We have assembled an experienced and well-respected team of drug hunters, translational researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs drawn from many of the largest innovators in biotechnology, supported by top-tier investors and partners, as well as world-class advisors, to advance and broaden our portfolio of novel, patient-directed oncology therapies.


We have assembled an experienced and well-respected team who share a singular goal: to advance and broaden our portfolio of novel, patient-directed oncology therapies.

George D. Demetri, M.D.


Dr. Demetri currently serves at the Quick Family Chair in Medical Oncology and Director of the Sarcoma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard. He has dedicated his career to translational and clinical research aimed at developing clinical therapeutics from scientific mechanisms to treat life-threatening cancers. He is a pioneer in the development of multiple targeted cancer therapies, and research from his collaborative efforts has resulted in FDA and worldwide regulatory approvals of several cancer therapies, including imatinib (Gleevec®), sunitinib (Sutent®), regorafenib (Stivarga®), pazopanib (Votrient®), trabectedin (Yondelis®), and tazemetostat (Tazverik®). Dr. Demetri received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard College and medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine, after which he completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Washington Hospitals in Seattle, and subsequently trained in Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. He is also Chair of the Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Kevan M. Shokat, Ph.D.

Dr. Shokat currently serves as Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, and Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Shokat is an innovator in the development of chemical methods for investigating cellular signal transduction pathways, with a particular focus on protein kinases and lipid kinases. After receiving his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UC Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz, and post-doctoral work in immunology at Stanford University with Professor Chris Goodnow, Dr. Shokat began his independent research career at Princeton University. He has been an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2005.

Josep Tabernero, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Tabernero currently serves as Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital and the Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology. His research group aims at potentiating molecular therapies targeting specific oncoproteins and accelerating more effective personalized cancer medicines for patients displaying genetic lesions or pathway dysregulation. Dr. Tabernero has held leadership positions in many other organizations devoted to advancing cancer research, including Past President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) from 2018-2019. He holds MD and PhD degrees from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Mark Manfredi, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mark Manfredi is a founding member of Ikena Oncology and has over two decades of experience in cancer drug discovery and translational research. He previously served as Chief Scientific Officer of Raze Therapeutics and as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atlas Venture, 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 Operating Officer & EVP, Finance

Doug Carlson brings 20 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. (NASDAQ: COLL). 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.

Sergio Santillana, MD, MSc, MBA

Chief Medical Officer

Sergio Santillana is a medical oncologist with more than 25 years of oncology drug development and clinical practice experience. Prior to providing strategic consultancy services to a variety of life science companies, including Ikena Oncology, he was Chief Medical Officer for Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, focused on developing biologics and nanotherapeutics for solid tumors. Before joining Merrimack, he was Chief Medical Officer for ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, a commercial-stage biotechnology company that was acquired by Takeda. Under Sergio’s leadership, ARIAD obtained US regulatory approval of Brigatinib for the treatment of ALK+ NSCLC, and had continued growth of its portfolio of targeted agents in solid tumors. Preceding his executive role at ARIAD, he served in various oncology clinical development leadership roles at Takeda, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly. Before entering the biopharma industry, he was a practicing board-certified medical oncologist for 15 years, including tenure at the National Cancer Institute of Peru (INEN) where his research focus was in clinical studies of novel agents. He holds an M.D. and B.S. from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal School of Medicine in Lima, Peru and a MSc in Experimental Therapeutics from Kellogg College at the University of Oxford. He also holds an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Maude Tessier, Ph.D.

Chief Business Officer

Maude Tessier brings over 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.

Alfredo Castro, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, 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, Early Discovery

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.

Ron Renaud


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.


David Bonita is a General Partner at OrbiMed Advisors. David currently serves on the boards of directors of Acutus Medical Inc. (Nasdaq: AFIB), IMARA Inc. (Nasdaq: IMRA), Prelude Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRLD), Repare Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: RPTX), and Tricida, Inc. (Nasdaq: TCDA), as well as several private companies. David also previously served on the boards of directors of Clementia Pharmaceuticals Inc., Loxo Oncology, Inc., SI-BONE, Inc., and ViewRay Inc. Prior to OrbiMed, David worked as a corporate finance analyst in the healthcare investment banking groups of Morgan Stanley and UBS. He has published scientificarticles in peer-reviewed journals based on signal transduction research performed at Harvard Medical School. He received his B.A. in biology from Harvard University and his joint M.D./M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Iain D. Dukes, D.Phil.


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.


Jean-François Formela is a partner and focuses on novel drug discovery approaches and therapeutics. He joined Atlas Venture in 1993 to build the U.S. life sciences franchise. He is a director and co-founder of IFM Therapeutics, Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NTLA), Korro Bio, and Triplet Therapeutics. Jean-François also serves on the boards of Ikena Oncology (NASDAQ: IKNA), Scorpion Therapeutics and Spero Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SPRO). Some of his prior investments include Arteaus Therapeutics (acquired by Eli Lilly), CoStim Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Novartis), Exelixis (NASDAQ: EXEL) and Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO, acquired by Sanofi). Jean-François received his M.D. from Paris University School of Medicine and his M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Maria Koehler, M.D., Ph.D.


Maria Koehler is the Chief Medical Officer at Repare Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RPTX). Prior to joining Repare, Maria was the Chief Medical Officer at Bicycle Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BCYC). Maria joined Bicycle from Pfizer, where she was Vice President of Strategy, Innovation and Collaborations for the Oncology Business Unit. Prior to Pfizer, she served in leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline and at AstraZeneca. She is board certified in hematology and oncology. She began her career as a practicing physician and served as the clinical director of Bone Marrow Transplantation at University Hospital in Pittsburgh as well as the director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program and associate professor at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Maria has co-authored over 150 publications, book chapters, and patents. She received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the Silesian Medical School in Poland.

Mark Manfredi, Ph.D.

President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Mark Manfredi is a founding member of Ikena Oncology and has over two decades of experience in cancer drug discovery and translational research. He previously served as Chief Scientific Officer of Raze Therapeutics and as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atlas Venture, 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.

Otello Stampacchia, Ph.D.


Otello founded Omega Funds in 2004 and leads the firm’s investor relations and strategic initiatives. He is a member of the firm’s investment committee and is also heavily involved in a number of Omega’s therapeutic areas of interest, particularly in oncology, rare diseases and inflammatory disorders. Previously, Otello was in charge of life sciences direct investments and diligence for healthcare venture fund of fund investments at AlpInvest Partners, one of the largest private equity asset managers worldwide. Before AlpInvest, he was the portfolio manager of the Lombard Odier Immunology Fund, a $3 billion listed investment vehicle in Geneva, Switzerland, investing in public and private healthcare companies worldwide. Previously, Otello was a member of the HealthCare corporate finance and M&A team at Goldman Sachs (London and New York offices). Before Goldman, he helped co-found the healthcare investment activities at Index Securities (now Index Ventures). Otello has a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Geneva, holds a European Doctorate in Biotechnology from the EU, and obtained an MSc in Genetics from the University of Pavia.

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