President and Chief Executive Officer
Anna joined Mersana in March 2015, bringing a substantial track record of executive leadership and business experience in the biotech industry. Prior to Mersana, Anna was President of Millennium, where she led Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s $1.3 billion oncology business. Anna also served as the Executive Vice President of Global Business Development for Takeda Pharmaceuticals where she oversaw global acquisitions, partnering, licensing, and venture investing. In this role, she led Takeda’s $12 billion acquisition of Nycomed, a critical step in the company’s globalization. Anna was a member of Takeda’s executive committee and was elected a corporate officer in 2011.
Earlier in her career, Anna served as an executive officer at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and served in various senior leadership positions, playing an integral role in the company’s transformation from a genomics start-up to a fully integrated oncology leader. She was instrumental in the sale of Millennium to Takeda for $8.8 billion. Anna also served on the board of directors of Ariad Pharmaceuticals from May 2015 to February 2017, when it was sold to Takeda for $5.2 billion; the board of Bioverativ from January 2017 to January 2018, when it was sold to Sanofi for $11.6 billion; and the board of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals from January 2019 to June 2021.
Anna earned her B.S. in Science and Engineering from Princeton University, M.S. in Chemical Engineering practice from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Mohan Bala, PhD
Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Planning & Program Leadership
Mohan joined Mersana in October 2021, bringing a deep expertise in overall asset strategy and program management to the Mersana team. Mohan has overseen the advancement of products through early, mid and late-stage clinical development and has helped launch 7 oncology products globally. Mohan Bala, Ph.D., was most recently Chief Operating Officer at Constellation Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for overall asset strategy and program management.
Prior to joining Constellation, Mohan served as VP, Development Program Lead at TESARO, where he led cross-functional teams to advance two products to Phase 2, and one product to regulatory filing. He has been involved in multiple successful BLA and MAAs, including the filing of a companion diagnostic. Earlier in his career, Mohan held senior leadership roles at Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Centocor, where he gained deep experience and expertise in market access, health economics and launch planning.
Dr. Bala holds a Ph.D. in Management Science and an M.B.A from the University of Chicago and has co-authored over 50 peer reviewed articles published in medical and economics journals.
Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Alejandra joined Mersana in April 2021, with 20 years of experience of legal leadership and transformational business development experience.
Before joining Mersana, Alejandra was the Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel & Secretary at Momenta Pharmaceuticals, where she led the company’s legal operations through both business restructuring and the successful acquisition by Johnson & Johnson for $6.5 billion. She also served as a key strategic legal partner in the company’s financing, business development, and contractual decision-making efforts. Prior to joining Momenta, Alejandra served as the Vice President, General Counsel at Cerulean Pharma. Previously, she worked at Millennium Pharmaceuticals in several positions of increasing seniority, where she was the legal business partner to Millennium’s R&D, business development, manufacturing and commercial functions. She also held positions earlier in her career at law the firms Day, Berry & Howard LLP and Hill & Barlow.
Alejandra received her Juris Doctorate with honors from the Georgetown University Law Center and holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard University. She is a member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Bar.
In her spare time, Alejandra is a member of the Board of Directors for the Science Club for Girls, Inc., a MA non-profit organization that fosters excitement, confidence, and literacy in STEM for girls and young women from underrepresented communities. She also enjoys traveling with her family (when it is safe!), reading the Sunday NYTimes and learning how to play the piano.
Brian C. DeSchuytner
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Brian joined Mersana in 2019, bringing significant biopharmaceutical business strategy, operational, finance, product development, and commercialization experience from leading oncology companies. Prior to Mersana, he served as Vice President at TESARO, where he was responsible for the commercialization of ZEJULA® (niraparib), a PARP inhibitor developed to treat ovarian cancer. From 2009 to 2017 Brian held several positions of increasing responsibility at Takeda Oncology (previously known as Millennium Pharmaceuticals), where he served as Vice President, responsible for the global launch of NINLARO® (ixazomib), a drug developed to treat multiple myeloma. At Takeda Oncology and earlier in his career at Novartis, Brian held corporate development and strategy roles, and was a leader in the life sciences practice of L.E.K. Consulting.
Brian holds an M.B.A from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College.
In his free time, Brian enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and Star Wars. Many people even say that Brian reminds them of Han Solo.
Timothy B. Lowinger, PhD
Chief Science and Technology Officer
Since joining Mersana, when it was a nascent start-up, Tim has served as Chief Scientific Officer, and in 2019 was named Chief Science and Technology Officer. Since the beginning, he has led all of Mersana’s discovery efforts and is a co-inventor of all of our innovative ADC platforms and pipelines.
