Leadership

XTuit was launched on the work of its prestigious scientific founders who are pioneering discoveries into the dynamics of the microenvironment in health and disease. The leadership team has deep experience in developing scientific discoveries into transformational therapies for patients. The company is privileged to have a board of directors with a long history of creating and growing successful companies.

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Don Chickering, Ph.D.

SVP Technical Operations

Don is Senior Vice President of Technical Operations, overseeing research, scale-up, tech transfer, and manufacturing of our proprietary microenvironment-activated drug delivery product line.  Before joining XTuit, Dr. Chickering held positions of Vice President of Engineering at Seventh Sense Biosystems, Vice President of Technical Operations at Acusphere, and Project Leader of the Therapeutic Delivery Systems group at Sulzer Carbomedics. He has 20 years’ experience in the areas of med-tech, pharmaceuticals, and particle-based drug delivery systems, and he holds 40 US patents in these fields.  Dr. Chickering was the recipient of the American Association of Medical Instrumentation Young Investigator Award and the Boston Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Award.  Don was recently elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows, which honors the most accomplished and distinguished medical and biological engineers responsible for innovation and discovery.  He also served on the Northeastern University Industrial Advisory Board for the Chemical Engineering Department. Additionally, one of his innovative products received a Gold Medal from The Edison Awardsℱ in the Science and Medicine - Diagnostic Aids Segment.  Dr. Chickering has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his Ph.D. from Brown University's Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biotechnology.

Peter Blume-Jensen, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Peter Blume-Jensen brings extensive expertise in personalized oncology, targeted oncology therapeutics, and biomarker research discovery and development to XTuit. From 2001 to 2008, Dr. Blume-Jensen was Department Head and Executive with Serono, US, and later Merck & Co. Inc., where he established novel, integrated oncology drug discovery departments and programs linking therapeutics to patient responder populations. From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Blume-Jensen was Executive Director and Vice President of External Scientific at Daiichi Sankyo Inc., and served as Global Therapeutic Area Advisor for Oncology, and on the Global Oncology R&D strategy core team. For the following four years Dr. Blume-Jensen served as the Chief Scientific Officer of Metamark Genetics, where he established and led R&D culminating with the development of a novel, automated intact tissue protein-based imaging platform for cancer testing. He designed and led all the clinical studies that led to the validation of ProMarkTM, a prognostic prostate cancer biopsy test now included under NCCN Guidelines and MediCare/Medicaid coverage. In June 2014, Dr. Blume-Jensen joined XTuit Pharmaceuticals as its Chief Scientific Officer and first employee. Dr. Blume-Jensen obtained his M.D. in Copenhagen, Denmark, his Ph.D. from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Uppsala, Sweden, and conducted his Post-Doctoral with Dr. Tony Hunter at the Salk Institute, where he pioneered the knock-in mutant mouse technology for germline-targeted mutations.  Dr. Blume-Jensen has authored highly-cited articles, reviews, and book chapters in Personalized Molecular Oncology. His review “Oncogenic Kinase Signaling” (Nature) is a citation classic in ‘Clinical Medicine’, and his work on genetically engineered cancer and male infertility mouse models has been portrayed on CNN and other news channels. His approaches for drug-tailored, efficacy-predictive biomarkers have appeared on Nature Biotechnology’s ‘Hot patents’ watch-list and in various Editorial highlights for Personalized Oncology.

Deborah Dunsire, M.D.

CEO and President

Deborah brings over 25 years of experience in developing and commercializing novel therapeutics across three continents. She is the former President and CEO at FORUM Pharmaceuticals, which focused on therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias and schizophrenia. She served as CEO and President of Millennium Pharmaceuticals from 2005 to 2013, bringing novel therapies through development and commercialization in the areas of cancer and inflammatory disorders. Under her leadership at Millennium, Velcade¼ for multiple myeloma transformed outcomes for patients and became a multi-billion dollar product, with Johnson & Johnson as the commercial partner outside of the US. In 2008, Takeda Pharmaceuticals of Japan acquired Millennium for $8.8 billion and. following the acquisition, Deborah became the first woman to be appointed to the board of Takeda Pharmaceuticals in the company’s 236-year history. Prior to Millennium, Deborah spent 17 years at Novartis in South Africa, Switzerland and the US. For 11 years, she led the Novartis Oncology business in North America, developing and launching a number of transformational cancer therapies notably Gleevec¼, the first targeted cancer therapy, as well as Femara¼, Zometa¼, Sandostatin¼ and Exjade¼. During her tenure at Novartis, the North American oncology business grew from $50 million to more than $2.2 billion.

