Leadership

 

Rahul Kakkar, MD

Chief Executive Officer

Jo Viney, PhD

President, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder

Vikas Goyal

Senior Vice President, Business Development

Ed Freeman, JD

Consulting COO

Rahul Kakkar, MD   Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Kakkar is a biotech entrepreneur and physician-scientist with nearly 20 years of professional experience, spanning founding and building biotechnology companies, as well as working as a practicing physician. Most recently, he served as an executive at Corvidia Therapeutics where he was a founder, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, guiding the company from seed stage through Series B and its lead asset through clinical proof of concept. Previously, he was Director for Emerging Innovations at AstraZeneca, responsible for preclinical through Phase 2 clinical studies both for compounds within the AstraZeneca pipeline and in support of compound out-licensing efforts. Dr. Kakkar has also served as an advisor to life sciences venture firms. He continues to practice medicine as Associate Physician at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and is a Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kakkar is dual-trained via the American Board of Internal Medicine Fast Track program in molecular biology and clinical cardiology. He received his BA from Tufts University and MD from the Tufts School of Medicine where he was a junior inductee of the Alpha Omega Alpha society. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Jo Viney, PhD   President, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder

Dr. Jo Viney is an entrepreneurial scientist and experienced biotech executive. A self-described “drug-hunter”, she has successfully advanced a number of programs into the clinic.

Jo is Co-Founder, President and CSO of Pandion Therapeutics, a startup company in Cambridge, MA focused on developing new therapies for treating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (www.pandiontx.com). Prior to Pandion, she worked at Immunex, Amgen, and most recently Biogen where she was Senior Vice President of the Drug Discovery organization.

Throughout her career, Jo has been passionate about workplace inclusiveness. Since 2015 she has served on the Board of WEST – a non-profit organization supporting early to mid-career women (www.westorg.org). She was WEST’s President for the 2017-2018 term.

Jo has maintained longstanding membership with the Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI) and American Society of Immunologists (AAI). She has served numerous terms on the SMI Board, was President from 2011-2013, and is currently Treasurer for the 2018-2020 term. Together with SMI colleagues and Nature Publishing Group, she launched the journal Mucosal Immunology. In 2015, Jo received SMI’s Distinguished Service Award.

Jo is a member of the Board of Directors for Quench Bio, Finch Therapeutics, and Carogen Corp. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for HotSpot Therapeutics and Vaxart Inc.

Vikas Goyal   Senior Vice President, Business Development

Mr. Goyal brings more than 15 years of experience in business strategy, financing and business development for biotechnology companies. Most recently, he served as a Principal of SR One, the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, where he invested in multiple autoimmune disease focused companies including Morphic Therapeutics (Nasdaq: MORF), River Vision Development (acquired by Horizon), and Pandion. Mr. Gopal is a member of the Board of Directors of Morphic Therapeutics. Previously, Mr. Goyal was a Consultant at McKinsey & Co, a co-founder of Extera Partners and a Business Development Manager at Infinity Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the Kauffman Fellows Society. Mr. Goyal earned an MBA in Health Care Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in neurobiology from Harvard University.

Ed Freeman, JD   Consulting COO

Ed has more than 20 years of leadership experience directing finance, legal and operations activities in companies across multiple industries. Ed has served as Head of Business Operations at Atlas Venture and in CFO and General Counsel roles at KSQ Therapeutics, XTuit Pharmaceuticals, Oasys Water and Ensemble Therapeutics. Ed also served as General Counsel of Flagship Ventures (now Flagship Pioneering) and started his legal career at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP. Before going to law school, Ed was an accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co. Ed earned his JD from Boston College Law School and his BSBA in Accounting from Boston University.

Science Team

 

Nathan Higginson-Scott, PhD

Senior Director, Head of Protein Technologies

Kevin Otipoby, PhD

Senior Director, Head of Immunology

Kata Kis-Toth, PhD

Director, Head of Translational Sciences

Nathan Higginson-Scott, PhD   Senior Director, Head of Protein Technologies

Nathan has been innovating in the field of antibody discovery and engineering for 15 years in both academia and industry. Beginning his career in antibody technology at Imperial College London in 2004 on a prestigious Wellcome Trust grant, Nathan’s Ph.D focused on developing a phage display based method for engineering bi-paratopic antibodies. In 2008, he further advanced these efforts at Pfizer, Ltd in Sandwich, UK, and later at Pfizer, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, where Nathan co-invented a proprietary bispecific antibody platform and lead numerous cross-functional technology teams on large molecule projects across multiple disease areas including inflammation, autoimmunity, and oncology at stages spanning from project initiation through to drug candidate nomination, and IND filing.

In an exciting and challenging departure from traditional industry, Nathan also joined Google [x] (later, Google Life Sciences) in Mountain View, CA, to support the development and launch of Verily Life Sciences, where he played a key role in the development of protein-based capabilities designed to support a diagnostic nanoparticle platform. Later, returning to Pfizer, Nathan took on a leadership role within the BioMedicine Design organization where he led a phage display team supporting therapeutic antibody discovery and optimization projects at Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, Boston.

With a strong belief that organizations can only truly succeed when people feel safe in bringing all of who they are to work, Nathan co-founded the MA chapter of a Pfizer Colleague Resource Group for LGBT employees and allies – a group that provided both a social and networking forum for employees, and successful partnerships with Boston Pride, the Human Rights Campaign, and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. As part of the Pandion Therapeutics leadership team, Nathan intends to apply this experience, and commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, across all facets of employment and culture of the organization.

Kevin Otipoby, PhD   Senior Director, Head of Immunology

Kevin has more than 20 years of industry and academia experience in immunology. After graduating magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, he moved to the Seattle for his graduate studies at the University of Washington, earning his Ph.D. in Immunology in Ed Clark’s lab studying the role of the BCR co-receptor CD22 in B cell development and activation. Kevin continued his focus on B cell biology in Klaus Rajewsky’s lab at Harvard University in Boston, where he helped establish the critical role of the BCR in mature B cell survival, proliferative responses to innate stimuli and lineage commitment.

Kevin then moved to industry in 2011, joining the Immunology Research department at Biogen where he led the pre-clinical biology efforts to discover and develop small molecule inhibitors of BTK, two of which have progressed into the clinic. Kevin also led a biologics program targeting long-lived plasma cells and was a core member of the pre-clinical team that discovered and developed a biologics candidate targeting pDC function, which is currently in Ph2 clinical trials for Lupus. In 2016, Kevin joined the Immunology Pharmacology group at AbbVie where he managed the Lupus animal model group, contributed to two bi-specific antibody programs and led the biology efforts to target a GPCR for IBD by restricting drug activity to the colon.

Kevin brings his knowledge and background in molecular and cellular immunology and experience in advancing projects from early discovery, through IND and to the clinic. He knows that the best way to make rapid progress is to build a passionate team that is focused on clear goals.

Kata Kis-Toth, PhD   Director, Head of Translational Sciences

Kata is an immunologist with expertise in autoimmunity. She obtained her doctoral degree from University of Debrecen, Hungary, focused on investigating the fate-decision of activated T cells. Upon completion of her PhD, Kata joined Tibor Glant`s laboratory at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago to work on the proteoglycan-induced arthritis model as a postdoctoral fellow and later as research assistant professor. Kata then moved to Boston to join George Tsokos`s laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. As an instructor in medicine she contributed to the understanding of dendritic cell – T cell interactions in lupus. In 2016 she accepted a unique opportunity to work on the immunological aspects of hemophilia and related therapies at Biogen. Kata also actively contributed to the establishment of the Biogen spin off company Bioverativ, where she served as immunology group leader and discovered the immunomodulatory effects of recombinant factor VIII Fc fusion protein.

Kata is the author of over 50 original research articles and reviews, and has been an invited reviewer for several international scientific journals.

Kata has a deep appreciation of the complexity of the immune system. She is passionate about translating immunological discoveries into clinical practice.

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