Jay Backstrom, M.D., M.P.H. most recently served as executive vice president, research and development, at Acceleron Pharma through its acquisition by Merck in 2021. Previously, Dr. Backstrom was chief medical officer and head of regulatory affairs for Celgene Corporation, where he was instrumental in bringing REBLOZYL®, co-developed by Celgene and Acceleron, through to regulatory approval. Prior, he worked as vice president of clinical research and development, myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia, as well as chief medical officer, through the completion of the Bristol Myers Squibb-Celgene merger in 2019. Dr. Backstrom now serves as a non-executive board director of Autolus Therapeutics, Be Biopharma and Disc Medicine. He earned his M.D. and completed medical training at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, and he received a Master’s in public health from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health.
Kapil Dhingra, M.B.B.S. is chair of the LAVA Therapeutics board of directors. Dr. Dhingra is a medical oncologist and a physician-scientist with a proven track record in academic research, patient care and drug development. He served as vice president, head of the oncology disease biology leadership team and head of oncology clinical development at Hoffmann-La Roche (“Roche”), during which he led numerous drug approvals, including Herceptin®, Tarceva® and Avastin®. Prior to joining Roche, he worked in the oncology clinical development group at Eli Lilly and Company. Dr. Dhingra has served as a faculty member at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Indiana University School of Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Dhingra is currently a member of the boards of directors/supervisors of Black Diamond Therapeutics, Inc., Replimune, Inc., Inc., Autolus Therapeutics plc, Median Technologies, Servier, Curie Therapeutics and Kirilys Therapeutics. He previously served on the boards of several successful biotech companies, including Biovex, Micromet, Algeta, YM Biosciences, Epitherapeutics, Advanced Accelerator Applications, Exosome Diagnostics and Five Prime. He is a member of the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Panel. Dr. Dhingra founded KAPital Consulting, LLC in 2008, a company dedicated to helping biotechnology, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies realize the clinical and commercial advances in oncology. Dr. Dhingra obtained his bachelor of medicine-bachelor of surgery degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, New York Medical College and completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Steve Hurly, MS.c., M.B.A. is the chief executive officer and a board director at LAVA Therapeutics. He brings nearly two decades of leadership experience in the life sciences industry. He served as president and chief executive officer of Sesen Bio, a NASDAQ-listed, late-stage oncology firm. Prior he served as the president and chief executive officer of Viventia Bio Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company acquired by Sesen Bio Inc. in September 2016. Steve has more than 15 years of experience in the investment banking business. He has served on the board of directors of PHusis Therapeutics Inc., a private targeted small molecule therapeutics company, since May 2011. Previously, he was the chief executive officer of Burrill & Co.’s merchant banking division, a finance business for life science companies. He was also the head of the life sciences investment banking practice at Boenning & Scattergood, a securities asset management and investment banking firm. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a bachelor of arts degree in engineering and earned a master of business administration from the University of Chicago.
Stefan Luzi, Ph.D. joined Gilde Healthcare in 2015. He focuses on venture and growth capital investments in the biopharmaceutical sector. He led several investments and currently represents Gilde on the boards of LAVA Therapeutics B.V., Amphista Therapeutics Ltd. and Lumicks B.V. Prior to joining Gilde, Dr. Luzi worked at Merck KGaA where he completed international assignments in the global business intelligence and M ventures divisions. Dr. Luzi received a bachelor of science degree in biology and master of science degree in biotechnology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) and a master of philosophy degree in bioscience enterprise from the University of Cambridge. He completed his doctor of philosophy degree with Nobel Laureate Sir Gregory Winter at the MRC laboratory of molecular biology in Cambridge, where he developed a bicyclic peptide-based drug discovery platform.
Guido Magni, M.D., Ph.D., is a partner with Versant Ventures. He brings deep experience in drug development from multiple accomplishments at leading global pharmaceutical companies including Roche and Wyeth. Dr. Magni held the position of global head of the medical science department at Roche for 12 years and built a track record that includes the approval of 15 new drugs across various therapeutic areas during this time, including blockbuster products Cellcept, Pegasys, Mabthera, Xeloda, Herceptin, Tamiflu and Tarceva. Dr. Magni brings this critical expertise to Versant portfolio companies by providing guidance on their clinical and regulatory strategies.
James Noble, M.A., most recently served as chief executive officer of Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc until 2019 after co-founding it in 2008; he remains on the board. Prior, Mr. Noble was chief executive officer of Immunocore, which he also co-founded. Mr. Noble has also served as a non-executive board director for publicly traded life science companies, including as deputy chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in 2021. Currently, Mr. Noble is chairman of Orexo AB, Sutura Therapeutics and Celleron Therapeutics. Mr. Noble received an M.A. from the University of Oxford.
Karen Wilson, C.P.A. has served as one of the LAVA Therapeutics supervisory directors since March 2021. She currently serves on the board of directors of Angion Biomedica, Connect Biopharma and Vaxart, Inc. Ms. Wilson served as senior vice president of finance at Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc until September 2020 after serving as vice president of finance and principal accounting officer. Prior to joining Jazz Pharmaceuticals in February 2011, Ms. Wilson served as vice president of finance and principal accounting officer at PDL BioPharma, Inc. She also previously served as a principal at the consulting firm of Wilson Crisler LLC, chief financial officer of ViroLogic, Inc., chief financial officer and vice president of operations for Novare Surgical Systems, Inc., and as a consultant and auditor for Deloitte & Touche LLP. Ms. Wilson is a certified public accountant and received a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley.