Dr. Dan Hicklin is an accomplished cancer researcher and biopharmaceutical executive with over three decades of oncology drug development experience. Currently, Dr. Hicklin holds a number of executive positions:
- Executive Partner at MPM Capital
- Founder and CEO of Werewolf Therapeutics
- President of Trieza Therapeutics
- Board member of Tizona Therapeutics and Maverick Therapeutics
Prior to his current positions, he founded Potenza Therapeutics (acquired by Astellas Pharma) where he was President and CEO, served as President and CSO of CoStim Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Novartis), and was on the board of directors of Harpoon Therapeutics and the scientific advisory board of Oncorus.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Hicklin held several positions at Merck Research Laboratories (formerly the Schering-Plough Research Institute), including leading their Biologics Strategy for Oncology and the Immuno-Modulation Discovery team. In these roles, he oversaw several oncology discovery and development projects including Merck’s immuno-oncology portfolio and the development of Keytruda® (pembrolizumab).
Before joining Schering-Plough, Dr. Hicklin held several positions of increasing responsibility at ImClone Systems (acquired by Eli Lilly), including Vice President of Experimental Therapeutics. His team at ImClone supported the development and FDA approval of the cancer treatment Erbitux® (cetuximab) and built a diversified portfolio of antibody therapeutics including Cyramza® (ramucirumab), Portrazza® (necitumumab), Lartruvo® (olaratumab), and other agents that were acquired by Eli Lilly.
Dr. Hicklin holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Immunology from New York Medical College where he trained with Dr. Soldano Ferrone, and a B.S. from the University of Iowa.
Dr. Cindy Seidel-Dugan is a proficient drug discovery scientist with broad experience in small and large biotech and major pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Seidel-Dugan was a member of the original team of Potenza Therapeutics, rising from Vice President to Senior Vice President of Research and ultimately CSO prior to the company’s acquisition by Astellas Pharma in 2018. She also contributed in the start-up of Tizona Therapeutics and Trieza Therapeutics.
Previously, Dr. Seidel-Dugan served as Vice President, Biology for CoStim Pharmaceuticals where she built a pipeline of therapeutic antibodies targeting immunologic costimulatory receptors, forming the basis for the company’s acquisition by Novartis in 2014.
Early in her career, Dr. Seidel-Dugan built a strong reputation as a research leader and developer of small- and large-molecule drugs over two decades at Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Exelixis Pharmaceuticals, Schering-Plough Research Institute, and (upon merger) Merck Research Laboratories.
Dr. Seidel-Dugan earned a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary and holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Joan Brugge at the University of Pennsylvania.
David Cordo has had an extensive career in finance within the life sciences industry since 1990. He has held senior management positions at Biogen Idec, during which he was involved in the worldwide commercial launch of Avonex®, the company’s first billion-dollar drug.
Prior to Biogen Idec, Mr. Cordo was Treasurer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals where he led finance teams in the raising of an $800M follow-on equity offering and a $400M convertible debt offering. Since leaving Millennium, Mr. Cordo has been Interim Chief Financial Officer for Epizyme, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, CoStim Pharmaceuticals, Mitobridge, Potenza Therapeutics, Ribon Therapeutics, Semma Therapeutics, and Avila Therapeutics.
He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and earned his M.B.A. from Nichols College and his B.S.B.A. from Stonehill College.
Dr. Reid Leonard brings with him a wide array of experience in company formation, drug discovery, business development, and venture capital, having participated in the start-up of other venture-backed companies: Potenza Therapeutics, Tizona Therapeutics, Trieza Therapeutics, and Twentyeight-Seven, Inc.
Dr. Leonard began his career with Merck & Co., where he spent over 25 years with them. Initially, he carried out discovery research on ion-channel and GPCR targets before moving into business development and licensing. In his later years at Merck, he was instrumental in the formation of the Merck Research Labs Venture Fund. Dr. Leonard retired from Merck as Managing Director of MRL Ventures and Executive Director in Business Development.
Dr. Leonard graduated from Brandeis University with an A.B. in Biology and Psychology, holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Purdue University, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular pharmacology at Caltech with Profs. Henry Lester and Norman Davidson.