Deborah is a member of the board of trustees for the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Northeastern University, and Boston’s Museum of Science. She serves on the Department of Chemistry Visiting Committee at MIT and on the MGH Research Advisory Council. She has served for many years as a board member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

​Deborah was born in Zimbabwe and completed her medical training at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Edward Freedman

Chief Financial Officer

Ed Freedman has more than 20 years of leadership experience directing finance, legal, IP and human capital activities in companies across multiple industries including biotechnology, technology and venture capital.  In addition to serving as CFO at XTuit, he is also CFO at KSQ Therapeutics.  Prior to KSQ and XTuit, Ed was CFO and General Counsel at Oasys Water, a global technology company developing solutions for high recovery desalination in the energy and natural resource industries. Ed previously served as General Counsel of Flagship Ventures and started his legal career at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP.  Before going to law school, Ed was an accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co. Ed earned his JD from Boston College Law School and his BSBA in Accounting from Boston University.

Jannik N. Andersen, Ph.D.

Vice President, Drug Discovery

Jannik N. Andersen, Ph.D., has extensive expertise in basic and applied cancer research, cancer genomics and targeted oncology therapeutics. His work has focused on exploiting cancer dependencies for therapeutic development working across the translational continuum in Industry (Novo Nordisk and Merck & Co) and at leading University Hospitals (Dana Farber and MD Anderson Cancer Center).

Prior to joining XTuit Pharmaceuticals in 2014 as the second employee, he was a founding member of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS), and helped build a fully integrated drug discovery institute at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. From 2010-2011, he was Associate Director at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he served as the science alliance manager for the corporate partnership between the Belfer Institute and Merck & Co., Inc. Prior to joining the Belfer Institute, he worked for several years at Merck Research Laboratories, Boston, where he led early drug discovery and biomarker programs focusing on genetic and pharmacological validation of novel drug targets and biomarker hypothesis. Jannik has a multidisciplinary educational background with a chemical engineering degree (M.Sc.) from the Technical University of Denmark and he received his Ph.D. in human biology from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Copenhagen in 2010. He completed his Ph.D. educational research at Novo Nordisk and conducted his post‐doctoral studies at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he held a non-tenure track faculty position.

Alan Crane

BioPharmaceutical Expert and Entrepreneur (Chair)

Alan Crane is a founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of XTuit Pharmaceuticals. He has served as founder and/or has played a significant role as chairman and CEO in building seven companies for Polaris Partners, which he joined as an Entrepreneur Partner in 2002. In addition to XTuit, these companies include: Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA), Cerulean Pharma (acquired by Dare Bioscience, NASDAQ:DARE), Visterra, Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Arsia Therapeutics (acquired by Eagle Pharmaceuticals), and Pandion Therapeutics. He currently serves on the board of KSQ Therapeutics, Seventh Sense Biosystems and has previously represented Polaris on the boards of T2 Biosystems (NASDAQ: TTOO), Ocular Therapeutix (NASDAQ: OCUL), Sirtris Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SIRT, acquired by Glaxo SmithKline) and Adnexus Therapeutics (Bristol Myers Squibb). From 2002 to 2006, Alan was President and CEO of Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: MNTA). He joined Momenta as the fifth employee and built it into a public company, creating an advanced and diversified pipeline, entering into two strategic collaborations with Novartis and raising $275 million. The first product from Momenta’s pipeline achieved over $1B during its first year of sales.

Prior to Polaris, Alan was Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for leading Millennium’s strategic partnering, mergers and acquisitions, and licensing activities, generating over $2B in partner funding and acquiring 19 development stage products. Among these products was Velcade¼ which became the main basis of the company’s $9B acquisition by Takeda. Before joining Millennium, Alan was a marketing executive at DuPont-Merck and a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and Arthur D. Little.

Alan received the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for New England and is an Always-On Venture Capital 100 recipient. His current and former non-profit positions include: Selection Committee for the Harvard Life Lab, Expert-in-Residence at the Harvard School of Engineering, Board Member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, Founder and Vice Chair of the Autism Consortium, and President of the Board of Gann Academy.

