About Auron

 

Auron Therapeutics aims to cure cancer by radically changing the paradigm of cancer therapeutics from cell killing to transformation of malignant cells into more normal functioning cells. This transformation, called differentiation therapy, reactivates endogenous cellular programs to elicit tumor cell maturation and reprogram cancer tissue to a more normal phenotype.

Differentiation agents have proven remarkably effective in hematologic malignancies. In acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), previously the deadliest form of acute myeloid leukemia, the differentiation agents all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO) lead to 98% cure rates through differentiation of malignant promyelocytes into non-cancerous cell neutrophils. Similarly, treatment of IDH mutant AML with IDH inhibitors leads to durable remissions, transfusion independence, and myeloid blast differentiation with minimal toxicity.

Auron Therapeutics will rapidly identify molecular targets and develop therapies that induce cellular differentiation through integration of large, multi -omic datasets derived from primary human patient samples. Although our initial focus will be in AML, differentiation therapy is applicable to all human cancers whether solid or hematologic tumors. The development of novel differentiation therapies and a cure to cancer is within reach through this integrative approach to transformative translational research.

Team

Founders

Kate Yen, PhD
Auron
Kate Yen, PhD, is the Founder and CEO of Auron Therapeutics. Prior to founding Auron, she was a Director at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where she led the IDH translational research team that supported the preclinical and clinical development and approval of two IDH mutant inhibitors, IDHIFA and TIBSOVO. She led the proof of concept studies that identified their novel mechanism of action (i.e. induction of differentiation) and coordinated the research objectives across many departments to support drug discovery. She also supported the P1 clinical trials and led the development of a global P3 combination trial in AML patients. Prior to joining Agios, Kate held positions at Merck and UCLA, where she studied the molecular mechanism of eukaryotic transcriptional regulation, developed the Hi-Myc mouse model of prostate cancer, and studied the molecular mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. Kate brings to Auron her unique translational biology expertise spanning both basic science and clinical development and her experience leading the development of novel oncology therapies from concept through to FDA approval.

Matt Vander Heiden,
MD, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Matthew Vander Heiden is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Associate Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He is also an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and an Instructor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Vander Heiden received his MD and PhD degree from the University of Chicago. He also completed clinical training in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Dana-Farber Cancer Institute prior to completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. His laboratory studies how metabolism is regulated to meet the needs of cells in different physiological situations with a focus on understanding the role of metabolism in cancer.

Ross Levine, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Ross Levine, MD, is a Member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program and an Attending Physician on the Leukemia Service, Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). He is the Laurence Joseph Dineen Chair in Leukemia Research, a Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Director of the MSK Center for Hematologic Malignancies. Dr. Levine earned his AB from Harvard College and a MD from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Levine served as a Resident in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and as a Hematology-Oncology Fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His laboratory has identified myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) predisposition alleles and characterized somatic genetic and epigenetic alterations in MPN and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients, which has led to new mechanism based therapies. He has been honored with the Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology, a Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Boyer Award for Clinical Investigation from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and a NCI Outstanding Investigator R35 award. In 2011 he was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and in 2018 to the Association of American Physicians.

Eytan Stein, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Eytan M. Stein, MD, is an Assistant Professor on the Leukemia Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He has a particular interest in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and conducts novel, phase I clinical trials of compounds that target the genetic and epigenetic basis of myeloid malignancies. Dr. Stein led the clinical study of the IDH2 inhibitor Enasidenib in patients with relapsed and refractory AML that led to its FDA approval in August 2017. He also leads a variety of phase 1 clinical trials with antibody drug conjugates, bromodomain inhibitors, MDM2 inhibitors, DHODH inhibitors and is a clinical investigator on the BEAT AML master clinical trial. His current research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of resistance to IDH inhibitors and developing clinical trials that combine epigenetic and targeted therapy for the treatment of AML.

