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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
Chairman of the Board
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Laura Antipov, PhD
Director of 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.

Betty Chan, PhD
Associate Director, Biochemistry
Betty joined Auron Therapeutics in January 2021. She is a data-driven and motivated scientific investigator with 15 years of experience building and leading biochemistry and lead discovery capabilities. Betty’s interest and expertise include advancing small molecules from various hit finding approaches (including DNA-encoded library screening) to IND filing, developing innovative assays to interrogate new modalities and their biochemical mechanisms of action, and working collaboratively to build infrastructure for supporting new R&D programs. 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, a M.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Brandeis University, where she also received bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry, Biology, and French Language and Literature.

Kimberly Straley
Associate Director, 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.

Joe DeBartolo, PhD
Associate 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.

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.
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.
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.

Investors

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