Our Team

Management

Francis J. Giles MD, MB, FRCPI, FRCPath

Chief Medical Officer & Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Giles is an internationally recognized expert in oncology developmental therapeutics with very extensive global clinical, translational, regulatory, and administrative experience. He has recently served as sponsor medical lead on three successful IND applications focused on novel anti-cancer therapies which included a nanoparticle, stem cells, and a first-in-class GSK3beta inhibitor.He has served as Deputy Director and Director of Developmental Therapeutics at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Center of Northwestern University, Chicago and as Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He previously served as Deputy Director of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center, San Antonio, and Chief of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Director of the Institute for Drug Development. His prior positions also include serving as Professor in the Division of Cancer Medicine at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; and as a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Giles has led the development of novel drugs, immunotherapies, and other highly targeted approaches, including cancer-directed viruses, monoclonal antibodies, and molecularly directed agents. He has served as principal investigator on numerous national and international First in Human, Phase I, II, and III clinical studies including a series of successful global regulatory approval studies, most recently that of Moxetumomab.


Board of Directors

Donald Olds

Chairman

Donald Olds is President & CEO of NEOMED Institute. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer of Telesta Therapeutics Inc. a publicly-listed biotechnology company (TSX: TST). At Telesta, Don was responsible for finance and investor relations, manufacturing operations, business development, human resources and strategy.  Over the course of his three-year tenure, he led a successful U.S. financing to fund the U.S. commercial launch of Telesta’s bladder cancer therapeutic and negotiated a significant ex-U.S. License for the same asset.  In October 2016, he led the process that led to the successful sale of Telesta Therapeutics to a larger public biotechnology company.

Prior to Telesta Therapeutics, Don Olds was President and CEO of Presagia Corp., a private Montreal-based software development company focused on developing innovative solutions for workforce management for large US-based organizations.  In this role, he led several successful private financings and helped build Presagia’s reputation for delivering quality decision support software solutions to complex organizations.

Before joining Presagia, Don worked for almost 9 years as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Aegera Therapeutics, where he was responsible for clinical operations, business development, finance, and mergers and acquisitions. During his tenure, Aegera raised over $100 Million in growth capital, initiated 5 clinical development programs, acquired a private oncology company, and executed multiple licensing transactions, one of which was recognized as the largest preclinical licensing transaction ever closed in Canada.

Prior to Aegera Therapeutics, Mr. Olds was Chief Financial Officer of Mediatrix Telecom where he was responsible for operations, finance and manufacturing and led the technology investment banking practice of TD Securities in Quebec.

Mr. Olds is currently Chairman of Oxfam Quebec and Director of Presagia Corp. and has extensive past corporate governance experience serving on the boards of private and public for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.  He holds an MBA (Finance & Strategy) and M.Sc. (Renewable Resources) from McGill University.

Mike Berendt

Director

Dr. Berendt has served as CEO and Chief Scientist of Telesta Therapeutics Inc. and Aegera Therapeutics Inc.  He held Managing Director positions with Research Corporation Technologies and AEA Investors, where he led investments in U.S. life sciences companies.  Dr. Berendt served as Senior Vice President of Research for the Bayer Corporation and as Group Director of Drug Discovery at Pfizer, Inc.  During Dr. Berendt’s tenure at Bayer, he was responsible for managing the team that led the drug discovery of Nexavar, a cancer therapeutic.  Dr. Berendt is a director of Waters Corporation and the NEOMED Institute.  He has served as a Director on the Boards of Alethia, Onyx, Myriad Genetics, and Trillium Therapeutics.

Dr. Berendt has a Ph.D. in medical microbiology and immunology from Drexel University.  Past awards included grants from the Cancer Research Institute, American Cancer Society, and Leukemia Society of America.

Francis J. Giles MD, MB, FRCPI, FRCPath

Chief Medical Officer & Chief Operating Officer


Team Members

Daniel Böck

Commercialization

Daniel supports the commercialization-related activities within Epigene Therapeutics. He brings over 25 years of industry experience to the team having held roles with either regional or worldwide responsibilities in sales, product management, marketing, venture capital, and business development.

