About Us

Rick Carliss, Ph.D., Founder, President, Chief Scientific Officer

Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Physiology, Northwestern University
M.S. in Psychobiology, University of Miami
B.A. in Psychology, University of New Mexico


Dr. Carliss founded Chorda Pharma out of his long interest in medications to manage chronic pain. Dr. Carliss has a 30-year history in the pharmaceutical industry as a Chief Scientific Officer, Team Leader, Pharmaceutical Consultant, and Director of Toxicology and Pharmacology.  He was a Principal Scientist in drug discovery for Schering-Plough and then Endo Pharmaceuticals, for which he was co-inventor on several patents. He was also a Team leader to investigate new chemical entities, and headed the pre-clinical launch team for Opana®, a novel opioid medication. He joined an early-stage pharmaceutical company, Trinity Laboratories, to supervise the manufacture and launch of Paloxin®. Dr. Carliss has a long list of peer-reviewed publications and patent awards.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Genetics and Pharmacology in the Department of Biology at Radford University Carilion.

Victor Iannello, Sc.D., Chief Executive Officer, Chairman

Sc.D. in Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
S.M. in Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
S.B. in Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dr. Iannello has spent his career developing and commercializing new technologies, and is an inventor on 13 US patents. He founded Radiant Physics Inc., which develops and commercializes advanced products related to health care and industrial technology. Prior to Radiant Physics, Dr. Iannello was Founder and CEO of Synchrony Inc., which developed magnetic bearings and instrumentation systems for high speed turbomachinery. Synchrony was sold to Dresser-Rand for $55 million.

Dr. Iannello has held Board positions with Carilion Clinic for 15 years, including Chairman of the Board of Directors of Carilion Medical Center, member of the Board of Directors of Carilion Clinic, and member of the Quality Subcommittee. He is active in the regional innovation ecosystem, having served as the Co-Chairman for the Valleys Innovation Council and Director for GO Virginia local council. He’s also served as the Chairman of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Business Council and three times as President of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. Dr. Iannello has also invested in early-stage companies through his angel network, Radiant Ventures.

Other Members of the Board of Directors

G. Robert Vaughan, Senior Vice President, Finance, Carilion Clinic

M.B.A. in Finance, Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech
B.S. in Finance, Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech

Troy Keyser, Director of Innovation, Carilion Clinic

M.A. in Health Communication, Emerson College/Tufts University School of Medicine
B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy, Drew University