Dr. Andres Salmeron is a trained immunologist with expertise in immuno-oncology and inflammation. He has 20 years of experience in small-molecule and biologics drug discovery in both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Most recently, Dr. Salmeron served as Senior Director of Immunology at Potenza Therapeutics until its acquisition by Astellas Pharmaceuticals in 2018. Prior to Potenza, he worked as a scientist/manager at Constellation Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories.
Dr. Salmeron is a graduate of the Universidad Autonoma in Madrid, Spain with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Immunology. He continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London.
Dr. Bill Winston is an expert protein engineer with deep experience in the design, discovery, and preclinical development of therapeutic antibody treatments. Most recently, Dr. Winston served as Senior Director, then Vice President of Antibody Development at Potenza Therapeutics. With Potenza, he led both internal and external efforts to identify and, in partnership with Astellas, manage the contract manufacturing of a portfolio of three monoclonal antibodies that all successfully achieved IND clearances prior to the Company’s acquisition by Astellas Pharmaceuticals in 2018. Before joining Potenza, Dr. Winston was a key discovery scientist at AVEO Oncology.
Dr. Winston is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a B.S. in Biology, and he holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard.
Dr. Philipp Steiner is an experienced pharmacologist who has led small molecule, antibody, and oncolytic virus programs targeting receptor tyrosine kinases and immune-oncology (I/O) checkpoints. Before joining Werewolf, Dr. Steiner served as Sr. Director at Potenza Therapeutics supporting a portfolio of I/O antibody programs from discovery to regulatory filings until its successful acquisition by Astellas Pharma. In parallel, he led immuno-modulatory oncolytic virus efforts at Trieza Therapeutics. Prior to Potenza, Dr. Steiner held managerial positions with increasing responsibilities at CoStim Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune, ImClone and Millennium.
Dr. Steiner graduated from the University of Basel, Switzerland, with a Ph.D in Biochemistry. He obtained additional training as a postdoctoral fellow in human tumor biology from the Whitehead Institute at MIT.
Ms. Anjili Mathur is a certified project manager (CPM) and an experienced cancer research scientist with over 15 years in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry. She has held various roles spanning discovery research, marketing, market access, portfolio strategy and project management. Most recently, Ms. Mathur led AstraZeneca’s U.S. Oncology Precision Medicine marketing efforts supporting the launch of IMFINZI®. Prior to AstraZeneca, Ms. Mathur worked at Merck Research Laboratories where she oversaw strategic portfolio operations for oncology discovery programs and at Curis as a research scientist. She completed her graduate work at Upstate Medical University in Pharmacology and her undergraduate work in Biology at McMaster University in Canada.
Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Atkins is an internationally recognized leader in translational and clinical research for more than 30 years, working in melanoma, kidney cancer, and cancer immunotherapy. He began his career at Tufts Medical Center before moving to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he was appointed Professor at Harvard Medical School. There, he served as leader of the Biologic Therapy and Cutaneous Oncology Programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Co-PI of the Harvard Skin Cancer SPORE, leader of the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center Kidney Cancer Program, and Director of the Kidney Cancer SPORE.
In 2012, Dr. Atkins was named the Deputy Director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and William M. Scholl Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Oncology. His research interests include immunotherapy, anti-angiogenic therapy, molecularly targeted therapy, and predictive biomarker development most notably in melanoma and kidney cancer. He leads the Lombardi Immunotherapy Initiative and co-leads the Melanoma Disease Group within the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute. He has published more than 450 original research and review articles, as well as three books, and has lectured extensively on these topics.
He is past president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and past member of the NCI Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and the ASCO Nominating Committee. Dr. Atkins is Chair of the Medical Advisory Panel for the Melanoma Research Alliance, and co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee and Board member for the Melanoma Research Foundation.
Charles S. Craik is a Professor at UCSF in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and co-director of the Experimental Therapeutics program in the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also the founder and co-director of the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Graduate Program. His research interests focus on defining the roles and the mechanisms of enzymes and other challenging proteins in complex biological processes and on developing technologies to facilitate these studies. Current research in the Craik lab is on the chemical biology of post translational modifying enzymes, receptors and membrane transporters. A particular emphasis of his work is on identifying the roles and regulating the activity of proteases and degradative enzyme complexes associated with infectious diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. He is also developing novel methods to biophysically characterize challenging proteins as well as their complexes. These studies coupled with his global substrate profiling, antibody engineering and noninvasive imaging efforts are providing a better understanding of both the chemical make-up and the biological importance of these critical proteins to aid in the rapid detection, monitoring and control of disease. Craik a founder of Catalyst Biosciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the 2016 awardee of the Emil Kaiser Award by the Protein Society.
