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Steve Arkinstall

President and Chief Executive Officer

Steve has more than 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical drug discovery research across a range of disease areas and technology platforms.

Previously, he worked at the prestigious Glaxo Institute for Molecular Biology in Geneva, Switzerland, where he studied novel disease mechanisms in several therapeutic indications including cancer and inflammatory diseases. Steve went on to serve as the President of the Serono Research Institute in Boston with a focus on oncology drug discovery delivering a number of molecules for clinical development. After Serono was acquired by Merck KGaA, Steve took on several leadership roles including antibody discovery and protein engineering. Most recently, Steve served as the Chief Scientific Officer at Kymab, a British biotechnology company built on a proprietary mouse antibody platform and focused on oncology and inflammatory diseases. Now, as the CEO of Elstar, and as a cancer survivor himself, Steve’s passion is to build a portfolio of multi-functional immunotherapeutic drugs to treat patients suffering from life-threatening cancers and serious inflammatory diseases unaddressed by existing treatments.

Steve earned his D.Phil. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Oxford, UK.

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Andreas Loew

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Andreas founded Elstar Therapeutics after an outstanding career of scientific discovery and drug development leadership. For over 14 years, Andreas served in positions of increasing responsibility at Abbott Bioresearch Center (ABC) and at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR). As the executive director of NIBR Biologics, New Technologies, he managed a global research laboratory focused on the design, selection, and validation of protein therapeutics. Among his many contributions, he implemented a discovery platform for chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) for cancer immunotherapy, designed multi-functional therapeutic proteins and antibodies, and directed R&D efforts for nanoparticle delivery of mRNA. In recognition of his scientific achievements he received the Novartis VIVA (Vision, Innovation, Value, Achievement) award as one of the company’s leading scientists in 2014.

He is named as an inventor on more than 180 patents in fields that include engineered CAR-T cells, bispecific antibodies, therapeutic proteins, non-antibody protein scaffolds, yeast display, RNA guided gene editing technologies, and small molecule kinase inhibitors.

Andreas earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and has held research positions at the University of Texas, University of Illinois, and Birkbeck College, London.

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John Herrmann

Chief Strategy Officer and EVP, Oncology

John is a portfolio strategist who brings deep experience in drug discovery and oncology industry performance strategies to Elstar. Prior to joining Elstar, John served as SVP of Oncology at Catenion GmbH where he advised R&D leadership at leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies throughout Europe and the U.S. In this role, John guided clients to build more differentiated and effective R&D portfolio strategies by drawing on a deep understanding of industry trends, situational adaptive strategies, as well as analysis of risks and gaps of product portfolios and resource utilization.

For five years prior, John served as the CSO of oncology external innovation at Eli Lilly & Co. Earlier in his career, he served as the Executive Director of Oncology Search & Evaluation at Serono, subsequently acquired by Merck KGaA. While at Lilly, John led sourcing and due diligence of external innovations that resulted in discovery partnerships and/or investments in leading immuno-oncology platforms including ImmunoCore, Zymeworks, BioNTech, Surface Oncology, and others. John also held executive and senior therapeutic discovery positions at Ceptyr Inc. and CuraGen Corp, where he built discovery teams and platforms from the ground up and advanced several discovery programs into clinical stage evaluation.

John earned his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he also did his postdoctoral training and joined the faculty.

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Peter Williams

Chief Business Officer

Peter has over twenty years of experience in business development, deal negotiation, technology in- and out-licensing and relationship management in the biotechnology sector.  He has considerable expertise in technology and product partnering, particularly in oncology and previously served as Senior Director, Business Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Senior Director, Business Development at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and, most recently, as Vice President of Business Development at ImmunogGen, Inc.

Peter earned his MSc in Management at Imperial College, University of London and BSc in Biology at the University of Sussex.