While previously serving as Director, Business Development at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Canada, Daniel sought to identify acquisition, licensing, and/or distribution opportunities for the Canadian market as well as roll out the GSK Canada Innovation Fund intended to strategically invest in, and financially support, innovative research within the Canadian life sciences industry.

During his career Daniel has also held the position of Vice President Business Development in a small Montreal-based biotechnology company and so has an appreciation for, and understanding of, both big pharma and small biotech perspectives.

Daniel additionally continues to serve as VP Business Development for the NEOMED Institute.

Daniel holds a PhD degree in Microbiology from the University of Wollongong, N.S.W, Australia and a BSc degree with Honours from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bill Brown

Lead, Discovery Programs

Bill leads our chemistry discover and optimization programs. He previously was  responsible for leading multidisciplinary teams that evaluated external opportunities for AstraZeneca and has also led multidisciplinary project teams that advanced two compounds into Phase II studies. Following his move to AstraZeneca in 1996, he first led medicinal chemistry projects delivering four clinical candidates. Bill started his drug discovery career in 1990 at BioChem Pharma where he led medicinal chemistry projects in the field of antiviral therapies and received the BioChem Excellence award in both 1993 and 1994. Bill received his PhD from the University of Ottawa and did postdoctoral research at Stanford and Duke Universities. He has co-authored 35 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is an inventor on 33 patents.

Fatima Abbas

Controller

Fatima Abbas, CPA, CGA is Controller at NEOMED and supports Epigene Therapeutics Inc with its financial reporting, forecasting and H.R. needs.

She previously worked as Assistant-Controller for Neomed-Labs Inc., Controller for Thrasos Therapeutics Inc and as Senior Project Accountant for Canderel Management Inc.

Shirley Robinet

Communications

Shirley leads Epigene Therapeutic’s global communications activities (external communications, press relations, etc). Shirley previously worked in Paris as Press Officer in various communication agencies. Shirley has both a Masters degree in global and digital communications from Sup de Pub – INSEEC in Paris and the diploma of EFAP (French School of Press Attachés).

Terry Grassetti

Administration

Terry is the Executive Assistant and supports the Epigene Therapeutics Team. Terry previously worked at AstraZeneca and Merck as an Administrative Coordinator


Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Natalie Cook

Senior Clinical Lecturer in Experimental Cancer Medicine & Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Christie NHS Trust, University of Manchester

Dr. Cook is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Experimental Cancer Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at the University of Manchester and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in England. She completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge in the field of drug development in pancreatic cancer. She was awarded the Association of Cancer Physicians McElwain Prize and the Pancreatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Lord Smith Medal for her research. Following this she accepted a drug development research fellowship position, based at the University of Toronto and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada.  Now based in Manchester, UK she is Principal Investigator on a number of early phase trials and has research interests in translational biomarkers, phase I trial design and gastrointestinal oncology.

Dr. Elena Garralda

Principal Investigator/Executive Director, Early Drug Development Unit Vall d' Hebron Institute of Oncology

Dr Garralda serves as Executive Director of UITM at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). Opened in 2010 as a new facility supported by Welfare Projects Division of the “la Caixa” Foundation, the Research Unit for Molecular Therapy of Cancer (UITM) ”la Caixa” is dedicated to complex clinical trials with drugs in early development (Phase I and early Phase II trials) focusing on novel targets. Dr. Garralda serves as Principal Investigator on numerous early studies and has research interests in translational biomarkers, early phase study design, immuno-oncology, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling in oncology developmental therapeutics.

Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, PhD.

Director- NCI-Designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University & Jefferson Health, Professor of Medicine

Karen E. Knudsen, is the Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) at Jefferson, one of only 69 National Cancer Institute designated centers of excellence in the nation (of >3400 cancer centers nationwide).  Dr. Knudsen oversees all aspects of cancer research and cancer patient care at all 13 SKCC sites within the Greater Philadelphia region, and reports directly to the President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University/Jefferson Health. Under Dr. Knudsen’s leadership, SKCC was recently ranked the #20 cancer center in the nation by US News & World Report.