Board of Directors

Isaac Ciechanover, MD
Polaris Partners
Dr. Isaac Ciechanover joined Polaris as a partner in 2020 and is based in the San Francisco office. He focuses on biotech investments, healthcare technology companies and company creation.
Isaac currently represents Polaris on the board of Auron Therapeutics.
Before joining Polaris, Isaac was president and chief executive officer of Atara Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: ATRA), an off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy company. Isaac founded Atara in 2012 while a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and in honor of his mother Atara who had recently passed away from cancer. Isaac led the company through an IPO to a valuation beyond $1 billion.
Earlier in his career, Isaac held business development roles at Celgene and Amylin Pharmaceuticals. He took his first role in venture capital at Pequot Ventures in New York, after receiving his M.B.A. from Harvard University. Isaac worked on projects with Polaris while at HBS and he has served on the board of SQZ Biotech, a Polaris portfolio company, since May 2019.
Isaac earned a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University, an M.Phil in Epidemiology from Cambridge University, and his M.D. from Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Anna French, PhD
Qiming Venture Partners USA
Anna French, PhD is a Partner at Qiming Venture Partners USA, and is based in Cambridge, MA. Prior to joining the Qiming team in 2017, Anna was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) where she advised leading biopharma companies on their strategy and operations. She also led a global industry-academic consortium focused on cell therapy commercialization.
Anna earned a D.Phil from the University of Oxford, UK where her research focused on hematological differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. She has over 20 publications in the field of stem cell research.
Anna currently serves on the boards of WindMIL Therapeutics, Jasper Therapeutics, Umoja Biopharma and Cardialen and is a board observer with Talaris Therapeutics, and PlateletBio.

Alon Lazarus, PhD
Arkin Bio Ventures
Dr. Alon Lazarus is a Biotech Investment Manager at Arkin Bio Ventures. Dr. Lazarus joined Arkin Holdings’ pharma division in 2013.
Prior to joining Arkin, Dr. Lazarus worked for the healthcare business development department of Yissum, the R&D arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Dr. Lazarus holds a Ph.D in molecular biology and an MBA, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Briggs Morrison, MD
Independent Chairman of the Board
Dr. Morrison received his B.S. in biology from Georgetown University, his M.D. from the University of Connecticut Medical School, completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He did postdocs with Philip Leder at Harvard Medical School, and Lee Nadler at the Dana-Farber. He joined Merck & Co., Inc. in 1995, was appointed Head of Clinical Development at Pfizer in 2007, and became Head of Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca in 2012. He is currently President, Head of R+D and a board member at Syndax Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SNDX) and an Executive Partner at MPM Capital.
Dr. Morrison has overseen the development of numerous biopharmaceutical products in multiple therapeutic areas, from first-in-human trials through to global regulatory approvals. He is currently a board member of Arvinas (NASDAQ: ARVN), Werewolf (NASDAQ: HOWL) and Repare Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RPTX) and is an advisor to several other private biotechnology companies.

Brad Robling
Eli Lilly and Company
Board Observer
Brad Robling is the Vice President of Corporate Business Development / Lilly New Ventures at Eli Lilly and Company. As such, he is focused on managing Eli Lilly’s venture capital investments globally. Prior to joining the Eli Lilly venture team, he held positions in business development and investor relations. Prior to joining Lilly, he held business development / finance positions in business development for a global 100 technology company and two startup companies in the Bay Area. He also spent over 10 years at financial / consulting companies: Deloitte Consulting and Ernst and Young.
Brad currently serves on the board of Sitryx Therapeutics based in Oxford, UK. and is a board observer with Cedilla Therapeutics based in Boston, MA.

