Christoph Lengauer, PhD
Executive Vice President,
Christoph Lengauer is executive vice president at Blueprint Medicines. He has a proven record in cancer drug discovery, including contributing to the development of more than 20 drugs that reached first-in-human clinical trials and three FDA-approved medicines. Christoph joined Blueprint Medicines from Sanofi, where he was vice president and global head of oncology drug discovery and preclinical development. Before joining Sanofi, he was executive director and senior unit head of oncology discovery at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). Prior to Novartis, Christoph was an associate professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As part of his research, Christoph discovered that all cancers are genetically unstable and was involved in the identification of several cancer driver genes. He has authored more than one hundred scientific articles published in top-tier scientific journals, including Cell, Nature and Science.
In 2015, Christoph built the German Accelerator Life Sciences (GALS) in Boston, which provides high-end strategic consulting to young German biotechs so they can more easily succeed in becoming strong companies and introduce their products to the global market. Christoph joined Third Rock Ventures as a venture partner in 2016 and focuses on the formation of companies discovering and developing novel therapeutics.
Christoph studied human genetics in Salzburg, Austria, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and his MBA with a focus on medical services management from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Christoph holds adjunct associate professor positions at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. He has received numerous awards, including the Boveri Award in Cancer Genetics, the Benjamin Baker Scholar award and a V Foundation scholarship. Christoph was awarded the Novartis Oncology President’s Award for top innovator and has been elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.
Howard A “Skip” Burris III, MD
President, Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Officer,
Howard A “Skip” Burris III, MD serves as chief medical officer and president of Sarah Cannon’s clinical operations, HCA’s global cancer institute. In his roles, he leads clinical strategy and drug development initiatives, which includes the overseeing physician-led, patient-centric integrated cancer services. Additionally, Dr. Burris is an associate with Tennessee Oncology, PLLC.
In 1997, Dr. Burris established the first community-based Phase 1 drug development program in Nashville which became Sarah Cannon Research Institute. Among his many notable accomplishments, he led the first-in-human studies for many now-approved drugs that have changed the standard of care for several types of cancers including docetaxel and ado-trastuzumab emtansine in breast cancer and everolimus in kidney cancer. Burris has also authored more than 300 publications and more than 450 abstracts. In 2014, he was named a Giant of Cancer Care during the ASCO annual meeting.
Dr. Burris received his medical degree from the University of South Alabama in 1985, and performed his residency and fellowship in hematology/oncology at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. While there, he served as director of clinical research at the Institute for Drug Development of The Cancer Therapy and Research Center, and was an associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center. He has served on the ASCO Board of Governors, ASCO Audit Committee, and chairman of one ASCO nominating committee.
Peter Kiener, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, and Head of Research & Development,
Sucampo Pharma Americas LLC
Dr. Peter A Kiener currently is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Mersana. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at Sucampo Pharma Americas LLC. Prior to joining Sucampo, he served as CSO of Ambrx Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of antibody-drug conjugates.
From 2009 to 2013, Dr. Kiener was President and Co-founder of Zyngenia Inc., an early-stage biopharmaceutical company. He also held leadership roles of increasing responsibility from 2001 to 2009 at MedImmune LLC, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, including Executive Vice President and Global Head of Biologics Research and Development, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Research, and Vice President of Research. Dr. Kiener previously worked on biologics for Bristol-Myers Squibb from 1983 to 2001. Dr. Kiener began his career at the University of North Texas/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he was an Assistant Professor from 1982 to 1983, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was a Research Associate from 1978 to 1982. Dr. Kiener has served on the scientific advisory boards of KAI Pharmaceuticals Inc., Genocea Biosciences Inc., NKT Therapeutics Inc. and VLST Corporation. Dr. Kiener currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Managers of Resolve LLC, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Cue Pharma LLC and Tetragenetics Inc.
He has published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is an inventor on more than 40 patents and patent applications. Dr. Kiener earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Lancaster and a doctorate of philosophy in biochemistry from the University of Oxford.
Peter Smith, PhD
Senior Vice President Early Development,
Pete Smith currently is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Mersana. He is head of Early Development (SVP) at Alnylam, where he has led the team to bring the first RNAi drug to market.
He has spent over 30 years in pharmaceuticals across multiple companies including 13 years at Millennium with his last eight years as co-head of R&D. This role included management of all non-clinical groups and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Following his leadership role at Millennium/Takeda, he became SVP and head of R&D Non-Clinical at Moderna. Pete has extensive experience in drug discovery and development across multiple therapeutic areas (CV, Oncology, Inflammation, Infectious disease, rare disease, and others) and therapeutic modalities (small molecules, antibodies, ADCs, nucleic acids [modified mRNA and siRNA]). He has overseen the non-clinical development of multiple, currently marketed therapeutics including Celebrex, Inspra, Velcade, Entyvio, and has been deeply involved in numerous others (i.e. the first statins and A-II antagonists).
In addition, Pete has been involved with portfolio management, in-licensing and project team/management and was a member of the management team (series 16 officer) at Millennium and participated in the acquisition process with Takeda. He has global development and management experience (organizations have spanned multiple geographic areas including EU and Japan as well as multiple US sites) and has interacted with multiple regulatory agencies and alliance partners across multiple programs.
K. Dane Wittrup, PhD
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering,
MIT and Associate Director, Koch Institute
Prof. Dane Wittrup attended the University of New Mexico as an undergraduate, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering in June, 1984. Wittrup went on to attend the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he worked with Prof. James Bailey on flow cytometry and segregated modeling of recombinant populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biology in 1988, he spent a brief time working at Amgen before becoming an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. He moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September of 1999, where he is now the C.P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering, in addition to working with the Koch Institute as the Associate Director for Engineering.