Alan earned a BA in Biology, summa cum laude, from Harvard College, an MA in Cellular and Developmental Biology from Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and an MBA, with honors, from Harvard Business School. He also spent two years studying towards an MD at Harvard Medical School.

David Mott

Biopharmaceutical Investor

David Mott joined New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in September 2008 as a General Partner primarily focused on biopharmaceutical investments. Mr. Mott leads NEA’s healthcare investing practice which typically comprises 30% to 40% of each fund, or roughly $750 million to $1 billion of healthcare venture investments every three years. The firm invests across all stages and geographies and is a leading investor across all healthcare sectors. Mr. Mott received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and government from Dartmouth College. Mr. Mott serves as chairman or board member of 11  biotech companies.

Rakesh Jain, PhD

Pioneer in Tumor Microenvironment

Dr. Rakesh Jain has been an integral part of developing XTuit’s novel approach to tumor and fibrotic disorder treatment. Dr. Jain received his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Delaware, all in chemical engineering. He served as assistant professor of chemical engineering at Columbia and a full professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 1991, Dr. Jain is the Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology) at Harvard Medical School and heads the Steele Labs of Tumor Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Jain is widely known for his pioneering research at the interface of engineering and oncology, including tumor microenvironment, drug delivery, and imaging; and for discovering groundbreaking principles guiding the development and novel use of drugs for cancer and non-cancerous diseases.

Dr. Jain has won numerous awards, including Guggenheim Fellowship, Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, Science of Oncology Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship Award from the American Association of Cancer Research.  and the 2013 National Medal of Science. In addition to his excellence in research, Dr. Jain serves or has served on advisory panels to government, industry and academia, and a member of editorial advisory boards of 22 journals, including Nature Reviews Cancer and Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. Dr. Jain is a founding member of XTuit, and currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Robert Langer, PhD

Innovator in Drug Delivery

Dr. Robert Langer’s achievements are as impressive as they are omnipresent in the field of biotechnology. Dr. Langer received his Bachelors of Science from Cornell in Chemical Engineering, and a Doctor of Science from MIT, also in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Langer currently sits as one of thirteen Institute Professors at MIT (MIT’s highest honor). His post-educational research has proved unparalleled and pioneering in the field of tissue engineering and drug delivery, with an estimated 10 million patients benefitting from treatments spurred by his research. Dr. Langer is the most cited engineer in history, with over 1100 patents and over 1300 articles written under his name. In addition to over 220 awards, Dr. Langer holds the distinction of being the youngest person ever elected to all three National Academies (Science, Engineering, and Medicine), and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2006 and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2011.

In the industry, Langer has been the founder or a founding member of over 25 successful companies. The list includes Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR), Transform Pharmaceuticals, T2 Biosystems, Moderna, and Selecta Biosciences. He sits on the Board of Directors of Moderna and has previously served on the board as a director of Alkermes, Wyeth, and Millipore. At Xtuit, he serves as a founder and a member of the Board of Directors.

Deborah Dunsire, M.D.

CEO and President

Deborah brings over 25 years of experience in developing and commercializing novel therapeutics across three continents. She is the former President and CEO at FORUM Pharmaceuticals, which focused on therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias and schizophrenia. She served as CEO and President of Millennium Pharmaceuticals from 2005 to 2013, bringing novel therapies through development and commercialization in the areas of cancer and inflammatory disorders. Under her leadership at Millennium, Velcade¼ for multiple myeloma transformed outcomes for patients and became a multi-billion dollar product, with Johnson & Johnson as the commercial partner outside of the US. In 2008, Takeda Pharmaceuticals of Japan acquired Millennium for $8.8 billion and. following the acquisition, Deborah became the first woman to be appointed to the board of Takeda Pharmaceuticals in the company’s 236-year history. Prior to Millennium, Deborah spent 17 years at Novartis in South Africa, Switzerland and the US. For 11 years, she led the Novartis Oncology business in North America, developing and launching a number of transformational cancer therapies notably Gleevec¼, the first targeted cancer therapy, as well as Femara¼, Zometa¼, Sandostatin¼ and Exjade¼. During her tenure at Novartis, the North American oncology business grew from $50 million to more than $2.2 billion.

Deborah is a member of the board of trustees for the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, Northeastern University, and Boston’s Museum of Science. She serves on the Department of Chemistry Visiting Committee at MIT and on the MGH Research Advisory Council. She has served for many years as a board member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

​Deborah was born in Zimbabwe and completed her medical training at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Garry Nicholson

Oncology and Management Expertise

Garry A. Nicholson joined the board of XTuit Pharmaceuticals, Inc.September 2015. He served for a time as XTuit's CEO.