Prior to joining Mersana, Tim had nearly 15 years of international scientific leadership and drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Over the course of his career at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in the US, Japan, and Germany, he contributed to the discovery of more than 15 preclinical and clinical drug candidates in the areas of oncology, asthma, inflammation, virology, obesity, and diabetes. Most notably, Tim is a co-inventor and was the discovery project leader of the pioneering anti-angiogenic kinase inhibitor Nexavar (sorafenib), approved for the treatment of renal and hepatocellular cancer. He was also involved in the discovery of Stivarga (regorafenib), approved for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. While Head of Chemistry for Bayer in Japan, he initiated and oversaw the discovery and optimization of PI3K inhibitors which resulted in the approved drug Aliqopa (copanlisib), a treatment for relapsed follicular lymphoma, and while Department Head, Medicinal Chemistry in Germany, he oversaw the optimization of the HCMV anti-viral program, which resulted in the approved anti-viral drug PREVYMISTM (letermovir), licensed to Merck US. His role at Bayer prior to joining Mersana was as VP of Chemistry Research US, where he led a department of 150 scientists in the areas of medicinal, computational, process development, and analytical chemistry focused on oncology drug discovery.
Tim has published and presented widely in the fields of synthetic and medicinal chemistry, polymer-drug conjugates and ADCs, and is a co-inventor on more than 50 patents. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of British Columbia, and was a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ohio State University in the labs of Professor Leo A. Paquette.
In his personal life, it’s a poorly kept secret that Tim is a fan of all things Japanese, from scaling Mt. Fuji to see the sunrise on his birthday, to finding the best places to eat okonomiyaki, or even to naming his beloved labradoodle Yoshi (Japanese for lucky).
Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
Chuck joined Mersana in August 2020, bringing over 25 years of regulatory affairs, program leadership, and product development experience. Prior to Mersana, he served as Vice President of Regulatory Strategy and Labeling at TESARO, Inc before its acquisition by GSK. While at TESARO he was part of the research and development leadership team that provided strategic direction and management of development teams across the entire portfolio. He was instrumental in the approval of ZEJULA® (niraparib) in multiple indications and geographies. Previously, he worked as Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs at Cubist, before its acquisition by Merck. He has also worked in regulatory strategy and affairs at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Idenix Pharmaceuticals and Acambis Inc.
Chuck holds a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Boston University.
Tushar Misra, PhD
Chief Manufacturing Officer
Tushar joined Mersana in August 2021, bringing more than 15 years of experience in the scale up of manufacturing processes for small molecules, large-molecules and ADCs as well as the development and management of worldwide commercial supply chains. Tushar was most recently EVP, Head of Technical Development & Manufacturing at Laronde, a platform company developing a novel, engineered form of RNA. While at Laronde, he led the process development and manufacturing team for end-to-end manufacturing for preclinical and clinical research candidates Before that, he was SVP, Technical Operations at Wave Life Sciences. Prior to that, Tushar worked at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in several positions of increasing seniority, most recently as VP & Head, Global Oncology and Biologics Operations. While at Takeda, he built world-wide manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure for the company’s biologic and oncology commercial products including ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin), NINLARO®(ixazomib) and ENTYVIO® (vedolizumab). Earlier in his career, he held senior executive leadership roles in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (previously Sepracor, Inc.). Tushar received his Ph.D. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Rhode Island and his B.Sc. with honors from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela in India.
Chief People Officer
Carla joined Mersana in January 2021, with 20 years of experience in human resources in the U.S. and Europe and has held a variety of roles, including the building and development of talent and leadership at multiple large companies and helping to shape a positive culture at these companies to support overall business strategy.
Before joining Mersana, Ms. Poulson was Chief Human Resources Officer at Akcea Therapeutics, before its acquisition by Ionis Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Akcea, she served multiple roles at Vertex Pharmaceuticals over 10 years. She started as the Human Resources Director at Vertex, progressing to Head of International Human Resources where she grew the international Headquarters from 2-250+ employees in just two years. Ultimately, she served as Vice President and Senior Human Resources Business Partner driving change management throughout the organization during a period of great organizational growth. She has also held managing positions at Ahold Corporation, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Pepsi Bottling Group and ExxonMobil Corporation.
Ms. Poulson holds a Masters in Human Resources and Industrial Relations and a B.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, both from the University of Illinois.
Arvin Yang, MD, PhD
Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Arvin joined Mersana in November 2020, bringing deep experience in leading early-stage trials and late-stage global registrational trials. Prior to joining Mersana, Arvin spent over a decade at Bristol Myers Squibb in various roles with increasing responsibility for the clinical development of hematology and oncology including immuno-oncology therapies. Most recently, he was Vice President and Head of Clinical Hematology. Before that, he was Vice President and Development Lead for Melanoma and GU cancers, and played a critical role in the global approval of nivolumab and nivolumab plus ipilimumab combinations in a number of indications. Earlier, he was responsible for the nivolumab and ipilimumab life-cycle clinical development plans including those in gynecological cancers. Finally, he has held leadership roles overseeing a pipeline of early clinical programs as well as roles in medical affairs.
Dr. Yang received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School and in oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.