Leadership

We have assembled an experienced and well-respected team of drug hunters, translational researchers and entrepreneurs drawn from many of the largest innovators in biotechnology, supported by top-tier investors and partners, as well as world-class advisors who all share a singular goal: to develop novel, patient-directed therapeutics for patients battling cancer.

Leadership

We have assembled an experienced and well-respected team who share a singular goal: to develop novel, patient-directed therapeutics for patients battling cancer.

Ron Renaud

Chairman

Ron Renaud has served as Chairman of Ikena’s board of directors since March 2018. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Translate Bio, serving in that role since 2014. Formerly, Ron was at Idenix Pharmaceuticals (2007-2014), where he served as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Business Officer and finally, President and Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, Idenix refocused its drug-discovery and development efforts and streamlined operations to better enable cross-functional collaboration and employee engagement, which culminated in its acquisition by Merck for $3.85 billion in August 2014. Prior to joining Idenix, Ron served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals. Before joining Keryx, Ron was a biotechnology equity research analyst at J.P. Morgan, Schwab Soundview and Bear Stearns. He also spent more than five years at Amgen, where he held positions in clinical research, investor relations and finance. Ron holds a B.A. from St. Anselm College and an M.B.A. from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. In addition to serving on the Ikena board of directors, Ron is a board member of Chimerix and Axial Biotherapeutics. Ron also serves on the Board of Overseers at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and the Board of Trustees at Saint Anselm College.

David Bonita, M.D.

Director

David Bonita is currently a Private Equity Partner at OrbiMed Advisors. David has served on the board of directors of Tricida, since January 2014. Dr. Bonita also previously served on the boards of directors of Ambit Biosciences, Clementia Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Ipsen), Loxo Oncology (acquired by Eli Lilly), Si-Bone, and ViewRay. Dr. Bonita currently serves, and has previously served, on the boards of directors of numerous private companies.Prior to joining OrbiMed in 2004, Dr. Bonita worked as a corporate finance analyst in the healthcare investment banking groups of Morgan Stanley and UBS. He has published several scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals based on signal transduction research performed at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bonita received his A.B. degree magna cum laude in Biological Sciences from Harvard University and his joint M.D./M.B.A. from Columbia University where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society.

Iain D. Dukes, D.Phil.

Director

Iain D. Dukes is a Venture Partner with OrbiMed Advisors. He also serves as Chairman of Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASQ: IOVA) and is CEO of Viriom Inc. and Theseus Pharmaceuticals. In addition, Iain is a co-founder and President of Kartos Therapeutics and serves on the Boards of ReViral Limited, NeRRe Therapeutics, KaNDy Therapeutics (where he was formerly Chairman) and ENYO Pharma. Most recently Iain was a Senior Vice President, Business Development & Licensing at Merck & Co. where he oversaw all licensing and M&A deals for Merck Research Laboratories. Iain has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical research, drug discovery, scientific and technology licensing, start-up company leadership, as well as consulting for numerous biotech and venture capital organizations. Before joining Merck, Iain served as vice president of External Research and Development at Amgen. He has also held positions as President and Chief Executive Officer of Essentialis Therapeutics and as Vice President, Scientific and Technology Licensing at GlaxoSmithKline. Iain received his D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford where he also received a B.A. in Jurisprudence.

Jean-François Formela, M.D.

