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Executive Leadership

Zhiyong Yang PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Fzata, Inc. Dr. Yang received her PhD degree from U. of Arizona and received postdoc training at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Yang is an expert on characterizing therapeutic antibodies against CDI with 10 peer-reviewed papers on C. diff. subject matter. Dr. Yang is one of the inventors on the Fzata patent applications. Prior to Fzata, Dr. Yang worked in industry for six years on various preclinical and clinical stage drugs. Under Dr. Yang's leadership , Fzata won “2017 Maryland Incubator Company of the Year, Best Life Sciences Company”, and NOVA’s 2022 Mid-Atlantic Innovation winner for biotechnology. Dr. Yang was awarded the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) Bridging the Gap Achievement Award 2022

for exceptional majority, minority and women-owned businesses and executives.

Dr. Yang’s leadership has achieved NIH non-dilutive funding totaling of over $17M for Fzata. 

Zhiyong Yang Head shot photo

Hanping Feng PhD, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer of Fzata. Dr. Feng received his PhD degree from U. of Arizona and received postdoc training at Harvard Medical School and is a full Professor and Vice Chair of Department of Microbial Pathogenesis at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Dr. Feng is an internationally renowned expert in C. difficile host immune response and pathogenesis and is the leading inventor on key technology patents covering full-length active recombinant C. difficile TcdA and TcdB, antibodies against C. difficile toxins as well as all associated BioPYM technologies. He has established several CDI animal models, and generated a novel chimeric toxin vaccine and multi-specific antitoxin antibodies.
Dr. Feng’s lab has been funded by NIH as well as leading pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer and Merck.

Hanping Feng Head Shot Photo

Elizabeth Smith PhD, MBA, Chief Business Officer at Fzata. Dr. Smith received her PhD and MBA from the University of Chicago. She has over 20 years’ experience in biotechnology corporate business development and is fully committed to making molecular biology based therapeutics accessible to all patients.  Dr. Smith is thrilled to have recently joined Fzata full time after having consulted for the Company for several years through SoMax. As Owner of SoMax Consulting, Dr. Smith worked with over 50 biotech pre-revenue CEOs in areas such as commercialization strategy, licensing & partnerships, and patent strategy.  She assisted in raising over $15M in non-dilutive funding for her clients. She worked for 5 years as Associate Director, Technology Search and Development at Celsion Corp. There she led the ThermoDox®+ MRgHIFU non-clinical program for metastatic bone pain palliation in partnership with Philips Healthcare. This was the first ever non-approved Drug-Device combination to receive phase II IND clearance from the FDA.  Before Celsion, she worked for 5 years in the University of Chicago technology transfer office where she managed out-licensing and start-ups efforts for over 30 patent portfolios from The Division of Biological Sciences.

Elizabeth Smith Head Shot Photo


Clinical and Scientific Advisors

Dr. Ciaran Kelly, Professor at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Herrman L. Blumgart Internal Medicine Firm, Director of the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Kelly earned his MD degree from Trinity College in Dublin and is the author of more than 150 clinical and basic research book chapters, invited reviews, and peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Kelly is a world-renowned expert in C. diff. basic and clinical research, and has led several clinical trials, including the trials of Merck’s antibody for CDI and a recently completed clinical trial studying the effects of S. boulardii on gut microbiota. 

Dr. Adam Cheifetz, Director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is Director of the Harvard Medical School Gastroenterology Clerkship Elective and Assistant Director of the Advanced Fellowship in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr Cheifetz specializes in the treatment of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases. 


Dr. Rakesh Dixit, the CEO and President of Bionavigen, a company dedicated to developing, consulting and advising the development of highly innovative biotherapeutics. Dr. Dixit has more than 30 years of R&D biopharmaceutical experience with Merck, Johnson and Johnson, and AstraZeneca. He not only was a key player in the development of MEDI3902, a bivalent, bi-specific human immunoglobulin G1κ monoclonal antibody for the prevention of nosocomial P. aeruginosa pneumonia, but also has been a Global Vice President, R&D with AstraZeneca-Medimmune for 13 years.  


Business Advisors

Billy Zhao, Co-founder & Operational & Financial Consultant of Fzata. As a successful entrepreneur in China, Mr. Zhao launched Triowin Automation Machinery Co. Ltd in 1999 which IPO’ed in 2014. He launched Shanghai SZX Home Food in 2014. Mr. Zhao brings 20 years of broad experience in business and management as well as his talent in market development & risk control to Fzata.


Gianna Arnold, Equity partner and vice chair of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, and CEO of NuMoon Technologies, LLC. Gianna is the host of Emerging Company Round Tables which has nurtured numerous Maryland Startups, including FZata, Inc. Mrs. Arnold was named “TRAILBLAZER” by Women in BIO in 2014 and one of Maryland’s top 100 women in 2016. With her unique experience as a lawyer, scientist, entrepreneur and as a corporate executive, she gives priceless advice, helping to enhance company value and strategic alliances.

Board of Directors

Dr. Zhiyong Yang, Fzata Founder and CEO

Dr. Hanping Feng, Fzata Founder and CSO

Mr. Jibin "Billy" Zhao

Dr. Haipeng Cheng, Senior Investment Director at Sangel  

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