Dr. Charles Drake is Director of Genitourinary Oncology, Co-Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program, and Associate Director for Clinical Research at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Drake’s areas of expertise include immunotherapy and the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the prostate, kidney, bladder, and testes. His work focuses on using the power of the immune system to fight advanced-stage cancers. He is known for rapidly incorporating discoveries made in the research lab into innovative clinical trials, including anti-tumor vaccines. His most recent work has focused on the body’s immunological response to radiation therapy and how immunotherapy and radiation therapy can be used in concert to treat cancer.
Dr. Dario A. Vignali is the Frank Dixon Chair in Cancer Immunology, Vice Chair and Professor of Immunology in the Immunology Department, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is also Leader of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program and co-Director of the Tumor Microenvironment Center in the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. His research focuses on molecular and cellular aspects of negative regulatory immune mechanisms including regulatory T cells, inhibitory receptors, and inhibitory cytokines. His lab was instrumental in uncovering the role of Lag3 in mouse models of cancer, tolerance, autoimmunity and immune regulation.
Dr. Vignali’s lab discovered the inhibitory cytokine IL35 and the Nrp1:Sema4a axis, which are key regulators of intratumoral Treg stability and function. His current research also uses extensive use of transcriptional analysis, especially using single cell RNAseq. The majority of his work focuses on analysis of these pathways in murine models of cancer and numerous human tumors.
Dario also studies regulatory mechanisms in autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes. He has published more than 170 papers with over 33 as senior or co-author in high impact journals, including Nature, Cell, Science, Nature Immunology, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Methods, Immunity, Science Immunology and EMBO.
Dr. K. Dane Wittrup is the C.P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering at MIT. Dr. Wittrup was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012, elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011, and serves as a fellow of the American Institute of Biomedical Engineers. He is also co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chairman at Adimab.
Previously, Dr. Wittrup served as an Associate Director of MIT’s Koch Institute until 2017 and as the J. W. Westwater Professor of Chemical Engineering, Biophysics, and Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to that, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate in Amgen’s Yeast Molecular Biology Group. He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Board of Directors
Mr. Sakae Asanuma established Taiho Ventures as the founding President in 2016. Prior to this position, he was President and CEO at Astellas Venture Management and U.S. Head of Astellas Innovation Management from 2011–2015. Before joining Astellas, he worked for Yasuda Enterprise, a Japan/US-based VC firm from 2000–2011. He has invested in more than 50 biotech companies since 2000 and half of them achieved IPOs or M&As. During his tenure at Taiho and Astellas, Mr. Asanuma closed dozens of research collaborations with academia and biotech ventures, including several build-to-buy or spin-out deals.
Dr. Luke Evnin is Managing Director of MPM, which he co-founded in 1997 with Ansbert Gadicke, M.D. Together, they opened the San Francisco office in 1999. Dr. Evnin’s passion for discovering and advancing groundbreaking drug discovery companies inspires his work and is the driving force behind building companies. The companies that Dr. Evnin has built up include: BioMarin Pharmaceutical, CoStim Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Novartis), Epizyme, Idenix Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Merck), Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Pharmasset (acquired by Gilead), Potenza Therapeutics (acquired by Astellas Pharma) and Radius Health. Today, MPM believes that these companies are among the biggest successes in biotech history—companies that ultimately resulted in helping thousands of patients live longer and with vastly improved lives.
Dr. Evnin was the lead investor and has served on the boards of several of MPM’s most successful investments including CoStim, Idun Pharmaceuticals, and Pacira. He has co-founded five MPM portfolio companies: Amphivena Therapeutics, Blade Therapeutics, Harpoon Therapeutics, Maverick Therapeutics, and most currently, Werewolf Therapeutics. He’s had a role as inventor at several of these companies as well as MPM portfolio company Oncorus where he also serves on the Board of Directors.