Dr. Knudsen also serves as Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology at the Thomas Jefferson University, and holds joint appointments in the departments of Urology, Medical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Knudsen’s expertise is in developing new means to treat advanced cancers, and her laboratory is focused on cell cycle, hormonal, and DNA repair alterations that contribute to disease progression.  Dr. Knudsen is highly active in the cancer field, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the AACR journal Molecular Cancer Research, as a member of multiple national and international review panels including the NCI Parent Committee, and holds leadership roles in national organizations including ASCO and AACR.

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

Senior Deputy Center Director, UC San Diego Moore's Cancer Center, Professor of Medicine

At Moore's Cancer Center, Dr. Kurzrock’s charge is broad, including growing and innovating the center’s clinical trials program, while also heading its Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. This center focuses on precision medicine trials, using the most innovative genomically-targeted drugs and/or agents that arm the immune system. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Kurzrock brings extraordinary expertise and experience in clinical research, business operations, regulatory operations, financial and budget planning, and administrative oversight, in addition to her world-recognized work in translational science. Dr. Kurzrock also serves as Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the UC San Diego School of Medicine.   Dr. Kurzrock received her MD degree from the University of Toronto and has over 700 peer-reviewed publications and a uniquely strong record of competitive grant funding within the setting of Phase I program building.

Dr. Kurzrock developed and led one of the largest Phase 1 clinical trials department in the nation/world while at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. A central theme of that program was the personalized medicine strategy, embodied in a protocol called PREDICT for Profile-related Evidence Determining Individualized Cancer Therapy. This approach utilized advanced molecular technologies to match patients with targeted cancer treatment that is more likely to work for their individual tumors.

Dr. Kurzrock also has a strong history of building outstanding education/training programs.  At University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, she founded and directed the MS/PhD program (degree granting) in Human Biology and Patient-Based Research, as well as the Fellowship in Investigational Cancer Therapeutics.  At UCSD Moore's Cancer Center, she founded and directs the Fellowship in Personalized Cancer Therapy.

Dr. Pat LoRusso

Associate Director of Innovative Medicine at Yale Cancer Center, Professor of Medicine

As the Associate Director of Innovative Medicine at Yale Cancer Center, Dr. LoRusso is an internationally recognized expert in developing new cancer therapies and in clinical study leadership.

She previously pioneered significant advances in medical oncology, drug development and early phase clinical studies at Wayne State University’s Barbara Karmanos Cancer Institute where she served as director of both the Phase I Clinical Trials Program and of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics.

Dr. LoRusso joined the Boards of Scientific Counselors for the National Cancer Institute and has served as the co-chair of their Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program Investigational Drug Steering Committee, the Board of Directors and numerous scientific committees of the American Association for Cancer Research, the education and scientific committees of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and many peer-reviewed study sections and NCI committees.

Dr. LoRusso earned the MSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014, an Honorary Degree Doctor of Science in 2015, and honored as one of The National Organization of Italian American Women’s Three Wise Women in 2017.  In 2018 she received acknowledgment as a World Affairs Council of Connecticut Luminary Awardee.

Dr. Pamela N. Munster

Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California in San Francisco and co-Program Leader of Developmental Therapeutics. Co-Director of the Center for BRCA Research, Professor of Medicine

Pamela Munster is Co-Director of the Center for BRCA Research, a BRCA-focused clinical and research program at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF.  Dr. Munster received her medical degree from the University of Bern, Switzerland; completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Indiana University Medical Center then moved to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York for her oncology and hematology fellowship. She served at Memorial Sloan Kettering as a faculty member in the breast cancer program before joining the Division of Breast Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics Program at Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida.  Dr. Munster led the group as the Scientific Director of Breast Research and Co-Chair of the Phase I Program at Moffitt for six years prior to joining the University of California in San Francisco.  Currently Dr. Munster is Professor in Residence at the University of California, San Francisco, where she is also the Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-Program Leader of Developmental Therapeutics.