Kate Yen, PhD
Auron
Kate Yen, PhD, is the Founder and CEO of Auron Therapeutics. Prior to founding Auron, she was a Director at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where she led the IDH translational research team that supported the preclinical and clinical development and approval of two IDH mutant inhibitors, IDHIFA and TIBSOVO. She led the proof of concept studies that identified their novel mechanism of action (i.e. induction of differentiation) and coordinated the research objectives across many departments to support drug discovery. She also supported the P1 clinical trials and led the development of a global P3 combination trial in AML patients. Prior to joining Agios, Kate held positions at Merck and UCLA, where she studied the molecular mechanism of eukaryotic transcriptional regulation, developed the Hi-Myc mouse model of prostate cancer, and studied the molecular mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. Kate brings to Auron her unique translational biology expertise spanning both basic science and clinical development and her experience leading the development of novel oncology therapies from concept through to FDA approval.


Auron Team

Kate Yen, PhD
Founder & CEO
Kate Yen, PhD, is the Founder and CEO of Auron Therapeutics. Prior to founding Auron, she was a Director at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where she led the IDH translational research team that supported the preclinical and clinical development and approval of two IDH mutant inhibitors, IDHIFA and TIBSOVO. She led the proof of concept studies that identified their novel mechanism of action (i.e. induction of differentiation) and coordinated the research objectives across many departments to support drug discovery. She also supported the P1 clinical trials and led the development of a global P3 combination trial in AML patients. Prior to joining Agios, Kate held positions at Merck and UCLA, where she studied the molecular mechanism of eukaryotic transcriptional regulation, developed the Hi-Myc mouse model of prostate cancer, and studied the molecular mechanisms of tumor initiation and progression. Kate brings to Auron her unique translational biology expertise spanning both basic science and clinical development and her experience leading the development of novel oncology therapies from concept through to FDA approval.
In her spare time, Kate enjoys gardening and spending long summer days on Martha’s Vineyard soaking up the sun with friends and family.

David Millan, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
David Millan is the Chief Scientific Officer at Auron Therapeutics. Before joining Auron, David was the Vice President of Chemistry at Foghorn Therapeutics, where he led and built the chemistry function, including a protein degrader platform. David played a key role in the early evolution of the company, through the IPO and contributed to bringing in partnerships with Merck and Lilly Loxo. He was a member of the scientific leadership team that oversaw the discovery of two INDs, as well as a robust preclinical portfolio of programs targeting the chromatin regulatory system. Prior to Foghorn, David was Head of Medicinal chemistry at FORMA Therapeutics, leading and overseeing programs in tumor metabolism, epigenetics and protein homeostasis. Earlier in his career David spent several years at Pfizer, in the United Kingdom, as a project leader working on targets in the respiratory and pain therapeutic areas. David began his industrial career at Vertex’s Oxford site, working on structure-based approaches to kinase inhibitors for oncology. During David’s industrial career he has focused on novel areas of biology in both oncology and other disease areas, and either led the discovery of, or oversaw, the progression of more than ten development candidates, with many of those being first-in-class. David was educated in Australia at Flinders University, graduating with a B.Sc. with Honours (First class) and then a PhD in organic chemistry. This was followed by a move to the United Kingdom and post-doctoral training at the University of Nottingham, in the laboratory of Professor Gerald Pattenden, working on the total synthesis of the complex marine natural product Phorboxazole A.
David lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children. He is a passionate about all things cycling and is progressively honing his skills as a fly fisherman.

Andrea Armstrong
Chief People Officer
Andrea is thrilled to join Auron as Chief People Officer. She has a demonstrated history of working in the biotechnology and healthcare industries, where she is skilled in biotech recruiting, professional development, executive coaching, strategic organizational development, planning and management. She also serves as Chief People Officer at Chroma Medicine. Andrea was the Chief People Officer at Faze Medicines and Chief Administrative Officer at Celsius Therapeutics. Prior, Andrea was a strategic advisor at C4 Therapeutics, Inc where she recruited several key C-Suite members and navigated through the Series B/crossover and the IPO process. Previously, she helped launch Vor Biopharma and worked at an early pre-launch Third Rock Venture’s company. Earlier, Andrea served as Atlas Ventures’ first Chief Talent Officer, where she focused on identifying, developing, coaching, and building the pipeline for C-suite and board members for the firm’s seed and portfolio companies. Prior to Atlas Ventures, Andrea served as Chief Administrative Officer at C4 Therapeutics, Inc., Earlier in her career, she held roles as Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice President of Administration at the New York Genome Center, led recruiting for Infinity Pharmaceuticals, and was Vice President at D.P. Parker and Associates, a boutique executive search firm. Andrea is currently on the board of directors of Mana Therapeutics and NextRNA, where she is also a member of the compensation committees.
Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in International Relations and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Boston University.
She has a Covid-puppy which she needed after her husband, Scott and she became empty nesters. For relaxation, Andrea plays tennis and enjoys wine, not necessarily at the same time.