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Rajeev Chillakuru

Senior Vice President, Nonclinical Development

Rajeev is a senior biopharmaceutical executive with twenty-five years of biopharmaceutical industry experience in biologics product development, manufacturing and commercialization.

Most recently, Rajeev served as the VP of CMC at Boston Pharmaceuticals and prior to that, held leadership positions at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Momenta Pharmaceuticals where he established significant expertise in developing and manufacturing complex biologic drugs. Previously, Rajeev led the biomanufacturing group at Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. where he was responsible for the successful FDA approval and licensure of Hylenex®.

Rajeev completed his graduate studies in Chemical Engineering at the University at Buffalo, New York and went on to the International Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Tropical Diseases at the University of California, Davis for his postdoctoral fellowship.

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Seng-Lai (Thomas) Tan

Vice President, Immunology

Thomas has over 18 years of drug discovery and development experience in both small and large molecule therapeutic modalities, including multi-specific antibodies and stapled peptides. Prior to joining Elstar Therapeutics, Thomas has led cross-functional and global project teams and external alliances spanning different therapeutic areas including oncology, autoimmunity, and infectious diseases at Eli Lilly and Company, Amgen, Roche, and Merck Serono. More recently, he was a Senior Director of Immunology at FORMA Therapeutics, where he built discovery teams and platforms from the ground up and helped progress several discovery programs to lead and development candidate stage.

Thomas received his Ph.D.  in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, where he also did his postdoctoral training. He has over 60 publications and book editorials and has held adjunct faculty position at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

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Brian Vash

Director, Technology Development

Brian is an experienced leader and innovator with more than 20 years designing and producing novel proteins based on a deep understanding of structural biology.  He brings deep expertise in the design and production of diverse and difficult proteins, having contributed previously to the development of small molecule and biological therapeutics programs. He has produced proteins in numerous systems including mammalian cells, yeast cells, insect cells, and soluble, periplasmic, secreted and refolded expression in E. coli.

Brian has been involved in structural biology and biologics in the pharmaceutical industry for over 15 years while working at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Bioresearch Center (ABC), and at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) where he led a team of scientists developing bispecific antibodies, novel scaffolds, and peptides. He is  a co-inventor of more than on 15 patents spanning the fields of engineered CAR-T cells, bispecific antibodies, therapeutic proteins, and non-antibody protein scaffolds.

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Sangeetha Palakurthi

Director, In Vivo Pharmacology

Sangeetha joined Elstar Therapeutics with extensive oncology drug discovery and preclinical development experience within both pharmaceutical and academic settings. Most recently, she served as the head of the Cancer Biology and Pharmacology team at the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science at the  Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her responsibilities there included design and execution of a portfolio of industry and academic investigator sponsored translational pharmacology projects of targeted agents and immunotherapies to enable better clinical trial design decisions. Prior to that, Sangeetha led and supported oncology drug discovery programs from target identification to candidate drug nomination at AstraZeneca. Her research included design of strategies and execution of rationale-driven “proof of concept” studies to guide translation of right drugs to the right patients.

Sangeetha received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Osmania University in India and worked as a Scientist at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories prior to her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

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Patricia Deware

Vice President, Finance

Patricia has over 25 years of accounting and finance leadership experience in companies ranging in size from early stage, venture-backed to Fortune 500 companies. She has had roles in financial management and analysis, public accounting, and strategic financial consulting across multiple industries including consumer products, financial services, and life sciences. Prior to joining Elstar, Pat was the Chief Financial Officer at Selventa, an early-stage analytics and molecular diagnostics company, where she oversaw finance and operations and provided guidance on financial planning, cash flow management, and capital structure and financings. Previously, she provided financial leadership to other biotech and medical device companies including Syntimmune, Codiak Biosciences, and Diagnostic Vision Corporation. Pat has also held senior management roles at Fidelity Investments and Avery Dennison.

Pat holds a Masters of Business Administration from Babson College, a Masters in Taxation from Bentley University, and a B.S. in Accounting from Stonehill College.