Dr. Evnin, along with Dr. Gadicke were recipients of the 2017 Global Oncology Visionary Award—in recognition of MPM’s novel work to finance and build companies which may have a significant impact on cancer care and cures globally. Dr. Evnin is also devoted to working with the Scleroderma Research Foundation, serving as its Chairman since 2002. He devotes time to the External Advisory Board at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Quantitative Genomics External Advisory Board at Princeton and at QB3 at the University of California, San Francisco.
Prior to co-founding MPM, he honed his skills as a venture capitalist at Accel Partners where he focused on emerging healthcare companies. Dr. Evnin advanced his technical training and launched his interest in curing disease in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco where he received his Ph.D. His passion for drug discovery began at Princeton University where he received his A.B. in Molecular Biology.
Dr. Alon Lazarus is a Biotech Investment Manager for Arkin Holdings’ Pharma Division. He is a member of the Board of several of its pharmaceutical companies, including Keros Therapeutics, Lutris Pharma, Redpin Therapeutics, and Explore Bio.
Prior to joining Arkin, Dr. Lazarus worked for the Healthcare Business Development Department of Yissum—the Research & Development arm of the Hebrew University and as an analyst for the University’s Integra Holdings. Alon earned both a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and an MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.
Dr. Briggs W. Morrison is the CEO and a Board Director of Syndax Pharmaceuticals, and Executive Partner at MPM Capital. He serves on the boards of several MPM portfolio companies and is an investment committee member of MPM’s impact collaboration with global financial services firm UBS, that is a public/private crossover vehicle managed by MPM.
Prior to joining Syndax and MPM, Briggs served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President for Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca. His career also includes distinguished roles at Pfizer and Merck. As Head of Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca, he oversaw all clinical development functions and late-stage clinical development projects. As Head of Clinical Development at Pfizer, he oversaw Phase 1-3 development and operations for all therapeutic areas before being appointed the Head of Development, Medical Affairs, Safety and Regulatory Affairs for all Pfizer human health businesses. Briggs has overseen the development of numerous biopharmaceutical products in multiple therapeutic areas. He was also the former Chairman of Transcelerate BioPharma, an industry-funded company charged with improving aspects of clinical trials.
Briggs earned his M.D. from the University of Connecticut and completed his training in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He also completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and additional post-doctoral work at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He received his B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University.
Dr. Christoph Westphal is co-founder and General Partner of Longwood Fund and has spent 20 years as a life sciences CEO, entrepreneur, and investor. Dr. Westphal has been the co-founder, CEO, and lead investor of six biotechnology companies that have completed initial public offerings and created sustained market value of over $16 billion and have developed and received FDA approval for important drugs.
Dr. Westphal has been the co-founder, CEO, and lead investor of six biotechnology companies that have completed initial public offerings including Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: MNTA), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALNY), Acceleron Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLRN), Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRT, acquired by GSK in 2008), and Verastem (NASDAQ: VSTM). Dr. Westphal is also co-founder of Longwood portfolio companies Alnara Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Eli Lilly), Axial Biotherapeutics, Immunitas Therapeutics, Pyxis Oncology and TScan Therapeutics; and co-founded Concert Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CNCE).
Dr. Westphal is also co-founder of Longwood portfolio companies Alnara Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Eli Lilly) and Axial Biotherapeutics; and co-founded Concert Pharmaceuticals. Companies founded by Dr. Westphal have created over 2,000 jobs in the Boston area and have developed and received FDA approval for important drugs, including the first RNAi therapy for currently incurable cancers; the largest-selling heparin in the United States; a therapy for MS; and several experimental medicines for disease states including cystic fibrosis (phase 3), anemia (positive phase 3), serious inflammatory disorders (phase 2), and serious neurological illnesses such as ALS and MS (positive phase 2).
He has served or currently serves as a member or director of the Boston Commercial Club, the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Emerging Companies Section Governing Board, the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School, and the Board of Trustees of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and is in the ownership group of the Boston Celtics. Dr. Westphal has been the lead or senior author on several patent applications and scientific papers in journals such as Cell, Nature, and Nature Genetics. He has been featured on 60 Minutes with Morley Safer, CNN’s Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an ABC News Special hosted by Barbara Walters, and as the subject of cover articles featured in Fortune, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Westphal earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University. He graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University.