Andrew McRiner, PhD
VP, Head of Drug Discovery
Dr. McRiner joined Auron Therapeutics in December 2020 as VP, Head of Drug Discovery. Most recently he was Director and Head of Medicinal Chemistry at X-Chem Pharmaceuticals, building drug discovery capabilities on top of a highly efficient DNA-Encoded Library (DEL) Screening platform. Dr. McRiner was a founding member of a 25-member team developing a portfolio of 8 small molecule and 8 Protac therapeutic programs derived from DEL screening. In total, Dr. McRiner has almost 20 years of experience leading drug discovery programs at pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis, Schering-Plough and Merck, and contributing to the maturation of smaller biotechs such as Helicon Therapeutics (renamed as DART Neuroscience) and Forum Pharmaceuticals (originally Envivo Pharmaceuticals). He has experience leading projects in multiple therapeutic areas, most prominently oncology and CNS. He is co-inventor on over 25 patent applications and has contributed to the nomination of 12 compounds for clinical development. Dr. McRiner completed post-doctoral studies with Professor Gary Posner at Johns Hopkins University, exploring the antimalarial properties of artemisinin-related trioxanes. He received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry under the tutelage of Professor Timothy J. Donohoe at The University of Manchester (UK), developing the first Birch reductions on aromatic heterocycles as a means to access saturated and partially saturated heterocycles of therapeutic interest.
When not working Andy loves spending time outdoors with his wife and two daughters hiking, skiing and snowboarding in Maine. He looks forward to resuming international travel and visiting new places post-COVID.

Laura Antipov, PhD
Senior Director, Head of R&D Strategy and Operations
Laura Antipov is a self-proclaimed “start-up junkie” with a passion for taking big ideas and translating them into clear, actionable plans. She has been in the biotech industry for 10 years, at three different early stage start-ups, always playing the same role: a “Jack-of-all-trades” problem solver. Laura joined Auron in January 2019; prior to that, she was the Director of Science at Riffyn, where she led collaborations with several global pharmaceutical companies and oversaw a breadth of drug development projects spanning exploratory research to process development. Prior to that, Laura helped build a drug discovery program from the ground up at Silver Creek Pharmaceuticals, a company she joined as employee #4. Her work at Silver Creek led to a clinical candidate currently in Phase 2 trials. Before joining industry, Laura performed postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School where she studied protein structure/function relationships. Laura holds a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from MIT and bachelor’s degrees in both Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of Missouri.
Laura lives in Watertown, MA, with her husband and two kids, where she splits her free time evenly between shuttling kids to activities and laundry.

Betty Chan, PhD
Director, Biochemistry & Biophysics
Betty joined Auron Therapeutics in January 2021. She is a data-driven and motivated scientist with 15+ years of experience building and leading biochemistry capabilities. Betty’s interest and expertise include advancing small molecules from various hit finding approaches (including DNA-encoded library screening and machine learning) to IND filing and developing innovative assays to interrogate new modalities and their MoA. Prior to joining Auron, she worked at Civetta Therapeutics, Kymera Therapeutics, X-Chem Pharmaceuticals, H3 Biomedicine, and Galenea Corporation.
Betty has a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard University. Prior to her graduate studies, she completed a 4-year program at Brandeis University where she received a M.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology and bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry, Biology, and French Language and Literature.
Betty has an avid interest in fitness. She enjoys the technical and cardio conditioning aspects of boxing/lifting and running/cycling, respectively, and relishes in collecting her training data to track progress and performance.