Director

Jean-François Formela is a partner at Atlas Venture who focuses on new advances in biology and drug discovery technologies as well as novel therapeutics. He is chairman of IFM and Triplet Therapeutics and serves on the boards of Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NTLA), F-star, Korro Bio, Spero Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SPRO), and Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO) which he co-founded. Jean-François has been involved in the formation of companies such as Adnexus (acquired by BMS), Arteaus Therapeutics (acquired by Eli Lilly), deCODE (NASDAQ: DCGN), Exelixis (NASDAQ: EXEL), MorphoSys (Xetra: MOR.DE), and NxStage (NASDAQ: NXTM, acquired by Fresenius Medical). He was also an investor in CoStim Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Novartis).Jean-François joined Atlas Venture in 1993 to build the U.S. life sciences franchise. Prior to joining Atlas, Jean-François worked at Schering-Plough, where he directed U.S. Phase 4 studies in all therapeutic areas. Prior to that, he was responsible for the marketing of Intron A, Schering-Plough’s alpha-interferon therapy. Jean-François began his career as a medical doctor and practiced emergency medicine at Necker University Hospital in Paris. Jean-François is a member of the Massachusetts General Hospital Research Advisory Council and a former trustee of the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. He received his M.D. from Paris University School of Medicine, and his M.B.A. from Columbia University.

George Georgiou, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Director

George Georgiou is a Professor and the Laura Jennings Turner Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.S. from the University of Manchester, U.K. and Ph.D. from Cornell. His research is focused on the discovery and preclinical development of enzyme and antibody therapeutics and the molecular level understanding of the serological antibody repertoire in human health and disease. George was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (2005), National Academy of Medicine (2011) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016). He is also a Fellow of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineers (AIMBE), the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the author of >260 research publications and co-inventor of >120 issued or pending US patents, more than 65% of which (comprising 24 distinct technology suites) have been licensed to 27 pharma & biotech companies. He founded GGMJD in 1999 (acquired by Maxygen in 2000), Aeglea Biotherapeutics in 2013 and Ikena Oncology (formerly Kyn Therapeutics Inc.). He has been named as one the top “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and in 2013 George was selected as one of the top 20 Translational Researchers by Nature Biotechnology.

Mark Manfredi, Ph.D.

President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Mark Manfredi is a founding member of Ikena Oncology and has two decades of experience in cancer drug discovery and translational research. He previously served as Chief Scientific Officer of Raze Therapeutics, and prior to that served as Vice President of Oncology at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where he was a member of the senior R&D management team responsible for global oncology R&D strategy. During his time at Takeda, the Oncology organization advanced eight novel mechanisms into the clinic, including ixazomib, which was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Mark is currently an advisor at Atlas Venture. He earned his B.S. from the University of Rhode Island and his Ph.D. in Biology from Boston College.

Atsushi Nagahisa, Ph.D.

Director

Atsushi Nagahisa, Ph.D., is a Co-Founder and Partner of AskAt Inc. and President of DNA Partners LLC, a strategic consulting and investment advisory firm. Prior to forming DNA Partners, he served on the Board of Directors of RaQualia Pharma Inc., and as President and Chief Executive Officer from its inception in 2008 through August 2012. Dr. Nagahisa has over 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development, notably as Vice President of Pfizer Global Research and Development (PGRD) and a member of PGRD’s Senior Leadership Team for eight years. He has led discovery and exploratory development of more than 40 compounds in inflammation, pain, asthma and GI diseases. Dr. Nagahisa was selected as one of 30 global executives who have made a significant difference over the past 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry in the October 2011 issue of Pharmaceutical Executive magazine. He is a member of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), and served as a Director (Kanji) from 2008 to 2013. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Reed College.

George Georgiou, Ph.D.

Co-Founder

George Georgiou is a Professor and the Laura Jennings Turner Chair in Engineering, University of Texas at Austin. He received his B.S. from the University of Manchester, U.K. and Ph.D. from Cornell. His research is focused on the discovery and preclinical development of enzyme and antibody therapeutics and the molecular level understanding of the serological antibody repertoire in human health and disease. George was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (2005), National Academy of Medicine (2011) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016). He is also a Fellow of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineers (AIMBE), the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the author of >260 research publications and co-inventor of >120 issued or pending US patents, more than 65% of which (comprising 24 distinct technology suites) have been licensed to 27 pharma & biotech companies. He founded GGMJD in 1999 (acquired by Maxygen in 2000), Aeglea Biotherapeutics in 2013 and Ikena Oncology (formerly Kyn Therapeutics Inc.). He has been named as one the top “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and in 2013 George was selected as one of the top 20 Translational Researchers by Nature Biotechnology.

