DR. CRYSTAL MACKALL
Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy
Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute
Leader of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy @ Stanford
Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Stanford University
Crystal L Mackall MD is the Ernest and Amelia Gallo Family Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Stanford University, the Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy, Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, Leader of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy @ Stanford. During a 27-year tenure at NCI culminating as Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch and Head of the Immunology Section and since 2016 at Stanford, she has led an internationally recognized translational research program focused on immune-oncology. Her work has advanced understanding of fundamental immunology and translated this understanding for the treatment of human disease with a major focus on children’s cancers. She has led numerous first-in-human and first-in-child clinical trials spanning dendritic cell vaccines, cytokines, and adoptive immunotherapy using NK cells and genetically modified T cells. Her work is credited with identifying an essential role for the thymus in human T cell regeneration (NEJM 1995) and discovering IL-7 as the master regulator of T cell homeostasis (Blood 2001, J Exp Med 2008). Her group was among the first to demonstrate impressive activity of CD19-CAR in pediatric leukemia (Lancet 2015), developed a CD22-CAR that is the only active salvage therapy for CAR19 resistant B cell malignancies (Nat Med 2018, J Clin Onc 2020, Blood 2021), demonstrated preclinical activity of GD2 targeting CARs for pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (Nat Med 2018), demonstrated superiority of regional CNS delivery of CAR T cells for brain tumors (Nat Med 2020) and demonstrated impressive clinical activity of GD2-CAR T cells in this disease (NCT04196413), which is among the first to demonstrate significant and consistent activity of CAR T cells in solid cancers (Nature 2022). Her group identified T cell exhaustion as a major feature CAR T cell potency (Nat Med 2015), created the first exhaustion-resistance (Nature 2019) and exhaustion-reversal platforms (Science 2021), developed a best-in-class regulatable “remote-controlled” CAR T cell platform (Cell, 2022) and discovered a role for mediator kinase in regulating T cell differentiation (Science 2022). She has received numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Medicine, American Society of Clinical Investigation and American Academy of Physicians, and she is afellow of the AACR Academy. She received Smalley Award for outstanding contributions to cancer immunotherapy from the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer, the AACR-St.Baldrick’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Pediatric Cancer Research, and the Nobility in Science Award from the Sarcoma Foundation of America. She has published over 250 manuscripts, her h-index in November 2022 according to google scholar is 96 and founded 3 biotech companies. Crystal is Board Certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Internal Medicine.
DR. HOWARD CHANG
Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Genomics and of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine
I am a physician-scientist who has trained in genome science. My research has focused on mechanisms that coordinate the activities of large number of genes in cell fate control. We made a series of discoveries that introduced the important and pervasive roles of long noncoding RNAs in biological regulation. My group has substantial experience in epigenetics and RNA biology, including invention of new methods for epigenomic profiling, map RNA occupancy on chromatin, and define RNA structures genome-wide. My group pioneered methods to identify key regulators of large-scale transcriptional programs; these methods have been highly fruitful for studies of development, cancer, and aging. The long term goal of my laboratory is to decipher the regulatory information in the human genome for disease diagnosis and therapy.
DR. ALFRED SLANETZ
Chairman, National Foundation for Cancer Research
CEO, Geneius Biotechnology
Former CEO, Bluebird Bio
Former Head of Product Development, Genetech
Dr. Slanetz is the founder of Geneius Biotechnology and has been President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company full time since its inception. Prior to co-founding the Company, he served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Bluebird Bio.
Dr. Slanetz also served as Vice President, Business Development of TRANSGENE in May 1996. From 1994 to 1996, he served as Manager, New Product Planning and Development at Genentech Inc. Prior to that, Dr. Slanetz was a Management Consultant for Arthur D. Little.
He received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Immunobiology from Yale University, as well as a Masters from Brown University.