Kimberly Straley
Director, Translational Biology
Kim Straley joined Auron Therapeutics in March of 2021. Kim has 20 years of industry experience in cell biology small molecule drug discovery from her time at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Agios Pharmaceuticals. Her career has focused on developing cell-based assays for SAR exploration as well as detailed mechanistic studies, both of which significantly contributed to the discovery and progression of multiple first-in-class approved therapies. These include the IDH1 and 2 mutant inhibitors- Tibsovo and Idhifa for the treatment of AML as well as the CFTR modulators- Kalydeco, Orkambi, and Trikafta for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis. As an early employee of Agios in 2009, Kim was responsible for helping build infrastructure necessary to support multiple R&D projects in addition to her work on mutant IDH1/2 research and translational biology. Most recently at Vertex, Kim was leading the biology team of an early stage hit-to-lead project to lead optimization status. Kim brings to Auron her broad cell biology drug discovery expertise and patient-focused drive to help discover and develop novel transformative therapies.
Kim learned to sail while living in San Diego and has kept it up since moving to Boston, including spending 5 years frostbite racing on the harbor to acclimate to the new climate.

Peter Slivka, PhD
Director, Translational Biology
Dr. Slivka joined Auron Therapeutics in April 2022 as Director, Translational Biology. Prior to joining Auron, he was a Principal Scientist at AbbVie, Inc. in the department of Immunology Early Discovery with a focus on dermatological diseases. During his time at AbbVie, Dr. Slivka led and supported many efforts throughout various stages of drug discovery. He was part of a group of scientists who pioneered novel strategies for phenotypic screening within the immunology therapeutic area at AbbVie. He personally led several phenotypic screening campaigns utilizing both small molecule and pooled CRISPR methodologies to identify novel targets in primary cell systems. These efforts resulted in the initiation of two small molecule drug discovery programs which Dr. Slivka guided through early and late stages of drug discovery. Dr. Slivka completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine with sponsorship from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. His fellowship work focused on identifying components of extracellular matrix that mediated M2 macrophage polarization. Dr. Slivka earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder where his thesis work focused on characterizing and inhibiting protein-protein interactions. He earned his B.S. in Biochemistry with honors from Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA.
Pete resides in Grafton, MA with his wife and daughter. His hobbies include reading, rock climbing, baking, and hiking—though some of these have taken a back seat to parenthood. Both he and his wife enjoy taking on home projects and are looking forward to traveling again in the near future.

Joe DeBartolo, PhD
Director, Computational Biology
Dr. DeBartolo joined Auron Therapeutics in June 2021 as Associate Director, Computational Biology. Most recently he was Senior Principal Scientist of Bioinformatics at BioMedicine Design Pfizer in Cambridge MA where he built database-linked applications and visual analysis tools for NGS platforms, including single-cell RNA-seq and DNA Ig-Seq. A big part of this work involved designing and implementing analysis workflows and tools for a wide variety of data sources across biotherapeutic discovery to support projects in research areas that include oncology, inflammation and immunology, and rare disease. Before Pfizer, he was at Ipsen Biosciences, also in Cambridge MA, where he worked across chemistry and biology to support drug discovery projects in the immune-oncology space through his expertise in target validation, structure modeling, and in silico protein engineering and design. His academic career includes postdoctoral work at MIT where he developed statistical models built from structure, empirical data, and deep sequencing to model protein interaction selectivity within the Bcl-2 family of proteins – a system highly relevant to cancer biology. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago where his thesis and publications centered around developing statistical models that predict protein structure from sequence.
Joe enjoys roaming with his two Corgis and two Poi dogs in the Noanet woodlands.