Her basic laboratory research interests are in the area of developing novel targeted therapy for the treatment of resistant cancer and their integration into current treatment strategies. Dr. Munster’s research interest involves basic research studies on epigenetic modification of DNA repair and therapy resistance. Her laboratory is involved in several projects testing HDAC inhibitors reverse hormone therapy resistance in breast cancer and to reengage the immune defense. Dr. Munster’s clinical research interests are in the area of early anti-tumor drug development with focus on drugs that target the mTOR, P13k pathways and the epigenetic regulation of immune response to therapy.  In addition to her interest in drug development, Dr. Munster has a special interest in the germline cancer mutations.

Dr. Munster has published in numerous scientific journals and has given lectures on topics such as the management of metastatic breast cancer, breast cancer receptors, clinical trials and translational research.

Dr. Gail J. Roboz

Director of the Clinical and Translational Leukemia Program at Cornell University, Professor of Medicine

Dr. Roboz is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Clinical and Translational Leukemia Programs at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Dr. Roboz graduated summa cum laude from Yale University and received her medical degree from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and achieved the highest academic standing in the graduating class.  She completed Internship in internal medicine at The Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and Residency in internal medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.  Dr. Roboz was a Fellow in hematology and medical oncology at Weill Cornell/New York-Presbyterian Hospital and is board-certified in both specialties. She is a member of the American Society of Hematology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  Her research interests are in developmental therapeutics for acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and myeloproliferative disorders.  Dr. Roboz has served and is serving as the principal investigator on numerous investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored clinical trials in these areas and has authored or coauthored many manuscripts and abstracts.  She sits on the editorial boards of, and acts as a reviewer for several leading oncology journals and has played an active role as a speaker and panelist at numerous regional, national, and international conferences.  Dr. Roboz also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation.

Dr. Lillian Siu

BMO Chair in Precision Genomics, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Professor of Medicine

Dr. Siu is a senior medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 1998, and has been a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto since 2009. She is the Director of the Phase I Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and holds the BMO Chair in Precision Genomics (2016-2026).  She is also the Clinical Lead for the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Siu served on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for a four-year term (2012-2016). She also served as a member of the Nomination Committee for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2014-2016). She currently serves on the AACR Board of Directors for a three-year term (2017-2020).

Dr. Siu’s major research focus is in the area of new anticancer drug development, particularly with respect to phase I trials and head and neck malignancies.  She is the Principal Investigator of a phase I cooperative agreement UM1 award (2014-2019) sponsored by the US NCI. Dr. Siu was the recipient of the US NCI Michaele C. Christian Award in Oncology Drug Development in 2010.  Dr. Siu has published over 270 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and she is currently a scientific editor for Cancer Discovery and is on the editorial board for JAMA Oncology.

Dr. Silke Gillessen Sommer

Senior Consultant and Professor Manchester Cancer Research Centre The University of Manchester

Dr. Silke Gillessen Sommer is a senior consultant, specializing in genitourinary tumors, at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (University of Manchester). Previously, she worked as senior consultant in the Department of Oncology/Hematology at Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland, where she also head the Clinical Trial Unit.

Prof. Gillessen Sommer received her medical degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA, before joining Kantonsspital St. Gallen as a consultant in 2001.

Dr. Gillessen Sommer has served as an investigator or principle investigator for multiple phase I, II, and III clinical trials, including “first-in-man” trials. She has published work in leading journals, including Clinical Cancer Research, Journal of National Cancer Institute, Clinical Genitourinary Cancer, European Journal of Cancer, European Urology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet, New England Institute of Medicine and Annals of Oncology. Her awards include the Byk-Preis, the SIAK/ESSEX Prize and the SAKK/PFIZER Award. She served/serves on the ESMO Scientific Subcommittees for GU (Genitourinary) Oncology 2014-2017 and was chair of this Committee for Prostate Cancer for ESMO 2018.  She is a founder and organizer of the St.Gallen Advanced Prostate Cancer Consensus Conference (APCCC) held in 2015 and 2017, planned for 2019. She was nominated 2016/2017/2018 as an international representative of the ASCO GU scientific committee. She is Past-Chair of the EORTC GUCG.