DR. MICHAEL SALGALLER
Director of Technology Transfer, National Cancer Institute
Dr. Michael Salgaller leads the Invention Development and Marketing Unit within the National Cancer Institute’s Technology Transfer Center, where he leverages over 20 years of business, scientific, and investment experience in various life science sectors to support technology development and commercialization. Previously, he provided technical and strategic expertise to The Conafay Group, a DC-based government affairs firm – leading efforts on non-dilutive funding and alliance development. Previously, he was a key member of the business development team for the healthcare practice at SAIC, a Fortune-500 government contractor. He helped lead and deepen relationships with the Department of Health and Human Services – especially NIH and FDA – as well as foundations and patient advocacy groups. Before SAIC, he was a long-time industry executive who has held various positions in early-stage biotechnology and boutique professional service firms. In addition, Dr. Salgaller was on the investment team of Toucan Capital, a $120M early-stage venture firm dedicated to the life sciences, where he guided company formation and helped raise follow-on financing. He began his career as a Senior Staff Scientist with Dr. Steve Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute, where he oversaw a lab developing immunotherapies for patients with terminal cancer.
Dr. Salgaller serves on the Life Sciences Advisory Board of the Maryland-Israel Development Center, as well as NCI liaison to the Maryland Technology Council. He is an advisor to DC ArchAngels and the Cooperative Angel Alumni Group. He is the author of “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship,” which is used as a reference text for courses at NIH and Catholic University, among others. He is the author of over 100 articles, presentations, and book chapters, and is on the editorial boards of several journals. Dr. Salgaller received his PhD in Pathology from The Ohio State University.
DR. MITCHELL MUTZ
Entrepreneur Partner, Vivo Capital
Mitchell Mutz, PhD, is an Entrepreneur Partner of Vivo Capital. He is a successful biotech serial entrepreneur, venture investor, and inventor with over 20 years experience in starting and investing in biotechnology companies. Mitchell was previously Senior Investment Director of the Roche Venture Fund where he led new investments in and served on the boards of Pandion Therapeutics (acquired by Merck), Good Therapeutics, Jasper Therapeutics, EnLiven Therapeutics (observer) and Kumquat Biosciences (observer).
Previously, Mitchell was a co-founder, president, chief scientific officer, and board member of Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biotherapeutics company, acquired by Pfizer. Mitchell was also on the founding team and the Principal Scientist of Labcyte, a tools company he helped grow from inception and was later acquired by Beckman-Coulter, Inc.
Mitchell earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Rochester, a Diploma in Orchestral Studies from the University of London, and a B.A. in Chemistry with high honors from Oberlin College.
DR. LUSONG LUO
SVP of External Innovation, BeiGene
Lusong Luo, Ph.D., is SVP & Head of External Innovation and one of the founding scientists at BeiGene. Prior, Dr. Luo was SVP & Head of Discovery Biology at BeiGene. In addition to his current role at BeiGene, Dr. Luo serves as the acting CEO and President of MapKure, LLC, as well as Board member for MapKure and Boston Immune Technologies & Therapeutics. Before joining BeiGene, Dr. Luo held positions at BioDuro as Sr. Director and Director of Discovery Biology. He has also spent a number of years at GlaxoSmithkline Oncology CEDD, where he served as Group Manager, Research Investigator, and Principal Scientist. Dr. Luo was a key member of a number of oncology drug discovery/development teams that have contributed to the discovery and development of over a dozen clinical compounds, among which five have obtained regulatory approvals. Dr. Luo has published more than 60 research papers, reviews, and book chapters. He was trained with Professor. Christopher T Walsh at Harvard Medical School and obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of New Mexico.
SATOSHI KONAGAI, MBA
Senior Investment Manager, Astellas Venture Management
Mr. Konagai is a Senior Investment Manager and joined AVM in 2020. Before joining AVM, he worked at the Strategic department at Astellas Pharma Inc. based in Tokyo HQ since 2015. He has led various internal projects and evaluation of external later stage opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas and modalities including Oncology, Ophthalmology, and regenerative medicine. In parallel, he served as a member who develops corporate global R&D strategy and business strategy for regenerative medicine using his scientific and business intelligence. From 2004 to 2015, he was engaged in Oncology research programs including kinase inhibitors, Immuno-Oncology and biologics from target discovery to clinical stage as a pharmacology research scientist in the Drug Discovery Research Center at Astellas Pharma Inc. Mr. Konagai received his Master of Life Science degree in the field of Integrated Life Science from Kyoto University and Master of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Innovation from University of Massachusetts Lowell.