James Neef
Director, Medicinal Chemistry
James joined Auron in February 2022 as Director of Medicinal Chemistry. Prior to joining Auron, James worked in the global discovery chemistry group within Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). James has supported multiple disease areas throughout his tenure at Novartis, most recently supporting the Neuroscience disease area where he was project leader for a program focused on identifying new treatments for psychiatric diseases. He successfully led this program through hit finding, optimization, IND enabling studies and successful clinical development. He was responsible for supporting the early psychiatry portfolio and contributed to the success of several other NS programs now in clinical studies. With 19+ years of experience within the pharma industry, James has worked on multiple target classes (GPCRs, kinases, ion channels, proteases & PPIs) in multiple disease areas including; Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Neuroscience, Immunology, and Gastrointestinal Diseases. James started his career with Novartis in the UK as an undergraduate, and attended the University of Greenwich on a part-time basis to obtain his BSc in Chemistry.
James currently resides in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters and is a fan of motorsport and football (soccer). He also taught himself how to play guitar, which he plans to do again, once the kids grow up and he has more time on his hands.

Abby Huber
Executive Assistant/Operations Associate
Abby joined Auron in October 2021 and is Auron’s Executive Assistant/Operations Associate. She caught the bug supporting several growing biotech startups as an admin consultant, beginning with Korro Bio in 2018, and previously wore many hats in the areas of project management, operations, executive support and communications at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, and Children for Children Foundation in New York, NY. Abby also brings a background in English translation from German and Spanish for healthcare and clinical trials as well as deciphering handwritten German Jewish correspondence and diaries in the old German script, with an MA in international literatures from Tübingen, Germany.
Her free time involves hiking and dancing salsa in Rhode Island.