Pawel Kalinski, M.D., Ph.D.

Pawel Kalinski, M.D., Ph.D., is the Vice-Chair for Translational Research in the Department of Medicine, Director of Cancer Vaccine and Dendritic Cell Therapies in the Center for Immunotherapy, and a Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. He obtained his M.D. in 1990 from the Medical University of Warsaw, Poland, and Ph.D. (Immunology) in 1989 from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The research of Dr. Kalinski addresses: 1) Immunobiology of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2); 2) Counteracting PGE2-dependent suppressive phenomena in tumor microenvironments (TME) to enhance the effectiveness of checkpoint blockade and other forms of immune therapy; 3) Modulation of chemokine production in TME to enhance tumor infiltration with immune effector cells and reduce accumulation of suppressive cells in tumor tissues; 4) Development of cellular therapeutics against cancer (DC vaccines and DC-sensitized T cells; 5) Modulating the immune system to enhance antitumor effectiveness of chemo- and radiotherapy. Prior to joining Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Kalinski was a professor of Surgery, Immunology and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Director of the Immunotransplantation Center of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (2000-2017). Previous work of Dr. Kalinski resulted in the development and implementation of multiple clinical trials in the area of immunotherapy of melanoma, mesothelioma, brain, colon, prostate and ovarian cancers, at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Andrew Mellor, Ph.D.

Andrew Mellor has been the Professor of Translational Immunology at Newcastle University since 2015. His current research focus is on evaluating how nucleic acid sensing pathways regulate autoimmunity and promote tumor growth, and developing novel immunotherapies to treat chronic diseases based on this work. His major goals are to manipulate IDO and elucidate how IDO enhances pain, a common co-morbidity associated with many chronic clinical conditions. Andrew earned his Ph.D. in the field of protein biosynthesis from Kings College, London while working on DNA tumor viruses at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (1973-1976). He conducted his postdoctoral training with Richard Flavell (1979-1984) at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR, London) and Biogen Inc. (Boston) and he headed a research laboratory at NIMR from 1984-1995. From 1995-2015, he was Professor of Medicine and held the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar chair in Molecular Immunogenetics at Augusta University (formerly, the Medical College of Georgia). In 1998, his group established a new paradigm in identifying tryptophan catabolism by cells expressing IDO as a critical metabolic process regulating T cell immunity. His laboratory has worked on IDO ever since.

George C. Prendergast, Ph.D.

George C. Prendergast has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) at Main Line Health, Inc. since December 2004. Since 2010, George has also served as Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Research, the field’s most highly cited journal. His textbook, Cancer Immunology: Immune Suppression and Tumor Growth, now in its second edition, captures the exploding knowledge in shaping immunity and restoring natural defenses against cancer. George serves as a Scientific Advisor for NewLink Genetics Corporation. George is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with an M.B.A. in Biochemistry. He received his M.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. In 1989, he obtained advanced training as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at NYU Medical Center, after which he joined the Department of Cancer Research at Merck Research Laboratories. In 1993, George was appointed Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor at The Wistar Institute, where he was designated a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Later he became Senior Director of the Cancer Research Group at The DuPont Pharmaceutical Company. In 2002, he moved his research efforts at Wistar and DuPont to the LIMR, where he was appointed as a Professor on the faculty and assumed his present leadership role at the Institute in 2004.

Fran Quintana, Ph.D.

