Andrea van Elsas, Ph.D.

Andrea van Elsas, Ph.D. joined LAVA Therapeutics as chair of the scientific advisory board In April 2018. He is a venture partner with Third Rock Ventures and chief scientific officer at Abata Therapeutics. Previously, Dr. van Elsas served as chief scientific officer at Aduro Biotech following the acquisition of BioNovion, a company he co-founded in 2011. From 1999 to 2011, he held various positions at Organon (acquired by Schering-Plough and later by Merck) in Oss, The Netherlands, and Cambridge, Mass. He directed the immuno-oncology portfolio and led the anti-PD1 program that later became known as pembrolizumab. As a postdoctoral researcher, Dr. van Elsas worked in the lab of 2018 Nobel Laureate Jim Allison at the University of California, Berkeley and is a co-inventor on the original anti-CTLA-4 patents that formed the basis for the development of ipilimumab, the first checkpoint inhibitor approved in 2011 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of melanoma. Dr. van Elsas earned a doctor of philosophy degree in immunology and oncology from the University of Leiden in The Netherlands.

James Patrick (Jim) Allison, Ph.D.

James Patrick (Jim) Allison, Ph.D. is a member of the LAVA Therapeutics scientific advisory board. Dr. Allison is an American immunologist and a 2018 Nobel laureate who holds the position of regental professor and chair of immunology, vice president, immuno-biology and executive director of immunotherapy platform at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston. Dr. Allison has spent his career studying the regulation of T cell responses. His work led to the development of an antibody to human CTLA-4 called ipilimumab which became the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The approval of ipilimumab cleared the path for the emerging field of immune checkpoint blockade therapy in the treatment of cancer. Currently, his work is focused on improving immune checkpoint blockade therapies and identifying new targets to unleash the immune system and eradicate cancer. Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine and is currently chair of the department of immunology, Olga Keith Weiss Distinguished University Chair for Cancer Research, the executive director of the immunotherapy platform and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Allison earned a bachelor of science degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in biological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, M.B.B.S.

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, M.B.B.S., is the Anise McDaniel Brock chair and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar in cancer innovation and professor in the department of hematology and medical oncology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Dr. Dhodapkar serves as director of the Winship Center for Cancer Immunology, and as leader of the cancer immunology research program at Winship Cancer Institute. Prior to joining Emory, he served as chief of hematology, the Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker professor of medicine (hematology), and professor of immuno-biology at Yale University School of Medicine. An expert in the treatment of multiple myeloma, he also was co-director of the cancer immunology program within the Yale Cancer Center. Other faculty appointments include Myeloma Institute in Little Rock, Arkansas, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and The Rockefeller University in New York. A board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist, Dr. Dhodapkar specializes in the treatment of multiple myeloma and other hematological malignancies. His primary clinical and scholarly focus is the immuno-biology of myeloma and the development of novel biological approaches to treat cancer.

Dieter Kabelitz, M.D.

Dieter Kabelitz, M.D. was a full professor at the University of Kiel and director of the Institute of Immunology from 1999 to 2018, where he continues to work as a senior research group leader. Previously, he was head of the department of immunology at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Langen, Germany, and associate professor at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. From 2011 to 2012 he served as president of the German Society for Immunology (DGfI). He was a council member of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and is the current chair of the Education Committee (EDU) of IUIS. His scientific expertise is in the field of the functional characterization of human gamma delta T cells. Prof. Kabelitz’ major interest is to explore strategies around increasing the effector functions of gamma delta T cells for the potential use in immunotherapy of cancer. Prof. Kabelitz has more than 30 years of research experience in immunology and has published more than 390 papers in peer-reviewed journals and edited or co-edited several books.

Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Sharma is a professor of genitourinary medical oncology and immunology in the division of cancer medicine, the T.C. and Jeanette Hsu endowed chair in cell biology, the scientific director of the immunotherapy platform and the co-director of the Parker Institute for cancer immunotherapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is focused on understanding resistance mechanisms within the immune system that impact anti-tumor responses and for more than a decade, she has been a principal investigator for multiple clinical trials to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Dr. Sharma’s work on new pathways to treat prostate cancer implicated for the first time in a human tumor the checkpoint VISTA in inhibiting immune responses. In partnership with Dr. Allison, Dr. Sharma is currently exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs in preclinical studies to treat a variety of cancers more effectively.

Dane Wittrup, Ph.D.

Prof. Dane Wittrup attended the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor degree in chemical engineering in June 1984. Prof. Wittrup attended the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. where he worked with Prof. James Bailey on flow cytometry and segregated modeling of recombinant populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After obtaining his doctor of philosophy degree in chemical engineering with a minor in biology in 1988, he spent a brief time working at Amgen before becoming an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1989. He moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September of 1999, where he is now the C.P. Dubbs professor of chemical engineering and biological engineering, in addition to working with the Koch Institute as the associate director for engineering.

Jay Backstrom, M.D., M.P.H.

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.

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.

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.

Peter A. Kiener, DPhil

Dr. Peter Kiener is board director at LAVA Therapeutics. Dr. Kiener is an industry veteran with extensive experience in both biologics and immunotherapy, and biopharmaceutical research and development. Previously, he was chief scientific officer at Sucampo, which was acquired by Mallinckrodt and served as chief scientific officer of Ambrx Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Dr. Kiener was also president and co-founder of Zyngenia Inc., an early-stage biopharmaceutical company and served as executive vice president and global head of biologics research and development at MedImmune LLC, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca. He received a Bachelor of Science from Lancaster University in Lancaster, UK and his DPhil from Oxford University, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology.