An Experienced Team of Precision Oncology Leaders

Our team is led by executive leaders who bring extensive experience in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics, including small molecule kinase inhibitors.

Nima Farzan

Nima Farzan

CEO

Nima brings over two decades of executive leadership experience in the biopharma industry to our team. Prior to joining us, Nima spent seven years at PaxVax, where he was most recently President and CEO. While there, he successfully led a team of 250 people through a number of commercial product launches and negotiated the sale of PaxVax to Emergent BioSolutions in 2018. Prior to PaxVax, he was at Novartis AG in a series of roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as Vice President of US Marketing at Novartis’ Vaccines and Diagnostics division. Prior to Novartis, Nima worked at DoubleTwist, a pioneering genomics company, and was a consultant with Boston Consulting Group. He was a member of the founding Board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). He is on the Executive Committee of the Northern California Chapter of Young President’s Organization (YPO) and a Trustee at the Hamlin School. He is also a Director of Keros Therapeutics (NASDAQ: KROS). He holds a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Eric Murphy, PhD

Eric Murphy, PhD

CSO

Eric is one of our co-founders. With over 20 years of drug discovery experience in small molecule oncology research across academia, CRO, biotech, and large pharma, Eric was previously Global Head of Oncology R&D Strategy and External Innovations at Crown Biosciences prior to its acquisition by JSR. He was also responsible for bringing multiple drugs into clinical testing when he was Director of Discovery Biology at Samumed and a Research Investigator at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. Eric completed his postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute and holds a BS in biochemistry from the University of California at Davis and a PhD in biological sciences from the University of California at Irvine.

Mark Meltz

Mark Meltz

COO & General Counsel

Mark joined us from Audentes Therapeutics where he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel and helped lead its sale to Astellas Pharma. Prior to joining Audentes, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development and Legal Officer at PaxVax where he led the company’s Legal, Compliance, Government Affairs and Business Development functions and helped lead its sale to Emergent BioSolutions. Mark also held senior legal positions at Biogen and Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, and served as Counsel at the global law firm Bingham McCutchen (now part of Morgan Lewis), where his work focused on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financing, securities regulation and general corporate matters. Mark holds a BA from Yale University and a JD from Boston College Law School.

Richard Williams, MBBS, PhD

Richard Williams, MBBS, PhD

Chief Medical Officer

Richard brings over a decade of global clinical strategy and drug development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to Kinnate. Prior to joining our team, he was Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Oncology Programs at WuXi NextCODE where he was responsible for leading the clinical development of large-scale genomics and target biomarker discovery programs. Prior to WuXi NextCODE, he was with cancer detection company GRAIL as Group Medical Director and Program Lead of the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA), the largest-ever prospective study of circulating nucleic acids in cancer. He also guided the development of early clinical oncology assets as Head of Early Development Oncology Group and Early Development Leader at Amgen. While Senior Medical Director at Puma Biotechnology, Richard led the Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials in metastatic breast cancer and lung cancer for the development of the targeted cancer therapeutic Nerlynx® (neratinib). He was also a clinical hematology and oncology fellow, and later an NIH-funded faculty member at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital where he focused on translational biology and therapeutics studies within the molecular oncology and hematological malignancies programs. Richard has co-authored 60 publications in high impact clinical, translational & basic research journals including NEJM, Nature and Cancer Cell, and is the coinventor on 2 patents. He holds an MBBS and PhD as well as a BMedSc from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Eric Martin, PhD

Eric Martin, PhD

SVP, Translational Medicine

Eric brings nearly 10 years of commercial biopharmaceutical discovery experience in oncology to his role with our company. Prior to joining us, he was Director of Translational Medicine at Plexxikon where he focused on the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics. Eric also held senior discovery research roles at IGNYTA and Pfizer. Prior to his work in commercial drug discovery, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard Medical School. He holds a BA in chemistry from College of the Holy Cross and a PhD in molecular genetics from Thomas Jefferson University.

Robert Kania, PhD

Robert Kania, PhD

SVP, Drug Discovery

Robert brings a wealth of experience in drug discovery, medicinal chemistry and precision oncology to Kinnate. Prior to joining us, he spent more than 20 years in various senior roles at Pfizer, where he was most recently, Senior Director, Design Chemistry. Other positions he held at the pharma company were Senior Director of Cancer Chemistry, Project Leader and Scientist. While at Pfizer, he is a coinventor for a number of FDA-approved precision oncology therapies including Inlyta® (axitinib), Lorbrena® (loratinib) and Xalkori® (crizotinib). Robert has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and holds 19 patents in drug development-related areas. He holds a PhD and MA in Organic Chemistry from Harvard University and a BS in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley.

Sanjeev Thohan, PhD

Sanjeev Thohan, PhD

VP, Non-Clinical Development

With nearly 20 years of biomedical research experience, Sanjeev joined us from Xeris Pharmaceuticals where he led ADME, DMPK and TOX Program development and the management of IND and NDA preparation. He previously held positions of increasing responsibility in preclinical translational research for both small and large molecule modalities at Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, Covance, AstraZeneca, ViroPharma, Exelixis, and Novartis. His career in commercial development includes the advancement of 36 small molecule compounds through discovery to IND. Sanjeev holds an MS and a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Arizona and University of Maryland with concentrations in interspecies drug metabolism mechanisms, bioactivation, and systems toxicology.

Backed by Recognized Leaders in Precision Oncology

Kinnate is backed by world-class life science investors and a scientific advisory board of precision oncology thought leaders from experienced precision medicine cancer centers in the United States and are actively involved in our drug development process and programs.

Our investors include: Foresite Capital; OrbiMed; RA Capital Management; Nextech Invest; Vida Ventures; Viking Global Investors; Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners; Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC; Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group; Janus Henderson Investors; Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company); Logos Capital; and an investment fund associated with SVB Leerink.

Our Board of Directors

Dean J. Mitchell

Dean J. Mitchell

Board Chairman

Dean J. Mitchell is the Kinnate Board Chairman, and also currently serves on the Theravance Biopharma, ImmunoGen and Precigen (previously Intrexon) boards of directors. Previously, he was Executive Chairman of the board of directors at Covis Pharma Holdings until its acquisition in March 2020 and Chairman of the board of directors at PaxVax until it was acquired by Emergent BioSolutions in 2018. From 2010 to 2013, he served as President and CEO of Lux Biosciences. Prior, he was President and CEO of Alpharma until its acquisition by King Pharmaceuticals and Guilford Pharmaceuticals before its acquisition by MGI PHARMA. Mr. Mitchell held senior positions at Bristol Myers Squibb, including president of North America Primary Care and International Pharmaceuticals businesses. Mr. Mitchell spent 14 years at GlaxoSmithKline in senior management, product strategy and business development positions, and led the company’s global clinical and commercial development groups.

Mr. Mitchell holds a B.S. in biology from Coventry University, and an M.B.A. from City, University London’s Cass Business School.

Nima Farzan

Nima Farzan

CEO

Nima brings over two decades of executive leadership experience in the biopharma industry to our team. Prior to joining us, Nima spent seven years at PaxVax, where he was most recently President and CEO. While there, he successfully led a team of 250 people through a number of commercial product launches and negotiated the sale of PaxVax to Emergent BioSolutions in 2018. Prior to PaxVax, he was at Novartis AG in a series of roles of increasing responsibility, most recently as Vice President of US Marketing at Novartis’ Vaccines and Diagnostics division. Prior to Novartis, Nima worked at DoubleTwist, a pioneering genomics company, and was a consultant with Boston Consulting Group. He was a member of the founding Board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). He is on the Executive Committee of the Northern California Chapter of Young President’s Organization (YPO) and a Trustee at the Hamlin School. He is also a Director of Keros Therapeutics (NASDAQ: KROS). He holds a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Keith Flaherty, MD

Keith Flaherty, MD

Harvard Medical School

Dr. Keith Flaherty is Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. As described in the more than 300 peer reviewed primary research reports he has authored or co-authored, Dr. Flaherty and colleagues made several seminal observations that have defined the treatment of melanoma when they established the efficacy of BRAF, MEK and combined BRAF/MEK inhibition in patients with metastatic melanoma in a series of New England Journal of Medicine articles for which Dr. Flaherty was the first author. Dr. Flaherty also has been a leader in assessing and identifying mechanisms of de novo and acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitor therapy and clinically evaluating next generation inhibitors, work that has had implications for resistance to targeted therapy regimens used to treat other malignant diseases. He is the principal investigator of the NCI MATCH trial, the first NCI-sponsored trial assigning patients to targeted therapy independent of tumor type on the basis of DNA sequencing detection of oncogenes. He serves ECOG as chair of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee and in 2013 was appointed as ECOG Deputy Chair for Biomarker Science. Dr. Flaherty joined the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors in 2018 and AACR Board of Directors in 2019. He serves as editor-in-chief of Clinical Cancer Research.

Carl Gordon, PhD

Carl Gordon, PhD

OrbiMed

Carl L. Gordon, PhD, CFA, is a founding Partner and Co-Head of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed. For the last six years (2014 to 2019) Forbes® Magazine named Dr. Gordon one of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world when it placed him on the “Forbes Midas List”. He received a PhD in Molecular Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard College (1987), and was a Fellow at The Rockefeller University from 1993 to 1995.

Steve Kaldor, PhD

Steve Kaldor, PhD

Fount Therapeutics

Dr. Stephen Kaldor is one of our co-founders. He is a seasoned biotech and pharmaceutical industry executive with over 25 years of experience in creating meaningful medicines and shareholder value. He served as CEO of Quanticel, a cancer drug discovery biotech that was acquired by Celgene in 2015 for $485M. Steve has also held senior leadership roles at Syrrx, Amira, Ambrx, Furiex, and Crinetics, where he is a current independent Director. He is a co-inventor of three marketed drugs (Viracept®; Nesina®; Zafatek®) plus multiple other compounds currently in clinical trials. Steve started his career at Eli Lilly in 1990 and is a chemist by training. He holds a BA from Columbia University and a PhD in organic chemistry from Harvard University.

Michael Rome, PhD

Michael Rome, PhD

Foresite Capital

Dr. Michael Rome joined Foresite Capital in 2016 and is active in the firm’s private and public market investments. Michael is a board director at Kinnate Biopharma with board observer roles (past and present) at Turning Point Therapeutics, Maze Therapeutics, Pharvaris, PACT Pharma, and Nurix Therapeutics. He has also led/co-led investments in several public companies across the Foresite portfolio. Prior to Foresite Capital, he was an analyst at DAFNA Capital Management, covering and formulating investment ideas for small/mid-cap biotech companies.

Michael previously worked in early-stage drug development for an academic start-up out of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from Caltech as an NSF graduate research fellow, and his BS in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from UCLA. He has more than 12 years of experience as a research scientist and has authored numerous publications in biomedical research journals.

Laurie Smaldone Alsup, MD

Laurie Smaldone Alsup, MD

NDA Group

Laurie Smaldone Alsup, M.D. has more than 30 years of biopharmaceutical leadership experience in clinical drug development, global regulatory strategy, and product approvals across multiple therapeutic areas including cancer, rare disease and immunologic disorders. She currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Medical Officer of NDA Group, a regulatory and product development consulting firm. Prior, she was President and CSO of PharmApprove, a scientific communications consultancy and President and CEO of Phytomedics. During her 20 years at Bristol Myers Squibb she had leadership roles of increasing responsibilities in cancer and infectious diseases clinical development including Senior Vice President of Global Regulatory Science, co-chair of the Brand Development Operating Committee, where she was responsible for late-stage development and commercialization, and Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Risk Management. She currently serves on the board of directors at Arvinas Inc., Blackberry Limited, and Theravance Biopharma.

Dr. Smaldone Alsup holds a B.A. in biology from Fordham College and an M.D. from the Yale School of Medicine, where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Medical Oncology.

Jim Tananbaum, MD

Jim Tananbaum, MD

Foresite Capital

Jim Tananbaum is the founder and chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, a U.S.-focused healthcare investment firm founded in 2011 that has approximately $3 billion in assets under management. Jim assembles the people, ideas and money needed to launch products that save lives and improve healthcare. He is always looking for visionaries: men and women with insights into therapeutics, devices, diagnostics or services that could, with the right support, change the world.  

During the last three decades Jim has been a thought partner for some of the most impactful and fastest growth companies of their generation including: 10x Genomics (Nasdaq: TXG), Amerigroup (Nasdaq: ANTM), and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ).

Since high school, Jim has had two main areas of interest: 1) mathematics and computer algorithms and 2) biology and healthcare. Since founding Foresite Capital, Jim has been optimistic about the merger of these two previously very different fields. His intent has been to place Foresite Capital, its resources and networks at the frontier of this data-driven revolution, and to help build transformative healthcare companies that will significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of the entire U.S. healthcare system.

As an undergraduate, Jim attended Yale, where he graduated with a BS and BSEE in Applied Math and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science.  He then earned an MD from Harvard and graduated from the Harvard/MIT HST Program.  He also earned an MBA from Harvard while playing rugby.

Jim’s first success came while he was still at Harvard Business School when he co-founded GelTex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:GENZ). For less than $80 million in funding, GelTex brought two drugs to market. The company was acquired in 1999 for $1.4 billion when its lead drug, Renagel (later renamed Renvela), had an annual revenue run rate exceeding $19.5 million. Decades later, Renvela still has annual sales estimated over $850 million. Jim was the founding chief executive of Theravance, Inc. Under his tenure he raised over $350M. Theravance has since split into two parts, one of which is now part of GSK’s respiratory franchise through a joint venture, Innoviva (Nasdaq: INVA), and the other was spun out into Theravance Biopharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: TBPH). Together, they have a combined market capitalization that reaches almost $3 billion as of July 2020.