Francisco J. Quintana, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Center for Neurologic Diseases, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. A graduate of the University of Buenos Aires (1999, Argentina), Francisco obtained his PhD in immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science (2004, Israel). He received postdoctoral training at the Weizmann Institute of Science and at Harvard Medical School. In 2009, Dr. Quintana joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Quintana’s research investigates signaling pathways that control the immune response and neurodegeneration, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers for multiple sclerosis and other immune-mediated disorders. Dr. Quintana has published over 160 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. Dr. Quintana is the recipient of the Lady Anne Chain Prize for Academic Excellence and Scientific Achievements, the Junior Investigator Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Pathway to Independence Award of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Award for Outstanding Research Achievement form Nature Biotechnology, the Tecan Award for Innovation, the Harry Weaver Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Mentor Award from Harvard Medical School and the Milestones in Multiple Sclerosis Research Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mark Manfredi, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mark Manfredi is a founding member of Ikena Oncology and has two decades of experience in cancer drug discovery and translational research. He previously served as Chief Scientific Officer of Raze Therapeutics, and prior to that served as Vice President of Oncology at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where he was a member of the senior R&D management team responsible for global oncology R&D strategy. During his time at Takeda, the Oncology organization advanced eight novel mechanisms into the clinic, including ixazomib, which was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Mark is currently an advisor at Atlas Venture. He earned his B.S. from the University of Rhode Island and his Ph.D. in Biology from Boston College.

Douglas R. Carlson

Chief Financial Officer

Doug Carlson brings over 18 years of experience with a multi-disciplinary background in corporate finance, venture capital, M&A, business development and commercial operations with both large and emerging growth healthcare companies. Most recently, Doug served as Vice President of Commercial Operations, Corporate Strategy & Business Development for Collegium Pharmaceutical, Inc. Doug was a member of the founding management team that transformed Collegium from a privately-held, clinical development stage company into a publicly-traded, commercial business. Prior to joining Collegium, Doug was Senior Director of Business Development at BTG International, Inc. where he was responsible for global specialty pharmaceutical M&A and licensing. Prior to BTG, Doug was Senior Director and Head of U.S. Business Development for Lundbeck A/S. Prior to Lundbeck, Doug was Director of Corporate Development and M&A at Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he played an integral role in the sale of Ovation to Lundbeck in 2009. Prior to Ovation, Doug was an Associate in the healthcare group at Pequot Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pequot Capital Management, Inc. Doug started his career in the healthcare investing banking group of Cowen & Co. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Jeffrey Ecsedy, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Jeff Ecsedy has over 20 years of experience in cancer research. Most recently, Jeff served as the Head of Oncology Translational Medicine at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where he and his team led translational science for a diverse portfolio of molecules spanning all stages of development, including pre-IND activities, first-in-human studies, regulatory approvals and life-cycle management. As a member of Oncology R&D leadership at Takeda, Jeff helped to shape a renewed strategic vision for Takeda Oncology. Prior to that, Jeff led numerous projects from the discovery phase into clinical development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Jeff received a B.S. from the University of Connecticut, earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Boston College and trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Jason Sager, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Jason Sager is a pediatric oncologist with more than 13 years of experience in biotech and pharma. His most recent venture was the establishment of Sagely Health, a health IT company which aims to reduce treatment information asymmetry for cancer patients. Previously, he served as Chief Medical Officer for medtech companies Bionaut Labs and Privo Technologies. As a Senior Medical Director at Sanofi’s Oncology Division, Jason secured a deal with Epistem to develop predictive biomarker assays. Prior to Sanofi, he served as a Medical Director at Genentech and Novartis where he was involved in clinical oncology studies across the development spectrum. Dr. Sager began his career as a pediatric oncologist (Johns Hopkins, NCI, and Dana Farber). He received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins and his M.D. from Cornell University.

Alfredo Castro, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Small Molecule Drug Discovery

Alfredo Castro is an experienced drug hunter with more than 20 years of small molecule drug discovery and development experience, having previously served as VP of Medicinal and Process Chemistry at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Infinity, Alfredo held various positions initially at Biogen, ProScript, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and then Syntonix Pharmaceuticals. Over the course of his career, Alfredo has played a significant role in the discovery and/or development of over 10 different clinical candidates, with the most advanced currently in Phase 3 clinical development in oncology. Alfredo received his B.S. from Clark University and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Dartmouth College.

