nalamothu’s interests include novel dosage form design and development of topical drug products. His commitment to quality and excellence led him to create the first Quality by Design (QbD) program for topicals, numerous articles and accolades. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences worldwide.