Scientific Advisory Board

Stéphane de Botton,
MD, PhD
Gustave Roussy Cancer Center
Stephane de Botton, MD is a Physician, Clinical Investigator and head of Drug Development in acute leukemias on the Department of hematology at Gustave Roussy cancer center. He conducts phase I to III clinical trials. He also belongs to the research unit UMR 1170 for novel preclinical research. He is a member of the executive board of the Acute Leukemia French Association (ALFA) that focuses on the clinical and translational research in adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML). His work has been published in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, JAMA Oncology, Cancer Discovery, Blood and Leukemia.
Richard Chesworth, PhD
Former CSO, Kymera Therapeutics
Dr. Chesworth has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and has contributed to the research and development programs of thirteen different compounds entering clinical trials, resulting in two clinical approved new molecular entities including tazemetostat recently approved for both epitheloid sarcoma (Jan 2020) and relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma (June 2020). Previously Richard was CSO at Kymera Therapeutics. In February 2019, Richard joined Third Rock Ventures as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence where he focused on building new drug discovery and development companies. Richard joined Epizyme in 2010 as head of chemistry and rose to Senior Vice President of Research at Epizyme, where he was responsible for pipeline activities from target selection to IND as well as nonclinical support of clinical candidates. Richard was also head of chemistry at EnVivo (a.k.a. Forum Pharmaceuticals), a company focusing on neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. Earlier in his career, Richard worked at Surface Logix where he was part of the team that identified and championed SLx-2119 (Belumosudil) now approved for GVHD and, prior to that, at Pfizer working in the cardiovascular and metabolic disease group. Richard holds a BSc in Chemistry from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of London and a D.Phil. in Chemistry from the University of Oxford.
Thomas Graeber, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles
Thomas Graeber, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, and the Director of the UCLA Metabolomics center. Thomas Graeber received his B.S. in Physics from UCLA (1990) and his Ph.D. in Physics/Cancer Biology from Stanford University (1996) with Amato Giaccia studying the role of p53 in hypoxia-induced apoptosis. He is faculty in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, and a member of the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging. He is a Research Fellow in Computational Molecular Biology for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and an American Cancer Society Research Scholar. He is the Director of the UCLA Metabolomics Center.
Dr. Graeber takes an interdisciplinary ‘systems biology’ approach that merges biology, chemistry, mathematics and computation/‌bioinformatics to understand how cancer cells communicate with their environments, process nutrients, and evade therapies. A major research theme is to understand how cancer cells evade modern targeted therapies, and to identify new vulnerabilities as cancer cells evolve to more aggressive variants. A growing clinical challenge occurs when cancer cells evade a working targeted therapy by turning into cells that no longer relay on the target (e.g., no longer relying on androgen signaling to evade a powerful androgen receptor antagonist). This can occur when cancer cells change their cellular identity by de-differentiation or transdifferentiation. To overcome this, his lab is researching the vulnerabilities of the new cellular state, and finding approaches to block the transition to a new state. An additional therapeutic avenue under pursuit, is how to turn genetic and chromosomal flaws found across aggressive cancer types into a vulnerability rather than a strength.
His honors include: Giants of Science Passion Award, American Cancer Society, 2017; UCLA Undergraduate Research Week Faculty Mentor Award, 2019. In addition to Auron, he serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Coherus BioSciences.
Ross Levine, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Ross Levine is a Member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) and an Attending Physician on the Leukemia Service, Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). He is the Chief of the Molecular Cancer Medicine Service (HOPP), the Laurence Joseph Dineen Chair in Leukemia Research, a Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Director of the MSK Center for Hematologic Malignancies. Dr. Levine earned his A.B. from Harvard College and a M.D. from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Levine served as a Resident in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and as a Hematology-Oncology Fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His laboratory has identified myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) predisposition alleles and characterized somatic genetic and epigenetic alterations in MPN and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients, which has led to new mechanism based therapies. He has been honored with the Dameshek Prize from the American Society of Hematology, a Scholar Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Boyer Award for Clinical Investigation from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and a NCI Outstanding Investigator R35 Award. In 2011 he was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and in 2018 to the Association of American Physicians. In addition to Auron, he serves on the Supervisory Board of Qiagen and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Zentalis, Prelude, C4 Therapeutics, Isoplexis, Mana Therapeutics and was on the Scientific Advisory Board of Loxo Oncology.
Mikhail (Misha) Roshal, MD, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Misha Roshal is a practicing hematopathologist, associate attending physician, and director of the clinical flow cytometry laboratory in the department of pathology in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. His major clinical expertise is in development of robust flow cytometry-based assays for assessment of treatment response of hematologic neoplasms. His laboratory has developed assays for high sensitivity measurable residual disease in acute myeloid and lymphoid leukemias, myeloma, and CLL. In addition, they have acquired an expertise in evaluation of hematologic response to novel therapeutic agents in phase I/II clinical trials including evaluation of drug-induced maturation state changes via cell surface biomarker assessment. His major research interests are in molecular genetic characterization of treatment resistant and rare disease populations and in defining molecular genetic triggers of lineage infidelity and unusual differentiation pathways in acute leukemia. These studies have led to identification of specific mutations associated with lineage infidelity and plasmacytoid dendritic cell maturation as well as mutation combinations and phenotypes associated with decreased MRD clearance in AML.