Alexander Constan, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Non Clinical Safety and DMPK

Alex Constan has over 20 years of experience in nonclinical safety assessment and drug development. Most recently, Alex was Vice President of Nonclinical Safety at Decibel Therapeutics, where he was responsible for the safety evaluation of small molecule and gene therapy programs targeting hearing loss disorders. Prior to that, Alex was head of the Toxicology and DMPK functions at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, overseeing oncology programs from early discovery through late stage development. In addition, Alex has driven nonclinical development strategy and risk management as a toxicologist at Pfizer and Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals. Alex received a B.S. from Michigan State University, earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology at Colorado State University and trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology (CIIT) in Research Triangle Park, NC. He also serves as a member on the Board of Health for the town of Boxford, MA.

Michelle Zhang, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Translational Research and Early Development

Michelle Zhang has nearly 20 years of oncology drug discovery and development experience in both biotech (Curis and Biomed Valley Discoveries) and big pharma (Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research). Her R&D expertise spans across small molecule, antibody, antibody-drug-conjugate, protein and radiopharmaceutical therapeutic and diagnostic modalities. She has led numerous programs from early discovery, translational research, non-clinical evaluations into clinical development, including a number of clinical candidate selections, IND submissions and Phase 1/2 clinical studies. Michelle received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University.

Karen McGovern, Ph.D.

Vice President, Discovery Biology

Karen McGovern has more than 20 years of small molecule drug discovery experience, leading multiple programs from the non-clinical stage to IND and clinical development. Prior to joining Ikena, Karen served as Senior Director of Biology and Pharmacology at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, where she led early discovery oncology projects including the PI3K Gamma and Hedgehog programs. Karen directed the biology and pharmacology group where the immuno-oncology approaches were established, in collaboration with academic leaders in the field, that led to key mechanistic understanding and strategies for clinical development for the PI3K gamma program. Prior to that, Karen was at Millennium Pharmaceutics in both the systems biology and anti-infective groups, including leading projects in the Pfizer-Millennium partnership. Karen received her B.S. from Boston College and earned her Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School.

James Nolan, M.S., M.B.A.

Vice President, Therapeutics Development & Manufacturing

Jim Nolan has over 18 years of industry experience in biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical development, and leads the process development, manufacturing analytical sciences and quality functions for Ikena’s portfolio of biologics and small molecule programs. Jim was previously at Pfizer where he was Director, Nanomedicine Development and Manufacturing, and BIND Therapeutics where he was Director of Process and Analytical Development, where he led the technical development of clinical stage nanoparticle therapeutics. Prior to BIND, he was with EMD/Merck Serono for over ten years in various leadership positions within bioprocess development, while serving on global development teams for early phase clinical programs. Jim has led the technical development of a variety of clinical stage therapeutics modalities, including recombinant biologics, PEG conjugates and polymeric nanoparticle drug products. Jim received his B.S. in biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a M.S. in Biological Sciences from University of Massachusetts-Lowell and holds an M.B.A. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Maude Tessier, Ph.D.

Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Strategy

Maude Tessier brings 15 years of business development, licensing and alliance management experience in pharma, biotech and academia. Most recently, she served as Executive Director, Business Development & Licensing at Merck & Co, leading oncology partnering in the Boston Innovation Hub. Prior to joining Merck, Maude was Assistant Director, Business Development and Strategic Initiatives in the Technology and Innovation Development Office at Boston Children’s Hospital. In this role, she forged discovery alliances with industry partners and also built and managed the Marketing & Communications team. Maude began her career at Xanthus Pharmaceuticals, a small venture-backed oncology biotech company in Cambridge, Mass., where she had key roles in Business Development and Program Management of a Phase 3 asset leading to its eventual FDA approval. Maude is a MassConnect mentor at MassBio and a Board Member for the Brown University Biomedical Innnovation Fund and for the Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England organization. She holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from McGill University and a Ph.D. from the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

Collaborating to develop breakthrough, patient-directed therapies for difficult to treat cancers.