Jim’s investment experience includes being a co-founder of Prospect Ventures and earlier in his career, a partner of Sierra Ventures, where he established its healthcare services investment practice.

“The Kinnate team has unparalleled experience in the fields of drug discovery, medicinal chemistry and precision oncology. Working closely with the company’s scientific advisory board members, they aim to develop best-in-class and first-in-class targeted medicines for the most aggressive cancers.”

– Carl Gordon, PhD, Kinnate Board Member

Our Scientific Advisory Board

With a group of scientific advisory board members that are experts in the field of oncology, Kinnate is poised to successfully bring effective therapeutics into the clinic.

Keith Flaherty, MD

Keith Flaherty, MD

Harvard Medical School

Dr. Keith Flaherty is Director of Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. As described in the more than 300 peer reviewed primary research reports he has authored or co-authored, Dr. Flaherty and colleagues made several seminal observations that have defined the treatment of melanoma when they established the efficacy of BRAF, MEK and combined BRAF/MEK inhibition in patients with metastatic melanoma in a series of New England Journal of Medicine articles for which Dr. Flaherty was the first author. Dr. Flaherty also has been a leader in assessing and identifying mechanisms of de novo and acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitor therapy and clinically evaluating next generation inhibitors, work that has had implications for resistance to targeted therapy regimens used to treat other malignant diseases. He is the principal investigator of the NCI MATCH trial, the first NCI-sponsored trial assigning patients to targeted therapy independent of tumor type on the basis of DNA sequencing detection of oncogenes. He serves ECOG as chair of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee and in 2013 was appointed as ECOG Deputy Chair for Biomarker Science. Dr. Flaherty joined the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors in 2018 and AACR Board of Directors in 2019. He serves as editor-in-chief of Clinical Cancer Research.

 

Ryan Corcoran, MD PhD

Ryan Corcoran, MD PhD

Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ryan Corcoran is the Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center Program and the Scientific Director of the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Corcoran holds an AB from Princeton University and an MD/PhD from Stanford University. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and his fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Dana Faber Cancer Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Dr. Corcoran directs a research laboratory focused on personalized cancer medicine: the development of therapeutic strategies that target the specific mutations driving individual patients’ tumors. His work focuses on understanding the molecular determinants of response or resistance to anti-cancer therapies. Dr. Corcoran’s laboratory is also studying new ways to utilize liquid biopsy, and specifically analysis of circulating tumor DNA, in the clinic to optimize how we deliver cancer care to individual patients. Dr. Corcoran is a member of the National Cancer Institute Colorectal Cancer Task Force and the Rectal Cancer Task Force, and an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Ezra Cohen, MD

Ezra Cohen, MD

UC San Diego

Dr. Ezra Cohen is Co-Director of the San Diego Center for Precision Immunotherapy and an internationally renowned translational researcher. He cares for patients with all types of head and neck cancers, including esophageal, thyroid, and salivary gland cancers. Dr. Cohen is also an Assistant Director for Translational Science and heads the Solid Tumor Therapeutics research program at Moores Cancer Center. Much of his work has focused on squamous cell carcinomas and cancers of the thyroid, salivary gland, and HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers. He is especially interested in developing novel therapies and understanding mechanisms of sensitivity or resistance; cancer screening; and using medication and other agents to delay or prevent cancer (chemoprevention). Dr. Cohen recently served as chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Head and Neck Cancer Steering Committee, which oversees NCI-funded clinical research in this disease. He was also editor in chief of Oral Oncology, the most respected specialty journal in head and neck cancer. Prior to joining UC San Diego Health System in 2014, Dr. Cohen was Co-Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Program at the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. He earned his medical degree at University of Toronto and completed residencies in family medicine at the University of Toronto and in Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He received a hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of Chicago where he was named chief fellow.

Andrew Lowy, MD

Andrew Lowy, MD

UC San Diego

Dr. Andrew M. Lowy is Professor of Surgery, Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Clinical Director for Cancer Surgery at Moores Cancer Center and UC San Diego Health. Dr Lowy is a physician-scientist who is recognized worldwide for his expertise in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer and for investigating novel cancer treatments which incorporate surgery and chemotherapy to treat patients with advanced cancer that has spread to the abdomen. Dr. Lowy is chair of the National Cancer Institute’s Pancreatic Cancer Task Force which is charged with setting the direction of clinical research in pancreatic cancer in the United States. He also serves as surgical liaison to the Pancreas sub-committee of SWOG, which is one of the largest National Cancer Institute cooperative groups. Dr. Lowy’s laboratory focuses on the study of pancreatic cancer signaling and preclinical modeling and he collaborated to develop the first genetically engineered mouse model of pancreatic cancer currently used in laboratories worldwide. His lab has been continuously funded since 1999 by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute to study pancreatic cancer.