Kimberly Stegmaier, MD
Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the Ted Williams Chair at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has advanced the application of genomics to drug and protein target discovery for pediatric malignancies. She is the Vice Chair for Pediatric Oncology Research, Co-director of the Pediatric Hematologic Malignancy Program, and an attending physician providing clinical care in Pediatric Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Stegmaier is also an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She has served as a Council Member with the Society for Pediatric Research and as the Chair for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Pediatric Cancer Working Group. Dr. Stegmaier is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Joanne Levy, MD, Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement from the American Society of Hematology, a Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Innovative Research Grant, the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School, the 2016 E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, and an NCI Outstanding Investigator R35 Award. In 2009 she was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and in 2017 to the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Stegmaier received her undergraduate degree from Duke University where she graduated valedictorian, medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Eytan Stein, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Eytan M. Stein, MD is an Assistant Attending Physician, Clinical Investigator and Director of the Program for Drug Development in Leukemia on the Leukemia Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He conducts novel, phase I clinical trials of compounds that target the genetic and epigenetic basis of myeloid malignancies. Dr. Stein led the clinical studies of the IDH2 inhibitor Enasidenib and the IDH1 Inhibitor Ivosidenib in patients with relapsed and refractory AML that led to their FDA approval in 2017 and 2018, respectively. He also leads a variety of phase 1 clinical trials and serves as the lead investigator at Memorial Sloan Kettering for the BEAT AML master clinical trial. His current research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of resistance to IDH inhibitors and the use of Menin inhibitors in patients with MLL-rearranged acute leukemia. His work has been published in journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA Oncology, Cancer Discovery and Blood. In addition, he serves on the Editorial Boards of Blood and Leukemia and Lymphoma.
Shin-San Michael Su, PhD
Volastra Therapeutics, Inc.
Dr. Michael Su joined Volastra as Chief Scientific Officer in February 2020. Previously, he served as CSO of Decibel Therapeutics, a gene therapy company focused on hearing loss and imbalance between 2016 and 2020. Michael was a co-founder and Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Agios Pharmaceuticals between 2008 and 2016. During his time at Agios, he led the team responsible for identifying the oncogenic cause of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutants in cancer and the discovery of two drug candidates (IDHIFA and TIBSOVO), which are approved for the treatment of AML with IDH mutations. He also chaired the Agios-Celgene joint research collaboration from 2010 to 2013 and subsequently, led drug discovery team for rare genetic diseases at Agios. From 2004 to 2006, he served as General Director and Vice President of the Biomedical Engineering Research Laboratory (BEL) at ITRI in Taiwan. Prior to that, he spent 14 years in a number of scientific leadership roles at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, concluding his tenure as program executive and Vice President of the Novartis-Vertex kinase collaboration. Michael has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Duke University and completed postdoctoral work through the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship in biochemistry and molecular biology at Harvard University. He has published over 50 times with more than 30 issued and pending patents.
George Thomas, MD
Oregon Health & Science University
Dr. George Thomas is a professor of pathology at the Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. He is also associate medical director of the Knight Diagnostics Laboratory. His clinical area of expertise is in precision oncology of prostate and kidney cancers. He directs a translational research program that studies treatment induced metabolic reprogramming in these cancers, with the goal of developing new combination therapies. Dr. Thomas received his MD from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and did his pathology residency and research fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Matthew Vander Heiden is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Associate Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. He is also an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and an Instructor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Vander Heiden received his MD and PhD degree from the University of Chicago. He also completed clinical training in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Dana-Farber Cancer Institute prior to completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. His laboratory studies how metabolism is regulated to meet the needs of cells in different physiological situations with a focus on understanding the role of metabolism in cancer.
Paresh Vyas, MRCP FRCP FRCPath
Oxford University
Paresh Vyas, MRCP FRCP FRCPath, is a Professor of Haematology at Oxford University. He studied medicine at Cambridge then Oxford. After completing his medical and haematology training in London. He did his PhD with Professor Higgs and Professor Sir Weatherall at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Oxford and did a three years doing a post-doctoral fellowship with Professor Orkin at Harvard University. He is a research active Consultant Haematologist with a clinical practice in myeloid disorders (MDS, AML and MPD) and allogeneic stem cell transplant in Oxford and the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford. His research focuses on molecular and cellular biology of AML and MDS with specific interest in purification and therapeutic targeting of myeloid preleukaemic and leukaemic stem cells. He studies single cell biology in both normal and leukaemic haemopoiesis.
He is on the UK AML and MDS clinical trial groups. He is co-Lead of the Oxford BRC Haematology Theme, is on the Board of NHSBT, vice-chair of the MRC Clinical Training Panel, Translational Lead for the UK Therapy Acceleration Program. He works with Celgene on the IDH inhibitor program and is global lead for the AML-005 study.

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