Previously, he served as President of Pfizer Oncology, from May 2008 until March 2015. As the first leader of Pfizer’s global, dedicated oncology business, Garry had direct responsibility for business strategy and operations, including the oncology sales and marketing organizations globally, clinical development for both early and late stage pipeline candidates, and for licensing and acquisitions.

Prior to joining Pfizer, Garry worked at Eli Lilly and Company in a number of leadership roles, including sales management, marketing, human resources, sales and marketing, and oncology drug development.

Over the course of his career, Garry has more than 20 years of experience in oncology commercial and clinical development leadership roles.

Garry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a master of business administration degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Garry was appointed to the Board of Directors of TESARO in May 2015 and also serves as a member of TESARO’s Audit Committee.  In addition, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of SQZ Biotech in December 2015 and serves as their Chair of Compensation Committee since January 2016.

Otello Stampacchia

Board Observer

Otello founded Omega Funds in 2004. Previously, Otello was in charge of life sciences direct investments and diligence for healthcare venture fund of fund investments at AlpInvest Partners, one of the largest private equity asset managers worldwide. Before AlpInvest, he was the portfolio manager of the Lombard Odier Immunology Fund, a $3 billion listed investment vehicle in Geneva, Switzerland, investing in public and private healthcare companies worldwide. Previously, Otello was a member of the HealthCare corporate finance and M&A team at Goldman Sachs (London and New York offices). Before Goldman, he helped co-found the healthcare investment activities at Index Securities (now Index Ventures). Otello has a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Geneva, holds a  European Doctorate in Biotechnology from the EU, and obtained an MSc in Genetics from the University of Pavia.

Steve Soignet

Board Observer

Dr. Soignet is a co-founder of Arcus Ventures. Prior to starting Arcus Ventures in 2007, he was the Managing Director of The Arcus Group, a consulting company that provided due diligence and strategic guidance for financial service and pharma/biotech clients, which he co-founded in 2001. Dr. Soignet was venture partner of Cross Atlantic Partners, a healthcare and biotechnology venture capital fund based in New York City, in 2003- 2007. Dr. Soignet held a faculty appointment in the Developmental Chemotherapy Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and in the Department of Medicine at Cornell University Medical Center. His primary research focus was in early phase clinical drug development in both hematological and solid tumors, which involved novel differentiation

agents, transcription modulators, cell cycle inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and cytotoxic chemotherapies. He was a lead investigator of a Pilot and a large US Multicenter Trial that led to the US FDA and European approval of arsenic trioxide for the treatment of relapsed acute promyelocytic leukemia. Dr. Soignet’s research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Leukemia, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research.

Dr. Soignet received his B.S. from the University of New Orleans, and his M.D. (AOA, honors) from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. His internship and residency were completed in medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and he then completed his fellowship training in medical oncology/hematology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he subsequently joined the faculty. Dr. Soignet held several leadership positions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, including Chief Fellow, Chairman of the Chemotherapy Practice, Vice-Chairman of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and a member of the Investigational New Drug committee. Dr. Soignet also served on the Board of Advisors of the American Red Cross, Greater New York Chapter.

Dr. Soignet was formerly a board observer on T2 Biosystems, Tracon Pharmaceuticals and Vascular Pathways, and he is currently a board observer on XTuit Pharmaceuticals and a member of the Board of Directors of Exosome Diagnostics.

Jean-Francois Leprince

Board Observer

Since 2006, Mr. Leprince has been a Managing Partner at CTI Life Sciences Fund, a private venture capital company funding Canadian and U.S. biotechnology companies.

Mr. Leprince obtained his Chemical Engineering degree from the Institut National Supérieur de Chimie Industrielle de Rouen, France.

He started his working career at Dow Chemical Company in the specialty chemicals division before joining the pharmaceutical division in 1978. In various management and operational roles, Mr. Leprince has travelled extensively to Belgium, Switzerland, France and parts of the Middle-East, Africa and South-East Asia. With the sale of Marion Merrell Dow to Hoechst in 1995, Mr. Leprince became the managing director of one of Hoechst Marion Roussel’s three subsidiaries in France. In 1998, Mr. Leprince became president of Hoechst Marion Roussel Canada and then of Aventis Canada as a result of the merger between Hoechst Marion Roussel and Rhone Poulenc Rorer, a role he held until the end of 2004.

