Christoph Lengauer, PhD MBA
Third Rock Ventures
Christoph is a partner at Third Rock Ventures where he has been instrumental in founding and launching several companies. He currently serves as the Chief Innovation Officer at Thrive Earlier Detection as well as the CSO at Celsius Therapeutics. Christoph has contributed to the discovery and development of seven FDA-approved cancer medicines, including AYVAKIT™ indicated for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic GIST harboring a PDGFRA exon 18 mutation with an overall response rate of 84%.
Prior to joining Third Rock, Christoph was CSO and chief drug hunter at Blueprint Medicines, global head of oncology drug discovery at Sanofi, and senior unit head of oncology discovery at Novartis. Prior to Novartis, Christoph was an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he was involved in the identification of several cancer driver genes including PIK3CA and BRAF. As part of his research, Christoph discovered that all cancers are genetically unstable, which explains the molecular heterogeneity of cancer and why cancers develop resistance to cancer drugs. He has authored more than 100 scientific articles published in top-tier scientific journals, including Cell, Nature and Science.
Christoph studied human genetics in Salzburg, Austria and got his PhD in biology from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He received his MBA with a focus on medical services management from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Christoph has received numerous awards, including the Novartis Oncology President’s Award for Top Innovator. He has been elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. Christoph is a strong and outspoken advocate of patients’ rights and is featured in the New York Times bestseller and HBO movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. He coached the Johns Hopkins Women’s soccer team for several years and was director of coaching at the Baltimore Bays Premier Soccer Club.
Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FASCO, FACP
President & Chief Medical Officer, Sarah Cannon;
Associate, Tennessee Oncology, PLLC
Dr. Burris serves as president and chief medical officer of Sarah Cannon, as well as the executive director, drug development for the research institute. He is an associate of Tennessee Oncology, PLLC, where he practices medical oncology.
Dr. Burris’ clinical research career has focused on the development of new cancer agents with an emphasis on first in human therapies, having led the trials of many novel antibodies, small molecules, and chemotherapies now FDA approved, including ado-trastuzumab emtansine, everolimus, and gemcitabine. In 1997, he established in Nashville the first community based early phase drug development program, which grew into the Sarah Cannon Research Institute. He has authored over 400 publications and 700 abstracts. Sarah Cannon has now dosed over 350 first in human anticancer therapies and enrolls more than 3000 patients per year into clinical trials.
Dr Burris was recently elected president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a professional society representing over 40,000 cancer physicians and researchers globally. He also currently serves on the Board of ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation. Additionally in 2014, Dr. Burris was selected by his peers as a Giant of Cancer Care for his achievements in drug development. Dr. Burris completed his undergraduate education at the United States Military Academy at West Point, his medical degree at the University of South Alabama, and his internal medicine residency and oncology fellowship at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. While in Texas, he also served as the Director of Clinical Research at The Institute for Drug Development of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and The University of Texas Health Science Center. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the US Army, and among his decorations, he was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster for his service in Operation Joint Endeavor.
Peter Kiener, PhD
Chief Executive Officer,
Dr. Peter A Kiener currently is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Mersana. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Cereius Inc. Prior to joining Cereius, he served as CSO and Head of Research and Development at Sucampo Pharma Inc, a fully integrated Biopharma company, and CSO of 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.
Ronald T. Borchardt
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Pharmaceutical Chemistry,
The University of Kansas-Lawrence
Professor Borchardt’s contributions to the development and validation of cell cultures for studying drug transport across the intestinal mucosa and the blood-brain barrier have been particularly significant. His pioneering work led to the introduction of a cell culture model now widely used by scientists in pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies and in academic and government laboratories worldwide. As a medicinal chemistry, who transitioned to biochemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry midway through his career in academia, Professor Borchardt also played a key role as a scientist, educator and consultant in the integration of drug discovery and development in pharmaceutical companies in the United States, Europe and Asia.
After receiving his B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from The University of Kansas-Lawrence in 1970, Professor Borchardt sent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. In 1971 he returned to his alma mater, The University of Kansas, as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Medicinal Chemistry. Professor Borchardt was promoted through the ranks to the position of Solon E. Summerfield Distinguished Professor in 1981, a position that he held for 34 years until his retirement in 2015.
During his academic career, Professor Borchardt supervised the research of approx. 170 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists. In addition, he was the author or co-author of more than 500 scientific publications and 460 abstracts and the Editor of 10 books and the Series Editor of 23 books. Professor Borchardt received numerous national and international awards and honors for his teaching and research accomplishments, including three honorary doctorate degrees from European universities.
Chief Early Development Officer,
Pete has spent more than 30 years in Pharma – at multiple companies including 13 years at Millennium (last 8 years as co-head of R&D) – this role included management of all Nonclinical groups and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Following leadership roles at Millennium/Takeda, he became SVP and head of R&D Nonclinical at Moderna, then SVP of Early Development at Alnylam and currently is Chief Early Development Officer.
He 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, and nucleic acids [modified mRNA and siRNA]). Pete has overseen the nonclinical development of multiple, currently marked therapeutics including Celebrex, Inspra, VELCADEI, Entyvio, ONPATTRO, and GIVLARI. Over his career, Pete has helped build and lead a number of different organizations that have ranged in size up to 400 people. This aspect of his career is perhaps the most gratifying.
K. Dane Wittrup, PhD
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering, MIT;
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.