While President of Aventis Canada, he sat on the Board of Directors of Rx & D (Canada's Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies) and became Chair in 2002.

Currently, Mr. Leprince serves as the CEO of GLyPharma Therapeutics, a CTI Life Sciences Fund portfolio company. He serves as Director of IRICoR (Center of Excellence of IRIC/University of Montréal), Allergen NCE Inc. (Networks of Centers of Excellence of Canada). He also participates as a member of the CEO Steering Council of Innovative Medicines Canada.

Mr. Leprince and his wife Carine reside in Outremont (Qc).

Jason Fuller

Board Observer

Jason joined NEA as a Principal in 2014 and focuses on investments in biopharmaceuticals.  Prior to joining NEA, Jason was a Principal with Third Rock Ventures were he contributed to the creation and management of several companies, including NinePoint Medical, Kala Pharmaceuticals and most recently, Jounce Therapeutics where he served as Director of Corporate development after helping found the company.  Jason earned his PhD at MIT under the supervision of Robert Langer as an NSF fellow, and received an MPhil from the University of Cambridge where he was a Churchill Scholar. He also holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.

Ron Evans, PhD

Discoverer of Nuclear Hormones & Visionary in Vitamin D Therapy

Ron Evans is one of the world’s foremost experts on hormones, the signaling molecules that allow distant organs and systems in the body to communicate with each other. Born in Los Angeles, Dr. Evans received his undergraduate and his PhD from UCLA, and is the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology at the renowned Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Evans’ H-index measure of productivity and citation impact is in the top ten of living biologists. A major achievement resulting from Dr. Evans’ research was the discovery of a large family of molecules named nuclear hormone receptors that respond to various steroid hormones, Vitamin A, and thyroid hormones. These receptors are primary targets in the treatment of cancers including breast cancer and prostate cancer. Dr. Evans recently was named co-leader of an International “Dream Team” to fight pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.  The Dream Team was awarded over $12 million to tackle this destructive form of cancer. Dr. Evans was an invaluable part of the Xtuit founding team.

Rakesh Jain, PhD

Pioneer in Tumor Microenvironment

Dr. Rakesh Jain has been an integral part of developing XTuit’s novel approach to tumor and fibrotic disorder treatment. Dr. Jain received his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Delaware, all in chemical engineering. He served as assistant professor of chemical engineering at Columbia and a full professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 1991, Dr. Jain is the Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology) at Harvard Medical School and heads the Steele Labs of Tumor Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Jain is widely known for his pioneering research at the interface of engineering and oncology, including tumor microenvironment, drug delivery, and imaging; and for discovering groundbreaking principles guiding the development and novel use of drugs for cancer and non-cancerous diseases.

Dr. Jain has won numerous awards, including Guggenheim Fellowship, Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, Science of Oncology Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship Award from the American Association of Cancer Research.  and the 2013 National Medal of Science. In addition to his excellence in research, Dr. Jain serves or has served on advisory panels to government, industry and academia, and a member of editorial advisory boards of 22 journals, including Nature Reviews Cancer and Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. Dr. Jain is a founding member of XTuit, and currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Robert Langer, PhD

Innovator in Drug Delivery

Dr. Robert Langer’s achievements are as impressive as they are omnipresent in the field of biotechnology. Dr. Langer received his Bachelors of Science from Cornell in Chemical Engineering, and a Doctor of Science from MIT, also in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Langer currently sits as one of thirteen Institute Professors at MIT (MIT’s highest honor). His post-educational research has proved unparalleled and pioneering in the field of tissue engineering and drug delivery, with an estimated 10 million patients benefitting from treatments spurred by his research. Dr. Langer is the most cited engineer in history, with over 1100 patents and over 1300 articles written under his name. In addition to over 220 awards, Dr. Langer holds the distinction of being the youngest person ever elected to all three National Academies (Science, Engineering, and Medicine), and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2006 and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2011.

In the industry, Langer has been the founder or a founding member of over 25 successful companies. The list includes Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR), Transform Pharmaceuticals, T2 Biosystems, Moderna, and Selecta Biosciences. He sits on the Board of Directors of Moderna and has previously served on the board as a director of Alkermes, Wyeth, and Millipore. At Xtuit, he serves as a founder and a member of the Board of Directors.